29 May 2012

Liberia: Charles Taylor Gets Sentence Tomorrow

Former Liberian President, Mr. Charles Taylor who was in April, 2012 convicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court sitting in The Hague will tomorrow (Wednesday) be sentenced.

The sentencing judgment in the trial of the convicted former Liberian leader will take place on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 at 11:00 a.m. local time (9:00 a.m. GMT) in the STL courtroom in The Hague.

Mr. Taylor was convicted on April 26, 2012 on all 11 counts of an indictment alleging war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. He was convicted of planning, and of aiding and abetting, rebel forces in the commission of crimes during the decade-long conflict in Sierra Leone.

However, oral arguments on sentencing briefs took place on May16, 2012.

The chief prosecutor, Brenda Hollis, has recommended a sentence of 80 years. The defence has recommended that any sentence be less than what would effectively be a life sentence.

The judgment proceedings will be streamed online. The media and public in Sierra Leone is invited to watch the proceedings at the Special Court in Freetown beginning at 9:00 a.m. GMT.

In his earlier submission, Mr. Charles Taylor said that he was "saddened" by the guilty verdict passed on him for abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone and said his role in the conflict was much different from how it had been portrayed.

"What I did to bring peace to Sierra Leone was done with honour," Taylor said, as he addressed the international court in the Netherlands that found him guilty last month. "I pushed the peace process hard, contrary to how I have been portrayed in this court."

In a speech that lasted about 30 minutes, Taylor blamed his predicament on the United States several times and compared what he was convicted of to the abuses he said the United States committed during the Iraqi war.

Warning that other African leaders could receive similar unjust fates, Taylor said: "I never stood a chance, only time will tell how many other African heads of state will be destroyed."

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