Prosecutors demand 80 years for TaylorBy KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Friday, May 4 2012 at 10:15
Prosecutors at the UN-backed Special for Sierra Leone are seeking an 80-year jail term for former Liberian President and war crimes convict Charles Taylor.
Taylor was convicted last week, after a six-year trial at The Hague.
He was found guilty on all 11 counts charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
He was accused of backing the feared Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels headed by Foday Sankoh.
Ahead of the sentencing hearing slated for May 16, which would be followed by the sentencing judgement on May 30, a written brief by the prosecution revealed that they wanted the court to give the former warlord-turned president a lengthy jail term for the "extreme magnitude" of his crimes.
The prosecution, in their sentencing brief, accused Taylor of planning "the bloodiest chapter in Sierra Leone's war - the Freetown invasion", and that he was instrumental in supporting the RUF rebels in their strategy of murders, rapes, sexual slavery, looting, and conscription of child soldiers. These were all captured in the judges' landmark ruling.
But last week`s verdict had been received with mixed reaction here in Sierra Leone, where some believe the former Liberian President had escaped lightly for he was only found wanting for aiding, but not for command and control or joint criminal enterprise.
However, the prosecution said an 80-year term would reflect the severity of his crimes.
"The recommended sentence is appropriate to reflect the essential role that Taylor played in crimes of such extreme scope and gravity," the document, reportedly signed by the Special Court for Sierra Leone's chief prosecutor Brenda Hollis, said.
"Should the trial chamber decide to impose a global sentence, 80 years imprisonment would be appropriate."
Sources at the Special Court said Taylor's Defence team had since indicated its intention to appeal his guilty verdict, but it is believed that his lead defence attorney, Mr Courtney Griffith, may not be at the forefront this time round.
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