June 4, 2007


Charles Taylor's trial puts dictators on notice: Liberia's former president becomes the first African head of state to go on trial for war crimes Monday (Tristan McConnell., 6/04/07, The Christian Science Monitor)

When Taylor stands before the judge from the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone as his trial begins in The Hague on Monday, he will make history as the first African head of state to face war-crimes charges. The faraway trial may help close a chapter for the victims of his wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. But it also carries a message for despotic leaders everywhere.

"The greatest message that [Taylor's trial] sends is not for Sierra Leone alone but for Africa and the world that the days of impunity are finished, that if you commit these crimes, whoever you are, you will face justice," says John Caulker, executive director of Forum of Conscience, a group based in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

Fortnately racial guilt prevents the sort of defenses of Taylor that Saddam received.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2007 12:00 AM
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