Nana Ato Dadzie, one time lawyer of former Liberian leader, Charles Taylor, has stated that the verdict against his former client did not come to him as a surprise. He revealed to XYZ News, that from the interaction that he has been having with Mr Taylor, the decision was an expected one.
Mr Taylor was found guilty on all eleven counts by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. The court presided over by Judge Richard Lussick ruled on Thursday that Mr Taylor aided and abetted in the planning and the execution of all the crimes.
The court however adjourned his sentencing to May 30.
But speaking to XYZ News moments after the verdict, Lawyer Ato Dadzie said the fact that Mr. Taylor was acquitted of being directly involved in the crime is a significant one. He said the verdict is a controversial one; one that the legal team would have to deliberate on and take an appropriate decision before Mr. Taylor’s sentencing.
“He has been found guilty of aiding and abetting. Well, this is not direct evidence but circumstantial evidence that have been piled up and the conclusion is that of the court and we respect the ruling of the court.”
He said at the beginning of the trial, the legal team had misgivings about the way the court worked:
“This is the kind of trial that obviously is historic and controversial… We have challenges as to the status of the court itself: the fact that some countries don’t even respect the authority of that court. But many more of African leaders are being sent to that country.”
He said all other nations whose leaders are indulging in acts considered to be war crimes must be made to face the court without recourse to the country’s international clout, adding, “there must be an even handed approach to this matter at the international front and I definitely will support any claim that this appears to be a lopsided approach to justice against African leaders.”
He expressed worry that Sierra Leoneans had “developed collective amnesia” because the actual perpetrators of the crime in the country have not been identified and yet the people are excited about the decision of the court.
“I was in Sierra Leone;, I saw the amputees; I saw the terrible, horrible crime; People whose hands and legs have been cut off savagely. I think that we should come to terms with it and address the real issue of those who committed it.”
He alleged that the trial is just for political convenience asking: “can you imagine a situation if Charles Taylor was acquitted today? What would have happened?”
Despite his reservations with the court, Lawyer Ato Dadzie said African leaders who are oppressing their citizens must all be made to face the law internationally.
“Many African countries are being led clearly by leaders who have lost legitimacy with their people - who are oppressing their people - and they must be brought to book and I believe that the people of those countries must fight their own battles.”
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|