Taylor's Request for War Crimes Acquittal Rejected





Judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled Monday against a defense request to acquit former Liberian President Charles Taylor on war crimes' charges.

Taylor, 61, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts involving murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during the intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in which more than 250,000 people were killed.

Defense lawyers said in April he should be acquitted because there was no evidence he planned or instigated atrocities in Sierra Leone. Prosecutors say he directed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in a campaign of terror against civilians.

Prosecutors say he sought to control Sierra Leone's diamond mines and destabilize its government to boost his regional influence.






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