Charles Taylor: African warlord's crimes shocked the world

Charles Taylor. Photo: ITV News

Which of the many atrocious acts committed with his support will come to define Charles Taylor’s years of tyranny?

Will it be the slicing open of pregnant women to settle bets about the sex of their children? Perhaps the enduring pain lived every moment, every day by those who had their limbs hacked away? Or will it be the generation of child soldiers, robbed of innocence, forced to terrorise, rape, mutilate and murder.

As the former Liberian president was sentenced to fifty years in jail in May 2012 - many of those gruesome crimes were described.

A young man has the initials of the Revolutionary United Front marked in his chest and his ear cut off Credit: Reuters

Taylor was sentenced after being found guilty of arming and funding a rebel army and of trading diamonds for guns in neighbouring Sierra Leone. That made him responsible for “aiding and abetting” war crimes – what the presiding judge described as “some of the most heinous crimes recorded in human history”.

His actions left 50,000 people dead.

Thousands more were left mutilated in the conflict that became known for the extreme cruelty of rival rebel groups who hacked off the limbs of their victims and carved their initials into opponents.

A Sierra Leonean girl who had her hand amputated by RUF rebels in January 1999 .
A Sierra Leonean girl who had her hand amputated by RUF rebels in January 1999 . Credit: Reuters

Charles Taylor in the UK in May 2013 to serve his sentence at Frankland Prison in County Durham.

He is reportedly claiming that his imprisonment here breaches his right to receive visits from his wife and 15 children.

If any such legal bid fails, he was almost certainly die here.