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Liberian President says Charles Taylor Should be Tried at Hague

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, now in custody on war crimes charges at the UN backed Special Court in Sierra Leone, should be tried at the Hague instead.

Frank Sainworla of VOA affiliate station Radio Veritas spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua from Monrovia about her position. Sainworla reports, “The president said she expected the United Nations Security Council, based on her request, to change the venue of the trial of Mr. Taylor from the war crimes special court in Freetown to the Hague in the Netherlands. And she said the government was interested in maintaining the dignity of Mr. Taylor as a person. She said this was in line with the international Geneva conventions that a person is innocent until proven guilty by a court.”

Some are lobbying for a change in venue. Sainworla says, “Mr. Taylor’s former ruling National Patriotic Party has been pressing for a change in venue ever since. And the president, herself, has said that there’s a need to change the venue to a more conducive environment. Then there is this public sentiment that perhaps Freetown will be a hostile environment for the trial of Mr. Taylor. So, there has been mounting public pressure, in fact, from certain quarters for this venue of Mr. Taylor’s trial to be changed from Freetown to The Hague.