Charles Taylor awaits Sierra Leone atrocities judgement

International judges are due to give a verdict in the war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.
Mr Taylor has been on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague, for almost five years.
He is accused of backing rebels who killed thousands during Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. They became notorious for using child soldiers and hacking off the limbs of enemies .

Mr Taylor denies 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Tens of thousands of people died in Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war which ended in 2002.
Child soldiers
Mr Taylor is accused of selling diamonds to fund weapons for Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front Rebels (RUF).
They gained a reputation for using machetes and axes to cut off people's hands and feet. Often the atrocities were carried out by children.
Victims who have lost limbs blame Mr Taylor for stoking the flames of civil war.
Mr Taylor, a former warlord, was also instrumental in Liberia's slide into civil war in the late 1980s. He was eventually elected president in 1997.

Taylor Timeline

  • 1989: Launches rebellion in Liberia
  • 1991: RUF rebellion starts in Sierra Leone
  • 1997: Elected president after a 1995 peace deal
  • 1999: Liberia's Lurd rebels start an insurrection to oust Mr Taylor
  • June 2003: Arrest warrant issued; two months later he steps down and goes into exile to Nigeria
  • March 2006: Arrested after a failed escape bid and sent to Sierra Leone
  • June 2007: His trial opens - hosted in The Hague for security reasons
He governed for six years until August 2003 when he was forced into exile in Nigeria.
He was eventually sent back to Liberia and taken to The Hague to face the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.
The trial has been held in the Netherlands in case the hearings sparked fresh instability in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
If convicted Mr Taylor will become the first former head of state to be found guilty of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremburg trials of Nazis after World War II.
The court has heard from more than 100 witnesses including the actress Mia Farrow and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
The prosecution wanted to establish a link between Mr Taylor and uncut diamonds which Naomi Campbell said he gave her in South Africa in 1997.
Correspondents say this is an important point, as the accused is said to have used so called blood-diamonds to pay for weapons for the rebels.
If Mr Taylor is found guilty he is expected to go to a prison in the UK.


Popular posts from this blog

BSkyB hopes results can outshine hacking headlines

Manufacturing sector expands slightly in April supported by bulging order books: HSBC PMI data

Breakout, Pullback, Continuation Pattern