Delegation From Sierra Leone Special Court Meets President Sirleaf

Wednesday, 25th April 2007
Members of the Sierra Leone Special Court delegation hold talks with President Sirleaf.
Members of the Sierra Leone Special Court delegation hold talks with President Sirleaf.
Photo Credit: James Garessen, II/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - A delegation of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, headed by its Prosecutor, Stephen Rapp, has met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia. Members of the delegation informed the President that they were in the country to meet with Liberians to explain the workings of the Special Court ahead of the trial in The Hague of former President Charles Taylor.

According to an Executive Mansion release, Prosecutor Rapp said it was important that Liberians and Sierra-Leoneans are informed about the proceedings, to ensure that accurate information gets out. The Special court for Sierra Leone prosecutor said the court was determined to ensure that the trial is transparent, fair expeditious and accessible to everyone.  A successful trial, Mr. Rapp said, will have benefits for the sub-region, Africa and the rest of the world.

The Principle Defender, Vincent Nmehielle, underscored the need to ensure that the trial meets international standards wherein the fundamental rights of the accused are guaranteed. He said his office has appointed a defense team which would administer and coordinate the process to ensure that Mr. Taylorís legal interests are protected.

Responding, President Johnson Sirleaf welcomed the Special courtís mission to Liberia. She said Liberians are determined to put behind them the era of the bitter past. The President also welcomed the courtís decision to provide legal defense that would provide the means for Mr. Taylor to have an effective defense. The Liberian leader expressed the hope that the trial of the accused would be free, fair and humane and will end within a reasonable period of time, to allow Liberians move forward to the future and pursue their development goals.

Wednesdayís meeting with the President was attended by Foreign Minister, Ambassador George Wallace; the Acting Registrar of the Court, as well as other officials of the court.

Members of the Sierra Leone Special Court are expected to meet with the civil society and Liberian Law-makers.