" Former Liberian President Charles Taylor took the stand Tuesday as the first defense witness at his trial on war crimes charges at The Hague in the Netherlands. Taylor, 61, is accused of fueling a bloody civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone that led to widespread murder, rape, and mutilation. The conflict ended in 2002.
He has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts, including murder, sexual slavery, terrorism and torture.
In his first statement to the court Tuesday, Taylor responded to accusations that he is a murderer and a terrorist.
"It is quite incredible that such descriptions of me would come about. Very, very, very unfortunate that the prosecution — because of this information, misinformation, lies, rumors — would associate me with such titles or descriptions," he said.
"I am none of those, have never been, and will never be, whether they think so or not. "I am a father of 14 children, grandchildren, with love for humanity," Taylor said."
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Taylor is the first African head of state to come before an international tribunal. Will he be the last? Omar al Bashir sure hopes so.