Taylor Trial Resumes

The last testimony described gruesome accounts of Taylor-ordered cannibalism.

ByABC News
March 31, 2008, 9:48 AM

March 31, 2008— -- Charles Taylor, warlord and former president of Liberia, ordered his militias to eat the flesh of captured enemies and U.N. soldiers, according to the testimony of a former militia commander at Taylor's war crimes trial. The trial resumes today after a two-week recess.

"[We] throw your head away, your intestines, we take it and put it in a pot and cook it and eat it," explained Joseph "Zigzag" Marzah, who claimed to be one of Taylor's inner circle and ate the organs of enemies together with Taylor.

Marzah said Taylor instructed his men to eat the flesh of captured enemies and U.N. soldiers. He also described slitting open the belly of pregnant women with pen knives, burying a pregnant woman alive and displaying decapitated human heads on the bumpers of cars all on Taylor's orders. "We executed everybody -- babies, women, old men. There were so many executions, I can't remember them all," said Marzah.

Taylor's lead counsel Courtenay Griffiths Q.C. told ABC News that Marzah's testimony should be thrown out. "Marzah repeatedly left the room to send and receive text messages on his mobile phone during the testimony. He is not credible," he said.

Taylor, who served as Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, is charged by the Special Court for Sierra Leone with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone during the country's roughly 10-year conflict that officially ended in 2002.

The case is being tried at The Hague instead of in Sierra Leone to reduce chances of sparking unrest in the west African state or in neighboring Liberia.

Prosecutors have accused Taylor of murdering and mutilating civilians, including cutting off their limbs, using women and girls as sex slaves, abducting adults and children, and forcing them to perform forced labor or become fighters to further his economic and political ambitions in the region.

Taylor, the first former African head of state to appear before an international war crimes tribunal, has denied all of the 11 charges against him.