Charles Taylor of Liberia boycotts war crimes trial

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is facing charges of war crimes for his role in the Sierra Leone Civil War, has decided to boycott the proceedings at The Hague under the auspices of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He faces 11 charges of war crimes, all of which he denies.

Taylor claims that his trial will not be fair as he only has one defense lawyer. "He has not thumbed his nose at the court," said Karim Khan, his counsel, before producing the letter in which Taylor said he would "not receive a fair trial at the Special Court at this time."

Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp disagrees with Taylor's assessment. Taylor, he says, has been assigned a lawyer, a special investigator and funds. "Everything that can be done is being done," Rapp told the Special Court.

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