Taylor trial to be held in The Hague

The Netherlands has said that all the conditions it had set for transferring the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, from Freetown to The Hague have been met.

    Taylor is said to be behind civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone

    The Dutch announcement on Thursday followed London's announcement that it would allow Taylor to serve a potential jail sentence in Britain.
      
    Hannah Tijmes, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said: "With the British offer to take Taylor to serve a possible sentence there, all conditions set by the Dutch government have been met. The next step is a UN Security Council resolution which I  expect to be drawn up in the next few days."

    Earlier, Britain offered to jail Taylor if he was convicted of war crimes over Sierra Leone's civil war.

    Margaret Beckett, the British foreign secretary, said London had agreed to a request by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, who asked that Taylor, if convicted, serve his sentence in Britain.

    Request

    "I was delighted to be able to respond positively to the request of the United Nations secretary-general that, should he be convicted, Charles Taylor serve his sentence in the UK," Beckett said.

    Sierra Leone has asked for the
    trial be moved to The Hague

    The Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up in 2002, has  requested that Taylor's trial be moved to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for security reasons.

    Taylor has been indicted by the UN-backed Special Court for  Sierra Leone on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and violations of international human rights.
       
    He pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges in early April when he appeared before the court for the first time.

    He is accused of sponsoring and aiding rebel groups who perpetrated murder, sexual slavery, mutilation and conscription of child soldiers in Sierra Leone's civil war, in exchange for a share in the diamond trade.

    SOURCE: AFP


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