News

    Taylor Looks Forward to Start of His Trial, Lawyer Says

    The trial of former Liberian President Charles Ghanky Taylor is due to begin a month from Friday, June fourth in The Hague.  Taylor is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the Sierra Leone civil war.  Both the prosecution and Taylor’s defense lawyers are said to be busy preparing for the case.

    James Laveli Supuwood is the former Solicitor General of Liberia and one of Taylor’s lawyers.  He has just returned from The Hague to visit with Mr. Taylor. Supuwood told VOA the former President Taylor is looking forward to the start of his trial.

    “Mr. Taylor is doing well. As you know, he’s a man with a very strong will power. He is looking forward that this wonderful case can start. As you know, Mr. Taylor, as a defendant in a major criminal case, does not have the burden to prove his case. It is the prosecution that has the burden to prove the crimes charged. So we are all looking forward to see this day,” he said.

    Supuwood said although Taylor is not comfortable with the position in which he finds himself, still he’s looking forward to the merits of the prosecution’s case.

    “Sierra Leone has always had problems like any other country. Liberia has problems, Nigeria has problems, United States has problems, and South Africa has problems. All countries have their own problems. But to single out the president of a neighboring state as one responsible for the problems in Sierra Leone is a serious case for the sub-region,” Supuwood said.

    He said the Taylor trial is expected to set precedence for the West Africa sub-region because it is the first time that a sitting head of state has been indicted in the region for crimes committed in a neighboring state.

    “For us it is a new experience; it presents new challenges because unless this case is properly managed, it could serve as a source of friction between Liberia and Sierra Leone. That is my fear,” Supuwood said.

    He said the former Liberian president would call an array of witnesses to make his case.

    “Witnesses will come from Liberia, witnesses will come from Sierra Leone; witnesses will come from other parts of Africa; witnesses will come from Europe, witnesses will come from the United States; witnesses will come from all over the place because this case is a case that involves threats to international peace. So whatever it takes to bring the truth out so that mankind will have a basis for judgment as to what really took place in Sierra with respect to the role Taylor might have played is crucial,” he said.

    Supuwood said Taylor is hopeful he will get a fair trial. Contrary to what some had suggested, Supuwood said Taylor does not intend to use his case to put the system on trial the same way that the late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic did.

    “I don’t see Mr. Taylor using this case for any other purpose than to defend himself against those who have charged him for being responsible for the socio-political problems of Sierra Leone,” Supuwood said.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora