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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid