‘Sirleaf, others were Taylor’s accomplices’—Prof Ndongo
The former head of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Prof Oumar Ndongo has said former Liberian President Charles Taylor is likely to receive a lighter sentence, because many of his alleged accomplices were not called for trial, stressing the need for “equity” in international justice.
In an interview with West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) at the weekend, Dr. Ndongo cited Liberia’s current President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who a Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report had recommended a 30-year political ban on her for being financial backer of Taylor’s NPFL rebel group in the 1990s.
“I strongly believe that the TRC report is still there for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf really to think twice. I believed that she has played a role and I think this has been outlined in the report,” the former head of WACSOF said.
The UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague on April 26 convicted the former Liberian leader on all 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The court said he aiding and abetting the commission of murder, terrorism, rape, etc through his support for the defunct RUF rebels across the border in Sierra Leone..
Ndongo said it was a fact that Sirleaf was one of the many accomplices of Taylor who were allegedly “implicated in the war crimes he was convicted for,” especially those documented in Liberia’s TRC, but were not called to trial.
At the same time, Prof Ndongo has told WADR that Taylor’s guilty verdict might not have a positive impact in West Africa, as it might force politicians who may be guilty of crimes, to refuse to quit power, fearing a similar fate.
Ndongo, who is also a professor of American Studies at the state owned Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, has been speaking to WADR’s Jedi Ramalapa.
Click audio below to listen as WADR’s Jedi Ramalapa interviews Prof Ndongo
The war crimes court prosecutors have already requested the Sierra Leone Special Court to slap an 80-year prison sentence on the former Liberian leader.
15 Liberian civil groups question verdict
Reports from Liberia say 15 civil society groups in Liberia have ratified a charter to begin a global campaign for the release of ex-President, Charles Taylor, who has been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN backed Sierra Leone Special Court.
He was convicted last week on all 11 counts for ‘Aiding and abetting’ war crimes committed by Sierra Leone’s former RUF rebels.
According to Liberia’s Frontpageafrica newspaper, the groups came up with their position, after nearly three days of consultative dialogue, when, twelve of the 15 member-institutions in the coalition signed a communiqué.
The communiqué unequivocally condemns the rulings of the Special Court and categorically terms its decisions as a verdict without validity.
Meanwhile, Liberia for Taylor has declared a complete lack of confidence in the Special Court for Sierra Leonean to dispense international justice and called for Taylor’s immediate and unconditional release from The Hague prison.