International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Exchange of Thanks: Victims and Special Court Prosector Express Gratitude in Sierra Leone

It was an exchange of thanks as Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) Prosecutor Brenda Hollis traveled the length and breadth of Sierra Leone, explaining the Court’s Appeals Chamber judgment to people in various communities that were affected by Sierra Leone’s 11 year conflict. In many of these communities, the scars of the conflict still remain. Civilians whose limbs were amputated by rebels still roam the streets. Many still bear the loss of family members while some deal with the stigma of having being raped by rebels. For these crimes, Taylor has been convicted and sentenced to a 50 year jail term. For what they did to make this historic judgment possible, Prosecutor Hollis visited these communities to thank the people, most of whom are victims.

Prosecutor Hollis Speaking at Outreach Event

To loud applause among hundreds of residents attending the various outreach events around the country, Prosecutor Hollis said in Krio, Sierra Leone’s local parlance, “The Charles Taylor case don don,” meaning the Charles Taylor case has come to an end.

She expressed thanks and appreciation to the people and government of Sierra Leone for the opportunity to serve them and help bring a measure of justice for their sufferings during the country’s bloody conflict. She had special thanks for those men and women who served as witnesses in the Taylor case, describing them as “those brave men and women who came to the court to tell their stories.”

She called them “strong people who will never forget but have forgiven and are working towards a brighter future.”

“This judgment brings some measure of justice to the many victims of Charles Taylor’s very wicked conduct,” she told residents in Tongo, a town in Sierra Leone where several people were killed and subjected to forced labor as they mined diamonds for the rebels. These diamonds, judges have said, were a motivation for Taylor’s involvement in Sierra Leone’s conflict. Rebel commanders took mayonnaise tins full of diamonds to Taylor in Liberia, and in exchange, he assisted them with materials including arms and ammunition.

A Sierra Leonean lawyer, Mohamed Bangura, who was one of the prosecutors in the Taylor case, was also full of praise for his countrymen. Sharing the pain of their sufferings during the conflict, Bangura thanked Sierra Leoneans in Kailahun town for their show of support throughout the court’s work. He referenced those times that he personally travelled to their communities to speak with victims and witnesses and the help they provided to the accountability process.

While the Prosecutor expressed thanks and appreciation to residents in various communities, the people thought it was the Prosecutor who deserved their thanks. A gentleman, who himself had traveled to The Hague to witness the proceedings commended Prosecutor Hollis for starting and finishing her job with distinction. He explained to the audience that Prosecutor Hollis had faced a very strong defense team but still won the case on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. He thanked the Prosecutor for paying special attention, both in case presentation and outreach, to areas were rebel atrocities were prominent.

“It is good that you paid special attention to the areas hardly hit by the conflict,” he told Prosecutor Hollis.

Participants at Outreach Event Thanking Prosecutor Hollis

After completing an outreach event in Tongo, several young and old people crowded around Prosecutor Hollis’s vehicle, giving her handshakes and thanking her for a job well done.

In their view, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing Taylor was the right and necessary thing to do.

Chiefdom Speaker in the RUF’s former headquarters of Buedu told the Prosecutor that the people in his chiefdom were grateful to her and to the Court for a job well done.

“We waited for years to see this happen. Now we know the wait was worth it,” he told the Prosecutor and her team.

“Big men can no longer run away if they do terrible things and for making this reality, we the people of Sierra Leone thank you,” he added.

Throughout these outreach events, people expressed concerns about the plight of victims who are yet to receive reparations from the Government of Sierra Leone. They still have expectations that the justice and accountability process will include reparations for victims. While they await this, they acknowledge the SCSL as part of a process meant to provide a measure of justice for them. In their minds, the Court has done its part, and for that, their thanks go to the Prosecutor and other persons at the Court who made this possible.

 

24 Comments
  1. No disrespect to the victims but this Brenda Hollis Victory tour is highly laughable. So this is now about her and not the victims, I guess. If only these poor people can see the wool being pulled over their eyes and realize they will never get a dime from anyone as the founders and funders of the court dont give a damn about them or any African but only had one objective in mind.

    As to this notion that even in RUF stronghold people are blaming Taylor, this clearly shows that I guess no one in Sierra Leone actually committed these crimes. Taylor must have been some type of sun god to control people in another country to hack off their own brothers and sisters arms.

  2. Congratulations the Sierra Leonean people have their scapegoat for THEIR own war in Charles Taylor.
    Nobody expected Mr. Taylor to have walked free out of the court after the West paid over 100 million to prosecute him. By the way let us not forget that this Special Court was a court that even the Sierra Leone government didn’t want it was imposed on them by the United States and others.

    Let all the people who are jubilating remember. It was better to have lived like a revolutionary and President in your middle years and spend you twilight years behind bars then to have been poor and destitute your entire life.

    • Aki
      your postings are rubbish. you spread the same lies over and over again.
      The gov. of SL asked for that court. Read the statutes of the court and you’ll find out by yourself.

  3. Mr. CMR, it is not that Taylor himself went to Sierra Leone and shot people down. In Liberia we clearlly saw NPFL loaded in trucks heading to Sierra Leone. My late son was one of them. We advised our children at the time but to no avail. Also after the captured of Koiindu Town in Sierra Leone, Foday Sankor cried when he saw the destrction. He called Charles Taylor and told him he was not expected such attitude from the fighters and Taylor replied him, saying, “do not be immotional, this is how things will go.” We the Liberians must now know that Taylor did not come to Liberia to benefit us but to let us set more tears and we should start praying to God not to send such a leader anymore.
    Do you know that some of the Special Forces were greatly against his idea of deeply invoing himsel in Sierra Leone crisis. A typical example is One Jalloh from Senegal who married to a Bassa girl told me he was resigning because that was not what he Taylor told them to do and he surely resigned and today he is an Enanjalist traveling and preaching Gospel all over the world and we the Liberians are still holding honest people responsible for our son doing. An Army General is responsible for all activities of the solders.
    Thanks, let us forget and see how our country will go forward.

    • JTF,

      You are just another false witness. Where and when Foday Sankor cried and at the same time called President Taylor? Why didn’t you go that fake court and testify? Your outright lies and misinformation has eroded your credibility if you ever had one to begin with.

    • JTF,
      You must be a very sad liar and a weak father for not being able to control your son. How dare you come here and spill the same trash we endured from Joseph Marzah? “Foday Sankoh called Taylor” – go and tell that to Alpha Sesay .

  4. These people will always think that they are intelligent than the Africans. What Hollis is now trying to do here is to make RUF supporters feel that she has no hand in punishing their people, but Mr. Taylor is the one that brought the trouble and evil upon them. How can RUF blame Mr. Taylor when these very people were the one that established the RUF? However, we know who they are and what do they want. Has she and the court think about bringing those Western and European companies that bought the so-called Blood Diamond from Mr. Taylor to book? What will the court do for the victims in order to improve their individual living standard? Brenda needs to be serious instead of talking lies. Now that you have jailed Mr. Taylor, come and do justices to the poor victims of Sierra Leon on who’s behalf you collected million of dollars over years in salary.

    • Harris K. Johnson

      RUF has never blamed President Taylor. Remember now, most of the defense top notch witnesses were RUF leaders and commanders. So the notion that RUF blaming or trying to blame President Taylor is a fleeting illusion to be pursuit. From the start we all knew the outcome of the case prior to the commencement of the trial. In fact, that’s what makes the court to be a “KANGAROO” Court. You know the judgment of the case before the trial can even begin.

  5. Let small minds discuss individuals. If Fallah was old or matured, he would be discussing the real deal here – Justice. But his mind is too inferior to connect the dots, let alone, see the bigger picture.

    He feels, because we all are not buying into his project, we love Taylor. I have no love for Taylor.

    Mr./Ms Fallah, we the real victims of the war project (in Africa), especially the ones affected by the mission of Taylor from Massachusetts to Liberia are sick, and tired of the waste of time. All we learned here is that there’s no such thing as justice under these actors. The outcome of this trial is not a victory for anyone. See it as u may, Jfallah!

    Peace, and thanks to all for everything!!

  6. On October 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm, JTF (J. Torkendor Fallah) said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Liberia, the only country in Africa to oobserve Sunday as a working holiday. This signifies Liberia as a Christian country yet, we over look this honor before God and most of us keep on abusing others for saying the truth and accused inocent people for carrying on their duties in the correct form (Judges)?. Where on earth have you read or seen the father and the son jailed for life for carrying on torture and killing their own people? First in world history, It is time for us to be mindful and return to God (in Prayer) and stop blaming the two world powers (United States of America and Great Britain). There is no prove that these two countries hate the father and the son. The Judges that rendered decision on the father and the son never ever knew these people We should now keep praying that Liberia should no more be the first in such happinning as history has told us.
    Reply

  7. what hollis is doing is part of the court and the service to the people.
    she and the whole world-community want the people to understand, why there was a need to put up the court.

