Global Policy Forum

Liberia to Press Ahead with Bid to Seize Taylor's Assets

Agence France Presse
September 25, 2007

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will push for the seizure of the assets of ex-president Charles Taylor, on trial for war crimes, her spokesman said Tuesday. Parliament last week rejected a bill aimed at seizing the assets of Taylor and his aides, arguing it was unconstitutional. "No matter how the situation will be, the president will still find other means in her reach to seize the assets of those individuals," Sirleaf's spokesman Cyrus Badio told AFP.

Badio said Sirleaf the United Nations, the European Union and other western countries were behind Sirleaf's bid to strip Taylor of his assets. "The international community has taken sanctions against these people on our behalf, so it will only be fair on our part, to help reinforce those sanctions here in Liberia," he said. The bill has also come under attack from some independent legal experts. "It is a senseless law that no good citizen will want to defend. You cannot accuse someone and then seize his or her assets without giving the person the chance to have his or her days in court," Syrinus Cephus, a human rights lawyer told AFP.

Taylor, 59, is the first African head of state to stand trial before an international court for war crimes in The Hague. He is on trial for his role in Liberia's back-to-back wars spanning 14 years and a brutal decade-long civil conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Once one of Africa's most feared warlords, Taylor has pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, rape and using child soldiers during the brutal 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone. Around 120,000 people were killed in that conflict, with rebels mutilating thousands more, cutting off arms, legs, ears or noses. Taylor is accused of arming, training and controlling Sierra Leone's notorious Revolutionary United Front (RUF), responsible for many of the mutilations, in exchange for still-unknown amounts of diamonds used to fund the warfare.

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