Charles Taylor Denies all Charges at His War Crimes Tribunal

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Former Liberian President Charles Taylor testified at his war crimes trial Tuesday that the case against him was built on lies and misinformation, and he denied he had commanded and armed rebels who killed and tortured tens of thousands of civilians.

Taylor, the first African leader to stand trial for war crimes, is charged with 11 counts of murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers and terrorism during Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war.

An estimated 500,000 were the victims of killings, systematic mutilation and other atrocities during that war, with some of the worst crimes carried out by child soldiers who were drugged to desensitize them to the horror of their actions.

A sometimes tearful, often angry Charles Taylor denounced the war crimes trial against him today as a concoction of "deception, deceit and lies."

The former President of Liberia — the first African head of state to be indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity — swaggered into the witness stand in the Hague to plead his innocence.

"This whole case has been — Let's Get Taylor!" complained Mr Taylor, 61, in a strong, confident voice.