The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

That is right and that was not - well, it was not quite what I was trying to get at in this paragraph, but it was a point I was trying to make elsewhere in the report, I think, or in the report in general: To say that there is a very substantial - or quite a substantial literature now on the RUF and the war in Sierra Leone and, broadly speaking, there are two points of view. I am making a very general remark for the purposes of clarification.

There are those people, overwhelmingly - well, including many Sierra Leoneans, who would say the RUF had no political content whatsoever. It was essentially a kind of huge movement of delinquents, delinquency, by often very young people, but not really old enough to have a considered view and often drugged and so on and so forth.

There is another point of view which says at least in its origins the RUF had a political ideology and some kind of political aspirations. I was very interested to see that that point of view is very much supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and I find that therefore I attach high importance to that point of view. The TRC says that the obvious problem with anybody who says the RUF was basically a political movement, to say it is there to rid Sierra Leone of a corrupt government, was to say, "In that case why did they cut off the people's hands"? You don't liberate people by cutting their hands off and that is an extremely important point of view. The answer, according to the TRC, is to say: Well, when the RUF started it had some sort of political ideology, but the brutalities committed by NPFL fighters from Liberia, on Sierra Leonean territory, operating outside their own country, was a very bad example and, moreover, the most ideological leaders of the RUF, such as Rashid Mansaray, were murdered, probably by Foday Sankoh, at a relatively early stage and the RUF lost, in effect, whatever political ideology it had had. That the TRC's point of view and, as I said before, I attach a high importance to it just because of the nature of the TRC and the degree of information it had been able to elicit in the course of its work.

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