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UN Security Council passes resolution allowing Taylor trial shift to The Hague

[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] on Friday unanimously agreed to a resolution [summary and text] authorizing the pending war crimes trial of ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to be shifted from the facilities of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL} in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to the facilities of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. The Council invoked Chapter VII of the Charter to allow a chamber of the SCSL to sit outside its jurisdiction. The trial will still be conducted by SCSL prosecutors and judges, and Taylor will remain under SCSL control. In March the SCSL said it wanted to move Taylor's trial to The Hague [JURIST report] for security reasons, but the Netherlands said that it would only agree to host the trial on its territory if the tribunal found 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. The former process proved problematic until UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett said Thursday that Britain would take custody of Taylor if he is convicted [JURIST report], as long as legislation authorizing the UK to recognize convictions by the SCSL is passed by Parliament.

Taylor has been indicted [PDF text] 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 said on Friday that it welcomed the new Security Council resolution [press release, PDF], and that Taylor could be transferred to The Hague to stand trial within weeks [Reuters report]. BBC News has more.

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