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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid