Final judgment on the former Liberian President will be delivered on May 30

Charles Taylor, the former Liberian President standing trial before The Hague, was on Thursday found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Taylor, who was granted asylum by the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, after unrest that unseated him as Liberian president, has been standing trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) since 2006.

Taylor was unanimously convicted by the judges in connection with 11 offences connected to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers.

Although, Taylor had denied knowledge of the campaign of terror waged against the civilian population in Sierra Leone in August 1997 and all allegations against him and insisted that he was a peacemaker, the court ruled in the contrary.

Taylor’s defence had argued that the only contact Taylor had with rebel groups was in his capacity as President of Liberia helping to negotiate a settlement to the conflict in Sierra Leone.

Although the court absolved Taylor of direct personal responsibility for the atrocities carried out by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group and others, it found Taylor guilty on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of international humanitarian law that were committed from November 1996 to January 2002 during the course of Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Throughout the reading of the verdict, which took about two hours by Judge Richard Lussick, Taylor had no comment but had his request to speak after the verdict denied.

Chika Unigwe

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