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Liberian Ex-ruler Found Guilty of War Crimes

RIA Novosti

16:36 26/04/2012

MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Special Court for Sierra Leone found former Liberian President Charles Taylor guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-2002 military conflict in the region, BBC reported on Thursday.

Taylor, who fought as a warlord in the Liberian civil war in the early 1990s before becoming president, was facing 11 charges, including mass murder, rape, mutilation, and recruiting child soldiers. Taylor pleaded not guilty to all charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Taylor's sentencing date will be announced later.

The former African leader, who was deposed in 2003 under a peace deal ending the conflict, is also implicated in the killing of up to 200,000 civilians in Sierra Leone, notably through his support for a campaign of terror unleashed by a brutal local guerilla group, the Revolutionary United Front.

Taylor fled to Nigeria after being ousted, but was arrested on an international warrant and deported to Sierra Leone in March 2006. He has been held at a detention center in The Hague since June 2006.

His trial began in 2007 and was completed in March 2011. The prosecution called a total of 115 witnesses in that time. The identities of many witnesses will not be revealed over fears of possible life threats against them from Taylor's accomplices and supporters.

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