July 26, 2012

III. The Trial’s Impact in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Trials of high-level leaders for serious crimes are significant beyond events in the courtroom.

One crucial goal is to bring a sense of accountability to communities most affected by the alleged crimes so that justice has local resonance and meaning. The Taylor trial has important lessons for outreach to local populations to maximize the impact of future proceedings, particularly those held far from the location of the crimes, as will often be the case at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

After devastating armed conflicts, a fragile peace currently exists in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. The guns have been silent almost a decade, and both countries have sought to distance themselves from their violent past. Even as their neighbors, such as Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, continue to face significant challenges across porous borders, Sierra Leone and Liberia are attempting to maintain stability and advance prosperity.[136] At the same time, the institutions that underpin the rule of law in both Sierra Leone and Liberia—including the police, the judiciary, prosecutors, and corrections—remain extremely weak and other persistent problems, such as corruption, endanger hard won gains.[137]

Against this backdrop, this section seeks to provide some discussion of the Taylor trial’s initial impact in Sierra Leone and Liberia, organized around four main areas of inquiry. First, to what extent were people in the communities most affected by the crimes aware of the trial’s purpose and proceedings? Second, how is the trial perceived in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Third, what is the trial’s impact on thinking and practice related to justice for serious crimes in Sierra Leone and Liberia? And fourth, what can be said about the trial’s effect on long-term respect for human rights and the rule of law in the sub-region?

It is important to note at the outset that any consideration of the impact of the trial at this stage is constrained by at least two major factors: first, the Trial Chamber only handed down its verdict in April 2012 and it could be years, if not decades, before the trial’s full impact is realized; and second, there are inherent challenges to isolating the effect of the trial because, though significant, it is one of many factors in a complex social and political landscape. In addition, analysis in this section is based primarily on information drawn from individual interviews and focus groups with civil society leaders, war victims, members of government, journalists, and ex-combatants in Monrovia and Freetown. No quantitative or large-scale surveys were conducted.

Despite these limitations, several noteworthy observations are possible. Specifically, many people from affected communities are aware of the trial and have reflected on its significance. In addition, the trial is seen as highly significant and as having positively impacted affected communities by increasing understanding of the importance of justice.

At the same time, the trial is only one part of a much larger process of accountability, and there are frustrations over the absence of greater advances to ensure comprehensive justice. However, Taylor’s trial, and the court more generally, appear to have helped to enhance long-term respect for human rights and the rule of law by disrupting the influence of a charismatic leader who sowed violence and chaos, allowing a more stable situation for the development of rights-respecting governments.

Awareness of the Taylor Trial in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Outreach and Public Affairs Section

Since its inception, the Special Court has demonstrated a clear institutional commitment to conducting outreach within affected communities. In response to concerns that the Taylor trial’s relocation would hamper awareness of the trial in West Africa, the UN Security Council emphasized the importance of outreach for the Taylor trial in Resolution 1688 and directed the SCSL “to make the trial proceedings accessible to the people of the sub-region.”[138] The court sought to fulfill this directive through a range of activities, which are outlined below.

From both the Freetown office and a sub-office in The Hague, which was opened in 2007 in anticipation of Taylor’s transfer, staff of the Outreach and Public Affairs (OPA) section[139] worked with local and international media, civil society groups, and academics to disseminate information about the Taylor proceedings to the public.[140]

OPA created audio summaries of the trial that were played on the radio in West Africa, and video summaries that were screened at outreach events in locations throughout Sierra Leone and Liberia.[141] Many events in Sierra Leone were held in communities that had been the scene of wartime atrocities, including massacres, widespread sexual violence, and abduction.

OPA also engaged with hundreds of civil society activists: by 2009, more than 60 civil society groups were attending a monthly interactive forum with the Special Court at its headquarters in Sierra Leone and a coalition of 20 civil society groups—called the Outreach Secretariat of Liberia—were working with the OPA to provide information on the Special Court to people throughout Liberia.[142]

OPA also facilitated visits to The Hague by civil society members from Sierra Leone and Liberia, who in turn disseminated their impressions of the proceedings to their communities.[143] OPAbrought Sierra Leonean civil society leaders to The Hague for the verdict’s delivery on April 26, 2012, and invited over one thousand Sierra Leoneans to watch the judges announce the verdict on screens outside court headquarters in Freetown.

