World News

    Charles Taylor Appeals War Crimes Case

    Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, western Netherlands, January 22, 2013.
    Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, western Netherlands, January 22, 2013.
    Lisa Bryant
    An international criminal court in The Hague opened an appeals trial of former Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor, who was sentenced in 2012 for his role in atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's 1990s civil war. 

    Nearly a year after being sentenced to 50 years in jail for his involvement in Sierra Leone's conflict, Charles Taylor was back in court Tuesday. He wore a dark suit and red tie as he listened to the opening of his appeals trial.

    In April, 2012, Liberia's former leader was found guilty of aiding, abetting and planning horrific crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone. Among them: murder, rape, mutilation and the use of child soldiers.

    But the 64-year-old Taylor maintains he is innocent. Now he has a second shot to convince judges at The Hague-based court.

    Rights groups that hailed Taylor's 2012 sentence also welcome the appeals process. Elise Keppler is senior counsel at Human Rights Watch in New York.

    "The appeal hearing today and tomorrow in the Charles Taylor trial is an important moment in what has been an incredibly significant trial. It's the first conviction of a former head of state before an international court since Nuremburg, and Taylor was found guilty of heinous crimes in Sierra Leone," Keppler said. "Now, a fair and credible justice means a right to appeal, and we look forward to the judges doing their part in properly assessing any issues that have come up in this appeals process. And its an overall contribution to ensuring justice for victims in Sierra Leone."

    Taylor's defense wants his sentence overturned, saying it was a miscarriage of justice and based on faulty and uncorroborated evidence.  The prosecution wants to extend the sentence to 80 years in jail.

    The Hague judges are expected to rule by September. If Taylor loses his appeal, he will serve his sentence in Britain.
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    Comments
         
    by: habib from: sierra leone
    February 07, 2013 11:07 AM
    let it dont be the last. It should be extended to western leaders also

    by: olafaux from: USA
    January 23, 2013 5:24 AM
    This is our take:
    Taylor, a convicted criminal believes he can fool all the people, all the time. Having murdered millions of poor & not so poor citizens of many nations, his stupidity persists. A 50 year sentence is the mildest he could have received. Apart from the perpectual torment that awaits this nefarious character, the Court should now render real Justice to this jerk, by giving him , at least a 500Year sentence. No one, we repeat, No One is exempt from the LAW. This murderer is a disgrace to the human race, a disgrace to the Black race, a disgrace to the African race and, a DISGRACE, period.
    God bless America!
    In Response

    by: charles woto from: monrovia
    January 24, 2013 12:28 PM
    let me react to the comments from the man the U S. in Liberia, we believe that Tayler should have been tried for the crimes committed in Liberia and not in another country.there are a lot of people including the united states that are aiding and abbeting wars in other parts of the world. I think Tayler should be free from that trip of the U N that do not give any thing to the people of Sierra Leone
    In Response

    by: Gibson from: USA
    January 23, 2013 1:32 PM
    It is a shame and disgrace that imperialism continues in the 21st century in the name of justice. Let me begin by saying I have the scares of Mr. Taylor's activities in Liberia. I Lost two of my brothers, an uncle and many other families who were killed at the hands of Mr. Taylors in daylight. But, to go after him for crimes in Sierra Leone is none-sense and nothing more than western imperialism. According to documents released by the CIA, they were working with Mr. Taylor in the early 90s. Ask them what does that exactly mean, since it was the same time Mr. Taylor was bring havoc on Liberians. Ask the Bostom police department how Mr. Taylor left prison in the late 80s and became a warlord. Ask America, where were they when half a million people were killed in Liberia with funding from people living in America. Ask the west, why every nation that is distabelized in Africa has clear connection to western supporters? Those are the questions. Remove Mr. Taylor and you will still have the same problems until western imperialist change their minds off turning africans against each others!

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