The Hague, May 4 2012 (FH) – Prosecution at the Special court for Sierra Leone Thursday requested an 80-year sentence for former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who was convicted on April 26 for war crimes committed between 1996 and 2002, including aiding and abetting murder and rape on a mass scale.

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In her signed statement to the SCSL, prosecutor Brenda Hollis argued that: "Taylor was not a simple weapons procurer or financier who sat on the sidelines of a civil war raging in a neighbouring country (…) The [court's] findings reveal the reality of Taylor's role in the peace process, noting that 'while the accused publicly played a substantial role in the Sierra Leone peace process secretly he was fuelling hostilities between the AFRC/RUF and the democratically elected authorities in Sierra Leone, by urging the former not to disarm and actively providing them with arms and ammunition … acting as a two-headed Janus'.

"The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included public executions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitated heads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of a civilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road to make a check point, public rapes of women and girls, and people burned alive in their homes," she wrote.

“The brutality and impact on the victims should be reflected in M. Taylor sentence” she concluded, then requesting “a prison term of no less than 80 years. No significant mitigating circumstances exist in this case."

A hearing session has been set for May 16, 2012 and pronouncement of the punishment will be on May 30th.

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