Several attendees of outreach events said the sessions increased awareness of international law and underlying human rights principles.[144] As one war victim who participated in several outreach events said, “Because of my work with the outreach section, I developed a deep understanding of the ideas of command responsibility and greatest responsibility.”[145]

Outreach staff also found that “questions from Sierra Leonean and Liberian citizens evolved over time” to show growing understanding of the court’s contributions.[146] “Before, [outreach staff] were consistently asked why the SCSL was wasting money on the court that it should be giving to victims, like the amputees,” said OPA’s Patrick Fatoma. “Now we’re often asked if we can stay until after the elections [in case there is violence] and if the court will try more people.”[147]

Civil society members in both countries reported that they have increasingly incorporated the discourse of human rights into their work.[148] Both countries also have seen a proliferation of domestic organizations focused on international human rights and accountability. Several interviewees attributed these developments at least in part to the work of the SCSL.[149]

Media

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service Trust, with administrative support from OPA, ran a significant project on the Taylor trial, which sent Sierra Leonean and Liberian journalists to The Hague to report on it.[150] The segments they produced reached a wide radio audience in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the BBC radio reports were a regular source of information on the trial for many individuals in Sierra Leone and Liberia.[151] A Liberian journalist involved with the project stated, “Many Liberians did not have confidence in the court before the BBC World Trust project. But once we started reporting, people started to understand more and have more confidence in the process.”[152] Another Liberian journalist said, “The BBC project generated interest … feedback, and reaction in Liberia.”[153]

Other domestic and international media coverage, as well as the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), contributed to awareness of the trial. Local Sierra Leonean and Liberian papers and radio programs regularly covered developments in the Taylor trial, and an international NGO, the Open Society Justice Initiative, produced daily summaries and analysis of proceedings online. Some of these activities also provided forums for people to comment on the proceedings, fostering lively debates on the trial across West Africa. [154]

Challenges to Disseminating Information about the Taylor Trial

Compared to earlier trials by the Special Court, the Outreach and Public Affairs section faced many challenges in conducting outreach for the Taylor trial. First, the Taylor trial was located thousands of miles from the affected communities; second, outreach not only took place in Sierra Leone, but also in Liberia; and third, the Taylor trial was long and had multiple breaks in proceedings. OPA also had to contend with all of the ordinary challenges it faced since the beginning of the SCSL, including limited infrastructure in West Africa and a variety of languages spoken by affected communities.[155] Furthermore, OPA did not receive funding from the Special Court’s core budget for programming; instead, private foundations and other funding sources supported its activities.[156]

Some civil society leaders and court employees stated that the distance between affected communities and The Hague created a barrier to awareness, particularly when compared to the Special Court’s other trials, which were conducted in Freetown.[157]Although the other trials were not well attended by members of the affected communities, their proximity to the victims and crime scenes was symbolically important and so increased attention paid to the trials.[158]The trial’s distance from West Africa also appeared to negatively impact the extent of domestic media coverage. A Sierra Leonean staff member at the court suggested that the European location gave affected communities the impression that “the Taylor trial was for the world, while the other SCSL trials were for Sierra Leoneans.”[159]

Some people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that efforts to conduct outreach in Liberia were of lower quality and quantity than efforts in Sierra Leone. This was in part due to security concerns in Liberia. [160] In addition, Sierra Leone was understandably the priority of outreach activities as the Special Court’s mandate does not cover crimes committed in Liberia.

