Royce Welcomes Johnson-Sirleaf
Congressman Asks: What About Charles Taylor?



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 16, 2006


WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Ed Royce, Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations, today welcomed Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to Capitol Hill, where she addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress. Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated in January. On her first official visit to Washington, Johnson-Sirleaf will meet with President Bush.

While Royce welcomed the Liberian President, he raised concern about the continued cushy exile former Liberian president Charles Taylor enjoys in Nigeria. Taylor faces a 17-count indictment by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's war. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he would consider extraditing Taylor if requested to do so by Johnson-Sirleaf.

"Taylor remains a threat to the region and an affront to justice. Many have been waiting for President Johnson-Sirleaf to call President Obasanjo on his commitment. We're still waiting," Royce said.

Royce chaired the Subcommittee on Africa from 1997-2006. Under his chairmanship, the Subcommittee held several congressional hearings focused on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In 2005, Royce authored a congressional resolution that passed the House of Representatives calling on Nigeria to send Taylor to the Special Court. Last November, Royce wrote then President-elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, requesting that she ask President Obasanjo to turn-over Taylor to the Special Court.