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BREAKING NEWS ~ Nigeria to hand over war crimes indictee Taylor to Liberia

[JURIST] The Nigerian government said Saturday that it would allow the transfer of ex-Liberia president and fugitive war crimes indictee Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] to Liberian authorities. According to a statement: "President Olusegun Obasanjo has today, 25 March, informed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that the government of Liberia is free to take former President Charles Taylor into its custody."

Liberia formally requested Taylor's transfer [JURIST report] earlier this month, with current president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf saying that if Taylor were handed over he would immediately be put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity [indictment, PDF] before the UN-supported Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website]. Saturday's statement did not specify exactly when, how, or where Taylor's handover would actually take place.

Taylor has been living in exile in Nigeria since 2003 after leaving Liberia in the wake of a peace deal that ended a bloody civil war. David Crane, the former UN chief prosecutor who signed Taylor's Special Court indictment, has said Taylor essentially "destroyed two West African nations, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and was individually criminally liable for the murder, rape, maiming, and mutilation of over a million human beings". BBC News has more.

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