It is six months late but the war crimes trial of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor has finally begun in The Hague.
The list of charges against him is a litany of horrors: rape, murder, execution, mutilation. He denies it all.
In court today a Canadian expert in Sierra Leone’s “blood” diamond trade, Ian Smillie, explained how the resource funded rebels fighting an 11-year civil war there, and in neighbouring Liberia.
In a film shown to the court, one diamond miner explained how his hands had been cut off by laughing rebels before they burned his wife and children to death.
Charles Taylor was arrested in Nigeria in March 2006. He was put on a plane bound for Liberia but then handed to the UN in Sierra Leone, who transferred him to face court proceedings in The Hague.
He refused to attend the start of his trial last June insisting he needed legal aid for his defence.
The court will hear witness testimonies for the next eight months before giving its verdict sometime next year.