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Charles Taylor to Go on Trial June 4th

The trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been set for June 4th by the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Taylor stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the civil war that devastated the West African nation from 1996 to 2002. Taylor has pleaded innocent to the charges.

Peter Anderson is the spokesman for the court. VOA English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor asked him why June 4th was chosen for the trial. He said it was a mutual agreement between the defense and prosecution.

“There [was] initial disagreement over the date for the trial and the court ruled that it could be changed if the defense presents a credible reason for a change. They did and the new date was then agreed on,” he said.

Anderson said the prosecution is ready to present its case despite comments from the defense that Taylor is in poor health.

“The case will go ahead. As far as we know, Taylor is in good health and would be present at the trial, which would be in the form of those already held in Sierra Leone,” he said.

He said while the impending trial is being watched closely in the country, citizens are hopeful the event will heal several decades of bitterness and war. Anderson said, “Some might be of the opinion that the trial might open up old wounds, he said. “Sometimes it is necessary to open up wounds for real healing.”