The Metropolitan Police Service 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.
As partner organizations, Civitas Maxima and the GJRP document alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Liberian civil wars and represent victims in their pursuit of justice.
This the fourth time since 2014 that the collaborative work between Civitas Maxima and its partners in Africa – GJRP in Liberia and the Centre of Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) in Sierra Leone – has led to information being passed to European authorities resulting in the arrest of an alleged perpetrator of international crimes, with the first three arrests occurring in Switzerland and Belgium and the fourth now in the United Kingdom.