Following the marathon-like trial of Charles Ghankay Taylor, former President of Liberia,the Sierra Leone Special Court in The Hague has convicted Taylor of war crimes. Charles Taylor was facing 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He becomes the first head of state since World War II to be convicted by an international war crimes court.
The verdict has drawn mixed reactions from Liberians. According to Liberian Observer Online, even nature reacted to the verdict:
During the reading of the verdict against former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, a dark cloud surrounded the sun, as seen in Liberia, encircled by a rainbow. In Liberia, when this happens, it is believed that a great personality has fallen. Then there's a distinct red “eye-like” object lingering within the dark cloud. What could it be?
Lorenzo Gartorr, a Liberian living in the Diaspora, thinks the trial was a “theatrical performance by the court”:
What a beautiful theatrical performance by the court, if true verdict is based upon argument and evidence then the court proves itself another ‘Kangaroo Court’, cuz the prosecutors shot themselves in the legs on many occasions during the trail. I am not saying Taylor is guilty or not, but the defense did much better job in this whole case then the prosecutors. I believe the judge read from a prepard transcript that existed even before Taylor's arrest in the first place.
Unlike Lorenzo Gartorr, Elias Shoniyin supports the verdict:
The world through the ICC has once again reawaken the conscientiousness of nations, secured justice for the victims of war, and sent a strong signal to reigning dictators that their days of oppressing the weak are numbered. It's a verdict that not only bring justice, but also hope to the weak and oppressed.
While welcoming the verdict, Liberian musician Robert Black Diamond, reiterates the need to have other major political players in the Liberian civil crisis brought to justice:
Ellen [current president], PYJ [former warlord senator Prince Y.Johnson] and the rest will go down as well. Just wait and see. What some of you folks don't understand is that these folks are planting more seeds and hatred for future conflict under the false pretense of justice when infact this is not justice because we still have a killer gvt rulling our people. It is with great shame that some of you will celebrate your former president being sent to jail for crimes in another country and not for crimes in your own country and what makes it worst is that you worship the assistant assassin who provided the finance to kill her own people and you have no problem with that. This is why many people are having problem with the entire Taylor and the ICC saga. Selective justice is no justice. Ellen must have her day in court!!
Emmanuel M.Liu sees the verdict as a victory for both Sierra Leonean and Liberian victims of war:
Finally justice for the people of not only Sierra Leone but also for the almost 200,000 of my fellow Liberias who died in Charles Taylor senseless war. I for my part cannot wait for the day George Boley, Alhaji Kromah, Sekou Conteh, and Prince Johnson all join this fool in the Hague to face war crimes charges. Most of us Liberians who saw these men and their barbarian armies at work during the war will never forget what these people did to our country, I hope they all burn and rot in hell where they all belong.
Massa Dopoh vividly remembers Taylor's brutality:
Yes I can still remember how taylor boys make me,my little brother and friend to pump tire and run on that Airfeild why enroute to my anuty house.I can still remember when he send his numerous rockets on the bushrod island and precious lives were taken in a second including my cousin cuz those rockets fall in my uncle house near my daddy’ house.Yes his presence in jail is not about me nor the war in Liberia but I can relate and rejoice that Justice was Well Served for those dead and living victims in S.Leone. Massa is singing Thanks be to God…. CASE CLOSED
Elisabeth Karnley is not impressed by the court:
Really ICC? There are horrendous crimes being committed against humanity right now! All you're worry about is getting even with Charles Taylor? Not only are you partially and incompetent, the purpose for which you were established is defeated!
Mohamed Kamara reacts with a sense of humour:
LIBERIANS rewarded him for crimes and SIERRA LEONEANS indicted him for crimes…….WELL DONE SIERRA LEONEANS !!!!!!!
The actual sentence of Charles Taylor remains unknown until 16 May 2012.