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Britain Offers to Jail Charles Taylor If Convicted of War Crimes

Britain has offered to jail former Liberian leader Charles Taylor if he is convicted of war crimes in a move which could clear the way for a Dutch court to try him for crimes committed during Sierra Leone's civil war.

British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett Thursday said Britain agreed to jail Taylor because his presence in Sierra Leone remains a threat to peace in that region.

Taylor is awaiting trial before a United Nations-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone for 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the nation's civil war from 1991 to 2002.

He allegedly backed Sierra Leone rebels who mutilated and raped civilians.

Sierra Leone had asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to host the trial due to security concerns. The Netherlands agreed on the condition that a third country jail Taylor.

Beckett said Britain's offer demonstrates its commitment to international justice.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.