Five years ago the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands started assembling a case against former Liberian leader Charles Taylor. The case stemmed from Taylor’s role in Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war. Taylor was convicted on eleven counts including murder, rape, and sexual slavery earlier today. In addition to these horrendous crimes he has been accused of seeking out child soldiers and forcing them to commit these atrocities. The trial which had significance in many ways was followed by the international community mainly because it was the first war crimes conviction of a former head of state by the international court since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after World War II. Taylor’s sentencing hearing is set for May 16th, but we can be sure to expect appeals from his team. If everything goes accordingly he would serve out his sentence in a British court for no death penalty has been established in international criminal law.
Taylor has long been accused of financing the war with money from “Blood Diamonds” and giving orders to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. It has been said they killed over 50,000 people, along with chopping off the arms of thousands of civilians. Charles Taylor was president of Liberia for six years; he was forced out in 2003 and was attained while trying to enter into chad, another African nation. His rise to power began when he overthrew the regime of Samuel Doe in 1989, the entire incident was caught on tape and began circulating on you tube three years ago. After Doe was killed Liberia went into a bloody civil war that lasted 14 years and took the lives of 200,000 people. Many may doubt the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but one thing is for sure they have won a victory today! The court now has two other African presidents on its radar; they too will soon face crimes against humanity at The Hague, Sudan’s Omar El Bashir and Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo. Just maybe Justice delayed is not Justice denied after all!