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September 2004
10/6/2004 10:20 AM


September 27: Sierra Leone to Send Back 500 Detained Liberian Fighters

Sierra Leone will release about 500 Liberian gunmen linked to former president Charles Taylor and return them to Liberia later this year, a Foreign Ministry official in Monrovia said on Tuesday.

The Liberian official told IRIN that these men, some of whom have been detained in Sierra Leone for several years, would be granted a government amnesty on their return.

Some of these Liberians had been captured while fighting with Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel movement which waged war on the Freetown government between 1991 and 2001, the official said.

The RUF was supported by Taylor's government and operated from rear bases in Liberia and the UN-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone has indicted Taylor for war crimes in view of his close involvement with the rebel cause.

The Foreign Ministry official said those to be released by Sierra Leone also included members of Taylor's militia forces in Liberia who had fled across the border to escape advances by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel movement in northwestern Liberia during the latter stages of its 1989-2003 civil war.

President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone had discussed the handover with Gyude Bryant, the chairman of Liberia's transitional government, and the justice ministries of the two countries were now discussing how to manage their return, the official added.

“From a series of negotiations, it is our opinion that they would be released in November or early December," he said.

"They were not only fighters that were captured in combat, but also those government militias under the government of former president Charles Taylor that fled rebel advancement in Liberia and crossed over into Sierra Leone for safety”.

"Time for total forgiveness"

“It is time for total forgiveness and reconciliation in Liberia and this government interposes no objection to granting them amnesty," the official said. Such a move would officially announced by Bryant in due course, he added.

News of the imminent return of the Liberian fighters held in Sierra Leone first emerged on Monday.

Justin Bangura, the deputy head of the National Commission for Social Action of Sierra Leone, told reporters in Monrovia that the fighters, who are currently being held at several camps across Sierra Leone, would be handed over to Liberia upon the conclusion of talks between the two countries.

“Sierra Leone will soon be releasing five hundred Liberian fighters to the government of Liberia and we expect that a total amnesty would be granted to those fighters after they shall have been handed over to the National Transitional Government of Liberia”, Bangura said.

He stressed that these former combatants had undergone rehabilitation and had received vocational training with the help of US$1.2 million of funding from the European Union.

“Those are changed people, they have learnt new technical skills so that they can sustain themselves,” Bangura said.

Meanwhile, Liberia is pondering what to do with several hundred fighters from neighbouring countries who have reported for disarmament following the end of its own 14-year civil war.

According to statistics provided by the Liberian National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, a total of 563 foreign combatants in Liberia had registered for disarmament by 4 September.

Guinea topped the list with 282 of its nationals disarmed. Sierra Leone followed with 152 and Cote d'Ivoire was third with 112.

Molley Passaway, the spokesman for the Commission in Monrovia told IRIN that the fate of those foreign ex-combatants would be decided at what he called “a high policy level" by Liberia with the governments concerned.

Several Sierra Leonean mercenaries fought with Taylor's forces, notably Sam Bockarie, the former military commander of the RUF, who was killed in May 2003.

Diplomats say the LURD rebel movement was backed by Guinea and a second rebel group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), had close links with Cote d'Ivoire. Both were believed to have recruited nationals of these countries into their ranks.

Published in: United Nations Regional Information Network, Copyright U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004, 27 September 2004.

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.


September 24: US Ambassador Funds NGOs for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Sierra Leone

United States Ambassador Thomas N. Hull Friday awarded $ 92,000 USD to seven local non-governmental organizations in Sierra Leone for the promotion of democracy and human rights. He said the choice of projects awarded are among a large pool of worthy applicants and reflect the US government's commitment to advancing democracy and human rights throughout Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Hull stated that, "the democracy and human rights fund will be used to increase participation of women in political process and protect them from unwanted female genital mutilation, monitor prison conditions and juvenile justice, and survey public policy management."

The choice of projects awarded today from a large pool of worthy applicants,” Ambassador Hull continued, “reflects not only the very best candidates, but our broad commitment to advancing democracy and human rights throughout Sierra Leone,” adding the “the United States Government, on behalf of the people of America, is proud to work as partners with committed citizens and communities in Sierra Leone to achieve the important goals of this grant program.”

