Charles Taylor, Foday Sankoh, Karadzic and the others?
The Libyan League for Human rights welcomes the arrest of former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone which indicted him on 17 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international Law, including killings, mutilations, rapes, sexual slavery, abductions and use of child soldiers. Mr. Taylor seized power in 1997 in a ruthless civil war that left an estimated 250.000 Liberians dead and thousands more seriously wounded. He was a frequent visitor to Libya where he was received with the honor granted to chief of states.
Taylor was indicted by the Special Court on 4 June 2003 and charged with bearing the greatest responsibility for the serious atrocities perpetrated in Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996. The conflict in Sierra Leone lasted from 1996 to 2002. It claimed 75000 lives and was marked by unprecedented brutality. Taylor was implicated with Foday Sankoh, the leader of a powerful Sierra Leonean armed group (RUF), in the ignition of the country's civil war whose major goal was the control of the Country's diamond wealth. According to paragraph 17 of his indictment "Charles Ghankay Taylor received military training in Libya from representatives of the Government of Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi. While in Libya the ACCUSED met and made common cause with Foday Saybana SANKOH".
There is, in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other part of Africa a real resentment of the alleged Libyan role in fueling the war Taylor stands today accused of its atrocities. In the words of the Liberian political analyst, Abdoulhaye Dukule "if the war tribunal in Sierra Leone indicts Taylor, Burkina Faso and Libya must be brought in as co-conspirators". He called on Liberians to bring fourth criminal and civil cases "against Libya and Burkina Faso for the killing of over 250.000 Liberians and the destruction of our national infrastructure" before concluding that this is the only way "to discourage other sponsors of terrorism against peaceful civilians".
The Libyan League for Human Rights considers Taylor's arrest and his trial an important step towards combating impunity which the League views as a core issue for the full observance of all human rights and the rule of law as well as a major obstacle to the full enjoyment of Human Rights. The League hopes that Taylor's trial is used as a harbinger of other actions to expose all violations of Human rights that constitute crimes, holding their perpetrators, including their accomplices, accountable, obtaining justice and effective remedy for their victims, including the restoration of their dignity. We call on all democratic states to prosecute and/or extradite, as in the case of Taylor, perpetrators of crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, disappearance, torture and other human rights abuses in accordance with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws.
7 April 2006