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UK signs Taylor imprisonment deal with Sierra Leone war crimes court

[JURIST] The United Kingdom and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive] signed an agreement Tuesday formalizing a British commitment [JURIST report] to imprison former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in Britain if Taylor is convicted by the SCSL. In June, the UK House of Commons passed the International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Act 2007 [PDF text], establishing a legal basis for the SCSL to sentence Taylor to prison time in the UK.

Taylor, who made his first court appearance last Tuesday after boycotting proceedings [JURIST reports], is facing charges [indictment, PDF] for murder, rape, and the recruitment and use of child solders during a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone [JURIST news archive]. Taylor's trial, which was expected to last 18 months and was relocated to The Hague from Sierra Leone [JURIST report] for security reasons in 2006, is presently suspended until August 20 [JURIST report] to give Taylor's legal team more time to prepare his defense. The UK Foreign Office has more.

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