UN Human Rights Chief lauds Special Sierra Leone Court’s verdict

“The judgement delivered today in the case of Charles Taylor before the Special court of Sierra Leone is truly significant because it is a delivery of international criminal justice. It shows how far international criminal law has developed to hold even the most powerful accountable; where it is clear they bear responsibility for serious human rights violations. In this case, it is the very first time that an International Criminal Tribunal has convicted a former head of state. Even the most powerful are accountable under international law,” Pillay Said.

Al Hadji Lamine Jusu Jarka enters the Special Court in Freetown, Sierra Leone © EPA photo/ Nic BothmaTaylor, the former Liberian president, was charged with 11 counts of war crimes, among other atrocities, committed against civilians in neighbouring Sierra Leone during that country’s civil war in the 1990s, which he was accused of supporting, including the recruitment of child soldiers.

Charles Taylor entered a not guilty plea at the trial that began in June 2007.

Judges went through more than 50,000 pages of witness testimony during the four year trial. More than 120,000 lives were claimed in the war that raged for ten years between 1991 and 2001.

26 April 2012


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