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theSun | TUESDAY JULY 14 2009 9

news without borders

Taylor will tell court:


I’m a peacemaker
Honduras may offer ousted
LONDON: For one year,
prosecution witnesses ac-
cused the former Liberian
President Charles Taylor of
atrocities that ranged from
cannibalism to commanding
by an international court,
has pleaded not guilty to all
charges. He was forced into
exile after being indicted in
2003 and was arrested in
Nigeria in 2006. He was sent
Zelaya amnesty
TEGUCIGALPA: Honduran interim military coup that deposed Zelaya,
was killed in clashes at Tegucigalpa’s
airport a week ago when Honduran
troops blocked an attempt by Zelaya
to return in a plane provided by
Chavez.
“Chavez is the great damage
that democracy in Honduras has
Sierra Leone rebels who had for trial in The Hague because leader Roberto Micheletti (pix), said repeated his position that Zelaya suffered. We hold him responsible
hacked off villagers’ limbs, officials feared staging the on Sunday ousted president Manuel would not be reinstated as president for any incident or any invasion that
and of selling weapons and case in Sierra Leone could Zelaya would not be allowed to “under any conditions.” might come against Honduras from
ammunition in exchange for spark further violence. return to power under any circum- This signalled Micheletti’s con- any country,” he said. “He believed
“blood diamonds”. Proceedings began stances but could be granted an tinuing defiance of international this country was one of his satellites,
Now Taylor is giving his in January 2008. amnesty if he comes home quietly condemnation of the coup and calls and he was wrong.”
version of events at his trial Prosecutors called to face justice. from the Organisation of American He said that Honduras would
before the UN-backed Special 91 witnesses, Micheletti’s overture was the first States, the United States and the fight back if Chavez sought to in-
Court for Sierra Leone. ranging from conciliatory offer from the interim United Nations General Assembly vade the country in a bid to reinstate
“His case is that he was high-ranking authorities to try to solve the worst for Zelaya to be restored to office. Zelaya.
not involved,” Taylor’s British members of crisis in Central America since the Honduras’ Congress and Su- “We have the courage to defend
lawyer, Courtenay Griffiths, Taylor’s inner Cold War, although Zelaya insists preme Court ordered the army to our resources,” Micheletti said. “We
said. “He was a peacemaker, circle to victims on being reinstated and has vowed remove Zelaya last month, argu- will receive him with open arms,”
not a warmonger.” of atrocities. to return and defy the interim gov- ing he had violated the country’s he joked. “I don’t have the least
Griffiths will deliver his Witnesses testi- ernment. constitution by attempting to lift doubt that seven million Hondurans
opening statement today and fied about radio “If he comes peacefully first to presidential term limits. will become soldiers to defend our
the former president will take exchanges between appear before the authorities ... I Zelaya, who is travelling in the territory.”
the stand today for what is Taylor and the rebels don’t have any problem (with an Americas to shore up his support, Micheletti on Sunday lifted a cur-
expected to be weeks of tes- and arms and diamonds amnesty for him),” Micheletti said also ran afoul of his political base few imposed since the coup, despite
timony as he fights against smuggled between Liberia in an exclusive interview at the and ruling elites in the conservative almost daily protests by pro-Zelaya
11 charges including murder, and Sierra Leone. One former presidential palace in Tegucigalpa country by allying himself with Ven- supporters.
torture, rape, sexual slavery aide said he saw Taylor eat a in a room guarded by five heavily- ezuela’s firebrand leftist president, His interim government is hold-
and spreading terror. human liver. armed soldiers. Hugo Chavez. ing talks with Zelaya’s representa-
Prosecutors say that “We say and have said “We have to talk to the Supreme Micheletti blamed Chavez for the tives under the auspices of Costa
Taylor commanded Sierra all along that they are lying,” Court and consult with the State At- political crisis. Rican President Oscar Arias. The
Leone rebels responsible for Griffiths said of the prosecu- torney of the Republic to see what “We are completely certain that meetings have resulted in little
the atrocities from his base tion witnesses. possibilities there are of that nature,” Chavez is intervening in our coun- apparent progress, aside from an
in the neighbouring West Af- About 500,000 people are he added. “But I think that we need try,” Micheletti said. “He is com- agreement to keep talking.
rican nation of Liberia, where believed to have been the to seek peace, and that is part of it.” pletely responsible for the death the Micheletti said Arias was due to
the former warlord was the victims of killings, mutilation However the interim president, a other day at the protest,” Micheletti call his negotiating team in the next
elected president. and other atrocities during centrist veteran of Zelaya’s Liberal said. “I think he is responsible for 10 days to organise the next round of
Taylor, the first African Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 Party who was installed by Hon- all of this.” talks and that he was very satisfied
head of state to be tried civil war. – The Independent duras’ Congress after the June 28 At least one pro-Zelaya protester with Arias’ impartiality. – Reuters