The Ambassador At- Large for War Crimes Issues in America Stephen Rapp has disclosed that the United States Government has donated the sum of $7.5 million to the Special court for Sierra Leone for the continuation of the trial of Charles Taylor.
The Ambassador who was addressing journalist yesterday at SLENA on his visit to the country since he left the office of the prosecution about 8 months ago after being appointed by President Barack Obama said that he came with good news for the people of Sierra Leone.
He revealed that the money is presently in the court account and that this is to support the court, to give the court the resources it needs and resources to complete the trial of Taylor.
Ambassador Rapp further disclosed that the fund will also help in presenting additional witnesses for the defence and also for the closing argument, for the Taylor trial and that there has been substantial contribution from other donor countries like Britain.
“The cost of the court has gone down in a lot of financial areas. So we know that the funding that the court is receiving will go a long way” he said.
The Ambassador At-Large for War Crimes Issues highlighted another purpose of his visit which he said is to facilitate the discussion between the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations with regards to the work of the court now that the trials here have finished.
Among the issues regarding the court is the residual court regarding any matter that might come up after the court has closed.
He said that they are aware that witnesses will be faced with a lot of intimidation for their testimony and that maybe or maybe not the convicts will have an opinion concerning the trial which they will want to raise.
They will also be looking at the issue of Johnny Paul Koroma if he is alive to stand trial whenever he shows up so as to ensure justice by a judicial court.
The former prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone said that they will work to ensure that the court has a legacy for the people of Sierra Leone “and we will ensure that the court has a real future for the country.”
He went on to state that the court has a museum where people will go and see the atrocities that took place during the war and that the government will also decide to use the facilities for the justice system for the country or other countries in Africa.
Speaking about the saddest moment while he is prosecutor of the Court, the Ambassador said that his saddest moment was when he reviewed pictures and documentaries about certain victims of the rebel war in Sierra Leone and Congo.
He said when you see those kinds of things, your heart aches but when you can put them together for a process then it helps you that justice has been done.
“It does not matter how big you are when you commit an offence, you face trial for that and when that is done you all feel accomplished”.
Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Rapp served as prosecutor of the Special Court beginning in January 2007 leading to the prosecutions of Former Liberian President Charles Taylor and the convictions of eight members of RUF, CDF and AFRC.
By Betty Milton