Lawyers for Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia on trial for crimes against humanity, have begun his defense.
He denies 11 charges, including murder, rape and torture, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
Prosecutors say he controlled rebels who carried out atrocities during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war.
Mr Taylor, who denies the charges, is expected to give evidence in his own defence on Tuesday.
He is the first African leader to be tried by an international court.
Claire Carlton-Hanciles, of the court’s defence office, told the BBC that Mr Taylor was ready to defend himself.
“Mr Taylor is ready and his lawyers who were employed by the office have ensured that they have prepped him for the past month-and-a-half,” she said.
“I saw Mr Taylor about two days ago. He is in high spirits.”
In May, judges rejected a request by Mr Taylor’s defence team to acquit him because of a lack of evidence.
The prosecution says Mr Taylor planned atrocities committed by Revolutionary United Front rebels during Sierra Leone’s civil war, which ended in 2002.
The RUF were notorious for using machetes to hack the limbs off civilians.
Mr Taylor is accused of passing guns to the RUF in exchange for diamonds from Sierra Leone.
His lawyers are expected to argue that he in fact tried to bring peace to the region and that there is no evidence directly linking him to the RUF.
Mr Taylor started Liberia’s civil war in 1989, before being elected president in 1997.
After a period of exile in Nigeria, he was eventually extradited from Liberia in 2006.
The trial, being held by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, was moved to the Netherlands from Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, amid fears it could create instability in the country and neighbouring Liberia.
You can leave a comment below.