The chief prosecutor in the trial of former Liberian president Charles
Taylor says Taylor may go free because of a funding shortage at the
court trying him for war crimes.
Reuters news agency quotes
prosecutor Stephen Rapp as saying donations to the Special Court for
Sierra Leone are down because of the worldwide economic recession.
Rapp says if the court runs out of money, it is possible judges will have to release Taylor.
former Liberian leader is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and
crimes against humanity for alleged actions in Sierra Leone during that
country's civil war.
Prosecutors say Taylor's forces murdered or
mutilated thousands of civilians, and kidnapped children for use as
soldiers and sex slaves.
Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
is being tried at The Hague, in the Netherlands, because of fears that
Taylor's presence in Sierra Leone could spark unrest in West Africa.
The prosecution concluded its case against Taylor last month.
U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up to try alleged
war criminals from Sierra Leone's 1991 to 2002 civil war.
Reuters report quotes the tribunal's registrar, Herman von Hebel, as
saying important donors such as Ireland, France and Germany have cut
their contributions this year.
He says the court is seeking out
other donors in the Middle East in hopes of raising $30 million to
continue operating through 2010.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.