    For all still not understanding:
    The goal of the court is to STOP IMPUNITY. It doesn’t matter on which part of the world a crime happens. if it is only africans to trace, maybe it is because we have here the worst crimes. just remember: we talk of sexual slavery, amputations, wide-spread rapes as war tactics aso.

    Justice is done, give praise and thanks to the lord and god shave the queen.

    yes, it is a pitty that only africans face the court. but that doesn’t mean the court isn’t something to
    supreme. It means, that the court should now go over to other criminals in our world – Bush and Co.

    we want peace in Liberia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRZsUoFSL4Q
    and all over the world.

  8. Swizz,
    I agree with your posting above that the ICC should go after Bush and Co. Even if an indictment could never be served on them it would be symbolic . Now for you comment that my posting are rubbish and I should read the” statue of the court”. Ofcourse in the end the Sierra Leone government had to agree but they were forced to. To further my point if they were so interested in prosecuting the major perpetrators of the war. Then why was it that the government put Ibrahim Bah on a plane out of Sierra Leone after he was arrested ?

  9. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, thank you, My mind is small and yours is big. I am not matured and all your family are mature. I love Taylor more than you do. I am hundred percent connected to Taylor than you. Taylors’ relation with me will never end but you do not know. You are praising him because you got your blooded riches out of his stupidness. He never listened to people and that what got him where he is today. Most of us that have direct connection with him are regreting to see him where he is today and moreover seeing the young one in jail for life.
    I don’t need to go further, because you individual helped him to be where he is and you keep pretending of being his friend or relative. I dont’ blame you people, I blamed his stupidness and his total refusal to adhere to those that wanted him to see things ahead but, listened to people of your type.
    Thank you Mr. Mature-man

    • Tomas and JTF
      always good, when opponents maul themselves!
      ct is a murderer, was one and will always one be. no matter if you knew him or not. better not to be to near a person like this.

  10. Although the verdict in the Taylor trial has been rendered, i really need a thorough understanding as to the reasons why the appellate judges did not consider the most recent opinion of the ICTY on aiding and abetting which is one of the courts specified in the court statute to guide the opinion of the appellate judges. The other court is Rwanda but it has no case that was as similar on aiding and abetting like the ICTY..Does this means that the Judges were permitted to operate outside the statute?

    • Over to you Mr – so-called lawyer turned journalist wannabe – Sessay . These are the kinds of issues intelligent people expect you to articulate instead of blabbing about some villagers who never even heard about Mr Taylor during your civil war thanking some white lady. Also State to us what hard evidences the judges relied upon to show that Mr Taylor was instrumental in planning the Freetown attack. Remember I said hard evidence and not what zedman or mongor said. I guess Justice Sow would be laughing at this whole charade from kangaroo court down to “open” society tele-guided puppets.

  11. What are the programs(disability packages, trauma counseling,housing, microloans etc) that the court has put together to address the victims vulnerable situations? Why were the multinational companies that provided arms not prosecuted ?

  12. Joel K. Bimba,

    I wished you had joined this forum earlier. The bottom line is that the court was setup to convict Mr. Taylor plain and simple. He never stood a chance of walking out the door. However the Western nations which funded the court do not care about the victims of the Sierra Leonean people’s own doing.

    • aki
      wrong!
      The court was set up to prosecute war crimes in sierra leone. just remember all others already prosecuted.
      Furthermore was the court set up to punish individuals and not companies.
      the purchase and selling of weapons is – sadly – still not a crime. But be sure that NGO’s are working on that issue.

      • Swizz,

        As a low information individual as evidence of what you are portraying to us that the court was founded to prosecute war crimes and punish individual and not to selective target or single out individual/s like President Taylor that they consider to be against their interest; than why didn’t the court go after “Executive Outcome” and “Sand Line.” Remember now, these are paid and renown International Mercenary Groups that violated the U.N. arm embargo by bringing in more arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone. They were fighting physically for creative control of the diamond fields from the rebels. They were brought in by Teajan Kabbah who sold the diamond field for $10,000,000.00 on a $200,000,000.00 return on investment (ROI) if they can help restore him back to power. Whats about Teajan Kabbah himself who was the founder and chief financier of the Kamajor rebels? If the court can indict the Kamajor field commander Ingle Norman, than why not the head of the Kamajor who had criminal liability responsibility as a commander in chief with direct orders which has to be executed with perfect synchronization?
        Sir, this case is a mockery of justice and an insult to the intelligence of Africans.

