SRSG welcomes the conviction of Charles Taylor for war crimes against civilians including children

New York, 26 April – “Today’s judgement against Charles Taylor is another groundbreaking achievement in prosecuting those who commit or are responsible for the most horrendous crimes against children,“ Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict said.

This morning, the Special Court for Sierra Leone found guilty former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding and abetting war crimes committed by the Revolutionary United Front during Sierra Leone’s 1991 – 2002 civil war. While serving as President in Liberia, he backed the rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone who killed tens of thousands during the war, notoriously used child soldiers, committed rape and sexual slavery as well as cruel treatment. He was found guilty on all these charges.  

 “In this decade long conflict, children have experienced unspeakable atrocities. Girls and boys have been forced to cut off people’s limbs or have been mutilated themselves,” SRSG Coomaraswamy said. “I am encouraged by the prosecution of the mastermind behind these crimes and hope that with justice done today comes recovery and healing for the victims.”

The Special Court for Sierra Leone has been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for violations against children. It was the first international court to decide that the recruitment and use of children under fifteen constitutes a war crime under customary international law. The Court also took a clear decision not to prosecute child soldiers, but to bring to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility – political leaders and military commanders.  

All violations committed against children in conflict should be duly prosecuted, not at least because justice is a truly important deterrent for potential perpetrators,” SRSG Coomaraswamy emphasized. 

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Timothy La Rose
Communications Officer,
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 346 3404
larose@un.org

Muriel Gschwend
Associate Communications Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917-367-3562
gschwend@un.org