News24

Taylor appeals war crimes conviction

2012-07-20 07:40

The Hague - Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor has appealed his conviction for war crimes in Sierra Leone and a 50-year jail sentence imposed, the international court handling the case said on Thursday.

"Charles Taylor respectfully requests that the appeals chamber reverse all the findings of guilt and conviction entered against him and vacate the judgement," said the defence request made public by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Taylor was found guilty in April of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierre Leone, the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg Nazi trials in 1946.

The former warlord, 64, was sentence in May to 50 years in jail after his conviction on 11 counts for arming Sierra Leone's rebels in return for "blood diamonds" during war which claimed 120 000 lives.

The court found that Taylor was paid in diamonds mined in areas under the control of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels, who murdered, raped and mutilated their victims while forcing children to fight and keeping sex slaves.

Taylor maintained his innocence during the trial at the court outside The Hague, which saw a number of high-profile witnesses testify including supermodel Naomi Campbell.