Who gets Qaddafi's cash? African nations crushed by wars he funded want some.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi trained and funded men - like Charles Taylor - whose reigns of terror in Liberia and Sierra Leone led to the death of hundreds of thousands of West Africans.
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Charles Taylor – the former Liberian president who reigned over six years of terror in his own country and who is now on trial for his role in Sierra Leone’s civil war – trained at Qaddafi’s center in the 1980s. So did Foday Sankoh, the leader of Sierra Leone’s main rebel group. Qaddafi supported both men with money and weapons after they had returned home from their training. The people of Sierra Leone and Liberia suffered the consequences.Skip to next paragraph
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“The idea of compensation is not far-fetched,” says David Crane, the original chief prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a UN-backed body that was set up to “try those who bear greatest responsibility” for the country’s civil war.
“[Compensation] is called for in the statute that created the [Special] Court,” Mr. Crane says. “It is certainly worth filing that claim on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone.”He adds that Qaddafi’s “political involvement” in the country’s conflict “was obvious and clear.”
Compensation for the casualties
West Africans don’t need to be told twice. Jesmed Suma, the Executive Director of the NGO Sierra Leone Policy Watch, calls Qaddafi a “terrorist kingpin” who needs to be brought to account.
“If Qaddafi paid about $1.5 billion for his role in the Lockerbie bombing that took the lives of about 270 victims, then it would not be unreasonable to ask for $5 billion for the lives of about 200,000 (according to many estimates) Sierra Leoneans,” he says, stressing that that view is his own, not that of his organization.
Mr. Suma hopes to put together a legal team to fight for the claim.
“With basic funding, I believe victory is very likely,” he says.