Among those following the debate over the location of the Charles Taylor trial is Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff, former executive-secretary of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She’s currently first vice-president of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network.
From Freetown, she told English to Africa’s Joe De Capua that Charles Taylor should be tried at the UN-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone. “Yes, I think it’s very important for the trial of Charles Taylor to take place in the Mano River sub-region and particularly in Sierra Leone. Because I think it is necessary that this is the place where so many things happened. That it is necessary for ordinary people to be part of the trial and for the trial to be accessible to them, the ordinary people who suffered during the war, to be able to also know that justice can also be done as well as atrocities can be done in the Mano River sub-region.”
She says Sierra Leone still bears many physical and emotional scars from the civil war and many women are still suffering from the rapes and sexual assaults that occurred during the war. She says those responsible should apologize. Asked whether she thought Taylor was a man who could apologize, Jusu-Sheriff says that she and others had met with him while he was in power.
“He spoke to us very well. He was very responsive to our appeals to him to bring back peace. I think that, yes, he is somebody who can apologize. I hope that if he is really found true by the court that he is guilty of the allegations made against him, I hope that he will be man enough to take his punishment. And above all he will be man enough to apologize.”