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Liberia leader’s war crimes trial ends

Associated Press / March 12, 2011

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LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands — The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, once among West Africa’s most powerful figures, ended yesterday with judges expected to take months to reach a verdict on whether he can be linked to murders and amputations during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

In their final remarks, prosecutors cautioned the judges against being taken in by Taylor, “an intelligent and charismatic man’’ who portrayed himself during the three-year trial as a statesman and peacemaker rather than a warlord who used a surrogate army to pillage a nation.

The defense concluded by denying prosecution assertions that Taylor was part of a criminal conspiracy with rebel leaders seizing power in neighboring Sierra Leone.

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