Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Thursday lifted sanctions against former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor, who is in a maximum-security prison for a raft of war crimes.
In a largely symbolic measure, Obama scrapped a decade-old executive order that underpinned sanctions against Taylor and his inner circle, who fueled a brutal 1991-2002 war that left tens of thousands dead.
Taylor was arrested in 2006 and charged by the Hague on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity over acts committed by Sierra Leone rebels he aided and abetted.
He was later sentenced to 50 years' imprisonment for what judges called "some of the most heinous crimes in human history."
He is currently being held in a maximum-security British prison.
In a letter to Congressional leaders Obama said Taylor's sentencing and the "diminished ability" of his allies to "undermine Liberia's progress" meant the sanctions were no longer needed.
Liberia has been led by Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2006. She has been feted by the West, most notably for her role in tackling Ebola.