One of the most powerful symbols of cruelty, former Liberian leader Charles Taylor has finally been convicted for his participation in the deaths of tens of thousands of people in neighbouring Sierra Leone, after a five year trial at a special international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Today’s historic verdict, reported by the BBC, found Taylor, 64, guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes during the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war. The tribunal said Taylor had extended “sustained and significant” support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the conflict.
From the BBC:
Taylor was convicted of 11 counts including terror, murder and rape – but cleared of ordering the crimes. Taylor is the first former head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremburg military tribunal of Nazis after World War II.
Reporting live for The Guardian, journalist Owen Bowcott was at the Hague. He watched Taylor as the 11 counts were read out:
Charles Taylor stood up while the judge formally found him guilty of aiding and abetting in the commission of 11 crimes. Hands clasped in front of him, he blinked as the long list of his criminal responsibility was read out. He blinked repeatedly, his eyes shifting not knowing where to look.
Taylor will be sentenced on May 30.