News / Africa

UN Court to Rule on Charles Taylor's Appeal

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. January 22, 2013
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. January 22, 2013
VOA News
A United Nations-backed special court will rule Thursday on former Liberian President Charles Taylor's appeal of his conviction on war crimes during the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone.  
 
Taylor was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison last year on 11 counts of crimes against humanity, including acts of terrorism, murder, rape and the conscription of child soldiers.
 
Prosecutors accused Taylor of supporting the rebels in Sierra Leone with weapons and other supplies in exchange for so-called "blood diamonds." The former president has maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
 
His lawyers say there was no evidence that Taylor was directly involved with assisting the rebels, who have been accused of killing and mutilating thousands of civilians during the 11-year war. Taylor launched an appeal against his conviction in January this year, with his defense calling for it to be overturned because of his lack of direct criminal involvement.
 
The court hearings were delayed by the former leader's refusal to cooperate and efforts to fight its jurisdiction. Taylor denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
 
“Never, ever did I receive, whether it is mayonnaise or coffee or whatever jar, never received any diamonds from the RUF. It's a lie, it's a diabolical lie. Never,” said Taylor during the trial.
 
In August 2010, supermodel Naomi Campbell testified at the trial. Prosecutors said that during a visit to South Africa in 1997, Taylor gave Campbell a large rough cut diamond after a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela. Campbell said she had been given “dirty looking pebbles” after the dinner in South Africa, but did not know if they were diamonds from Taylor. She gave the diamonds to Jeremy Ratcliffe, then-head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
 
“I asked him to take them and do something good with them. He is someone that I trust and I know for a while and I believed that's what he would do,” said the British supermodel.
 
Taylor was first indicted in 2003, along with 12 other suspects. He was arrested in March 2006 during exile in Nigeria, and then moved to The Hague in June 2006 due to fears that a trial in Sierra Leone could kindle unrest in the country or neighboring Liberia.
 
During the trial, prosecutors called 91 witnesses to support their charges that child soldiers under Taylor's command were sent to battle drugged with amphetamines and marijuana.
 
The tribunal, which has no death penalty, was established by Sierra Leone and the United Nations to punish those responsible for serious human rights abuses in the African nation since 1996. It has completed cases against 8 of the 13 suspects, who have received sentences of up to 51 years in prison.
 
Taylor is the first head of state since the end of WWII to face charges of crimes against humanity before an international tribunal.

Reuters contributed to this report.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid