Liberia, in concert with other West African countries and the rest of the international community did not recognize the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor told judges today at his trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
The AFRC junta was a group of Sierra Leonean soldiers who overthrew the government of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in May 1997. The coup was met with widespread condemnation and non-recognition from the Sierra Leonean populace and the international community. The coup plotters who formed a merger with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels stayed in power until February 1998 when they were forcefully removed by peacekeepers of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and Tejan Kabbah’s government reinstated.
Charles Taylor has been accused of providing support to the AFRC junta by providing arms and ammunition for them in return for diamonds. Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations.
Mr. Taylor told Special Court judges today that “Liberia did not recognize the AFRC junta. So even if we had weapons, we would not have sent them to Sierra Leone.”
Mr. Taylor told the judges about former Ghanian president Jerry Rawlings’s visit to Liberia in 1997 during which they both signed a communique stating that “we must in the most emphatic terms condemn the illegal overthrow of constitutional order in Sierra Leone.” The two leaders, he said jointly called on the AFRC junta to yield to international demands and give up power so that the legitimate government of president Kabbah could be reinstated.
He said that the common position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was that “President Kabbah should be reinstated.”
Taylor, however, did admit that when he became president of Liberia in 1997, the AFRC sent a delegation to Liberia to meet with him. Taylor said he refused to meet with the delegation because he did not have a prior notice of the visit and that since he did not recognize them, there was no need to meet with them. “To have met with the delegation would have meant giving some credence to the regime that ECOWAS had refused to recognize,” he said. Taylor told the court that the first time he met and spoke with the AFRC leader Johnny Paul Koroma was in August 1999. At this time, Taylor was Chairman of the Committee of Five that was set up by ECOWAS to facilitate the restoration of peace in Sierra Leone. Taylor said that when the West Side Boys, a renegade group of AFRC soldiers, took some foreign military personnel hostage in Sierra leone, he called Johnny Paul Koroma to a meeting in Liberai in order to facilitate the release of the hostages.
Taylor denied allegations that he supplied arms and ammunition to the AFRC and RUF while he was president of Liberia. Taylor told judges that all fighting forces in Liberia had been disarmed and the Liberian military was non-existent at this time. “Here is a country just coming out of war with no economy, no army, what am I doing with another country? I did not even have arms for my own security. My protection was in the hands of ECOMOG.” Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor responded to prosecution evidence that he used Roberts International Airport in Monrovia to receive and transport arms and ammunition to rebel forces in Sierra Leone. Taylor said this would not have been possible since ECOMOG soldiers were using the airport to bomb Sierra Leone. “How do we fly arms to Sierra Leone?” Taylor asked.
Mr. Taylor admitted that he did provide a guest house for the RUF in Monrovia but insisted that he did this in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Five. He explained that ECOWAS leaders were free to go to the guest house and meet with the RUF delegation whenever they wanted to do so. Taylor said that while this was necessary to facilitate the peace process in Sierra Leone, it did not in anyway translate into support for the RUF. Taylor said as a member of ECOWAS, he was committed to bringing the conflict in Sierra Leone to a peaceful conclusion. “It is a matter of dignity, a matter of honour, a matter of being president and no longer a rebel leader,” he said.
Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.
They should just leave him alone.Johnson Sirleaf was his financier and his boss,She is equally or more answerable than Taylor.ICC, wake up and dont play upto the western powers – maintain your diginity
John if you are confused don’t write thing like this about our President. There is not a single Liberian in and out of Liberia who never supported the removal of dictator Samuel K. Doe. Some supported it morally while some like Ellen supported financially. Mr. Taylor misled every Liberian including Mrs. Sirleaf that he was having trained commandos who have respect for human rights. Because of this lie, Mrs. Sirleaf, You and I supported this struggle initially.Hence, Mrs Sirleaf is freed from every charge
Emangulf, who are you to say “Mrs. Sirleaf is free from every charge”? Did she go to court and was exonerated or acquited from any charge?As the matter of fact, what charge are you talking about that Mrs. Sirleaf is freed from? provide us with Sirleaf’s charge.
Johnson Sirleaf a woman a mother and grandmother who has no respect for human
right she said Doe and Taylor was a killer . i do not see any difference between she
Doe, and Taylor it is all about power. Johnoson sirleaf why why are you supporting
Sudanese President Omar Hassan who is killer his people Johnson is this your true
color you killer have no respect for mankind
It sounds confusing, theoretical, and preposterous that Jerry Rawlings who overthrew a constitutional government in Ghana and Charles Taylor who lead a successful military campaign to unseat a constitutional democracy in Liberia will signed a joint communiqué that “… in the most emphatic terms condemn the illegal overthrow of constitutional order in Sierra Leone” (I am quoting Charles Taylor). This is interesting!!
Remember that wise man changes. Rawlings and Taylor are no longer consider as coup marker and rebel learders, but former presidents. Lets us respect our leaders.
Forgotten already what President Barrack Obama said for the second time in his speech during his visit to Ghana? For reminder sake, I quote “Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans, and not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power”. Charles Taylor must stop kidding my brother and back down.
Yaya, speaking about reminder sake, you need to be reminded that President Taylor’s government was an elected and constitutional government that was overthrown. My boy, you can not have it both ways. No wonder why you anti Taylorist are struggling.
I am not sure if I am flowing with your logic as this is not an issue of impertinence but a statement of fact. Or are you concerned with affixing titles to the names of Taylor and Rawlings? I hope not as that concern will border on triviality. Now, to substantive matter. I did not draw on heresy, personal speculations, or innuendos to make my comments. I drew on Taylor’s own words that both he and Rawlings (two seating presidents) signed a joint communiqué condemning the “illegal overthrow” of a democratic order in Sierra Leone. However, when one critically considers the fact that both leaders sadistically ousted constitutional governments in their respective countries, one will question their sincerity, seriousness, and commitment to such communiqué. Besides, both leaders gained some form of popular support for their roles in unseating constitutional governments and in the process became role models for potential coup makers in West Africa. Thus, for both leaders (Taylor and Rawlings) to condemn others who were obviously inspired by their actions or who were emulating their ‘good example’ is sheer hypocrisy. By extension, their condemnation of the illegal overthrow of a constitutional order in Sierra Leone by ‘their students’ is by default self-condemnatory of themselves, their governments, and their modus operandi that eventually brought them to power. I believe they should have kept silent (wise men keep silent on such issue and do not draw undue criticism and attention to themselves) and give the opportunity to those leaders who did not come to power by violence and bloodshed.
Mr. Glolah, if this is your actual name or an alias, I believe your assertion is more interesting. were you opining that one’s ascending to power through revolutionary means rids one off the standing to sign or issue a communique, regardless of the political or internation stature of that individual?
Andrew. Stick to the issue and be rational. Do not stray into naivety and triviality about whom I am okay. Anyway, you got me lost with your question. I have no clue what you mean by “regardless of the political or internation [do you mean international?] stature of that individual?” What does political and international stature got to do with the issue? Well, hear me out! It seems preposterous and even disconcerting that an individual will ascend the presidency of a nation by violence and slaughter but chooses to condemn others who are using the same means to ascend the presidency in another country. I think when you ascend the presidency through such brutal means you loose the moral authority to denounce others who are emulating your example. Moreover, by condemning others for “illegally” overthrowing a constitutional democracy in Sierra Leone, what Taylor and Rawlings were in fact doing was condemning themselves. This is simple logic or is it not? By condemning others what they told the world is that what they did was also illegal, unconstitutional, and morally wrong. I am not judgemental here but am simply using logical conclusion.
Now, if I can move on then hear me out, Andrew. I believe this is the reason we need to encourage good governance in Africa and strive to construct a political system that is free from dictatorial behavior or tendencies, socio-political oppression, corruption, and nepotism (remember these were systemic issues in Doe’s government). This, I suppose, will considerably eliminate the possibility for socio-political and economic grievances to be solved by armed conflicts. For the use of violence and bloodshed to remove constitutional democracies is, from Taylor’s own mouth, “illegal” and unequivocally condemnatory (cf. Taylor himself acknowledged this when he signed that communiqué with Rawlings).
Remember now Glolah, these two men were elected by their people. When it come to President Taylor especially, He was elected overwhelmingly and not by the barrels of the guns that made him president.
Jose, let me sketch this out further. Remember, the path that both leaders (Taylor and Rawlings) chose which eventually led to their ascendancy to the presidency was first and foremost violent, littered with the corpses of humans, and horrendous. They were not presidential candidates representing political party in an election against a seating and democratically elected president. Rawlings overthrew an elected government while Taylor made a country ungovernable and made an elected government politically and militarily weak. Election was to come later to legitimize and sort of democratize their grip on power. For Taylor, he had greater Liberia, the resources of that area, and had served on the interim rotating presidency. For Rawlings, (I remember because I was living in Ghana then) elections came because of international pressure. Rawlings reluctantly caved into to international pressure to return the country to democratic rule (Rawlings himself has said this over and over) and I think similar pressure was at play in Liberia. Here’s the bottom line: the path both leaders chose was violence and bloodbath. I guess the question is which came first – war or election?
Jose, let me sketch this out further. Remember, the path that both leaders (Taylor and Rawlings) chose which eventually led to their ascendancy to the presidency was first and foremost violent, littered with the corpses of humans, and horrendous. They were not presidential candidates representing political party in an election against a seating and democratically elected president. Rawlings overthrew an elected government while Taylor made a country ungovernable and made an elected government politically and militarily weak (remember though Taylor duplicated Doe’s ghastly blunder – something like ‘dog eats dog’). Election was to come later to legitimize and sort of democratize their grip on power. For Taylor, he had greater Liberia, the resources of that area, and had served on the interim rotating presidency. For Rawlings, (I remember because I was living in Ghana then) elections came because of international pressure. Rawlings reluctantly caved into to international pressure to return the country to democratic rule (Rawlings himself has said this over and over) and I think similar pressure was at play in Liberia. Here’s the bottom line: the path both leaders chose was violence and bloodbath. I guess the question is which came first – war or election?
Mr Taylor delay is not denier, its’ good to confess, axcept the fact you did wrong along the way as an
ex leader. The blood of thounsands innocent chilren,women and men are awaiting judgement not
before the once that you can work your way throught; but before the Almighty the one that knows the
end from the beginning. There is no repentance beyound the grave . In your closet you know exerctly
what happen btw you and the RUF say the truth and give closure to those whose grive is building a memorial before our maker. Mr Taylor you can’t be a leader forever
This case is border purely on the exploitation of Sierra Leonean natural resources. All these western nations that have pump money into this court to prosecute Charles Taylor: What have they done for the people of Sierra Leone? SL is still a backward nation despite its rich natural resources . And most the those westerners who owe diamond companies in SL are living more than 100% better than the people of SL. No wonder Bob Marley said in the abandunce of water the fool is thirsty. SL better wake up and smell the coffee, cuz they will paid for all of this court expenses with their natural resources which will make them more poorer.
But let be honest here with all of our criticism of westerners, this case has once again proven the supremacy of these people , not so much that they were able to simply manipulate African leaders and arrest and prosecute one of their own but the fact that this case is open free and fair. If it continues to the end and justice is render base purely on facts as was presented, and if the facts vindicate Mr. Taylor with an acquittal.
I can tell anyone that the Europeans will gain more TRUST from Africans . Africans will become more divisive and there will be a strong wave to send most of our leaders here for prosecution. African will once again go backward because we will no more have any confidence in our own system since it was the African justice system that brought Mr. Taylor to this place.
To understand my point just look at European soccer, all over African people no longer paid much attention to African soccer but focus striaghtly on European soccer since the raise of George Weah and others.
Mr. Gray, I am one person who continue to say that this trial is not about Mr. Taylor. It is more about the credibility of international justice and particularly about the intergrity of the panel of judges who are entrusted with delivering the goods. So let us give them a chance. Because all legal experts can freely say that the prosecution fell short of proving their case. As the prosecution admitted, it did not have first hand evidence so it had to rely on circumstantial evidence. Meaning is it was telling the judges that its case was not strong or bluntly its evidence was not strong enough to support their claim or hypothesis. In that instance, most tribunals grant the benefit of the doubt to the defendant. Let us see what will happen here.
You are such a genius king Gray, Wow! I’ll forward this comment to my former sociology professor.
no way to edit on this site. it is a problem….
Dear King Grey, recommend copy and paste into Microsoft word, run spell check, make edits, then copy and paste back into the site. Cheers!
