Warlord Charles Taylor Convicted


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:55 PM EDT, 26 April 2012

Charles Taylor, Sierra Leone War Lord, Photo by Gilbert ZTHE HAGUE, Netherlands - Today, Charles Taylor, 64, former Liberian President and accused warlord was convicted by The Special Court for Sierra Leone, in The Hague, the Netherlands.

He was found guilty of 11 counts of war crimes, including murder, rape, and sexual slavery. Like the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, Taylor also stood accused of conscripting children into his marauding armies which terrorized Liberian and Sierra Leonean citizens during a period between 1991- 2002.

Charges arose stemmed from his involvement in the “Sierra Leone Civil War which began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patiotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Prior to today’s ruling, The Hague court previously convicted RUF fighters of the same charges levied against Taylor. RUF were also charged with crimes against humanity, terrorism, and torture, a charge based upon testimony by victims of brutal mutilation and maiming by machetes.

The prosecution alleged at their trials that Taylor financed the RUF with the proceeds from the sale of ‘blood diamond’ mined illegally in Sierra Leone to encourage the militia to prolong the fighting. The ensuing state of instability allowed Taylor and the RUF to benefit from the sale of contraband.

According to the Voice of America (VOA), Taylor is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trial in 1946 of Karl Doenitz, who briefly ruled Nazi Germany after the death of Adolf Hitler.

Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said Taylor will be sentenced on 30 May 2012.