Trial of Charles Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone)
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Henry Bellingham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Africa and the United Nations), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North West Norfolk, Conservative)
This verdict is a landmark judgment in the fight against impunity. Taylor is the first Head of State since Nuremburg to be found guilty by an international tribunal for crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is a salient reminder of the importance of accountability, especially in the current climate of events in Syria. We hope that this judgment provides some comfort to the victims whose horrific experiences were recorded by the court.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary led international support for the verdict with his press statement on
“no one was above the law”.
The UN Security Council also released a statement reinforcing the significance of the verdict.
The International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Act 2007, which allows for SCSL sentences to be enforced here, was passed with wide cross-party support in June 2007. During the passage of the Bill it was made clear, and accepted by the House, that Charles Taylor would serve his sentence in the UK and that Her Majesty’s Government would meet the associated costs directly. The costs of sentence enforcement are better controlled if they are managed and paid for directly by the country which is enforcing the sentence.
Taylor will be sentenced on
If there is no appeal, or if Taylor is unsuccessful in his appeal, the president of the SCSL is expected to ask the UK to enforce his sentence. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will continue to work with UK Border Agency and the Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place for any transfer to the UK and detention on arrival.