Accountability in West Africa: Charles Taylor on Trial at The Hague

Accountability in West Africa: Charles Taylor on Trial at The Hague

LONDON -- "He killed my ma. He killed my pa. I will vote for him." With those words chanted in the ruined streets of impoverished, war-torn Liberia, Charles Ghankay Taylor was swept into office in 1997, capping a bloody eight-year campaign that began with the savage ouster of dictator Samuel Doe.

Meanwhile, in next-door Sierra Leone, one of the most brutal wars in modern history raged, fought by drug-addled youngsters and characterized by savage rapes and the hacking off of limbs that left thousands of people without arms or legs, lips or noses.

It is for the crimes he is alleged to have perpetrated on Sierra Leone that Charles Taylor, once Africa's most feared and still the continent's most notorious warlord, stands trial in The Hague in a case that began this week at the International Criminal Court.

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