US seeks trial in The Hague for Taylor

The United States is seeking to move the war crimes trial of the former Liberian president from Sierra Leone to the Netherlands for security reasons.

Taylor was captured trying to flee Nigeria to Cameroon

Charles Taylor disappeared from his home in exile in southern Nigeria on Monday night as he was about to be handed over to the UN-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone. 

Taylor faces war crimes charges there for backing Sierra Leone’s rebels during a civil war from 1991-2002.

He was captured on the run on Tuesday night in northeastern Nigeria as he was trying to cross the border into neighbouring Cameroon.

Earlier on Wednesday, officials said the helicopter landed inside the compound of the Sierra Leone war-crimes tribunal where he is wanted for trial.

He was taken in handcuffs to a jail cell at the tribunal building where Sierra Leone’s Assistant Inspector-General of Police read him the formal indictment, a foreign diplomat said.

The helicopter left Monrovia’s Roberts International Airport at around 5.20pm (1720 GMT) on Wednesday, less than an hour after Taylor had arrived there aboard a Nigerian presidential plane surrounded by scores of government and UN security officials.

John Bolton, the US ambassador, said Taylor will remain under the jurisdiction of the Special Court, which is based in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.

“But where he is physically may be somewhere else,” he said.

“The court’s jurisdiction is not tied to a particular physical location.”

Bolton said where Taylor goes for trial “will be determined in a few days”.

UN resolution

George Bush said on Wednesday that the US wants Taylor tried in The Hague, where the International Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, and the International Court of Justice are based.

Secure facilities at a nearby Dutch prison have housed war crimes suspects from the former Yugoslavia, and most recently for the International Criminal Court from the Congo.

“There is a process to get Charles Taylor to the court in the Netherlands,” Bush said.

“Such a process will require a United Nations Security Council resolution.”

Source: AFP

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