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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
UN agrees Taylor trial transfer
Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor is accused of exchanging guns for diamonds
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously agreed to allow the transfer of the trial of Liberia's ex-leader Charles Taylor to The Hague.

He is currently in prison at a UN-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing rebels notorious for mutilating civilians.

But it is feared that putting Mr Taylor on trial in West Africa could threaten the new regional stability.

He has denied 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Thursday, the British government said Mr Taylor could serve a prison sentence in the UK if he was convicted of war crimes.

The Dutch government had agreed to host Mr Taylor's trial, still conducted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as long as he was imprisoned in another country if he was convicted.

1989: Launches rebellion
1991: RUF rebellion starts in Sierra Leone
1995: Peace deal signed
1997: Elected president
1999: Lurd starts rebellion to oust Taylor
June 2003: Arrest warrant issued
August 2003: Steps down, goes into exile in Nigeria
March 2006: Arrested, sent to Sierra Leone

Mr Taylor is accused of exchanging weapons for diamonds mined in rebel-held areas of Sierra Leone.

Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are recovering from years of conflict, in which Mr Taylor played a central role.

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who took office in January, said she feared that putting Mr Taylor on trial in West Africa could lead to renewed instability.

Britain, the former colonial power in Sierra Leone, sent troops to help oust rebels from the capital, Freetown in 2000.

Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels were infamous for mutilating civilians, by hacking off their arms or legs with machetes.

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