ECOMOG deployment, United Nations actions on Liberia, Massacre of civilians,
Cotonou Peace Agreement

Establishment of UNOMIL, Relationship with ECOMOG,
UNOMIL components, Inter-agency appeal

Transitional government installed, Deployment continues,
Continued fighting, Fact-finding mission

Akosombo Agreement, Liberia in a "Desperate State",
Humanitarian crisis, Accra Agreement

Political stalemate continues, ECOWAS summit, Fighting continues, UNOMIL's mandate extended

Abuja Agreement, New UNOMILís mandate and concept of operations,
Humanitarian aspects

A turn for the worse, UNOMIL's mandate renewed, Ceasefire restored,
Disarmament and demobilization process, Humanitarian and human rights aspects

Disarmament process officially concluded; Preparations for the electoral process;
UNOMILís mandate extended until 30 June 1997

Elections postponed, UNOMIL and ECOMOG continue preparations,
Humanitarian situation

Elections, New Government installed, UNOMIL terminated,
UN peace-building established


ECOMOG deployment, United Nations actions on Liberia, Massacre of civilians,
Cotonou Peace Agreement

ECOMOG Deployment

Civil war in Liberia claimed the lives of almost 150,000 civilians and led to a complete breakdown of law and order. It displaced scores of people, both internally and beyond the borders, resulting in some 850,000 refugees in the neighbouring countries. Fighting began in late 1989, and by early 1990, several hundred deaths had already occurred in confrontations between government forces and fighters who claimed membership in an opposition group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), led by a former government official, Mr. Charles Taylor.

From the outset of the conflict, a subregional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), undertook various initiatives aimed at a peaceful settlement. ECOWAS membership comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. ECOWAS initiatives included creating a Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) in August 1990. The Group initially comprised about 4,000 troops from Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Although the President of Liberia, Mr. Samuel Doe, had agreed to accept ECOMOG, as did Mr. Prince Johnson, leader of an NPFL faction challenging the leadership of Charles Taylor, Mr. Taylor opposed the ECOMOG intervention. On 10 September 1990, President Doe was killed after having been taken prisoner by Johnson forces. The following year, in June 1991, former supporters of the late President were to create another group, the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO).

Other ECOWAS efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in Liberia included the mediation of a series of agreements which became the basis for the peace plan of November 1990, including the establishment of an Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU). Dr. Amos Sawyer was inducted into office as the President of the interim government. On 30 October 1991, ECOWAS brokered the Yamoussoukro IV Accord which outlined steps to implement the peace plan, including the encampment and disarmament of warring factions under the supervision of an expanded ECOMOG, as well as the establishment of transitional institutions to carry out free and fair elections.

The United Nations supported the efforts of the ECOWAS member States. In addition, it provided humanitarian assistance to the affected areas in Liberia through coordinated activities of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations Special Coordinator's Office (UNSCOL) opened in December 1990; its operation, initially focusing on the desperate situation in the Monrovia area, was expanded in 1991 to respond to the needs of Liberians throughout the country. Regional arrangements were also made to assist those who fled to the neighbouring countries, mainly Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

United Nations Actions on Liberia

The Security Council first took up the question of Liberia on 22 January 1991. The Council commended the efforts of the ECOWAS heads of State and called upon the parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire agreement. On 7 May 1992, the Council again commended ECOWAS and indicated that the Yamoussoukro IV Accord offered the best possible framework for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Liberia.

On 19 November 1992, the Security Council, by adopting resolution 788 (1992), imposed a general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia -- except for those destined for the sole use of the peacekeeping forces of ECOWAS.

On 20 November 1992, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Trevor Livingston Gordon-Somers (Jamaica) as his Special Representative for Liberia. Following his appointment, the Special Representative visited Liberia as well as Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The Secretary-General reported to the Security Council on 12 March 1993, outlining three areas in which the United Nations could play a role in Liberia: political reconciliation, humanitarian assistance and electoral assistance.

On 26 March, the Security Council, by resolution 813 (1993), requested the Secretary-General to consider the possibility of convening a meeting of the Liberian parties to reaffirm their commitment to the implementation of the Yamoussoukro IV Accord, and also to discuss with ECOWAS and the parties concerned the contribution which the United Nations could make in support of the Yamoussoukro IV Accord, including the deployment of United Nations observers.

Massacre of Civilians

On the morning of 6 June 1993, nearly 600 Liberians, mainly displaced people, including children and the elderly, were killed in an armed attack near Harbel, Liberia. The Security Council strongly condemned the killings and warned that those responsible would be held accountable for the serious violations of international humanitarian law. It requested the Secretary-General to commence immediately an investigation into the massacre.

After a preliminary investigation by his Special Representative, the Secretary-General, on 7 August, appointed a Panel of Inquiry composed of Mr. Amos Wako of Kenya as Chairman, and Mr. Robert Gersony of the United States and Mr. Mahmoud Kassem of Egypt as members, to undertake a more comprehensive investigation. In a report dated 10 September 1993, the Panel concluded that the killings were planned and executed by units of the military arm of IGNU -- the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) -- and that NPFL, to which the act of violence had initially been attributed, had no role in it. The Panel named three AFL soldiers who had participated in the massacre and recommended that criminal investigations be undertaken with a view to prosecuting them.

Cotonou Peace Agreement

In July 1993, a three-day meeting was held in Cotonou, Benin, under the co-chairmanship of the Secretary-General's Special Representative, President Canaan Banana of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and Mr. Abass Bundu, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS. At the conclusion of the meeting on 25 July, IGNU, NPFL and ULIMO signed the Cotonou Peace Agreement. The Agreement laid out a continuum of action, from the ceasefire through disarmament and demobilization to the holding of national elections.

On military aspects, the Agreement provided for a ceasefire to take effect on 1 August 1993 and outlined steps for the encampment, disarmament and demobilization of military units. To ensure against any violation of the ceasefire between 1 August and the arrival of some 4,000 additional ECOMOG troops, including from OAU countries outside the West African subregion, as well as the main body of a United Nations observer contingent, the parties agreed to establish a Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, comprising representatives of the three Liberian sides, ECOMOG and the United Nations.

On the political side, the parties reaffirmed the Yamoussoukro IV Accord. They agreed that there should be a single Liberian National Transitional Government which would have three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The Agreement also provided for general and presidential elections to take place within seven months from the signing of the Agreement and set out the modalities for the elections to be supervised by a reconstituted Electoral Commission.

On humanitarian issues, the parties agreed that every effort should be made to deliver humanitarian assistance throughout Liberia using the most direct routes and under inspection to ensure compliance with the embargo provisions of the Agreement. The United Nations, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was requested to facilitate the speedy return of refugees and their reintegration into their communities.

On 10 August, the Security Council, by resolution 856 (1993), authorized the Secretary-General to dispatch an advance team of 30 United Nations military observers to Liberia.

Establishment of UNOMIL, Relationship with ECOMOG, UNOMIL components,
Developments during first months, Inter-agency appeal

The Security Council established UNOMIL on 22 September 1993 by resolution 866 (1993), for an initial period of seven months, to work with ECOMOG in the implementation of the Cotonou Peace Agreement. UNOMIL was the first United Nations peacekeeping mission undertaken in cooperation with a peacekeeping operation already set up by another organization. The Mission was set up under the command of the United Nations, vested in the Secretary-General under the authority of the Security Council and led in the field by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. It was to be composed of military and civilian components. Command of the military component was entrusted to the Chief Military Observer (CMO) reporting to the Secretary-General through the Special Representative.

Relationship with ECOMOG

On 9 September 1993, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that the cooperation of ECOMOG would be critical to UNOMIL's success. He warned that failure by ECOMOG to deploy additional troops or their premature withdrawal would gravely jeopardize the peace process. "In such an event," he declared, "I shall immediately bring the situation to the attention of the Security Council; depending on the prevalent circumstances, I might be obliged to recommend the withdrawal of UNOMIL." He announced his intention to conclude with ECOWAS a formal agreement defining the relationship between UNOMIL and ECOMOG, which was concluded in November 1993.

Although financing ECOMOG troops was not the responsibility of the United Nations, it was proposed to establish a trust fund, under the auspices of the United Nations, to enable African countries to send reinforcements to ECOMOG, to provide necessary assistance to countries already participating in ECOMOG, and for humanitarian assistance, elections and demobilization. With the endorsement of the Security Council, the Secretary-General took steps to set up the fund.

UNOMIL Components

The military component of UNOMIL was to monitor and verify compliance with the ceasefire, the embargo on delivery of arms and military equipment, as well as the cantonment, disarmament and demobilization of combatants. The Secretary-General estimated that 303 military observers would be required, including 41 teams composed of 6 observers per team for investigation, airports, seaports, border crossings and cantonment sites, 25 observers stationed at UNOMIL headquarters and 8 observers at each of four regional headquarters. In addition, a military medical unit of some 20 staff and a communications unit of about 25 civilian staff would be required.

The civilian component was to include political, humanitarian, and electoral personnel. The electoral assistance element would observe and verify the entire election process, from the registration of voters until the voting itself. The work would be carried out by 13 international staff, 40 United Nations Volunteers and necessary support staff. Organizing and holding elections would be the responsibility of the transitional government, through the Liberian Elections Commission consisting of representatives of the three Liberian parties. The elections were originally scheduled for February/March 1994.

Developments During First Months

Following the adoption of Security Council resolution 856 (1993) on 10 August 1993, the advance party of military observers began arriving in Liberia. The Chief Military Observer arrived in the country on 10 October 1993 and by mid-December there were 166 UNOMIL military observers.

The first meeting of the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee was chaired by the United Nations on 13 August. The Committee was to monitor, investigate and report all ceasefire violations between the period when the ceasefire came into force on 1 August 1993 and the arrival of the additional ECOMOG troops and the full contingent of UNOMIL. In addition to regular patrolling and ceasefire monitoring through the Joint Committee, UNOMIL military observers conducted reconnaissance missions in cooperation with ECOMOG in many areas of the country in preparation for their deployment to these areas and in preparation for disarmament and demobilization.

The five members of the Council of State were selected on 17 August 1993, following consultations among the Liberian parties. The swearing in of the Council, however, did not take place as it was awaiting the beginning of disarmament, the start of which, in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, was dependent on the expansion of ECOMOG and the provision by the parties of necessary information on the number and location of their combatants, weapons and mines.

The Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo of Benin, arranged for consultations among the parties at a meeting in Cotonou from 3 to 5 November 1993. At that meeting, the parties agreed on the distribution of 13 of a total of 17 cabinet posts. The distribution of the remaining 4 ministerial portfolios, as well as other issues related to the installation of the transitional government, would await further talks. The parties also reached agreement on the composition of the Elections Commission, on the Speaker of the Legislature and the members of the Supreme Court.

On 13 December, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that planning and preparation for disarmament and demobilization, undertaken by UNOMIL in consultation with the Liberian parties, ECOMOG, United Nations specialized agencies and NGOs, were well under way. The commencement of actual disarmament, linked to the expansion of ECOMOG, was delayed. The Secretary-General hoped that the additional ECOMOG troops would soon be deployed to Liberia, thus enabling the disarmament and demobilization to start immediately.

The Secretary-General noted that the timetable called for disarmament to begin within 30 days of signature of the Agreement, concomitant with the establishment of the transitional government. From the beginning of the peace process, all parties had been aware that the timetable was "highly ambitious, especially given the complexities in establishing the joint UNOMIL/ECOMOG peacekeeping mission, including the deployment of additional ECOMOG troops".

Inter-Agency Appeal

On 16 December 1993, the United Nations launched a Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for $284 million for emergency humanitarian assistance to Liberia covering a broad spectrum of activities to facilitate Liberia's transition from a war-torn nation to a peaceful and democratic State. United Nations agencies had identified priority needs, amounting to $96.41 million through the first quarter of 1994. The total appeal for $284 million was for 13 months, through December 1994. Later, following renewed hostilities, this figure was revised down to $168.4 million, to reflect limits on implementation of rehabilitation activities.

Establishment of UNOMIL, Difficulties remain, Transitional government installed, Deployment continues, Continued fighting, Fact-finding mission

Difficulties Remain

In December 1993, the Liberian parties resumed their talks on the composition of the transitional government. After two weeks of intense negotiations, however, they failed to reach agreement on the disposition of the four remaining ministerial portfolios of defence, foreign affairs, justice and finance. They were also unable to agree on the date for the seating of the transitional government and for the beginning of encampment, disarmament and demobilization of combatants.

UNOMIL attained its total authorized strength in early January 1994 and began deployment of its military observers throughout Liberia. As to the expansion of ECOMOG, battalions from the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda arrived in Monrovia on 8 January and 28 January 1994 respectively and started preparations for deployment to the northern and eastern regions of the country.

Following arrival of the additional battalions, consultations with ECOMOG and the parties on the date for disarmament intensified. Ten encampment sites were identified, two for AFL, four for NPFL and four for ULIMO. The parties agreed that the disarmament of their forces would commence simultaneously and was likely to continue over a two-to-three-month period. At the same time, UNOMIL developed a plan for the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian society, covering the continuum from military disarmament to reintegration into civilian society and involving the coordination of activities to be implemented by United Nations agencies and NGOs.

Transitional Government Installed

Meeting in Monrovia on 15 February 1994, the Liberian parties reached agreement on most of the outstanding issues impeding the commencement of disarmament and the installation of the transitional government. They then set 7 March 1994 as the date for commencement of disarmament and the installation of the transitional government. Free and fair elections would be held on 7 September 1994. The question of the disposition of the four remaining cabinet posts was not resolved. The Security Council welcomed the agreement but warned that the support of the international community would not continue in the absence of tangible progress towards full and prompt implementation of the Agreement, in particular, the revised timetable.

On 7 March 1994, the Council of State of the Transitional Government was installed in Monrovia. Three demobilization centres, one for each of the warring parties, were opened on the same day. On 11 March, the Transitional Legislative Assembly was inducted into office, with ULIMO being given the responsibility for naming the Speaker of the Assembly. The Supreme Court of Liberia opened for the 1994 term on 14 March.

Deployment Continues

Meanwhile, UNOMIL proceeded with deployment throughout the country. By April 1994, the Mission had deployed its military observers in 27 team sites out of a total of 39 projected sites. Four regional headquarters were established at Monrovia (central region), Tubmanburg (western region), Gbarnga (northern region) and Tapeta (eastern region). The military observers were engaged in the patrolling of border crossings and other entry points, observation and verification of disarmament and demobilization and the investigation of ceasefire violations.

ECOMOG deployed into the western (Tubmanburg) and northern (Gbarnga) regions. Deployment of both UNOMIL and ECOMOG in Upper Lofa was impeded by insecurity in the area. Likewise, deployment in the south-east was curtailed by the activities of the Liberian Peace Council (LPC), which emerged in the south-eastern part of Liberia after the Cotonou Agreement was signed in July 1993. UNOMIL and ECOMOG were engaged in consultations with ULIMO and with NPFL and LPC in order to reach agreement on further deployment in the western and south-eastern regions. It was reported that the total number of combatants of all factions was approximately 60,000 soldiers. In the first month of disarmament, more than 2,000 combatants, from all parties, were disarmed and demobilized.

Following the deployment of UNOMIL and ECOMOG, the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee was replaced by a Violations Committee, as foreseen in the Cotonou Agreement. The Violations Committee was chaired by the UNOMIL CMO.

Meeting on 21 April 1994, the Security Council was informed by the representative of Liberia that the Ministers of Defence, Finance and Justice had been designated on 19 April 1994 and that the appointment of the Minister for Foreign Affairs would follow. The Council extended the mandate of UNOMIL until 22 October 1994, on the understanding that it would review by 18 May 1994 the situation in Liberia and UNOMIL's role there. That review would be based on whether the transitional government had been fully installed, and whether there had been substantial progress in implementing the peace process.

The Security Council called on the Liberian parties to give urgent priority to the complete installation, by 18 May 1994, of the transitional government, especially the seating of the full Cabinet and the Transitional National Assembly, so that a unified civil administration of the country could be established and appropriate arrangements completed for national elections to be held on 7 September.

Continued Fighting

On 20 April 1994, the Council of State of the Liberian Transitional Government was fully installed, and the Ministers for Justice, Defence and Finance were confirmed by the Transitional Legislative Assembly, with the newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs scheduled to be formally inducted on 19 May.

At the same time, a dispute arose within the leadership of ULIMO, along ethnic lines, between Chairman Alhaji Kromah (Mandingo) and General Roosevelt Johnson (Krahn) over ULIMO nominees to the Council of State. The dispute resulted in an outbreak of fighting in the western region among the ULIMO forces. Fighting also erupted in the eastern part of Liberia between NPFL and LPC. The transitional government, UNOMIL and ECOMOG undertook efforts to bring about a ceasefire between the two groups and to bring LPC into the disarmament and demobilization process.

The continuing fighting within and between the parties constituted one of the most serious obstacles in the way of the peace process. Mediation efforts to resolve the dispute within ULIMO resulted on 6 May in a ceasefire and an agreement for further negotiations. However, the negotiations collapsed and serious fighting resumed on 26 May. In the eastern part of Liberia, attacks by LPC against NPFL also continued. All attempts to negotiate the end of hostilities were unsuccessful.

Moreover, the parties' mistrust for one another extended, in the case of some of them, to ECOMOG. Soldiers of the Nigerian and Ugandan contingents were abducted and held for varying lengths of time by elements of ULIMO and LPC, both of which claimed that ECOMOG had lost its impartiality and was involved in the conflict. NPFL also asserted complicity between some elements of ECOMOG and AFL in supplying material and logistical support to LPC. All these assertions added difficulties to ECOMOG's ability to carry out its peacekeeping responsibilities.

As a result of mistrust and hostilities between and within some factions, and despite the efforts of ECOMOG and UNOMIL, the parties refused to engage actively in the disarmament of their combatants or to give up control of territory. Three months after the start of demobilization, a total of only 3,192 combatants had been demobilized. Insecurity in some areas of the country also impeded full deployment of ECOMOG and UNOMIL.

The Secretary-General reiterated to the Security Council on 24 June his belief that UNOMIL's efforts were critical to the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement and to assisting the transitional government and the Liberian people to achieve national reconciliation. It was imperative that all the Liberian parties extend greater cooperation to ECOMOG and UNOMIL and that the transitional government bring all the parties together to agree on specific steps to ensure that the elections were held on schedule. Should the parties fail to maintain their commitment to the peace process, the Secretary-General warned, he would have no alternative but to recommend to the Security Council that the involvement of the United Nations in Liberia be reconsidered. On 13 July, the Council called on the transitional government, in cooperation with ECOWAS and OAU with the support of UNOMIL, to convene a meeting of the Liberian factions not later than 31 July in order to agree on a realistic plan for resumption of disarmament and to set a target date for its completion.

Fact-finding Mission Dispatched

The transitional government did not meet the deadline. During July and August 1994, the situation in Liberia seriously deteriorated, and the Council of State remained ineffective. Fighting continued between the Krahn and Mandingo elements of ULIMO in the west of the country, and between LPC and NPFL in the south-east. There were also signs of a split within the NPFL hierarchy. All factions were experiencing command and control problems, resulting in an increase in banditry and harassment of civilians, including NGOs and unarmed United Nations military observers. Disarmament virtually ceased, and there was no clear prospect as to when elections would or could be held. Population displacement from the counties in the south-east and west continued to grow with every new wave of fighting and with each report of atrocities against civilians. ECOMOG was still not fully deployed and UNOMIL withdrew from the western region due to lack of security.

On 26 August, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that he had decided to dispatch to Liberia a fact-finding mission to review the situation in the country and advise him on the most appropriate course of action. On the basis of the mission's report, the Secretary-General would submit to the Council his recommendations with regard to the future United Nations role in Liberia. The mission was headed by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, and visited the area from 16 to 26 August.

Akosombo Agreement, Liberia in a "Desperate State", Humanitarian crisis, Accra Agreement

Akosombo Agreement

On 7 September 1994, the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, convened a meeting of the leaders of the warring factions at Akosombo, Ghana. The meeting was attended by NPFL, both wings of ULIMO and AFL. LPC and the Lofa Defence Force (LDF) -- the second faction which emerged in Liberia after the signing of the Cotonou Agreement -- declined to attend the meeting. Representatives of the United Nations and OAU were present as facilitators. The meeting culminated in the signing, on 12 September, of a supplementary agreement to the Cotonou Agreement, which reaffirmed the Cotonou Agreement as the only framework for peace in Liberia. It also sought to give the transitional government a more central role in the supervision and monitoring of the implementation of that Agreement. The factions would be permitted to review the status of their appointees to the Council of State, and participation in the Transitional Legislative Assembly would be broadened by adding 13 representatives from the various counties.

