Charles Taylor defense investigator arrested on contempt charges

[JURIST] A investigator for the Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] defense team in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] was arrested [press release, PDF] Saturday on charges of contempt. Prince Taylor is accused of interfering with four prosecution witnesses who testified in the Charles Taylor trial and interfering with a fifth person who was about to give evidence in contempt proceedings. He was taken into custody in Bo, Sierra Leone, by Sierra Leone law enforcement officers, on the basis of a warrant issued by the SCSL. Prince Taylor's indictment indicates he is facing nine counts of contempt: four alleging he offered to bribe a witness to recent testimony, four he otherwise interfered with a witness to recant testimony and single count that he interfered with a witness about to give evidence in proceedings before a chamber by "instructing and otherwise persuading Eric Senessie to give false information to the Independent Counsel appointed by the Registrar on the order of Trial Chamber II."

At the end of September the SCSL found three members of Sierra Leone's former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) guilty of contempt [JURIST report]. With the recent conviction [JURIST report] of Charles Taylor, the SCSL has largely fulfilled its mission and will take steps to shut down. In November 2009, the SCSL handed over its detention facility [JURIST report] to the Sierra Leone Prison Service in a monumental step towards the court's resolution. The month before, eight men judged guilty of war crimes by the court were transferred [JURIST report] to Rwanda to serve out their terms. The SCSL was created in a joint endeavor by the government of Sierra Leone and the UN to provide a forum to try those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law, committed in Sierra Leone.

 

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