Charles Taylor Convicted

Former Liberian president, Charles Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone at a special hearing in The Hague yesterday.

In the news

Charles Taylor Convicted

The former Liberian president Charles Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone at a special hearing in The Hague last Thursday. The court heard that Mr Taylor trained and armed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the rebel army which terrorised citizens of Sierra Leone between 1991 and 2002. The civil war was characterised by the horrific use of child soldiers and weapons being traded for blood diamonds. Much of Sierra Leone still suffers from extreme poverty and high unemployment rates a decade on.

The verdict comes at the end of an extensive 5 year trial, during which time Taylor testified for 81 hours, with 115 other witnesses also giving evidence. The trial is the most significant humanitarian case since the 1940s: the first time a previous head of state has faced verdict from an international court since Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz at the Nuremberg trials. It is hoped the verdict will show state leaders that they are not immune from conviction. Taylor is likely to face sentencing on May 16 and will likely spend the rest of his life in a British jail.

Related resources

Sierra Leone

  • Look at the history of Sierra Leone since its independence in 1961 - a pictorial introduction to the geography, culture and conflict.

Beauty or bloody?

  • Explore the effect of the blood diamond trade on the country’s citizens in this study pack from Kidogo.

Playing with guns

  • Study the story of Ishmeal Beah, a former child soldier who had his childhood stolen away when he was forced into a child army. A case study from Amnesty International.

The lost boys

  • Explore how children become soldiers with this lesson plan from British Red Cross.

Further news resources

First News front page

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Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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First News

First News Weekly News Bulletin, in association with Sky News, is a three minute round-up of the news every week - available every Wednesday. For previous weeks' bulletins, go to our First News website: