Slideshow - Charles Taylor’s legacy in Sierra Leone and Liberia

  • Residents of Zorzor in Lofa County, Liberia, sit on the doorstep of a home damaged during the Liberian civil war

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150734440246/Residents-of-Zorzor-in-Lofa-County-Liberia-sit-on-the-doorstep-of-a-home-damaged-during-the
  • Bullet-scarred buildings in Zorzor act as reminders of the conflict which engulfed the country for over a decade

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150736170842/Bullet-scarred-buildings-in-Zorzor-act-as-reminders-of-the-conflict-which-engulfed-the-country-for
  • War-time graffiti left by LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) rebels in Bolahun, northern Liberia

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150737340953/War-time-graffiti-left-by-LURD-Liberians-United-for-Reconciliation-and-Democracy-rebels-in
  • Liberia’s 2011 elections passed off largely peacefully

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150738470393/Liberia-s-2011-elections-passed-off-largely-peacefully
  • Artisanal diamond miners at work in an open-pit mine in Koidu, eastern Sierra Leone

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150742500878/Artisanal-diamond-miners-at-work-in-an-open-pit-mine-in-Koidu-eastern-Sierra-Leone
  • The diamond mines of Koidu were the focal point of several RUF operations supported by Charles Taylor

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150744520465/The-diamond-mines-of-Koidu-were-the-focal-point-of-several-RUF-operations-supported-by-Charles
  • Unemployment is rife in Koidu, with little of the diamond revenue filtering down to local residents

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150745540319/Unemployment-is-rife-in-Koidu-with-little-of-the-diamond-revenue-filtering-down-to-local-residents
  • Conditions are tough, with miners working long days waist deep in muddy water as they sift through pans of gravel

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150746590917/Conditions-are-tough-with-miners-working-long-days-waist-deep-in-muddy-water-as-they-sift-through
  • Much small-scale mining is unregulated, offering little security for the miners

    Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201205150749470727/Much-small-scale-mining-is-unregulated-offering-little-security-for-the-miners

Charles Taylor’s legacy in Sierra Leone and Liberia

The recent conviction of Charles Taylor in The Hague for aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone has been a potent reminder of the role of natural resources in fuelling conflict in West Africa. The court’s trial chamber found that Taylor received a continuous supply of “blood diamonds” from Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, often in exchange for arms. Diamond deals with neighbouring Liberia provided RUF with its single largest source of income
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