Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison at The Hague yesterday, sparking a wave of international response lauding the court for giving Taylor his due on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. Within Liberia, VOA found mixed reaction. More:
As Taylor was handed a 50-year jail term, Liberian rights groups and activists were debating whether Taylor's allies and rivals should also be subject to international justice.
...The matter has sparked calls for other Liberians suspected of war crimes to be handed over to international courts. Liberia's media have run editorials and held radio debates on the advantages and disadvantages of the idea.
Larry Tengbeh, who lives in Monrovia, is among those who think Taylor should not be the only one held responsible for war crimes. "There are a number of them roaming around in Liberia. They need to face justice," he said.
He's talking about former rivals, and in some cases, allies of Taylor during Liberia's civil conflict, which ended in 2003, a year after Sierra Leone's.
At least five members of Taylor's wartime inner circle are still under U.N.-imposed travel bans and subject to economic sanctions.
Others had recommendations made against them by Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
But those recommendations, including one that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should be barred from public office for funding Taylor's pre-war rebellion in Liberia, have never been implemented.
The CSM also has an interesting piece from the former director of VOA's English-to-Africa broadcasts. "Charles Taylor would call me on regular basis in the early 1990s," Gregory Alonso Pirio writes. "It's not that I was a friend of the former Liberian rebel leader and later president, whom the International Criminal Court sentenced to 50 years in prison on Wednesday for his role in the bloody Sierra Leone civil war. Rather, Mr. Taylor needed me."