News / Africa

Sierra Leone Expels Charles Taylor Ally

Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks with his guerrilla field commanders and United Nations officials on ending Sierra Leone's civil war. Others (from left) are Sankoh's m
Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks with his guerrilla field commanders and United Nations officials on ending Sierra Leone's civil war. Others (from left) are Sankoh's m
TEXT SIZE - +
— Sierra Leone officials say they have deported a notorious arms dealer and ally of former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was facing criminal charges. But the whereabouts of the suspect, Ibrahim Bah, were unknown on Tuesday, as his native Senegal denied having received him.
 
Justice Minister Frank Kargbo did not confirm that Ibrahim Bah had been kicked out of the country until late on Monday, the same day a court in Freetown issued a warrant for his arrest.

Kargbo provided no details beyond saying that Bah was destined for Senegal.

Bah faces charges including assault and kidnapping, stemming from a private complaint brought by a man in Sierra Leone's eastern Kono district. The man says Bah threatened to kill him and held him against his will for several days.

The private case was filed after it became clear that Sierra Leonean authorities had no interest in trying Bah, who United Nations experts discovered living in the country earlier this year. His whereabouts were unknown until the experts released their report in May. Bah has been under a U.N. travel ban since 2004.

Ibrahim Tommy, executive director for the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law in Freetown, said Sierra Leonean officials were never enthusiastic about the case and had indicated they would not help out with the private prosecution.

"They have told us from the get-go that they didn’t have the resources, they didn’t have the time to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of Kono district," said Tommy.

Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison last year after the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone found him guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's civil war.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
x
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
​Although Bah was not charged by that court, he played a critical role in Taylor’s crimes. Judges concluded that he was a “trusted emissary” of Taylor’s who helped arrange arms and diamond transfers with rebels in Sierra Leone.

Human rights groups and other observers argued that a trial of Bah in Sierra Leone would allow the country to showcase how far its judiciary has come since the U.N. tribunal began work in the country.

Instead, Tommy said, the country’s decision to deport Bah showed a failure of the judiciary to support victims of the country’s 11-year conflict, which ended in 2002.

“We would’ve hoped that the government would support our efforts, would support the victims who have brought this matter against Ibrahim Bah," he said. "They have the right to justice. Ibrahim Bah must, we insist, he must have his day in court.”

Human Rights Watch said that with Bah's deportation, Sierra Leone has "taken a real step backward on promoting justice for grave crimes."

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid