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Charles Taylors’s Rwanda transfer appeal denied

May 22, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

A special trial chamber convened by President of the Residual Special Court, Justice Philip N. Waki, has denied an application bid by former Liberian warlord Charles Ghankay Taylor, to be transferred to Rwanda where other Special Court convicts are serving their jail terms.

In a statement issued yesterday, Justice Waki upheld the Trial Chamber’s decision on Taylor’s motion for termination of enforcement of sentence in the United Kingdom and for transfer to the Mpanga Prison in Rwanda.

The former President of Liberia had on 6 February, 2015 filed an appeal to be transferred to the Mpanga prison in Rwanda, east Africa, for him to have easy access to his wife and other members of his family.

The defense had argued that the wording of Rule 73(b) of the interlocutory appeals implied was applicable to special trial chambers empanelled by Justice Waki and that they have met the conjunctive tests of “exceptional circumstances” and “irreparable prejudice” set down by the said rules.

They also argued that Rule 73(3) applied only in the course of judicial proceedings and not “in the post administrative designation of place of confinement”.

Justice Waki ruled that the said Rule 73(b) cited by the defense was inapplicable.

“Even if it was permissible to seek leave to appeal against the decision of the special Trial Chamber in this case, which it is not, I am not satisfied that the Defence has demonstrated the existence of ‘exceptional circumstances’ or ‘irreparable prejudice’ which are the standards upon which the application for leave would be considered,” Justice Waki submitted.

He added: “I have carefully examined the record compiled by the Honourable Judges who sat in the special ‘Trial Chamber ‘which I set up on the Motion for Transfer, and I am satisfied that they dispassionately gathered and evaluated the information placed before them. I have further considered the reasoning of the Honourable Judges on the material placed before them and I concur with, and adopt, the final decision made by the Trial Chamber.”

Charles Ghankay Taylor was found guilty in April 2012 of eleven counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. The Court found that he had planned, and aided and abetted, crimes committed by RUF and AFRC rebel forces during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

In May 2012 he was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with credit given for time served in detention since March 2006. His conviction and sentence were upheld by the Appeals Chamber in September 2013, and he was transferred to Frankland  Prison in the UK the following month.