An article in the VOA says that former Liberian president Charles Taylor could go free due to insufficient funds for the court proceedings. For those of you not familiar with the history of this story, Charles Taylor is currently in custody at the Hague and on trial by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s civil war. According to the article;
Reuters news agency quotes prosecutor Stephen Rapp as saying donations to the Special Court for Sierra Leone are down because of the worldwide economic recession. Rapp says if the court runs out of money, it is possible judges will have to release Taylor.
The Reuters report quotes the tribunal’s registrar, Herman von Hebel, as saying important donors such as Ireland, France and Germany have cut their contributions this year. He says the court is seeking out other donors in the Middle East in hopes of raising $30 million to continue operating through 2010.
Charles Taylor’s son received a 97 year prison sentence for charges on torture and human rights violations. According to this article;
He was found guilty in October 2008 on charges that he headed a paramilitary ‘Anti-Terrorist Unit’, which became notorious for carrying out heinous acts of violence against civilians, while his father ruled Africa’s oldest republic from 1997 – 2003.
The younger Taylor was convicted on five counts of torture, one count of conspiracy to torture, one count of using a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and one count of conspiracy to use a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Prosecutors had asked for a 147-year sentence.
Just this past week 3 former rebel leaders from Sierra Leone were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This article from United Press International says;
The judges concluded the men “significantly contributed” to a joint criminal enterprise with former Liberian President Charles Taylor to control the diamond fields of Sierra Leone to finance their warfare.
The fact that the court’s economic hardship could be grounds for Charles Taylor’s release is insulting. What kind of justice is that?