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March 29, 2006 3:34 PM   Subscribe

A step toward justice in West Africa.
posted by pwedza (7 comments total)
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:46 PM on March 29, 2006

I was actually going to post about this yesterday, but the 24 hour rule stopped me. Interesting that he walked out of armed custody, the U.S. got pissed, and then he's recaptured the next day at the border. Also interesting that one source said he was carrying 220lbs. of currency.
posted by rollbiz at 3:49 PM on March 29, 2006

Jonathan Stack (and James Brabazon) made Liberia: An Uncivil War, an amazing documentary of the last seige of Monrovia by LURD and the subsequent departure of Charles Taylor. Stack covered Monrovia and its reaction to the impending rebel advance, capturing the effects on everyone from the average citizens to Taylor himself (in his only interview during the period.

At the same time, Brabazon travels with the LURD army as they fight their way to Monrovia, until he is forced to leave the country after the government what amounts to a death warrent for him.

Graphic. Visceral. Real. I cannot recommend it enough.
posted by rollbiz at 4:00 PM on March 29, 2006

It seems somewhat ironic to me that the current US government has had some part in bringing Taylor to Liberia to face prosecution. Ironic because he is charged with gross violations of human rights under the Geneva Convention. This includes funding an organisation that tortured and killed journalists.

'Taylor has been charged with serious violations of the Geneva Convention, which establishes the rules of warfare, and crimes against humanity. The court alleges that he is among those who bear the greatest responsibility for widespread and systematic rape, murder, physical violence, including mutilation and amputation and other atrocities in Sierra Leone through his support and guidance of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel movement. The Special Court has indicted Charles Taylor on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Sierra Leone's civil war from 1991 to 2002.'

While I welcome this aparent bout of concern about human rights violators being brought to justice, I can't help but wonder if this was an easy way to appear to be doing something in TWAT. The other aspect of this particular situation is that the Bush administration had a part in the original exile deal which made their position vis a vis 'bringing terrorists to justice' questionable.
Would it were the case that the sudden concern with human rights violations were extended over current encumbents with which the US has relationships.
Concern with international justice should not just be for the poor.

While we are on the subject, the unique history of Liberia is worth a look
posted by asok at 4:23 PM on March 29, 2006

Why didn't Taylor just remove himself from the International Criminal Court? That seems to be the fix-all for some countries.
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2006

(I'm not saying it's RIGHT, just that some countries DO IT. Who'se to stop him? )
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 7:32 PM on March 29, 2006

the Bush administration had a part in the original exile deal which made their position vis a vis 'bringing terrorists to justice' questionable

In the film I mentioned above, Bush looks downright comical. One of the things that is accentuated throughout is the "big brother" role that the U.S. is supposed to play with Liberia. We founded the country. Its charter/Constitution was written by Harvard Law. Liberia has voted with the U.S. in UN decisions more than almost any country. Yet the extent of the administration response shown in the film is Bush looking perplexed at even being in Africa, saying "Charles Taylor must resign".

This becomes a comic tragedy when the LURD troops reach Monrovia, and many people move to the U.S. Embassy thinking that being in the vacinity will protect them. A mortar falls upon the Embassy grounds, killing dozens. Bodies are piled outside. What is interesting is that the shell came from the U.S., via Guinea. Comic in that an "ally", LURD, mortars. With an ally shell (Guinea). From us.

On subject: Also worth a read is Blue Clay People.
posted by rollbiz at 7:33 PM on March 29, 2006

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