News24

Taylor committed 'heinous, brutal crimes'

2012-05-30 12:31

Leidschendam - Judges at an international war crimes court sentenced former Liberian president Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison Wednesday, saying he was responsible for "some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history".

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II and judges said they had no precedent when deciding his sentence.

Taylor will serve his sentence in a British jail. His lawyers, however, are expected to appeal his convictions and that will likely keep him in a jail in The Hague, Netherlands, for months.

Taylor was convicted last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a savage rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50 000 dead.

Prosecutors say he funnelled arms, ammunition and other supplies in return for "blood diamonds" mined using slave labor.

Presiding Judge Richard Lussick told Taylor his crimes were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."

"The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions," Lussick said.

Taylor showed no emotion as Lussick handed down what will effectively be a life sentence.

Prosecutors had asked judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone to impose an 80-year sentence; Taylor's lawyers urged judges to hand down a sentence that offered him some hope of release before he dies.

Purposely cruel and savage crimes

Lussick said an 80-year sentence would have been excessive as Taylor was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes and not direct involvement.

But the judge added that Taylor was "in a class of his own" compared to others convicted by the United Nations-backed court.

"The special status of Mr Taylor as a head of state puts him in a different category of offenders for the purpose of sentencing," Lussick said.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, Taylor expressed "deepest sympathy" for the suffering of victims of atrocities in Sierra Leone, but insisted he had acted to help stabilise the West Africa region and claimed he never knowingly assisted in the commission of crimes.

"What I did...was done with honour," he said. "I was convinced that unless there was peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia would not be able to move forward."

However, judges ruled that Taylor armed and supplied the rebels in full knowledge they would likely use weapons to commit terrible crimes, in exchange for payments of "blood diamonds" often obtained by slave labor.

Prosecutors said there was no reason for leniency, given the extreme nature of the crimes, Taylor's "greed" and misuse of his position of power.

"The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included public executions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitated heads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of a civilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road to make a check point, public rapes of women and girls, and people burned alive in their homes," prosecutor Brenda Hollis wrote in a brief appealing for the 80-year sentence.

Taylor stepped down and fled into exile in Nigeria after being indicted by the court in 2003. He was finally arrested and sent to the Netherlands in 2006.

While the Sierra Leone court is based in that country's capital, Freetown, Taylor's trial is being staged in Leidschendam, a suburb of The Hague, for fear holding it in West Africa could destabilise the region.

Comments
  • Vusi - 2012-05-30 12:37

    Now charge Tony Blair and Bush. Stop being a racist court

      Gaby - 2012-05-30 12:44

      I agree, but it has nothing to do with their skin colour.

      James - 2012-05-30 12:47

      More like Lieberman, Perle,Wolfowitz, Aipac, Krauthammer..

      WhitePrivilege - 2012-05-30 12:49

      It’s kind of like an inter-generational poker game where the white guy in the 1600's till the white guy in 1990 was cheating, killing and stealing all the chips from the players of colour. When one white guy died, he handed over the chips to the next white guy (his son) and this is how stolen wealth gets passed on. Now in 1994, it's not good enough to say: "We'll stop cheating, be happy and stop complaining!" No no, you have to give the stolen chips back because that's how justice happens

      david.baker.sa - 2012-05-30 12:50

      * Vusi you are falling back on emotion. Taylor is an evil man and I dont care what colour/nationality/religion he is. a) The pre-cursor to Hague was Nuremburg and as you know about 20 Nazi leaders got hanged (plus many more at lower levels) b) But if you want to ignore that look at Serbia Mainly Christian Serbs (not all of them committed crimes on Mulsim Serbs, Bosnians etc.) Slobadan Milosovic was being tried and heading for a long jail term befor ehe died. As the leader he was heading for a Taylor like sentence Others * Nikola Sainovic, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister, 22 years * Dragoljub Ojdanic, Chief of General Staff of the VJ - 15 years * Nebojsa Pavkovic, commander of Third Army, - 22 years in prison. * Vladimir Lazarevic, 15 years * Sreten Lukic, Chief of Staff of the Serbian police- 22 years in prison. And others As for Bush and Blair well there is a mechanism to do this if a conviction is likely. No court will try a case if the chances of success are small. UK and US usually bet a UN resolution to invade before they invaded But were they angels? No

      Loo - 2012-05-30 12:51

      Thats all your little mind can come up with. The rest of the world ,, as i said in earlier post dont have a race chip on the shoulder. What they are gatvol about is the African countries that keep on screwing up and look to the west to sort out their financial and social problems. Most African states (RSA included) should be ashamed that we cant stand on our own feet without begging the First World countries for money, aid etc. We even make as if it is their responsibility to help us... Why I ask. But when they do something our little minds cant get round,, we scream ,, You racists and bullies. Sorry to say but were like children wanting our bread buttered on both sides.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-30 12:53

      Vusi, Racist Court ????? Of the 110 signatories to the ICC, 33 ARE AFRICAN COUNTRIES !!!!!

