Now that the Charles Taylor trial has shifted its attention away from celebrity witnesses, Courtenay Griffiths speaks to Radio Netherlands about advocacy tactics in the court room, the imperfect system in which the trial is taking place, and its broader human rights significance for Africa.
Of particular concern to Courtenay is the considerable pressure that the Special Tribunal judges are under to convict, due in part to the money that has been invested in the trial by Western powers. He went on to say that this bias in funding has led to bias in indictments, with all five defendents awaiting trial being African. Meanwhile those suspected of war crimes in, for example, Israel or Sri Lanka have escaped indictment for political reasons.
Courtenay went on to say that he believes the trial has been a wasted opportunity for strengthening democracy and tackling impunity in Africa. "I would like to see the African Union set up their own international criminal court in Africa. Africans really need to take charge of their own destiny on these matters... That's why I think the African Union should be the trailblazers on this, not the ICC."
To read a summary of the interview, click here.
For more information about Courtenay's practice and background, click here to read his profile.