Some supporters of former Liberian President Charles Taylor have been reacting to the resumption Monday of his trial in The Hague. Chief Cyril Allen is chairman emeritus of Taylor’s former National Patriotic Party of Liberia. Chief Allen told VOA the defense would prove that there is no evidence linking Mr. Taylor to war crimes in Sierra Leone.
“It is very difficult and almost impossible to do that because if you are talking about evidence it has to be internationally accepted. Anyone can make any allegations and any group of people can sit and collate a lie that can send any man to his grave. So no one is expecting that you will have honest people coming forward to present professional evidence. You will expect that most of these people are thoroughly briefed, and they will tip the case to wherever they want it to go. But the cross-examination and the defense will come through, and let’s wait for that occasion and then we can make that logical deduction,” he said.
An expert witness testified on day one of the resumed trial telling the court Taylor might have wanted Sierra Leone’s diamonds because they have far better quality than diamonds from Liberia. But Allen disagreed, suggesting that the so-called blood diamonds might not have come from Sierra Leone or Liberia.
“I was surprised that the expert did not also mention that huge quantities of diamonds came from Eastern Europe at the fall the Russian Empire that went into Western Europe and was falsely declared from various Africa countries, including Liberian and Sierra Leone. I thought if he were such an expert he would have mentioned that,” Allen said.
Supporters of Charles Taylor held a prayer service Sunday in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Allen said the prayer service was a show of support to prove that Mr. Taylor is not guilty.
“Categorically there is no one in Liberia that believes that anyone is guilty unless they have been proven so. International law and all internationally accepted principles and practices say that you have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that someone is guilty before they are actually guilty. You are talking about female genital mutilation and amputation, and you’re talking about rape and all those things then you need to have a lot evidence that Charles was sitting in the Executive Mansion in Liberia raping little girls in Sierra Leone, or that he gave instructions to do that,” Allen said.
He also said Taylor could not have committed such crimes for which he has been accused because Allen said Taylor is a Christian.
“We keep saying that Mr. Taylor is a Christian and amputation of a body is a Moslem doctrine. It has nothing to do with Liberia. It was the tendency of how those people conducted their war in Sierra Leone. And it couldn’t have been on his orders,” he said.
At the start of his trial last June, Taylor expressed concern that he would not get a fair trial. Allen said the defense would prove Mr. Taylor innocent.
"This trial would be the first time in the history of the International Criminal Court that someone has been indicted and they have come out clean. Once they are trying to link Mr. Taylor the activities in Sierra Leone with RUF (Revolutionary United Front rebels) they cannot produce evidence because there is no real evidence about that, there is no reality about it,” Allen said.