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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


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.

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
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