Startling Revelation to the Dismay of War Weary Liberians

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 15, 2004

The Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) Charles Gyude Bryant has made a startling revelation, to the dismay of war weary Liberians, at a major news conference held on 13 April at the Executive Mansion on wild range of national and international issues. The NTGL Chairman said his administration would not be a party to a request for former Liberian President Charles Taylor to be turned over to the United Nations backed War Crimes Court in neighboring Sierra Leone.

He said that his government would not be part of any arrangement that would have former President Taylor to face justice on charges of crimes against humanity at the UN tribunal in Sierra Leone.

In his argument, Chairman Bryant said Mr. Taylor was granted amnesty as part of a special peace arranged by ECOWAS and others to have Mr. Taylor leave Liberia to go into exile in Nigeria, saying that his government is a party to that arrangement.

Although Chairman Bryant made it emphatically clear regarding his government‘s position on Mr. Taylor’s issue with the UN court in Sierra Leone, he warned that if the Former Liberian leader interferes with the internal affairs of Liberia, he (Chairman Bryant) might think otherwise, warning Mr. Taylor to be very good while in the Federal republic of Nigeria.

According to Chairman Bryant, the President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo has made his position clear on the Taylor’s situation with the court, adding that President Obasanjo has indicated that Nigeria will not submit to harassment from any country for Mr. Taylor to go to Sierra Leone. President Obassanjo has indicated that Nigeria would turn Mr. Taylor over to the Liberian government if that government makes such request.

Recently, two human rights groups petitioned the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) for the government to turn Mr. Taylor over to the UN backed war crimes court in Freetown, but the assembly argued that the petition by two human rights organizations fell short of some unspecified basic requirements to warrant discussions by the body.

Mr. Taylor has persistently and consistently rejected allegations brought against him by the UN backed court. The court has brought 17 counts against Mr. Taylor, including genocide, gun-running, diamond smuggling, crimes against humanity and support to the former RUF rebels.