27 April 2012 The Security Council today joined welcomed the guilty verdict handed down against former Liberian President Charles Taylor for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war.
Mr. Taylor, who was found guilty yesterday by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), was on trial on 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including pillage, slavery for forced marriage purposes, collective punishment and the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
“Serious crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, rape and enlisting children into armed forces, are of particular concern,” the 15-member Council said in a statement issued to the press.
“This verdict is an important step in bringing to justice those individuals who bear the greatest responsibility for such crimes, regardless of their official status,” it added.
Mr. Taylor is the first former head of State to be convicted by an international criminal tribunal since the Nuremberg trials in 1946. Although the SCSL is headquartered in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor’s trial – which opened in June 2007 – took place in a chamber of the Court sitting in The Hague in the Netherlands for security reasons.
The SCSL’s verdict was welcomed by a host of UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy.
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