Skip to main content
U.S. Edition
Search
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WORLD

Dutch asked to host Taylor trial

QUICKVOTE

Will Charles Taylor get a fair trial at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands?
Yes
No
or View Results

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Charles Taylor
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Nigeria

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) -- A U.N.-backed court in Sierra Leone has asked the Dutch government to stage the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in the Netherlands, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Thursday, and the government has set conditions for that to happen.

The special tribunal for Sierra Leone took custody of Taylor Wednesday at the end of a dramatic day in which he was captured while trying to flee his home-in-exile in Nigeria.

The one-time warlord ruled Liberia from 1997 until he was forced from office in 2003. The court in neighboring Sierra Leone indicted him on 17 counts of alleged war crimes after accusing him of supporting rebels in that country who were committing atrocities against civilians.

Taylor has said he is willing to go before a war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, but did not want to be tried in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone asked the Dutch government Wednesday if that could happen, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.

The government replied the same day with three conditions, the ministry said:

  • that a resolution to hold the trial in the Netherlands is passed by the U.N. Security Council
  • that Taylor leaves the Netherlands after his trial, and
  • that Sierra Leone must negotiate with the court in The Hague to ensure it has the facilities available to host the trial, i.e. available court rooms and a holding cell etc.
  • The Dutch are awaiting a reply, the ministry said.

    U.S. President George W. Bush told an audience in Washington Wednesday that a Security Council resolution moving the trial to The Hague could come "fairly soon."

    Meanwhile, Ernest Sagaga, spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, said the ICC was reviewing the request as well.

    Days after Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf called on Nigeria to hand over the former Liberian leader, Taylor vanished Monday night from the Nigerian villa where he had been living since 2003, prompting an international outcry.

    He was taken into custody by border guards early Wednesday in northern Nigeria as he tried to cross into Chad with his wife, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said. (Full story)

    "Our security teams moved fast," Nigerian government spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode said earlier.

    Nigeria's government agreed on Saturday to allow Liberian authorities to arrest Taylor and bring him back to Liberia. After his disappearance, Obasanjo ordered an investigation into how Taylor eluded his security detail, and had the guards arrested.

    The 58-year-old former Liberian leader had been living in a villa in Calabar since August 2003 as a guest of the Nigerian government. Nigeria granted asylum to Taylor under an agreement that helped end Liberia's 14-year civil war. He was not held under house arrest.

    "I think it's a warning to all would-be warlords that they will be held to account, and that impunity will not be allowed to stand," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told CNN's Richard Roth. "Those days are gone, and they really should think before they engage in any such adventure."

    Taylor was Liberia's president from 1997 until he was forced from office in 2003. A court in neighboring Sierra Leone indicted him on 17 counts of alleged war crimes after accusing him of supporting rebels in that country who were committing atrocities against civilians.

    The former warlord has said he is willing to go before a war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, but did not want to be tried in Sierra Leone.

    A court in neighboring Sierra Leone indicted him on 17 counts of alleged war crimes after accusing him of supporting rebels in that country who were committing atrocities against civilians.

    As many as 200,000 people were killed in the war waged by Sierra Leone's vicious Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels from 1991 until peace was officially declared in January 2002.

    According to Amnesty International, Sierra Leone's civil war "was characterized by some of the worst abuses known: widespread deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, torture, including rape and deliberate amputation of limbs, and abduction and forced recruitment of large numbers of people, including children."

    CNN's Jeff Koinange and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

    Story Tools
    Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
    CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
    CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    CNN U.S.
    CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
    Search
    © 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
    A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
    Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
    Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
    Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines