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Charles Taylor begins appeal of war crimes case

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor begins his appeal in a UN-backed war crimes court in the Hague today.

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor at his trial at the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone. (Jerry Lampen /AFP/Getty Images)

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is appealing his war crimes conviction and the 50-year sentence he received during Sierra Leone's civil war.

Last April, a UN-backed special court in The Hague convicted Taylor for aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds.. He was also convicted for acts of terrorism, murder, rape and recruiting child soldiers during the 1991-2002 civil war. 

Today, the court began hearing two days of oral arguments.  

According to the Guardian, Taylor was the first former head of state since WWII to be convicted by an international war crimes court.

However, Taylor's defense lawyers have called the verdict a "miscarriage of justice," asking that the "lords of war" should be held responsible for the atrocities during the war, BBC reported. They have filed 42 counts of appeal.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, will argue that trial judges mad ea mistake by only convicting Taylor of aiding and abetting the Revolutional United Front and other rebel groups. They would like to see his sentence raised from 50 years to 80 years to reflect his culpability.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130122/charles-taylor-begins-appeal-war-crimes-case