2004 Statement


H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa

Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations

On Item 121, "Programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005: Special Court for Sierra Leone"

23 March 2004

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Government of Japan attaches great importance to the consolidation of peace in post-conflict Sierra Leone. We wish to buttress the realization of DDR, national reconciliation, and good governance in Sierra Leone. With this in mind, the Government of Japan has already extended a substantial amount of assistance to Sierra Leone, including a contribution of US$960,000 in 1998 to the United Nations Trust Fund for Sierra Leone in support of the DDR project; US$3,090,000 in May 2001 through the Human Security Fund for the reintegration of ex-combatants; and 300 million yen in December 2002, as a form of Japan-UK cooperation in the area of conflict prevention.

In view of the importance of prosecuting crimes against humanity committed during the internal conflict and in response to the appeal by the Secretary-General, my Government has also contributed US $500,000 to the establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Based on the Member States' shared recognition that ICTY and ICTR, which are financed through UN assessed contributions, have both resulted in substantially higher expenses than expected for the Member States, a decision was made by the Member States to finance the Special Court through voluntary contributions and not to apply the UN financial and staff regulations and rules. Efficiency and cost reduction were pursued. My delegation's belief in the merits and efficiency of such a system, compared to ICTY and ICTR, remains unchanged.

It is therefore with strong regret that we have learned that there is a shortfall in voluntary contributions for this Special Court. My Government is very concerned about the idea promoted by the Secretary-General for a subvention. We think that other delegations are also concerned about the impact of a possible subvention on efficiency and further efforts for cost-reductions. We point this out because we are as yet unclear on completion strategy for the Special Court.

Given the foregoing considerations, as well as the steady increase in the size of the UN regular budget, and the failure to set strict priorities among UN activities, and also, the possible negative effect that such subvention might have on many activities funded through voluntary contributions, my Government, as a matter of principle, cannot support the idea of subvention from the UN regular budget. In order to prevent the Special Court from failing, my Government believes that the Security Council, which was instrumental in the creation of this Court, should play a role in mobilizing the necessary voluntary contributions. To put it simply, those countries which are in a position to make certain decisions should assume corresponding responsibilities.

Having said this, my delegation urges those Member States in support of the subvention proposal to consider setting the following conditions for doing so:

  • (i) the subvention should be a one-time only, exceptional measure, and all efforts should be made so that all necessary funds for 2005 and beyond would be covered by voluntary contributions;
  • (ii) the subvention would not be considered as a precedent for other cases;
  • (iii) a clear completion strategy for the Special Court should be set in place and the Security Council should follow the situation and urge its implementation as necessary.