Lessons from the Trial of Charles Taylor

This 55-page report analyzes the practice and impact of Taylor’s trial by the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. The report examines the conduct of the trial, including issues related to efficiency, fairness, and witnesses and sources.

Charles Taylor sits at the defendant's table during his trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, August 5, 2010.


  • July 7, 2009

    Why Accountability Matters for Peace

    This 128-page report draws upon Human Rights Watch's work over the past 20 years in nearly 20 countries. The report documents how ignoring atrocities reinforces a culture of impunity that encourages future abuses. Rather than impede negotiations or a transition to peace, remaining firm on justice can yield short- and long-term benefits.
  • June 21, 2006

    Making Justice Accessible to Those Most Affected

    On March 29, 2006 former Liberian President Charles Taylor was surrendered to the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Taylor’s surrender for trial provides an extraordinary opportunity for the people of Sierra Leone and West Africa to see justice done for atrocities committed during Sierra Leone’s armed conflict since 1996.