Ex-Liberian President and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor has received a 50-year sentence, after being found guilty earlier this year on 11 counts of aiding and abetting the Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone.
Taylor and his rebel force seized power in Liberia in 1989, igniting a civil war that would last until 2002 and result in the murder and mutilation of tens of thousands of people at the hands of the RUF. Taylor was elected president, but was then ousted by another rebel group in 2003.
Victims gathered in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, to watch a live feed of the proceedings from The Hague, and were ecstatic when the verdict was passed down. Siah Lebby, who lost a leg to the rebels, told the Associated Press, “After they have seen … what happened, all the people who want to do bad things again will be afraid.”