Global Policy Forum

Denmark Refuses to Host Taylor


April 25, 2006

Denmark says it will turn down a UN request to imprison ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor if he is convicted of war crimes. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said Denmark would tell the United Nations to look elsewhere. Sweden and Austria have also said they will not play host to Mr Taylor, who is facing war crimes charges in a UN-backed court in Sierra Leone.

Mr Taylor is accused of backing rebels in Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. The Special Court for Sierra Leone has requested that the trial be transferred to The Hague for security reasons.

Legal doubts

But the Dutch government said it would only accept this if any ensuing jail term was served in another country and the transfer was endorsed by the UN Security Council. Denmark and Austria say there would be no legal basis for Mr Taylor to serve any jail term in their countries.

Mr Taylor was transferred to Sierra Leone last month after being arrested in Nigeria. Nigeria had given him asylum under an agreement to end Liberia's own civil war in 2003. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and said he did not recognise the jurisdiction of the UN court.

The Special Court was set up to try to bring to justice those responsible for crimes during the country's decade-long civil war which officially ended in 2002. The tribunal operates under both Sierra Leone domestic law and international humanitarian law.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on the Special Court for Sierra Leone
More Information on Charles Taylor


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