As I was looking for news items to post on Winnsborotoday.com, the online community magazine I work for, I ran across this and it stopped me cold:
“The United States is giving an additional $7.5 million to help pay for Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial. The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp made the announcement Thursday in Sierra Leone’s capital.
Taylor, the former president of neighboring Liberia, is accused of funding Sierra Leonean rebels infamous for hacking off the lips, ears and limbs of their victims. Taylor has denied the allegations.
Rapp, who previously served as Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, said that significant contributions also have come from the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Norway. The court relies on voluntary contributions from governments, and Rapp has said the process has been complicated by the global economic crisis.”
Did you catch the amount that we taxpayers are sending? $7.5 million. For a trial?
And four other countries are adding to the till, so the cost of the trial is even greater, and I am shaking my head in disbelief. Even if those other countries are not as generous as the U.S. and can only kick in $5 million each, that’s another $20 million.
First of all, why does a trial cost many millions of dollars? Where does it all go?
I did a bit of research and found out that the Special Court for Sierra Leone is trying Charles Taylor. Although the trial is being held in The Hague because of instability in Liberia, Taylor is still being tried by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The trial is taking place on the premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
That still doesn’t say where the money is going and why the tab is so high.
Several hundred men and women work for the ICC, so there are their salaries to consider. I couldn’t find out how many work for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, butI doubt it is even close to the number that work for the ICC. So how high are their salaries?
Then we have to factor in the cost of keeping the Hague open for the trial, but I doubt that figure runs into millions per month. If it does, someone needs to revise the budget.
Thinking about this, I envision millions of dollars just flying off and not being accounted for. And I for one, would like more of my tax dollars to be accounted for.
What about you?