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UN Special Court Says Despite Asylum, Charles Taylor Remains Indicted War Criminal - 2003-07-07

The UN Special Court in Sierra Leone is reacting to news that Liberian President Charles Taylor is being granted asylum in Nigeria. The court has indicted Mr. Taylor on war crimes charges for allegedly supporting rebels during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Tom Perriello is the spokesman for the special court’s prosecutor. From Freetown, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about Nigeria granting asylum to the Liberian leader.

He says, “At this point there is no change in our previous statements. We have indicted Mr. Taylor and he remains an indicted war criminal. And we will do what we can to bring him to account for that and hope he will come before the court.” He says the Liberian leader would not be tried in absentia.

Asked whether the court would make any special appeal to Nigeria, Mr. Perriello says, “As with all countries where we hear of an indictee being present we will do what we can to request an arrest in that state.” He adds, however, “It is important to note that the special court was set up by the international community upon the request of the Security Council. And we believe it is not the burden of any particular country to deal with this question, but of the international community, which created the special court to try those to bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities that occurred here.”

He says, “We believe the pressure should be on the international community and not on any particular country.

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