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Sweden passes law that could authorize custody of Taylor after war crimes trial

[JURIST] The Swedish Riksdag [official website] has approved a law that could allow the country to incarcerate former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [JURIST news archive], government officials said Thursday. The parliament gave unanimous approval Wednesday to an agreement with the SCSL, which will take effect July 1, that paves the way for Taylor to serve his possible sentence in Sweden. Taylor has been indicted [PDF text] by the SCSL for crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, rape and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during the war in Sierra Leone. The SCSL wants to move Taylor's trial to The Hague [JURIST report] for security reasons, but the Netherlands has said that it will only agree to host the trial if the SCSL finds a country willing to imprison Taylor if he is found guilty [JURIST report] and a country that will grant him asylum if he is acquitted.

Sweden has previously said it could not accept custody of Taylor [JURIST report] because no assistance agreement, such as those Sweden has with other international courts, existed with the SCSL. Wednesday's vote removes this legal impediment, but the government has not yet indicated whether it will actually agree to accept Taylor. AP has more.

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