Former Liberian President Charles Taylor jailed for 50 years

2012-05-30 Vatican Radio

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was jailed for 50 years today for helping rebels in Sierra Leone commit what the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague called some of the worst war crimes in history. In an 11-year war that ended in 2002, Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels murdered, raped and mutilated their way across Liberia's West African neighbour. They were aided by Taylor as he profited from a trade in so-called blood diamonds. Taylor was the first head of state convicted by an international court since the Nazi trials after World War Two.

“I believe in the justice system of the International Court,” said Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. “I do believe, even though some Africans think its [concentrating] more on Africans than on other countries.”

“The backbone of impunity has been broken. Nobody can escape. If you do bad, then you will be caught in the end, and brought to the Court and you will be tried like Charles Taylor, and if you are found guilty, you will be condemned,” he told Vatican Radio.

“I am sure those who have been indicted will get the message, and those who are committing atrocities in other parts of Africa will see the writing on the wall and begin to act accordingly,” he said.