THE HAGUE—For the thousands of young men who had their limbs hacked off, the verdict will come way too late. Too late as well for the teenage boys sent into battle high on dope. And for the pubescent girls turned into sex slaves for rebel warriors, who will harbor unspeakable memories until they die, no matter what the court decides.Read the rest here.
But on Thursday morning, a full decade after the vicious Sierra Leone war was quelled, the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone will hand down a verdict on the responsibility of former Liberian president Charles Taylor in promoting and financing the butchery in faraway West Africa.
Even though it is too late for many victims in Sierra Leone, the decision handed down by the court in a leafy suburb of the Hague marks an important milestone in an accelerating and sometimes controversial effort to create an international justice system.
Taylor will become the first sitting or former head of state to be judged for conduct in a war that was considered — by still-emerging international standards — so treacherous as to be illegal. Prosecutors allege that he used his power as president of neighboring Liberia to advise and provide resources and weapons to Sierra Leone rebels, whose uprising he viewed as similar to the guerrilla movement he had led in his own country.