The Akosombo Agreement called for an immediate ceasefire and provided more details concerning its implementation, the disengagement of forces and the responsibilities of the factions with regard to assembly and disarmament of combatants. It foresaw elections by October 1995 and specified that if any faction or group refused to desist from acts in violation of the Agreement, the transitional government, in collaboration with ECOMOG, would have the power to use the necessary force to assure compliance. The transitional government would also conclude a status-of-forces agreement with ECOWAS. Soon after its signing, however, the Akosombo Agreement became engulfed in controversy, and there was no movement towards its implementation.

Liberia in a "Desperate State"

Overall, the military situation during September and October remained confused, with alignment and realignment of groups depending on their short-term interests, and the breakdown of command and control within factions. Warlords, without any particular political agenda but with control of a certain number of soldiers, were seeking territory for the sake of adding to their own claim to power. The results were not large military victories, but deaths mostly of civilians, the decimation of entire villages and the breakdown of any semblance of law and order.

The factional fighting resulted in some 200,000 persons being uprooted from their places of temporary or permanent residence. Because of insecurity, international and local relief organizations located in Liberia were unable to deal with the growing tragedy inside the country. Movement of relief supplies became impossible, including across the border from Côte d'Ivoire, leaving thousands without access to assistance. As a result, almost all international humanitarian assistance operations ceased, except at Buchanan and Monrovia.

The continued fighting significantly limited the ability of UNOMIL to perform its functions. Moreover, on a number of occasions, unarmed United Nations military observers were themselves the target of harassment and violence. On 9 September, in what might have been a premeditated action to use the observers as a shield and to secure reliable communications and transportation facilities, NPFL elements detained 43 UNOMIL observers and 6 NGO personnel at nine sites in the northern and eastern regions and confiscated their transport, communications and most other equipment. UNOMIL immediately undertook round-the-clock contacts with faction representatives, NPFL interlocutors, neighbouring countries and ECOMOG in order to secure the release of those detained. On 14 September, 33 observers were released and found their way to relative safety.

Given the breakdown in the ceasefire and the inability of ECOMOG to provide security for UNOMIL observers, UNOMIL was unable to carry out many of its mandated activities. All UNOMIL team sites were evacuated except for those in the Monrovia area. As of 12 October, the strength of UNOMIL military personnel was reduced to approximately 90 observers from the authorized strength of 368. This temporary reduction was matched by a commensurate reduction in the civilian staff of UNOMIL.

The Secretary-General told the Security Council on 14 October 1994 that the political, military and humanitarian developments of the preceding month had left Liberia in a desperate state. The transitional government, the factions and the people of Liberia needed to focus on political accommodation to stop the country from sliding deeper into chaos. The Secretary-General decided to dispatch a high-level mission to consult the ECOWAS countries on how best the international community could continue to assist Liberia in bringing about a cessation of hostilities. In order to allow the high-level mission time to conduct its work and present its conclusions, he recommended that the Council extend the mandate of UNOMIL for a period of two months.

On 21 October, the Security Council, by its resolution 950 (1994), extended the mandate of UNOMIL until 13 January 1995.

Humanitarian Crisis

By June 1994, approximately 1.1 million people were receiving humanitarian assistance, of an estimated 1.5 million in need. Approximately 400,000 people were inaccessible because of factional fighting. Of the total number of beneficiaries, 800,000 were registered as displaced, of whom 150,000 had been displaced within the preceding six months. Since the beginning of 1994, 70 per cent of the estimated food needs had been mobilized by the international relief community. Organized voluntary repatriation of the 700,000 Liberian refugees had been adversely affected by the slow pace in the peace process. However, UNHCR continued to facilitate spontaneous repatriation, with an average of 1,000 persons returning every month from Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance grew to an estimated 1.8 million by August, with assistance and rehabilitation activities limited to the areas immediately in and around Monrovia and Buchanan. By 12 November 1994, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia was reporting that the crisis had affected more than 700,000 innocent civilians in rural Liberia and 1.2 million residents and displaced persons in Monrovia, its environs and the rest of Montserrado country. He noted that continued fighting severely restricted most relief activities, and that the plight of those suffering in rural Liberia could not be significantly eased until minimum conditions of security existed that would permit an orderly resumption of emergency food deliveries.

At the end of November 1994, donors had provided approximately 49 per cent of the $168.4 million in prioritized needs requested in the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal, covering the period from November 1993 to December 1994.

Mission to ECOWAS Member States

In its resolution 950 (1994), the Security Council welcomed the Secretary-General's proposal to send a high-level mission to discuss the deteriorating situation in Liberia with ECOWAS member States. The mission was led by Mr. Lansana Kouyaté, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and visited Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Consultations were held with the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Rawlings of Ghana, President Lansana Conté of Guinea, Chairman Valentine Strasser of Sierra Leone, President Konan Bédié of Côte d'Ivoire, and the ECOWAS Committee of Nine, which coordinates ECOWAS activities on Liberia and is composed of the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Discussions were also held with Liberia's Council of State, including its Chairman, Mr. David Kpomakpor, diplomatic missions, United Nations organizations and NGOs, as well as with the Liberian faction leaders, who were meeting in Accra at the invitation of President Rawlings.

The mission submitted the following recommendations for ending the conflict in Liberia:

(a) the Liberian political and factions leaders must be brought to understand that, in the absence of political accommodation and reconciliation, continued support from the international community would not be forthcoming;

(b) ECOWAS member States, particularly the six directly involved with Liberia, should urgently organize an extraordinary meeting of Heads of State to resolve their differences and harmonize their policies on Liberia;

(c) if the above could be accomplished, ECOWAS should be encouraged to consider strengthening ECOMOG and restructuring it in order to achieve a better balance of troops, including contributions from other African countries;

(d) international support, including financial support, logistics and equipment, should be sought to enable ECOMOG to carry out its mandate, particularly with respect to deployment, encampment and disarmament;

(e) the future of UNOMIL should depend on the successful implementation of the above steps. Meanwhile, UNOMIL's mandate should be extended for a limited period of three months from 13 January 1995.

Accra Agreement

Having returned to Accra, on 21 December, the parties signed there two agreements, known collectively as the Accra Agreement. One clarified the Akosombo Agreement, which had been signed by NPFL, Alhaji Kromah's wing of ULIMO and AFL. The other enabled the non-signatories to the Akosombo Agreement -- ULIMO-Johnson, LPC, LDF, the Central Revolutionary Council (CRC-NPFL) and the Liberian National Conference (LNC) -- to accept that Agreement. [CRC-NPFL was a breakaway faction of NPFL.]

The Accra Agreement stipulated that a ceasefire would come into effect by midnight on 28 December 1994. A new, five-member Council of State would be installed within 14 days thereafter, composed of one member chosen by each of NPFL, ULIMO, AFL/Coalition and LNC and Mr. Tamba Taylor, a traditional chief chosen by NPFL and ULIMO. Elections would be held on 14 November 1995 and a new Government installed on 1 January 1996.

In the meantime, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that Mr. Trevor Gordon-Somers would shortly be completing his assignment as Special Representative for Liberia. It was the Secretary-General's intention to appoint Mr. Anthony B. Nyakyi, former Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, to succeed Mr. Gordon-Somers. Mr. Nyakyi took up his duties in Monrovia on 28 December 1994.

The ceasefire came into effect as stipulated in the Accra Agreement. However, the military situation remained highly charged and unstable. Hostilities had spread to over 80 per cent of the country and the fighting had caused massive population displacement. Because of insecurity and serious logistical difficulties, ECOMOG had been deployed in less than 15 per cent of the country. Its absence from major points along the borders was a factor in the continuous breach of the arms embargo.

Political stalemate continues, Humanitarian situation,
summit, Fighting continues, UNOMIL's mandate extended

Political Stalemate Continues

The Security Council extended the mandate of UNOMIL until 13 April by its resolution 972 (1995) of 13 January. In accordance with the timetable set out in the Accra agreement, the Liberian parties were to have nominated a new five-member Council of State by 11 January 1995. However, when they met in Accra under the auspices of ECOWAS on 9 January, they were unable to reach agreement on the composition and chairmanship of the Council. The main bottleneck was the inability of AFL and Coalition forces (ULIMO-J, LDF, LPC and CRC-NPFL) to reach agreement on their joint nominee. Nominees from the other parties included Mr. Charles Taylor, President of NPFL; Mr. Alhaji Kromah, Chairman of ULIMO-K; and Mr. Oscar Quiah, representative of LNC.

Technical Team

By resolution 972 (1995), the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to report on the role of UNOMIL and of ECOMOG in Liberia and the resource requirements of ECOWAS States to maintain their troops in ECOMOG. The Secretary-General dispatched a small technical team to Monrovia, which held detailed consultations from 6 to 10 February 1995.

ECOMOG informed the technical team that its strength was about 8,430 troops, organized in 10 self-contained infantry battalions. The Government of Nigeria contributed the bulk of the force (4,908), while troops were also provided by the Governments of Ghana (1,028), Guinea (609), the United Republic of Tanzania (747), Uganda (760) and Sierra Leone (359). Smaller contingents were also provided by Gambia (10) and Mali (10).

The main military functions of ECOMOG, in accordance with the Cotonou and Accra agreements, were the protection of civilians in safe havens; establishment and provision of security for assembly sites, where the combatants would initially congregate pending disarmament; establishment and provision of security for encampment sites where ECOMOG would disarm combatants and carry out other activities related to demobilization; assistance in the enforcement of the arms embargo through the establishment of border crossing points and patrols; and maintenance of general security throughout the country.

Humanitarian Situation

In the absence of credible security guarantees, relief activities continued to be limited to greater Monrovia and Buchanan town, and to those areas of Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado counties that were controlled by ECOMOG. The humanitarian crisis in Monrovia itself was of particular concern and continued to be aggravated by a steady flow of internally displaced persons seeking refuge, and a small number of combatants wishing to demobilize.

On 3 February, the Secretary-General launched an inter-agency consolidated appeal for Liberia, for the six-month period January to June 1995, seeking the $65 million in extrabudgetary resources required by United Nations agencies to continue to carry out life-saving interventions in a number of key emergency sectors.


On 24 February 1995, the Secretary-General advised the Security Council that, because of the security situation, the 78 military observers and seven paramedical staff serving with UNOMIL were deployed only in the greater Monrovia area, including Buchanan and Kakata. Two months after the signing of the Accra Agreement, the Liberian factions and political leaders were still haggling over the composition and chairmanship of the Council of State and had yet to show that they were genuinely committed to the fulfilment of their obligations under the Agreement. Moreover, their inability to re-establish a ceasefire verification committee threatened the already fragile ceasefire.