The slow nature of trials and extended breaks in the Taylor proceedings also presented a challenge to engaging the communities most affected by the crimes. Jabati Mambu, executive member of the Amputee Association of Sierra Leone, noted that “in places like Sierra Leone and Liberia where daily survival is a concern for many,” weeks or months of inaction in the proceedings meant “the Taylor trial would lose much of the public attention it had at its start.”[161] Jallah Grayfield of Liberian radio station Love FM said “breaks in proceedings meant no fresh news to report on,” which led to dwindling media attention.[162] Amara Bangura of the BBC World Service Trust noted that breaks also made funding for reporting projects by local journalists in The Hague more difficult to obtain.[163]

Reflections on the Taylor Trial

Not surprisingly, opinions of Sierra Leoneans and Liberians regarding the significance of Taylor’s trial vary substantially between countries and within Liberia due to complex internal divisions. Nevertheless, some consistent themes emerged from Human Rights Watch’s research: first, Taylor’s arrest was shocking given the immensity of his perceived power in the sub-region; second, Taylor’s arrest and removal from the region created controversy among some in Sierra Leone, but a sense of greater security in Liberia; third, Taylor’s trial has altered the expectation of impunity in the sub-region, although there is disappointment over gaps in accountability.

Taylor’s Arrest Stunned Many in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Numerous civil society leaders in Sierra Leone and Liberia told Human Rights Watch that few believed Taylor would be called to account for his crimes due to the real and perceived political power he enjoyed.[164] Paul James-Allen, a Sierra Leonean working for a humanitarian organization in Liberia, said, “No one believed Charles Taylor would be arrested. Monrovia was shocked on the day of arrest.”[165] Liberian civil society leader Tiawan Gongloe said, “Before Taylor’s surrender, everyone felt Taylor was above the law. People did not think he could be caught.”[166]

Sierra Leonean war victim Al Haji Jusu Jarka echoed these sentiments. “I never believed I would live to see Taylor put in handcuffs,” he said.[167] Civil society leader Ibrahim Tommy said, “Many people [in Sierra Leone] did not believe that Taylor would be arrested and handed over to the court.… To many, the prospect became even more remote after he was granted asylum in Nigeria.”[168] He recalled the scene of thousands of Sierra Leoneans celebrating as the helicopter carrying Taylor descended on the Special Court’s landing pad in 2006. “I could see people singing and dancing in the streets.”[169]

The Trial’s Transfer Caused Dissent, Also Relief

A number of civil society leaders in Sierra Leone protested the move of the Taylor trial from Freetown to the Netherlands at the time, citing a lack of consultation with those most affected by the crimes.[170] Moreover, some questioned the extent of the security threat and argued that any concern over increased instability was outweighed by the symbolic importance of holding the trial in the country where the crimes occurred.[171]

Liberians tended to express a different opinion. A high-level official in the Liberian government said, “Many Liberians believed if Taylor was arrested and tried in West Africa, the country would be in chaos.”[172] Tiawan Gongloe stated that it was “important to deal with the fear of the people. We needed him far away if we were to build peace and stability.”[173] Ex-combatants and war victims in Liberia also expressed relief that the trial was taken out of the sub-region because of Taylor’s capacity to foment unrest.[174] A double amputee war victim in Liberia asserted that “it was a good thing the trial was moved” because “with Taylor’s money and power, there is no way his supporters would have allowed him to stay locked up” in West Africa.[175]

Mixed Views on the Justness of Taylor’s Trial

In Sierra Leone, Human Rights Watch found a relatively consistent view that the SCSL calling Taylor to account for his crimes was just.[176]

Liberians’ views were more fractured; Tiawan Gongloe outlined three main opinions. “Some feel a sense of justice that Taylor was called to account even if not for his actions in Liberia,” he said. “Others, Taylor loyalists, see a Western conspiracy to get rid of a West African leader. And others, mostly refugees and survivors, are simply afraid of Taylor returning.”[177]

Taylor’s Shadow Looms Large in Liberia

Despite his arrest and trial, Taylor is still viewed as a powerful figure—especially in Liberia, where one former combatant who fought for Taylor-affiliated militias from when he was a boy referred to Taylor in mythical terms. “The devil can make you do things you didn’t think you could do,” he said.[178] Another former combatant said that although he believes Taylor is a “wicked man responsible for many atrocities,” he would feel as though his “father had come back” if Taylor were to return.[179] “Don’t let Taylor come back here,” a third former combatant said. “He still has a lot of support here and if he comes back things will turn bad.”[180]