From the start, this has always been a political trial and not a criminal one. The powerful “WEST” sought many ways to get Taylor and now they get him. Liberians have always allow themselves to be used and that is evident in the fact that after 162 years of existence they have nothing to show for it. The thousands of innocent men, women and children that were killed by ULIMO deserve justice. Sierra Leone armed and trained ULIMO, why are Joseph Momo, Kabba and the likes not in court to answer for the lives of those innocent people?
Sierra Leone had to fight back to repel the RUF rebels unleashed by Taylor by any means. If only President Momoh had been a strong leader, Sierra Leone would have exercised her right of hot pursuit and chase the RUF up to Gbarnga or even Monrovia.
Taylor was not only in partnership with Foday sankioh, but also by his own admission with gambian dissidents and other west africans in revolutionary unity and solidarity to wreak havoc in West Africa. Their god father Gaddaffi of Libya is a typical arab leader who just believes terrorism is the answer to all human conflicts.
If Taylor has admitted being in contact, support and cooperation with the RUF, no matter how long and for whatever reasons, then he is guilty in most of the counts as charged. No court of law will free him completely on all those grave charges. He had the motive and the means to have committed the crimes as charged. Throughout those dark periods of Sierra Leone and Liberia history his pronouncements on the news media were revealing as to the level and depth of support and sympathy he was rendering the RUF.
Taylor, gone are the days of sweet talks. You must bleam yourself for your own trouble you created. Reflect on your life, your entire life has been marked by trouble; you spent and is spending time in jail, your first son is in jail, your family cannot hold together anymore. Are you really thinking about this? Your judgement is taking place right here. Those women and children you damaged, blood is on your head. Please repent, and God Almighty will for give you. No one will listen to all your empty talks.
Buway, you sound just like the British imperialists who branded the American revolutionists as terrorists. Are you aware that Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other American heros at the time they were fighting for America’s independence were labelled as “terrorist”? Are you also aware that Nelson Mendala were labelled by the Britishs as “terrorist” and he was banned from visiting the United States ?
The point here is simple, whenever people are fighting for liberation against powerful nations they are always regarded as “trouble makers” and “terrorists.” So you may be right that Mr. Taylor looked for his own trouble by fighting for freedom and justice for the people of Liberia because in the eyes of those powerful nations it was a bad thing to do.
What surprises me the most is ,that Taylor is been tried for crimes committed in Sierra Leone, and not for crimes perpetrated in Liberia. The question now is; if Taylor is on trial for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity committed in Sierra Leone, why is it, that ex-president Tejan Kabbah is still a free man?
Long live President Taylor. You wil emerge victorious in this theatrical trial despite the entire World, Western Powers, U.N, Liberian and Sierraleonian Government diabolical and cynical plan to incarcera te you in a Whiteman’s jail cell. Also, Griffiths is a phenomenally awesome Lawyer. He has disrupted, dismantled, and defeated the prosecution false case against you. However though, Mr. Taylor and those who are on the side of real justice suffer no illusion that it will be hard. However, we are very confident that Mr. Taylor will be acquited. We are also inspired by his sacrifice and love for country with an unyielding support. We say Bravo Zulu to Mr. Taylor. Finally, Mr. Whiteman, please FREE THIS INNOCENT MAN.
How can he be freed when he has already admitted his support for the RUF. The reason behind his actions is irrelevant here. From the horses mouth, there was cooperation between the NPFL and the RUF which culminated in liberian fighters fighting in Sierra Leone. Acoording to him, it came to an end in 1992.
The man has already admitted his guilt. He reckons he will come off lightly by insinuating that his support was brief and that it is a response to counter the threat of ULIMO. Whom did the world hear first, ULIMO or RUF. ULIMO came to the scene after NPFL and RUF. The sequence or chain of events relating to the Liberia and Sierra Leone troubles is very clear. ULIMO could only have been a response to the NPFL and RUF and not the other way round.
Bobson, you seem to be very stubborn in accepting the facts. If you were actually paying attention to the trial, you would have known about the STF (Special Task Force) This gorup comprised of prior service member of the Armed Forces of Liberia and police that sought refuge in Sierraleone. This group regrouped militarily and was supported by President Joseph Momo of Sierraleone at the time to come and attack Taylor’s position in Liberia. Joseph Momo was a friend of the late President Doe. He could not have comprehended that Taylor was winning against his friend and doing nothing about it. This STF was also incorporated into the Sierraleone Army and was paid. Later on, this STF became ULIMO. Perhaps, it was when you heard about the crisis in Sierraleone.
