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Charles Taylor jailed for 50 years

AFRICA
By David Ohito | May 30th 2012

By David Ohito

Former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor  was sentenced to a 50-year-jail term for 11 counts war crimes, crimes against humanity and for violation of international humanitarian laws.Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes during the dark era of civil war that rocked neighbouring country of Sierra Leone.

He becomes the first former African leader and president to be sentenced for war crimes, crimes against humanity and for violation of international humanitarian law.

Taylor also makes history for being the first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremburg trials of Nazis after World War II.

Taylor, 64, was elected president in 1997 and ruled Liberia for six years before being forced into exile in Nigeria.  He was given asylum in a bid to end Liberian civil war.

He was judged at the Hague not by the International Criminal Court but by the Special Court for Sierra Leone founded in 2002.

The war ended in 2002 some 50,000 people had died and thousands mutilated.
Taylor was accused of funding Sierra Leone's former rebels, the Revolutionary United Front, by selling diamonds on their behalf and buying weapons for them.

The Revolutionary United Front soldiers gained notoriety for hacking-off the arms and legs of civilian population with machetes, as well as killing, raping and robbing them.
The UN backed special court for Sierra Leone based at the Hague, Netherlands  found Taylor  guilty of crimes of:
• Acts of terrorism  a war crime
• Murder –crime against humanity
• Violence to life, in particular murder –war-crime
• Rape-crime against humanity
• Sexual slavery and violence-crime against humanity
• Outrages upon personal dignity –war crime
• Violence to life, in particular cruel treatment –war-crime
• Other inhumane acts crimes against humanity
• Use of child soldiers-violation of international human rights law
• Enslavement-crime against humanity
• Pillage-war crime

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