Sweden and Rwanda had also offered to take Taylor in their jails after he lost his appeal at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in September. Taylor was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding rebels who committed atrocities during Sierra Leone’s civil war.
Wright told the UK parliament that international justice was central to UK foreign policy, the BBC reports. "It is essential for securing the rights of individuals and states, and for securing peace and reconciliation," he was quoted as saying.
According to the UK Press Association, it is not the first time the UK has imprisoned foreign nationals convicted of war crimes, says the BBC report. Four men convicted of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia served time in British high security prisons. The UK also offered to jail the former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, had he been convicted. However, Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Taylor is the first ex-head of state to be convicted by an international court since Karl Dönitz, who succeeded Adolf Hitler at the end of the Second World War. His trial opened before the SCSL in June 2007. The Netherlands agreed to host the trial at the request of the new Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who feared that a trial in Sierra Leone could destabilize the region. But the Netherlands’ agreement came with the condition that Taylor, if convicted, should serve his sentence in another country.