For his role in the wartime atrocities in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor was convicted of the war crime of terrorizing the civilian population. This article critically examines the legal and factual treatment of this war crime in the Taylor Trial Judgment, drawing attention to the Judgment’s strengths and weaknesses. While the Chamber’s reasoning is shown at times to be inconsistent, particularly in addressing the central question of specific intent, this article highlights the areas of the judgment that could serve as persuasive precedent in future cases. As Taylor’s conviction for sexual violence as an underlying act of terrorism demonstrates, terrorism as a war crime has the potential to be used as an umbrella charge encompassing other crimes committed with the purpose of instilling fear in the civilian population.
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