FORMER LIBERIAN LEADER Charles Taylor has been jailed for 50 years by judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
It follows his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country’s brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds.
Earlier this month prosecutors called for an 80 year sentence after Taylor’s conviction for war crimes on 11 counts, including aiding and abetting murder and rape on a mass scale.
Presiding Judge Richard Lussick says the crimes Taylor was convicted of were of the “utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality.”
The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.
The BBC reports that Taylor is likely to appeal his sentence in a process that could last up to six months.
Taylor fled into exile in Nigeria after being indicted by the court in 2003 and wasn’t arrested for three years. And while the Sierra Leone court is based in that country’s capital, Taylor’s trial was staged in The Hague, Netherlands for fear it could destabilize the region.