April 26 - Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor is convicted of war crimes by a U.N.-backed court in the Hague. Simon Hann reports.
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor stands to hear the verdict in his trial for war crimes in Sierra Leone. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDING JUDGE RICHARD LUSSICK: "The trial chamber unanimously finds you guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of the following crimes" The United Nations backed court in the Hague charged 64 year old Taylor with 11 counts of murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery. The crimes took place during the 11 year civil war in Sierra Leone, during which more than 50,000 people were killed. The court took more than two hours to read out the charges, evidence, and final ruling, during which the graphic nature of the crimes were made clear. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDING JUDGE RICHARD LUSSICK: "A civilian was killed in full public view and then his body was disembowelled and his intestines stretched across the road to make a checkpoint. Women and girls were raped in public; people were burned alive in their homes." Taylor denied the charges, insisting he tried to bring peace to the region and arguing his trial was politically motivated. He becomes the first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes. Simon Hanna, Reuters.