It was one of the heaviest prison sentences ever imposed for warcrimes. Many analysts had been expecting a lighter sentence, butpresiding judge Richard Lussick said the 50-year term was areflection of Mr. Taylor s horrific crimes in a position of highauthority. The former warlord and president is the first ex-head of state tobe convicted by an international war crimes tribunal since theSecond World War. He was convicted of providing weapons andsupplies to help rebels to murder, rape and mutilate tens ofthousands of people in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002, using theproceeds of illicit blood diamonds to fuel his crimes.
Judge Lussick made it clear that the court was entering unchartedterritory, setting a legal precedent by harshly sentencing apolitical leader who had never directly perpetrated the crimes forwhich he was convicted. The 50-year sentence will be a dramatic warning to other worldleaders: they can be sentenced to decades in prison even if theirhands never touch a victim. He was found responsible for aiding and abetting some of the mostheinous and brutal crimes in recorded history, Judge Lussick saidin his reading of the sentencing today in The Hague at the SpecialCourt for Sierra Leone. While Mr.
Taylor never set foot in Sierra Leone, his heavyfootprint is there . The lives of many innocent civilians inSierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of hisactions. Normally an accessory to a crime would receive a lighter sentencethan the direct perpetrators but that principle doesn t applyin such an unprecedented case, Judge Lussick said. As we enter a new era of accountability, there are no truecomparators to which the trial chamber can look for precedent indetermining an appropriate sentence in this case. DVB-T2 Digital Receiver
However, thetrial chamber wishes to underscore the gravity it attaches to Mr.Taylor s betrayal of public trust. The court quoted Mr. Taylor s own boasts to justify its heavysentence against him. I was president of Liberia — I was notsome petty trader on the streets of Monrovia, he had told thecourt. DVB-T S2 Receiver
Prosecutors had asked for an 80-year prison sentence for Mr. Taylorfor arming and supplying rebels who committed gruesome crimes. The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included publicexecutions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitatedheads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of acivilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road tomake a checkpoint, public rapes of women and girls, and peopleburned alive in their homes, the prosecution said. The defence had sought leniency for Mr. Taylor because of his ageand his expressions of sympathy to the victims. DVB-S2 Set Top Box
It argued that theformer president should not be the scapegoat for a decade of war. Mr. Taylor, ordered to rise to his feet for the sentencing today,showed not a flicker of reaction to the 50-year term. He has neveradmitted any wrongdoing or expressed any remorse for theatrocities.
His supporters have already said that he will appeal the guiltyverdict. He will serve the jail term in a British prison. Including the six years he has already spent in custody, the64-year-old former president will be imprisoned until the age of108, which is almost certainly a life sentence, although thetribunal is not permitted to impose life terms. The 50-year sentence will be controversial in Liberia, where Mr.Taylor still enjoys strong support from many sections of society.But it was welcomed in Sierra Leone.
Some kind of justice hasbeen done, a Sierra Leone government spokesman said today. Global Witness, an advocacy group that has campaigned against blooddiamonds, welcomed the 50-year prison sentence but called forsimilar justice for Mr. Taylor s victims in Liberia. Today s sentence not only reflects the severity of Taylor scrimes but sends a clear message that individuals who aid and abetwar crimes can no longer act with impunity, said Patrick Alley,founder director of Global Witness. Unlike in Sierra Leone, no court has been established to holdaccountable those who perpetuated Liberia s bloody conflict, Mr.Alley said in a statement.
A quarter of a million people died inLiberia s equally brutal civil wars, and yet many of those whocommitted these crimes, including companies and individuals thathelped Taylor exploit the region s resources to fund war, continueto live freely. More related to this story 80-year recommendation for ex-Liberian president ‘excessive,’lawyers argue Joy in Sierra Leone, mixed feelings in Liberia after Taylorsentencing Liberia proves the power of prayer Video: Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years Ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years inprison Stakes have been raised for arms suppliers.