The former Liberian president Charles Taylor was today found guilty of 'aiding and abetting' war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil warRead the full story ›
And in a statement released by the Foreign Office, Mr Hague added: "This landmark verdict demonstrates that those who have committed the most serious of crimes can and will be held to account for their actions.
"It demonstrates that the reach of international law is long and not time limited and it demonstrates that heads of state cannot hide behind immunity.
"The verdict can only be a small comfort for the victims and relatives of those killed. But the Court's authoritative view of what occurred will play an important role in helping the people of Sierra Leone come to terms with the past and consolidate national reconciliation."
The former Prime Minister Tony Blair has told ITV News that the UK played a strong role in freeing the country from 'gangster and thugs'Read the full story ›
The lead prosecutor in the Charles Taylor case, Brenda Hollis, addressed reporters after today's verdict.
She pointed out that Mr Taylor is the first former head of state to be convicted by an international criminal tribunal since the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi leaders in 1946.
The lead prosecutor in the Charles Taylor case, Brenda Hollis, gave this statement to reporters following today's verdict:
I applaud the conviction of Charles Taylor...This conviction is one more victory in the very important fight against impunity. Today is for the people of Sierra Leone, who suffered horribly at the hand of Charles Taylor and his proxy forces. This judgement brings some measure of justice to the many thousands of victims who paid a terribly price for Mr Taylor's crimes...Today's historic judgement reinforces the new reality that head of state cannot hide behind their positions.
Charles Taylor will be held in custody until his final sentencing on 30th May.
Before that time, his defence team has the option of appealing the charges he was found guilty of. The case would then pass on to Appeals Chamber of the Special Court, whose decision is final.
If there is no appeal, Mr Taylor is likely to be given a prison sentence, which he would serve in the UK.
Charles Taylor has been remanded in custody until a first sentencing hearing on 16th May. The final sentence will be passed on 30th May.
Charles Taylor has been found guilty of aiding and abetting the crimes in Sierra Leone. The court did not find sufficient evidence that Taylor had ordered the crimes, although it ruled that he did have influence over the RUF rebels and that he provided material support.
The judge went through the crimes, which are as follows:
- Acts of terrorism
- Violence to life, health and physical or mental wellbeing of people - murder
- Sexual slavery
- Outrages upon personal dignity
- Violence to life, health and physical or mental wellbeing of people - cruel treatment
- Other inhumane acts
- Conscripting or enlisting child soldiers
Charles Tayor has been asked to stand for the verdict
A UN-backed Sierra Leone court has convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of war crimes.
Taylor was charged with murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in which more than 50,000 people were killed.
The court found him guilty of only some of the charges.