The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has unanimously upheld the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor on eleven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and affirmed the fifty-year sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber. In April 2012, an SCSL Trial Chamber had found Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting crimes that the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council rebel forces had committed against Sierra Leone's civilian population over a five-year period, as well as planning, with RUF Battlefield Commander Sam Bockarie, crimes that rebel forces committed during the attack on Freetown in January 1999.
According to the press release, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber had properly applied the standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt. The Appeals Chamber also "dismissed Defence challenges to findings of fact, saying that the findings were reasonable in light of the Trial Chamber's careful and cautious approach to the evaluation of the evidence." The Appeals Chamber held that the Trial Chamber "had relied on a combination of direct, circumstantial and hearsay evidence in reaching its findings, and that none of its findings were based on uncorroborated hearsay evidence." The Appeals Chamber also concurred in the Trial Chamber's finding Taylor had a substantial effect on the rebels' capacity to implement its operational strategy and to carry out attacks on civilians.