Charles Taylor Found Guilty of War Crimes — Emira Woods Available for Comment

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been found guilty of 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity this morning by an international court at The Hague. Emira Woods, an Institute for Policy Studies expert originally from Liberia, is available for interviews on the case.

“The long-awaited verdict of the Special Court brings some measure of justice to a region ripped apart by brutality, greed, and proxy geopolitical actors” Woods said.

Taylor was accused of 11 charges, ranging from murder, rape, and sexual violence to the recruitment and use of child soldiers in a long and bloodied war in Liberia’s neighbor Sierra Leone. Taylor was charged by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a court established before the International Criminal Court was formed.

“Taylor’s case is associated with many firsts,” Woods said. “He is the first head of state to have escaped from a U.S. medium-security prison. He is the first head of state to publically refuse to sign an imbalanced rubber concession agreement with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He was the first sitting head of state to be brought on charges for international crimes against humanity. And now, he is the first head of state since World War II to have been convicted of war crimes by an international criminal court.”

Taylor was key leader in a machinery of repression that killed 50,000 Sierra Leoneans and amputated the limbs of tens of thousands more, mostly civilians.

Reporters/journalists seeking to contact Ms. Emira Woods for interview, please contact IPS Media Manager Lacy MacAuley at (202) 445-4692 or [email protected]