      Dexter - 2012-05-30 13:01

      Hey Vusi, stop posting stupid comments, you racist brain dead idiot. Aren't you suppose to be marching somewhere??

      xinobia.goodridge - 2012-05-30 13:12

      Vusi, do you understand the term "crimes agains humanity"? I doubt it very very much, because if you did you would not make such an utter idiotic statement!!!! If you're not sure what a topic is about, rather just shut your racist trap!!!!!! It's because of people like you that racism in this country will never end, no matter how hard the rest of us try!!!!!

      xinobia.goodridge - 2012-05-30 13:22

      White Privilege - If you worked hard for what you have, would you give it to whites when you died, or would you give it to your children? It's got nothing to do with race you stupid twit!!!!! Also, we didn't cheat and steal and use apartheid for a excuse for our crimes as you do, we actually worked for what we've got. You believe that it's your right. If you should get what is your right, you shouldn't get a well worked farm, or a well built home, because it didn't exist when whe cheated and stole form you. IF you got the same piece of land we did, what would it look like today? We work for what we have, and it's my right to keep what I've worked for. Work for what you want, then you don't need to sit and feel sorry for yourself, because once, long long ago the land belonged to you. As a challenge give me one name of an anchestor you decend off, one we can trace, that we stole from or cheated. If you can't...............what the hell is you problem??????? You sad sorry fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Christopher - 2012-05-30 13:32

      Shoot him in the head!

      Leanna - 2012-05-30 13:46

      Always about race, and it will be forever, please get a life.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 13:53

      "Now charge Tony Blair and Bush. Stop being a racist court" Yip indeed, why not? I am just trying to work out what the world would be if the Taliban/al-Qaeda were not flushed out....You would probably be cleaning their toilets, polishing floors, etc. You hear the old adage "never criticise a farmer with your mouth full" ? Probably not, as your uneducated comment says heaps. Blair and Bush are effectively the court - AND they got a resolution to go to war. Seriously, just STFU you hermaphrodite.

      Philip - 2012-05-30 14:02

      With what, you half wit?

      Rob - 2012-05-30 14:06

      There are a few posts here that suggest that only black guys have worked for what they have today (and they won't give it up). Let's get some balance her...firstly I see more black women working than I see guys, in the same vein go and check out the proportion of female enrolements at universities compared to male. So you black guys are definitely off track in this respect. Secondly, I am absolutely certain that I am not the only white guy who started with virtually nothing and worked my head and butt off and saved some so that I am able to care for myself in reasonable comfort in retirement...... my mistake, I brought my education into South Africa, so don't come with the story that I was priveleged by apartheid. Sure I will pass on my wealth to my kids, except for what the state will take (no small ammount that), and why shouldn't I? Finally, you guys talk about the whites taking stuff from you as if it was there for the taking. There is a very real difference between taking something and developing something. Now, what about recognition for some facts...SA today is what it is because of a lot of different contributions, and what it will become in the future will depend on harnessing ALL availible resources, not by excluding sons for the sins of their fathers. Get real, get to work, and stop stealing seems like a useful starting point.

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-05-30 12:43

    lets hope the international war crimes court will not only prosecute leaders from the African continent. Charles Taylor must not be the only leader who will spend time behind bars.We know that George W Bush will not be prosecuted for killing people in Iraq

      Rob - 2012-05-30 14:30

      Just thinking ....which is worse? Declaring war and killing your enemy or Taking part in a civil war and killing your own people. Of course the right answer is that killing of any sort is wrong, but maybe there are shades of difference to consider here.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 14:38

      The thing is, if GWB is hypothetically guilty, it would take decades to prosecute him. Basically because of the long list of war crimes in Africa, the list would be too long to get through in a timeous fashion. Georgie you safe for now, We need to get through these "rotten to the core" African leaders first.

      sheda.habib - 2012-05-30 18:34

      We could charge Bush with being too stupid to be a free man ... only problem is then half the ANC (especially Zuma) will have to go down as well then.

