Charles Taylor will spend the rest of his life in prison (unless someone decides to assist his escape again :)) for aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone. As a comparison Issa Sesay, one of the senior commanders of RUF, was sentenced by the same court to 52 years. Most commentators have raised words of optimism saying that the trial will send signals to other warlords that they will eventually be dealt with if they don’t “behave”. Maybe so, but I doubt. Anyone who decides to lead armed incursions or make military coups is quite aware of the stakes and prepared to take the risks. After all it is a prerequisite that they gamble rather offensive with their own life by leading such endeavors. However what may be the outcome is that a set of future military leaders (and some currently in power) must think twice with whom they form alliances and be aware that it should rather not be someone who is on bad footing with the mighty West.
Two short observations to be made: firstly, I guess we will see some shifts in political alliances on the Liberian arena. They may not happen overnight, and they may not be directly visible to all observers – after all Liberian politics by and large happens behind the scenes. And secondly, I hope that Charles Taylor will spend some of his time in jail writing, or narrating to others, his proper version of the Liberian civil war. What else should he do with all his time?
Gerhard Anders has also written some closing remarks on the Taylor saga: