International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Parties in Taylor Trial Make Appeals Submissions

On April 26, 2012, Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) convicted Taylor of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes including rape, murder, and destruction of civilian property committed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) forces in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 to January 18, 2002. The judges further found that Taylor planned an attack on Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. On May 30, 2012, the judges sentenced Taylor to a jail term of 50 years for these crimes.

Today, the parties made oral submissions to the Appeals Chamber. Most of the submissions were about the limits of criminal liability for aiding and abetting a crime. In … Continue Reading

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Charles Taylor Oral Appeal Hearings–Tuesday Jan. 22 and Wednesday Jan. 23 2012

The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone will hear oral submissions from prosecution and defense lawyers in the Charles Taylor appeal on Tuesday January 22 and Wednesday January 23 2012. The hearings will commence on 10:00 AM each day.

The statement below was issued by the Public Information Section of the Court, explaining the issues that will be covered in the oral hearings, and the sequence in which the parties will address the Appeals Chamber.

1. The Parties shall be prepared to respond to oral questions posed by the Justices about issues raised in their Written Submissions; and

2. The Parties will otherwise be asked to limit their submissions to the following issues pursuant to Rule 114 of the … Continue Reading

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Appeals Hearing in Taylor Case Postponed

Today, judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone postponed the appeals hearing in the case of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. The hearing was originally scheduled to take place tomorrow and Friday of this week. The Appeals Chamber has now set a date of January 22, 2013 for the hearing to commence.

On April 26, 2012 the trial chamber convicted Taylor of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes including rape, murder, and destruction of civilian property by Revolutionary United Front and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council forces in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 to January 18, 2002. The judges also found that Taylor helped to plan attacks on three towns, including the diamond rich town of Kono and … Continue Reading

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Why the Special Court for Sierra Leone Should Establish an Independent Commission to Address Alternate Judge Sow’s Allegation in the Charles Taylor Case

Dear readers – The article below is written by Professor Charles C. Jalloh at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Introduction

On April 26, 2012, after Presiding Judge Richard Lussick read out the summary of Trial Chamber II’s long-awaited verdict in the case Prosecutor v. Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), Alternate Judge El Hadj Malick Sow controversially proceeded to issue his own “dissenting opinion.”

The way in which Trial Chamber II reacted to Sow’s decision to make a public statement on Taylor’s trial, the exclusion of Sow’s statement from the official transcript of the hearing and recent information suggesting … Continue Reading

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Public Reaction in Sierra Leone to the Judgment of Charles Taylor

With the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law-Sierra Leone (CARL-SL) and the Fourah Bay College Human Rights Clinic (FBCHRC) conducted a series of outreach events in July 2012 in Freetown, Kenema, Kailahun, Kono, and Makeni to inform the Sierra Leone people about the judgment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in the case of The Prosecutor v. Charles Ghankay Taylor.  The outreach series consisted of a panel discussion in Freetown at the Fourah Bay College and public discussions in Kenema, Kailahun, Koidu (Kono), and Makeni.  These locations were selected for outreach events because the Trial Chamber specifically listed these as the locations of the crimes Taylor aided and abetted … Continue Reading

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Prosecution and Defense to Appeal Charles Taylor Judgment and Sentence

Prosecution and Defense teams in the case of convicted former president of Liberia Charles Taylor will appeal various aspects of the judgment and sentence delivered by the Trial Chamber judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). This was made clear in separate filings made by the parties this week.

The Trial Chamber judges on April 26, 2012 convicted Taylor of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes including rape, murder, and destruction of civilian property by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) forces in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 to January 18, 2002. The judges further found that Taylor helped to plan attacks on three towns, including the diamond rich town of Kono … Continue Reading

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Charles Taylor Sentenced to 50 Years in Jail

Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to a jail-term of 50 years after he was convicted of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes in Sierra Leone. He was also convicted of planning attacks on various towns including the diamond rich town of Kono in late 1998 and the country’s capital Freetown in January 1999.

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At Prosecution and Defense Oral Arguments on Sentencing, Charles Taylor Makes Public Statement

Today, convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor made what might be his final public statement in court before Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague as his defense lawyers and prosecutors made oral submissions on the possible sentence he should serve after being convicted for his involvement in Sierra Leone’s 11 year civil conflict.

After being granted 30 minutes to address the Court, in a gray suit, white shirt, and a light blue tie, Taylor stood in front of the witness stand, using what seemed like his last public statement to address not only the judges and parties to the proceedings in court, but also to the “world audience.”

The former Liberian president started by stating that the “observations” he … Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyers say 80-Year Sentence Excessive for Charles Taylor

Defense lawyers for convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor have told Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) judges in The Hague that the prosecution’s request for Taylor to serve a maximum of 80 years in jail is “disproportionate” and “excessive.”

In their sentencing submission filed on May 10, 2012, defense lawyers noted that “the 80-year sentence advocated by the Prosecution is manifestly disproportionate and excessive; it is not justified.”

On April 26, SCSL judges found Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of all crimes charged in the 11 count indictment against him. The judges noted that Taylor was not liable for the actions of the rebel forces in Sierra Leone under the doctrines of command responsibility or joint criminal enterprise. … Continue Reading

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Morris Anyah is Now Lead Defense Counsel for Charles Taylor’s Appeal

The Special Court for Sierra Leone has today announced a change in the composition of Charles Taylor’s defense team as Morris Anyah, formerly a co-defense counsel, has been appointed as the lead defense counsel to handle the former Liberian president’s appeal. It is understood that this change in his defense team  has been announced with the consent of Mr. Taylor, in line with his right to be represented by counsel of his choosing.

On April 26, judges in The Hague convicted Mr. Taylor of aiding and abetting 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 to January 18, 2002. The former Liberian president is entitled … Continue Reading

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