Amnesty International has stated that it is important that the landmark trial of Charles Taylor be communicated to victims of the crimes being prosecuted and more generally to the people of Sierra Leone where the crime being prosecuted were committed against Sierra Leoneans and in Liberia where Charles Taylor served as president at the time the crimes took place.
Amnesty International noted that however, in the days leading up to the opening of the trial, observers in Liberia and Sierra Leone revealed that many people were unaware that the trial was about to start, and did not understand the reasons for removing the trial from Freetown where the Special Court had its premises to The Hague.
Amnesty International said the greatest challenge “Special Court is faced with will be to ensure the trial is accessible and known to the victims”.
“With the trial taking place in The Hague it will be crucial that the day’s developments of the trial be communicated promptly and accurately through a range of media such as radio, television, local newspapers and community outreach programmes.
Amnesty international also stated that it was concerned that following the government’s decision to grant amnesties to the vast majority of persons who committed crimes during the conflict that many victims continue to suffer without justice and reparation.
It pointed out that by prosecuting a small number of cases, Amnesty International believed that the Special Court could play an important role to deliver some level of Justice to the people of Sierra Leone and to highlight the need to review the injustice imposed by the government by adopting an amnesty.