Ex-Liberian Prez: War-Crimes Charges 'Lies'

Taylor calls himself 'lover of humanity'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 14, 2009 10:24 AM CDT
Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp, right, is seen at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Netherlands, yesterday.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Former Liberian president Charles Taylor took the stand today in the Hague, calling war-crimes allegations against him “lies,” the BBC reports. “It is very, very, very unfortunate that the prosecution, because of disinformation, misinformation, lies, rumors would associate me with such titles or descriptions,” he said regarding accusations of terrorism, torture, murder, and rape.

Taylor is on trial over allegations he directed efforts to take control of Sierra Leone’s diamonds. Witnesses described amputations, child murder, and cannibalism, but Taylor cited a “love for humanity,” saying he’d “fought all my life to do what I thought was right in the interests of justice and fair play.” The defense plans to call more than 200 witnesses; a verdict is expected next year.