Tejan Kaba worked at the UN for many years and he has lots of friends in the UN system. I used his friendship leverage with Kofi Annan and others to influence the arrest of Taylor for War Crimes. This is not a Sierra Leonean court, Sierra Leone is just fronting for the West. This how we Africans continues to allowed ourselves to be used by the West. Tejan Kaba will remain scout free because he is part of the system that establish the court in itself.
The way you have messed up your countries, you dare put a referendum in front of your people to ask them whether they want the westernesrs back or not. Guess what most of them will vote overwhelmingly for their return.
You africans can hardly build yourself sustainable societies, you create all troubles for your people and want to put the blame on foreigners. Shame on you with your west bashing.
Do you know where your shameless leaders including Taylor send the money they loot from their countries to, their children to school to and buy villas and mansions? It is the west. Now you can cover yourself in shame and pity.
Is there TRUE JUSTIC in this our one given word? Is Tony Blay and George Bush actions in Afghanistan and Irak any way diffirent form what happened to the people of Sierra Leone of which mr. Taylor is been tria for? With God above, i will one day fine a trueful answers to these questions. Mr. Taylor, may God be with you during these trial times.
If Taylor was so much intoned with the junta, why didn’t his Government recognize the Junta barbaric actions against the people of Sierraleone when they seized power from President Kabah? By the way, why the British Military doesn’t want to take credit or at least some credit for helping to flush the junta out of the Capitol freetown? We all know and the entire world knows that the British fought the junta. OOPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! I know why the British doesn’t want their name to be mentioned. It is because independent judgement people like me will ask. Why these white mercenary are in Africa killing these African people again. Besides, justice and reality will expose their moral defenses and at the same time work on their conscience. The truth of the matter is the British fought in Sierraleone and not only Ecomog soldierS. Say the truth and the truth will set you free America and the British.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? This proverbial statement is applicable to the British and the Americans. If an African takes an African diamond is none of your business. Africans didn’t come to your continent America and Europe to take your diamonds. Mind your own business. There you have bunch of crooks who plummeted the global economy and millions of people lost their live savings. Instead of fixing the problems on global economy and disciplining the culprits, you rewarded these banks and crooks with tax payer money in the name of BAILOUT. However, I love America and Britain; therefore, I do not want them to lose their soul because of the acquisition of wealth. FREE MR.TAYLOR.
I like what you say Rodriguez, The true here is that the west don’t want to let the world know what they are actually judging Mr. Taylor for. I am from Liberia and not a taylor supporter; and I spent my entire life in exile What I think is taylor should be judged for what he did in Liberia and not Sierra Leone. The African leaders are bunch of fools because they all fought hard to gain independence from the west, but yet than still their affairs are still being run by the white man. Where in this world an african leader will order the arrest of a leader of any western country? The answer is no way. If it will ever happen, may be when Jesus himself will help to inforce it. During my escape from Liberia, i saw a lot of Sierra Leonian fighting along side another reble group call ULIMO. Those guys were supported by the government of sierra leone, why are those people still living free. Let me just say this, Sierra Leonian should be held responsible for their own action and blaming someone else.
Mr. Jose, While are you so fervent about this case, you made few good points; however, let see how the Pros. is going to handle Mr/Pres. Taylor and if he’ll stay consistent
Don’t worry about the prosecution handling Mr. Taylor. I can assure you prosecutor Hollis or Rapp have never come across a witness like Charles Ghankay Taylor before. There will be no questions asked that he can not answer clearly and truthfully.
When will the white people themselves pay for the crime they committed against humanity when they took our Gold, Diamond, Silver, Iron ore,and Human resources. They took our people and made them slaves, kill most of them on sea and threw them in the ocean with out a fitting burial. Is it that we don’t know who did these crimes? We do it is the British, American, Portuguese, French, Germans,Italian. These nations exist today and should pay for what they did to us.
Why are they prosecuting Charles Taylor already? They should first remove the rafter from their eyes and then when they can see properly move the straw from our eyes. Wow to the west and its false portray of Justice. If justice should prevail, Charles Taylor would walk free.
who is Hon. Kabungo Makinde Paul? can anyone answer this for me? thank you for any responses i may get.
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