Sierra Leone warlord to serve 50 years in British prison
Notorious Charles Taylor found guilty of using child soldiers, terrorism, murder and rape
Found guilty in the use of child soldiers, terrorism and rape, the infamous Sierra Leone warlord Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years to be served in a British prison. The former president of Liberia was convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 11 separate counts of war crimes.
Found guilty in the use of child soldiers, terrorism and rape, the infamous Sierra Leone warlord Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years to be served in a British prison.
It was a controversial edict. To send Taylor to a British prison could cost the U.K. taxpayer up to £80,000-a-year for his maximum security prison.
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, left, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone for his appeal judgment at The Hague today, where judges confirmed his 50-year sentence for crimes against humanity.
Taylor lost his appeal last month against his convictions, which made him the first former head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after the Second World War.
Taylor helped rebels 10 years ago go on a murderous rampage Sierra Leone, raping, murdering and mutilating tens of thousands of innocent victims. He also had aided and abetted crimes committed by Revolutionary United Front and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council rebels.
Naomi Campbell is seen holding the bible being sworn in at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where she was questioned about blood diamonds Taylor was accused of having sent to her hotel room.
"Their primary purpose was to spread terror," Presiding Judge George Gelaga King said. "Brutal violence was purposefully unleashed against civilians with the purpose of making them afraid, afraid that there would be more violence if they continued to resist."
The brutal civil war in Sierra Leone during the 1990s left 50,000 people dead. Thousands more were left mutilated in the conflict. Rebel groups frequently hacked off the limbs of their victims and carved their initials into opponents.
In this June 10, 1997 file photo, soldiers from the Revolutionary United Front supported by Taylor ride in a pick-up truck at their base on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Taylor helped to plan attacks in return for "blood diamonds" mined by slave laborers in Sierra Leone and political influence in the volatile West African region.
Taylor also actually planned some of the attacks carried out by Sierra Leone rebel groups, the Revolutionary United Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. The trial opened in June 2007 in The Hague. He pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges. Closing arguments took place in February and March 2011.
Men gather at a popular downtown Monrovia tea shop known as a hotspot for political debate to watch the announcement of today's appeal verdict.
During the trial, live testimony from over 90 prosecution witnesses was heard, as well as written statements from four additional witnesses. Supermodel Naomi Campbell was called to testify about a gift of diamonds from Taylor.
Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in May of last year. The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) dismissed the appeal and confirmed the sentence on September 26 this year.
"International justice is central to foreign policy. It is essential for securing the rights of individuals and states, and for securing peace and reconciliation," Wright said.
"The conviction of Charles Taylor is a landmark moment for international justice. It clearly demonstrates that those who commit atrocities will be held to account and that no matter their position they will not enjoy impunity."
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