Human Rights Commissioner Löning: the sentencing of Charles Taylor sends an important message

30.05.2012 - Press release

The sentencing sends an important message to the victims and shows that their suffering has not been forgotten, said Markus Löning. However, it also sends a key message to the perpetrators, for they can no longer expect impunity.

Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (30 May) on the sentencing of Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, to 50 years’ imprisonment:

The sentencing of Charles Taylor to 50 years’ imprisonment by the Special Court for Sierra Leone sends an important message to the victims of the terrible civil war in Sierra Leone: your suffering has not been forgotten.
However, it also sends a key message to the perpetrators, for they can no longer expect impunity. As former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor bears full responsibility for the crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone. The court has now made that clear. This is a source of gratification to me.
The Special Court is playing a vital role in the restoration of peace and stability in Sierra Leone and the region. For that reason, too, its work is so important.

Charles Taylor was indicted in 2003 by the Special Courtfor Sierra Leone on eleven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was found guilty by the court of first instance on 26 April 2012. He was accused of being one of those who bore the greatest responsibility for the civil war in Sierra Leone. The Special Court for Sierra Leone announced today (30 May) that it was sentencing Charles Taylor to 50 years’ imprisonment. It stated that Taylor had been responsible for aiding and abetting “some of the most heinous crimes in human history”.

On 3 May 2012, the prosecution had called for Taylor to be sentenced to 80 years’ imprisonment. He is expected to serve his sentence in Britain.

Charles Taylor, 64, was President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. He fled Liberiain 2003 and was arrested in Nigeria, where he was living in exile, in 2006. For security reasons, the trial was transferred in 2006 from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to The Hague.

The Special Courtfor Sierra Leone was established by an agreement between Sierra Leone and the United Nations dated 16 January 2002. It is mandated “to prosecute persons who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leonesince 30 November 1996”.

Since 2002 Germanyhas contributed just under eight million dollars to the Court’s budget.

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