• Aug 5, 2013
    Q & A

    Ibrahim Bah is a Senegalese national living in Sierra Leone. During the Sierra Leone civil war, from 1991 to 2002, Bah allegedly provided arms and materiel to the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), according to a United Nations panel of experts and the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. During the conflict, the RUF committed widespread and systematic abuses, including murder, mutilation, amputation, torture, rape, and forced abductions.

  • Jul 25, 2012
    Press release

    The trial of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s armed conflict was a largely well-run proceeding, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The trial benefitted from a high-quality defense, sound handling of witnesses, and dynamic outreach to communities affected by the crimes. At the same time, Human Rights Watch’s analysis identified areas in which practice should be improved for future trials of the highest-level suspects before domestic, international, and hybrid war crimes tribunals.

     

  • May 30, 2012
    Press release

    The sentencing of Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison on May 30, 2012 by the Special Court for Sierra Leone is a landmark in ensuring justice for the victims of Sierra Leone's brutal armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said today.

     

  • May 15, 2012
    Commentary

    Liberia's "big man" surely thought he'd enjoy a comfortable retirement when he left power back in 2003. But on April 26 the Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity, proving that even the most powerful aren't immune from justice

  • May 10, 2012
    Commentary

    Should Vladimir Putin be studying the conviction of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president? What about Henry Kissinger? The verdict marked the first time since the post–World War II Nuremberg trials that a former head of state has been convicted by an international tribunal of war crimes and crimes against humanity. What may be of more lasting significance, however, is that Taylor was not convicted for oppressing his own people—though he did that as well—but for his material support to abusive forces in another country. In that respect, the decision speaks not just to tinpot dictators but to leaders of countries who fight proxy wars by knowingly giving client states or rebel allies the means to commit atrocities. 

  • Apr 26, 2012
    Commentary

    The verdict against former Liberian President Charles Taylor at the Sierra Leone Special Court has been eagerly anticipated by many in Sierra Leone. But, as is often the case with abusive leaders wielding power, bringing Taylor to justice was once considered a less than welcome development in diplomatic circles. More than a few feared at that time that bringing charges against a sitting president in the midst of a conflict would do more harm than good.

  • Apr 26, 2012
    Press release

    The conviction on April 26, 2012, of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, for serious international crimes during Sierra Leone’s brutal armed conflict provides justice for victims and shows that no one is above the law. Taylor was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone on charges that stemmed from his support for rebel groups there.

  • Apr 16, 2012
    Q & A
    The Special Court indicted Taylor on March 7, 2003 on 17 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international law for his role in supporting Sierra Leonean rebel groups during that country’s armed conflict. The Taylor judgment will be a watershed moment for efforts to hold the highest-level leaders to account through a credible judicial process.
  • Feb 22, 2010
    Press release
    The arrest of a former Liberian warlord in the United States underscores the need for prosecutions of serious crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars.
  • Dec 10, 2009
    Press release
    The Liberian government should investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Liberia’s brutal armed conflicts. Key international partners - including the United Nations, European Union, and United States - should support efforts to ensure accountability.