International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Charles Taylor Trial Verdict

Huge news!  Charles Taylor that was accused of war crimes including the use of child soldiers will have his verdict on April 26th!  The Washington Post article gives some basic information about basic background behind Taylor and who he was and what he did, the number of witnesses used from both the prosecution and the defense, and the significance of the release of this verdict on the international community.  Let us remember that Charles Taylor “is the first former African head of state to be prosecuted at an international tribunal” which is why this news is so big.  One of the witnesses used was supermodel Naomi Campbell, while Taylor himself testified on his behalf by denying all charges against him in a matter of 13 short weeks.

This article not only touches on all aspects of the Taylor trial, it also brings up that the ICC will deliver the verdict of Lubanga’s trial later on this month.  With that said, it seems that we have an exciting two months ahead of us and I am sure we will be following it closely in class.

I also wanted to bring up that I noticed that the title of this article is “UN-backed court says it will deliver verdicts next month in Charles Taylor war crimes trial.”  I found this interesting because when we watch or see anything related to the ICC in Al-Jazeera or France 24, it is referred to correctly as the ICC or the International Criminal Court.  The Washington Post, an American newspaper, called the ICC the “UN-backed court” as if ICC is not independent from the UN.  It also brings up the point that the ICC is not very talked about in the United States, no doubt due to the fact that the US is not a member state of the ICC.  This was just an observation but feel free to agree or disagree.  I just thought it was an interesting choice for a title to this article.

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2 responses to “Charles Taylor Trial Verdict

  1. lemster900 March 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    It is a really important point to bring up the fact that an American news source called the ICC a “UN-backed” court. It says a lot about the general feelings in the U.S. toward the court. The U.S. doesn’t see ICC as a fully legitimate and independent judicial body. It feels it must project itself into a power of position over the court. Since the U.S. is so influential in the UN, asserting that the ICC is “UN-backed” implies that the court needs the support of the U.S. in order to be legitimate or effective.
    On the issue of the Taylor trial, a verdict being handed down in such a timely manner (all things considered) is a major victory for the Court. It shows the international community that the Court has the ability to try war criminals fairly and get results. The fact that Taylor is a former head of state increases the Court’s legitimacy because it proves the court’s authority to prosecute war criminals, regardless of their political standing. No one is immune to the rule of international justice.

  2. Alana Tiemessen March 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Just a point of clarification, technically Charles Taylor is being tried by the Special Court for Sierra Leone – a hybrid tribunal that IS backed by the United Nations. I just gets confusing because, for security reasons, his trial is being held in The Hague. That being said, often the media will refer to the ICC also as a UN backed Court, which, as you explain above, obscures its independence from the Security Council.

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