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Try Charles Taylor in Sierra Leone, Not The Hague, Says NGO


Although it’s looking more likely that former Liberian leader Charles Taylor will be tried in The Hague, there are still calls for him to stand trial in Sierra Leone. Taylor was indicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone on war crimes charges stemming from the country’s civil war.

Valnora Edwin is the coordinator for the NGO Campaign for Good Governance. From Freetown, she told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that it does matter where Taylor faces trial:

“Why I feel that it is important than he is tried in Sierra Leone is we feel closer to the process. We feel that we are part of it. We can go there and hope to see him. Witnesses will be able to look him in the face and tell him exactly what he’s been doing…. We’re seeking justice here. But who are we seeking justice for? The people of Sierra Leone. And if it’s taken away from us, who are we actually seeking the process for? Is it just a satisfaction for the international community?”

Edwin says if there’s concern over security, then the international community should beef up security in Sierra Leone and allow the trial to be held then. He says, “The war in Sierra Leone affected every Sierra Leonean. I also personally suffered in the war. My house was completely burned down. I had to run out with my mom and my family and we didn’t take anything out. And since then nothing has been done to say, ‘Let’s help you in what you’re doing.’”

The Campaign for Good Governance coordinator says much remains to be done for the amputees and the victims of rape and sexual assault.

“You have to keep in mind that for the average Sierra Leonean the person we hear about is Charles Taylor. It’s Foday Sankoh (rebel leader). It’s Mosquita (rebel leader). Foday Sankoh and Mosquita are gone. At least we have Charles Taylor. That is something.”

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