Charles Taylor (Liberian politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Taylor
Taylor seated at a desk
Taylor as president
22nd President of Liberia
In office
2 August 1997 – 11 August 2003
Vice President
Preceded byRuth Perry (Chairperson of the Council of State)
Succeeded byMoses Blah
Personal details
Charles McArthur Taylor

(1948-01-28) 28 January 1948 (age 76)
Arthington, Montserrado County, Liberia
Political partyNational Patriotic (1997–2005)
Other political
People's Redemption Council (expelled in 1983)
  • Enid Tupee
    (m. 1979; div. 1997)
  • (m. 1997; div. 2006)
  • Victoria Addison
    (m. 2012)
Domestic partnerBernice Emmanuel (1977–1979)
Children14 biological (including Charles), 2 adopted
Alma materBentley University
OccupationFormer head of state
Military service
Years of service1989–2002
CommandsLiberian Army
Years active1997–2003
Conviction(s)Crimes against humanity including acts of terrorism, murder, atrocities against personal dignity, rape, slavery, mutilation, use of children under the age of 15 in armed forces or groups, or using them to actively participate in hostilities, looting and other inhumane acts
Criminal penalty50 years in prison
VictimsOver 100,000
Date apprehended
29 March 2006
Imprisoned atHM Prison Frankland

Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor (born 28 January 1948) is a Liberian former politician and convicted war criminal who served as the 22nd president of Liberia from 2 August 1997 until his resignation on 11 August 2003 as a result of the Second Liberian Civil War and growing international pressure.[1][2]

Born in Arthington, Montserrado County, Liberia, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley College in the United States before returning to Liberia to work in the government of Samuel Doe. After being removed for embezzlement and imprisoned by President Doe, Taylor escaped prison in 1989. He eventually arrived in Libya, where he was trained as a guerrilla fighter. He returned to Liberia in 1989 as the head of a Libyan-backed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, to overthrow the Doe government, initiating the First Liberian Civil War (1989–1996). Following Doe's execution, Taylor gained control of a large portion of the country and became one of the most prominent warlords in Africa.[3] Following a peace deal that ended the war, Taylor was elected president in the 1997 general election.[4]

During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002). Domestically, opposition to his government grew, culminating in the outbreak of the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). By 2003, Taylor had lost control of much of the countryside and was formally indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. That year, he resigned, as a result of growing international pressure; he went into exile in Nigeria. In 2006, the newly elected President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, formally requested his extradition. He was detained by UN authorities in Sierra Leone and then at the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden in The Hague, awaiting trial by the Special Court.[5] He was found guilty in April 2012 of all eleven charges levied by the Special Court, including terror, murder and rape.[6]

In May 2012, Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Reading the sentencing statement, Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: "The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history."[7]

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Arthington, a town near the capital of Monrovia, Liberia, on 28 January 1948, to Nelson and Yassa Zoe (Louise) Taylor. He attended The Newman School in his early years. He took the name "Ghankay" later on, possibly to please and gain favor with indigenous Liberians.[8] His mother was a member of the Gola ethnic group, part of the 95% of the people who are indigenous to Liberia. According to most reports, his father was an Americo-Liberian who worked as a teacher, sharecropper, lawyer and judge.[9]

In 1977, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, United States.[10]

Government, imprisonment and escape[edit]

Taylor supported the 1980 Liberian coup d'état led by Samuel Doe, which resulted in the murder of President William Tolbert and seizure of power by Doe, who established the People's Redemption Council. Taylor was appointed to the position of Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), a position that left him in charge of purchasing for the Liberian government. He was fired in May 1983 for embezzling an estimated $1,000,000 (~$2.57 million in 2023) and sending the funds to another bank account.

Taylor fled to the United States but was arrested on 21 May 1984 by two US Deputy Marshals in Somerville, Massachusetts, on a warrant for extradition to face charges of embezzling $1 million (~$2.48 million in 2023) of government funds while he was the GSA boss.[11] Taylor fought extradition with the help of a legal team led by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. His lawyers' primary arguments before US District Magistrate Robert J. DeGiacomo stated that his alleged acts of lawbreaking in Liberia were political rather than criminal in nature and that the extradition treaty between the two republics had lapsed. Assistant United States Attorney Richard G. Stearns argued that Liberia wished to charge Taylor with theft in office, rather than with political crimes. Stearns' arguments were reinforced by Liberian Justice Minister Jenkins Scott, who flew to the United States to testify at the proceedings.[12] Taylor was detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.[11]

On 15 September 1985, Taylor and four other inmates escaped from the jail. Two days later, The Boston Globe reported that they sawed through a bar covering a window in a dormitory room, after which they lowered themselves 20 feet (6.1 m) on knotted sheets and escaped into nearby woods by climbing a fence.[11] Shortly thereafter, Taylor and two other escapees were met at nearby Jordan Hospital by Taylor's wife, Enid, and Taylor's sister-in-law, Lucia Holmes Toweh. They drove a getaway car to Staten Island in New York, where Taylor disappeared. All four of Taylor's fellow escapees, as well as Enid and Toweh, were later apprehended.[13]

In July 2009, Taylor claimed at his trial that US CIA agents had helped him escape from the maximum security prison in Boston in 1985. This was during his trial by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. The US Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed that Taylor first started working with US intelligence in the 1980s but refused to give details of his role or US actions, citing national security.[14][15]

Civil war[edit]

Taylor escaped the United States without issue. He then resurfaced in Libya where he took part in militia training under Muammar Gaddafi, becoming Gaddafi's protégé.[16] He later left Libya and travelled to the Ivory Coast, where he founded the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).

In December 1989, Taylor launched a Gaddafi-funded armed uprising from the Ivory Coast into Liberia to overthrow the Doe regime, leading to the First Liberian Civil War.[17] By 1990, his forces controlled most of the country. That same year, Prince Johnson, a senior commander of Taylor's NPFL, broke away and formed the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).

In September 1990, Johnson captured Monrovia, depriving Taylor of outright victory. Johnson and his forces captured and tortured Doe to death, instigating a violent political fragmentation of the country.[18] The civil war turned into an ethnic conflict, with seven factions among indigenous peoples and the Americo-Liberians fighting for control of Liberia's resources (especially iron ore, diamonds, timber, and rubber).

Amos Sawyer alleges that Taylor's aims extended beyond Liberia—that he wanted to re-establish the country as a regional power player. Taylor's ambitions, which were held from the civil war period into his presidency, not only resulted in the domestic Liberian conflict, they also triggered regional instability which manifested itself in the forms of the Sierra Leone Civil War and unrest in the forest region of Guinea.[19]


After the official end of the civil war in 1996, Taylor ran for president in the 1997 general election. He campaigned on the notorious slogan "He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him."[20]

The elections were overseen by the United Nations' peacekeeping mission, United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia, along with a contingent from the Economic Community of West African States.[21] Taylor won the election in a landslide, garnering 75 percent of the vote. Although the election was generally regarded as free and fair by international observers,[22] Taylor had a significant advantage from the outset. During the civil war, he had seized virtually all of the country's radio stations and used his control over the Liberian airwaves to spread propaganda and bolster his image.[23] Additionally, there was widespread fear in the country that Taylor would resume the war if he lost.[24][25]

During his time in office, Taylor cut the size of the Armed Forces of Liberia, dismissing 2,400–2,600 former personnel, many of whom were ethnic Krahn brought in by former President Doe to give advantage to his people. In 1998, Taylor attempted to murder one of his political opponents, the former warlord Roosevelt Johnson, causing clashes in Monrovia, during and after which hundreds of Krahn were massacred and hundreds more fled Liberia. This event was one of the factors that led to the outbreak of the Second Liberian Civil War.

In 2003, members of the Krahn tribe founded a rebel group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), opposing Taylor. The group disbanded as part of the peace agreement at the end of the second civil war.[26] In its place, Taylor installed the Anti-Terrorist Unit, the Special Operations Division of the Liberian National Police (LNP), which he used as his own private army.

During his presidency, Taylor was alleged to have been involved directly in the Sierra Leone Civil War. He was accused of aiding the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) through weapon sales in exchange for blood diamonds. Due to a UN embargo against arms sales to Liberia at the time, these weapons were largely purchased on the black market through arms smugglers such as Viktor Bout.[27] Taylor was charged with aiding and abetting RUF atrocities against civilians, which left many thousands dead or mutilated, with unknown numbers of people abducted and tortured. He was also accused of assisting the RUF in the recruitment of child soldiers. In addition to aiding the RUF in these acts, Taylor reportedly personally directed RUF operations in Sierra Leone.[28]

Taylor obtained spiritual and other advice from the evangelist Kilari Anand Paul.[29] As president, he was known for his flamboyant style.[30] Upon being charged by the UN of being a gunrunner and diamond smuggler during his presidency, Taylor appeared in all-white robes and begged God for forgiveness, while denying the charges.[30] He was reported to have said that "Jesus Christ was accused of being a murderer in his time."[30]

During the last four years of Taylor's presidency, he is believed to have stolen and diverted nearly $100 million, amounting to roughly half of total government revenue.[31]

Rebellion and indictment[edit]

In 1999, a rebellion against Taylor began in northern Liberia, led by a group calling itself Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). This group was frequently accused of atrocities, and is thought to have been backed by the government of neighboring Guinea.[32] This uprising signaled the beginning of the Second Liberian Civil War.

By early 2003, LURD had gained control of northern Liberia. That year, a second Ivorian-backed rebel group, Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), emerged in southern Liberia and achieved rapid successes.[33] By the summer, Taylor's government controlled only about a third of Liberia: Monrovia and the central part of the country. More than one-third of the total population lived in this area.

On 7 March 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) issued a sealed indictment for Taylor.[34] Earlier that year, Liberian forces had killed Sam Bockarie, a leading member of the RUF in Sierra Leone, in a shootout under Taylor's orders. Some have claimed that Taylor ordered Bockarie killed to prevent the leader from testifying against him at the SCSL.[35]

In June 2003, Alan White, the Prosecutor to the Special Court unsealed the indictment and announced publicly that Taylor was charged with war crimes. The indictment asserted that Taylor created and backed the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, who were accused of a range of atrocities, including the use of child soldiers.[36][37] The Prosecutor also said that Taylor's administration had harbored members of Al-Qaeda sought in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.[38]

The indictment was unsealed during Taylor's official visit to Ghana, where he was participating in peace talks with MODEL and LURD officials. As result, the possibility arose that Taylor might be arrested by Ghanaian authorities; in response, Taylor's chief bodyguard and military commander Benjamin Yeaten threatened to execute Ghanaians who lived in Liberia, deterring Ghana's government from taking action.[37] With the backing of South African president Thabo Mbeki and against the urging of Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Ghana consequently declined to detain Taylor, who returned to Monrovia.


During Taylor's absence for the peace talks in Ghana, the U.S. government was alleged to have urged Vice President Moses Blah to seize power.[39] Upon his return, Taylor briefly dismissed Blah from his post, only to reinstate him a few days later.

In July 2003, LURD initiated a siege of Monrovia, and several bloody battles were fought as Taylor's forces halted rebel attempts to capture the city. The pressure on Taylor increased as U.S. President George W. Bush twice that month stated that Taylor "must leave Liberia". On 9 July, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo offered Taylor exile in his country on the condition that Taylor stay out of Liberian politics.[40]

Taylor insisted that he would resign only if U.S. peacekeeping troops were deployed to Liberia. Bush publicly called upon Taylor to resign and leave the country in order for any American involvement to be considered. Meanwhile, several African states, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the leadership of Nigeria, sent troops under the banner of ECOMIL to Liberia.[41]

Logistical support was provided by a California company called PAE Government Services Inc., which was given a $10 million contract by the U.S. State Department.[41] On 6 August, a 32-member U.S. military assessment team were deployed as a liaison with the ECOWAS troops,[42] landing from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, commanded by Colonel A.P. Frick, from three U.S. Navy amphibious ships waiting off the Liberian coast.

On 10 August, Taylor appeared on national television to announce that he would resign the following day and hand power to Vice President Blah. He harshly criticized the United States in his farewell address, saying that the Bush administration's insistence that he leave the country would hurt Liberia.[1] On 11 August, Taylor resigned, with Blah serving as president until a transitional government was established on 14 October. Ghanaian President John Kufuor, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, all representing African regional councils, were present at his announcement. The U.S. brought Joint Task Force Liberia's Amphibious Ready Group of three warships with 2,300 Marines into view of the coast. Taylor flew to Nigeria, where the Nigerian government provided houses for him and his entourage in Calabar.


In November 2003, the United States Congress passed a bill that included a reward offer of two million dollars for Taylor's capture. While the peace agreement had guaranteed Taylor safe exile in Nigeria, it also required that he refrain from influencing Liberian politics. His critics said he disregarded this prohibition. On 4 December, Interpol issued a red notice regarding Taylor, suggesting that countries had a duty to arrest him. Taylor was placed on Interpol's Most Wanted list, declaring him wanted for crimes against humanity and breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and noting that he should be considered dangerous. Nigeria stated it would not submit to Interpol's demands, agreeing to deliver Taylor to Liberia only in the event that the President of Liberia requested his return.

On 17 March 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the newly elected President of Liberia, submitted an official request to Nigeria for Taylor's extradition. This request was granted on 25 March, whereby Nigeria agreed to release Taylor to stand trial in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Nigeria agreed only to release Taylor and not to extradite him, as no extradition treaty existed between the two countries.

Disappearance and arrest[edit]

Three days after Nigeria announced its intent to transfer Taylor to Liberia, the leader disappeared from the seaside villa where he had been living in exile.[43] A week before that, Nigerian authorities had taken the unusual step of allowing local press to accompany census takers into Taylor's Calabar compound.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was scheduled to meet with President Bush less than 48 hours after Taylor was reported missing. Speculation ensued that Bush would refuse to meet with Obasanjo if Taylor were not apprehended. Less than 12 hours prior to the scheduled meeting between the two heads of state, Taylor was reported apprehended en route to Liberia.[44]

On 29 March, Taylor tried to cross the border into Cameroon through the border town of Gamboru in northeastern Nigeria. His Range Rover with Nigerian diplomatic plates was stopped by border guards, and Taylor's identity was eventually established.[44]

Upon his arrival at Roberts International Airport in Harbel, Liberia, Taylor was arrested and handcuffed by LNP officers, who immediately transferred responsibility for the custody of Taylor to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Irish UNMIL soldiers escorted Taylor aboard a UN helicopter to Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he was delivered to the SCSL.[citation needed]


The Daily Talk newsboard documenting the Charles Taylor case

The SCSL prosecutor originally indicted Taylor on 3 March 2003 on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. On 16 March 2006, a SCSL judge gave leave to amend the indictment against Taylor. Under the amended indictment, Taylor was charged with 11 counts. At Taylor's initial appearance before the court on 3 April 2006, he entered a plea of not guilty.[45][46]

In early June 2006, the decision on whether to hold Taylor's trial in Freetown or in Leidschendam had not yet been made by the new SCSL president, George Gelaga King. King's predecessor had pushed for the trial to be held abroad because of fear that a local trial would be politically destabilizing in an area where Taylor still had influence.[3] The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court dismissed a motion by Taylor's defence team, who argued that their client could not get a fair trial there and also wanted the Special Court to withdraw the request to move the trial to Leidschendam.[47][48]

On 15 June 2006, the British government agreed to jail Taylor in the United Kingdom in the event that he was convicted by the SCSL. This fulfilled a condition laid down by the Dutch government, which had stated it was willing to host the trial but would not jail him if convicted. British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett stated that new legislation would be required to accommodate this arrangement.[49] This legislation came in the form of the International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Act 2007.[50] While awaiting his extradition to the Netherlands, Taylor was held in a UN jail in Freetown.[51]

On 16 June 2006, the United Nations Security Council agreed unanimously to allow Taylor to be sent to Leidschendam for trial; on 20 June 2006, Taylor was extradited and flown to Rotterdam Airport in the Netherlands. He was taken into custody and held in the detention centre of the International Criminal Court, located in the Scheveningen section of The Hague.[52] The Association for the Legal Defence of Charles G. Taylor was established in June 2006 to assist in his legal defence.

When Taylor's trial opened on 4 June 2007, Taylor boycotted the proceeding and was not present. Through a letter that was read by his attorney to the court, he justified his absence by alleging that at that moment he was not ensured a fair and impartial trial.[53]

On 20 August 2007, Taylor's defence, now led by Courtenay Griffiths, obtained a postponement of the trial until 7 January 2008.[54] During the trial, the chief prosecutor alleged that a key insider witness who testified against Taylor went into hiding after being threatened for giving evidence against Taylor.[55] Furthermore, Joseph "Zigzag" Marzah, a former military commander, testified that Charles Taylor celebrated his new-found status during the civil war by ordering human sacrifice, including the killings of Taylor's opponents and allies that were perceived to have betrayed Taylor, and by having a pregnant woman buried alive in sand.[56] Marzah also accused Taylor of forcing cannibalism on his soldiers in order to terrorize their enemies.[57]

In January 2009, the prosecution finished presenting its evidence against Taylor and closed its case on 27 February 2009. On 4 May 2009, a defence motion for a judgment of acquittal was dismissed, and arguments for Taylor's defence began in July 2009.[58] Taylor testified in his own defence from July through November 2009.[59] The defence rested its case on 12 November 2010, with closing arguments set for early February 2011.[60]

On 8 February 2011, the trial court ruled in a 2–1 decision that it would not accept Taylor's trial summary, as the summary had not been submitted by the 14 January deadline. In response, Taylor and his counsel boycotted the trial and refused an order by the court to begin closing arguments. This boycott came soon after the 2010 leak of American diplomatic cables, in which the United States discussed the possibility of extraditing Taylor for prosecution in the United States in the event of his acquittal by the SCSL. Taylor's counsel cited the leaked cable and the court's decision as evidence of an international conspiracy against Taylor.[61]

On 3 March, the appeals court of the SCSL overturned the trial court's decision, ruling that as the trial court had not established that Taylor had been counseled by the court and personally indicated his intent to waive his right to a trial summary, Taylor's due process rights would be violated by preventing him from submitting a trial summary. The appeals court ordered the trial court to accept the summary and set a date for the beginning of closing arguments.[62] On 11 March, the closing arguments ended, and it was announced that the court would begin the process to reach a verdict.[63]


The verdict was announced in Leidschendam on 26 April 2012.[64] The SCSL unanimously ruled that he was guilty of all 11 counts of "aiding and abetting" war crimes and crimes against humanity,[65] making him the first (former) head of state to be convicted by an international tribunal since Karl Dönitz at the Nuremberg Trials. Taylor was charged with:[66]

Count Crime Type* Ruling
Terrorising the civilian population and collective punishments
1 Acts of terrorism WC Guilty
Unlawful killings
2 Murder CAH Guilty
3 Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder WC Guilty
Sexual violence
4 Rape CAH Guilty
5 Sexual slavery and any other form of sexual violence CAH Guilty
6 Outrages upon personal dignity WC Guilty
Physical violence
7 Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular cruel treatment WC Guilty
8 Other inhumane acts CAH Guilty
Use of child soldiers
9 Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities VIHL Guilty
Abductions and forced labor
10 Enslavement CAH Guilty
11 Pillage WC Guilty

*Explanation of type of crime:

At his trial, Taylor claimed that he was a victim, denied the charges and compared his actions of torture and crimes against humanity to the actions of George W. Bush in the War on Terror.[67] Sentencing hearings commenced on 3 May[68] and were announced on 30 May. Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison.[69][70] He was about 64 years of age at the time of sentencing, making his sentence effectively a de facto life sentence.

Sierra Leone's government described the sentence as "a step forward as justice has been done, though the magnitude of the sentence is not commensurate with the atrocities committed".[65]

Taylor appealed against the verdict, but on 26 September 2013, Appeals Chamber of the Special Court confirmed his guilt and the penalty of 50 years in prison.[71]


On 15 October 2013, Taylor was transferred to British custody, and began serving his sentence at HM Prison Frankland in County Durham, England.[72][73] Taylor's attorneys filed a motion to have him transferred to a prison in Rwanda,[74] but in March 2015, the motion was denied and he was ordered to continue serving his sentence in the United Kingdom.[75] In January 2017, it was found that he had been making phone calls from the prison to provide guidance to the National Patriotic Party and threaten some of his enemies.[76]

In October 2021, Taylor filed a complaint against the Liberian government for "non-payment of his retirement". This complaint was lodged with the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).[77]

Personal life[edit]

In 1997, Taylor married Jewel Taylor, with whom he has one son. She filed for divorce in 2005, citing her husband's exile in Nigeria and the difficulty of visiting him due to a UN travel ban on her.[78] The divorce was granted in 2006. From January, 2018 to January 22, 2024, Jewel Taylor served as Vice President of Liberia with George Manneh Weah.

Phillip Taylor, Taylor's son with Jewel, remained in Liberia following his father's extradition to the SCSL. He was arrested by Liberian police officials on 5 March 2011 and charged with attempted murder in connection with an assault on the son of an immigration officer who had assisted in Charles Taylor's extradition;[79] the mother of the victim claimed that Phillip Taylor had sworn vengeance against the immigration officer. He was arrested at Buchanan in Grand Bassa County,[80] allegedly while attempting to cross the border into the Ivory Coast.[79]

Taylor has three children with his second wife Victoria Addison Taylor; the youngest, Charlize, was born in March 2010.[81][82] In 2014, Victoria was denied a visa to visit her husband while he serves his sentence in the United Kingdom.[83][84]

Taylor also has another son, a U.S. citizen named Charles McArther Emmanuel, born to his college girlfriend. Emmanuel was arrested in 2006 after entering the United States and was charged with three counts, including participation in torture while serving in the Anti-Terrorist Unit in Liberia during his father's presidency. The law that prosecuted Taylor was put in place in 1994, before "extraordinary rendition" in an attempt to prevent U.S. citizens from committing acts of torture overseas. To date, this is the only prosecuted case.[85] In October 2008, Emmanuel was convicted on all three counts and sentenced to 97 years in prison.[86]

Charles Taylor is also said to have been the husband or partner to Agnes Reeves Taylor.[87] Agnes and Charles met when Taylor was head of the General Services Agency in the mid-1980s during the regime of former President Samuel Kanyon Doe.[88] According to Trial international, Charles Taylor and Agnes Reeves Taylor married in Ghana in 1986.[89] However, according to, the two were never legally married.[90] She is reported to have left Liberia in 1992 before the end of the civil war and settled in the United Kingdom where she was a lecturer at Coventry University. On 2 June 2017, she was arrested in London by the Metropolitan Police and charged with torture on the grounds of her suspected involvement with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group, which was led by her ex-husband, during the First Liberian Civil War, from 1989 to 1996.[91] On 6 December 2019 the Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey) in London decided to dismiss the charges against Agnes Reeves Taylor. The Court's decision came after the UK Supreme Court confirmed, in a historic judgment on 13 November 2019, that members of non-state armed groups may be prosecuted for crimes of torture under section 134(1) of the UK Criminal Justice Act 1988, thus legally paving the way for the case against Agnes Reeves Taylor to proceed to trial.[92] However, after rendering its judgment, the UK Supreme Court sent the case back to the Central Criminal Court to consider further evidence from the prosecution's expert and apply the legal standard confirmed by the Supreme Court to the facts of the case. In order for a member of a non-state armed group to be prosecuted for torture, the group must have been exercising "governmental functions". The Central Criminal Court ruled that the evidence presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) failed to prove that the NPFL had the requisite authority over the relevant territory at the time the crimes in question were committed. Therefore, the court dismissed the case.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Quist-Arcton, Ofeibea (11 August 2004). "Liberia: Charles Ghankay Taylor, Defiant And Passionate to the End". Retrieved 18 January 2008.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Agencies (11 August 2004). "Liberian president Taylor steps down". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Justice at last?". The Economist. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  4. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (7 December 2000). "In Ruined Liberia, Its Despoiler Sits Pretty". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Cendrowicz, Leo (14 July 2009). "'Lies and Rumors': Liberia's Charles Taylor on the Stand". Time. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Taylor Sierra Leone war crimes verdict welcomed". BBC. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years for war crimes". CNN. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  8. ^ Onadipe, Abiodun (November 1998). "Liberia: Taylor's first year report card. (President Charles Ghankay Taylor)". Contemporary Review. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  9. ^ Burlij, Terence. "A Profile of Charles Taylor". PBS. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  10. ^ Library, C. N. N. (26 April 2013). "Charles Taylor Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "How Charles Taylor Escaped from Jail". [Monrovia] Daily Star, 1985-10-05: 10.
  12. ^ "Taylor's Judgement Expected: Final Argument Advanced: Justice Minister Flies Back". [Monrovia] Sunday Express 1984-09-09: 1/8.
  13. ^ Staff Writer. "Accused war criminal Charles Taylor says he had help in Plymouth jailbreak". The Patriot Ledger. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  14. ^ Charles Taylor 'worked' for CIA in Liberia, BBC, 2012-01-19. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  15. ^ Bryan Bender, The Boston Globe, 17 January 2012, "Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor had US spy agency ties", Boston Globe, 17 January 2012
  16. ^ "How the mighty are falling". The Economist. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007.
  17. ^ "Grim legacy of Liberia's most isolated town", BBC
  18. ^ Ellis, Stephen (1999). The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of African Civil War 1999, 2007. London, UK: Hurst & Company. pp. 1–16. ISBN 1850654174.
  19. ^ Sawyer, Amos (2004). "Violent conflicts and governance challenges in West Africa: the case of the Mano River basin area". Journal of Modern African Studies. 42 (3): 437–463. doi:10.1017/S0022278X04000266. S2CID 154954003.
  20. ^ Left, Sarah (4 August 2003). "War in Liberia". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  21. ^ "UNOMIL". Information Technology Section/Department of Public Information. 2001. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  22. ^ Streeb, Gordon (1997). "Observing the 1997 Special Election Process in Liberia" (PDF). The Carter Center. p. 8. Retrieved 24 January 2022. Charles Taylor won the presidential election by a large margin, receiving more than 75 percent of the vote, in a process the Center and other international observers viewed as fair but far from perfect.
  23. ^ Innes, Michael Alexander (2003). "2". Conflict radio and ethnic warfare in Liberia, 1980–1997 (thesis). Concordia University. p. 68. MQ77642. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  24. ^ Joseph, Richard (April 1998). "African Ambiguities: Africa, 1990–1997—From Abertura to Closure". Journal of Democracy. 9 (2): 3–17. doi:10.1353/jod.1998.0028. S2CID 153392189. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  25. ^ "Human Rights Reports for 1999—Liberia". US Department of State. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  26. ^ Adebayo, Liberia's Civil War, International Peace Academy, 2002, p.235
  27. ^ McSmith, Andy (23 December 2008). "'Merchant of Death' who armed tyrants fights extradition to US". The Independent. London.
  28. ^ Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible. Douglas Farah, Stephen Braun. p. 167
  29. ^ Finnegan, William (1 September 2003). "The Persuader". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  30. ^ a b c "Charles Taylor – preacher, warlord, president". BBC News. 13 July 2009.
  31. ^ "Ex-Leader Stole $100 Million From Liberia, Records Show". The New York Times. 18 September 2003.
  32. ^ "Back to the Brink". Human Rights Watch Report. 14 (A). 1 May 2002. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  33. ^ "Liberia". Briefing to the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. January 2004. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  34. ^ "The Prosecutor vs. Charles Ghankay Taylor" Archived 4 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Special Court for Sierra Leone. Retrieved 26 March 2010
  35. ^ "The Mysterious Death of a Fugitive". The Perspective. Atlanta, Georgia, United States. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  36. ^ Crane, David M. (3 March 2003). "CASE NO. SCSL – 03 – I". The Special Court for Sierra Leone. Freetown, Sierra Leone: United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  37. ^ a b Joaquin M. Sendolo (21 March 2018). "Female Victim Pleads for War Crimes Court". Liberian Observer. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  38. ^ Susannah Price (24 May 2005). "UN pressed over Liberia's Taylor". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  39. ^ Paye-Layleh, Jonathan (10 August 2003). "Profile: Moses Blah". BBC News. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  40. ^ "Nigeria would shield Taylor from trial". CNN. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  41. ^ a b Barringer, Felicity (24 July 2003). "Nigeria Readies Peace Force for Liberia; Battles Go On". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  42. ^ "Liberia's Taylor not ready to leave". CNN. 7 July 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  43. ^ Polgreen, Lydia (29 March 2006). "Nigeria Says Ex-President of Liberia Has Disappeared". The New York Times.
  44. ^ a b "Liberia: 15 years later, we remember the long hunt for Charles Taylor". The Africa 29 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  45. ^ de Silva, Desmond, QC, Chief Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone (29 March 2006). "Chief Prosecutor Announces the Arrival of Charles Taylor at the Special Court" (PDF). Press Release from the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2008.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ "The Prosecutor of the Special Court V. Charles Ghankay Taylor". Special Court of Sierra Leone. 4 June 2007. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  47. ^ "Will Taylor Get a Fair Trial?". New African (Sierra Leone). February 2007. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  48. ^ "SIERRA LEONE: Decision on Taylor trial venue rests with head of Special Court". New African (Sierra Leone). IRIN. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  49. ^ "UK Agrees to Jail Charles Taylor". BBC News. 15 June 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  50. ^ "International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Act 2007". The National Archives. 18 June 2007. 2007 c. 7. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  51. ^ "Charles Taylor jailed in Sierra Leone". CBC News. 29 March 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  52. ^ Fofana, Lansana (20 June 2006). "Mixed Feelings over Charles Taylor's Transfer to The Hague". Global Policy Forum. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  53. ^ Hudson, Alexandra (4 June 2007). "Taylor absent as trial gets underway". IOL. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  54. ^ "Taylor trial delayed until 2008". BBC News. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2007.
  55. ^ "Witness in Taylor war crimes trial in hiding after threats". CNN. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  56. ^ ""Shock testimony at Taylor trial". Al Jazeera.
  57. ^ McGreal, Chris (15 March 2008). "Charles Taylor told fighters to eat their enemies, court hears". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  58. ^ Winter, Renate. "Foreword", Sixth Annual Report of the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: June 2008 to May 2009 Archived 27 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  59. ^ "Taylor: I Didn't Know Sierra Leone Rebel Pre-1991". The New York Times. Associated Press. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  60. ^ "Charles Taylor's team rests case in war crimes trial". CNN. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  61. ^ Corder, Mike (8 February 2011). "Charles Taylor Boycotts End of War Crimes Trial". MSNBC. Associated Press. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  62. ^ "Judges allow Charles Taylor's closing arguments". Agence France-Presse. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  63. ^ "Trial of Charles Taylor ends – Europe". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  64. ^ Cendrowicz, Leo (26 April 2012). "Warlord Convicted: Liberia's Charles Taylor Found Guilty of War Crimes". Time. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012.
  65. ^ a b "Liberia ex-leader Charles Taylor get 50 years in jail". BBC News. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  66. ^ "The charges against Charles Taylor". BBC News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  67. ^ "In his last stand, Charles Taylor defends himself as a peacemaker". CNN. 16 May 2012. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  68. ^ "Prosecutors seek 80-year sentence for Charles Taylor". CNBC. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  69. ^ "Globe & Mail article". Toronto. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012.
  70. ^ Bowcott, Owen; agencies (30 May 2012). "Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  71. ^ "Judges uphold Charles Taylor's jail sentence", Al Jazeera, 26 September 2013.
  72. ^ "Ex-warlord Charles Taylor's family say he is being 'ill-treated' in British jail". The Telegraph. London. 29 October 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  73. ^ "Liberia's Charles Taylor transferred to UK". BBC News. BBC. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  74. ^ Simons, Marlise; Cowell, Alan (26 September 2013). "50-Year Sentence Upheld for Ex-President of Liberia". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  75. ^ "Ex-Liberia President Charles Taylor to stay in UK prison". BBC News, 25 March 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  76. ^ "Phone a Fiend". Private Eye. No. 1438. Pressdram. 24 February 2017. p. 18.
  77. ^ "Charles Taylor sues Liberian government over pensions". The Guardian. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  78. ^ "LIBERIA: Charles Taylor's wife has divorce petition granted". IRIN Africa. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  79. ^ a b Genoway, Edwin G. (7 March 2011). "Like Father, Like Sons". The New Dawn. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  80. ^ Toe, Jerome W. (7 March 2011). "Charles Taylor's Son Arrested: For Attempted Murder". Daily Observer. pp. 1, 26.
  81. ^ Thomas, Kate (25 April 2012). "In Monrovia, Charles Taylor's wife awaits his verdict". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  82. ^ "Wife of war crimes suspect Charles Taylor gives birth". BBC News. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  83. ^ "Charles Taylor's Wife Denied Visa, As Husband Celebrates 66th Birth Anniversary behind Bars in UK". GNN Liberia. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  84. ^ "No access to family: Taylor's wife laments after UK denies visa". Front Page Africa. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 26 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  85. ^ "Ex-prisoner: Taylor's son laughed at torture". CNN. 30 September 2008. Archived 18 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  86. ^ Couwels, John. "Ex-Liberian president's son convicted of torture". CNN. 30 October 2008.
  87. ^ Rouse, Lucinda. "UK judge dismisses charges against Charles Taylor's ex-wife". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  88. ^ "Liberia: Charles Taylor's NPP Welcomes 'Founding Mother' Agnes Taylor; Months After War Crimes Charges Dropped in UK". Front Page Africa. 19 July 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  89. ^ "Agnès Reeves Taylor". Trial International. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  90. ^ Sieh, Rodney (20 July 2020). "Liberia: Charles Taylor's NPP Welcomes 'Founding Mother' Agnes Taylor – Months After War Crimes Charges Dropped in UK". Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  91. ^ "Ex-wife of former Liberian president charged with torture". The Guardian. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  92. ^ R v Reeves Taylor [2019] UKSC 51 (13 November 2019)
  93. ^ Burr, Ty (16 September 2005). "Provocative 'War' Skillfully Takes Aim". The Boston Globe: D1.
  94. ^ Kay2015-11-20T07:00:00+00:00, Jeremy. "Idris Elba: a commanding turn". Screen. Retrieved 7 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded byas Chairperson of the Council of State of Liberia President of Liberia
Succeeded by