27 Apr 2012

Taylor found guilty

7:59 am on 27 April 2012

A special court in The Hague has found former president Charles Taylor of Liberia guilty of murder, rape, terrorism and aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.

Taylor, 64, has been on trial in The Hague at the Special Court for Sierra Leone for almost five years.

He was accused of backing rebels in a civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991-2002.

Taylor was convicted on 11 charges including terror, murder and rape - but cleared of ordering the crimes.

He is the first former head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremburg military tribunal of Nazis after World War II.

Judge Richard Lussick said Taylor had been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The accused sold diamonds and bought weapons on behalf of the Revolutionary United Front - and knew the rebels were committing crimes.

But Judge Lussick added that this support fell short of effective command and control over the rebels.

''The trial chamber finds the accused cannot be held responsible for ordering the crimes,'' he said.

Taylor was elected president of Liberia in 1997 following a peace deal which ended a civil war, in which he was a rebel leader. He governed for six years before being forced into exile in Nigeria following a second conflict.

Taylor was arrested in 2006, repatriated to Liberia and eventually sent to The Hague to be tried.

He will be sentenced at the end of May.