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The Hague - Appeals judges upheld the conviction of former Liberian president Charles Taylor on Thursday, reaffirming the 50-year prison sentence he was given last year for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's civil war.
Presiding judge George Gelaga King said Taylor had provided advice and encouragement to Revolutionary United Front and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council rebels, knowing full well the kinds of crimes they were committing.
“Their primary purpose was to spread terror. Brutal violence was purposely unleashed against civilians with the purpose of making them afraid, afraid that there would be more violence if they continued to resist,” he said.
“Governments and the international community were also afraid that unless the RUF's and the AFRC's demands were met, thousands more killings, mutilations, abductions and rapes of civilians would follow.”
Taylor, 65, sat impassively throughout the reading of the judgement, rising at the end to hear his sentence. He was to be transferred from the seaside detention centre that has been his home since 2006 to a British maximum security prison.
Judges last year convicted him on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding and abetting the rebels who murdered, raped and pillaged their way through neighbouring Sierra Leone during an 11-year civil war which cost about 50 000 lives until 2002. - Reuters