Former Liberian president Charles Taylor guilty of aiding war crimes

Judges decided on Thursday (26Apr12) Taylor had been “criminally responsible” for helping rebels in Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war from 1991-2002 by selling ‘blood diamonds’ to buy weapons while knowing they would be used in the conflict.

He had pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the brutal conflict.

Judge Richard Lussick told the hearing, “The chamber finds beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is criminally responsible… for aiding and abetting the commission of the crimes one to 11 in the indictment.”

Taylor will be sentenced next month (May12).

Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified at the trial in 2010, admitting she received a pouch of uncut gems from Taylor’s guards after a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997. Prosecutors claimed the jewels were ‘blood diamonds’.

Actress-turned-activist Mia Farrow, who was in attendance at the dinner party, also took to the stand at The Hague, and contradicted Campbell’s claims she had no idea what the “dirty little stones” were, insisting the British beauty was “quite excited” by the gift.