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Charles Taylor Gets 50 Years

  • May 31st, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

taylor-c-mil-21.jpgCharles Taylor, the former head of state of Liberia, has been gaoled for 50 years by the special war crimes court at The Hague.

taylor-charles-20121.jpgHe was charged with eleven counts of wars crimes and crimes against humanity over his sponsorship, while in power, of a violent rebel movement in Sierra Leone which terrorised that country during the 1990s. Some 120 000 people are believed to have been killed.

The chief judge Richard Lussick said the sentence was severe in line with the defendant’s position as a former head of state, the first to be convicted by an international court since the Second World War.

“He was found responsible for aiding and abetting some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded history,” he said, delivering the sentence.

Charles Taylor was convicted last month; see EUAustralia Online, “Charles Taylor convicted at The Hague …”, 27.4.12:-

The panel of three Judges, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone,  presented a unanimous verdict.

The defendant was held liable for providing funds and military aid to the so-called Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, a neighbouring state  — receiving so-called “blood diamonds” in return.

He was found responsible for acts of terror, murder and rape, though not convicted of directly ordering or committing the crimes.

An American educated Liberian, now 64, he spent time in Libya, worked for the Liberian government, and  became the leader of a rebel group in  1989; seizing power from  the former President, Samuel Doe, and setting up an intimidatory regime –  later  being elected to the Presidency.

He reigned in 2006 and went into exile in Nigeria, later being turned out and sent for trial.

In reaction to the conviction  and now sentence, a government spokesman in Sierra Leone said:  “Today the people of Sierra Leone, the victims, and ordinary observers inside and outside the country would believe that some kind of justice has been done.”

Defence lawyers are expected to appeal against the sentence, and prosecutors, who’d asked for an 80 year sentence, may also appeal.
 

Reference

Reuters, London, “Former Liberian leader Taylor jailed for 50 years”, 30.5.12. http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE84T05R20120530, (30.5.12).

Pictures

Charles Taylor, at large, in court.

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