Charles Taylor's Criminal Responsibility
Journal of International Criminal Justice 11 (2013), 789-812, doi:10.1093/jicj/mqt042.
24 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2013
The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL,‘Special Court’) has issued its fourth and last judgment at the trial stage against Charles Ghankay Taylor, the former President of Liberia. Taylor’s individual criminal responsibility was found to have been established pursuant to Article 6(1) SCSL Statute, particularly for aiding and abetting the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone and participating in planning rebel attacks between December 1998 and February 1999. In order for an accused to be convicted pursuant to a certain mode of liability, a trial chamber ought to ensure that the requisite actus reus and mens rea are established beyond any reasonable doubt on the basis of the evidence before it. An analysis of the Taylor Judgment does not satisfy the outside observer that the Chamber indeed complied with these requirements. This is true for both the conviction for aiding and abetting and for planning. This article provides a summary of the case against Taylor, in particular the relevant findings of the Trial Chamber. A critical analysis of these findings follows.
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