Canada Welcomes Judgment of Special Court for Sierra Leone in Case of Charles Taylor

Modification: adds backgrounder

April 26, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes this unanimous judgment. Nothing can undo what was done. This ruling will hopefully be of some solace for those still grieving and still healing.

“This is a man who abused his office and violated the basic dignity of the men, women and children who were terrorized, oppressed and assaulted. May this be a message to ruthless tyrants everywhere that no one is above the law. Those who violate basic rights and the laws of war, use rape as a weapon and rob children of their innocence, will be held to account.”

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada and the Special Court for Sierra Leone

On April 26, 2012, the Special Court for Sierra Leone found Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, criminally responsible for aiding and abetting atrocities committed by rebel groups in Sierra Leone during that country’s decade-long civil war.

Canada, through the Global Peace and Security Fund, has been a strong supporter of the Special Court and has contributed $18 million to it. Canada also chairs the UN’s Special Court Management Committee, which oversees the non-judicial aspects of the Court.

The Special Court is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law that occurred during the country’s civil war. Charles Taylor’s trial is expected to be the last conducted by the Special Court. Of 13 persons indicted by the court, 11 were arrested, nine found guilty, and two died in custody. One person indicted died before being arrested, and another is presumed dead.