International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Sierra Leone and the Trial of Charles Taylor

This article discusses the people of Sierra Leone’s feelings about the trial of Charles Taylor and how the country has been doing after mass atrocities. Despite the fact that Taylor is not being tried far away in the Hague, the people of Sierra Leone feel that a conviction will help them come to terms with the past and feel a sense of peace and safety. According to Edward Conteh, a survivor and amputee victim, it is his strong conviction that everything that happened in Sierra Leone is Taylor’s responsibility. Although he is only one person, this illustrates an agreement between the efforts of the hybrid tribunal and local people, which is a signifier of real justice being served not just on the international scale, but on a local one as well.

Some people, however, believe that this is a bit naive, and the real root of the atrocities was the failure of the Sierra Leone government. The rest of the article, however, talks about how there are signs of improvement in the economy and peaceful turnover in elections. Of course, one should always be skeptical as a government will never likely criticize itself, but if these facts are not too exaggerated, this shows major improvements for Sierra Leone as a whole. Coupled with the the (likely?) conviction of Charles Taylor tomorrow, it looks as if the goals of transitional justice are being reached in this region.


One response to “Sierra Leone and the Trial of Charles Taylor

  1. skmonroe707 April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    People that criticize the trial claim that it was rushed, and that there were many pieces of information or disputes that weren’t covered or looked in to. Taylor’s lawyer even goes so far as to claim that Taylor’s role in the Sierra Leone conflict was a ‘peaceful’ one. However the trial included 50,000 pages of witness and evidence transcripts and 94 witnesses were flown to the Hague. The prosecution might only be able to conclude that Taylor ‘should have known’ about the conflict, but following that vein, if he knew, then how can he be described as ‘peaceful’? Taylor doesn’t deny that the atrocities took place and many of his aides have testified against him. Taylor’s guilt seems to not be a front and center issue any more to many of the people surrounding the trial, but the critiques of the trial instead.

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