'Innocent lives destroyed' as a result of Taylor's actions

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

Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war.

The presiding judge Richard Lussick said: "The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions."

Last month, Taylor was convicted of 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity which included murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers.

Child soldiers from the RUF Credit: Reuters

Although the court could not prove that Taylor directly ordered these crimes, is found that he provided"sustained and significant" support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels which committed many of the atrocities against civilians.

In particular, Taylor was found to have channeled weapons and ammunition to the rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined using slave labor.

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Taylor jailed for 50 years

The former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor is to be sentenced by an international court in The Hague today.