In its resolution 972 (l995), the Security Council expressed the hope that the member States of ECOWAS would convene a summit with a view to harmonizing their policies on Liberia, including tightening the application of the arms embargo. Meeting in Copenhagen on 11 March 1995, the Secretary-General and President Rawlings agreed that the summit should take place as soon as possible and should bring together the heads of State of the ECOWAS Committee of Nine and also involve the leaders of the Liberian parties.

On 13 April, the Security Council, by its resolution 985 (1995) decided to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 30 June 1995 and urged all Liberian parties to implement the Akosombo and Accra Agreements. The Council urged all States, and in particular all neighbouring States, to comply fully with the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia imposed by resolution 788 (1992), and to that end decided to establish a Committee of the Security Council, consisting of all the members of the Council, to monitor and help improve the embargo's effectiveness, and to recommend measures in response to violations.

In the meantime, the Third Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS Committee of Nine on Liberia was held at Abuja from 17 to 20 May 1995. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the United Nations, OAU and the United States. The following Liberian parties sent their delegations: AFL, LNC, LPC, NPFL, CRC-NPFL, ULIMO-K, and ULIMO-J. Mr. Kpomakpor, the Chairman of the Council of State, also participated in the meeting. Delegations of all the Liberian factions except NPFL were headed by their respective leaders.

Despite four days of discussions and the emergence of a substantial measure of agreement on nearly all the outstanding issues, the Liberian parties were unable to reach a final agreement on the composition of the Council of State.

Fighting Continues

In the meantime, fighting in Liberia continued between ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties; between NPFL and ULIMO-K in Lofa county; between NPFL and ULIMO-J in Bong and Margibi counties; and between NPFL and LPC in Grand Bassa and Maryland counties. Several towns changed hands, and there were reports of human rights abuses as combatants moved into or out of a particular area. All this resulted in a continued influx of displaced persons into the ECOMOG-controlled areas of Buchanan and Kakata. Contending factions continued to block access routes into inhabited areas, resulting in the disruption of the delivery of relief supplies and unnecessary suffering of civilians. Because of the unstable security situation, ECOMOG's deployment remained restricted to the central region and to some areas of the western region. United Nations military observers were co-deployed with ECOMOG in Buchanan, Kakata and Monrovia.

Although the humanitarian situation continued to remain critical, there was some expansion of humanitarian assistance activities in Bomi and Cape Mount counties. By June 1995, the United Nations consolidated inter-agency appeal for Liberia had received $49 million of the total $65 million requested, most of it in support of food aid needs.

UNOMIL's Mandate Further Extended

On 10 June 1995, the Secretary-General recommended to the Security Council the extension of UNOMIL's mandate for a period of three months. He called on the Liberian faction leaders to do all they could to "give peace a chance, to save innocent civilians from death and suffering, and to avoid the continuing destruction of Liberia as a result of their inability to settle their differences". By its resolution 1001 (1995) of 30 June, the Security Council extended UNOMIL's mandate until 15 September 1995 and declared that unless serious and substantial progress was made towards a peaceful settlement, the Mission's mandate would not be renewed.

Abuja Agreement, New UNOMILís mandate and concept of operations,
Humanitarian aspects

Abuja Agreement

Following the adoption of resolution 1001 (1995), diplomatic efforts aimed at moving the peace process forward intensified. In July, the Liberian parties held a series of meetings in Monrovia.

Meeting on 28 and 29 July at Accra, the ECOWAS Heads of State adopted a resolution stating that the withdrawal of UNOMIL would compromise the efforts made by ECOMOG and affect the situation in the subregion. They called on the Security Council to review its decision to withdraw UNOMIL from Liberia if the peace process had not progressed significantly. The Chairman of ECOWAS then convened a meeting of the Liberian factions at Abuja from 16 to 19 August. The leaders of all the parties, as well as Chief Tamba Taylor, representing the traditional chiefs, attended the meeting. Representatives of the Nigerian Government, the Eminent Person of OAU for Liberia and the Secretary-General's Special Representative were also present as facilitators.

After four days of intensive discussions, the Abuja talks culminated on 19 August 1995 in the signing by the Liberian parties of an agreement, amending and supplementing the Cotonou and Akosombo accords, as subsequently clarified by the Accra agreements. In accordance with provisions of the Abuja Agreement, a comprehensive ceasefire was established on 26 August at midnight and a new six-member Council was installed on 1 September, one day ahead of schedule. The Council comprised Mr. Wilton Sankawolo as its Chairman; Dr. George Boley, representing the coalition of LPC, CRC-NPFL and LDF; Mr. Alhaji Kromah of ULIMO; Mr. Oscar Quiah of LNC; Chief Tamba Taylor; and Mr. Charles Taylor of NPFL. AFL was given the defence portfolio, while General Roosevelt Johnson's wing of ULIMO (ULIMO-J) was given a number of ministerial posts. The new Council of State would remain in power for one year, until the holding of elections on 20 August 1996. The Agreement also included a schedule of implementation and a formula for the distribution of government posts.

Implementation of the Agreement

An ECOWAS delegation visited Liberia from 25 to 27 August to assess the situation on the ground and confirmed that the factions had sent instructions to their forces to lay down arms and observe the ceasefire. In the meantime, UNOMIL and ECOMOG began active preparations for the implementation of the Agreement. The Ceasefire Violations Committee, chaired by UNOMIL and consisting of ECOMOG and representatives of the transitional government and the factions, met in the beginning of September to review with the factions plans for monitoring the ceasefire and the implementation of the other provisions of the Agreement, including disarmament and demobilization. A Disarmament Committee, chaired by ECOMOG and comprising UNOMIL, the transitional government and representatives of the armed factions, with the participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was established to draw up plans for the disengagement of forces, disarmament and the exchange of prisoners of war. The international community was urgently requested to provide support for ECOMOG as well as for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants.

The humanitarian situation in several parts of Liberia also improved. Negotiations between UNOMIL, ECOMOG and a number of factions resulted in the opening of critical roads from Kakata to Gbarnga and from Kakata to Bong Mines. This allowed United Nations agencies and NGOs to begin delivering aid to previously cut-off locations in central and northern Liberia. In addition to increasing their activities in new areas, relief agencies continued to provide relatively unimpeded assistance to needy populations in ECOMOG-controlled areas. However, logistical constraints and the absence of credible security guarantees for other parts of Liberia continued to prevent sustained humanitarian activity in much of the country, including Lofa county and south-west Liberia.

The Secretary-General observed to the Security Council on 13 September 1995 that "... the prospects for peace in Liberia are perhaps better now than they have been at any time since the outbreak of the civil war". He emphasized, however, that ultimately it was the Liberian leaders who were primarily responsible for the restoration of peace in their country. He recommended that the Council consider extending the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 January 1996 and identified several elements which, in his view, were crucial for the success of the peace process in Liberia. Among them, he pointed to the need for international assistance in re-building the country's economy and infrastructure and strengthening governmental institutions. Another important factor was the disarmament and demobilization of Liberia's estimated 50,000 to 60,000 combatants, of whom as many as 25 per cent were children, and their effective reintegration into civilian life. The country's national police force did not have the capacity to maintain law and order and, therefore, technical and logistic assistance should be provided in that area.

There was also an urgent need to provide ECOMOG with adequate financial and logistic resources to enable it to carry out its responsibilities in Liberia effectively. The Secretary-General intended to dispatch a mission to Liberia in order to assess the requirements involved in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement. He also informed the Council of his intention to deploy 42 additional military observers to UNOMIL, in order for the Mission to carry out its responsibilities in monitoring the ceasefire and the disengagement of forces. At the same time, UNOMIL would continue to work with ECOMOG on the adoption of a new joint concept of operations. The Security Council welcomed the steps to resolve the conflict in Liberia peacefully and extended the mandate of UNOMIL as recommended by the Secretary-General.

New UNOMILís Mandate and Concept of Operations

A United Nations technical team visited Liberia from 19 to 30 September to consult with the Liberian leaders and other interested parties on the requirements for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement. The team subsequently travelled to Accra for consultations with ECOWAS on 2 October. On 23 October, the Secretary-General submitted his recommendations to the Security Council on a new mandate and concept of operations for UNOMIL, based on the findings of the mission and the lessons learned since the Mission had been established in September 1993.

Under the proposed adjustment of UNOMIL's mandated, the Mission's main functions would be to exercise its good offices to support ECOWAS and the transitional government, monitor compliance with the ceasefire and other military provisions, and verify disarmament and demobilization. UNOMIL would also support humanitarian assistance activities as appropriate; investigate and report to the Secretary-General on violations of human rights; assist local human rights groups in raising voluntary assistance for training and logistic support; observe and verify the election process, in consultation with OAU and ECOWAS, including the legislative and presidential elections, scheduled to take place on 20 August 1996.

The functions of ECOMOG had been defined to include the following tasks: to monitor the borders of Liberia and man the main entry points by land, sea or air in order to ensure that no arms or ammunition were brought into the country; to assemble and disarm combatants of all factions; to establish checkpoints to verify the movement of arms and assist in the return of refugees and internally displaced persons; and to carry out intensive patrols throughout the country to build confidence and create an atmosphere conducive to the holding of free and fair elections. For operational purposes, ECOMOG divided the country into three sectors, each under the control of a brigade. Accordingly, ECOMOG brigade headquarters would be established at Gbarnga, Greenville and Tubmanburg. ECOMOG force headquarters would remain in Monrovia.

ECOMOG strength in October 1995 was 7,269 all ranks. In order to fulfil its new tasks, ECOMOG planned to increase its strength to some 12,000 all ranks and to deploy its forces to nine safe havens (6,600 all ranks), 10 to 13 assembly sites (3,400 all ranks) and at 14 border crossing points (2,000 all ranks). Nigeria had indicated its readiness to provide two additional battalions, and Ghana and Guinea had also indicated their readiness to provide one each. Other ECOWAS countries were in principle prepared to contribute troops, subject to the availability of the required financial and logistical support.

By its resolution 1020 (1995) of 10 November, the Security Council decided to adjust UNOMIL's mandate and concept of operations, as recommended by the Secretary-General. The Council urged the transitional government to act to avoid ceasefire violations and to maintain the momentum of the peace process. The Council also urged all Member States to contribute to United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia, and to provide logistical and other assistance to ECOMOG.

Humanitarian Aspects

As of October 1995, some 1.5 million people, out of a total population of approximately 2.3 million, continued to require humanitarian assistance, including some 700,000 displaced persons. In addition, UNHCR estimated that 727,000 Liberian refugees had sought asylum in neighbouring countries: 367,300 in Côte d'Ivoire, 395,000 in Guinea, 14,000 in Ghana, 4,600 in Sierra Leone and 4,000 in Nigeria. Following improvement in the political and security situation, new requirements for humanitarian assistance included extending relief aid to civilians in previously inaccessible areas, providing for the repatriation of refugees and resettlement of internally displaced persons, and addressing the humanitarian aspects of the demobilization of former combatants and their integration into civilian life.

To expand and strengthen the coordination mechanisms, the Secretary-General appointed, in November 1995, a United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator. Serving under the overall authority of the Special Representative, the Humanitarian Coordinator would support and coordinate the efforts of the operational agencies of the United Nations such as UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP, while mobilizing increased participation by FAO, UNDP and WHO in relief and resettlement activities and in the provision of assistance to demobilizing soldiers. Other United Nations agencies, such as the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the United Nations Volunteers, would contribute in areas related to their mandates. The Humanitarian Coordinator would also support the efforts of the wider humanitarian community, including non-governmental, international and multilateral organizations. In order to support the Humanitarian Coordinator in carrying out these functions, a Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office (HACO) was established. The Office consisted of two units: a Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit and a Demobilization and Reintegration Unit.

A turn for the worse, UNOMIL's mandate renewed, Ceasefire restored,
Disarmament and demobilization process, Humanitarian and human rights aspects

A Turn for the Worse

By the end of 1995, following some initial progress in the implementation of the peace agreements and improvement in the security and humanitarian conditions in the country, the situation in Liberia began to take another turn for the worse. The implementation of the Abuja Agreement was behind schedule. The critical aspects of the Agreement, disarmament and demobilization, did not begin at the time foreseen. There were serious violations of the ceasefire. These violations included intermittent fighting between Alhaji Kromah's forces (ULIMO-K) and Roosevelt Johnson's forces (ULIMO-J). Fighting also occurred between LPC and NPFL and between NPFL and ULIMO-K. There were also delays in deploying ECOMOG personnel and equipment throughout the country. At the end of December 1995, heavy fighting broke out at Tubmanburg as a result of attacks on ECOMOG by ULIMO-J troops. Casualties were suffered by the combatants and by the civilian population.

In this volatile atmosphere, following confrontations between rival groups within ULIMO-J, the transitional government, on 23 March, issued a warrant for the arrest of General Roosevelt Johnson, accusing him of murder. On 6 April, the Rapid Reaction Unit of the national police, backed up by the forces of NPFL and ULIMO-K, attempted to arrest him forcibly. They were attacked by General Johnson's forces, supported by fighters from AFL.

The fighting was accompanied by the complete breakdown of law and order in Monrovia. Fighters from all factions systematically looted the commercial district as well as United Nations offices and warehouses. Houses were broken into, buildings were set on fire and vehicles were commandeered.

Civilians were caught in the crossfire. More than half of Monrovia's 1.3 million citizens were displaced, with many thousands concentrated in several locations in an attempt to escape the fighting. Thousands of others sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

UNOMIL and the United Nations agencies were forced to relocate all non-essential personnel to neighbouring countries or to repatriate them. Eighty-eight of UNOMIL's 93 military observers were relocated to Freetown and Dakar, with the assistance of the United States Government. Subsequently, most of these observers were repatriated. However, the Special Representative and five military observers, among them the Chief Military Observer, and essential civilian staff remained in Monrovia to support the political efforts aimed at peacefully resolving the crisis. Ten UNOMIL military observers remained on standby in Freetown.

In accordance with the ceasefire arrangements that went into effect on 19 April, ECOMOG deployed in central Monrovia establishing check-points and undertaking patrols, as fighters started to withdraw from the city. UNOMIL also patrolled the city. In addition, UNOMIL monitored military developments, convened meetings of the Ceasefire Violations Committee and organized security escorts for faction representatives participating in consultations to resolve the crisis.

Fighters continued to move freely, however, and when the ceasefire broke down on 29 April, ECOMOG withdrew to specific locations in sufficient numbers to deter attack from the factions.

UNOMIL's Mandate Renewed

Reporting to the Security Council on 21 May, the Secretary-General observed that in the insecure and unstable conditions that prevailed in Monrovia and throughout Liberia, there was little that UNOMIL could accomplish with respect to implementing its original mandate. At the same time, through the use of its good offices, UNOMIL continued to play an important role in supporting the efforts of ECOWAS to facilitate the resumption of the peace process. The Secretary-General, therefore, recommended that the Council extend the mandate of UNOMIL for three months, until 31 August. During that period, UNOMIL's strength would remain at the level of approximately 25 civilian and military personnel. At the same time, the Secretary-General indicated that following the ECOWAS Summit, he would submit to the Council recommendations on the role, if any, that UNOMIL could play after 31 August. These recommendations would depend on the ECOWAS decisions regarding its own role in Liberia.

The Security Council, in its resolution 1059 (1996), agreed with the Secretary-General's recommendation and called upon the Liberian parties to implement fully and expeditiously all the agreements and commitments they had already entered into, in particular the Abuja Agreement. The Council demanded that the parties restore an effective and comprehensive ceasefire, withdraw all fighters and arms from Monrovia, allow the deployment of ECOMOG, and restore Monrovia as a safe haven.

Ceasefire Restored

The diplomatic initiatives taken by ECOWAS led to the restoration of a ceasefire in Monrovia on 26 May. By the end of May, ECOMOG reported that 70 to 80 per cent of NPFL and ULIMO-K fighters had left the city, although many remained it its outskirts. ULIMO-J and LPC fighters contended that their strongholds in Tubmanburg, Todee, Kakata and Bong Mines, to which they were to withdraw, were insecure. On 11 June, however, a number of these fighters gave up their arms to ECOMOG. Most of them reportedly remained in Monrovia, albeit unarmed, while others moved towards Grand Cape county.

Mandate Further Extended

As the date neared for the renewal of UNOMIL's mandate, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that 5 additional military observers had been redeployed to Monrovia, bringing total strength in Liberia to 10 military observers as at 21 August 1996. The observers on standby in Freetown had been repatriated.

He also reported that UNOMIL had increased the frequency and areas covered by its patrols. By August, regular patrols included Kakata and Buchanan; UNOMIL had gone as far north as Gbarnga. Efforts to reach Tubmanburg had failed, however, owing to continued insecurity and lack of cooperation from the factions. In light of the factions' commitments at the meetings of the ECOWAS Heads of State, the Secretary-General stated his intention to immediately deploy an additional 24 military observers. However, this deployment was delayed as progress lagged in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement.

On 30 August 1996, the Security Council, in its resolution 1071 (1996), extended UNOMIL's mandate until 30 November, as recommended by the Secretary-General. The Council decided to maintain UNOMIL deployment at an appropriate level and requested the Secretary-General to take into account the need to ensure the security of UNOMIL personnel. The Council also requested him to report on proposals for assistance which UNOMIL or other United Nations agencies could provide in support of the Liberian peace process.

Climate of Mistrust

On 3 September 1996, Ms. Perry was inducted into office, becoming the first woman Head of State in Africa. On 10 September, the Council of State met for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities in April. A decision was taken to establish a number of committees to assist in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, including in regard to elections and the restructuring of the joint security, police and other paramilitary structures. A committee of all the signatories to the Agreement was also established to monitor implementation of the peace process.

Despite efforts to establish a cohesive Council of State, the faction leaders on the Council remained deeply mistrustful of one another. The climate worsened on 31 October when, in an apparent assassination attempt on Councilman Charles Taylor, five persons, including a close personal aide to Mr. Taylor, were killed at the Executive Mansion. As a result of the deep divisions which resurfaced within the Council of State following this incident, the Council did not meet again until 16 January 1997. A joint investigation of the incident was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice, UNOMIL and ECOMOG.

Proposals to Support Peace Process

In its resolution 1071 (1996) of 30 August, the Security Council had requested the Secretary-General to submit proposals for assistance which UNOMIL or other United Nations agencies could contribute in support of the Liberian peace process. With this in mind, the Secretary-General dispatched a technical team to Liberia, which was led by his Deputy Military Adviser.

In making his proposals to the Security Council, the Secretary-General estimated that the required strength of UNOMIL's military component, in accordance with the mandate as set out in Security Council resolution 1020 (1995) and ECOMOG's revised concept of operations, would not exceed 92 military observers, or some 68 fewer than authorized under resolution 1020 (1995). These would include monitoring/verification teams at each disarmament/demobilization centre and mobile teams to continue monitoring and observing, in conjunction with ECOMOG, the implementation of the ceasefire, the disengagement of forces, the collection of weapons at areas other than the disarmament and demobilization sites, and compliance by the factions with the other military provisions of the Abuja Agreement, including the arms embargo. Staff at UNOMIL's military headquarters in Monrovia would include the Chief Military Observer and his immediate staff, an operations cell, an ECOMOG liaison cell, a logistic cell and a medical unit.

The Secretary-General also proposed that, after the completion of disarmament and demobilization, UNOMIL's military component would maintain a presence in Liberia to continue monitoring the implementation of the military provisions of the Abuja Agreement. It would thus help to build the confidence necessary for the electoral period. UNOMIL's military component would start drawing down after the elections, scheduled to take place by 30 May 1997.

On 8 November 1996, the Council addressed a letter to the Secretary-General welcoming his proposals. The members of the Council were concerned, however, that conditions in Liberia were not right for their implementation at that time. It was the Council's understanding that the Secretary-General would not deploy the additional personnel and logistic resources unless the factions took the concrete steps required to fulfil their commitments under the revised timetable of the Abuja Agreement.

November Mandate Renewal

On 19 November, as the mandate period drew to a close, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that despite the shooting incident at the Executive Mansion on 31 October 1996, there had been some relatively encouraging developments during the previous three months. ECOMOG had acted quickly and decisively to respond to events. ECOWAS countries had reiterated their determination to increase the force level of ECOMOG, subject to the provision of logistic and financial resources. The code of conduct for the Council of State, adopted by the ECOWAS Committee of Nine at its meeting on 8 and 9 November, had been accepted by all members of the Council. Furthermore, the first assessment meeting had taken place on 16 and 17 October.

