14 November 2005
Security Council Includes Former President's Apprehension, Transfer to Special Court in Mandate of United Nations Mission in Liberia
Adopting Resolution 1638 (2005), Council Expresses Appreciation for Nigeria's Contribution to Restoring Peace, Stability
NEW YORK, 11 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council, determining that the return of former President Charles Taylor to Liberia would constitute an impediment to that country's stability and a threat to its peace, decided this morning to include in the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) the former leader's apprehension, detention and transfer to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in the event of his return to Liberia.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1638 (2005) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council decided also that, as a part of its additional mandate, UNMIL should, in transferring or facilitating the former President's transfer to the Special Court, keep the Governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as the Council, fully informed.
Stressing that the former President remained under indictment by the Court, and affirming Liberia's political independence, the Council also expressed its appreciation to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for his country's contribution to restoring stability in Liberia and the West African subregion, acknowledging also that Nigeria had acted with broad international support in its decision to provide for Mr. Taylor's temporary stay there.
Henrique R. Valle (Brazil), speaking after the vote, explained that he had joined the consensus to reflect his country's firm commitment to the settlement of all conflicts in Africa. However, the Brazilian delegation believed that the promotion of the rule of law should be exercised by national institutions, with international assistance if requested. Adherence to the rule of law should be based on the strict observance of a country's domestic framework, as well as international law.
Also speaking after the vote, Martin Garcia Moritan (Argentina) said he had joined the consensus on the understanding that post-conflict peacebuilding in Liberia must be conducted with respect for law and justice. Impunity sent a bad signal for the future and undermined a genuine process of national reconciliation. For that reason, Argentina supported the Mission's mandate, with full respect for Liberia's sovereignty and legal order, and in coordination with its Government, to apprehend Mr. Taylor and facilitate his transfer to the Special Court.
The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone in 2002 to try serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed since 1996, at the height of that country's 1991-2002 civil war. Mr. Taylor and 11 others indicted by the Court are charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. All but two of the indictees, including Mr. Taylor, are in the custody of the Special Court in Freetown.
The meeting began at 1:11 p.m. and adjourned at 1:16 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1638 (2005) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning Liberia, Sierra Leone, and West Africa,
"Affirming its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Liberia,
"Expressing its appreciation to Nigeria and its President, Olusegun Obasanjo, for their contributions to restoring stability in Liberia and the West African subregion, and acknowledging that Nigeria acted with broad international support when it decided to provide for the temporary stay of former President Charles Taylor in Nigeria,
"Stressing that former President Taylor remains under indictment by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and determining that his return to Liberia would constitute an impediment to stability and a threat to the peace of Liberia and to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) shall include the following additional element: to apprehend and detain former President Charles Taylor in the event of a return to Liberia and to transfer him or facilitate his transfer to Sierra Leone for prosecution before the Special Court for Sierra Leone and to keep the Liberian Government, the Sierra Leonean Government and the Council fully informed;
"2. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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