THE HAGUE: Liberian former-warlord Charles Taylor was on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) transferred under tight security from The Hague to a British prison where the convicted war criminal is likely to spend the rest of his life.
Britain made a deal to take Taylor long before he lost his appeal against a 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity before the United Nation’s Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague last week.
“Charles Ghankay Taylor . . . was transferred today from the Netherlands and the custody of the Special Court to the United Kingdom, where he will serve the remainder of his 50-year sentence,” the SCSL’s Freetown office said in a statement after the transfer was completed.
A chartered plane flew Taylor, accompanied by guards, to Britain where he arrived at 10 a.m. local time and “was handed over to representatives of Her Majesty’s Prison Service,” the court said.
A justice ministry official in London declined to confirm that Taylor was in Britain or say in which prison he would serve his time.
“We do not comment on individual cases,” a justice ministry spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse.
London said last week that Taylor would serve the rest of his sentence in a British jail, according to the confidential deal made in 2007 shortly after Taylor’s arrest.
His historic sentence on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity was the first handed down by an international court against a former head of state since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946.
Taylor had asked to serve his sentence in a Rwandan prison rather than in Britain in order to be closer to his family, and Kigali had said on Tuesday that it was ready to consider the request.
The court said however that no other country had offered or accepted to enforce the remainder of Taylor’s sentence.
The former president, 65, is likely to die behind bars after the UN-backed SCSL last month upheld his sentence for arming rebels during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war during the 1990s.