The Trial Chamber found “beyond reasonable doubt” that Charles Taylor was criminally responsible pursuant to Article 6(1) of the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone for aiding and abetting the commission of crimes set forth in Counts 1 through 11 of the Indictment. The Trial Chamber found that Taylor provided assistance, encouragement and moral support to the RUF/AFRC knowing that his acts and conduct would assist the commission of the crimes.
1. Practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support to the perpetration of a crime or underlying offence with “a substantial effect upon the commission of a crime or underlying offence” (¶ 482)
2. “[K]nowledge that such act would assist the commission of a crime or underlying offence, or that he was aware of the substantial likelihood that his acts would assist the commission of underlying offence” and awareness “of the essential elements of the crime committed by the principal offender, including the state of mind of the principal offender” (¶ 486)
ACTUS REUS: “An Accused may aid and abet not only by means of positive action, but also through omission” (¶ 483). “The lending of practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support may occur before, during, or after the crime or underlying offence occurs. The actus reus of aiding and abetting does not require “specific direction” (¶ 484).
Aiding and Abetting are two distinct activities: “Aiding and abetting actually constitute two discrete activities. ‘Aiding’ consists of giving practical assistance to the physical perpetrator or intermediary perpetrator, and ‘abetting’ consists of ‘facilitating the commission of an act by being sympathetic thereto”—in other words, giving encouragement or moral support to the physical perpetrator or intermediary perpetrator.’” (n. 1136)
MENS REA: The intent to commit the crime or the underlying offence is not required: “Although the lending of practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support must itself be intentional, the intent to commit the crime or underlying offence is not required” (¶ 487). “[K]nowledge may be inferred from the circumstances. The Accused must be aware, at a minimum, of the essential elements of the substantive crime or underlying offence for which he is charged with responsibility as an aider and abettor. The requirement that the aider and abettor need merely know of the perpetrator’s intent — and need not share it — applies equally to specific-intent crimes or underlying offences such as persecution as a crime against humanity” (¶ 487).