Agence France-Presse
Leidschendam (Netherlands), 26 September
A UN-backed appeals court today upheld Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor’s 50-year sentence for arming rebels during Sierra Leone’s brutal 1990s civil war.
“The appeals chamber… affirms the sentence of 50 years in prison and orders that the sentence be imposed immediately,” judge George King told the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).
Taylor, 65, was found guilty in 2012 of supporting rebels from neighbouring Sierra Leone who waged a campaign of terror during a civil war that claimed 120,000 lives between 1991 and 2002, in exchange for “blood diamonds” mined by slave labour.
His historic sentence on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity was the first handed down by an international court against a former head of state since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946. “The Appeals Chamber is of the opinion that the sentence imposed by the trial chamber is fair in the light of the totality of the crimes committed,” by Taylor, the Sierra Leonean judge said as Taylor listened without emotion.
Judge King said Taylor’s lawyers “failed to demonstrate any errors in the Trial Chamber’s reasoning”. The former west African strongman is to start his sentence immediately, most probably in a British jail.