The award is part of the Democracy and Human Rights Fund that is supported by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID). Organizations who received the grant, and their proposed projects, are listed below.

  • Community Action On Nation: Building Promoting women’s rights through an awareness workshop on political in Kabala (Koinadugu District)
  • Solarcomm Media Management: Promoting youth participation in governance/human rights through radio in Freetown and the Western Area of Sierra Leone.
  • Prison Watch Sierra Leone: Visitation of prisons and detention centers nationwide. 
  • Radio Gbafth FM 91.0: Building the capacity of a rural community radio station in Mile 91 (Tonkolili District).
  • Defense for Children International-SL: Enhancing administration of juvenile justice in the Western Area of Sierra Leone.
  • Campaign for Good Governance: Conducting research and public policy analysis nationwide.
  • Amazonian Initiative Movement: Reducing Female Genital Mutilation in Lunsar (Port Loko District).

Published in: United States Embassy Freetown: Internet, Press Release, 24 September 2004.


September 22:UNAMSIL Hands Over Western Area Security to Government of Sierra Leone

United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone
PRESS RELEASE, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 23 September 2004

 UNAMSIL hands over western area security to government of Sierra Leone, 23 September 2004 (PDF, 1 page)


September 22: Nigeria: Amnesty International seeks to intervene in case reviewing asylum granted to former Liberian President Charles Taylor

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

Nigeria: Amnesty International seeks to intervene in case reviewing asylum granted to former Liberian President Charles Taylor

AI Index: AFR 44/029/2004 (Public)

22 September 2004

Amnesty International today applied to the Nigerian Federal High Court to submit an amicus curiae brief demonstrating that the decision by the Nigerian government to grant refugee status to Charles Taylor with apparent guarantees to protect him from prosecution for crimes against humanity and war crimes violates Nigeria’s obligations under international law.

On 31 May 2004, the Federal High Court decided to review the asylum granted to Charles Taylor. Hearings are currently taking place. The court is expected to consider Amnesty International’s application on 13 October 2004.

"Charles Taylor has been indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for crimes against humanity and war crimes. In accordance with international and African conventions on refugees which Nigeria has ratified, he should, therefore, be excluded from refugee protection," Amnesty International said summarizing the conclusions of the brief.

"This rule of international law seeks to ensure that states refrain from offering international protection to individuals who are accused of heinous crimes who are trying to evade justice."

In the brief, Amnesty International argues that Nigeria must either surrender Charles Taylor to the Special Court to face a trial to determine his guilt or innocence or open a national investigation with a view to determining whether to pursue criminal or extradition proceedings in Nigerian courts.


In March 2003, Charles Taylor was indicted for "bearing the greatest responsibility" for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law falling within the Special Court’s jurisdiction. These crimes include killings, mutilations, rape and other forms of sexual violence, sexual slavery, conscription of children, abduction and forced labour perpetrated by Sierra Leone armed opposition forces, which Charles Taylor actively supported.

The brief submitted by Amnesty International to the Federal High Court is an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, in which the organization sets out a legal analysis of issues of international law relevant to the case. It is submitted to assist the Federal High Court in its review of the challenge to the grant of asylum to the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.

The brief has also been signed by Professor Guy Goodwin Gill, a leading international expert on international refugee law. He is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and formerly Professor of International Refugee Law at Oxford, Professor of Asylum Law, University of Amsterdam, and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law. He is the author of The Refugee in International Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press, second edition, 1996, among many publications. Professor Goodwin-Gill is also a Member of the Bar of England and Wales and practices from Blackstone Chambers, London.

On 31 May 2004 the Special Court rejected a challenge by Charles Taylor to the indictment in which he claimed that it was prohibited under international law since he was the head of state of Liberia at the time of the indictment (see: PDF format)

The full text of the amicus curiae brief will shortly be available on Amnesty International’s website:

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September 22: Taylor Loyalist Recruits Liberian Ex-combatants to Fight in Guinea

Tragen Wantee, a comrade-in-arms of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, has been recruiting former members of Taylor's armed forces for the past two months in order to launch an insurrection in neighbouring Guinea, former combatants in the Liberian frontier town of Ganta said.

