Image source: Monrovia Liberia Flights
Link: Trial Watch: Charles Taylor [trial-ch.org]
The trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor will resume in The Hague on 29 June 2009. In 2003, Taylor was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 654 charges relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. This was amended in 2006 to 11 charges to allow a more focused trial and in June 2006 the trial was moved from Freetown to The Hague after the British government agreed to jail him if convicted.
The charges are listed on the trial-ch.org site and relate to Charles Taylor's collusion with Foday Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The alleged aim was to destabilise Sierra Leone and gain access to diamonds and other natural resources in the area. They launched attacks in various areas of Sierra Leone including the capital Freetown. They were indiscriminate and the targets of their attacks were civilians, aid workers and UN peacekeeping forces.
These attacks allegedly had as their main purpose to terrorize the civilian population and to punish it for the lack of support given to the RUF and the AFRC. According to the indictment, the attacks were accompanied by murders, physical violence (especially mutilations and rape) against civilian men, women and children, as well as pillaging and the abduction of civilians as sexual slaves, forced labourers or to be enrolled by force (which was particularly the case for many children). These acts were allegedly encouraged or executed with the collaboration of, or on order from, Charles Taylor. - trial-ch.org
The trial began over two years ago on 4 June 2007 and was initially boycotted by Charles Taylor as he felt he would not be given a fair trial. There were several delays in the trial due to procedural issues and a key witness had to go into hiding in February 2008 following intimidation. The prosecution closed its case on 27 February 2009 after calling a total of 91 witnesses and the defence case will begin when the trial resumes on 29 June 2009.