Liberia’s Charles Taylor Faces War Crimes Tribunal

February 12, 2009

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor

Sierra Leone's nine year civil war in the 1990s displaced over one-third of the country's population. Tens of thousands were killed by rebels trying to overthrow the government. The rebels were known for their extreme brutality. They chopped off the arms or heads of their victims, and they forced children to become soldiers, or in the case of young women, sex slaves.


The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up to prosecute war crimes committed during the conflict. Liberia's former President Charles Taylor is set to take the stand in the coming months.  The court has indicted him on 17 counts of crimes against humanity for supporting the Sierra Leone rebels.


Stephen Rapp is the Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.  Before working in Sierra Leone, he was a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda investigating the Rwandan genocide. The Special Court for Sierra Leone is unique for being based in the country of conflict.


Stephen Rapp told Worldview why they decided to hold the trials in Sierra Leone.

More on the trial of Charles Taylor