AMSTERDAM Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president sentenced to 50 years in prison for crimes against humanity by an international tribunal, will serve his jail term in Britain, the British government said on Thursday.
Last month, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, based in The Hague, upheld his conviction for using the proceeds of 'blood diamonds' mined in the conflict zone to finance rebels who raped, murdered and mutilated their way across Liberia's northern neighbor during its 11-year civil war.
Britain was one of four countries that offered to enforce his sentence. The court's president overruled Taylor's request to serve his time in Finland, Sweden or Rwanda instead.
"The conviction of Charles Taylor is a landmark moment for international justice," said British justice minister Jeremy Wright in a statement to parliament.
"It clearly demonstrates that those who commit atrocities will be held to account and that no matter their position they will not enjoy impunity," he said.
Taylor is the first head of state to be sent to prison by an international court since Nazi leaders were sentenced at Nuremberg after World War II.
(Reporting By Thomas Escritt. Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Gareth Jones)