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-30 12:51

    Nice one ...Corrupt leader has earned this penalty. NOW lets get Bush, Blair and the current Israeli Prime-minister to face charges......... This will never happen as only Africans are Criminals....Seems like the old Volkstaat operates under the same Protocols...... Fake as hypocrites..............

      Loo - 2012-05-30 13:16

      Bwahahaha,, Ohhh my .. you really did not get a fair deal with evolution. us humans sprang from the apes .. but YOU dude,, did not "spring ver genoeg". Eat lots of bananas do you .. go figure

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-30 13:18

      Think again, President Zuma is the head of a Democratic state NOT a frikken Dictator. Are you aware of the difference ????

      xinobia.goodridge - 2012-05-30 13:31

      Your'e just STUPID!!!!!!!!!! Who said only Africans are criminals? Only you! It's sad that you define yourself like that. Or maybe just stupid! It is a fact that many African countries need help from the first world countries that you just implied is racist. Without their help, where would you be? It is a fact that African leaders can not handle the power they get when in command. They take advantage of it. Enrich themselves and let the poor suffer, and they don't even care. You see that in South Africa today too. Go get yourself a kleenex and feel sorry for yourself where people don't have to look at your sad, sorry face!!!!!!!!!!!

      jomardl - 2012-05-30 13:35

      @Tamaranui -- Not defending them here but now you're just contradicting yourself because Bush and Blair were also democratically elected. Also, was Slobodan Miloševic African? Didn't think so. Were the Nazi's who were tried and hanged at Nuremberg African?

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 13:42

      Tamaranui - Are YOU aware of the difference you ahole? A dictator is a leader through misdemeanor means - corruption is the first one I can think of....You and we, all know although not convicted, he is involved with golfing man "shake my rake" That is the difference, your leader is a dictator. Why do I hate you so much? You always have so much to say and yet your brain-dead comments leave a LOT to be desired. I would literally piss myself if an anc supporter slit your throat.

      Loo - 2012-05-30 13:48

      @Omnivore .. this little tamawhatever is an narrow minded little racist that blames racism for his failures in life.He cant handle the fact that he and he alone is responsible for his obviously miserable life and uses the forum and deep seated racism to vent his misplaced anger.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 14:01

      @ Tamaranui - Molluscs??? If the world knows what race is spineless, it your community. If fact more yellow-bellied than anything. Would anybody like to guess where vinesh naidoo comes from?

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-30 14:38

      When all corrupt are treated equally, only then will this Kangaroo court offer the Planet any respite/salvation/justice.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 14:47

      "When all corrupt are treated equally" That is right, I will rest once "8 megapixil Zoomer", mal-emma, fat slob bob magube, tamaranui, the list goes on....are prosecuted. Yes tama baby, birds of feather..., to$$

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-30 14:50

      as this Tamaranui a*s owns the header comment, he will come back and delete it, normal little trick of his....watch this space disappear like a tongaat card trick.

  • Phumlani - 2012-05-30 12:53

    well said Vusi & Zolisa

      Christopher - 2012-05-30 13:23

      Hey P**si? how you doing?

      xinobia.goodridge - 2012-05-30 13:32

      Just another stupid comment from another sad, sorry racist!!!!!

  • mikembengo - 2012-05-30 12:55

    End of the road for charles Taylor

  • paulgerber969 - 2012-05-30 13:07

    what about Mr Mugabe from Zimbabwe

      Loo - 2012-05-30 13:19

      Paul . .that goes for most North African leaders ,, you can name them by the dozens,, but yes Mugabe is a good start, luckily Gadaffi got sorted by his own people. Quite a few other African leaders that needs to be locked up or killed.

      xinobia.goodridge - 2012-05-30 13:33

      He definately derserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It's just sad that someone can &%@%$ a country like he did.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-05-30 14:11

      United Nations just named him head of tourism - not sure if the world has gone mad but then Obama did get the nobel peace prize after going against his promises (pulling out the troops) and placing another 30000 troops in the Middle East.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-05-30 14:12

      Sorry not "head" of tourism but ambassador for tourism, or some such title - usually reserved for celebrities etc. What a joke.

  • timothy.martin.9655 - 2012-05-30 13:09

    What about Robert Mugabe. He killed 30000 Matebeles in the early 1980's and then thousands after that, not counting the amount of people that have died because of his corruption etc etc.

