Charles Taylor is still a danger to West Africa



20 September 2004

Prosecutor David M. Crane Calls Taylor a Continuing Threat to Regional Peace

Prosecutor David M. Crane has welcomed comments by UNMIL SRSG Jacques Paul Klein to the Security Council last week, in which he reported that “Charles Taylor’s shadow still looms over Liberia.”

“We have specific information that Charles Taylor continues to interfere in Liberian affairs and we share Mr Klein’s concerns.” said Mr. Crane.  

“There can be no true peace in the region until Charles Taylor is brought to the Special Court for Sierra Leone for a fair and open trial,” Mr Crane added.

Mr. Crane expressed optimism that Nigeria would eventually transfer Taylor for trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

“Nigeria has shown consistent interest in supporting the Liberian peace process, beginning with the Nigerian government’s leadership in removing Charles Taylor from Liberia in August 2003.  As evidence mounts that Taylor is an obstacle to lasting peace in Liberia, I am optimistic that Nigeria will continue to support the Liberian peace process by transferring Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”  

The Prosecutor said Nigeria has a strong record of support for the Special Court.  Nigeria sits on the Special Court’s Management Committee at UN headquarters in New York; Nigeria is the largest African donor to the Special Court; and from its beginning, the Court has been guarded by the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Charles Taylor faces a 17-count indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone.  The charges include terrorising the civilian population, unlawful killings, sexual violence, physical violence, forced conscription of child soldiers, abductions, forced labour, looting and burning, and attacks on UN peacekeeping personnel.

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