UN Security Council Briefing on SCSL


Mr. President,

I would like to welcome the distinguished President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Justice Renate Winter, and the Prosecutor of the Court, Mr. Stephen Rapp, and thank them for their comprehensive briefings.

I also wish to thank you Mr. President for convening this very timely meeting. Indeed, at a time when the defense hearings of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, are underway in the Hague-a case which represents one of the most significant undertakings of the Court-it is of great use for the Council to be kept abreast of the work of the Special Court.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone has gone through perilous times in the 1990s and now it is of great pleasure to see this war-torn country coming out of this difficult period with promising signs of peace and stability. For that, we commend the people and the political leadership of the country in showing resilience and taking the bold steps towards unity and reconciliation.

That said, we also highly appreciate the important role of the Special Court in its efforts towards ending impunity and advancing the rule of law in Sierra Leone. Indeed, since its establishment, the Special Court has done an impressive work in this direction, contributing not only to national peace and harmony, but also to regional stability and understanding.

In this regard, we agree with Justice Winter that the Special Court for Sierra Leone is an exemplary model of international justice. As she pointed out, the "firsts" and the precedents established by the Court in the development of international criminal law are all worth emphasizing.

In more specific terms, I would also like to congratulate the Special Court for its significant achievements in 2008, such as the completion of two of the four trials, namely the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Civil Defense Forces cases. We hope that the Revolutionary United Front case will also be concluded soon through the appeal judgment.

Given the significance of the case related to the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, we think that the continuation of the valuable work of the Special Court is now maybe even more important then ever. For the trial of Charles Taylor which attracts world-wide attention will be a turning point in the international efforts to end impunity.

In fact, a fair and effective trial process on each of the four cases dealt with by the Special Court will constitute a clear message to everyone involved and will hopefully discourage war crimes and crimes against humanity all around the globe. After all, those who perpetrate such crimes must know that they will be held responsible by the international community for their acts.

Mr. President,

We believe that the Special Court for Sierra Leone will successfully complete its work within the timeframe as described by the President and the Prosecutor of the Court. For us, successful completion of the work is more important than merely meeting deadlines. Therefore, we think we should be flexible in allowing the time needed by the Court, taking into account the requirements of the task at hand.

Moreover, the effective completion of the Court's work also depends on the availability of the necessary resources. In this regard, continued contributions of the international community should also be seen as an essential element of the completion strategy. On its part, Turkey has been consistently making voluntary financial contributions to the Special Court since its inception.

Finally, the Special Court for Sierra Leone will constitute yet another "first" by being the first international court to set up a residual mechanism. This is also worth noting while we speak about the completion strategy. We believe that this residual mechanism can constitute an example that could be emulated by other international courts as well.

In conclusion, Mr. President, we thank the President and Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone for their most valuable work and wish them all the success in their future deliberations.

Thank you.