Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is appealing his war crimes conviction and 50-year sentence for acts of terrorism, murder, rape and recruiting child soldiers during Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war.
The U.N.-backed Special Court of Sierra Leone in The Hague began hearing two days of oral arguments Tuesday. Taylor's lawyers argued for eliminating or shortening his sentence while prosecutors push for a harsher punishment.
The court convicted Taylor in April 2012 on 11 counts, saying that while he did not command and control rebels who committed atrocities, he was aware of their activities and provided them with weapons and other supplies.
Taylor said his actions were “done with honor” to bring peace to neighboring Sierra Leone, and that without that peace “Liberia would not be able to move forward.”
Prosecutors want the court to impose an 80-year sentence on the 64-year-old Taylor.
He is the first former head of state since World War II to be convicted by an international war crimes court.