EU urges Nigeria to hand over Charles Taylor

The European Parliament called on Nigeria on Thursday to hand over Liberian former leader Charles Taylor, who has been in exile since relinquishing power under international pressure in August, 2003 to end the long-running civil war in his country.

At large, Taylor remained “a threat to international peace and security and undermines European efforts to support sustainable peace and development in West Africa,” the Parliament motion said.

Taylor has lived in luxurious exile in the southern Nigerian town of Calabar.

A UN-backed war crimes court wants to put him on trial for alleged war crimes for his role in backing rebels in Sierra Leone who were responsible for widescale atrocities such as the chopping off of limbs.

The European Parliament, recalling that Nigeria had ratified the Geneva convention that says war criminals may not be granted refugee status, urged Nigeria to hand Taylor over to the United Nations special court for Sierra Leone.

Nigeria, it said, must “act in the continued interests of the Liberian peace process and in support of the rule of law by surrendering Charles Ghankay Taylor forthwith to the jurisdiction of the special court for Sierra Leone.”

The Parliament also urged the “United Nations Security Council to consider this issue as a matter of urgency”.

Despite an international warrant for Taylor’s arrest, Nigeria has up to now declined to surrender him to the war crimes court.

The EU Parliament said the people of Sierra Leone were “entitled to see justice done in the case of Charles Taylor”. - Sapa-AFP

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