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

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid