Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor
Former President (1997-2003)
Date of Birth: 28/01/1948
Place of Birth: Arthington
Education: Economics, Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, 1977.
Career: National Chairman, Union of Liberian Associations; Director of Government Purchasing, 1980-83; Head of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, 1989; President of Liberia, 1997-2003.
Commentary: Following his arrest in 2006, Charles Taylor has quickly become a pariah in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indicted by the Sierra Leonean Special Courts, his trial is taking place in the Hague rather than in Freetown because of the risk of political destabilization in Sierra Leone and since no West African country wanted to take him in. He is charged with committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law.
His trial marks the first time that an African ruler, forced from power by a combination of diplomacy and military pressure, has faced an internationally recognised court.