International judges are finally due to give Charles Taylor at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone after a five-year trial.

Taylor is said to have sold so called blood diamonds to buy weapons for the Revolutionary United Front rebels (RUF) during Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war.

The rebels were notorious for using child soldiers who used machetes to hack off the limbs of civilians.

Taylor denies 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in a trial which has heard from more than 100 witnesses, including actress Mia Farrow and supermodel  Naomi Campbell.

It is widely believed the whole of the West African region is hoping for a guilty verdict.

Prosecutors in the trial had tried to prove Taylor actively condoned the rebels.

The former warlord was a key figure in Liberia’s descent into civil war in the 1980s, however he is only on trial for events in Sierra Leone.

 In 1997 he was elected president of Liberia, but he was forced into exile in Nigeria in 2003.

He was subsequently returned to Liberia to face trial, which was then conducted in the Netherlands over fears the hearings sparked unrest in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

If he is convicted, Taylor will become the first head of state to be found guilty of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremburg trials of Nazis after the Second World War.

A guilty verdict is likely to see him imprisoned in the UK as the Dutch government only agreed to host the trial on the condition his jail term was served elsewhere.