Searchable Text File for Charles Taylor Judgment (Trial Chamber)


On 26 April 2012, Charles Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting and planning war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war. Taylor was convicted on 11 counts including murder, rape, enslavement and pillage. The Special Court for Sierra Leone Trial Chamber found that Taylor provided significant assistance to rebel groups within Sierra Leone, knowing that they were perpetrating atrocities.

Back in April, the Trial Chamber only issued a 44-page summary of the judgment. The actual judgment was uploaded to the Tribunal’s website on the 21st of May, almost a month after the conviction and only days before the sentencing judgment. This delay in publishing the judgment has given rise to criticism.

The full judgment is 2499 pages long – the longest judgment of an international tribunal so far. The Tribunal uploaded it in a non-searchable 30MB file. Handling such a file is difficult. We academics like searching through files to identify the legal issues of a judgment we are particularly interested in. The defense team would most probably also want to search keywords. So would NGOs who might want to find out what the judgment says about particular geographic locations or specific individuals the NGOs may have worked with. Or journalists. Or people who are simply curious on a particular aspect of the judgment but who cannot read through 2500 pages.

The text on this website is an automatic conversion of the full judgment into a searchable text. I have converted the file with a text recognition software and Andreas Weibel has helped me processing the file. He also found a way to automatically identify the page numbers to make our lives easier. Thanks a lot!


This is NOT an official version of the judgment. We accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the material on this site. The document does not look particularly nice and it contains a significant number of mistakes. Before citing any of the content or using it in any other way, the accuracy of the content must be verified with the help of the SCSL trial judgment available here.

All the formatting has been removed in the process. Update: The text file now indicates the original page breaks as they appear in the judgment. Most of the footnote numbers have been recognised by the software, so you should be able to match the text with the corresponding note. When searching, enter a shorter term if your search does not yield any results. Especially names and terms with special characters (such as Čelebići prison camp) are often misspelled by the software. Search for alternative terms or the parts of the term without special characters (e.g. “elebi”). Importantly, just because a search term doesn’t yield any results does not mean that the term is not contained in the judgment!

Read the full text here.