Taylor Sentencing Only a Step Toward Justice; More People Should be Prosecuted and Reparations Paid to Victims

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor in the courtroom during his trial on May 16, 2012. EVERT JAN DANIELS/AFP/GettyImages
Press Release
May 30, 2012

Taylor Sentencing Only a Step Toward Justice; More People Should be Prosecuted and Reparations Paid to Victims

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) – Amnesty International today issued the following comments about the 50-year sentence imposed on former Liberian President Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierre Leone for aiding and abetting war crimes.

“The criminal prosecution of Taylor should resonate with those in Syria, Sudan, and elsewhere where other heinous crimes against humanity are being committed,” said Scott Edwards, Amnesty International USA’s managing director, tactical response, in Washington DC. “Being a head of state does not grant immunity, and the emperors’ robes will quickly fade in the face of demands for justice and accountability.”

“Taylor’s sentencing is a milestone, but only one step toward justice. Victims of the executions, mass rapes, and mutilations that Taylor presided over for more than a decade have a right to reparations and to see all those responsible -- not just the head of state -- prosecuted. A climate of impunity hangs over Liberia, and in Sierra Leone too few victims have received reparations to help heal their scars.”

In April, the Trial Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague because of security concerns, found Taylor guilty of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the West African country between 1996 and 2002.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.