Amnesty welcomes verdict in Charles Taylor trial

26 April 2012

Amnesty International has welcomed today’s conviction of former Liberian president Charles Taylor by the Special Criminal Court for Sierra Leone. Mr Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the civil war in Sierra Leone, which ended in 2002.


He is the first former head of state convicted of these charges by an international court.


Brima Abdulai Sheriff, Director of Amnesty International Sierra Leone, said: "Today's verdict sends an important message to high-ranking state officials; no matter who you are or what position you hold, you will be brought to justice for crimes. 


"While today's conviction brings some measure of justice to the people of Sierra Leone, Taylor and the others sentenced by the Special Court are just the tip of the iceberg.


“Thousands of persons suspected of criminal responsibility for unlawful killings, rape and sexual violence, mutilations and the use of children in Sierra Leone’s armed conflict have never been investigated, much less prosecuted."


Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "Sadly, only a limited number of Sierra Leone's thousands of victims have received reparations, despite the Lomé Peace Accord and the clear recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).


"Reparations are essential to achieve justice for the victims and assisting them to rebuild their lives."


One survivor of a double amputation to the arms told Amnesty International in Freetown: “There are no plans to make reparations for victims. We have been asking them for years to find ways and means to compensate us but victims are forced to beg in the streets for a living.”