They told IRIN that Wantee had recruited about 100 former combatants in Taylor's militia forces in Nimba county since July and was spiriting them over the border to a forest training camp that was believed to be somewhere near the Guinean town of Dieke.

Each recruit had been offered a bounty payment of between US$150 and $200, they added.

"I have seen some of my friends being recruited right here in Ganta in late July and August," said Master Sargent Jacob Saye.

"We know that some of our friends who fought in Nimba were given cash payments of $200 and secretly moved into Guinea, mostly during the night time. All those I knew who were recruited have not returned," Saye said.

"This is a serious campaign being carried out secretly. We fear that a possible rebel attack could take place in Guinea and that is why we are not afraid of leaking it out," he told an IRIN correspondent visiting Ganta at the weekend.

Ganta is one of the main towns in Nimba county, which is situated in north central Liberia and borders on both Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. It was a stronghold of Taylor's forces for most of the 14-year civil war, during which it saw heavy fighting.

Saye, who walks with a limp after his knee was smashed by a machine gun bullet during the conflict, said he personally was opposed to the moves that were apparently afoot to destabilise the government of Guinean President Lansana Conte.

His stories of clandestine recruitment were echoed by another former fighter in Taylor's armed forces, Cyrus Gonzhan.

"We are tired of fighting"

"Some of our friends always said that ex-combatants were being paid from $150 to $200 to go into Guinea by night. Many of them had refused the offer. We are tired of fighting and have no need to carry any war to Guinea," Gonzhan said.

He declined to reveal the names of those who were behind the recruitment drive, saying only: "Those engaged in recruiting are now afraid to walk in public, because they know most of us ex-combatants are not happy with them."

However, Saye named the man behind the clandestine recruitment as Tragen Wantee, a man from Nimba county who underwent military training with Charles Taylor in Libya during the late 1980s before Taylor launched a rebellion in Liberia in 1989.

After Taylor became president in 1997, Wantee was appointed as Liberia's ambassador to Guinea. However, he was expelled by the Guinean government in 2001, after being accused of complicity in the attempted invasion of Guinea by bands of armed men who crossed the border from Liberia in 2000 and early 2001. Since then he has been out of the public eye.

Guinea accused Taylor of backing the insurgents, who were successfully repelled by the Guinean army.

Taylor himself was forced to resign as president and go into exile in Nigeria in August 2003 as rebel forces seized control of the interior of Liberia and began to battle their way into the capital Monrovia. His departure cleared the way for the signing of a peace agreement a week later.

Several civilians in Ganta told IRIN that it was common knowledge in the town that former members of Taylor's armed forces were being recruited to go and fight in Guinea.

Night movements across the border

Cassius Dahn, a trader who travels frequently into Guinea to buy clothing and footwear for resale in Liberia, said many of these men had been caught by the Guinean security forces as they were sneaking across the border.

"Something suspicious is going on. It is usual to see ex-fighters travelling into Guinea for no reason and never making their way back home. News of Liberian fighters being recruited into Guinea is all over Guinea," he said.

One local elder who asked not to be identified, said some chiefs on the Guinean side of the border had informed him and his Liberian colleagues about Liberian fighters moving across the border in apparent preparation for staging an attack.

"We are finding out who are those involved. Mano (tribal) chiefs in both Liberia and Guinea have agreed to prevent any action to destabilize Guinea by exposing those behind it," he told IRIN.

"The first information we got was that some of our former fighters were exchanging their weapons along the border with unknown persons in Guinea for motorbikes. We told the UN about this and since then they have stopped it," he added.

General Joseph Owonibi, the deputy commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Liberia, said publicly in July that weapons were being traded for motorbikes across the Guinean border.

