Test for a Court as Prosecutors Face Liberia’s Ex-Ruler

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" An international panel of four judges, based in The Hague, is trying Mr. Taylor specifically for arming and controlling a brutal rebel force in Sierra Leone during the country’s 1991-2002 civil war that led to the deaths of some 200,000 people. His indictment holds him accountable for the rebels’ crimes as they pillaged, killed and raped, used children as soldiers and hacked off hands to terrorize civilians. Many others died in his home country, Liberia, but events there are not within the mandate of the court.

Much is at stake at this first war crimes trial of an African president. It is seen as a new test for trying a former head of state in an international tribunal. The case against Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian president, ended inconclusively when he died in his cell in The Hague."

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