Ellen: ‘I supported Taylor…’

(continued from April 7)
Though the SCSL’s mandate is clear and very distinct from the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), the two are often related in the case of Taylor’s activities. Three recent testimonies before the TRC are worth mentioning in this respect, the first perhaps being the most sensational since confirming the role played by now President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the support of Charles Taylor in his effort to overthrow President Samuel Doe (1980 – 90).

1) On February 12, 2009 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf testified before the TRC, denying she was ever a member of any of the warring factions but admitting she made a financial contribution of USD 10,000 to the NPLF – before turning her back to Charles Taylor in a very early stage of the conflict. She apologized to the Liberian people. It was not the first time she publicly admitted this financial support; she already acknowledged it during the campaign for the past presidential elections. She also mentions it in her autobiographic book, ‘This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President’, published yesterday (April 7). 2) According to a testimony on February 18, 2009, Charles Taylor, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Ibrahim Bah (RUF) and a retired Italian agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) organized a company, smuggling Liberian and Sierra Leonean diamonds in exchange for weapons. It was also said that Bah collaborated with Libyan leader Gaddafi and Taylor to form a rebel group which was then operating in the Sierra Leonean jungle after fighting in Liberia.

3) Patrick Alley, Global Witnness Director, on February 20, 2009 testified that Charles Taylor, Ibrahim Bah and Samuel Bockarie had links with Al Queda. They were involved in this organization’s diamonds for arms deal and other business deals in Sierra Leone and Liberia whch yielded them significant financial gains. Mr Taylor also received USD 1 million for harboring two Al Queda operatives at the Gbartala base in Bong County after September 11, 2001 (‘9-11’). Reports of Taylor’s links with Al Queda are not new, however. It is expected that Charles Taylor will be the first witness in his own war crimes trial this summer. Will he speak as a former warlord, as a former president or as a well dressed millionaire-businessman?

A verdict in the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor is expected early 2010.

To be continued..

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