Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is this for real?


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?

7 comments:

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Isn't it a crazy world we live in?)

Maryann Miller said...

Jane it is beyond crazy.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm not only wondering why we're doing it, I'm wondering how many times we've done this type of thing in the past?

Helen
Straight From Hel

Being Beth said...

Who makes these decisions? Did I vote for these people?

What is really going on politically in the world? No wonder I often feel like a very dispensable pawn in the hands of the government.

Considering how much information is at our fingertips, why does it seem like we're all listening to a political version of "Who's on First?"

Stuff like this is enough to turn me into a conspiracist.

Jayne said...

Thank you for coming by my blog! I too wonder why trials are so expensive... salaries of lawyers, I presume.

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Maryann Miller said...

LOL, Beth. I don't know if I am a conspiracist or not, but I sure am a cynic. Everything seems to be top-heavy when it comes to money being spent; in government, in diplomacy, in business. It all goes to the top and so much is wasted on exorbitant salaries, fringe benefits, entertaining, etc. I'm sure that is where a lot of this $7.5 million is going.