Skip to content

Breaking: Arrest of wife of Charles Taylor in London for war crimes

June 2, 2017

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches international humanitarian law and international human rights. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. Katharine has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and she is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog. She has recently started a 3-year NWO-Veni research project called ‘Dangerous Liaisons: civilian agency, armed groups and international law’.

Today British police charged Agnes Taylor with torture for her alleged involvement with atrocities committed by Charles Taylor’s rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), during the first Liberian Civil War.

Charles Taylor, who brought civil war to Liberia with the NPFL’s invasion in 1989 and who was President of Liberia from 1997-2003, was convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2012 for planning, aiding and abetting the commission by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of crimes such as acts of terrorism, murder and rape in Sierra Leone. He is currently serving a 50-year sentence.

Charles Taylor, however, has never been held accountable for his crimes committed in Liberia because the Liberian authorities have made no effort to investigate and prosecute crimes committed over a decade of civil war that claimed well over 150 000 lives, most of whom were civilians.

This landmark case marks the second time someone formerly associated with the NPFL has been charged with crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars. The first case involved NPFL front line Commander Martina Johnson who was arrested in Belgium in September 2014 for her alleged role in wartime atrocities.

The Geneva-based organization Civitas Maxima and the Monrovia-based Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) provided the initial information to the UK authorities, which led to the Metropolitan Police Service commencing an investigation. Police say Agnes Taylor, whose residence was given as east London, was arrested Thursday by the force’s war crimes team. She is due to appear in a London court on Saturday.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: