Taylor Begins Jail Sentence May 30
Former President Charles Taylor is expected to begin his jail sentence tomorrow exactly 34-days after he was convicted by the UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone on aiding and abetting that country’s rebels.
Though prosecutors have recommended a sentence of 80 years, while the defense team requests a minimum sentence less than a life sentence, the exact jail terms is yet unknown.
But the judges of the court are expected to hand down a ruling on the matter just minutes before he is finally send to serve his prison terms in Britain on Wednesday.
The sentencing judgment will start at 11:00 a.m. local time (9:00 a.m. GMT) in The Hague. Taylor is the first former head of state to be sentenced by a war crime court since the Nuremberg trial in 1946.
He was convicted on 26 April 2012 on all 11 counts of an indictment alleging war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.
He was convicted of planning and of aiding and abetting, rebel forces in the commission of crimes during the decade-long conflict in Sierra Leone.
Oral arguments on sentencing briefs took place on 16 May 2012. Chief Prosecutor Brenda Hollis had argued during the sentencing hearing early this month that 80-year prison sentence for Taylor was justified for the crimes he was convicted of.
"The gravity of the crimes is the litmus test" on how they should determine a sentence, Hollis told judges during the sentencing hearing. The gravity of the crimes is the litmus test" on how they should determine a sentence, Hollis told judges two weeks ago as she presented arguments ahead of the sentencing.
But Taylor's lawyer Courtenay Griffiths told the court that the 80 years sought for by the prosecution in effect amounted to a life sentence.
"To sentence a 64-year-old man to 80 years is a guarantee that he will die in prison," Griffiths said at the same May 16 hearing. He argued that Taylor, as president was instrumental in efforts to bring an end to Sierra Leone's war.