      Jimmy - 2012-05-30 13:19

      How many blacks did Smith kill in Zim during the 70s war there? Besides Bob, Bush, Blair do not belong to countries that ICC can prosecute or have jurisdiction over. They never signed it. I mean who in their right mind can sign away their freedom? Unless its these African countries who foolishly believe that a court in the middle of middle Europe can be fair to them.

      david.baker.sa - 2012-05-30 13:37

      @Jimmy - you are wrong The UK, SA, Cananda, all of Europe, almosy all of Africa, most of South America and Zimbabwe all signed it and are all full members of the ICC The USA signed but did not ratify the Rome Statute. Some others are in the same boat as the USA. India, China and some others signed nothing To those mentioning the Matebele Massacre and the sins of Smith etc etc. let me remind you that the new court only has juristiction for events from 2002 Its quite normal. Laws can not be retroactive. So you can't get Mugabe in the ICC for anything pre-2002 You can't get Smith because that was pre-1980 and he is dead. So lets get perspective. Also the argument that you should get someone else before you get me is just so flawed. Its like the drunk drivers complaining that the police dont nab the unroadworthhy taxis

      Jimmy - 2012-05-30 13:50

      @david, sorry but you are wrong. Even south africa is not party to this court. How do think Botha and them escaped it? America does not sign daft agreement nor does Mugabe.

      Jimmy - 2012-05-30 13:51

      @david, sorry but you are wrong. Even south africa is not party to this court. How do think Botha and them escaped it? America does not sign daft agreement nor does Mugabe.

      david.baker.sa - 2012-05-30 15:26

      @Jimmy YOu didnt read what I typed a) South Africa is a full signatory to the Court as is most of Africa with the exception of Tunisia and one or 2 others b) The UK and European are signatories as well. c) Zimbabwe signed as well Now factually - I was adopted in 1998 It came into force in 2002 As I said in my post - Crimes before 2002 dont apply so even if Botha was alive he could not be prosecuted since he ended is Presidency in the late 80s So how am I wrong? Look it up What are you on it about. You are spitting out emotion while I am drawing fact from their websites

  • Tshepo - 2012-05-30 13:10

    Doesnt He deserve life in prison?

  • Michele - 2012-05-30 13:15

    Good for the court, the next one should be Mugabe for the 60000 dead in the Matabele Land massacres of the 80's

  • Steve - 2012-05-30 13:21

    AND ROBERT MUGABE - HOW IS HE AND HIS GENERALS DOING LATELY ?

  • Steve - 2012-05-30 13:23

    DID NOT SEE ALL THE COMMENTS BUT IT LOOKS LIKE THE HAGUE NEEDS TO VISIT OLD BOB ND HIS MATES

  • jomardl - 2012-05-30 13:29

    Good. Ironically, life in a European prison much better than the day to day lives of many of Liberia and Sierra Leone's poor.

  • frans.vanderpoll - 2012-05-30 13:50

    What I don't understand is - if you kill an animal you get 5 years in a hell hole. An animal kills thousand of people and go to a 5* hotel for the rest of his life. Makes perfect sense.

  • Philip - 2012-05-30 14:02

    Isn't this JZ's mate?

  • barnyard.mosselbay - 2012-05-30 14:05

    "Charles Taylor was convicted by the United Nations Court" - Wait a minute, is this the same UN that just made Robert Mugabe the new International envoy for tourism?

  • Dhani - 2012-05-30 14:11

    "Charles Taylor was convicted by the United Nations backed court" - Wait a minute, is this the same United Nations that just made Robert Mugabe the new International envoy for tourism? Seriously, are there still people out there that thinks the UN is a credible organization?

  • Dhani - 2012-05-30 14:12

    "Charles Taylor was convicted by the United Nations backed court" - Wait a minute, is this the same United Nations that just made Robert Mugabe the new International envoy for tourism? Seriously, are there still people out there that thinks the UN is a credible organization?

  • david.m.stephens.3 - 2012-05-30 15:18

    Have read through all of the comments posted here and something which no one seems to remember or understand...perhaps its not anyone's belief, of those who have commented below or who have posted on this blog. What we all need to remember is that no one ever gets away with anything, there are reports piled upon reports of people who have died and come back to life with a story of how all they had done in their life was shown to them, even the things which they thought no one knew about. If justice is not meted out here on earth, it will be passed down in the life to come and that justice is eternal. Lets not talk with hate speech and deride one another, we are all created in the image of God above and we should love Him with all of our hearts and love another as ourselves...will that not put an end to all that has commented on?

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-05-30 18:13

    when r u going 2 update this page

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