- Written by Our Senior Staff
- Category: Headlines
- Published: 27 April 2012
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Liberia’s former President Charles Ghankay Taylor was yesterday brought down guilty of committing war crimes against Sierra Leone, having been prosecuted for nearly six years by the UN-backed Special Court sitting in The Hague.
Presiding Judge of the Special Court, Richard Lussick, announced the guilty verdict at The Hague when he read a long indictment charges that have been investigated over the years of trial.
According to Judge Lussick, Mr. Taylor was guilty of aiding and abetting the 11 years civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone in support of the defunct Revolutionary United Front of the late Foday Sankoh.
Other legal proceedings including the accused and defense responses to the guilty verdict are expected to take place beginning May 10th while sentencing will be announced on May 30, 2012.
It is expected that responses from the convict and his defense team will include an appeal against the guilty verdict which the Trial Chamber will definitely response to.
There were several counts of indictment levied against Mr. Taylor in 11 charges, including conscription of child soldiers; sexual slavery; terrorizing civilians; amputating civilians, among others, thus constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity, but Mr. Taylor has, up to the guilty verdict, consistently denied these charges.
Though Mr. Taylor has been prosecuted and found guilty of committing crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone, what Sierra Leone tends to benefit apart from sentencing the convict to a number of jail term in Great Britain as previously recommended is likely to come out.
Legal experts have begun surmising that Mr. Taylor was indicted as a sitting President of Liberia at the time of the commission of the crimes captured in 2003, it is most likely that Sierra Leone would seek reparation once it has won the case against the former Liberian President.
It equally remains unclear whether the Special Court would very strongly consider the issue of reparation for Sierra Leone being part of the remaining legal proceedings to be discussed in weeks to come.
The verdict became a worldwide event yesterday as was publicized the British Broadcasting System and other international wires. In Liberia, many prayed that Mr. Taylor be set freed but there were those who equally prayed for his conviction because they don’t want to see him come back to Liberia.
In Sierra Leone, there were victims who hoped that Mr. Taylor would not go off the hook, but others felt that Taylor’s conviction would not ease poverty, unemployment and other forms of destitution confronting them.
Even though Mr. Taylor has not been prosecuted for crimes committed in Liberia, some policy makers in the echelon of power and their loyalists appear contended that justice has been done to Sierra Leone.
Ironically, the very people supporting justice for Sierra Leone have helped to denounce the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations that equally called for prosecution and other forms of justice for Liberia.