With an impending shortfall in funding, the Special Court for Sierra Leone may run out of funds by next month. This can have serious consequences including suspendingh the trial against Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor.
"The Court will experience a funding shortfall by the first week of August 2009," Renate Winter, president of the Court, told the UN Security Council on Thursday. "This shortfall poses the real possibility of disrupting our work, which would have disastrous consequences for the Council's extensive peace building efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia." The current shortage amounts to twelve million dollars.
Winter made an appeal to the Council for 30 million US dollars, in order for the Court to complete its mandate. The SCSL is primarily funded by voluntary contributions by the UN-member states. It needs more than 32 million dollar to continue until 2010. Taylor's trial alone costs about 90 million dollar.
Justice Winter said it would be very difficult to retain competent court personnel without adequate funding. Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp added that "even if all pledged donations come in early, our funds will run dry before next year's round of donations, and the Special Court will not have the resources necessary to complete its work."
Thirteen people were originally indicted by the court. Charles Taylor is currently on trial at The Hague for 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra Leone. A verdict is expected mid-2010.
Previously, the Special Court was funded by the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Canada. In May 2007, the court asked the European Union for more funds to have enough resources to last until the end of October.