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Celebrations After Charles Taylor Convicted of Sierra Leone War Crimes

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity by an international court in the Netherlands.

The court’s ruling—the first to convict a head of state since the Nuremberg Trials after World War II—aims to punish Taylor for helping rebels in Sierra Leone conduct brutal campaigns in that country. Judge Richard Lissick said Taylor, 64, provided rebels with arms, ammunition, and communication systems during Sierra Leone’s violent decade-long civil war that ended in 2002, In return for slave-mined “blood diamonds.”

Thousands celebrated the news of the conviction in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, where the international court’s proceedings have been watched closely. Taylor will likely serve time in Britain after a sentencing hearing on May 16. Rebel leaders from the country have received sentences of up to 52 years.

Video produced by Dallas Jensen.