Charles Taylor says he is not guilty of war crimes

April 5, 2006 03:13


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The international community is determined to move former Liberian President Charles Taylor's war crimes trial to the Netherlands, and will even ensure that his defense witnesses will be able to appear there, a UN official said. At his first court appearance on Monday before the UN-backed war crimes court, Taylor had asked through his lawyer that his case remain in Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing notoriously brutal rebels during a 1991-2002 civil war. Taylor, who entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday, argued that defense witnesses would find it difficult to travel to Europe. No date for the start of his trial has been set. Taylor still is talking to numerous lawyers but has not decided on a defense team, which it could take months to prepare. The question of where the trial will be held also must be resolved, and a sticking point may be that Taylor has become an international pariah, welcome in no country. Court officials have asked that the trial be moved to The Hague, Netherlands, because of fears the 58-year-old Taylor, once among the most feared warlords in the region, could still spark unrest in West Africa.

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