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.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs