Sierra Leone - EP 4

Duration: 05-Jul-2000 to 16-Jan-2002

Diamond embargo added to existing sanctions (UNSCR 1306), special court established (UNSCR 1315) and UNAMSIL mandate extended, and secondary sanctions against Liberia were applied (UNSCR 1343) to enforce peace agreement and DDR in Sierra Leone, evidence that the UN was short of adequate financial support for PKO (from frequent references in UNSCRs).

Major UNSCRs during this episode included UNSCR 1306 (5 July 2000) on sanctions against import of diamonds from Sierra Leone; UNSCR 1315 (14 August 2000) on establishing a Special Court in Sierra Leone; UNSCR 1343 (7 March 2001) on secondary sanctions on Liberia to cease support for RUF; and UNSCR 1346 (30 March 2001) on extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) up to 17,500 troops authorized.


Coerce RUF to cease hostilities.


Constrain the ability of RUF to obtain resources from the export of rough diamonds to shift the balance of power in support of the government.


Signal the RUF to cease hostilities and the use of diamonds to support armed conflict (indirect support of the Kimberley Process for Certification of Origin of rough diamonds).


Ongoing travel ban and arms imports embargo on non-governmental entities.

Newly imposed rough diamonds exports ban (except though the Kimberley Process certification scheme).

No individual targets specified.

Potential scope of impact


UN sanctions can have some non-discriminating impact on the general population, since they include arms embargoes, diplomatic sanctions, and/or restrictions on the conduct of particular activities or the export of specific commodities.

New diamond exports ban sanctions were imposed for a limited time period (18 months) and periodically renewed. Ongoing sanctions in place indefinitely. Sanctions Committee in place, Panel of Experts created. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated. Enforcement authorities specified, PKO had enforcement role.



Policy outcome

Ceasefire agreement (Abuja) was signed on 10 November 2000, UN troops arrived in November/December 2000 to enforce ceasefire, UN began to deploy in rebel held territory (March 2001), and disarmament of rebels began (May 2001).

Sanctions contribution

Diamond sanctions were applied to reinforce PKOs and tip the balance against the RUF; secondary sanctions (UNSCR 1343) applied to Liberia during this period "probably contributed to the RUF's decision to sign an unconditional ceasefire in November 2000 and reaffirm the agreement in May 2001" (UN Expert Meeting on Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa, Cairo, 2006). Sanctions, however, reinforced other measures including the deployment of UK troops in May 2000 and military operations launched from Guinea against the RUF.



Policy outcome

While there is evidence of evasion, the diamond embargo was credited with "an almost complete halt to the traffic in illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone to Liberia."

Sanctions contribution

Diamond sanctions were applied to reinforce PKOs and tip the balance against the RUF; secondary sanctions applied to Liberia (UNSCR 1343) during this period.



Policy outcome

Primary signal was to RUF. Created the basis for a Special Court (SCSL), and signaling support of the Kimberly Process for Certification of Origin of rough diamonds.

Sanctions contribution

Other measures (negotiations, Abuja accord, and basis for special court) were also major factors in signaling.



Increase in the growth of the state role in the economy.



  • Imposes rough diamonds exports ban from Sierra Leone (18 months) and specifies exemption for diamonds controlled by Government of Sierra Leone through Certificate of Origin regime (when Committee reports the regime is fully operational).


  • Establishes Panel of Experts (4 months) and specifies its mandate.
  • Modifies Sanctions Committee mandate and requests it to make relevant information publically available.
  • Sets sanctions review (by 15.09.2000, thereafter every 6 months).
  • Requests MS reporting.



  • Renews UNSCR 1306 rough diamonds exports ban (until 05.12.2002).
  • Welcomes establishment and implementation of Certificate of Origin regime for trade in diamonds in Sierra Leone and affirms their exemption from UNSCR 1306 diamond exports ban.


  • Sets sanctions review (05.12.2002).