Former Liberian President Charles Taylor Found Guilty of War Crimes


Charles Taylor at court hearingThe NETHERLANDS: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. The accusation stems from his role in supporting notoriously brutal rebels


in neighboring Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds during Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war from 1991 to 2002.  The historic ruling was passed by a Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in LEIDSCHENDAM, the Netherlands on Thursday 26 April 2012.
Mr. Taylor, now 64-year-old was a warlord-turned-president. He is accused of provided arms, ammunition, communications equipment and planning to rebels responsible for countless atrocities and killings Sierra Leone’s civil war. The Presiding Judge Richard Lussick refered to Taylor’s support as “sustained and significant” before uttering the words…”Mr. Taylor, the trial chamber unanimously finds you guilty of 11 charges including terror, murder, rape and conscripting child soldiers”.
Following the deliberations, judge Lussick scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 16 and said sentence would be passed two weeks later. It has been decided that former president Taylor will serve his sentence in Britain.
It should be noted that Mr. Taylor had pleaded not guilty to all counts. He argued all through the trial defending himself that he was a statesman and peacemaker in West Africa.
Although he was convicted of aiding and abetting atrocities by rebels, the judges cleared him of direct command responsibilities alleging that the former warlord had no direct control over the rebels he supported.
 
Charles Taylor is the first head of state convicted by an international court since the post-World War II Nuremberg military tribunal. Human rights activists have praised the convictions believing it will set an example to other leaders who abuse human rights.
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