The sentencing of former warlord Charles Taylor last week reminded the world of the existence of – and the lasting damage caused by – that most shadowy of luxury goods: blood diamonds. Liberia’s former president was sentenced at an international court in The Hague to 50 years in prison after being found guilty last month of crimes against humanity. Taylor was convicted of having supported renegades in Sierra Leone in return for conflict diamonds towards the end of the last century.


Taylor’s defense hinged largely on the idea that he was a mere facilitator, not the perpetrator, of the litany of horrors read out in court by prosecutors. This legal differentiation eventually led to Taylor’s half-century long sentence, greatly mitigated from the 80 years prosecuting judges had called for. [Link]