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Sierra Leone

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the response of the Department to the actions of Ghana in relation to the arrest warrant issued by the UN-backed War Crimes Tribunal in Sierra Leone. [119366]

The UK strongly supports the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the principle that everybody should be answerable for their actions. My noble friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos) has emphasised this point to President Kufuor, while welcoming the efforts of Ghana and ECOWAS to secure peace for the people of Liberia.The Special Court for Sierra Leone was not established under a Security Council Chapter VII Resolution, and states are not legally obliged to cooperate with Court. The Security Council has however, called on all states to do so and the Court has been moving to establish extradition agreements with key countries although we understand that the Court does not, at present, have such an agreement with Ghana.Taylor is a malign influence in the region. We urge him to surrender himself to the Court. We will continue to encourage all states, particularly those in the region, to facilitate his arrest.