For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed the confirmation of a 50-year sentence for former Liberia President Charles Taylor for his role in encouraging rebels in Sierra Leone to commit war crimes and planning some of the attacks during the country’s civil war.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague today rejected Taylor’s legal appeal, and affirmed his May 2012 sentence of 50 years in prison. He is the first former head of state to be jailed for war crimes since the Nazi leaders.
“The wheels of justice may sometimes turn slowly, but this case shows how crucial international human rights law is for holding the worst human rights abusers accountable,” said Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s director of international policy and partnerships, and senior advisor. “Far too many victims have suffered at the hands of these crimes, and this sentence sends a powerful signal that nobody is above law.”
PHR published a report in 2002 documenting sexual violence and other related crimes in Sierra Leone that occurred in the 1990s. The report estimated that more than 200,000 women and girls in the country had suffered such crimes. A PHR expert also conducted forensic investigations to exhume graves of victims of mass crimes for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.