But Major Alam Ruhul, the commander of the Bangladeshi detachment of UN peacekeepers stationed in Ganta, dismissed the tales of Liberians being recruited to fight in Guinea as "rumours."

"There has been no concrete evidence to prove the reports," he told IRIN.

Last July, Liberia's Independent Commission on Human Rights said that about 500 former child soldiers had been recruited by unidentified persons in the capital Monrovia and sent to a training base in Guinea.

Complaints about the disarmament process

The latest reports of clandestine recruitment in Nimba county have surfaced at a time when many former combatants there are complaining that UN peacekeepers are refusing to register them for disarmament because they do not have a weapon to hand in.

Major Ruhul, the UN commander in Ganta said the process of disarming an estimated 7,000 former combatants in Nimba county was going smoothly. By the end of last week, 4,930 had been registered for demobilisation and a total of 1,764 weapons and over 10,000 rounds of ammunition had been handed in, he said.

"The process is going smoothly and fighters are eagerly and happily being disarmed," the Bangladeshi officer said. "We have completed the exercise in Ganta and Saclepea and now the process is going on in Saniquellie. We are doing it town by town."

However, Samuel Guannue, who described himself as the former deputy commander of Taylor's militia force in Nimba county, said many of his men were being rejected because they did not have a weapon to hand in.

"We had a situation where about one in five fighters was assigned to a gun," he told IRIN. "Because of this situation of insufficient arms, over 2,000 of our former fighters were rejected by peacekeepers at the disarmament site since they did not carry weapons or ammunitions. We have complained to the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration and Rehabilitation, but have no response yet."

Molley Passaway, the spokesman for the Commission in Monrovia, confirmed that a complaint had been received from ex-fighters in Nimba county whose application for disarmament benefits had been rejected.

"The commission is aware of this report and we have communicated to the relevant commanders in Nimba to compile a list of those affected fighters and we will seek ways of perhaps absorbing them into the programme," he told IRIN.

Lots of ex-fighters, but few weapons

Each demobilised fighter qualifies for a cash resettlement grant of US$300 and assistance in education or training and there have been persistent reports of civilians who never fought in the civil war signing up for disarmament simply to claim these benefits. Fewer than one in three reporting for disarmament have actually handed in a gun.

The United Nations estimated last year that Liberia's three factions together had about 38,000 combatants who were likely to come forward for disarmament. However, more than 72,000 have been registered so far and a report by the International Contact Group on Liberia, released in New York last week estimated the final tally would be 80,000 to 100,000 by the time the disarmament exercise finishes on 31 October.

Despite Guannue's protestations that guns were in short supply during the conflict, many residents in Ganta said they were convinced that a lot of the sophisticated weaponry they had seen during the civil war was being hidden.

Many of the weapons being handed in by ex-fighters were just crude hunting guns, known locally as "single barrels," they said.

"We cannot see the types of heavy guns they were using, only a few AK-47s and machine guns. A lot of the ex-fighters are now disarming with single barrels and there is even news that some fighters are attempting to smuggle hunting guns in from Guinea so that they can disarm," Melvin Voker, one resident of the border town 250 km northeast of Monrovia, said.

An IRIN correspondent visiting Ganta saw several UN military trucks taking former combatants to the disarmament camp. These mostly contained men brandishing hunting guns.

However, Major Ruhul said not many were being handed in. "There are a lot of rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and mortars being handed in, but there are few reporting with hunting guns," he said.

Despite the constant talk of weapons changing hands for money and secret armies being formed just across the border, Ganta itself is a quiet and peaceful place these days and cross-border trade is arriving.

Many buildings in the town are still riddled with bullet marks from the civil war and some have been destroyed completely by artillery shells and local officials said Ganta still only had half its pre-war population of 100,000 people.

However, the days when aggressive gunmen robbed ordinary citizens in the streets with impunity are long gone and at the weekend people party at nightclubs in total safety until the wee hours of the morning.

One immigration official said movements across the Guinean border are also picking up. About 50 refugees per day were returning spontaneously from Guinea and about 30 people a day were coming across the border to trade, he said. Most of these were Guineans, but there were also a few Nigerians and Ghanaians, he added.

