Taylor’s Lawyer Cries for Africa’s Support
-Accuses ‘The White’ of Being Above the Law
Charles Taylor’s Lead Counsel, Cllr. Courtenay Griffiths
By Leroy M. Sonpon, III
The lead counsel to former President Charles G. Taylor of Liberia, Cllr. Courtenay Griffiths is urging Africans to come together and rekindle the hope in championing the cause of all Africans to be treated equally in the world and had accused the West of acting above the law and disrespecting the universal ‘rule of law.’
Speaking to journalists on Monday, March 16, 2009, at the Krystal Ocean View Hotel in Mamba Point, Cllr. Griffiths told journalists that he has not come to Liberia at a critical stage in the trial of ex-President Charles Taylor to make a plea not just for Mr. Taylor but for Africans in general owing to the inhumane treatments being leveled against Africans.
Cllr. Griffiths stressed that one of his missions is aimed to encourage Africans to rekindle the hope that Africans can be treated equally on the global stage, making specific reference to the arrest of Charles Taylor in 2006 and then the more recently indictment of President Al Bashir of Sudan.
The British counsel also told reporters that he is also in West Africa to assess most of his significant witnesses and the significant of their testimonies on the trial of Charles Taylor.
Cllr. Griffiths avowed that the claimed ‘international community’ which is promoting the idea that there can be no impunity for those who commit war crimes and crimes against, have been engaged in the worst.
Cllr. Griffiths noted that since the Iraq war been launched, there has been no one calling on the equal ferocity for either former President George Bush or former British Prime Minister Blair to stand trial for the atrocities instigated and also accused the so-called ‘international community’ of a studied silence as it relates to the crimes committed recently by Israel in Gaza.
“The cruel reality is that impunity only becomes an issue if the perpetrator is a black African who does not enjoy the similar backing of the West, hence Jonas Savimbi will always bne safe from similar sanctions.
“This reminds us when Charles Taylor was arrested and dragged in handcuffs to the Hague in Holland to stand trial, he foretell that ‘they came for him in the morning, but they could come for others at night. That vision has now come true as the President of Sudan can now testify, and watch out it would be Robert Mugabe,” Cllr. Griffiths asserted.
In a poignant tone, Cllr. Griffiths urge Africans to take charge of their own destinies and startling revealed that Charles Taylor trial has received very little publicity in Africa., yet it is the continent most affected by the outcome of those proceedings.
Cllr. Griffiths also revealed that one of the major reasons why Charles Taylor’s trial and other Africans were taken to the Hague instill of Africa is because it is easier to destroy the rights of a people when they are kept in the dark.
“Majority of Africans haven’t got a clue about what is going on in the Hague and it is time for us to shed some light on this misuse of international criminal law, if only we organize to ensure the rights of our African sons and daughters are given proper regard and that international criminal law does not become a 21st century form of neo-colonialism.
“African Union must be prepared to take a public lead on this, particularly in light of statements made in the past by its current president who is evidently aware of these concerns. Likewise the African media must address these issues.
“The African public needs to be informed that this is not just about Charles Taylor, although his case is a useful place to start. We who defend him need your support,” Cllr. Griffiths accentuated.
Commenting on the lack of resources on the continuation of Charles Taylor, Cllr. Griffiths believed that needed funds will be raised and dispelled the rumor to be pressurized to give his defense counsel against ex-President Charles Taylor.
On March -2006, Mr. Taylor was indicted on by eleven counts for the war in Sierra Leone.
According to the indictment, some of the indictments include sexual violent, physical violent, recruitment of child soldiers, adoption of civilians to join the rebel, looting, rape, amongst others.