A Liberian journalist pointed to another element of Taylor’s power beyond the fear he creates: “Taylor has a significant capacity to foment violence, mainly due to financial networks.”[181] A high-level Liberian official told Human Rights Watch, “Even when Taylor is 99-years-old, he will still pose a threat if he returns.”[182]

Reaction to the Verdict

Interviewees said the delivery of judgment over a year after trial proceedings closed and shifting dates for when it would be issued also impacted perceptions of the Taylor trial in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Some suggested it gave the impression of inefficiency, while for others the delay has made the Taylor trial recede from their minds.[183] Liberian journalist Peter Quaqua facetiously told Human Rights Watch, “It has been so long, we in West Africa have forgotten about Charles Taylor’s trial.”[184] However, Sierra Leonean war victim and advisor to the Amputee Association of Sierra Leone, Al Haji Jusu Jarka, said, “If the judgment is seen as fair and judicious, the length of time the court took will be forgotten.”[185]

The court’s announcement of Taylor’s conviction for planning and aiding and abetting all 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity on April 26, 2012, was predictably quite positive in Sierra Leone and more mixed in Liberia, although the verdict did not generate intense public reactions in either country.[186] One civil society leader who was in a more rural area of Sierra Leone when the verdict was announced found that some people were “very much satisfied with the judgment,” but their assessment also was tempered by many war victims’ belief that the international community should do more to encourage reparations to victims.[187] Another Sierra Leone civil society leader noted that he “did not see any jubilation in the streets of Freetown after the verdict was announced [as there was around Taylor’s arrest], [which] may have been due to the fact that the … verdict did not come as a surprise to most people.”[188]

A civil society leader in Liberia told Human Rights Watch, “The verdict was announced without any incident or confrontation.”[189] Some Liberians “gathered at street cornertea-drinking [shops to] debate the [verdict]” in Monrovia, but many “were not concerned” with it, especially outside the capital.[190]

The Taylor Trial’s Impact on Broader Justice Issues

The impact of the Taylor trial on broader issues of justice in West Africa and the wider continent is difficult to assess. Several civil society leaders from the sub-region told Human Rights Watch that they believed removing Taylor was a necessary precondition for ensuring accountability in West Africa.[191] Taylor’s trial also appears to have increased expectations for justice amongst the public in Sierra Leone and Liberia. At the same time, these expectations appear to have exceeded the realities of the Special Court’s limited mandate. Lack of domestic accountability for other perpetrators has created some disillusionment and underscores the need for domestic efforts to investigate serious crimes committed during the Sierra Leone and Liberia conflicts that are beyond the Special Court’s mandate.[192]

Combating Impunity in West Africa

Sierra Leoneans and Liberians consistently told Human Rights Watch that Taylor’s arrest and trial revealed the possibility for justice in West Africa. For decades, so-called “big men”—powerful individuals who either lead armed groups or wield significant political power—have been allowed to perpetrate abuses with seemingly no fear of being investigated or held accountable by a credible judicial body.

A high-level government official in Liberia said, “Taylor’s trial is a strong signal to others that impunity is no longer the rule.”[193] A civil society leader in Freetown said, “The indictment of Taylor showed law is powerful. It might be imperfect or uneven, but when engaged, it is powerful.”[194] Another said, “It was revolutionary for Sierra Leoneans—the idea that if a powerful person does something bad, there is the possibility of consequences.”[195] A third Sierra Leonean civil society leader, considering the significance of the Taylor trial for the continent, said,

This trial is a symbol for Africa as a whole.… The fact that Taylor is on trial, with [former Ivorian leader Laurent] Gbagbo after him, must make [Sudan’s Omar al] Bashir uncomfortable.… This trial gave courage, gave hope for justice. It planted the idea that in the future, people like Bashir and [Zimbabwe’s Robert] Mugabe could face a similar fate.[196]

