Charles Taylor war crimes trial closes



Charles Taylor war crimes trial closes Eidschendam: Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor's trial on charges he armed Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for blood diamonds, closed on Friday for the judges to consider their verdict.

"I ... declare the hearing closed," presiding judge Teresa Doherty said after hearing final statements from the prosecution and defence in a trial that started more than three years ago.

"The trial chamber shall now deliberate in private. The parties shall be notified when a judgment is to be delivered."

The court has previously said judgment should be handed down in the European summer.

Taylor has pleaded not guilty to arming Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in exchange for illegally mined so-called "blood diamonds".

The Sierra Leone civil war claimed some 120,000 lives in the 10 years to 2001, with RUF rebels, described by prosecutors as Taylor's "surrogate army", mutilating thousands of civilians by hacking off their limbs.

Bureau Report