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World Awaits Landmark African War Crimes Verdict

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor takes notes as he waits for the start of a hearing to deliver verdict in the court room of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands, April 26, 2012.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor takes notes as he waits for the start of a hearing to deliver verdict in the court room of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands, April 26, 2012.

A special tribunal in The Hague is delivering its verdict in the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, accused of masterminding some of the worst human rights abuses in recent memory.  

The Special Court for Sierra Leone is meeting Thursday, almost five years after the trial opened.

Taylor faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the deaths of an estimated half-million people during an 11-year-long civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone.  The list of charges against the former Liberian leader includes murder, rape, terrorism, recruitment of child soldiers and enslavement.

Prosecutors say Taylor masterminded Sierra Leone's civil war from Liberia, arming and assisting Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds," mined in eastern Sierra Leone.

Taylor denies all wrong-doing and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

If he is found guilty Thursday, his defense team is expected to appeal within two weeks.  If he is acquitted, the prosecution is likely to do the same.

Taylor was arrested and handed over to the court in 2006, three years after his indictment and subsequent resignation as president.  The trial, which opened in 2007, was transferred from Freetown to The Hague amid regional security concerns.

During the trial, the court heard testimony from 94 prosecution witnesses and 21 defense witnesses, including Taylor.

The tribunal was established to try the most serious cases of war crimes rising from the Sierra Leone conflict.  The Taylor case is expected to be the court's last major trial.

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by: lawrence
April 26, 2012 10:10 AM
,Taylor is guilty according to this court.But how Taylor Escapes? and where did he pass? because the USA we know have one of the best Security in the World......and Taylor leave without their concern is a Big Lie I believe that the USA UN and UK are playing a big game and only useing Taylor to cover thereself, they are guilty with in themself and this funing looking so-call Judge Richard Lussick just read

by: Molang Daniel
April 26, 2012 4:32 AM
Charles Taylor,there is time to garther stones and time to trow away stone

by: Thomas Tengbeh
April 26, 2012 3:36 AM
We are happy that the long awaited verdict is now going on about our country former president.But our eye are open and looking forward to seeing what will come out.

by: william sullivan
April 26, 2012 3:18 AM
It is so good to see Africa come to terms with it's own. If only this can spread farther those who gain power will be more careful with it.

by: Dr. Roger V. Powell
April 26, 2012 2:56 AM
If you live by the sword you should die by the sword. On second thoughts a thirty year jail sentence might be better. It would give the man time to reflect on his evil and what his maker will do to him eventually.

by: Dr. Roger V. Powell
April 26, 2012 2:54 AM
If you live by the sword you should die by the sword. On second thoughts a thirty year jail sentence might be better. It would give the man time to reflect on his evil and what his maker will do to him eventually.

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