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Thu, 04.26.2012

Liberia’s Charles Taylor found guilty

Charles Taylor (in court)

*On this date in 2012, an international court trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor ended.

Judges in Amsterdam at the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled Taylor played a crucial role in allowing the rebels to continue a bloody rampage during that West African nation's 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.   Sierra Leone is still struggling to rebuild. They found Taylor guilty of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for his role in arming Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined by slave laborers and smuggled across the border.

In a written submission on May 3, 2012, prosecutor Brenda Hollis said an 80-year sentence would "reflect the essential role Mr. Taylor played in crimes of such extreme scope and gravity." The court does not have the death penalty.  Taylor's conviction, the first of a former head of state since the aftermath of World War II, was seen as a landmark in international war crimes law.

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