Charles Taylor war crimes convictions upheld

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A UN-backed special court in The Hague has rejected an appeal against war crimes convictions by lawyers representing former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

It ruled that his convictions had been proved beyond doubt.

Taylor appeared impassive in court as the judge upheld his convictions and 50-year sentence.

He was sentenced in May 2012 for aiding rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war.

His lawyers had argued that there were legal errors during his trial.

Charles Taylor listened intently in court, as his appeal against his conviction for war crimes was rejected point by point. Dressed in a dark suit and light yellow tie, he began taking notes in the back of a small desk diary.

But he wrote less as it became clear that his appeal was going to be unsuccessful. At one stage, there was a small shake of the head as the chief judge outlined the wide range of Mr Taylor’s support for rebel groups in Sierra Leone.

He stood to hear a summary of the appeal decision, his hands resting on the desk below him. But there was no other visible display of emotion, even when the judge listed some of the horrific crimes for which he has been convicted, crimes that had ‘shocked the conscience of mankind’.

Charles Taylor has no further grounds for appeal before this court, and he was given no opportunity to speak. He will serve his sentence in a foreign country, possibly the UK. Sweden and Rwanda have also offered to find a cell to house him.

Taylor, 65, was found to have supplied weapons to the Revolutionary United Front rebels in exchange for a constant flow of so-called blood diamonds.

Judge George King said Taylor fuelled a conflict that became "a threat to international peace and security"
Judge George King said Taylor fuelled a conflict that became “a threat to international peace and security”

He was found guilty at his trial of 11 crimes including terrorism, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the vicious civil war of 1991-2002.

Judge Richard Lussick said at his trial that they were “some of the most heinous crimes in human history”.

Source– BBC

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