Live updates

Taylor found guilty of some war crimes

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.

Advertisement

No evidence Taylor was 'part of rebel chain of command'

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.

Charles Taylor timeline

  • 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

Q&A on the Charles Taylor verdict

Charles Taylor on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity Credit: REUTERS/Michael Kooren

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.

ActionAid hopes verdict will put 'ghosts to rest'

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.

Advertisement

Charges against Charles Taylor

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

Taylor verdict offers 'justice' for Sierra Leone

A Sierra Leonean girl who had her hand amputated by RUF rebels in January 1999 sleeps in a refugee camp in Freetown in this May 16, 2000 Credit: Reuters

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.

Child amputees in Freetown in 2001. Credit: Reuters

Prosecutors say today's verdict will prove that heads of state cannot and will not get away with crimes against civilian populations.

A Sierra Leonean man amputated by the RUF rebels sits on a bench in a refugee camp in Freetown in 1999 Credit: Reuters

Taylor prosecutors hoping for 'just sentence'

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.

Load more updates