Global Policy Forum

ECOWAS Opposes Surrendering Taylor to


Blasts at Liberian Human Rights Groups

July 18, 2005

The possibility of Nigeria surrendering the former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, now exiled in the Nigerian city of Calaber in River State, seems to be narrowing by the day as signals from diplomatic cycles of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have indicated that the regional body is not in favor of surrendering the alleged war criminal. ECOWAS' Chief Mediator to the Liberian Peace Process, Rtd/Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, said during a press conference that ECOWAS' paramount concern now is not about whether or not Taylor should be turned over to face justice.

According to him, returning Liberia from war to peace is of paramount concern of the sub-regional body than turning over Mr. Taylor to the UN backed war crimes court for Sierra Leone for prosecution. Gen. Abubakar said that Taylor's departure from Liberia was not done clandestinely but by an arrangement made with the United States of America and all stakeholders to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as well as the human rights community to end the Country's 14 years of brutal civil conflict.

He has frowned on America, Great Britain and the human rights community, all of whom continue to pressurize his Country (Nigeria) to turn over Mr. Taylor to the UN Backed War Crime Tribunal and described them as enemies of attaining of real peace in Liberia, adding that they do not want to see the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The ECOWAS Chief Mediator does not believe that Mr. Taylor is meddling into the Country's political affairs. He termed as "rumors" being alleged in many quarters including some of his party members. Though he had jumped the gun to dismiss the possibility of Taylor interfering into the politics of Liberia, he has indicated that ECOWAS was interested in the provision of any evidence of Mr. Taylor's involvement in the country politics so that they can take punitive measures against him.

Gen. Abubakar has in fact called on the international community, international and local human rights groups to get actively involved in making the country a crisis-free society and not engaged in acts that are counterproductive and unhealthy to the nation and its people. The former Nigerian Head of State does not see how human rights groups would keep themselves busy with Taylor issue, saying that there are lots of human rights issues to be tackled in the country rather than campaigning for Taylor to answer to the court, something he believes would trash out the agreement that took him out of the Country. The retired general also indicated that the issues of corruption, lack of transparency and accountability in the Liberian society are human rights concerns which need to be condemned and addressed by human rights community because those vices have the propensity to create dark cloud over the country in its reconstruction drive.

The War Crime Tribunal was established in Sierra Leone to investigate human rights abuses committed during the nation's bloody civil conflict, including summary execution and amputation of innocent Sierra Leoneans by the ruthless Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Taylor was indicted on several counts including aiding and abetting the RUF and he was lately described as very dangerous for peace in the sub-region. International human rights groups including "Amnesty International" America, Great Britain and other local human rights groups and civil society organizations have continued to pressurize Nigeria to surrender Mr. Taylor to the UN Backed War Crime Tribunal to answer the charges for his alleged involvement in warfare activities in Sierra Leone and the sub-region.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on Charles Taylor
More Information on the Rogues Gallery
More Information on Liberia
More Information on the Special Court for Sierra Leone


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