Charles Taylor verdict 'tip of the iceberg'

2012-04-26 14:18
Freetown - The guilty verdict in Charles Taylor's war crimes trial sent a message to high-ranking officials responsible for crimes that they would eventually face justice, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

"There is no doubt that today's verdict sends an important message to high-ranking state officials; no matter who you are or what position you hold, you will be brought to justice for crimes," said Brima Abdulai Sheriff, Amensty's Sierra Leone head.

While the conviction by the Special Court for Sierra Leone would bring some measure of justice for victims, Taylor and the others sentenced by the court are just the "tip of the iceberg", said Sheriff.

"Thousands of persons suspected of criminal responsibility for incidences of unlawful killings, rape and sexual violence, mutilations and the use of children in Sierra Leone's armed conflict have never been investigated, much less prosecuted."

"Sadly, only a limited number of Sierra Leone's thousands of victims who bear the terrible scars of the conflict have received reparations, despite the Lome Peace Accord and the clear recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission."

The verdict by the court, sitting in Leidschendam in the Netherlands, can also be seen as a reminder for Taylor's home country Liberia that those responsible for the crimes committed during its own conflict must be brought to justice, Amnesty said.

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