Judges in the Hague have upheld the 50-year jail sentence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for funding extremists in Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war.
The ex-leader has been convicted on charges of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity which included terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers.
Reports say about 50,000 people died in the 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.
The rebels whom Mr. Taylor reportedly supported were notorious for their gruesome mutilation of civilians and rival groups as well.
Mr. Taylor was also found guilty of planning some of the attacks carried out by a Sierra Leone rebel group, known as the Revolutionary United Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
US Says The New Ruling Marks A Milestone
In his statement in Washinton DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the ruling upholding the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor marks a milestone for the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia, and for international criminal justice.
He says that in holding Charles Taylor accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court of Sierra Leone has brought a measure of justice to the people of Sierra Leone.
“It helped to cement the foundation on which reconciliation can proceed.” – Secretary Kerry
In addition, he says the fight against impunity for the worst crimes known to humankind is personal for him.
Secretary Kerry highlighted that the last piece of legislation he helped to pass as a Senator expanded and modernized the State Department’s War Crimes Rewards Program.
“We need tools like this to help ensure that criminals like Charles Taylor answer for their crimes.” – Secretary Kerry
He says he is proud of the role that the United States played in drafting and negotiating UN Security Council Resolution 1315 (2000), which paved the way for the Special Court that convicted Taylor and has now brought its trials and appeals to a close.
The United States has been a strong supporter of the Court and its work for a simple reason, he added.
“We refuse to accept a world where those responsible for crimes of this magnitude live in impunity.” – Secretary Kerry
Who is Charles Taylor?
Charles Taylor is an ex-Liberian president who served from August 1997 until his resignation on August 2003.
Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during his term, for his involvement in the bloody Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002).
In April 2012, Mr. Taylor was found guilty on all eleven charges including terror, murder and rape. In the same year, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.