The former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This is the first time since the Nuremberg trials of former Nazi leaders in 1946 that a country’s leader has been held to account for crimes of this nature. It’s an historic and landmark decision. It sends a message that the international community can track down and bring to justice tyrants who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It tells those who act in this way that they cannot do so with impunity. While this verdict is welcome, it was a long time coming and there is still a long way to go.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently on trial and former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo is in ICC custody.
However there are dozens of other current and former leaders whose actions justify trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity who continue to be beyond the reach of the International Criminal Court and war crimes tribunals.
Taylor’s conviction is good sign, but there is still much to be done.