Today’s conviction of Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone represents an important step towards ensuring a measure of justice for thousands of victims and a critical milestone on a path to a more stable and peaceful region. Moreover, it sends a clear message to all perpetrators of atrocities, including Heads of State: you can and will be held accountable.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced new initiatives that will strengthen the will and capacity of the United States and international organizations to prevent and respond to mass slaughter. He pledged to deny impunity for perpetrators of mass atrocities and to support others who do the same. We cannot bring back those who fell victim to depravity and murder in Sierra Leone more than a decade ago. But we can remember them, and we can rededicate ourselves to a world that consistently embraces its responsibility to protect our populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The successful completion of the Special Court’s mandate—to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed in Sierra Leone—remains a top priority of the United States.
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