Published in: United Nations Regional Information Network, Copyright U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004, 22 September 2004.

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.



September 21:First Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Released

The First Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (for the period 2 December 2002 - 1 December 2003) is now available on the Special Court's website. In PDF (21 pages), the report provides a description of the activities of the various organs and offices of the Special Court. The report also gives an update on funding and the legacy of the Special Court. _____________________________________________________________________

September 21: Security Council Extends UNAMSIL's Mandate

United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone
PRESS RELEASE, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 21 September 2004 

Security Council Extends UNAMSIL's Mandate, 21 September 2004 (PDF, 1 page)


 September 20: Crane: Taylor a Continuing Threat to Regional Peace

Special Court for Sierra Leone
Office of the Prosecutor

20 September 2004

Prosecutor David M. Crane Calls Taylor a Continuing Threat to Regional Peace Prosecutor David M. Crane has welcomed comments by UNMIL SRSG Jacques Paul Klein to the Security Council last week, in which he reported that “Charles Taylor’s shadow still looms over Liberia.”

“We have specific information that Charles Taylor continues to interfere in Liberian affairs and we share Mr Klein’s concerns.” said Mr. Crane.

“There can be no true peace in the region until Charles Taylor is brought to the Special Court for Sierra Leone for a fair and open trial,” Mr Crane added.

Mr. Crane expressed optimism that Nigeria would eventually transfer Taylor for trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

“Nigeria has shown consistent interest in supporting the Liberian peace process, beginning with the Nigerian government’s leadership in removing Charles Taylor from Liberia in August 2003. As evidence mounts that Taylor is an obstacle to lasting peace in Liberia, I am optimistic that Nigeria will continue to support the Liberian peace process by transferring Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”

The Prosecutor said Nigeria has a strong record of support for the Special Court. Nigeria sits on the Special Court’s Management Committee at UN headquarters in New York; Nigeria is the largest African donor to the Special Court; and from its beginning, the Court has been guarded by the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Charles Taylor faces a 17-count indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. The charges include terrorising the civilian population, unlawful killings, sexual violence, physical violence, forced conscription of child soldiers, abductions, forced labour, looting and burning, and attacks on UN peacekeeping personnel.


September 22: People Trafficking is Biggest Crime Business in West Africa after Drugs

Over one million people from West and Central Africa have emigrated clandestinely to Europe over the past decade and people-trafficking has now become the biggest crime racket in Africa after drugs, according to information released at a conference in Cote d'Ivoire this week.

The International Office for Migration (IOM) told the three-day conference organised by the international police organisation Interpol that in 1991 there were an estimated two million "irregular migrants" in Europe from West and Central Africa.

Today, it said, the figure was just over three million.

Armand Rousselot, the IOM regional representative for West Africa, said France, Italy and Spain were the most favoured destinations of illegal migrants, many of whom travel overland across the Sahara before attempting the short sea journey across the Mediterranean or across the Atlantic approaches to Spain in dangerously overcrowded boats.

“If a migrant wants to go, he will find the means to do so”, Rousselot said.

But the services of those who supply forged documents and provide clandestine transport do not come cheap. Obtaining a forged passport and entry visa for the European Union can cost up to US$4,000.

And those who try instead to make it clandestinely across the sea in a crowded boat to a lonely beach pay heavily for a place on board.

“It’s quite a lot of money," said Immanuel Fernandos Sam, of Interpol’s Southern Africa bureau. "It is the most threatening thing after drug trafficking."

“We’re talking of billions”, Italian delegate Vincenzo Baldessare said.

Baldessare said that Italy officially calculated that 23,000 illegal migrants who pay an average of $2,000 each to people smugglers were reaching its shores each year. But he added that this was a serious under-estimate.

According to the IOM, people trafficking is often carried out by members of the same family living in the country of destination and fictitious businesses or non-governmental organizations. Throughout West Africa, Nigerians play a prominent role in the business.

