13 June 2012

Liberia: 'Taylor's Lawyer Says Trial Was Fair'

Photo: Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera television records the moment Charles Taylor was sentenced.

The Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Brenda Hollis, has disclosed that one of former Liberian President Charles Taylor's lawyers has commended the fairness of Mr. Taylor's trial at a dinner party in The Hague.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague found Mr. Taylor guilty on April 26, 2012 for aiding and abetting war in neighboring Sierra Leone which led to the killing and amputation of thousands of Sierra Leoneans. The Court sentenced him for fifty years in prison, but his lawyers have filed in an appeal against the court ruling.

A three-judge panel issued a unanimous decision that Taylor, 64, was guilty on all 11 counts of the indictment against him. The judges found him guilty of a campaign of terror that involved murder, rape, sexual slavery, terrorism, conscripting child soldier and amputation.

Addressing the Edward Wilmot Blyden Lecture Series at the University of Liberia, Hollis disclosed that "one of Mr. Taylor's Lawyers at a dinner party of both prosecution and defense lawyers expressed happiness that the trial of his client, Charles Taylor was fair," but declined to name the lawyer that made the assertion.

Madam Hollis also disclosed that the current set of judges will not form part of the appeal process which is expected to take next year. She said there will be a panel of new judges that will take on the appeal process.

She further indicated that Mr. Taylor was sentenced for aiding and abetting and planning "operation no living thing" with the late rebel commander Sam Bockarie in Sierra Leone. She said on November 30, 1996, Mr. Taylor provided critical support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of arms and ammunitions.

According to Madam Hollis, Mr. Taylor provided money to the RUF for the purchase of arms and ammunitions from ULIMO and also provided indispensable for arms purchased from Burkina Faso to the RUF. She noted that the appeal process which is expected to begin next year will involve whether to reduce or increase the sentence of Mr. Taylor or whether or not he had a fail trail amongst others.

The Chief Prosecutor also indicated that a court will be established in Sierra Leone to keep Special Court records and for the protection of witnesses who testified in the Taylor trial against reprisal. She used the occasion to advice Liberians not to listen to speculations in the public, but rather take a keen look of the trial to determine whether or not is fair. Author's contact, 231886270297; email: .

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