When Liberian dictator Charles Taylor was convicted by the International Criminal Court this week of committing, aiding, and abetting crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone’s civil war, it was widely regarded as an overdue act of justice. But it was also an opportunity to reflect on the many other alleged war criminals still awaiting their day in court.
In an historic ruling today, an international court convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of aiding and abetting war crimes. The crimes in question—which include the mass murder and slaughter of civilians, mass rape, and the use of child soldiers—were committed during the civil war of Liberia’s neighbor, Sierra Leone, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. (Taylor aided rebels in that war; he is the first head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials.) Understandably, all of the news today is focused on Taylor.
What Hope Remains?
December 14, 2011
An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age By Jürgen Habermas (Polity Press, 87 pp., $14.95) The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere By Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West Edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (Columbia University Press, 137 pp., $19.50) On October 14, 2001, the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas stepped up to the lectern at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt to deliver a short address called “Faith and Knowledge.” The occasion was his acceptance speech of the Peace Prize, a yearly honor that the German Book
Why Liberians Are so Unimpressed by Their President’s Nobel Prize
October 11, 2011
Monrovia, Liberia—The sirens usually sound on Monrovia’s Tubman Boulevard in the early evening. In the Sinkor district of the Liberian capital SUVs belonging to NGOs, motorbikes, and local jalopies pull over to either side of the road to make way for the absurdly over-sized motorcade that follows. There are men with guns in pickups, cars and four-wheel drive vehicles, perhaps an ambulance, and U.N. personnel in bulky Nissan Patrols.
September 28, 2011
Monrovia, Liberia, September 9, 1990: Many Liberians once thought that President Samuel Doe was invulnerable, protected by powerful black magic. But, in the video, he is slumped on the floor, his hands tied behind his back, naked except for blood-stained underpants. A crowd of young men in fatigues surround him, some carrying machine guns, one holding a microphone in front of Doe’s face. As Doe cries, a fighter strokes his head gently and then grins at the man sitting behind a conference table in a black executive chair, underneath a picture of Jesus. This man is clearly in charge.
Judging from the fervor of their celebrations, the Libyan people are acutely aware that they will benefit from the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. But Libya is hardly the only country that has reason to rejoice. As committed as the dictator was to destroying his own country, he posed an equal—perhaps even greater—danger to developing countries in other parts of the world. From the time he assumed power, Qaddafi leveraged Libya’s oil money, and his own willingness to have his country become a pariah state, to support insurgencies from East Asia, to South America, to southern Africa.
On September 24, 2001, Donna Glessner was boxing up donations at the fire station in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Two weeks before, United Flight 93 had crashed into a reclaimed strip mine about three miles away, killing its 40 passengers and crew members. The station in this town of 245 had become a supply depot, providing necessities to the hundreds of outsiders who had flooded the area: sweatshirts, bug spray, toothbrushes, and so much homemade food that a refrigerated trailer had to be brought in just to hold it.
July 20, 2010
Is Qaddafi's hip, globe-trotting son for real?
The Susan in question is Susan Rice. And, according to a New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar, it's Stewart Patrick who gives her the good grades. Rice is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. So who is Patrick? He is one of those hundreds of I.R. wonks in Washington who moves from fellowship to fellowship, eating up foundation money, and ends up being an expert in what actually amounts to nothing or maybe, just maybe, the same thing: "multilateral cooperation in the management of global issues; U.S.
Charles Taylor Skips His Day In Court
June 04, 2007
The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor gets off to a predictably rocky start. --Jason Zengerle