The Special Court for Sierra Leone found former Liberian President Charles Taylor guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The warlord was judged by the special court since June 2007 for his involvement in Sierra Leone’s bloody 11 year civil war.
The court found him guilty of 11 counts, including, besides war crimes and crimes against humanity, other serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as pillage, murder, rape and the use of child soldiers in an armed conflict. He will be sentenced on May 30.
Charles Taylor, a rebel in the early 90s, was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. He was suspected of having ignited and nurtured the civil war in Sierra Leone to control the country’s diamond resources. The war that lasted from 1991 to 2001 cost more than 100000 lives.
Charles Taylor was arrested in 2006 in Nigeria while he was trying to escape to Cameroon. The NGOs working in the field of human rights deem Taylor’s indictment a victory for human rights. Other warlords like the Congolese Jean Pierre Bemba are standing trial for similar charges.
Through such trials and indictments, international bodies are sending a warning to all warlords across the world, who think that they can escape justice, that sooner or later they will pay for their crimes.