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Waki to hear appeal by Liberia’s Charles Taylor

COUNTIES
By | April 30th 2012

By WAHOME THUKU

Kenya’s Court of Appeal judge Philip Waki will hear a possible appeal by the convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Waki is an alternate judge of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court of Sierra Leon, which convicted Taylor on Thursday of abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. His role in the appeal would, however, be close to that of monitoring proceedings, as he would not vote in final decision.

Justice Philip Waki being sworn in as judge. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

Waki, who has just been cleared by the vetting board to continue serving in the Judiciary, is the second Kenyan judge to be assigned duty in a forum dealing with international crimes.

Another judge, Joyce Aluoch, is attached to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where four Kenyans are waiting to be tried for crimes against humanity. They are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former head of public service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang.

Alternate judge

Waki’s presence in Taylor’s appeal will be the second time he will be handling "international crime". The first was his appointment to head the commission that investigated the 2007/2008 post-election violence leading to the indictment of the four suspects at the ICC.

He was sworn in as an alternate judge of the Special Court on February 17, this year, in Liberia. He was specifically appointed by the Sierra Leone government and the United Nations in preparation for any appeal arising out of Taylor’s trial.

Taylor, 64, was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity by supporting rebels in Sierra Leone in return for diamond. He is the first African Head of State to be convicted by an international court.

The Special Court is an independent tribunal jointly established by the Sierra Leone government and the UN to try persons who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed after November 30, 1996.

It’s located on Jomo Kenyatta road in Freetown, a street named after Kenya’s founding president. It is already trying five other suspects.

The Taylor trial was, however, conducted in The Hague, Netherlands due to security concerns in Sierra Leon.

The Hague commonly referred to as the world’s city of peace and justice is home of the ICC, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and also the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Dutch government agreed to host the trial on condition that any jail term would be served outside the country. A sentencing hearing will be conducted on May 16 and the actual sentence passed on May 30. Taylor faces a maximum of life sentence, which he would serve in Britain.

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