Open letter to Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Press release
en fr

Dear Mr. President,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) would like to remind you, on the occasion of your visit to France on May 24-25, 2005, the obligation of Nigeria to prosecute Charles Taylor or to deliver him to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

On June 4, 2003, the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone indicted Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, for war crimes, crimes against humanity and others serious violations of international humanitarian law, for having supported actively the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front during ten years of civil war in Sierra Leone. An international warrant for his arrest was issued.

Despite this charge, Mr. Charles Taylor lives free from legal prosecutions in your country, under your protection.

The FIDH recalls that, considering the established principles of international law, especially under the Geneva Conventions and the New York Convention against Torture, Nigeria, which has ratified these conventions, must whether surrender Charles Taylor to the Special Court or open an investigation, with a view to determining whether to pursue criminal or extradition proceedings in Nigerian courts. The FIDH underscores also that the UN Secretary General and Security Council have consistently expressed their support for the Special Court and repeatedly called on all states to cooperate fully with it.

Short of legal enforcement, « Nigeria would be complice in a miscarriage of justice for the victims of one of the most murderous conflicts of the African continent », stated Sidiki Kaba, president of the FIDH. Also, the UN Security Council considers the freedom of Mr. Taylor to be a danger to African peace and security, given that Taylor « is still managing his business which endanger stability in Liberia and in the region » (Resolution 1579 (2004)).

Thus, the FIDH urges you, Mr. President, to execute the international warrant of arrest issued by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in compliance with one of the key principles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, over which you preside, that is to say the struggle against impunity on the continent.

Sidiki Kaba
FIDh President

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