Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said today at the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in the Netherlands that the 64 year-old warlord-turned-president backed rebels who killed tens of thousands during Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war. They were notorious for using child soldiers and hacking off the limbs of civilians. He provided arms, ammunition, communications equipment and planning to the rebels responsible for countless atrocities during the decade long civil war in which 120,000 people died.
Taylor has been on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague, for almost five years. He is accused of selling diamonds to buy 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. They also raped thousands of women. Often the atrocities were carried out by children.
Taylor was paid in illegally-mined blood diamonds stuffed in mayonnaise jars by the rebels.
Taylor had pleaded not guilty to 11 counts, including murder, rape, terror and conscripting child soldiers. He stood and showed no emotion as Lussick delivered 11 guilty verdicts.
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.
His sentence, to be served in a British prison, will be determined by the “severity of his crimes,” the SCSL said earlier.
He will be sentenced on May 30, 2012.
News Source: BBC | Vanguard News | NY Daily News