Taylor's trial 'neo-colonialist'

March 10, 2011 - 0:0

The lawyer for Liberia's ex-President Charles Taylor has said the prosecution has turned his war crimes trial into a “21st Century form of neo-colonialism”.

Courtenay Griffiths made the comments in his closing arguments at the special UN Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
Mr. Taylor is the first former African leader to face such an international tribunal.
He denies 11 counts, including murder, rape and using child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
He is accused of arming and controlling the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during a 10-year campaign of terror conducted largely against civilians.
The RUF became infamous for hacking off the limbs of its victims, and using rape and murder to terrorize the population.
During his closing argument, Mr. Griffiths told judges the trial was important for Africa and for “the evolving concept of international justice”.
“It is to the shame of this prosecution that it has besmirched the lofty ideals of international criminal law by turning this case into a 21st Century form of neo-colonialism,” he said.
He also said the release of U.S. diplomatic cables by Wikileaks last December had shown that “this was not a trial at all” and that the prosecution was political.
The BBC's Peter Biles in The Hague says Mr Taylor has long claimed that he was tried because powerful countries such as the U.S. and the UK wanted him out of office in Liberia.
Mr. Griffiths said justice should be applied equally to all and asked why Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was not in the dock.
He said that it was because the British government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair had wanted to pursue their economic interests in Libya.
(Source: BBC)