Why try Taylor in The Hague?

10 April 2006 by Thierry Cruvellier

This week the UN Security Council may ask the Netherlands to host the Special Court for Sierra Leone, established four years ago in Freetown, so that it can try its most important defendant, former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who has been incarcerated since March 29. Officially, security is the reason cited for this relocation, which would bring an end to the " Sierra Leonean model. " More than likely though, it is the result of a political agreement.

Since March 25, the day when Nigeria announced that Liberia was "free to take custody" of Charles Taylor, the case has seen some dramatic developments. Two days later, Taylor surprised everyone by escaping. His supporters threatened "bloodshed and chaos". Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo was called into question by members of the U.S. Congress, who asked that President Bush cancel the meeting he had scheduled with Obasanjo on March 29.

As if by miracle, on the morning of the 29th, Nigerian authorities announced that they had arrested the fugitive along the border with Cameroon. The motive behind this incredible fool's game is unknown. However, Taylor was indeed arrested and flown to Monrovia the same day. The stopover lasted only long enough for Taylor to be handed over to UN troops, who then transported him by helicopter to the Special Court in Freetown. Three years after being indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by this half international court, the former rebel leader-turnedpresident will now face his judges. Yet there is a new twist. The judges are now asking to try him in The Hague.

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