As at 15 November, the military strength of UNOMIL stood at 23 observers. The activities of UNOMIL and ECOMOG at that time included preparing for disarmament and undertaking joint patrols in the west, in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties, and in the north in Bong and Nimba counties, in order to monitor the ceasefire and the other military aspects of the Abuja Agreement.

The Secretary-General expected that, in conjunction with the deployment of ECOMOG and the commencement of disarmament, an additional 11 military observers would be deployed to Liberia in the coming weeks, bringing the strength of UNOMIL's military component to 34 observers. The deployment of any additional military observers to Liberia would depend on progress in the peace process, particularly with regard to disarmament and demobilization.

The Secretary-General recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNOMIL for a further period of four months, until 31 March 1997. By its resolution 1083 (1996), the Council agreed with this recommendation and decided to maintain UNOMIL deployment at an appropriate level. The Council called upon the factions to cease hostilities and to implement their commitments, especially the timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, and urged them to complete on time the disarmament process. It condemned in the strongest possible terms the practice of recruiting, training and deploying children for combat. It also emphasized the human rights aspect of UNOMIL's mandate.

Disarmament and Demobilization Process

UNOMIL had undertaken intensive preparations for the disarmament and reintegration process. However, following the outbreak of hostilities on 6 April and the looting which ensued, all resources pre-positioned for this process were lost and all relevant staff were repatriated. Subsequently, as prospects for peace improved, HACO reactivated its Demobilization and Reintegration Unit. The Unit's purpose was to coordinate and manage the provision of food, health services, locally produced shelter, water and basic sanitation for the disarmament/demobilization centres and coordinate bridging activities with local authorities, United Nations agencies and international and local NGOs.

In early September, the Task Force on Demobilization and Reintegration was reactivated. This was a coordinating body chaired by HACO and comprising UNOMIL, United Nations agencies, ECOMOG, the Liberian National Disarmament and Demobilization Commission (the transitional government agency charged with responsibility for coordinating disarmament activities with the factions) and representatives of the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and international and national NGOs. The Task Force revised the previously adopted demobilization and reintegration plans to suit the new schedule of implementation of the Abuja Agreement. It also established two subcommittees to draw up revised plans for child soldiers and resettlement.

In accordance with the revised timetable, disarmament and demobilization were scheduled to commence on 22 November 1996. On 19 November, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that the ECOMOG Force Commander had indicated his intention to deploy ECOMOG troops on 20 November to the following disarmament sites: Voinjama, Bo Waterside, Camp Nama, SOS Village, Zwedru and Tubmanburg. Disarmament would also take place in Monrovia, at Camp Schiefflin, and in Greenville. UNOMIL military observers were to be co-deployed with ECOMOG at the disarmament sites.

The disarmament and demobilization process began as scheduled. According to the two-stage plan developed by HACO and UNOMIL in consultation with ECOMOG, the transitional government and the factions, the combatants were to be disarmed, registered, interviewed and receive some counselling and a medical examination. Thereafter, those with no immediate means of livelihood were to be absorbed into "bridging activities" -- work and training projects to help ensure they were productively engaged -- in order to bridge the gap between disarmament and longer-term reintegration programmes. The ex-combatants were to be provided with food assistance for the duration of the bridging activities and such tools and equipment as deemed appropriate.

Under General Assembly resolution 50/210 of 23 December 1995, the costs of the demobilization programme, including bridging activities, had been included in the assessed budget of UNOMIL. The reintegration programmes, which were being planned by donors, were not expected to be operational until some months after the start of the disarmament process.

Review of Other Humanitarian Aspects

By January 1996, the opening of some highways had permitted the provision of assistance to populations that had been cut off for nearly three years. Relief convoys were generally escorted by unarmed factional representatives. However, relief activities were impeded by poor communications between faction leaders and their fighters in the hinterland. In an effort to ensure the security of relief convoys and personnel, the Special Representative and the Humanitarian Coordinator worked closely with the transitional government in this regard.

Progress by the humanitarian community in reaching inaccessible communities could not be sustained, however, because of increased insecurity. As a result, populations in need could not be reached by relief organizations. Humanitarian workers in all parts of the country were harassed by fighters, their convoys held up and supplies looted. Some non-governmental organizations suspended all but emergency operations during four days in February. Relief convoys to the south-east were suspended, and previously accessible areas, such as Tubmanburg, Bomi County and Grand Cape Mount County also became inaccessible. Lofa County had been virtually inaccessible to the humanitarian community since December 1995, except for the cross-border activities of non-governmental organizations.

The fighting in Monrovia in April and May severely affected the humanitarian situation and humanitarian operations. The Ministry of Health estimated that 3,000 persons had died in the fighting. HACO subsequently confirmed that approximately 50 per cent of the city's population had fled their homes. Of these, 30 per cent moved to shelters in the city, while 17 per cent fled Monrovia, some seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Countries in the subregion, however, were reluctant to accept additional refugees. In Monrovia, overcrowding in safer parts of the city led to a deterioration of sanitary conditions and increased vulnerability of the population to epidemic diseases, including cholera.

Provision of assistance was constrained by continued insecurity, the systematic looting of equipment and the evacuation of the majority of international relief personnel. Despite these conditions, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and other essential staff remained in Monrovia to assess humanitarian needs and arrange the delivery of relief and assistance. WFP, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF and UNHCR also maintained skeleton staffs in Monrovia.

The outbreak of fighting on 6 April also shattered prospects for the imminent repatriation of more than 750,000 Liberian refugees, many of whom had been living in exile for more than six years. Planning for the return had been extensive and included a regional conference held by UNHCR in December 1995, an agreement establishing the national framework for repatriation and reintegration concluded on 3 January between the transitional government and UNHCR, and a $60 million appeal issued by UNHCR for this purpose.

According to the new timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, the repatriation of refugees was scheduled to take place from 22 November 1996 to 31 January 1997. However, in light of the continuing insecurity outside Monrovia, UNHCR could not reactivate its voluntary repatriation plan until there were clear indications that peace and security had been restored on a durable basis in the major areas of return. Continued insecurity also prevented UNHCR from assisting the majority of Sierra Leonean refugees living in rural areas of Liberia, although at year's end UNHCR and its partners continued to extend protection and support to some 30,000 Sierra Leonean refugees in the Monrovia area.

Human Rights Aspects

The conflict in Liberia has been characterized by a tendency on the part of all factions to commit human rights violations against innocent civilians. When UNOMIL was established under resolution 866 (1993), it was mandated to report to the Secretary-General on any major violations of humanitarian law. In its resolution 1020 (1995) of 10 November 1995, the Security Council stressed the importance of respect of human rights in Liberia and, as indicated above, adjusted UNOMIL's mandate to include, among other things, investigating and reporting to the Secretary-General on violations of human rights. UNOMIL was also mandated to assist local human rights groups, as appropriate, in raising voluntary contributions for training and logistic support. A human rights officer was assigned to UNOMIL to assist the Special Representative in carrying out this aspect of the mandate.

Following the adjustment of the mandate, and during the course of 1996, UNOMIL continued its activities relating to the investigation of reports of violence resulting in civilian casualties. These included the incident in late September 1995 in Tapeta, in which several civilians were killed by armed NPFL fighters. With regard to this and other violations committed in areas under factional control, the question of whether the accused were to be held and tried under national or factional jurisdiction remained unresolved.

UNOMIL also investigated reported executions by the LPC High Command of LPC combatants accused of indiscipline and harassment of civilians in Grand Bassa and River Cess counties. In another investigation, UNOMIL confirmed that, on 30 December 1995 in Tubmanburg, ULIMO-J fighters had used civilians as human shields and generally prevented civilians from fleeing the town; in addition, a mortar had landed at the government hospital, killing several civilians and injuring many more.

There were numerous reports of human rights abuses perpetrated by LPC fighters against civilian populations throughout the south-east, including reports of forced labour, robbery, beatings and killings.

The massacre at Sinje on 28 September was a particularly shocking example of the violation of human rights and harassment of innocent civilians. UNOMIL, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, ECOMOG and national human rights groups, investigated the incident. It was determined that the civilians suffered decapitation, castration and blunt object trauma, in addition to gunshot wounds. The Human Rights officer also conducted a parallel inquiry to ascertain the whereabouts of persons who were abducted. The Ceasefire Violations Committee, in its investigation into the ceasefire violation aspects of the massacre, subsequently determined that the massacre appeared to be the work of some ULIMO fighters acting on their own. No evidence of the involvement of the ULIMO High Military Command could be established.

Following the Sinje massacre, UNOMIL also received reports of other violations and massacres in which civilians lost their lives.

Among its other human rights related activities, UNOMIL maintained regular contact with ICRC, the Liberian factions, ECOMOG and the Disarmament Committee to monitor the status of prisoners of war. UNOMIL also monitored the status and condition of civilian detainees, and worked with the Liberian Ministry of Justice, UNDP and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the United Nations Secretariat in Vienna to examine ways in which the international community could strengthen the Liberian justice system. UNOMIL also facilitated discussions on the evacuation of wounded, exchange of prisoners and release of the bodies of soldiers killed in fighting.

UNICEF took the lead in addressing the issue of child soldiers. The Fund reported that all the factions recruited and deployed children for direct combat and related military tasks, often under duress and sometimes through peer pressure or manipulation. At one time, some 15,000 to 20,000 child soldiers were estimated to be under the control of the six major warring factions. UNICEF's programme for war-affected children, implemented through international and local NGOs, included support for the establishment of community centres for vocational and literacy training and the provision of shelters, transit-homes and trauma counselling for children. The programme was progressively re-established following the disruption caused by the 6 April hostilities.

Disarmament process officially concluded;
Preparations for the electoral process; Secretary-Generalís Recommendations,
UNOMILís mandate extended until 30 June 1997

Disarmament Process Officially Concluded

In its resolution 1083 (1996) of 27 November 1996, the Security Council had requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of the situation in Liberia, especially on the progress of demobilization and disarmament. On 29 January 1997, the Secretary-General reported that, during the first week of the process (22-28 November), the factions' fighters had shown remarkable enthusiasm to disarm and had turned out in large numbers. During the second week, the pace had started to slow, later to gather speed once again. As of 26 January 1997, a total of 12,510 fighters had been disarmed and a total of 4,428 serviceable and 1,103 unserviceable weapons surrendered, as well as more than 500,000 pieces of ammunition. In order to lend credibility to the exercise, a fixed food ration, provided by WFP, was given only in exchange for a serviceable weapon or 100 rounds of ammunition.

When the disarmament and demobilization exercise began, UNOMIL and HACO were operating with the curtailed level of resources requested following the aftermath of the April 1996 crisis. Despite these constraints, however, UNOMIL was able to deploy two military observers to each of the designated sites at the Barclay Training Center, Camp Schiefflin, Tubmanburg, Bo Waterside, Kakata, Voinjama, Buchanan, Camp Nama and Zwedru on 22 November. HACO also deployed demobilization teams to all active sites. Additional sites were subsequently designated by the ECOMOG Force Commander at Tapeta, Greenville and Harper. UNOMIL deployed military observers to Tapeta and Greenville on 19 and 27 December respectively, followed by HACO demobilization teams. Military observers and HACO demobilization personnel were subsequently deployed to Harper. By the end of January 1997, UNOMIL's military strength stood at 78 observers. ECOMOG force strength remained at 7,500.

On 31 January, the disarmament and demobilization process was extended for an additional seven days. There had ultimately been 15 disarmament/demobilization sites, where UNOMIL and ECOMOG were co-located. Mobile disarmament teams were also set up to reach fighters in remote areas. During the official disarmament period between 22 November 1996 and 9 February 1997, a total of 20,332 fighters (61.61 per cent of the estimated total of 33,000) were disarmed under UNOMIL supervision, while 21,315 fighters, including 4,306 child fighters under the age of 18 and 250 adult female fighters, were demobilized by HACO. More than 9,570 weapons and 1.2 million pieces of ammunition were also surrendered. Pockets of armed fighters, however, continued to exist in areas that were inaccessible during the official disarmament period

By the end of March 1997, the strength of ECOMOG had been increased to approximately 10,000, deployed throughout the country. The military component of UNOMIL had reached its full authorized strength of one Chief Military Observer and 92 military observers, most of whom were deployed to the 10 disarmament sites of Bo Waterside, Buchanan, Gbarnga, Greenville, Harper, Kakata, Tapeta, Tubmanburg, Voinjama and Zwedru, and at UNOMIL headquarters in Monrovia.

With reintegration of ex-fighter into civilian life constituting the main focus, a number of bridging activities also got under way in early 1997 and by the end of March had gained a satisfactory momentum. The programmes were being carried out by three major actors: the European Union, UNDP and HACO. In addition to UNOMIL's $1.7 million financial commitment authority for this purpose, funds were also provided by the European Union and USAID as well as by United Nations agencies, particularly WFP and UNDP. FAO provided basic agricultural inputs and technical support. The establishment of the bridging programmes was based on the need to keep ex-combatants gainfully occupied while reintegration programmes were being developed and thus contribute to the promotion of an environment conducive to sustained peace and the holding of elections.

Despite these positive developments, the security situation in Liberia remained volatile. Outbreaks of sporadic inter-factional fighting continued, mainly between the two ULIMO factions on the one hand, while LPC continued to harbour deep suspicion against NPFL on the other.

Preparations for the Electoral Process

In late October 1996, the United Nations had received a formal request from the Council of State for assistance in developing a suitable electoral framework for the holding of elections. Following discussions with ECOWAS, a United Nations technical survey team arrived in Monrovia on 8 December 1996 and conducted consultations with a wide range of interested parties. The team focused its attention on what steps would be needed to create a viable and credible framework for free and fair elections by the end of May 1997. It identified three key conditions for success: a fair and credible political framework; an efficient and well-planned electoral operation; and adequate support from the international community. Draft recommendations were then prepared.

On 14 January, the Secretary-General dispatched Mr. Lansana Kouyaté, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, as Special Envoy to the region for consultations on the draft recommendations. It was proposed to the Chairman of ECOWAS, and accepted by him, that a "provisional electoral package" for the forthcoming elections should be enacted at a special meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Nine with the Liberian parties and become an integral part of the Abuja Agreement. The package would not seek to replace or reform the existing Liberian electoral system, nor to change the country's Constitution, but would serve as a provisional mechanism that would permit the installation of a government of national unity and pave the way for a return to constitutional order.

On 10 February 1997, following the formal end of the disarmament and demobilization phase, the Secretary-General wrote to the President of the Security Council transmitting to him a copy of the United Nations recommendations on a framework for the holding of elections in Liberia, prepared at the request of the Council of State following consultations with the Chairman of ECOWAS. Substantially along the lines proposed in the recommendations, agreement was subsequently reached between the Council of State and the ECOWAS Committee of Nine on a basic framework for the holding of elections in Liberia.

In a letter dated 18 February, the Chairman of ECOWAS confirmed his endorsement of the electoral recommendations. The recommendations were as follows:

a) The date of elections as scheduled under the Revised Abuja Peace Plan, set for 30 May 1997, would be strictly adhered to;

b) The elections would be organized and conducted by an independent Elections Commission, which would comprise seven Liberian citizens: three to be appointed by the former warring factions, and four from civil society. The Chairman of the Commission would be appointed from among the seven members after due consultation with ECOWAS. The Commission was to be assisted by a Committee of Technical Advisers, comprising three representatives, one each from ECOWAS, the United Nations and OAU. The Technical Advisers, who would participate in all deliberations of the Commission, would exercise no voting rights. The Elections Commission should meet shortly to formulate an electoral package for the upcoming elections;

c) Disputes would be adjudicated by the Supreme Court, whose members would be appointed in consultation with the Liberian judiciary and the Bar Association for review by ECOWAS;

d) The parliament to be elected would be bicameral, with a House of Assembly of 64 members and a Senate of 26 members, and elections would be conducted on the basis of proportional representation under a single constituency;

e) It was accepted that refugees would not vote in their host countries. In this connection, the ECOWAS Committee of Nine took particular note of the strong objections of Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire to refugees voting within their territories. The Foreign Ministers, however, urged the United Nations and the specialized agencies to assist with the prompt repatriation of refugees who were willing to return to Liberia in time to participate in the registration and voting process.

Secretary-Generalís Recommendations

On 26 February, the Secretary-General despatched an electoral assessment mission to Liberia to assess electoral requirements and make recommendations on the role which UNOMIL could play in the electoral process. In addition to Monrovia, the Mission also travelled to Abuja for discussions with representatives of ECOWAS.

The Mission concluded that conditions in Liberia provided a reasonable basis for the organization and conduct of elections, and that such elections could take place on 30 May 1997, the date to which all actors were firmly committed. In broad terms, this timetable would entail the enactment of the electoral law and regulations by the end of March, the registration of voters in April, and the conduct of the election campaign in May.

With respect to the provision of technical assistance for the electoral process, the Mission noted that overall international technical assistance needs for the elections were estimated by donors at between $10 million and $12 million, excluding the costs of ECOMOG and UNOMIL. On the basis of the commitments made by the principal donors, the Mission concluded that adequate funding was available to carry out the technical aspects of the electoral process satisfactorily, and that there was no expectation that the United Nations would be asked to procure ballots or other election commodities or fund significant aspects of the electoral process.

Nevertheless, it was anticipated that the United Nations system will play an essential role in the elections. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would provide, in conjunction with other international organizations, critical technical assistance to the electoral authorities, ranging from advice on electoral management to voter estimates, voter registration, polling and civic education. The role expected to be played by UNOMIL, though limited, would be equally significant. In addition to its existing mandate to observe and verify the electoral process, UNOMIL was principally expected to work jointly with ECOWAS to ensure adequate coordination of the electoral process. UNOMIL's logistical assets and resources were to constitute a key element of the transportation and information infrastructure supporting the registration and polling process. UNOMIL was also to support voter education. ECOMOG was expected to be the key to the provision of adequate security for the elections.

Discussions with ECOWAS authorities dealt with the concept of a joint coordination mechanism which would focus on four main tasks: ensuring that operational requirements are met and that the process itself remains operationally on track; coordinating the deployment, logistics and security arrangements for international observers; identifying gaps and needs in the electoral process; and jointly certifying whether the election is free and fair. The joint coordination mechanism was expected to operate flexibly and informally and chaired jointly by ECOWAS and the United Nations. OAU would be invited to participate.

The Secretary-General presented his recommendations in a formal report to the Security Council on 19 March 1997. In that report, he also asked the Council to extend the mandate of UNOMIL for a period of three months, until the end of June 1997. By its resolution 1100 (1997) of 27 March 1997, the Council decided to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 30 June 1997, and welcomed the Secretary-General's recommendations concerning the role of UNOMIL in the electoral process.

Elections postponed, UNOMIL and ECOMOG continue preparations,
Humanitarian situation

Elections Postponed

The Liberian Independent Elections Commission was installed on 2 April 1997, while the reconstituted Supreme Court, which was to adjudicate in electoral disputes, was installed on 7 April, in each case about one month later than anticipated by the schedule set by the ECOWAS Committee of Nine. These delays caused preparations for the elections to fall behind schedule, and cast serious doubt on prospects for holding credible elections by 30 May 1997, the date originally set.

Between 24 and 27 April, an ECOWAS assessment team led by the Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Chief Tom Ikimi, and comprising the Foreign Minister of Guinea, Mr. Lamine Camara, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ghana, Mr. Victor Gbeho, visited Liberia to evaluate the status of the electoral preparations. The assessment mission focused on the electoral package presented by the Elections Commission, consisting of a draft electoral law, a code of conduct for political parties, a calendar of electoral activities and a budget.

Concerning the timetable for the elections, the Elections Commission requested the assessment team to reconsider the 30 May election and indicated that 74 more days would be required in order to prepare adequately for the elections. The registered Liberian political parties also unanimously requested to extend the electoral schedule.

Having carefully reviewed the situation, UNOMIL also took the view that it would not be possible to hold credible elections on 30 May.

On 6 and 13 May, informal consultations were held in New York with the participation of ECOWAS member States and major donors to discuss preparations for the proposed reconvening at the ministerial level of the Special Conference to Support the Peace Process in Liberia. At those consultations, a consensus emerged that security conditions in Liberia were conducive to the holding of elections and that the objective was to hold credible, free and fair elections at the earliest date that was technically feasible. It was recognized, however, that it was no longer technically feasible to hold elections on 30 May and that a credible electoral calendar needed to be established.

An Extraordinary Summit Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Nine on Liberia was convened in Abuja on 21 May to decide on the date of the Liberian elections, as well as on the electoral law and the budget. The Summit Meeting approved the electoral law as amended by the political parties. It also approved the extension of the tenure of the Liberian Council of State until the inauguration of the new Government.

