Charles Taylor today called prosecution allegations that he was involved in ritual sacrifice and cannibalism “racist”. The accused former Liberian president also dismissed his trial as an extension of regime change policies of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Taylor spent a second day responding to the evidence of prosecution witness and former member of Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), Joseph Marzah. In his 2008 testimony, Witness Marzah (otherwise known as “Zig Zag” Marzah) alleged that he was present at Mr. Taylor’s residence when the former Liberian president buried a pregnant woman at the back of his house as a ritual sacrifice to obtain power in Liberia. Witness Marzah also testified that he feasted on human beings together with Mr. Taylor while he served as Chief of Operations for the NPFL.
A very angry Mr. Taylor today dismissed the allegations agaist him as being “racist.”
“It is not true. But you know, there is something deeper to this whole thing. I don’t care what the prosecution says but this is racist, it is as racist as it ever gets,” Mr. Taylor said in a very angry voice.
“All the murderous regimes of Europe throughout World War II coming on, nobody is eating human beings and burying pregnant women and being sadistic as this as an African. You go to Liberia and bring four uneducated people that never even went to the ninth grade, Moses Blah never went to the ninth grade, Vamunyan Sherif hardly went to school, Abu Keita hardly, and this other one that never entered a class room, never, cannot read, cannot write and you bring him here, and you have a president eating people and burying pregnant women, this is beyond racism, it shows bigotry, and that’s what this case is all about,” the former president said.
Mr. Taylor also vehemently denied allegations in Witness Marzah’s testimony that he (Taylor) gave orders for the execution of Superman, a Liberian commander of Sierra Leone’s rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Witness Marzah also said that based on Mr. Taylor instructions, Superman’s hand was cut off and his heart removed and taken to Mr. Taylor. Together with Mr. Taylor, they feasted on Superman’s heart, Witness Marzah said in his testimony.
Denying Witness Marzah’s allegations, Mr. Taylor today said that “there was no hand, no nothing taken to my house. I am not aware of how Superman was killed, when or how. It is not true.”
Mr. Taylor further denied allegations made by Witness Marzah in his 2008 testimony that he ordered the execution of certain members of the RUF, such as commanders Sam Bockarie and Daniel Tamba (otherwise known as “Jungle”), and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) chairman Johnny Paul Koroma. [The AFRC overthrew the government of Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 1997 and formed an alliance with the RUF. The AFRC/RUF alliance was forcefully removed from power by West African peacekeepers in 1998. Mr. Taylor is accused of supporting both the RUF and AFRC through the supply of arms and ammunition in return for Sierra Leone’s diamonds]. In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor denied killing Mr. Koroma.
“This is a lie,” he said. “Johnny Paul Koroma, not to my knowledge, never entered Liberia. But as this case proceeds, most of the individuals mentioned here will come forward and give the real story.”
Responding to Witness Marzah’s claim that Mr. Taylor executed the Sierra Leonean rebels in order to cover any trace of his links with the RUF, Mr. Taylor said “to cover it from what? That will be total nonsense and only a sick mind will suggest that.”
Mr. Taylor in his testimony, also told the judges today that his trial is part of a wave of regime change policies by western powers especially the United States and Great Britain.
“I did know that certain countries like the United States and United Kingdom were against me and were seeking regime change in Liberia. I am brought here by Britain and America,” Mr. Taylor said. “At this particular time in the world when there was Iraq and regime change, it was good to go into Africa, snatch one little leader from a small country, let’s set an example of him to show there is no impunity.”
“Listen, there is nothing that is just about this, I have no control over it, I am going through it, and I will go through it. There is nothing legal about this,” Mr. Taylor said. “Until I go to my grave, there is nothing just about this. The big powers have executed their powers, they have brought me here.”
Mr. Taylor denied other allegations by Witness Marzah that he (Taylor) order that the NPFL and RUF to subject civilians to sexual violence and forced labour. He also denied giving orders to kill and eat the members of the Krahn tribe in Liberia, or to kill United Nations and West African peacekeepers. Mr. Taylor further denied supplying arms and ammunition to rebel forces in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Taylor called Witness Marzah’s entire testimony a “complete set-up and it is as programmed as this.”
Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.