News / Africa

Court Upholds Taylor Conviction, 50-Year Sentence

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, left, pictured at the Special Court for Sierra Leone near The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 26, 2013.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, left, pictured at the Special Court for Sierra Leone near The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 26, 2013.
Nina de VriesVOA News
A U.N.-backed special court in The Hague has upheld the conviction and sentencing of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.  Taylor had appealed the court's ruling that he is guilty of arming and aiding rebels in Sierra Leone during that country's civil war, which killed 50,000 people.  The ruling means his 50-year prison sentence will stand. 

Sierra Leoneans listened to a live broadcast of the appeal verdict Thursday at offices of the court in the capital, Freetown. 

Hassan Barrie was a victim of Sierra Leone's civil war.  During the conflict, which ran from 1991 to 2002, rebel fighters would often cut off people's limbs. Barrie was fortunate he didn't lose any limbs, but he still suffered.  Rebels captured and beat him, injuring his leg permanently.  He now walks with crutches. Despite the trauma of war, Barrie is pleased with Taylor's long sentence.

"During the war, I suffered, I suffered a lot but praise to God, I'm alive," he said.

The Trial of Charles Taylor

  • Taylor was sentenced in 2012 to 50 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Taylor pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of humanitarian law.
  • The crimes were committed after November 30, 1996, during Sierra Leone's civil war.
  • Taylor denied he received blood diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone in exchange for weapons.
  • Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified about a gift of diamonds believed to have been from Taylor

One of the rebel groups Taylor helped to arm and plot attacks was the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF).  The group pushed child soldiers into combat by giving them drugs and alcohol.  Rebels also raped thousands of women and young girls, many who were forced into becoming sex slaves.

Kabba Kargbo, who was recruited as a child soldier, said the 50-year sentence is too light.

"The sentence is not harsh because our feeling back here when we were involved in the war, was not our own making, because people forced us to go, to be child soldiers," Kargbo said.

Taylor's lawyers had appealed his sentence on 42 grounds, essentially saying that he knew nothing about the war crimes. The prosecution also appealed, arguing that Taylor's sentence was too short.

The appeals chamber stated Thursday his convictions have been proved beyond doubt.

Some people who came out to the special court in Freetown were so young during the war they do not really remember it, like Susan Yamson, who is now 17 years old.
Yamson said sometimes she cannot believe all that happened to her country.

"We're all humans," she said. We should not treat each over as slaves."

The Special Court in Sierra Leone held trials for other rebel groups involved in Sierra Leone's civil war, but Taylor's trial was moved to The Hague for security reasons.

Now that all the trials are over, one part of the court building in Freetown will be turned into a peace museum.  It is currently used to house local female prisoners.

The rest of the court building may be used by Sierra Leone's Supreme Court.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David Cameron
October 10, 2013 11:14 AM
Yes it it is very clear that the UN and the Hague are biased and selective in bringing to justice Mr Taylor, whilst turning a blind eye to others who are still allowed to travel quite freely. I wonder whether their conscience bothers them as they go about their
work at the Courts, knowing others have adroitly avoided justice.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid