Kadhafi should be in dock: Charles Taylor lawyer

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Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor's trial was politically motivated, his lawyer claimed Wednesday, saying that Libya's Moamer Kadhafi should have been in the dock.

Alleging "selective" prosecution, Courtenay Griffiths reminded the Special Court for Sierra Leone that its mandate was to try those with the biggest responsibility for the brutal 10-year civil war.

"Why is Colonel Moamer Kadhafi not in the dock?" he asked.

Taylor's trial for arming Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in exchange for blood diamonds, entered its final phase Wednesday with the start of defence closing arguments.

Griffiths told judges trying his client for war crimes and crimes against humanity that justice should be applied equally to all, adding: "whether that is the case is a matter for debate".

"It is to the shame of this prosecution that it has besmirched the lofty ideals of international criminal law by turning this case into a 20th century form of neocolonialism", the lawyer said.

Repeating claims that Taylor believed some powerful countries to be "out to get him", Griffiths insisted that the prosecution was "politically motivated".

Prosecutor Nicholas Kumjian told judges in the morning that other leaders like Kadhafi and Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso had also supported the RUF, but it remained "a proxy army under one person, Charles Taylor".

"The involvement of Moamer Kadhafi and Blaise Campaore has been proven," Kumjian told the court, but "the RUF did not fight for Blaise Campaore, it did not fight ... for Moamer Kadhafi".

He described Taylor as "the Godfather" of the RUF" who "profited from the wars and the crimes they commited".

Taylor's trial, which started in earnest more than three years ago, is the first-ever of an African head of state before an international tribunal.

The 62-year-old has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly arming RUF rebels who killed and maimed with impunity, in exchange for illegally mined so-called blood diamonds

The Sierra Leone civil war claimed some 120,000 lives in the 10 years to 2001, with RUF rebels, whom prosecutors described as Taylor's "surrogate army", mutilating thousands of civilians by hacking off their limbs.

© 2011 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • L. Ken posted:

    on 10th March 2011, 00:25:28 - Reply

    Mr. Courtenay Griffiths needs to get a grip on reality regarding prisoner Charles TAYLOR - as for saying that Libya's Mumar KADHAFI should have been in the dock.
    ; he is right there though!