Taylor flown to The Hague for trial

The former Liberian president has been flown out of Sierra Leone for trial on war crimes charges in the Netherlands.

    Taylor went into exile to Nigeria in 2003

    Charles Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for backing Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels who sent drugged child soldiers into battle and killed, mutilated and raped civilians during the West African country's 1990s civil war.
    Solomon Berewa, Sierra Leone's vice-president, said: "We are now satisfied that he is going to be tried in a well secured area by the Netherlands while we in Sierra Leone and the Mano River Union states will continue to consolidate our peace."
    The Mano River Union groups Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, which were all dragged into a spiral of violence in the 14 years after Taylor began Liberia's civil war in 1989.
    Taylor was flown early on Tuesday in a UN helicopter from the compound of the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, which has charged him with war crimes but is due to hold his trial in The Hague.

    Civil war
    Berewa did not say whether Taylor would be transferred to a long-haul aircraft for the trip to Europe.

    "All I think Sierra Leoneans were interested in was to see Taylor arrested and charged..."

    Solomon Berewa,
    Sierra Leone vice-president

    "All I think Sierra Leoneans were interested in was to see Taylor arrested and charged, which has been done," Berewa added.
    Years of a parallel civil war in Liberia finally came to an end after Taylor agreed to go into exile in Nigeria in 2003.
    Caught trying to leave Nigeria earlier this year as pressure mounted for him to be tried, Taylor was transferred to the Special Court and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Significant support
    But Liberia's new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, expressed concerns that Taylor's presence in the region could encourage instability in Liberia where he retains significant support among some sections of the population.
    The Netherlands agreed to host the trial at its court facilities at The Hague, on the condition that a third country agree in advance to jail Taylor if he were to be sentenced to a prison term.
    Britain promised last week to hold Taylor in jail, and drafted a UN Security Council resolution authorising Taylor's transfer to the Netherlands to stand trial.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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