War Crimes Court Upholds Former Liberian Leader Charles Taylor’s 50-Year Sentence [Photo]
On Thursday an international war crimes court upheld the conviction and 50-year sentence of 65-year-old former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding rebels in Sierra Leone. The appeals chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted the former leader on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers. Taylor is seen as a symbol of a new era in the accountability of leaders as he is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.
“Taylor’s conviction sends a powerful message that those at the top can be held to account on the gravest crimes,” said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch.
The path to prosecute Taylor was a lengthy one as he fled into exile in Nigeria and escaped prosecution for 3 years back in 2003. Taylor is convicted of providing crucial aid to rebels in Sierra Leone during the country’s 11-year civil war which was known for its particularly extreme brutality involving human mutilation and slave labor.
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