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Charles Taylor 'likely to receive prison sentence'

The former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor is likely to receive a prison sentence, according to Human Rights Watch.

The statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone provides that sentences should be 'imprisonment for a specified number of years'. Sentences may also include forfeiture of any 'property, proceeds and any assets acquired unlawfully or by criminal conduct'.

– Human rights watch website

War criminal Charles Taylor may get UK prison sentence

The former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor is to be sentenced today.

Charles Taylor during his trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague Credit: The Special Court for Sierra Leone/PA

In April, an international court found Taylor guilty of "aiding and abetting" crimes against humanity including murder, rape and conscription of child soldiers.

If he receives a prison sentence he will serve it in the UK under an agreement made with the Netherlands, where the trial was held.

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William Hague welcomes Charles Taylor verdict

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."

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Lead prosecutor: Charles Taylor verdict brings some measure of justice to thousands of victims

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.

What happens next for Charles Taylor?

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.

Taylor found guilty of 'aiding and abetting' war crimes

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
  • Murder
  • Violence to life, health and physical or mental wellbeing of people - murder
  • Rape
  • 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
  • Enslavement
  • Pillage
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