Taylor’s trial soon be moved to The Hague

Taylor’s trial soon be moved to The Hague

FREETOWN – Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor could soon be moved to the Hague for trial now that Britain has agreed to jail the ex-warlord if he is found guilty of war crimes, a British diplomat said on Friday.

“It is up to the United Nations and the international community and the special court to work out details, but I think it might be quite soon,” Britain’s deputy high commissioner in Freetown, David Dodd, said at a press conference. On whether Britain will prepare a special jail cell for Taylor, Dodd said: “I don’t think so.”First of all its got to be decided whether he is innocent or guilty.But I doubt whether there will be anything special but a normal jail somewhere.”And if he is found guilty and sent to serve his sentence in the United Kingdom, we will ensure that he is looked after properly and of course that he would not be able to escape,” said the diplomat.Taylor escaped from an American jail in 1985 where he had been imprisoned for embezzling nearly a million dollars of Liberia government funds and surfaced years later at the head of a rebellion against former president Samuel Doe.Dodd said Britain’s decision to imprison Taylor was aimed at making “sure that justice is carried out”.Pressed on how people in Britain have reacted to the decision, the diplomat said “the British public has taken the decision quite well.”The UK is a big supporter of international justice and a big supporter of Sierra Leone,” he added.”By making this small gesture, it could help rebuild lives” in Sierra Leone and the region.A West African diplomat in Freetown told Agence France-Presse, “It’s a courageous effort by Britain to make the offer.”The Sierra Leone government has meantime remained mum on the developments around Taylor’s case.The 58-year old former rebel chieftain faces war-crimes charges, including murder, sexual violence and unlawful use of child soldiers.Taylor is considered the single most powerful figure behind a series of civil wars in Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone between 1989 and 2003, which between them left about 400 000 people dead.- Nampa-AFPOn whether Britain will prepare a special jail cell for Taylor, Dodd said: “I don’t think so.”First of all its got to be decided whether he is innocent or guilty.But I doubt whether there will be anything special but a normal jail somewhere.”And if he is found guilty and sent to serve his sentence in the United Kingdom, we will ensure that he is looked after properly and of course that he would not be able to escape,” said the diplomat.Taylor escaped from an American jail in 1985 where he had been imprisoned for embezzling nearly a million dollars of Liberia government funds and surfaced years later at the head of a rebellion against former president Samuel Doe.Dodd said Britain’s decision to imprison Taylor was aimed at making “sure that justice is carried out”.Pressed on how people in Britain have reacted to the decision, the diplomat said “the British public has taken the decision quite well.”The UK is a big supporter of international justice and a big supporter of Sierra Leone,” he added.”By making this small gesture, it could help rebuild lives” in Sierra Leone and the region.A West African diplomat in Freetown told Agence France-Presse, “It’s a courageous effort by Britain to make the offer.”The Sierra Leone government has meantime remained mum on the developments around Taylor’s case.The 58-year old former rebel chieftain faces war-crimes charges, including murder, sexual violence and unlawful use of child soldiers.Taylor is considered the single most powerful figure behind a series of civil wars in Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone between 1989 and 2003, which between them left about 400 000 people dead.- Nampa-AFP

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