Accounts of Taylor’s brief time in Liberia in March 2006 after his arrest in Nigeria gives some illustration of how his arrest and trial “punched a big hole in the big man syndrome.”[197] Tiawan Gongloe, who had previously been tortured by Taylor’s security forces, was solicitor general of Liberia at the time and represented the government when Taylor transited through Monrovia. He told Human Rights Watch that Taylor seemed “humiliated, shocked, seeing me in the government while he was in handcuffs. The look in his eyes told me he could not believe that we had ended up in this position.”[198] This scene played out in front of “thousands of ordinary Liberian citizens [who] came to the airport” to witness the historic event.[199]

A number of interviewees highlighted that Taylor’s arrest and trial has increased attention around the value of and need for justice.[200] Liberian journalist Joseph Cheeseman, for example, said that the Taylor trial “has emboldened some people to publicly address issues of impunity.”[201] Tiawan Gongloe said, “Some people say of other guilty ones that their time will come. We would have never heard this before Taylor’s arrest and trial.”[202]

When Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Côte d’Ivoire, was transferred to the ICC in late 2011, a prominent Liberian newspaper proclaimed, “Ivory Coast Gbagbo Joins Taylor.”[203] According to civil society leader Paul James-Allen, “It is on people’s minds now that if someone is really bad, he could end up like Charles Taylor or Gbagbo.”[204] He has heard radio call-in participants in Liberia “mention the SCSL as a warning to people like [former warlord] Prince Johnson not to get involved in election violence.”[205] A civil society leader in Sierra Leone reported hearing a radio call-in program discussion about whether perpetrators of violence at a political rally could be brought to The Hague to face justice.[206]

Mandate of the Special Court, Expectations in Affected Communities

While the Taylor trial, and the Special Court more broadly, increased expectations for justice, ongoing gaps in wider accountability also complicate how affected communities measure the impact of the SCSL and the Taylor trial. As one war victim told Human Rights Watch, “There is frustration that so much money was spent on the SCSL, yet justice and care for war victims have been so limited.”[207]

The SCSL was the first international or hybrid institution to have a mandate focused solely on those “who bear the greatest responsibility.”[208] While Taylor is recognized as an obvious choice within the mandate, some in the sub-region have questioned why other individuals for which there are strong arguments of bearing “greatest responsibility,” such as international financiers and other political leaders, were not also prosecuted.[209]

Whether or not there are individuals who bore “the greatest responsibility” but were not indicted does not mitigate the responsibility of those, like Taylor, who were indicted. However, perceived unevenness in selecting those to prosecute complicates the impact of the Taylor trial in the sub-region by providing fodder for the idea that Taylor is a scapegoat of international politics instead of a perpetrator of atrocities.[210]

A second challenge is the Special Court could only hear cases involving crimes in Sierra Leone.[211] “Many in Liberia thought that if Taylor was tried for crimes in Sierra Leone, it was only a matter of time until he would be tried for his crimes in Liberia,”a Liberian civil society leader told Human Rights Watch.[212] As one Liberian journalist put it, “Taylor committed more crimes in Liberia than in Sierra Leone. It is unjust he is tried for crimes in Sierra Leone and not here [in Liberia].”[213] “When is Liberia going to get a Special Court?” a member of a Liberian women’s group asked.[214]

Interviewees also said they wanted to see direct perpetrators of serious crimes face justice even if they clearly fall outside the SCSL’s mandate to prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility. Sierra Leoneans and Liberians expressed disappointment that direct perpetrators, former field commanders, and Taylor allies live as regular citizens, and even hold governmental and other powerful positions.[215] “It is frustrating that those who directly committed the crimes, who cut off the hands of people like me, are not facing justice,” said activist and war victim Jabati Mambu.[216]

There are many reasons for the lack of more prosecutions. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia continue to face many challenges in addressing the long-standing inadequacies within their respective justice institutions—the police, the judiciary, prosecutors, and corrections. Moreover, political will to pursue domestic prosecutions for past atrocities in both Sierra Leone and Liberia is lacking,[217] in part because some of those in power have ties to or themselves have been identified as perpetrators of past crimes.[218] In Sierra Leone, the Lomé Peace Accord, which includes a broad amnesty before domestic courts, remains in effect.[219] Another factor is that the governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia have felt little pressure from civil society to ensure justice for victims by pursuing local investigations and prosecutions.[220]

Promoting Respect for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Attempting to assess the Taylor trial’s effect on developing long-term respect for human rights and the rule of law in West Africa is particularly difficult given the many factors at play. At the same time, nearly all those whom Human Rights Watch interviewed said the Taylor trial would have some significant positive impact on human rights and the rule of law in the region.

