Tag Archive | "Charles Taylor"

Chuckie Taylor

Criminal sentencing – The tale of two Taylors

Chuckie Taylor

Chuckie Taylor

As previously blogged, former Liberian president Charles Taylor is sitting in jail awaiting judgment for his involvement in the egregious crimes committed by rebel forces in Sierra Leone.  His son, Chuckie Taylor, has already been convicted by a Miami Federal Court for acts of torture committed while running a squad of henchmen for his dad in Liberia.  His was the first case under the torture statute that extends jurisdiction to US citizens committing torture abroad.  The two cases will highlight the vast differences between domestic and international criminal sentencing.

The Miami Federal Court judge sentenced Chuckie to 97 years.  Charles, on the other hand, if convicted, will be sentenced by an international tribunal, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).  The longest sentence issued to date at the SCSL is 52 years to Issa Sesay.  I predict that Charles will get something less than Sesay, or in other words, something less than half of what Chuckie received.   Charles is accused of a range of crime far more extensive and brutal than Chuckie.  He is allegedly responsible for a country-wide campaign of terror and brutality over a vast portion of Sierra Leone over a five year period.  At least 50,000 were murdered, suffered amputations, subjected to years of slavery, sexual violence and various child soldier offenses.  Chuckie was charged with a comparatively narrow range of crimes that focuses on the torture of seven victims.

The situation raises many questions for me.  Is it fair for Charles to get a more lenient sentence than his son in this circumstance?  Or is Chuckie’s sentence too severe? Does the international community owe an explanation to Sierra Leone?  Will the expected disparity say more about US criminal sentencing or more about international criminal sentencing?

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Charles Taylor and the Jewish delicacy

Jewish Justice for Convert Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor and the Jewish delicacy

Charles Taylor and the Jewish delicacy

A couple of years ago, former Liberian President and current war crimes indictee Charles Taylor converted to Judaism.   Somehow I missed this astounding fact.   From the perspective of Jews, could there be a less appealing candidate for conversion?  It is likely that Taylor will be convicted in the next month for his responsibility for the gruesome deaths of over 50,000 people in Sierra Leone.  The manner of killing and torture – including eating people alive and amputating thousands of childrens’ hands and feet – would make the average Nazi squirm.

This week marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish high holidays.  I hope it is some satisfaction that if Taylor is observing Rosh Hashanah in Scheveningen Prison where he awaits judgment, he does so in the very same prison in The Netherlands that Dutch Jews were detained by occupying Germans in WWII before being shipped off to death camps.  But I think it also makes sense that Taylor should be given a steady diet of gefilte fish during the holidays.  And I don’t mean some Williams Sonoma recipe with cilantro and capers that may actually be palatable, I’m talking the old school, Mannischewitz, jellified in the jar variety.   Now that would be justice.

Posted in 1TVFA Posts, 2Featured Articles, David AkersonComments (4)


University of Denver Sturm College of Law

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