A spokesman for the UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has denied widely spread report that war crime convict ex-President Charles Taylor has been given 72 hours to be transferred to a UK prison, adding that Taylor has not been informed as to when his transfer will take effect.
Sierra Leone Special Court Spokesman, Peter Andersen in response to a story in this paper's Friday's edition on the Taylor transfer to the UK said the order that his (Taylor) sentence be enforced was made on October 4 and that the confidentiality was lifted on October 10.
"As you see, the decision to send Mr. Taylor to the UK was therefore not made on Thursday," Andersen said.
Family members of jailed ex-President Taylor had argued that Taylor be jailed on an African soil, preferably Rwanda, which they say would be less expensive for family visits as compared to the UK. (See Tuesday's edition for Taylor's letter to the court in which he expresses fear for his life in a UK Prison.)
"The Special Court can only send prisoners to countries with which we have enforcement agreements. We have no such agreement with Rwanda in respect of Mr. Taylor, and we have no enforcement agreement at all with Norway," Andersen said.
He said the Special Court is a separate institution from the ICC and the AU. The Judges of the Special Court, on being sworn in, take an oath not to be influenced by any states or other entities, he added.
Andersen argues that the concerns being raise by the Taylor family is a non issue in that such concerns are consider in the court's Statue, Rules and Practice Direction, including the family situation of Mr. Taylor; and the conditions of imprisonment in the States concerned, including measures to ensure Mr. Taylor's physical safety, the availability of vocational and educational programs, the availability of religious accommodations and the availability of medical services;
He said suggestions that the Judges could decide the Taylor's sentence destination is wrong and that under the Rules, the President designates an enforced state and the Registrar implements the order of the Court.
"Rwanda was a second destination being considered as well" may reflect certain inaccurate media report such as BBC Online. As stated above, we have no enforcement agreement with Rwanda in respect of Mr. Taylor" Andersen added.
Read Taylor's Letter to the Court on why he does not want to stay in a UK prison.