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
— 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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid