AROUND AFRICA: Charles Taylor Sentenced, Private Anti-Pirate Patrols
An international court has sentenced former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison for orchestrating atrocities during the horrific civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Taylor, the 64-year-old former president of Liberia, was convicted April 27 of aiding, abetting and planning “some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history,” according the presiding judge at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
It is the first time a head of state has been convicted and sentenced on such charges since the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II, the New York Times reported.
During the 10-year Sierra Leone civil war thousands of people were killed, raped, mutilated or kidnapped and forced to be soldiers or sex slaves. The international court is barred from imposing a sentence of life in prison or death. Taylor still has many followers in Liberia.
A private company based in the UAE plans to outfit three boats to patrol the pirate infested waters off the Horn of Africa, the BBC reported.
The company, Typhon, plans to man each of the patrol boats – now being outfitted in Singapore – with a complement of 40 former British Royal Marines and a crew of 20.
The boats, which will be contracted to protect cargo ships plying the Western Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, will also be armed with machine guns. The security officers will have rifles.
Unlike some 25 naval vessels patroling the pirate zone, the Typhon boats will assigned to protect specific boats instead of patrolling a vast area of seas.
Currently, eight vessels and 235 crew members are being held by pirates.