Salone News

Irish, Swedish Troops to Protect Special Court

28 December 2005 at 02:15 | 425 views

Irish peacekeeping troops in Liberia today began drills to protect a war crimes court set up in Sierra Leone.

A 140-man armoured patrol, which also included Swedish Armed Forces, crossed the border into the capital, Freetown on the reconnaissance mission.

The troops will be providing security for UN personnel and justice officials at the Special Court of Sierra Leone.

The Court was set up in 2002 to prosecute warlords from the West African country’s bloody civil war during the 1990s.

The patrol, which is also aided by reconnaissance, logistics and engineering specialists, is expected to remain in Sierra Leone for four days.

The deployment has already been approved by the Irish Government and the Dáil.

A Defence Forces spokesman said: “In the event of a security threat to the Special Court, the Irish and Swedish troops in Sierra Leone have been tasked with securing a helicopter-landing site in Freetown from which the evacuees could be transported to a safe location outside the country.

“The Quick Reaction Force is also planning for a possible deployment to Freetown by both air and sea.”

The Special Court of Sierra Leone was set up by the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN in January 2002.

“The Court is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since November 1996,” the spokesman added.

Source: Irish News online

Photo: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern