- By Elizabeth DickinsonElizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based Deca journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @dickinsonbeth.
Chuckie Taylor, the son of former Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, was sentenced to 97 years in prison today for convictions of conspiracy, torture, and firearm possession by a federal judge in Miami. He was "lucky" to get just 97 — prosecutors were seeking 147 years.
Name doesn’t ring a bell? The case of Chuckie Taylor was one of our "Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2008", and his trial is important for two reasons. First, Taylor’s trial is the first conviction from a 1994 law allowing the U.S. to prosecute American citizens and anyone on U.S. soil for torture committed abroad. Taylor is a U.S. citizen, (he was born while his father lived in the United States) and tortured hundreds of Liberians during as commander of the so-called "Demon Forces," a special security unit meant to protect his father, the President, from 1999 to 2003. The precedent is now set for more cases to follow.
Chuckie Taylor’s trial is also important for Liberia. This is the first and only conviction in a war crimes trial for the war in Liberia; no tribunal has been setup in that country. Like father like son — Charles Taylor Sr. is on trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity, as well.
So don’t miss the Chuckie Taylor story this time around. And catch-up our other missed stories from 2008 before they crop up again.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. national security advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |