Former Liberian President Charles Taylor told judges in The Hague on Wednesday that he poses no threat to society, while accusing his prosecutors of paying witnesses and threatening them to testify against him.

Taylor, who was convicted in April of supporting rebels during Sierra Leone's bloody civil war, was speaking before the court for the last time before sentencing later this month.

Witnesses were paid, coerced and in many cases threatened with prosecution if they did not give statements, he said.

Protesting his innocence, the 64-year-old added that money had played a corrupting, influential, significant and dominant role in his trial, the BBC reported.

The court, which is a joint project of the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone, was set up as part of the peace agreement which brought the country's decade-long civil war to an end in early 2002.

Taylor was indicted nine years ago and the trial began in April 2006 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, before being moved to The Hague.

The first African head of state to be brought before an international tribunal, he was charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Other offenses, alleged to have been committed in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002 under his direction, involved terrorizing the population, murder, rape, the use of women and girls as sexual slaves, enforced mutilations and amputations, as well as abducting children and adults and forcing them to work as laborers or fight in the conflict in Sierra Leone.

Standing before the justices on Wednesday, Taylor asked why former U.S. President George W. Bush had not been forced to stand trial for allegedly ordering torture.

Is he above the law? Taylor said.

Prosecutors are seeking an 80-year prison sentence for Taylor, something the defense has labeled as excessive.

During Wednesday's hearing, he asked that the court consider his age in determining his sentence.

I'm a father of many children, grandchildren and great-grand children.

I say with respect: Reconciliation and healing, not retribution, should be the guiding principles in your honors' task.

Taylor, who served as president of Liberia from Aug. 2, 1997 until his resignation on Aug. 11, 2003, was accused of backing and arming the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The rebel group fought in Sierra Leone from the end of November 1996 -- the date on which the Abuja accord peace agreement was signed --  until January 2002, when the Sierra Leone Civil War was officially brought to an end.