Liberia’s ex-President Charles Taylor is due to begin his appeal against his 50-year prison sentence for causing a civil war in the West African nation .
The Prosecutors and lawyers defending Charles Taylor at Sierra Leone’s UN-backed special court are to question and listen to arguments both from prosecutors demanding a heavier sentence and from the former strongman’s lawyers calling for his sentence to be quashed or reduced.
His lawyers have filed 42 grounds of appeal, arguing that the trial chamber’s findings were based on “uncorroborated hearsay evidence”.
“The colossal judgment, over 2,500 pages in length, is plagued throughout by internal inconsistencies, misstatements of evidence and conflicting findings,” his lawyer Morris Anyah said in court papers quoted by the AFP news agency.
Prosecutors are expected also to argue that the court made a mistake by only convicting Taylor of aiding and abetting the RUF and its allies, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
“The Trial Chamber erred in law and in fact by failing to convict Mr Taylor for ordering crimes committed by RUF/AFRC forces who were implementing his instructions,” the prosecution said in court papers.
Taylor started Liberia’s civil war as a warlord in 1989, and was elected president in 1997. He governed for six years before being forced into exile in southern Nigeria. He was arrested in 2006 while trying to flee Nigeria.
In May 2012 he was sentenced to 50 years in prison .