Charles Taylor Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia and convicted war criminal.


Birth date: January 28, 1948

Birth place: Arthington, Liberia

Birth name: Charles Taylor

Father: Nelson Taylor, judge

Mother: Zoe Taylor

Marriages: Victoria Addison-Taylor (unknown-present); Jewel (Howard) Taylor (1997-2006, divorced)

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

Other Facts

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. 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 - US 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.

September 8, 2020 - Taylor’s request to transfer to a prison outside of the UK over Covid-19 fears is denied.

October 2021 - Taylor files a lawsuit against the Liberian government over its refusal to pay his retirement and pension benefits since he resigned in 2003.