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Sierra Leone Special Court Welcomes British Announcement on Charles Taylor


The announcement by Britain that it would imprison Charles Taylor, if he’s convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, is being praised by the UN backed Special Court in Sierra Leone.

Peter Anderson is the court spokesman. From Freetown, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the British announcement.

“This is welcome news. This is a significant step. It’s just one step along the way. We’re still looking at a couple of more steps that have to be accomplished before we can say that we can hold a trial at The Hague. I want to also make it clear that this was a requirement of the Dutch government that some other country would take Taylor if he were found guilty and that he has by no means been found guilty. The trial is still ahead of us and he is still considered to be innocent until proven guilty before the court,” he says.

What more needs to be done before the trial is held? Anderson says, “The next step would be that we would look for a (UN) Security Council resolution. That is also a requirement of the Dutch government in order to conclude a headquarters agreement with us that would allow us or indeed any international courts to sit within their jurisdiction.”

Despite the process, he says it is not a foregone conclusion that Taylor will be tried at court facilities at The Hague.