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Monday, January 7, 2008

Charles Taylor's War Crime Trial Begins

From NYTimes.com: The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, Liberia's former president, heard its first testimony Monday and saw video of victims telling of being sexually assaulted or dismembered by rebels who plundered West African diamond fields.

The trial before the international tribunal in this Dutch city resumed following a six-month break, having been adjourned in June after Taylor boycotted proceedings and fired his lawyer.

Back in court, Taylor looked confident and blew a kiss to supporters in the gallery as his new lawyers challenged the prosecution to prove that he was behind the widespread murder, rape and amputations during Sierra Leone's civil war.

Prosecutors allege the so-called ''blood diamonds'' mined in Sierra Leone were smuggled through neighboring Liberia and that Taylor used the profits to arm the rebels. Taylor, 59, is accused of orchestrating the violence from his presidential palace in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. He has pleaded innocent to all 11 charges.

He is the first former African head of state to face an international tribunal.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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