Here’s a look at the life of Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia and convicted war criminal.
Birthdate: January 28, 1948
Birthplace: Arthington, Liberia
Birth name: Charles Taylor
Father: Nelson Taylor, judge
Mother: Zoe Taylor
Marriages: Victoria Addison-Taylor (Unknown-present); Jewel (Howard) Taylor (1997-2006, divorce)
Children: with Victoria Addison-Taylor: three girls; with Jewel (Howard) Taylor: McArthur Taylor. It is reported that Taylor has several other children.
Education: Bentley College, Massachusetts, BA Economics,1977
Taylor stole or diverted nearly $100 million of Liberia’s funds while in power, according to the New York Times. Taylor used the money to buy houses, cars, and illegal weapons while fighting the civil war.
1972 – Moves to the United States to study.
1980 – Returns to Liberia and joins the administration of Samuel Doe, who comes into power after a coup.
May 1983 – Flees to the United States after Doe accuses Taylor of corruption and stealing over $900,000 from the Liberian government.
May 1984 – Is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts. The court holds him to wait for extradition orders from the Liberian government.
1985 – Escapes from jail. Authorities believe he crosses into Mexico and then heads to Libya where Colonel Moammar Gadhafi gives him asylum.
1989 – While in Libya, Taylor forms the militia group National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
1990-1996 – A civil war is fought in Liberia. More than 150,000 people are killed and more than half of the population become refugees.
1996 – A peace pact brokered by the international community calls for elections.
July 19, 1997 – Taylor is elected president of Liberia in a special election.
2000 – Rebels in Liberia begin a struggle against Taylor’s government.
June 4, 2003 – Taylor is indicted for crimes against humanity by a United Nations court. Charges include murder, enslavement and the recruitment of child soldiers.
June 6, 2003 – Rebels advance into Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
June 2003 – President George W. Bush makes a statement asking Taylor to step down for the good of the Liberian people.
August 7, 2003 – Taylor submits his letter of resignation.
August 11, 2003 – Steps down as president, hands over power to Vice President Moses Blah and leaves for Nigeria, where he is granted asylum.
December 4, 2003 – Interpol puts out a global arrest warrant for Taylor.
March 16, 2006 – The indictment against Taylor is amended and reduced to 11 counts.
March 29, 2006 – Taylor is recaptured and taken into custody by border guards in northern Nigeria as he tried to leave the country with his wife.
April 3, 2006 – Taylor appears at a UN-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone and pleads not guilty to 11 war crimes charges.
June 20, 2006 – Taylor is transferred to the Hague in the Netherlands for trial.
June 4, 2007 – Taylor boycotts the opening of his trial, calling it a “charade” in a letter read by his attorney.
January 7, 2008 – Taylor appears in court as his war crimes trial resumes.
June 2010 – The prosecution, which rested its case against Taylor in 2009, asks to reopen its case. This is done to allow for the testimony of model Naomi Campbell and actress Mia Farrow regarding “blood diamonds” that Taylor may have given Campbell in 1997.
March 11, 2011 – Taylor’s trial concludes.
April 26, 2012 – Taylor is found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone.
May 16, 2012 – At a sentencing hearing, Taylor says that terrible things happened in Sierra Leone, for which there can be no justification, but his role in the conflict was much different than represented. “I pushed the peace process hard, contrary to how I have been portrayed in this court.”
May 30, 2012 – Taylor is sentenced to 50 years in prison.
January 22, 2013 – Taylor’s lawyers argue an appeal of Taylor’s conviction for war crimes.
September 26, 2013 – Taylor’s appeal is dismissed, his sentence stands.
Also Known As Charles McArthur Taylor, Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Age: 70 Years
Born In: Arthington, Liberia
Famous As: Former President Of Liberia
Political Ideology: Political Party – National Patriotic Party
Spouse/Ex-: Jewel Taylor
Father: Nelson Taylor
Mother: Bernice Taylor
Children: Beuford Jensen Taylor, Camille Grace Taylor, Charal Gina Taylor, Charen Zally Taylor, Charles McArthur Emmanuel, Charlyne Adrina Taylor, Charmaine Taylor, Gritchawn Taylor, Phillip Charles Taylor, Silvia Zoe Taylor
Founder/Co-Founder: Revolutionary United Front
Net Worth: $56 Million As Of Jan 22, 2017
Education: Bentley University
Charles Taylor is a former politician from the country of Liberia, who is said to have adopted ‘Ghankay’ as his middle name to appease the natives of the country. He graduated from ‘Bentley College’ in the U.S.A. and came back to Liberia to take part in a revolt against President Tolbert. The young man began his career in the government led by Samuel Doe, only to be charged with theft, three years into the job. He was arrested after escaping to the U.S., after which he fled from prison and settled in Libya. After getting trained by Libyan dictator Gaddafi, he returned to Liberia, overthrew Samuel Doe and soon became the President of his homeland. During his guerrilla career, he had allegedly helped cause the ‘Sierra Leone Civil War’, recruiting child soldiers, and killing many citizens. Meanwhile, as President, he was detected, and soon the ‘Second Liberian Civil War’ broke out. He was forced to resign from his post and went into exile in Nigeria. However, he was found guilty of war crimes as well as several other charges. After being sentenced by the ‘Special Court for Sierra Leone’, to 50 years of imprisonment, he is now being detained in a prison in the Netherlands.
