Royce Reacts to Charles Taylor Sentencing
Former Liberian President will spend rest of life behind bars
May 30, 2012 -
U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) issued the following statement in reaction to today's announced sentencing of former Liberian President Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Last month, Taylor was found guilty of war crimes in the brutal death and destruction inflicted upon the West African nation of Sierra Leone since November, 1996. A sentence of 50 years, effectively a life sentence, was announced this morning.
"Justice was delayed but done. Taylor ruined the lives of tens of thousands, killed and maimed. This sentence will put him away for life, the least that should be done.
"Today’s sentencing is a victory for the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia. They can now be assured that this horrific individual will never return. The relative peace and stability in the region since Taylor has left is much safer.
"Many hope that this sentence sends a message to the next would-be warlord. Unleash havoc and you'll pay a step price," said Royce.
The court described Taylor’s crimes as "amongst the most brutal and heinous recorded in human history." The trial opened in June 2007. The Special Court for Sierra Leone is prohibited from imposing capital sentences.
Royce chaired the House Subcommittee on Africa from 1997-2006. Under his chairmanship, the Subcommittee held several hearings focused on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Royce was a vocal opponent of a deal brokered by Nigeria and the United States. This gave Taylor asylum in Nigeria, keeping him beyond the reach of justice. In 2005, Royce authored a congressional resolution that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives, calling on Nigeria to send Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He also authored a well-timed oped in the New York Times, "Bring Charles Taylor to Justice."