February 17, 2008 |
Greetings from a war zone that's not Iraq. And not Afghanistan either. I'm checking in from West Africa, where I've been working with women in three neighboring countries, all recently torn apart by civil wars: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Surely you remember these conflicts. Liberia's war came in three successive waves, lasting from 1989 to 2003.
January 10, 2008 |
A former bodyguard for Charles Taylor gave an insider's view Wednesday of the former Liberian president's rule, testifying that he funneled arms, fighters, communications equipment and cash to rebels in Sierra Leone who were notorious for their brutality.
January 8, 2008 |
A "blood diamond" expert offered the first testimony in the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor on Monday, and a Sierra Leone miner said in videotaped evidence that laughing rebels hacked off his hands and burned his family. The trial before the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up to try those behind the 1991-2002 civil war, resumed after a six-month adjournment that began in June when Taylor boycotted proceedings and fired his lawyer.
January 8, 2008
Former liberian President Charles Taylor, whose war crimes trial at The Hague got underway Monday, is the first African head of state to face an international court. It couldn't have happened to a meaner guy. Taylor is just one in a depressingly long line of deposed African leaders who bled their countries dry in brutal wars against their own people and plundered their national treasuries.
September 18, 2007 |
Opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma was sworn in as Sierra Leone's president after officials declared him the winner of a tense runoff. Koroma was sworn in after election officials declared him the winner with 55% of 1.7 million ballots cast, compared with 45% for the ruling party candidate, Vice President Solomon Berewa. Hours later, hundreds of looters descended on the headquarters of the former president's party. Police blanketed the neighborhood with tear gas and made numerous arrests.
August 21, 2007 |
Judges in The Hague postponed until January the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor as lawyers argued over whether victims of atrocities in Sierra Leone should testify. Taylor, 59, is accused of instigating murder, rape and mutilation in a quest for diamonds during the civil war in Sierra Leone. He has pleaded not guilty.
August 12, 2007 |
Sierra Leone held its first presidential election since U.N. peacekeepers withdrew two years ago, a poll that many hope will show that this West African nation can transfer power peacefully after being ravaged by coups and a long, diamond-fueled civil war. Voters arrived before dawn and formed long lines for a chance to choose from seven candidates. President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, 75, is completing his second term and cannot run again.
July 20, 2007 |
A war crimes court sentenced three militia leaders to long prison terms Thursday for what a judge called "some of the most heinous, brutal and atrocious crimes ever recorded," including killing, rape and child enslavement. Handing down its first sentences, the United Nations-backed tribunal jailed Alex Tamba Brima and Santigie Borbor Kanu for 50 years each and Brima Bazzy Kamara for 45 years for crimes committed during Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war.
July 4, 2007 |
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appeared in court Tuesday for the first time since the start of his trial for atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's bloody decade-long civil war. Wearing a blue suit and yellow tie, Taylor appeared 20 minutes late at a procedural hearing during which judges for the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone explained why they agreed to postpone hearing the first prosecution witnesses until Aug. 20.
June 21, 2007 |
Three former Sierra Leonean military leaders were found guilty of war crimes Wednesday in the first verdicts stemming from the country's civil war and the first convictions in an international court for using child soldiers. A United Nations-backed court found the three guilty of 11 of 14 charges, including terrorism, using child soldiers, enslavement, rape and murder.