Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is spending his first day in jail in The Hague awaiting the start of his trial on war crimes charges. Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for backing Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front rebels. The Front sent drugged child soldiers into battle and killed, mutilated and raped civilians during the West African country’s 1990s civil war. Taylor was flown to the Hague from the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in Freetown after fears that his trial might spark unrest in Sierra Leone or Liberia.Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is hoping the trial will help heal wounds from the conflict.
“We hope that it will help us put the past behind us. We are looking forward. We are concentrating on the three million Liberians who need our help. The past, Thank God, will help us overcome it.” Years of civil war in Liberia finally came to an end after Taylor agreed to go into exile in Nigeria in 2003. He was caught trying to leave Nigeria earlier this year and was sent to the special court for Sierra Leone to be charged.