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Procedure : 2007/2621(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0334/2007

Texts tabled :

B6-0334/2007

Debates :

PV 06/09/2007 - 10.3
CRE 06/09/2007 - 10.3

Votes :

PV 06/09/2007 - 11.3
CRE 06/09/2007 - 11.3

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0386

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 100kDOC 50k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0332/2007
4 September 2007
PE 394.755v0
 
B6‑0334/2007
with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules of Procedure
by Ryszard Czarnecki, Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Eugenijus Maldeikis
on behalf of the UEN Group
on financing of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on financing of the Special Court for Sierra Leone 
B6‑0334/2007

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, established through an agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1315 of 14 August 2000, with the aim of prosecuting "persons who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996", notably war crimes and crimes against humanity,

–  having regard to the Completion Budget of the Special Court for Sierra Leone approved by the Management Committee for the Special Court on 15 May 2007,

–  having regard to international law, particularly the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II thereto on war crimes, and the UN Charter,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular those of 16 March 2006 on impunity in Africa and in particular the case of Hissène Habré and of 24 February 2005 on the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the case of Charles Taylor,

–  having regard to Rule 115 of its Rules of Procedure;

A.  whereas under the auspices of an agreement at the United Nations, the Government of Sierra Leone set up a special court for the purpose of trying war crimes,

B.  whereas the fight against impunity is one of the cornerstones of the Union's human rights policy and the international community has the responsibility to maintain its support in order to promote the effectiveness of the accountability mechanisms put in place,

C.  whereas the Special Court for Sierra Leone is a precedent-setting development in international law, as it is the first tribunal to indict a sitting African head of state for war crimes and crimes against humanity and the judgment delivered on 20 June 2007 of three former rebel leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) was the first judgment to rule on the recruitment and use of child soldiers and forced marriage,

D.  whereas the Special Court for Sierra Leone plays an important role for peace and justice in the region and is committed to ensuring a lasting legacy, in particular through its outreach activities as well as its archiving and translating programmes which efficiently communicate the work of the Special Court and by helping to build the capacity of Sierra Leoneans in the justice sector; whereas it is developing crucial activities such as victim protection,

E.  whereas, on 7 March 2003, former Liberian President Charles Taylor was indicted by the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 17 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, mutilation, rape, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers; whereas the trial of Charles Taylor opened on 4 June 2007,

F.  whereas the inability to bring the trial of Charles Taylor to a conclusion or to provide the highest and fairest conditions for his trial would not only undermine the establishment of a lasting peace in the region but would also defy the fight against impunity and prejudice the development of international criminal justice, already at stake after the failed attempt to try Slobodan Milosevic or the controversial condemnation of Saddam Hussein,

G.  whereas on 20 August 2007 the Special Court for Sierra Leone found that it was in the interest of justice to give Charles Taylor's newly appointed defence team additional time, and therefore adjourned the trial until 7 January 2008,

H.  whereas unlike other international criminal tribunals, the Special Court for Sierra Leone is funded by voluntary contributions from interested states; whereas many countries, including EU Member States, and the European Commission have underlined their commitment to international humanitarian law by funding the Special Court's activities,

I.  whereas a Management Committee was established to assist the Secretary-General of the United Nations to obtain adequate funding for the Court, approve the budget, and advise on all non-judicial functions of the Court,

J.  whereas the Management Committee found in the completion budget approved on 15 May 2007 that the Special Court for Sierra Leone needs 89 million USD to conclude its operations (36 million USD for 2007; 33 million USD for 2008; and 20 million USD for 2009); whereas according to current estimates, available funding will be exhausted by October 2007,

1.  notes that the Special Court for Sierra Leone receives financial support from the EU through the EIDHR, and that EU Member States have contributed significantly and consistently to the activities of the Court,

2.  notes that the European Union is a substantial donor for the actual operation of the Special Court,

3.  is however concerned that, despite the sound financial management of the Special Court, the available funds do not assure the operational security; is deeply preoccupied that this would impede the fight against impunity and notably prejudice the trial of Charles Taylor, which constitutes a test-case for the development of international criminal justice, and impede the process of reconciliation and establishment of a lasting peace in Sierra Leone and the West African region as a whole,

4.  urges all interested States, including EU Member States, to contribute further to the operations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone to ensure that the Special Court can successfully bring its work to a conclusion, including for those activities ensuring a lasting legacy and aiming at improving the independence of the judiciary in Sierra Leone,

5.  invites the Commission to remain attentive and ensure continuing funding of the Special Court in the forthcoming national programmes with Sierra Leone,

6.  welcomes the opening of the trial of Charles Taylor and believes that it will send a clear message to leaders around the world that egregious human rights abuses will no longer be tolerated with impunity,

7.  encourages the Special Court and the Sierra Leonean authorities and jurisdictions to cooperate ever more closely; underlines the need for victims to be able without delay to seek remedy before national courts and the need to emulate the Special Court in putting aside amnesties, notably those included in the Lomé Agreement, and to incorporate in domestic law all crimes defined at the international level; invites the authorities to consider supporting certain activities of the Special Court

8.  stresses the need to help the Special Court of Sierra Leone in communicating its activities at the international level and vis-à-vis donor countries,

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the EU Member States, the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union, the UN Secretary-General and all Member States of the UN.

Last updated: 4 September 2007Legal notice