The son of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor has been
convicted in the southern US state of Florida on charges of torture and
committing atrocities. Chuckie Taylor's conviction stems from his role as the
leader of a so-called anti-terrorist unit, known as the Demon Forces, that
operated under his father's rule. Prosecutors say the unit was really used to
attack the opposition and train soldiers to fight in neighboring countries,
such as Sierra Leone.
University Law Professor David Crane is the former chief prosecutor of the
Special Court for Sierra Leone, who signed the indictment against Charles
Taylor. Taylor is now on trial at a courtroom at The Hague for war crimes and
crimes against humanity. Professor Crane spoke to VOA English to Africa Service
reporter Joe De Capua about Charles "Chuckie" Taylor.
Taylor, or Chuckie Taylor of course, he goes by several names. Charles Chuckie
Taylor Junior, also known as Charles McArthur Emmanuel, was an American
citizen. And was coming back to the United States after his father was finally
handed over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone for a fair and just trial and
he got popped (arrested)…basically on a passport violation. And he was dealt
with there and then. The US Justice Department realized they had a little
monster on their hands -- someone who tortured people as head of the
anti-terrorism unit -- and charged him with five counts related to that torture
and he was convicted on three," he says.
to the guilty verdict, Crane says, "I always thought…it's about the victims.
It's called justice. Chuckie Taylor was an apple that really didn't fall very
far from the tree."
Miami, US Attorney R. Alexander Acosta has called the conviction "historic."
But Crane says, "Certainly, it's important. I'm not sure it's historic.
Certainly, he's the first American, I think, to be convicted on the torture
statute, but it is significant."
he says that the conviction sends a message. "It sends messages to US citizens,
who move about the world or who are involved with those who are committing war
crimes and crimes against humanity, that they certainly open themselves up
under US law for a possible indictments if they are profiting or being a part
of organizations, governments, what have you, that in fact cause torture to
happen in another part of the world," he says.
As for the trial of the senior Taylor,
Crane says it's "moving along" and he expects a verdict next year.