News / Africa

Mixed Reaction to Sentencing of Liberia's Charles Taylor

People at the Special Court for Sierra Leone watch live broadcast of ICC proceedings of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, Freetown, April 2012 (file photo).
People at the Special Court for Sierra Leone watch live broadcast of ICC proceedings of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, Freetown, April 2012 (file photo).
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison for aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone. Hundreds of people turned out at a courthouse in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, to watch as Taylor received his sentencing, broadcast live from The Hague.

Musa Conteh still has nightmares about his experience during the war. Rebels took over his house in Makeni, north of Freetown. Several times they almost killed him. He says he is lucky to be alive, but others did not have the same luck.

"I've seen some of my family members shot at close range without even interrogation by the killers, and that's sad," he said.

Conteh, who came out today to hear the sentencing, thinks Taylor should have received the 80-year sentence that prosecutors had asked for.

The government of Sierra Leone says "justice has been done" with the sentencing of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Government spokesman Sheka Tarawalie said Wednesday that Taylor's 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity was welcome news for victims who may now find some relief.

David Crane, former chief prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, however, called Taylor's sentence "appropriate," saying it represents the "end of an era" for a man who played a central role in atrocities that destroyed lives in Sierra Leone.

Joe De Capua's Full Interview with David Crane
De Capua interview with David Crane.i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

"I am pleased for the people of Sierra Leone who finally have seen final justice for the one man who was really the center point in aiding and abetting a horror story that destroyed their lives," he said.

Others think the sentence is too harsh.

Eldred Colins is a former member of the rebel Revolutionary United Front, or RUF.  He insists Taylor never took diamonds from rebels.  And he says the charges against Taylor were exaggerated.

"You can say he gave us a way to come to Liberia from Sierra Leone and some other help but that communication was only for about two years," he said.

Amputees such as Mohamed Tarawallie were some of the people most affected by the war.

Rebels killed Tarawallie's parents when he was just 14 years old. They also cut off both his hands.

He says he feels relief with the sentence. "I feel good because somebody caused crime in the country," he said. "They now arrest him, discipline him."

He says it is people like him who now have to suffer because of Taylor's actions.

And he says he just wishes there was more support for victims like him, such as free healthcare or skills training to find work. He hopes something like that will happen in the future.

As for Musa Conteh, he is happy just to see Taylor convicted and sentenced. "Thank God I'm alive and I've seen the end of it all," he said.

Hopefully, he added, this will be a new beginning that will allow his country to move forward.

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eli Workmen from: Albany, ny
May 30, 2012 11:08 PM
Taylor should have been from South Africa, kill for free and remain in government.

by: john2397 from: usa
May 30, 2012 3:23 PM
Charles Taylor was rightly summoned, tried and sentenced to 50 years jail term for his crime of killings few thousands innocents but what about George Bush, Cheney, Kissinger, Tony Blair, few Israeli leaders and several others who have also killed several hundred thousands innocents declaring or instigating wars, genocides, mass killings and human rights abuses? Or the Hague Court is reserved for the third world criminals only?

by: Ian
May 30, 2012 3:20 PM
Amazing, even Africa has higher standards than America. We put people to death for much less than what Taylor has done. We are disgusting.

by: watermark0n from: Mississippi, USA
May 30, 2012 3:05 PM
"The only reaction should be why wasn't he put to death "

Because the international court can't impose the death penalty. There are many countries that wouldn't sign onto an international court if it had such a provision. Also, please don't tell me what my reaction should be. You are incredibly arrogant.

"and why did it take so long and so much money to get to this point."

Because due process should rightfully be a thorough process.

by: Sean
May 30, 2012 3:02 PM
Taylor gets convicted and sentenced to 50 years for supporting a rebel force in another country.

Isn't that exactly what the US did in Libya, and too many other countries to count?

by: Elijah Andika from: Nairobi, Kenya
May 30, 2012 2:35 PM
Although it is commonly quoted that justice delayed is justice denied, from this sentence it has dawned to me that justice denied is justice postponed! It doesn't matter how powerful the oppressor is and how influecial he/she is, justice will always prevail.

by: William Holder from: WNC - USA
May 30, 2012 2:34 PM
The only reaction should be why wasn't he put to death and why did it take so long and so much money to get to this point.

by: Les Moor from: Texas
May 30, 2012 2:30 PM
Wow, still people don't believe Taylor was a monster. Incredible.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs