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Published:June 22nd, 2006 08:12 EST

Bringing Charles Taylor to Justice

By SOP newswire

The United States welcomes the June 20 transfer of former Liberian President Charles Taylor from Sierra Leone to The Hague where he will stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This action is an important step forward for justice and accountability and will contribute to stability in West Africa after decades of civil conflict.

Charles Taylor`s arrest and trial is the result of years of support for democracy and diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and our international partners. Beginning in 2001 when President Bush took office, we have been working toward a democratic transition in Liberia. In 2003, President Bush demanded that Charles Taylor step down to help bring peace to Liberia. Nigeria offered Taylor a temporary place of exile in order to facilitate his departure. However, the United States always maintained that Charles Taylor needed to be held accountable for his actions. We therefore supported Nigeria`s decision in March to turn Taylor over to the democratically elected Government of Liberia.

Before this transfer took place, the United States worked in the UN Security Council to make Taylor`s trial possible. We authored Resolution 1638 last November giving the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) the authority to arrest Charles Taylor and take him to the Sierra Leone Special Court. We subsequently worked to ensure the adoption of Resolution 1688 on June 16, which authorized the Special Court to be able to hold Taylor`s trial in The Hague.

Charles Taylor is the first African president to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His trial will demonstrate the international community`s commitment to holding individuals responsible for their actions. We applaud the efforts all those who have worked with us to bring Charles Taylor to justice.


Source: DoS