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Liberia seeks Nigerian handover of ex-president Taylor on war crimes charges

[JURIST] Liberia has formally asked the Nigerian government to transfer former Liberian President Charles Taylor [PBS profile; JURIST news archive] so that he can face war crimes charges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website]. Liberia's transfer request is similar to an extradition request, but Taylor would be turned over to the court for prosecution not to Liberian officials. Taylor has been living in exile in Nigeria since 2003 as part of an international agreement ending Liberia's civil war. He was indicted [text; SC-SL case materials] by the war crimes court on charges of crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] and other international humanitarian laws for supporting the insurgency of rebels in Sierra Leone. The court has ruled [PDF decision] that Taylor is not immune from prosecution [JURIST report] as a former head of state.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo [official profile] said Friday that he would consult with leaders [AP report] from the African Union [official website] and the Economic Community of West African States [official website] on how to respond to Liberia' request, though last fall Obasanjo said that Taylor should remain in exile [JURIST report] to preserve the peace in Liberia. Special Court Chief Prosecutor Desmond de Silva welcomed the transfer request [VOA report] and noted that the court is ready to prosecute Taylor. BBC News has more.

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