Charles Taylor’s Calls from Maximum Prison in Britain must not be Treated Lightly
By Joseph Kaifala
Published on February 20, 2017
News that Charles Taylor, who was convicted for aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone and sentenced to maximum prison in Britain, is making phone calls to his allies in Liberia should be an incidence of serious concern. Taylor’s trial was moved to The Hague because he was deemed too dangerous to remain in West Africa and an Enforcement Agreement (2007) was reached with the British Government for him to serve his sentence in Britain. However, allowing this dangerous war criminal to make phone calls to his former party members in Liberia, with elections in that country scheduled for October, may endanger the peace in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The British Government’s handling of this extremely dangerous war criminal is negligent and in disregard of the high risk he poses to the security of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Taylor still has a following among his former National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels and he is capable of instigating violence even from a faraway cell. The British owe it to Taylor’s victims in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to make sure that his long arm of evil does not continue to poke the hard-earned peace in the region.
If, however, Britain can no longer fulfill its undertakings under the Enforcement Agreement, it should notify the Residual Special Court and the Government of Sierra Leone so that appropriate measures could be taken to ensure that Taylor is imprisoned where he cannot meddle in the political life of these nations as they recover from the mayhem caused by him and his allies. Taylor is a slippery, conniving criminal, who if handled lightly, could seriously undermine the peace and security of the Mano River Union.
Joseph Kaifala is founder of the Jeneba Project Inc. and co-founder of the Sierra Leone Memory Project. He was born in Sierra Leone and spent his early childhood in Liberia and Guinea. He later moved to Norway where he studied for the International Baccalaureate (IB) at the Red Cross Nordic United World College before enrolling at Skidmore College in upstate New York. Joseph was an International Affairs & French Major, with a minor in Law & Society.
He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, a Diploma in Intercultural Encounters from the Helsinki Summer School, and a Certificate in Professional French administered by the French Chamber of Commerce.
Joseph was an Applied Human Rights Fellow at Vermont Law School, where he completed his JD and Certificate in International & Comparative Law. He is recipient of the Vermont Law School (SBA) Student Pro Bono Award, Skidmore College Palamountain Prose Award and Skidmore College Thoroughbred Award.
Joseph was a 2013 American Society of International Law Helton fellow. He served as Justice of the Arthur Chapter (Vermont Law School) of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International. He is a member of the Washington DC Bar.
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