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Verdict due in trial of former Liberian president

Verdict due in trial of former Liberian president
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A UN war crimes court is expected to deliver its verdict today, in the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

He is facing 11 charges over his alleged role in a brutal civil war, in neighbouring Sierra Leone. The charges include murder and rape.

British supermodel Naomi Campbell has testified during the trial. Prosecutors claim Taylor gave her a large, rough cut diamond in 1997.

Actress Mia Farrow also gave evidence about the alleged gift.
Taylor is accused of running a “blood diamond” trade and buying weapons for rebels in Sierra Leone.

He is also facing allegations of conscripting child soldiers.

“If the trial chamber acquitted Mr. Taylor that would show that even the highest level leaders who are accused of these crimes will receive a fair trial before independent and impartial judges,” said Brenda Hollis, Chief Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Taylor is the first African leader to go before an international tribunal.

The outcome of the case, being held in the Netherlands, will be closely watched for legal precedents – particularly in the area of child soldiers.

If Taylor is convicted, he is likely to serve his sentence in Britain.

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