Interviewees suggested that Taylor’s indictment, arrest, and trial disrupted the influence of a charismatic leader who sowed violence and chaos, allowing a more stable situation for the development of rights-respecting governments.[221]

For others, the fact that Taylor was, in the words of one Liberian lawmaker,

[S]een by many to be treated fairly and given due process is positive for … the sub-region. It sends a message to would-be warlords, troublemakers in the region that we have a commitment to justice and to the rule of law.[222]

According to a high-level Liberian official, the trial “has helped … change the historical concept that leaders are above the law and [challenge] the acceptance that leaders and elected officials can use war and violence as [a] way to carry out their personal agendas.”[223] This arguably has contributed to an environment in which Sierra Leone and Liberia have held successful democratic elections and made some progress in improving basic rights, strengthening the judiciary, addressing endemic corruption, and facilitating economic growth.

Still, the situation for both countries is fragile and fraught with complex and pre-existing divides that transcend the Special Court and Taylor trial’s influence. Yet the hope that Taylor’s trial has laid a foundation for improving long-term respect for human rights and building the rule of law is reflected in the words of Liberian civil society leader Tiawan Gongloe:

Taylor wasn’t tried in Liberia, or for crimes against Liberians, but for us justice anywhere is justice for us even if it is done in Sierra Leone or The Hague…. His trial insists that those in power respect human dignity and negotiate their relationship with the community based on mutual respect instead of raw power. The [lessons from the] wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia together with Taylor’s removal from the scene has made it easier for people to be more outspoken and made them more willing to demand their rights. Now we won’t close our mouths! And that is a hopeful sign for peace, stability, and the emergence of democratic values in West Africa.[224]

[136] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Comfort Ero, director, International Crisis Group Africa, Nairobi, January 24, 2012. See Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2012), Côte d’Ivoire chapter, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/wr2012.pdf; Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2012), Guinea chapter, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/wr2012.pdf.

[137] Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, journalist and director, Talking Drum Studios, Monrovia, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian government minister, Monrovia, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ezekiel Pajibo, project director with Trust Africa Liberia, Monrovia, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, journalist, Liberian Press Union, Monrovia, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, Freetown, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Suliaman Jabati and Alophonsus Gbanie, civil society leaders, Freetown, January 16, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with John Caulker, January 16, 2012.

[138] UN Security Council Resolution 1688.

[139] The Outreach section and the Press and Public Affairs section merged into the Outreach and Public Affairs office in April 2008.

[140] Special Court for Sierra Leone, Fourth Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: January 2006 to May 2007, http://www.sc-sl.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=SaCsn9u8MzE%3d&tabid=176, pp. 53-55.

[141] Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Fatoma, Outreach and Public Affairs staff, Freetown, January 12, 2012. See also SCSL Eighth Annual Report, pp. 43-45; Special Court for Sierra Leone, Seventh Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: June 2009 to May 2010 (“SCSL Seventh Annual Report”), http://www.sc-sl.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=33ryoRsKMjI%3d&tabid=176, pp. 43-45; Special Court for Sierra Leone, Sixth Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: June 2008 to May 2009 (“SCSL Sixth Annual Report”), http://www.sc-sl.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=%2fuI3lqaO5D0%3d&tabid=176, pp. 41-42; Special Court for Sierra Leone, Fifth Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: June 2007 to May 2008 (“SCSL Fifth Annual Report”), http://www.sc-sl.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hopZSuXjicg%3d&tabid=176, pp. 52-53.

