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Trial of ex-Liberian president only funded through opening statements: prosecutor

[JURIST] The UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] has raised only half of the $33 million needed [UN press conference transcript] for the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], according to prosecutor Steven Rapp. Rapp, who spoke in New York Tuesday while seeking additional funding for the trial, said that unlike other international criminal tribunals, the Special Court for Sierra Leone relies solely on voluntary contributions. Taylor's trial is set to begin on June 4 in the facilities of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] in The Hague, and current funds will last through the trial's opening statements, according to Rapp. AP has more.

Last week, the Court announced the delay of the trial [JURIST report] until June in order to give Taylor's defense lawyers more time to prepare. The court's order [text, PDF] cited the extensive amount of time that Taylor has currently been in pre-trial confinement in establishing the new start date. Taylor was originally indicted [amended indictment text, PDF; SCSL materials] in 2003 on charges of 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. After being captured last year trying to flee Nigeria, where he had been in exile, he was taken to The Hague [JURIST report].

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