NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR INTERVIEWED FOR VOA REPORT ON TRIAL OF FORMER LIBERIAN LEADER

June 4, 2007

HARRISONBURG—Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, was featured today on a Voice of America (VOA) news segment on the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor.

Although Taylor boycotted the opening at The Hague today of his trial before the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, Dakar, Senegal-based VOA correspondent Selah Hennessy reports that a the consensus of West Africa experts is that “the trial of Mr. Taylor, who is the first African head of state to be prosecuted by an international criminal court, is progressing freely and fairly.”

The segment reports that Dr. Pham believes that the defendant “is trying to discredit the court as a delaying tactic, because he does not have a strong defense,” and quotes JMU scholar as saying “I think what Charles Taylor is facing is that he does not have much of a defense, and so as any lawyer knows, when you cannot argue the law you argue technicalities.”

To read a transcript of or to listen to an audio stream from the VOA segment, click here.