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HomeNationalCARL Welcomes Conviction of Charles Taylor, Urges Sierra Leone Government to Improve Delivery of Social and Economic Services to Victims

CARL Welcomes Conviction of Charles Taylor, Urges Sierra Leone Government to Improve Delivery of Social and Economic Services to Victims

CARL Welcomes Conviction of Charles Taylor, Urges Sierra Leone Government to Improve Delivery of Social and Economic Services to Victims

Freetown, Sierra Leone – The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) today welcomed the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding and abetting rebels who committed egregious crimes against the people of Sierra Leone. The Court also found him guilty of planning some of the attacks. CARL believes that the verdict is a victory for justice and for the people of Sierra Leone. We urge the Sierra Leone Government to learn from the Taylor trial, and to make genuine efforts at combating impunity and promoting the rule of law in Sierra Leone.

After a five-year trial, in which at least 120 witnesses testified, the Special Court’s Trial Chamber II on April 26 issued a verdict which confirmed the long-held suspicion that Charles Taylor supported rebels who killed, maimed, raped women and children, recruited child soldiers, and committed other serious crimes against the people of Sierra Leone during the country’s civil conflict.

“It must have been a relief for Sierra Leoneans, particularly those most affected by the war, to learn that Charles Taylor, a key supporter of the rebels who wreaked cruelty on them, has been convicted. This verdict would help smooth out the bumps in the path to healing the wounds of the war,” Ibrahim Tommy, Executive Director of the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, said today.

While CARL commends the international community’s commitment to delivering justice to the victims of the Sierra Leone conflict, it is absolutely disappointing that more than a decade after the war ended, there are still serious gaps in meeting the social and economic needs of the victims. CARL recognizes the strong efforts of the Reparations Programmes, through the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), in providing some amount of reparations for the victims. Unfortunately, the support has been largely insufficient, and falls far below the expectations and basic needs of the victims.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report of Sierra Leone placed the obligation of providing social and economic services for victims on the government. Unfortunately, the government has largely failed to fulfill this obligation. In spite of several promises to integrate the basic social services needs of victims into regular government programmes, the Sierra Leone Government has continued to disappoint the victims of the war.

“The government’s failure to provide a sustainable and meaningful reparations package for the victims of the conflict has only made it difficult for the victims to overcome the challenges brought upon them by the war. This is a government of all Sierra Leoneans, and must care for all Sierra Leoneans, especially those who cannot now fend for themselves as a result of the war,” CARL’s Ibrahim Tommy said.

The government needs to take proper ownership of the scheme, and to collaborate with its international partners to provide the resources required for the Commission to do its work.

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