Tuesday, June 18, 2013 09:09
Taylor Could Get Less Sentence If...
If all goes well after the defense and prosecution teams must have submitted a written notice of appeal within 14 days of the delivery of the full judgment and sentence of Mr. Charles Taylor, it is likely that the former Liberian President could get less or more years of sentence, the Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone Ms. Brenda Hollis said.
Addressing hundreds of students at the University of Liberia (UL) yesterday at a special edition of the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Ms. Hollis explained that after the appeals chamber has received all of the submissions, it will schedule an appeal hearing for oral arguments from both team.
At that moment, Ms. Hollis narrated that the prosecution team could argue before the appealing chambers to increase the 50-year sentence of Mr. Taylor, while the defense council could also argue in order to reduce his sentence.
Ms. Hollis said the five judges selected to serve in the appealing chambers will begin their deliberations; make a draft judgment and schedule a date for delivery of the appeal judgment.
“The judgment is what a majority of the judges decide. The judgment may affirm, reverse or revise the judgment of the Trial Chamber,” Ms. Brenda Hollis said.
The Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone added that if the appeal chamber reverses an acquittal on any count, then the appeal chamber will sentence the accused for that offence and the sentence of the appeal chamber will be enforced immediately.
Commenting further on the guilty verdict, Ms. Hollis disclosed that Mr. Taylor did not physically commit a crime in Sierra Leone but that he is responsible for what happened in that country under an operation named and styled “No Living Thing”.
She also revealed that “Aiding and Abetting” a crime the prosecution placed on Mr. Taylor just when the verdict was being announced in the Hague is not a charge instead it was in support of the crimes for which the accused had been jailed for the past six years.
Mr. Charles Taylor was found guilty on April 26, 2012 on all 11 counts in the indictment which earlier said he bore the greatest responsibility for what occurred during the civil crises in Sierra Leone. The judges found that he had planned, and also aided and abetted rebels in committing crimes during the conflict in Sierra Leone. The judges said the prosecution had failed to prove that he had a superior or subordinate relationship with the rebels, or that he had entered a joint criminal enterprise to commit the crime.
Mr. Taylor's sentence was brought down on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in The Hague. Before his sentence, the lawyers for the prosecution and defence presented oral arguments on their sentencing briefs in front of the judges. The prosecution recommended an 80-year sentence. The defense argued that that was too long, and called for a sentence which would not be in effect for a life sentence.
Charles Taylor was indicted on March 7, 2003, but the indictment was kept under seal until June 4, 2003, an indictment he had pleaded 'not guilty' to. He stepped down as President of Liberia two months later, and went into exile in Nigeria. He was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Special Court on March 29, 2006. The trial opened on June 4, 2007, but was immediately adjourned following the prosecution's opening statement after Mr. Taylor dismissed his counsel. The trial resumed with new defense counsel on January 7, 2008.