[142] SCSL Seventh Annual Report, p. 43.

[143] Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Fatoma, January 12, 2012. See also SCSL Eighth Annual Report, p. 44; SCSL Seventh Annual Report, p. 45; SCSL Sixth Annual Report, p. 42; SCSL Fifth Annual Report, p. 52.

[144] Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Fatoma, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, advisor to Amputee Association of Sierra Leone, Freetown, January 15, 2012.

[145] Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, January 15, 2012.

[146] Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Fatoma, January 12, 2012.

[147] Ibid.

[148] Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with five Liberian civil society leaders, Monrovia, January 11, 2012.

[149] Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with John Caulker, January 16, 2012. See also SCSL Eighth Annual Report, p. 44.

[150] Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, chief of Outreach and Public Affairs, Freetown, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Amara Bangura, journalist and producer, BBC World Service Trust, Freetown, January 16, 2012. See also SCSL Fifth Annual Report, pp. 35, 52.

[151] Human Rights Watch interview with Alpha Sesay, legal officer, Open Society Justice Initiative, The Hague, November 7, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Cheeseman, journalist, Monrovia, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Jallah Grayfield, manager at Love FM, Monrovia, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Amara Bangura, January 16, 2012.

[152] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Cheeseman, January 11, 2012.

[153] Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012.

[154] Human Rights Watch interview with Alpha Sesay, November 7, 2011; see Open Society Justice Initiative, “The Trial of Charles Taylor,” http://www.charlestaylortrial.org/ (accessed May 18, 2012).

[155] Human Rights Watch interview with Registry staff, December 6, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012.

[156] Human Rights Watch interview with Solomon Moriba, Outreach and Public Affairs staff, The Hague, November 7, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, January 12, 2012.

[157] Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012.

[158] Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Charles Mambu, director, Coalition of Civil Society and Human Rights Activists of Sierra Leone, Freetown, January 14, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Suliaman Jabati and Alophonsus Gbanie, January 16, 2012.

[159] Human Rights Watch interview with Witness and Victims Services former staff, November 8, 2011.

[160] Human Rights Watch interview with Solomon Moriba, November 7, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Andersen, January 12, 2012.

[161] Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, executive member of Amputee Association of Sierra Leone, Freetown, January 15, 2012.

[162] Human Rights Watch interview with Jallah Grayfield, January 11, 2012.

[163] Human Rights Watch interview with Amara Bangura, January 16, 2012.

[164] See also Paul Yeenie Harr, “Is This the Charles Ghankay Taylor of the Nation?,” The New Dawn (Monrovia), April 26, 2012, http://allafrica.com/stories/201204260591.html (accessed June 8, 2012).

[165] Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012.

[166] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[167] Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, January 15, 2012.

[168]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ibrahim Tommy, March 7, 2012.

[169]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ibrahim Tommy, May 8, 2012.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with Solomon Moriba, November 7, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012. A number of Sierra Leonean civil society groups petitioned the SCSL in 2007 for permission to submit an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief that requested further public justification for the trial’s relocation. However, the court dismissed the request as moot after the SCSL president had ruled against a defense motion requesting reconsideration of the order changing venue. See Prosecutor v. Charles Ghankay Taylor, Decision of the President on Defence Motion for Reconsideration of the Order Changing Venue of the Proceedings, Special Court for Sierra Leone, SCSL-03-01-PT-202, March 12, 2007; Allieu Vandi Koroma, “ The Transfer of Charles Taylor to The Hague: A Cause to Rethink,” Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law – Sierra Leone, March 26, 2007, http://www.carl-sl.org/home/articles/121-the-transfer-of-charles-taylor-to-the-hague-a-cause-to-rethink (accessed June 11, 2012).

[171] Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Charles Mambu, January 14, 2012.

[172] Human Rights Watch interview with high-level Liberian government official, Monrovia, January 10, 2012.

[173] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[174] Human Rights Watch interview with six Liberian ex-combatants, Monrovia, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, January 15, 2012.

[175] Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, January 15, 2012.

[176] Human Rights Watch interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Charles Mambu, January 14, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, January 15, 2012.

