UN-backed court to deliver judgment in Charles Taylor trial next month

1 March 2012

The United Nations-backed court set up to try suspects indicted for war crimes in Sierra Leone announced today that the judgment in the trial of the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, will be delivered on 26 April.

Mr. Taylor is on trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including pillage, slavery for forced marriage purposes, collective punishment and the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

The charges relate to his alleged support for two rebel groups in Sierra Leone – the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front.

Closing arguments in the Taylor trial, which opened in June 2007 in The Hague, the Netherlands, took place in February and March 2011. During the course of the trial, the Court heard from over 100 witnesses, including Mr. Taylor, who testified in his defence.

Special Court Registrar Binta Mansaray said in a news release that with this judgment, the Court is set to reach another “critical milestone,” given that this is the last trial stemming from Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war, and that it will be the last major trial to be held at the Court.

The SCSL was set up jointly by the Sierra Leonean Government and the UN in 2002. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and national law committed on Sierra Leonean territory since the end of November 1996.

Although the SCSL is headquartered in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor’s trial took place in a chamber of the Court sitting in The Hague for security reasons.

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Liberia: UN demands Government take action to freeze former warlord’s assets

For the fourth consecutive year, the Security Council today demanded that the Liberian Government “make all necessary efforts to fulfil its obligations” to freeze the assets of former president Charles Taylor, currently facing trial for war crimes before an international court.