21 June 2006

Secretary-General Welcomes Transfer of Charles Taylor to Netherlands to Stand Trial before Special Court for Sierra Leone

NEW YORK, 20 June (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes the transfer of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, to the Netherlands, to stand trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague.  He wishes to thank all who have made this transfer possible, in particular the Government of the Netherlands for its willingness to host the Special Court for the conduct of Mr. Taylor's trial, the International Criminal Court for agreeing to the use of its premises by the Special Court and the Government of the United Kingdom for agreeing, subject to Parliamentary approval, to allow Charles Taylor, if convicted, to enter the United Kingdom to serve any sentence that the Special Court might impose.

The Secretary-General encourages all States to cooperate with the Special Court with respect to Charles Taylor's trial, in particular by ensuring that evidence and witnesses are made available to the Special Court upon its request.  He also recalls his appeal to States to contribute generously to the Special Court's budget.

The Secretary-General expresses his determination to work together with the Special Court and relevant States to make the future trial proceedings available and to the people of West Africa in particular.  He is confident that Charles Taylor's trial will mark a further victory in the struggle to end impunity and will contribute to reconciliation in Liberia and the restoration of peace and stability in Liberia and in Sierra Leone.

* *** *