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Liberian Charles Taylor to appear in court Monday

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor to appear in court on Monday: UN

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, currently being held in Sierra Leone on multiple charges of war crimes, will make his first appearance in court on Monday, a United Nations spokesperson said today.

The proceedings against Mr. Taylor, who has been under detention in the UN-backed Special Court since Wednesday when he arrived from Nigeria, will begin in the Sierra Leonean capital Freetown.

The Court has requested that he be tried in The Hague because of safety concerns.

Earlier today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters that “everybody agrees it to be wiser” to move the trial to The Hague and he noted that the Security Council had been following developments relating to Mr. Taylor “very, very closely.”

The 15-member Council has not yet acted on the request, but there needs to be a Headquarters Agreement to facilitate the proposal and a Council Resolution for the Government of the Netherlands to provide the legal basis for the Court to sit within its national jurisdiction.

Mr. Taylor arrived in Sierra Leone by United Nations helicopter on Wednesday, after being recaptured in Nigeria, where he had been exiled three years ago as part of a peace deal that helped bring an end to Liberia’s decade of civil war.

The former President has been indicted on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, including sexual slavery and mutilations allegedly committed during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war.

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