Friday, September 27, 2013
50-Year Sentence for Charles Taylor for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity; First Former Head of State Convicted by an International Tribunal for War Crimes Since Nuremberg
The Prosecutor of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) welcomed the court’s decision this week to uphold the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr. Taylor was convicted in April 2012 on 11 counts for crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war and subsequently sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Prosecutor Brenda J. Hollis today welcomed the judgment of the Court’s Appeals Chamber upholding the convictions and sentencing of Mr. Taylor, the first former head of State to be convicted for war crimes by an international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg in 1946. “This final decision affirms Mr. Taylor’s criminal responsibility for grave crimes which caused untold suffering to many thousands, if not tens of thousands, of victims in Sierra Leone,” she stated in a news release. “Today’s judgment brings some measure of justice to those victims who suffered so horribly because of Charles Taylor.”
The SCSL is an independent tribunal set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the country since 30 November 1996. The Court will close its doors before the end of 2013, and will be immediately replaced by the Residual Special Court. A primary function of the Residual Special Court will be the continued protection and support of Special Court witnesses and individuals at risk on account of testimony.
(mew) (adapted from a UN press release)