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.
Judge Richard Lussick's opening statement has already included some horrific details of the charges against Charles Taylor, including abducted children having letters carved into their heads and backs, amputations, beheadings and disembowellings.
Charles Taylor is listening to the opening statement of lead justice Judge Richard Lussick.
Mr Taylor looks isolated and somewhat despondent.
- 1948 - Born in Arthington, Liberia
- 1983 - Flees Liberia after being accused of embezzling nearly $1m. Detained in the US on a Liberian arrest warrant, but later escapes.
- 1989 - Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebel group launches armed uprising in Liberia
- 1991-2002 - Sierra Leone civil war
- 1997 - Elected Liberia's president
- 2003 - Special Court for Sierra Leone indicts Taylor on charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery and conscripting child soldiers
- 2003 - Resigns and flies into exile in Nigeria
- March 2006 - Disappears after Nigeria agrees that he should stand trial
- March 2006 - Arrested as he tries to cross border from Nigeria to Cameroon
- June 2006 - Transferred to UN detention block in The Hague to await trial
- June 2007 - Trial starts
- August 2010 - Naomi Campbell and Mia Farrow give evidence at Taylor's trial
- Today - Verdict due
Why is today's judgement at the Hague significant? How did the trial come about? Why isn't Charles Taylor facing trial in Liberia, where he allegedly committed many of the crimes?
Human Rights Watch answers all of these questions and many more here.
Korto Williams, the director of ActionAid Liberia, has given this statement ahead of the Charles Taylor verdict at the International Criminal Court later today:
ActionAid Liberia hopes this verdict provides an opportunity for Sierra Leone to lay many ghosts to rest. The verdict represents the brutal reality of what happened in Sierra Leone and reflects the war atrocities that were committed in Liberia. Fifteen years on from the civil war, many people continue to yearn for justice and recognition of their suffering.
Charles Taylor faces a total of 11 charges:
- 5 counts of war crimes: terrorising civilians, murder, outrages on personal dignity, cruel treatment, looting
- 5 counts of crimes against humanity: murder, rape, sexual slavery, mutilating and beating, enslavement
- 1 count of a serious violation of international law: for recruiting and using child soldiers
Today's verdict in The Hague will mark the first time a head of state has faced a verdict on crimes against humanity.
The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which prosecutors say Taylor directed, were responsible for amputating thousands of civilians across Sierra Leone.
Prosecutors say today's verdict will prove that heads of state cannot and will not get away with crimes against civilian populations.
The lead prosecutors in the special international criminal trial against former warlord and Liberian president Charles Taylor says they are hoping for a 'just sentence' for the man they believe is responsible for a litany of human right violations and crimes against humanity.
Brenda Hollis, Lead Prosecutor and David Crane, the American lawyer who indicted Taylor, both say that the sentence is as important as a guilty verdict.
Judges at an international criminal court for Sierra Leone will pass judgement on former Liberian president Charles Taylor today.
Taylor is accused of sponsoring rebels responsible for a string of atrocities during Sierra Leone's civil war.
The rebels - from the Revolutionayr Unite Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council were notorious for hacking off limbs, noses and lips of their enemies
Taylor is accused of crimes against humanity, mass killings, sexual violence, abductions and the use of child soldiers, all of which he denies.