The Summit decided on an effective extension of the electoral schedule by some 60 days, that is, that the election for the legislative assembly and the presidency should take place on 19 July, with the new Government to be inaugurated on 2 August. However, should a run-off election for the presidency be necessary, it would be held on 2 August, with the inauguration of the new Government taking place on 16 August.

In the meantime, Mr. Anthony Nyakyi ended his assignment as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia on 16 April 1997. He was succeeded by Mr. Tuliameni Kalomoh (Namibia), who arrived in Monrovia on 28 April.

Reporting to the Security Council on 19 June on the latest developments, the Secretary-General observed that the peace process in Liberia was approaching its culminating stage, the holding of free and fair elections for a new, democratically elected Government. He warned, however, that the timetable for the remaining phases of the process was "uncomfortably tight" and that the electoral calendar established by the Liberian Independent Elections Commission would require the closest possible cooperation and coordination among all the actors involved.

On 27 June 1997, the Security Council decided to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 30 September 1997, in the expectation that it would terminate on that date.

UNOMIL and ECOMOG Continue Preparations

On the military side, the situation was characterized by relative peace and stability throughout Liberia and the country was considered secure enough for elections to take place nationwide. Although a few minor incidents continued to occur in various parts of the country, ECOMOG was able to control the security situation effectively in all cases.

Since the end of the official disarmament period on 9 February 1997, a total of 132 ex-fighters had disarmed voluntarily at Rivercess, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh counties where disarmament could not take place earlier because of the inaccessibility of these areas. As at 13 June, the cumulative total of arms and ammunition recovered and verified by military observers was 10,036 weapons and more than 1.24 million assorted pieces of ammunition, while approximately 3,750 weapons had been reported surrendered to ECOMOG outside the official disarmament sites. In addition, ECOMOG cordon-and-search operations led to the recovery of approximately 3,500 weapons and 150,000 pieces of ammunition.

UNOMIL and ECOMOG continued to make their own preparations for the elections. The electoral unit of UNOMIL was strengthened. By June 1997, UNOMIL had completed its planned deployment at 16 sites, covering all the 13 counties of Liberia. The field stations established during the disarmament process were successfully converted into electoral observation bases. Each of these bases was manned jointly by one or two civilian electoral observers and four or five military observers. Preparations were under way to deploy the 200 additional United Nations observers to observe the election itself. At the same time, ECOMOG continued to receive additional troops and to extend its presence, thus ensuring continued security and encouraging the civilian population to move freely throughout the country. ECOMOG deployment in areas along the borders with the neighbouring countries also encouraged some refugees to return to those areas, albeit in small numbers. ECOMOG strength stood at approximately 11,000 troops deployed at 48 different locations.

Humanitarian Situation

Following the completion of the disarmament and demobilization exercise and the deployment of ECOMOG to most parts of the country, relief organizations were able to operate in all 13 counties of Liberia.

While access had expanded, humanitarian needs had not decreased. Throughout the country, the humanitarian community was encountering damaged infrastructure and resident populations badly in need of the most basic assistance -- food, shelter, health, water and sanitation, education and agriculture. he United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office reported that out of the 368 pre-war public and private health facilities, only 25 per cent were functioning; the Monrovia water supply was operating at less than 10 per cent of its capacity; access to safe drinking-water in rural Liberia stood at less than 12 per cent; access to proper sanitation in rural Liberia stood at one per cent; and 60 per cent of children of school age were not in class.

A key humanitarian challenge was also the repatriation of what UNHCR estimated to be 660,000 refugees in the subregion and the resettlement of 750,000 internally displaced persons.

The United Nations and non-governmental organizations were responding in their respective areas of expertise. Humanitarian activities were generally of two types, of which the first comprised activities undertaken in response to acute crises. The second type of intervention included more forward-looking activities that would meet immediate needs while preparing for rehabilitation activities. UNHCR continued to prepare for and facilitate voluntary repatriation.

A United Nations consolidated inter-agency appeal for Liberia was launched in December 1996 requesting $31.2 million for priority humanitarian interventions.

Implementation of bridging activities continued and had produced short-term employment or training opportunities for some 15,000 demobilized ex-combatants out of the 21,315 demobilized during the disarmament and demobilization exercise. A similar number of civilians were also engaged by these community-based, labour-intensive projects, which covered a broad range of activities, including public works, support for small-scale quick-impact enterprises, strengthening of capacities and infrastructure in the health and education sectors, civic education, counselling and skills development.

Elections, New Government installed, UNOMIL terminated, UN peace-building established


The entire electoral process was organized and conducted by the Liberian Independent Elections Commission, with the assistance of UNOMIL, ECOMOG, the European Union (EU) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which, in a coordinated effort, pooled their logistical, communications and transport resources as well as their technical expertise to support the process. States members of ECOWAS, OAU, UNDP, donor countries and the Liberian Council of State provided financial, material and technical assistance.

The Joint Electoral Coordination Mechanism of ECOWAS and the United Nations, which was established prior to the elections, greatly assisted in the harmonization of electoral preparations. The Joint Mechanism held regular meetings with the Independent Elections Commission and key operational actors in order to keep the electoral process on track and to ensure that operational requirements were met. The United Nations and ECOWAS jointly certified the voter registration and the election results through the Joint Mechanism.

A total of 13 political parties fielded candidates for the presidential and legislative elections. The parties started their electoral campaigning on 16 June 1997 as scheduled under the electoral calendar. The campaign was conducted without major incidents of violence or intimidation, and the Liberian people were able freely to associate themselves with political parties of their choice. The Independent Elections Commission, having investigated the few incidents reported to it, determined that there was no evidence to suggest organized or widespread acts of violence or intimidation.

The final result of the election was announced on 24 July, giving the National Patriotic Party (NPP) 75.3 per cent, the Unity Party (UP) 9.5 per cent and the All Liberia Coalition Party (ALCOP) 4 per cent of the national vote. The Alliance and United People's Party (UPP) each received approximately 2.5 per cent, while the remaining eight parties received less than 2 per cent of the vote each. Voter turnout for the election was approximately 85 per cent of registered voters.

Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor was elected President, and his National Patriotic Party won 21of the 26 Senate seats, and 49 of the 64 seats in the House of Representatives. UP led the opposition with three and seven seats in each chamber respectively. ALCOP entered, and subsequently withdrew, a formal complaint about irregularities in the conduct of elections in three counties and the allocation of seats, the modalities of which had previously been agreed upon by all the political parties and which were provided for in the electoral law.

On 30 July 1997, the Security Council, in a Presidential statement, welcomed the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections in Liberia and noted with satisfaction the declaration in the Joint Certification Statement by the Secretary-General and the Chairman ECOWAS that the electoral process was free, fair and credible, and that the outcome of the elections reflected the will of the Liberian voters.

The Council congratulated the people of Liberia on the courage and determination they had shown in proceeding with the elections under difficult circumstances. It commended all international personnel, especially those of UNOMIL and ECOMOG, who contributed to the successful holding of elections. The Council further noted that the successful conclusion of the electoral process marked the fulfilment of a key element of the UNOMIL mandate.

New Government Installed

On 2 August 1997, Mr. Taylor was inaugurated as President of Liberia, and Mr. Enoch Dogolea as Vice-President. In his inaugural address, the President emphasized reconciliation, the protection of human rights, national unity and the urgent need for the reconstruction of Liberia's shattered economy, infrastructure and institutions. The President paid tribute to the role played by ECOWAS and ECOMOG in bringing peace to Liberia and to the contribution made by the United Nations and the wider international community.

Following his inauguration, President Taylor formed a new Government and announced a policy of reconciliation and national unity. The Government begun to establish and consolidate its authority throughout the country, and a reconstituted Supreme Court was sworn in. Superintendents were appointed for all 13 Liberian counties, and the Liberia National Police is preparing to re-open police stations across the country.

UNOMIL Terminated

The electoral process and the installation of a democratically elected Government constituted the last item on the revised schedule of implementation of the Abuja Agreement under the ECOWAS peace plan for Liberia. Thus, UNOMILís principal objective was successfully achieved.

By mid-September, the Mission had closed all its field offices and withdrawn all personnel and assets to Monrovia in readiness for its departure from Liberia. Nearly all military observers had been repatriated. However, it was decided to retain nine military observers until 30 September, in connection with the joint ECOMOG/UNOMIL custody of the approximately 10,000 weapons and 1.24 million pieces of ammunition surrendered by factional fighters during the disarmament and demobilization exercise. My Special Representative requested ECOWAS to discuss with the Government of Liberia the post-UNOMIL custody arrangements and the final disposal of the weapons. [The destruction of arms and ammunition collected during the disarmament process was completed by the Government of Liberia, in cooperation with ECOMOG and the United Nations, on 19 October 1999.]

In his final report on UNOMIL submitted to the Security Council on 12 September, the Secretary-General stated that to the extent that the ultimate success of the peace process was due to the cooperation established between ECOWAS and its peacekeeping force, ECOMOG, the United Nations and its observer mission, UNOMIL, and bilateral and multilateral donors, the operation deserved further study. The lessons learned in UNOMIL and their application to current and possible future missions of a similar kind should be carefully examined.

Peace-building Office Established

On 3 August 1997, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall, and Secretary-Generalís Special Representative for Liberia, Tuliameni Kalomoh, were received by President Taylor. The President emphasized the importance of encouraging reconciliation, protecting human rights, establishing a broad-based and inclusive Government and undertaking the task of national reconstruction. President Taylor requested the assistance of the United Nations in mobilizing international support for the reconstruction of his country. He expressed his desire for a continued United Nations presence following the termination of the UNOMIL mandate on 30 September.

On 2 September, the Secretary-Generalís Special Envoy and my Special Representative for Liberia held follow-up discussions with President Taylor regarding arrangements for a continued United Nations presence in Liberia following the withdrawal of UNOMIL. President Taylor reiterated his support for such a presence, and welcomed the Secretary-Generalís proposal to establish a small United Nations office in Liberia. The head of this office would be the focal point for post-conflict peace-building activities of the United Nations in Liberia and have overall authority for coordination of the United Nations system in the country.

In November 1997, the Security Council established a post-conflict, peace-building support office in Liberia. Headed by a Representative of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Liberia (UNOL) was intended to strengthen and harmonize United Nations peace-building efforts, to help promote reconciliation and respect for human rights, and to help mobilize international support for reconstruction and recovery of the country.

(c)United Nations


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