Charles Taylor to serve 50 years for war crimes in Sierra Leone

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in jail for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes during Sierra Leone’s 10 year civil war.

Judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone said  if the former leader had not provided moral, financial and logistical support to the RUF rebels the conflict and commission of crimes would have ended much earlier.

The Judges said Mr. Taylor used his position as president to secretly fuel hostilities in Sierra Leone even as negotiations for a peaceful resolution to the conflict were going on.

Presiding Judge Justice Richard Lussick said the former leader profited from Sierra Leone’s diamonds, which he received from the rebels in exchange for arms and ammunition.

"The trial chamber unanimously sentences you to a single term of imprisonment of 50 years for all of the counts on which you have been found guilty. Mr. Taylor has not accepted responsibility for the crimes for which he stands convicted. The trial chamber notes that as President of Liberia, Mr. Taylor held a position of public trust with inherent authority which he abused in aiding and abetting and planning the commission of crimes for which he has been convicted. Mr. Taylor used his unique position including his access to state machinery and public resources to aid and abet the commission of crimes in Sierra Leone rather than using his power to promote peace and stability in the sub-region."

Duration: 47″

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