Liberia: Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years in prison

Former Liberian president jailed for fifty years for war crimes.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, has sentenced Charles Taylor to fifty years imprisonment for “aiding and abetting some of the most heinous crimes in human history.”

The former president will serve his sentence in a UK prison, likely to be HMP Belmarsh in south-east London, which has a special high security unit used predominantly for housing convicted terrorists.

Taylor was found guilty at the Hague last month, following a lengthy trial. He had originally pleaded not guilty, but the court ruled that Taylor had been criminally responsible for aiding and abetting crimes including terror, murder and rape. In what was a landmark ruling for the international justice system, Taylor became the first head of state to be convicted for war crimes since the Nuremberg trial of prominent Nazis in the aftermath of the second World War.

Speaking at Taylor’s sentencing, ICC Judge Richard Lussick said: “While Mr Taylor never set foot in Sierra Leone, his heavy footprint is there.The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions.”

Taylor is expected to appeal the judgment, a process which could take up to six months. If his appeal is unsuccessful he will be transferred to the UK to begin his sentence.

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