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Former Liberian President, Charles Taylor Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for War Crimes

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Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced Liberia’s former President, Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison. He was said to be responsible for “some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history” and was sentenced for war crimes during the long-running civil war in Sierra Leone.

Taylor was convicted last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a savage rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead. He was found guilty of offences including murder, rape, sexual slavery, recruiting child soldiers, enforced amputations and pillage.

Delivering the sentence on Wednesday, Judge Richard Lussick said Taylor’s crimes were of the “utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality”. “The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions,” Lussick said.

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II. He will serve his sentence in a British jail. His lawyers, however, are expected to appeal his convictions and that will likely keep him in a jail in The Hague, Netherlands, for months.

Prosecutors say he funneled arms, ammunition and other supplies in return for “blood diamonds” mined using slave labor. They had asked judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone to impose an 80-year sentence. However, Taylor’s lawyers urged the judges to hand down a sentence that offered him some hope of release before he dies.

Lussick said an 80-year sentence would have been excessive as Taylor was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes and not direct involvement.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, Taylor had asked the court to deliver its sentence in a spirit of “reconciliation, not retribution”. He offered no admission of wrongdoing or words of remorse. “I express my sadness and sympathy for crimes suffered by individuals and families in Sierra Leone,” he told the panel of judges. “What I did to bring peace to Sierra Leone was done with honour. I was convinced that unless there was peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia would not be able to move forward. I pushed the peace process hard, contrary to how I have been portrayed in this court.”

Taylor showed no emotion as Lussick handed down what will effectively be a life sentence.

News Source: Guardian UK | Yahoo News

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

12 Comments

  1. kem

    May 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    the man is already ohhh, 50 years, hmmmmmmmm

  2. LPS

    May 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

  3. LPS

    May 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    • Partyrider

      May 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      114

  4. Bella

    May 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    see no amount of punishment will ever bring justice to the peopel of Sierra Leone. Granted he will be in prison but so what? where are the diamonds that he got – minus the one that he gave to the supermodel Naomi. Abeg, such things make me vex…

    • Sharon

      May 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Serve him right for all the atrocities he commented in Sierra Leone and his country Liberia. Tho. he was not charge for what in did in Liberia but at least the victims too will have some justice. This should be a lesson to African leaders because the ICC was created for them. I hope one day Gearge Bush, Tony Blair etc. will be charge for their crimes against humanity, but i guess that will never happen.

  5. pynk

    May 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    He should die there abeg. Some Nigerian leaders like IBB also need to follow.

  6. tito

    May 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    pls smone shuld remind GEJ…. cuz one day international society will ask him, whot he did to combat boko haram claiming innocent lives during his tenure.

  7. ola

    May 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    shame to hime and is family….more news and gist at http://www.gistyinka.blogspot.com

  8. Anonymouzly

    May 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    @Sharon, what did Tony Blair do against humanity? George Bush started a war that was really about oil but in all fairness, he aided the world and got rid of Saddam. Please explain what other crimes these men did to deserve an “honorable” mention in your clearly incoherent rant.

    • Elizabeth

      May 31, 2012 at 4:41 am

      It is questionable whether getting rid of Saddam was any better than what they have now he was an evil man but Iraqi people are still suffering so many are wondering whats the difference Tony Blair is being questioned in the UK now over whether the war was illegal (Leveson inquiry).There are no wmd’s years later.Afghani people are suffering .If you research both the wars British and American manufacturers benefitted by making arms to be used during the war.Blair and Bush could be accused of war crimes as their direct orders and direct actions that led to indirect orders mean that thousands of innocent civilians have died.Watch a John Pilger documentary very insightful.

    • Elizabeth

      May 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Sorry it was the Chilcott inquiry the Leveson inquiry is a current one in regards to media

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