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  1. #1
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    Sierra Leone - Ex-rebel denies giving Charles Taylor diamonds

    Ex-rebel denies giving Charles Taylor diamonds


    A Sierra Leone ex-rebel has denied at a war crimes trial giving "blood diamonds" to former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

    Issa Sesay, who is serving a 52-year jail term, said Mr Taylor had not been in charge of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group during the war.

    Mr Taylor is accused of using diamonds to fuel a conflict in Sierra Leone that cost tens of thousands of lives.

    He has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges.

    The UN-backed war crimes tribunal in The Hague has spent more than two years hearing the case, with seven months spent with Mr Taylor himself on the stand.

    Sesay, 40, was sentenced in October 2009 by the same special court, which was set up to try suspects from the civil war.

    Murders and rapes Mr Taylor, 62, is suspected of selling diamonds and buying weapons for Sierra Leone's RUF rebels, who were notorious for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during the 1991-2001 civil war.


    CHARLES TAYLOR
    • 1997: Elected Liberian president
    • 2003: Arrest warrant issued, steps down, goes into exile in Nigeria
    • 2006: Arrested, sent to Sierra Leone
    • 2007: Trial opens in The Hague
    Profile: Charles Taylor Q&A: Trying Charles Taylor

    Tens of thousands of people died in the interlinked conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    Sesay, the highest profile witness to testify for Mr Taylor's defence, said he had never given Mr Taylor gems and that, as far as he knew, neither had other leaders.

    "No, I don't remember giving diamonds to Mr Charles Taylor," he told the court.

    He also denied receiving weapons or ammunition from Mr Taylor, and said the first time he met him was in May 2000.

    Sesay did acknowledge that some rebel commanders had been responsible for murders and rapes during the conflict, and said that the amputation of limbs had occurred.

    But it had not been the policy of the rebel group to use such actions, he said.

    Prosecutors have ordered supermodel Naomi Campbell to appear as a witness on 29 July, after claims that she received a diamond from Mr Taylor at a reception in South Africa in 1997.

    Ms Campbell has previously declined to provide testimony.

    In an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show, she neither confirmed nor denied that she received the gem, instead saying: "I don't want to be involved in this man's case. He has done some terrible things, and I don't want to put my family in danger."

    US actress Mia Farrow, who Ms Campbell allegedly told about the gift, may also testify.


  2. #2
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    Visited Sierra Leone for a holiday before the civil war there. Beautiful country - but the people are desperate to the point that the concept of civilized values or behavior is totally alien to them. They would, literally, cut of your arm - if it gave them so much as a cigarette and they thought they could get away with it. In short - a total shit-hole, best avoided.

  3. #3
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    Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years for supporting rebels in Sierra Leon
    May 30, 2012


    Former Liberian President Charles Taylor waits for the start of his sentencing judgement in the courtroom of the Special Court for Sierra Leone(SCSL) in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands, May 30, 2012.

    (AP/Pool)


    LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands - Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country's brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds.

    The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a bloody rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

    Presiding Judge Richard Lussick says the crimes Taylor was convicted of were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."

    The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.

    cbsnews.com

  4. #4
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    The rest of his life in a fucking holiday camp, not much of a punishment really.

  5. #5
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    Charles Taylor war crimes convictions upheld




    Judge George King said Taylor fuelled a conflict that became "a threat to international peace and security"



    A UN-backed special court in The Hague has rejected an appeal against war crimes convictions by lawyers representing former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

    It ruled that his convictions had been proved beyond doubt.

    Taylor appeared impassive in court as the judge upheld his convictions and 50-year sentence.

    He was sentenced in May 2012 for aiding rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war.

    His lawyers had argued that there were legal errors during his trial.


    Analysis

    Chris Morris BBC News, The Hague

    Charles Taylor listened intently in court, as his appeal against his conviction for war crimes was rejected point by point. Dressed in a dark suit and light yellow tie, he began taking notes in the back of a small desk diary.

    But he wrote less as it became clear that his appeal was going to be unsuccessful. At one stage, there was a small shake of the head as the chief judge outlined the wide range of Mr Taylor's support for rebel groups in Sierra Leone.

    He stood to hear a summary of the appeal decision, his hands resting on the desk below him. But there was no other visible display of emotion, even when the judge listed some of the horrific crimes for which he has been convicted, crimes that had 'shocked the conscience of mankind'.

    Charles Taylor has no further grounds for appeal before this court, and he was given no opportunity to speak. He will serve his sentence in a foreign country, possibly the UK. Sweden and Rwanda have also offered to find a cell to house him.


    Taylor, 65, was found to have supplied weapons to the Revolutionary United Front rebels in exchange for a constant flow of so-called blood diamonds.

    He was found guilty at his trial of 11 crimes including terrorism, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the vicious civil war of 1991-2002.

    Judge Richard Lussick said at his trial that they were "some of the most heinous crimes in human history".

    Taylor has always insisted he is innocent and his only contact with the rebels was to urge them to stop fighting.

    He became the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.

    "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) on Thursday.


    'Campaign of terror'

    The BBC's Chris Morris in The Hague says the court's decision has been closely watched because the guilty verdict was hailed as a landmark, proving that even people at the highest level of power can be held to account.

    Taylor timeline



    • 1989: Launches rebellion in Liberia
    • 1991: RUF rebellion starts in Sierra Leone
    • 1997: Elected president after a 1995 peace deal
    • 1999: Liberia's Lurd rebels start an insurrection to oust Mr Taylor
    • June 2003: Arrest warrant issued; two months later he steps down and goes into exile to Nigeria

    • March 2006: Arrested after a failed escape bid and sent to Sierra Leone
    • June 2007: His trial opens - hosted in The Hague for security reasons
    • April 2012: Convicted of aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes
    • May 2012: Sentenced to 50 years in jail
    • September 2013: Conviction and sentence upheld by the SCSL

    In its ruling, the special court said that Mr Taylor's personal conduct had a "significant effect on the commission of crimes in Sierra Leone".

    It said that he unleashed a campaign of terror against the Sierra Leonean opposition "using terror as its modus operandi".

    "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," Judge King said.

    He said that Taylor's lawyers had "failed to demonstrate any errors in the trial chamber's reasoning."

    Correspondents say that Taylor is now expected immediately to serve his sentence in a foreign jail. The UK has offered to accept him at a British prison - other possible destinations include Sweden or Rwanda.

    It is likely to take about a week to organise his transfer from The Hague.

    Human rights groups have welcomed the outcome of the appeal.

    In a statement Amnesty International said that it sent a clear message to leaders across the world that no-one is immune from justice.

    "The conviction of those responsible for crimes committed during Sierra Leone's conflict has brought some measure of justice for the tens of thousands of victims," said Stephanie Barbour, head of Amnesty's Centre for International Justice in The Hague.

    "The conviction of Charles Taylor must pave the way for further prosecutions."


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24279323

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