SIERRA LEONE COURT CALLS ON LIBERIAN LEADER TO TURN OVER FUGITIVES
From: UN New York, May 05 2003 02:00PM
© UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
Citing credible evidence that two fugitives indicted for
wartime atrocities are hiding out in Liberia, the chief prosecutor for the
United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has said that any
credibility Liberian President Charles Taylor has left is riding on his
promise to arrest and surrender the former rebel commanders.
"Sam Bokarie and Johnny Paul Koroma are international fugitives hiding in
Liberia," David M. Crane, the Court's Prosecutor said in Freetown yesterday.
"I expect Mr. Taylor to fulfil his international obligations and immediately
release these war criminals to the Court. Any credibility he still has with
the international community is now linked to this promise."
Mr. Crane offered specific, up-to-the minute details regarding the
whereabouts of the fugitives for Liberian authorities in the wake of reports
late last week that Monrovia had no information on the two, and that
President Taylor was committed to ridding the sub-region of violent
Mr. Crane said the Court had "credible information" that, as of Sunday
morning, Mr. Koroma was in the Foya Kamala area in Liberia's Lofa County,
and that Mr. Bokarie is in Kahnple, a small village in Nimba County.
The two former rebel commanders were indicted along with five other suspects
implicated in a decade's worth of human rights violations during Sierra
Leone's brutal civil war. All had connections to the Revolutionary United
Front (RUF), and now face charges ranging from murder and sexual slavery, to
forced conscription of children and attacks on UN peacekeepers. Only Mr.
Koroma and Mr. Bokarie remain at large.
According to Alan White, the Court's Chief of Investigations, Mr. Koroma is
allegedly commanding a new, heavily-armed unit of perhaps 3,000 former RUF
militia, set up by President Taylor. The arms have come from outside the
country, in spite of the UN arms embargo. Mr. Bokarie is also said to be
accompanied by an RUF contingent.
"I call on all West African nations, and others genuinely interested in
peace and stability for the region to seize, arrest and surrender these
individuals to the Court," Mr. Crane said, adding that there could be no
peace in West Africa until this was done. "There can be no hiding place for
them. They must be brought to justice."