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International Justice (Sierra Leone and Cambodia)

Volume 555: debated on Thursday 13 December 2012

I can announce that in order to strengthen international justice and help secure accountability for some of the most horrific crimes against humanity in the last 50 years, the UK will make a voluntary contribution of £1 million to the Special Court for Sierra Leone and a voluntary contribution of £600,000 to the international component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

The Government’s contribution will help ensure the Special Court for Sierra Leone is able to complete its work, and leave a lasting legacy for the people of Sierra Leone. On 30 May, the court sentenced Charles Taylor, a former President of Liberia, to 50 years in jail for aiding and abetting war crimes. Taylor is the first former Head of State to be convicted by an international tribunal and the court is currently hearing his appeal.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is delivering long-awaited justice for millions of Cambodians through the trials of the most senior and responsible surviving members of the Pol Pot regime. The scale of the crimes committed and the number of victims makes it one of the most significant tribunals of its kind since Nuremberg. The Government’s contribution will help to prevent the collapse of the court which has faced a significant shortfall in funding.

International justice is central to foreign policy. It is essential for securing the rights of individuals and states, and for securing peace and reconciliation. Through the International Criminal Court, and the separate international tribunals, we are working to make clear that those responsible for the worst crimes will be held to account and that political leaders will not enjoy impunity. Our support to these institutions is an important element in our strategy to reduce conflict, promote stability and strengthen the rules-based international system. In order to give Parliament a full accounting of this work we will, from this point forward, also provide an annual statement at the start of the financial year detailing our progress on this important issue.