Recommended Lists Outside: War Criminals Political Leaders
Childhood & Early Life
Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor was born to Nelson and his wife Bernice, on January 28, 1948, in the town of Arthington, Liberia. While Bernice belonged to the Gola tribe of Liberia, Nelson was an Americo-Liberian, who did various kinds of jobs like that of a teacher, lawyer, and judge.
Charles graduated from ‘Bentley College’ in the city of Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in 1977.
After graduating, this young man came back to Liberia to work for the leader of the country, Samuel Doe. Taylor took part in the uprising of April 12, 1980, under the leadership of Doe, against President William R. Tolbert, Jr. Tolbert was killed in the coup and a military rule was established by Doe’s party, ‘People’s Redemption Council’.
Charles was made the Director General of the ‘General Services Agency’ (‘GSA’), an organization that was responsible for making procurements for the government. In 1983, he was removed from the post because he had stolen $1000000 from the government for personal use.
Though he tried to escape to the United States of America, he was arrested by U.S. officials and imprisoned at the ‘Plymouth County House of Corrections’ in Massachusetts. Here, the convict tried to convince that he was being incriminated for political reasons rather than criminal, but to no avail.
The prisoner took the help of a few other convicts and fled from the jail on September 15, 1985. According to news reports they had cut through a bar outside a window, sliding down using tied up sheets, and finally disappearing into the woods.
Though reports say that the inmates were assisted by Taylor’s wife Enid and her sister Lucia, the man himself claimed much later that he was helped by CIA agents.
After escaping from the United States, he sought refuge in Libya and was trained in guerrilla warfare, by revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi. Charles moved to Ivory Coast in West Africa and formed the ‘National Patriotic Front of Liberia’ (‘NPFL’), a group of mutineers.
From Ivory Coast, the revolutionary led the ‘First Liberian Civil War’ in 1989, with the aim of ousting President Samuel Doe. Within the next year, under his leadership, the ‘NPFL’ had taken over most of the country.
The same year, one of his senior officers, Prince Johnson separated from the ‘NPFL’ to form the ‘Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia’ (‘INPFL’). Johnson seized the city of Monrovia, apprehended Doe, and tortured the latter to death.
After Johnson’s entry, the civil war turned even more violent and became the cause of ethnic divide in the country. The war lasted for seven long years and finally came to an end in 1996.
In 1997, general elections were held in Liberia, and Taylor was one of the presidential candidates. The elections were organized by the ‘United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia’ (‘UNOMIL’), in association with the ‘Economic Community of West African States’.
The ‘NPFL’ leader won a majority of the votes and was elected the President of Liberia. Though the elections were mostly fair, possibilities of citizens being scared of him could not be ruled out.
Within two years, citizens started resenting the President’s rule. In 1999, an insurgent group by the name of ‘Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy’ (‘LURD’) began protesting against the ruling government, thus paving the way for the ‘Second Liberian Civil War’.
Within a span of four years, the ‘LURD’, which was believed to have been assisted by the government of Guinea, had captured most of Liberia.
By 2003, a new rebel group called ‘Movement for Democracy in Liberia’ (‘MODEL’) had sprung up. ‘MODEL’ was supported by the government of Ivory Coast, and soon took over the southern part of Liberia.
On March 7, 2003, Taylor was accused of participation in the ‘Sierra Leone Civil War’. He was alleged by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, to have committed crimes against humanity by helping ‘Revolutionary United Front’ (RUF) kill more than 50,000 citizens. He was also accused of having employed child soldiers for the ‘RUF’ in the brutal war.
The court of Sierra Leone also alleged that Taylor had given refuge to the Al-Qaeda members who were wanted for the bomb blasts in Kenyan and Tanzanian U.S. embassies.
In July, the same year, the Liberian President lost control of Monrovia and had to seek exile in Nigeria, after orders from U.S. President George W. Bush. Bush urged Charles to resign, and the President of Liberia was forced to leave office on August 11, 2003.
After surrendering his government to his Vice-President Blah, he went to the city of Calabar in Nigeria. In November, the ‘United States Congress’ offered a reward of two million dollars to anyone who could help the U.S. government arrest Taylor.
Three years later, in 2006, the new President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, requested the Nigerian government to hand over custody of Charles. On March 25 the request was approved, but soon, the former Liberian President was missing.
Later that month, while Charles was attempting to escape through Cameroon, he was arrested by border guards who found cash and heroin in his vehicle. He was brought back to Libya, from where he was taken to Sierra Leone for his trial.
The court of Sierra Leone found the former political leader to be guilty of eleven charges, including rape, murder, and torture. After attending a series of court proceedings, he is currently being held in the Netherlands, where in 2012 he was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment.
Personal Life & Legacy
The Liberian political leader was initially married to Enid Tupee Taylor, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 1997, Charles got married to Jewel Cianeh Howard, but they separated after nine years’ of marriage. Currently, Jewel is the vice president of the Republic of Liberia.
The former President has fifteen children from various wives and girlfriends.
This politician has been adapted into a character in Russell Banks’ novel ‘The Darling’, which was published in 2004. Four years later, the political leader featured in a documentary movie titled ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’.
‘Lord of the War’, a Nicolas Cage starred, featured a character named Andre Baptiste, Sr., which was partly inspired by this former President of Liberia
As I write, Taylor is currently behind bars in the United Kingdon serving his jail term.
About the author:
Written by: Isaac-tom G. Seeblee, Jr.
Student @ African Methodist Episcopal University
Advocate and Activist
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel# : +231775588150/+231886148993