LEIDSCHENDAM, Neth- erlands (AP) — An international war crimes court upheld the conviction and 50-year sentence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone, ruling today that his financial, material and tactical support fueled horrendous crimes against civilians.
The appeals chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone upheld Taylor’s conviction on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers.
His conviction in April 2012 was hailed as ushering in a new era of accountability for heads of state. Taylor, 65, was the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.
“Taylor’s conviction sends a powerful message that those at the top can be held to account on the gravest crimes,” said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch.
Afghan turns gun on NATO troop
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan man wearing the uniform of the country’s security forces turned his weapon on NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan today, killing a member of the international coalition.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, which took place in eastern Paktia province. It was the second so-called insider attack in less than a week by a member of the Afghan forces against their international allies.
NATO said the attacker was killed but provided no other details. The alliance said the international forces were investigating the shooting, which they have not yet classified as an insider attack.
Outdoor markets bombed in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) — Bombs ripped through outdoor markets in and near Baghdad today, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens, the latest in a deadly wave that has hit Iraq in recent months, officials said.
Three bombs went off simultaneously in the Shiite village of Sabaa al-Bour, about 20 miles north of the Iraqi capital.
Police said the explosions — two at the market entrance and one inside the shopping area — went off as the place was packed with shoppers, killing 16 people and wounding 41 there.
Three women and two children were among those killed in the village market.
The attack came shortly after a bomb blast hit the al-Athorien market in Baghdad’s southern neighborhood of Dora. Police said that seven people, including two women, were killed there and 17 people were wounded.
Hornet attacks kill 18 in China
BEIJING (AP) — An unusual spate of hornet attacks in central China has killed at least 18 people.
Zhou Yuanhong, a health official in the Angkang city area of Shaanxi province, said today that more than 100 people in the area had been stung by swarms of the insects in recent months and treated in Ankang City Central Hospital, and that 18 of them died. The local state-run newspaper Huashangbao said 21 had died in hospitals.
Zhou said that a handful of people are killed every year in the region by hornets, especially in forested areas, but that this year has been unusually severe, possibly because of weather changes.