Next week you need to know about . . . the trial of Charles Taylor
SEVEN DAYS:While Uganda’s Joseph Kony is generating all the African-warlord headlines these days, the protracted trial of the former president of Liberia Charles Taylor (pictured) for war crimes is due to close with a judgment to be announced next Thursday.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) was set up under the auspices of the UN in 2002 to prosecute those most responsible for the brutal violence suffered in the west African country during its bloody conflict. Taylor was indicted in 2003, when he was still president, for crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers, and he was captured in Nigeria in 2006. The trial wasn’t related to crimes he committed while leading the rebel group that unseated his predecessor.
The three-year trial has been held at The Hague in the Netherlands, and generated most publicity back in August 2010 when Naomi Campbell testified about receiving uncut diamonds from Taylor at a party in Nelson Mandela’s house in 1997. At the time of the party, Taylor was accredited by the UN as a peacemaker; the prosecution alleges he used this position to influence the conflict for his own ends.
It has been 13 months since the final testimony and speeches, and if Taylor is convicted he faces a lengthy prison sentence, most likely in the UK.
We now know
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