War crimes is an ugly thing to be accused of, and it is fairly rare to see a world leader actually stand trial for them. As a matter of fact, former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor became the first leader to receive a war crime conviction since World War II. He was convicted of eleven very serious charges regarding the horrific civil war he played a part in that left 50,000 people dead in the process. The charges against Taylor were somewhat similar to some of the declarations about Joseph Kony in Uganda, a conflict that is still ongoing. Judge Richard Lussick issued a harsh sentence as Taylor stared at the floor. He elaborated on it by saying that the defendant was being found guilt of aiding some “of the most heinous and brutal crimes in human history.” The judge even recounted some of the terrible revelations that came in the testimony at the trial.
If there were a death penalty available in this situation, Taylor probably would have been in even graver danger. However, the judge sentenced him to fifty years in prison. The prosecution had requested he be sentenced to eighty years. The judge downgraded the sentence, calling eighty years “excessive.” However, the argument seems moot since Taylor is 64 years old. Either sentence will guarantee that he dies while incarcerated. Obviously, his lawyers plan to appeal.
One of the charges has become a sort of cultural phenomenon, thanks to Hollywood movies and the media. That is what is referred to as a “blood diamond” plot. Sierra Leone is well known for its diamond riches, and Taylor was charged with using this source of wealthy of fuel violence in the civil war while socking away plenty of money for himself in the meantime. Taylor ruled Liberia from 1997 to 2003. He was finally arrested in 2006 on the war crime charges. Taylor said in court that he was a peacemaker and is part of a diabolical plan to tear apart African heads of state.