Charles Taylor awaits historic verdict

2012-04-26 07:54
Leidschendam - Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor will hear a historic verdict on Thursday on charges of arming Sierra Leone's rebels in return for "blood diamonds" in the 1990s.

Samoan judge Richard Lussik will start reading the decision - the first ever judgment against a former head of state by an international court - at 11:00 at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Leidschendam outside The Hague.

The reading will be screened at the SCSL's main headquarters in the west African country's capital Freetown, from where his case was moved in 2006 over security fears.

Taylor, 64, is accused of helping Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels wage a terror campaign during a civil war that claimed 120 000 lives between 1991 and 2001.

The trial, which saw model Naomi Campbell testify she had received diamonds from the flamboyant Taylor, wrapped up in March 2011. If found guilty, Taylor could be sentenced in four to six weeks.

"There is a wave of anticipation ahead of the judgment," Alpha Sesay, legal officer at the Open Society's Justice Initiative in The Hague, told AFP on Wednesday.

"Not only in The Hague, but in Sierra Leone and in Liberia as well - by victims of the conflict, by the countries' governments and by Taylor's supporters," he said adding: "Finally, it will be good to know."

Gift of dirty diamonds


Prosecutors alleged that the RUF paid Taylor with illegally mined so-called blood diamonds worth millions, stuffed into mayonnaise jars.

During the trial, prosecutor Brenda Hollis told the court: "Charles Taylor created, armed, supported and controlled the RUF in a 10-year campaign of terror against the civil population of Sierra Leone."

As president of neighbouring Liberia, he acted as "chief, father and godfather to his proxy rebel forces in Sierra Leone", prosecutors added.

The former warlord has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts, dismissing the allegations as "lies" and claiming to be the victim of a plot by "powerful countries".

During Taylor's trial which began on 04 June 2007, about 94 witnesses took the stand for the prosecution and 21 for the defence. Taylor himself testified for 81 hours.

British supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Mia Farrow gave headline-grabbing evidence in August 2010 about a gift of "dirty" diamonds Taylor gave to Campbell at a charity dinner hosted by then South African president Nelson Mandela in 1997.

Judges also heard gruesome testimony from victims of the Sierra Leone conflict, including a witness who said he pleaded with RUF rebels to cut off his remaining hand so they would spare his toddler son.

Others said Taylor's fighters strung human intestines across roads, removed foetuses from women's wombs and practised cannibalism, while children younger than 15 were enlisted to fight.

Human flesh


One witness said he was present when the Liberian leader ate human liver.

During his own testimony, which began in July 2009, Taylor called the trial a "sham" and denied allegations he ever ate human flesh.

Nigerian authorities arrested Taylor in March 2006 when he tried to flee from exile in Nigeria after stepping down as Liberian president three years earlier in a negotiated end to a civil war in his own country.

He was transferred to the SCSL in Freetown, but in June 2006 a UN Security Council resolution cleared the way for him to be transferred to The Hague, saying his presence in west Africa was an "impediment to stability and a threat to the peace."

The court, set up jointly by the Sierra Leone government and the United Nations, has already convicted eight Sierra Leoneans of war crimes and jailed them for between 15 and 52 years after trials in Freetown.

- SAPA
Read more on:    un  |  nelson mandela  |  mia farrow  |  charles taylor  |  naomi campbell  |  liberia  |  sa  |  sierra leone  |  west africa  |  war crimes  |  charles taylor trial  |  blood diamonds
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.