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Charles Taylor is Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison

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The International Criminal Court t in The Hague  has found former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding and abetting   as well as planning Sierra Leone’s barbaric  civil war in which  the most heinous crimes  in recent human history were committed.

The  presiding judge  of the ICC, Richard Lussick said when handing down the ruling of the court  in a prepared statement  that the former Liberian President   “lengthy prison term underscored his position at the top of government during that period. “Leadership must be carried out by example by the prosecution of crimes, not the commission of crimes.”

Prosecutors had fought for a longer sentence of 80 years but the court’s ruling means  the 64-year-old former warlord will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Taylor legal team announce that they will  immediately file an appeal. “The sentence is clearly excessive, clearly disproportionate to his circumstances, his age and his health and does not take into account the fact that he stepped down from office voluntarily,”  Morris Anya disclosed, one of the lawyers representing the former Liberian leader.

The prosecution also announced it too was considering its own appeal, both to lengthen the sentence and to broaden the responsibility attributed to Mr. Taylor for crimes committed under his leadership.

At a news conference after the hearing, Salamba Silla who works with victims groups in Sierra Leone pleaded for more help for former child soldiers, orphans and other victims of the country’s war. “You can see hundreds of them begging on the streets of Freetown,” she said. “Many who suffered horrendously need help to return to the provinces, they think they cannot survive there.”

The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Mr. Taylor was found guilty in April on 11counts war crimes and violation of international humanitarian law  for his role  commenting barbaric and despicable crimes including recruiting child soldiers, mutilation of civilians selling of diamond to pay for guns and ammunition.

“Mr. Taylor was motivated in these gruesome actions not by any ideology but rather by “pure avarice” and a thirst for power, the prosecution said.

The tribunal began in Sierra Leone and is still formally based there, but out of concern that holding hearings in West Africa would cause unrest among those who still support Mr. Taylor, it was moved to the town of Leidschendam outside of The Hague.

Eight other leading members of different forces and rebel groups have already been sentenced by the tribunal. Mr. Taylor is the special court’s last defendant. His trial began in 2006 and since then, 115 witnesses have given testimony.

Mr. Taylor himself spent seven months in the witness chair during which time he said that he would “never, ever” have permitted atrocities.

Mr. Taylor did not speak at the sentencing on Wednesday, but in a hearing earlier this month he offered his sympathy – but not an apology – to the victims and their families for a gruesome conflict that left an estimated 50,000 dead. “I express my sadness and sympathy for crimes suffered by individuals and families in Sierra Leone,” Mr. Taylor said during a roughly 30-minute address to the court.

But he also defended himself and seemed to explain his actions in the context of a desire for regional stability. “What I did was done with honor,” he said. “I was convinced that unless there was peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia would not be able to move forward.”

Mr. Taylor is the first president to be found guilty of war crime and international  crimes against humanity since world war II.

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  2. Liberia national vision 20/30

    It is very important for all nations to have a national vision that is government lead in any case, but let it also be understood that a national vision can only succeed if the citizens of that nation including all of the inhabitants from across all its counties, cities, districts, towns and villages that makeup that nation are willing without any national issue and grievance against the ruling government of that nation before such a vision will have an impact and benefit the citizens of that nation.

    In the case of Liberia and President Sirleaf’s government “Vision 2030”, it lacks what it takes to achieve a vision .
    This Government had the first six years of power, it came and gone without anything to show for. Do they need a vision for ‘stop sign’ or traffic light to be put in the streets of Liberia? Do they need vision to put side walk in Monrovia? Do they need vision to repair the Executive Mansion of Liberia? Do they need a vision to know that the Ministry of Foreign affairs is not the office of the president? Do they need a vision to take care of the war victims?

    If this government cannot solve some of the above listed concerns of the country within six years and a half with all of the international support, how do we jump to the discussion of vision for some of the big challenges? Such basic things like good roads, water, sanitations, electricity, schools, hospitals, bridges, transportations, housing, policing our boarders and reaching out to the victims of the civil war which still remains a human right issue among other things.

    Now, here we are again as a nation calling for vision 2030, when we suppose to be asking ourselves as a nation why did former warlords and President of Liberia (Charles Taylor) national vision 2024 did not work. In other words, any ruling government of Liberia composing of warlords or key players of the Liberian civil war that left more than 250,000 people dead cannot call for a national vision.
    How can we call for national visions for Liberia when the rest of our people are still grieving and waiting for justice for the lost of their families and love ones? Do they need visions to know that other Liberians that they hurt are still going to bed hungry?
    We understand there are still some people that are not connected to today reality or downplaying the ideas of justice for the victims of the war fought in Liberia.

    The crimes and atrocities that were committed and the lost of lives in Liberia as a result of the civil war, are far greater than other crimes that were committed in other West African countries (sierra lone and Ivory Coast) and those countries are now seeing justice. Do we need visions to stop rewarding warlords in our country or vision to bring them to justice for what they did to all of us?

    If there should be any vision for Liberia, it will be a vision that will include bringing justice to the victims if we are to move our country forward and it must start with bring justice to the victims of the war and all warlords and those who aided and abetted war crime and the violation International Humanitarian law, including President Sirleaf be brought to justice.

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  3. Liberia national vision 20/30
    It is very important for all nations to have a national vision that is government lead in any case, but let it also be understood that a national vision can only succeed if the citizens of that nation including all of the inhabitants from across all its counties, cities, districts, towns and villages that makes up that nation, are willing without any national issue and grievance against the ruling government of that nation, before such a vision will have a impact and benefit the citizens of that nation. In this case this Government lack what its take to achieve vision 20/30.
    This Government had the first six years of power gone and now it is vision time, do they need a vision for stop sign or traffic light to be put on the streets of Liberia, do they need vision to put side walk in Monrovia, do they need vision to repair the executive mansion of Liberia, do they need vision to know that foreign affairs is not the office of the president, do they need vision to take care of the war victims, this is just to name a few vision they are looking for.
    Now, here we are again as a nation calling for vision 20/30, when we supposed to be asking ourselves as a nation why did former warlord and president of Liberia (Charles Taylor) national vision 20/24 did not work. In other words, any ruling government of Liberia composing of warlords or key players of the Liberian civil war that left more than 250,000 people dead cannot call for national vision.
    We understand there are still some people that are not connected to today reality or downplaying the ideas of justice for the victims, of the civil war fought in Liberia. The crimes and atrocities that were committed and the lost of life in Liberia as a result of the civil war, are far greater than other crimes that were committed in other West African countries (sierra lone and Ivory Coast) , that are now seeing justice. Do we need vision to stop rewarding warlord in our country or vision to bring them to justice.

    Like

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