Prosecutors at The Hague are demanding an 80 year prison sentence for former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, after his conviction last week for war crimes in Sierra Leone.
During the 1990’s, Taylor backed rebels from the country’s Revolutionary United Front, who killed tens of thousands of people, employing a strategy, say the prosecution, of ‘murders, rapes, sexual slavery, looting’ and hacking off of limbs. In return, he was given ‘blood diamonds’ collected by slaves.
After his five year trial, Taylor became the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremburg trials following World War II. He has the right to appeal against the verdict.
A former leader of the RUF, Issa Sesay, is in prison in Rwanda, serving 52 years for his part in the atrocities. (See also my blogs of 4 March, 15 July and 26 Oct, 2009.)