Guilty Charles Taylor faces sentencing

2012-05-28 07:58

kalahari.com

Leidschendam - Liberian warlord Charles Taylor will be sentenced for war crimes by a special UN court on Wednesday, after being found guilty of arming Sierra Leone rebels in return for "blood diamonds".

The hearing at 09:00 GMT before judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, situated just outside The Hague, will be the first time a former head of state will be sentenced by a world court since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946.

Brenda Hollis, the tribunal's chief prosecutor, earlier this month argued for 80-year prison sentence for Taylor, once one of the most powerful men in west Africa and a driving force behind Sierra Leone's brutal 1991-2001 civil war.

The former Liberian president was convicted on 26 April on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding and abetting Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels and their allies during the war, in which 120 000 lives were lost.

In return, the court said, Taylor was paid in diamonds mined by slave labour in areas under the control of rebels who murdered, raped and kept sex slaves while hacking off limbs and forcing children under 15 to fight for them.

Should Taylor, 64, get jail time, it will be served in a British prison. The court's judges cannot impose a life sentence, only a specific number of years.

"The gravity of the crimes is the litmus test" on how they should determine a sentence, Hollis told judges two weeks ago as she presented arguments ahead of the sentencing.

Taylor's lawyer Courtenay Griffiths told the court the 80 years sought by the prosecution in effect amounted to a life sentence.

"To sentence a 64-year-old man to 80 years is a guarantee that he will die in prison," Griffiths said at the same 16 May hearing.

He argued that Taylor, Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, was instrumental in efforts to bring an end to Sierra Leone's war.

High profile witnesses

In perhaps his last stand before a world audience, a bespectacled Taylor expressed his "sadness and deepest sympathy for the atrocities and crimes suffered by individuals and families in Sierra Leone".

But he told judges he was not responsible for the crimes committed by rebel forces and blamed "politics" and the United States for his eventual removal from west Africa to face prosecution.

Both sides will have two weeks after sentencing to file an appeal.

Taylor's trial, which lasted nearly four years, wrapped up in March 2011 at the court, based in the leafy Leidschendam suburb a few kilometres outside the city.

It saw a number of high-profile witnesses testify, including supermodel Naomi Campbell, who told of a gift of "dirty diamonds" she received at a charity ball hosted in 1997 by then-South African president Nelson Mandela.

Handing down the verdict last month, Judge Richard Lussick stressed that although Taylor had substantial influence over the RUF, including its feared leader Foday Sankoh, his role "fell short of command and control" of rebel forces.

Sankoh died in 2003 before he could face trial.

Authorities in Nigeria arrested Taylor in March 2006 as he tried to flee from exile after being forced to quit Liberia three years earlier, under international pressure to end that country's own civil war.

He was transferred to The Hague in mid-2006 amid fears that a trial in Sierra Leone would create a security risk.

Taylor's sentencing comes 66 years after admiral Karl Donitz was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an international military tribunal at Nuremberg for his part in Nazi crimes during World War II.

Adolf Hitler appointed Donitz his successor shortly before committing suicide in Berlin in 1945.

- SAPA
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
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop 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

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...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.