Good News from Africa
War criminal Charles Taylor
Liberian Seized to Stand Trial on War Crimes
By LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: March 30, 2006
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, March 29 — Charles G. Taylor, the warlord who became Liberia's president, was captured Wednesday after a dramatic 24 hours in which he disappeared from the villa in Nigeria where he had lived in exile and then was recognized at a remote outpost as he tried to leave the country.
He was brought here to face war crimes charges for his role in a brutal decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone, one of a series of conflagrations that he set off, killing at least 300,000 people. He is the first African head of state to face such charges in an international court.
Mr. Taylor's arrival by helicopter under extraordinary security capped a saga that began nearly three years ago, when he fled his nation in the face of a rebel onslaught. He was captured Wednesday morning after a customs official recognized him as he tried to escape into Cameroon.
He arrived unshaven and dressed in a white tunic covered by a bullet-proof vest, tan pants and slip-on shoes. His appearance was in stark contrast to his dapper look in his last public appearance, in 2003, when he went into exile after a 14-year civil war that killed a quarter million of his countrymen, defiantly declaring, "God willing, I will be back."
He did return to Liberia, briefly, on Wednesday, but only to be handed over to United Nations troops who promptly flew him here, where he was read the indictment from a United Nations-backed court dealing with war crimes in Sierra Leone — 11 counts of crimes against humanity — then jailed.
Desmond de Silva, the prosecutor who will try the case, said Mr. Taylor's arrival "sends out the clear message that no matter how rich, powerful or feared people may be, the law is above them."
The trial is sure to resonate on a continent where dictators have ruled with ruthless impunity. From Idi Amin, the soldier whose murderous rule in Uganda gave way to comfortable exile in Saudi Arabia, to Haile Mengistu Mariam, whose 14-year Communist rule in Ethiopia brought political purges that killed more than a million people but who is now living quietly in Zimbabwe, African leaders who brutalize their citizens have faced few consequences.
Evil is a kind description.
The movie Lord of War has a Taylor-like character who is as scary as Freddie Kruger, but real. A total fucking monster who could kill like people breathe.
This is a very good thing. He should be under the jail.
posted by Steve @ 1:40:00 AM