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Indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) June 4 th 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) June 4 th 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) June 4 th 2003

2 Who is Charles Taylor?  Charles Taylor was leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a rebel group that fought in Liberia to overthrow the government of Samuel K. Doe from From 1989 to 1997.  From 1997 to 2003, Taylor was the democratic president of Liberia.  In return for “blood diamonds”, Taylor provided arms and both logistical and moral support to Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels

3 Trial Background  After being indicted, he fled back to Liberia, fearing arrest.  Two months later, a deal between the United Nations, the United States, the African Union, and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) was struck to get Taylor out of Liberia.  Taylor then went into exile in Nigeria and was eventually granted political asylum there.  His time in Nigeria did not go unchallenged, however. Civil society and others were still pushing for him to answer the charges against him in the indictment.

4 Trial Background  Eventually, the new Liberian president, former World Bank official Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, asked for Taylor to be returned to Liberia.  On March 25, 2006, Nigerian president, Olusdegun Obasanjo informed the president of Liberia that they were “free to take former President Charles Taylor into its custody.”  Within 48 hours, Taylor went missing from his seaside villa in Nigeria.  Taylor was caught by Nigerian authorities on March 29, 2006, as he tried to cross the Cameroon border

5 Trial Background  Taylor was placed in a Nigerian Government jet with military guard and flown to Monrovia.  Peacekeepers arrested him on the tarmac and put aboard a UN helicopter headed for Freetown, where he was handed over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

6 Trial background  Citing fears over instability in Liberia if Taylor were tried in neighboring Sierra Leone, Sirleaf-Johnson (President of Liberia) backed a bid to have Taylor’s trial moved to The Hague.  The Dutch Government asked for a Security Council resolution to authorize the transfer, and said it would host Taylor’s trial on the condition that another country agreed in advance to take Taylor after his trial finished (the United Kingdom agreed).  Security Council Resolution 1688 was passed unanimously on June 16, 2006, paving the way for Taylor to be tried by the Special Court on the premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  Taylor boycotted the proceedings and dismissed his legal team. The trial was adjourned until new counsel could be assigned  Taylor’s trial began in earnest on January 7, 2008, in The Hague.

7 Charges  11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996, to January 18, 2002  The Prosecutor alleges that Mr. Taylor is responsible for crimes which include: murdering and mutilating civilians, including cutting off their limbs using women and girls as sex slaves abducting children and adults and forcing them to perform forced labor or become fighters during the conflict in Sierra Leone.  Taylor has pleaded not guilty.  He is charged on the basis that he allegedly backed Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels fighting in Sierra Leone and that he had links with senior leaders in the RUF

8 Specific Charges  1. Terrorizing the Civilian Population: Count 1: Acts of terrorism: To terrorize the civilian population of Sierra Leone: Widespread destruction of civilian property, including burning. (War Crime)  2. Unlawful Killings: Count 2: Murder (Crime Against Humanity) Count3: Violence to life, health, and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder. (War Crime)  3. Sexual Violence Count 4: Rape. (Crime Against Humanity) Count 5: Sexual Slavery. (Crime Against Humanity) Count 6: Outrages upon personal dignity. (War Crime)

9 Specific Charges  4. Physical Violence Count 7: Violence to life, health and physical or mental well- being of persons in particular cruel treatment. (War Crime) Count 8: Other inhumane acts, i.e. widespread acts of physical violence against civilians. (Crime Against Humanity)  5. Child Soldiers Count 9: Conscripting and enlisting children under age 15. (Other Serious Violation of International Humanitarian Law)  6. Abductions and Forced Labour Count 10: Enslavement. I.e., abductions and use of civilians as forced labour. (Crime Against Humanity)  7. Looting Count 11: Pillage. I.e. Taking of civilian property. (War Crime)

10 Charged with three types of criminal liability  Individual Criminal Responsibility: Accused planned, instigated, ordered, committed or aided and abetted planning, preparation and execution said crimes (Art. 6 SCSL Statute)  Joint Criminal Enterprise: Crimes amounted to or were involved within a common plan, design, purpose in which the accused participated or were reasonable foreseeable consequence of the common plan, design and purpose.  Command Responsibility: The accused held positions of superior responsibility and exercising command and control over subordinate members of the RUF, AFRC, RUF/AFRC alliance and Liberian fighters and so is responsible for the crimes committed in the indictment. The accused knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such crime or had done so and the accused failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or punish the perpetrator.

11 Decision  Convicted by the SCSL in the Hague  Last May, the court sentenced him to 50 years in prison for aiding and abetting rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 civil war. The judge handed down the sentence stating, "The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting some of the most heinous crimes in human history”  Taylor is the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court for war crimes since World War II  The prosecution is demanding that Taylor receive an 80- year term BUT the defense argues that would amount to a de-facto life sentence on the 64 year old defendant

12 Appeal  Taylor is appealing  Defence lawyers have called the verdict a "miscarriage of justice" and want the conviction to be quashed.  They have filed more than 40 grounds of appeal, arguing that the trial chamber's findings were based on "uncorroborated hearsay evidence".

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