Freetown: Anger is growing in Sierra Leone over a plan by Britain and the U.S. to move the war crimes trial of the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, from Freetown to The Hague. Taylor is the first African "big man" to face such charges, and there were expectations that a trial would prove Africa capable of dispensing its own justice. But now London and Washington say security in this war-torn former British colony is too precarious. "We want to see justice done," said James Matthew of Sierra Leone's Movement of Democracy and Human Rights. "Other trials have gone on peacefully here; why should the Taylor trial change that?" In 1991, Taylor supported a Sierra Leone rebel group, allegedly to plunder the country's diamond fields. The fighting saw cannibalism, murder and mass rape. Prosecutors say Taylor used diamonds to fund a criminal empire. He fled to Nigeria in 2003. In March this year, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered Taylor's arrest.
Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006