The former Liberian president Charles Taylor was today found guilty of 'aiding and abetting' war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil war
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'
Charles Taylor is a former warlord-turned-president. He led a rebel group to that fought to overthrow the government of Liberia in 1997.
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.
Charles Taylor has been found guilty of aiding and abetting the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.
The court has found that Charles Taylor provided material support to the RUF rebel group, including arms, ammunition and personnel. This was in exchange for the commissioning of crimes.
But the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Taylor was individually responsible for some of the crimes.
The court has ruled that Charles Taylor is guilty of war crimes in Sierra Leone - Reuters
The judge says that although there is evidence that Foday Sankoh, the leader of the rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF), ordered his officials to take orders from Charles Taylor, there is no evidence this happened.
The court found that although the relationship between the RUF and Mr Taylor was close, there is no evidence that he was part of the RUF chain of command.
The judge said that Charles Taylor was secretly fuelling the conflict between rebel groups and the government while pretending to support the peace negotiations.
The judge is describing "a continuous supply of diamonds [from rebel groups] mined in Sierra Leone to the accused [Charles Taylor], often in exchange for arms and ammunition".
The arms and ammunition Mr Taylor provided were "indispensable" to rebel groups.
The judge has said that Charles Taylor provided "sustained and persistent" support to rebel groups in Sierra Leone during the civil war.
The support included food, financial support, arms and the provision of "herbalists" to drug child soldiers in preparation for conflict.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague has found that the alleged crimes were committed in Sierra Leone. It is now dealing with Charles Taylor's role in the crimes.
So far the lead justice has ruled that the prosecution failed to prove Charles Taylor's role in crimes prior to the indictment period.