[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive] has increased to approximately $100,000 a month the funds available for former Liberian president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to defend himself in his ongoing war crimes trial. The allocation includes money for a legal team and an investigator, as well as office space in The Hague, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Despite a UN report that concluded Taylor may be in control of millions of dollars [JURIST report] held in bank accounts worldwide, the court has ruled Taylor to be an indigent defendant, guaranteeing him free counsel.
If investigators can concretely link funds to Taylor, he can be forced to repay the court for defense costs. Charges against Taylor include murder, rape, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during a blood civil war in Sierra Leone [JURIST news archive]. If acquitted, Taylor will be permitted to return to Liberia; if convicted, he will serve his jail time in Britain [JURIST report]. The trial, which was expected to last 18 months, was relocated to The Hague from Sierra Leone [JURIST report] for security reasons in 2006. Currently delayed [JURIST report] to give the new defense team more time to prepare, the trial is set to resume on August 20. AP has more.