International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Final Post of Charles Taylor Trial Blog

Dear Readers,

It is with mixed emotions that we write to inform you that our blog monitoring the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor will be put into archive mode as of January 6, 2014. This means that we will no longer be posting updates or receiving comments from readers. However, the website will continue to exist as a resource on the trial and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Open Society Justice Initiative started monitoring proceedings in the Taylor case in June 2007. After a bumpy start that included Taylor sacking his defense counsel on the first day of trial, the case commenced in earnest on January 7, 2008, with testimony from the first witness for the prosecution. The trial officially ended on September 26, 2013 when the Appeals Chamber of the court upheld Taylor’s conviction and sentencing on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of international humanitarian law. Over the years, the trial chamber heard testimony from 94 prosecution witnesses and 21 defense witnesses, including Charles Taylor himself, who took the witness stand for nearly seven months.

Throughout the duration of the website, we have moderated over 18,000 comments from readers around the world.  Readers have commended and challenged our reporting, posed questions to the lead prosecution and defense lawyers handling the case, debated issues of war and peace in Sierra Leone and neighboring Liberia, and contributed passionate arguments for and against Taylor. Readers’ comments added vibrancy to the website and kept us on our toes every step of the way, ensuring our reporting was accurate, fair, and of high quality.

Over the years, we worked with many partners that have added value to our website through research, analysis, and expert commentary. We would especially like to thank all of the below, who have contributed to our work, including: Charles C. Jalloh; Clifford Chance LLP; Eleanor Thompson; Erna Sattler; Jennifer Easterday; Judith Armatta; U.C. Berkeley War Studies Crimes Center; Umaru Fofana; White & Case LLP; Heather Townsend Goodman; and Valeria Oosterveld.

We would also like to formally acknowledge staff members from the Open Society Justice Initiative who have given a tremendous amount of time and expertise to help make this project succeed, especially Tracey Gurd, Eric Witte, and Kelly Askin, as well as our Communications team for all of their technical support over the years.

There is no doubt that Charles Taylor’s arrest, subsequent hand-over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and conviction were significant moments in the history of international justice. Regardless, of the various opinions expressed on this site on Taylor’s guilt or innocence, we hope that our monitoring of the case provided greater transparency about the trial process.

Taegin & Alpha

10 Comments
  1. Thank you, Taegin & Alpha.
    It was not without higher level of discipline and professionalism that you’ve managed to complete the task. This is the biggest case of its kind on the biggest stage of international justice. You did not let yourselves and your readers down as professionals.

    I am personally glad that you will leave the window open for future law students to access the documents of from this website for intellectual purpose.

    If you can, please find ways to do the same for any similar case (s) in the future.
    Not only students of law, but those who study and have interest in history will it resourceful to see how everything went down. Primary sources are the best!

    God bless,

    Jeh

  2. I write to thank you and your group for your continuous patience in reading so many comments from Liberians, Sierra Leonians, Guineans, and others from different countries. I hope you can write a book from these comments. Many of my Liberians’ brothers and sisters wrote in favor of Charles Taylor while few wrote against him. I personally saw Charles Taylor going to jail for live and in my first comment on this website I told my Liberians’ brothers and sisters that Charles Taylor was going to jail for 99 years.
    I was not just writing for the sake of writing but, looking at the activities that were performed by him and his egoistical behavior. Today, we the Liberians are regretting for being the first African country to have her president behind bars for life time as a Criminal.
    I wish you all HAPPY! HAPPY NEW YEAR and HAPPY in all your undertakings. MAY GOD BLESS all of you until we one day see each others

  3. Thank you so much for providing information on this trial.
    That dark chapter is now closed and still countless questions remain unanswered.

    All my best wishes to the people of Sierra Leone and West Africa.

  4. Thank you very much for your dedication in providing thorough and exhaustive information from testimony, evidence and summations of the entire process. It has helped me to gain a clear understanding of the prosecution process as well, I have used elements from your work with my students to have them be informed about the tragic case of events and how at the world level redresses have been made.

    Thank you.

    Major

  5. My hats off to the Open Society Justice Initiative and your entire staff for the services rendered we casual observers, lovers of justice and other stakeholders. Our arguments were passionate and fierce but we believe both you and us held each other to a high level of respect.

    Im elated that the entire website will be archived for posterity as this marks a watershed moment in the history of the African Peoples. God Bless the People of Sierra Leone, Liberia and President Charles Ghankay Taylor.

  6. Dear Taegin, dear Alpha,

    Thanks for the excellent and dedicated work.

    I hope you will continue to do the same job on ICC trials.

    Warm wishes

    Thomas Verfuss

  7. Taegin, Alpha and the lady who first started the blog (whose name escapes me)

    Thank your very much for the hard and diligent work you have done to keep us updated over the years on the trial. I would also like to thank all those who posted on this site. It was very interesting hearing the different views. As I once said in a post, the world would be very boring if people agreed with each other all of the time.

  8. Thanks for your important work Open Society Justice Initiative.
    it surely helps for peace in Liberia
    what is left for liberia is the fight against corruption, a burden although known in all Africa.
    ! Get rid of leaders working for their own sake !

    We want peace in Liberia
    Peace in Monrovia

    Cause Babylon shall not rise again
    Babylon shall not stand again

    Cause everyday they talking about
    The Liberian civil war
    And everywhere over JAH land
    Muddy rivers of blood oh lord !!

    No matter who wins, Liberia is crying
    No matter who loose, Liberia still crying
    No matter who’s right, we’ve got to stop the fight
    No matter matter who’s wrong, the devil still strong

    So we want peace in Liberia
    Peace in Monrovia

    We calling on Jesus Christ to save I and I
    We calling on Allah to save I and I
    Calling Adonaï to save I and I
    Cry, cry Liberia…

    we want peace in all Africa
    (Alpha Blondy around 1980, slightly changed by Swizz)

    Greetings
    Swizz
    with special thanks to Fallah

  9. Many thanks to the staff of Open Society Justice Ininitiative For job well done.I admire your handling of heated arguments, insults, and your professional responses. I hope African brothers and Sisters will take this as a teaching lesson; that no matter how we feel, no one is above the law, and should never use the priviledge of leadership as means to surpress the masses of our people again. The world is watching and we who lived to tell our story will not rest until justice is rendered to all our peoples. Threats will only energize us more..finally thanks to my brothers who still believe taylor was their savior, and that any oppositons to their views was contrary. We forgive you and still believe that we are one people of Africa!

  10. I want to commend this website for job well done. Your website took the trial of Charles G. Taylor to the peoples of Sierra Leone and Liberia. No amount of words can express my appreciation. Your work was incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!