[177] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[178] Human Rights Watch group interview with six Liberian ex-combatants, January 11, 2012.

[179] Ibid.

[180] Ibid.

[181] Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012.

[182] Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian judicial official, Monrovia, January 11, 2012.

[183] Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, January 15, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Amara Bangura, January 16, 2012.

[184] Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012.

[185] Human Rights Watch interview with Al Haji Jusu Jarka, January 15, 2012.

[186]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ezekiel Pajibo, May 7, 2012; Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Aaron Weah, civil society leader, Monrovia, May 8, 2012; Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ibrahim Tommy, May 8, 2012.

[187]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Suliaman Jabati, May 7, 2012.

[188]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ibrahim Tommy, May 8, 2012.

[189]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Aaron Weah, May 8, 2012.

[190]Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ezekiel Pajibo, May 7, 2012; Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Aaron Weah, May 8, 2012.

[191] Human Rights Watch interview with Ezekiel Pajibo, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[192] Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with six Liberian ex-combatants, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Suliaman Jabati and Alophonsus Gbanie, January 16, 2012.

[193] Human Rights Watch interview with high-level Liberian government official, January 10, 2012.

[194] Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012.

[195] Ibid.

[196] Human Rights Watch interview with John Caulker, January 16, 2012. Omar al-Bashir is the president of Sudan and the subject of an ICC arrest warrant for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Robert Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe where widespread human rights violations by his administration have been documented.

[197] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[198] Ibid.

[199] Ibid.

[200] See also “Liberia: Following the Sierra Leonean Example,” The New Dawn (Monrovia), April 27, 2012, http://allafrica.com/stories/201204270589.html (accessed June 8, 2012); Paul Y. Harry, “Liberia: Where are the Voices Demanding Justice?” The New Dawn (Monrovia), May 15, 2012, http://allafrica.com/stories/201205150417.html (accessed June 8, 2012).

[201] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Cheeseman, January 11, 2012.

[202] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.

[203] “Ivory Coast Gbagbo Joins Taylor,” The New Dawn Liberia, December 1, 2011, http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4778:ivory-coast-gbagbo-joins-taylor&catid=25:politics&Itemid=59 (accessed June 11, 2012).

[204] Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012.

[205] Ibid.

[206] Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012. See also Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Fatoma, January 12, 2012.

[207] Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, January 15, 2012.

[208] SCSL Statute, art. 1(1). For a more detailed discussion on the limited mandate and how it was applied, see Human Rights Watch, Bringing Justice, pp. 19-21.

[209] Human Rights Watch interview with member of Taylor defense team, November 7, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with member of Taylor defense team, November 9, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Suliaman Jabati and Alophonsus Gbanie, January 16, 2012.

[210] Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with six Liberian ex-combatants, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Suliaman Jabati and Alophonsus Gbanie, January 16, 2012.

[211] SCSL Statute, art. 1.

[212] Human Rights Watch interview with Ezekiel Pajibo, January 10, 2012.

[213] Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian journalist, Monrovia, January 11, 2012.

[214] Human Rights Watch group interview with five Liberian civil society leaders, January 11, 2012.

[215] Human Rights Watch interview with Ezekiel Pajibo, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, January 15, 2012.

[216] Human Rights Watch interview with Jabati Mambu, January 15, 2012.

[217] Human Rights Watch interview with Oscar Bloh, January 9, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian government minister, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Paul James-Allen, January 11, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim Tommy, January 12, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012.

[218] See Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Report; see Sierra Leonean Truth and Reconciliation Report.

[219] Peace Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, signed in Lomé, Togo, July 7, 1999.

[220] Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian government minister, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Ezekiel Pajibo, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch group interview with 10 Sierra Leonean civil society leaders, January 13, 2012.

[221] Human Rights Watch interview with Peter Quaqua, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian government minister, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012; Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Comfort Ero, January 24, 2012.

[222] Human Rights Watch interview with Liberian government minister, Monrovia, January 10, 2012.

[223] Ibid.

[224] Human Rights Watch interview with Tiawan Gongloe, January 10, 2012.