Interpol's Red Notice for Arrest Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor

The Red Notice was issued at the request of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which has indicted Taylor on charges of crimes against humanity, Geneva Convention violations, and other charges.

Taylor is suspects of training rebels in Sierra Leone in exchange for diamonds. The rebels engaged in torture, mutilation, rape and abduction and killed thousands of civilians.

After fierce fighting this summer between government forces and anti-Taylor rebels and intervention by West African diplomats, the longtime West African leader resigned from the Liberian presidency on August 11 and went to Nigeria, where he was given asylum. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said last month he would "convince" ousted Taylor to return home to face war crimes charges if authorities in his homeland or neighboring Sierra Leone ask.

Obasanjo allowed him to live in exile in Nigeria as long as he promises to stay out of his homeland's internal affairs and delivered a public warning to Taylor in September to honor that pledge. The Red Notice was issued in accordance with a cooperation agreement between Interpol, based in Lyon, France, and the Sierra Leone court that was completed in November.

The court was established as a result of a U.N. Security Council resolution three years ago.

Interpol said a Red Notice is "used to seek the arrest with a view to extradition of subjects wanted and based upon an arrest warrant." "Interpol member countries comply with their national laws in deciding whether a Red Notice represents a valid request for provisional arrest. Some countries permit the wanted person to be provisionally arrested pending extradition formalities, while others treat such a notice as a quest for information and location of the individual, with no particular legal significance.

"The existence or not of a bilateral extradition treaty, convention or other legal instrument containing provisions on extradition is an important factor in the decision."

[information by CNN]

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