The IOM says the trade always involves at least one middle-man who promises to acquire all the necessary papers. However nothing is guaranteed and the money is never reimbursed.

Nearly all the clandestine migrants from Africa are seeking a way out of unemployment and economic hardship at home.

Experts at the conference said the main countries of origin included Nigeria, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

According to Interpol estimates, a false passport and visa costs around $1,900 in the Central African Republic and people smugglers in the country earn about $50 million a year from the trade.

In wealthier countries such as Cote d'Ivoire, the fake documents can cost nearly $4,000 to arrange. Interpol reckons that those controlling the immigration racket in Abidjan earn between $50 and $100 million each year.

The middlemen in Senegal pocket over $100 million, it added.

Globally, Interpol estimates that the people trafficking business is worth about $9 billion, although delegates at the Abidjan conference were unable to say how much of that related to Africa.

No legal framework yet exists for controlling the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa into Europe. However, Algeria’s delegate, Naoui Mohamed Sifi said both sides could no longer shy away from the issue because of the high security costs involved for both sides.

Interpol’s role is to assist individual countries in combating the trade, mainly by providing information on suspected traffickers and pushing for increased collaboration between the countries of departure and destination.

Published in: United Nations Regional Information Network, Copyright U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004, 22 September 2004.

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. ____________________________________________________________

September 14: Sierra Leone Makes Gradual Progress Towards Consolidating Peace - Annan

Sierra Leone continues to make gradual progress towards consolidating peace after nearly a decade of vicious civil wars and military coups but much remains to be done to achieve long-term stability, particularly with regard to security, according to the latest United Nations report on its peacekeeping mission in the West African country.

The progress has allowed the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to continue reducing its forces, which at its start in 1999 had an authorized maximum strength of 17,500 military personnel but now stands at some 9,000, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in the report, calling for a nine-month extension of the Mission, until 30 June 2005.

As planned, by the end of December its military component will be cut to fewer than 5,000 troops, with further reductions bringing it to 3,250 by the end of February and its total drawdown slated for completion by the end of 2005. The military reduction will be accompanied by similar cutbacks in UNAMSIL's civilian staff.

"With the support of UNAMSIL and development partners, the Government of Sierra Leone has made significant progress towards accomplishing a number of benchmarks for the withdrawal of UNAMSIL," Mr. Annan says.

He notes that revenue from diamond exports has significantly increased thanks to an improvement in government monitoring and control of mining activities, the disarmament and reintegration of former combatants has been successfully completed, and state authority is being consolidated, "albeit not without difficultly."

Among continuing problems, he highlights the serious logistic, communications, accommodation and transport shortfalls still confronting the Sierra Leone army (RSLAF).

"In light of these concerns, the attainment by RSLAF of the requisite capacity to assume effective responsibility for ensuring the security of the country against external threats will remain a key benchmark in reviewing the tasks of the residual UNAMSIL presence," Mr. Annan reports.

Youth unemployment, inadequate private sector growth, spiralling prices of essential commodities and very slow progress in improving living standards remain "areas of serious concern," he adds. Sustaining a high growth in gross domestic product (GDP) is also likely to be more challenging as assistance is scaled back by donor countries.

But he notes that the Government has made significant strides in enhancing good governance through decentralization. The human rights situation has also gradually improved, although the entire justice system needs urgent reform to tackle the shortage of judges and persistent delays in criminal investigations.

Published in: U.N. Wire, Copyright United Nations News Service 2004, 14 September 2004.


September 10: Liberia War No Longer a Threat to Sierra Leone Ambassador Foya

In response to questions regarding UNAMSIL's withdrawal from Sierra Leone, the Ambassador to Liberia for Sierra Leone, Patrick Foyah, recently stated that the disarmament process in Liberia is progressing with little or no problems.

Ambassador Foyah emphaszied that 65,000 former rebels have thus far disarmed, and that the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNAMSIL) has reached its authorized strength of 15,000 peacekeeping troops. Asked whether there are any signs that there will be a resumption of hostilities in areas where disarmament is yet to begin, the ambassador replied in the negative.