22 May, 2024


Charles Taylor Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison For War Crimes

By and agencies /The Guardian –

Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison for war crimes during the long-running civil war in Sierra Leone.

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AFP/Getty Images

Taylor was found guilty last month of 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity by supporting rebels between 1996 and 2002 in return for conflict diamonds. He was convicted 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.

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

Prosecutors had asked the special court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) to impose an 80-year prison term.

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

But the judge added that Taylor was “in a class of his own” compared to others convicted by the United Nations-backed court.

“The special status of Mr. Taylor as a head of state puts him in a different category of offenders for the purpose of sentencing,” Lussick said.

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since the second world war.

Taylor’s sentence is likely to be served in the UK, which has offered to take him once his trial and appeal are completed. The civil war left more than 50,000 dead in the west African state.

Taylor’s defence lawyers have told the court that exiling him to Britain’s jails – where a Serbian war crimes convict was attacked in his cell two years ago – would leave him “culturally isolated” and constitute a “punishment within a punishment”.

In an interim sentencing hearing, the court’s chief prosecutor, Brenda Hollis, a former US military prosecutor, said: “[His] positions both as president of Liberia and within the west African regional bodies distinguish him from any other individual that has appeared before this court.

“Taylor’s abuse of his authority and influence is especially egregious given that west African leaders repeatedly entrusted him with a role to facilitate peace.”

In his final address to the UN-backed tribunal the 64-year-old denied encouraging human rights abuses during the prolonged civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone, insisting he had in fact been trying to stabilise the region.

The court should deliver its sentence in a spirit of “reconciliation, not retribution”, said Taylor, who 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 at the SCSL.

“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.”

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Charles Taylor is sentenced to 50 years

    A similar process will take place for Mladic

    George W Bush cancelled his Swiss and Canada visits because he feared prosecution

    Tony Blair accused of war crimes

    You see, there are no exception

    Diplomatic immunity is restricted, Sarcosy lost his and will be accused

    What are our green card holders and US citizens going to do in next years? Do we have so many caves to hide? Back to Kuveni´s stoneage?

    Hopefully a Vijaya comes and rescue them!

    • 0

      Last time when Vijaya came there were Naga (nagar) and yakka( iyakkar) to receive him. This time our Mahindha mathaiyah has to do it all alone. There is no place even in hell for him and the rest of the perpetrators for sure. Count your days MaRa brothers+Fonseka.

      • 0

        Dear A-Gowrie

        Did you hear the story about a fox and a fat goat with large balls hanging from thin scotrum? The fox padded the hoof a long distance assuming the balls would fall and he could have a free lunch. Fox is LTTE supporting Tamil Diaspora and the the goat is the heros who got rid off the blood sucking LTTE terorist.

        Keeping following buddy for your free lunch.

  • 0

    Do not forget to take KP, Karuna, Pillayan, Douglas and all other LTTE in prison and in diaspora who killed civilians from fleeing from war zones in your cave!

  • 0

    This would a good lesson for the Rajapakses and Fonsekes who are US citizens and Green Card Holders.

    Temporary immunity as head of state will end sooner or later.
    Meanwhile the hunt continues….. But there is no immunity for US citizens and residents in the US.

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