        • Jose
          why ask me? i’m wether judge nor prosecutor. but i agree. if one tries to lighten up a horrible past, one should consider all sides.
          but even the first international criminal courts (Nürnberg, to haunt Nazis) couldn’t prosecute all criminals. That is why still today, e.g. Austria, a wide-spread nazism is around.

  13. Mr. Jose, reading through your recent postings, I left with no other alternative but, to make the following comparision of both president Taylor of Liberia and Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone.
    Presudebt Taylor was a Director of Genral Services Angency (GSA) government branch that carrys on procurement,
    President Tejan Kabbah was not.
    Mr. Charles Taylor embezzled over a million us dollars from Liberian government.
    President Tejan Kabbah never did that in Sierra Leion.
    Mr. Taylor was transferred to Ministry of Commerces as Deputy minister and from there he escaped and went to the United States of America where the money was waiting for him.
    Presedent Tejan Kabbah never embezzled money from Sierra Leone government.
    Liberian government traced Mr. Charles Taylor in the United States of America, arrested him and subsequently have him detained.
    President Tejan Kabbah was never arrested in any Western country and detained.
    Mr. Taylor escaped from the United States of America and went to Libya where he had enough Army Training and was promoted to Army General through the Libyan President at the time.
    President Tejan Kabbah never went to Libya and had Army Training by the Libyan president at the time. He never wore Army Uniform
    While in Army Camp in Libya, Mr. Charles Taylor convenced all the West African desidents including Liberians to following him to overthrow the Liberian government at the time.
    President Tejan Kabbah never did that in Sierra Leone.
    Mr. Taylor with the support of Libyan president and enough mercenaries invaded his own country on the 24th of December 1989.
    President Tejan Kabbah never invaded his own country along with enough mercenaries.
    During Charles Taylor election to presidency, our children were singing song, “You killed my Pa and my Ma, I will still vote for you.
    During president Tejan Kabbah election in Sierra Leone, there was no such a song sang by
    young voters.
    Charles Taylor oreded the massacre of all the West Africans who had lived in Liberia as Liberian citizens and who had nothing to do with ECOWS decision to send Peace Keepers (ECOMOG) to Liberia.
    President Tejan Kabbah never did such in Sierra Leone.
    Charles Taylor as President of Liberia and Commander in Chief of Liberian Army continuously was sending Troops to fight along with Foday Sankoh Army in Sierra Leone as well as in
    Guinea.
    President Tejan Kabbah never sent his Kamajor to fight in another country such as Liberia, Guinea, or Gambia.
    In all, President Charles Taylor as a President of a Nation and Commander-In-Chief of the National Army involving in sending Troops to another Country was therefore, tried and found guilty for involving in Sierra Leone war and not for what he did in Liberia because we the Liberians welcomed him. If Charles Taylor had only remained in Liberia and massacre us, I will have nothing to write against him because whatever you put on your NOSE the scent will not kill you. Read this comparison and stop beating around the bush. What good for Peter is also good for Paul. Beaware of December 24* When he ordered shelling of Blood in Liberia (A country with Sunday as a none Working-day) Not that we are happy for Leberia’s President to go to jail for life (First in Africa)

  14. poor ex presi ct
    who rots in a warm, cosy and dry cell with three meals a day on the latest science-based diet, with tv and internet for the next 50 years.
    lots of people around the world would be happy to be kept like this, presumably about 2 billions.
    so pls stop to have mercy with a convinced murderer, enslaver, thief and so on.

    • Happy Holidays your excellency, Hon. SWIZZ. I took a break for few weeks from the lame duck taylor fighters. They do not realize taylor is history, gone for good, as memories of him fade away gradually. I told them; Liberian praise singers would go their way as soon they got assurances taylor is not coming back! How many do you see coming on this site to trash talk as they did? Some who had secret accounts in their names are laughing on their way to collect accounts as we speak. That is how african tyrants end up! No surprises! I am content that we won the debate..any bla..bla..talks are garbage. i feel for some who have very little understanding on politics and times.And for those who are threatening the British Empire; need to think twice because we will help the British if any taylor support groups put their fingers on any British Subject! How dear them to think like taylor? We are traditionals too and can dance the witch dance at midnight! A hint to a wise is sufficient!