BY KENDALL LAWRENCE, NATE HAKEN, PATRICIA TAFT AND NORA LOCASAR
On April 26, 2012, the International Criminal Court convicted Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor for his role in the commission of crimes against humanity during the war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. For Sierra Leone, this brought a dark chapter to a close — and for Liberia as well.
From 1989 to 1990, Charles Taylor and Prince Johnson fought to overthrow then-president Samuel Doe. After Johnson captured and killed Doe (sipping a Budweiser as he chopped off his ears), he and Taylor fought a bloody war for control of Monrovia. Taylor eventually took power, but the country was plunged into a civil war that lasted until 2003 when peacekeepers were deployed and Taylor was exiled to Nigeria.
Researchers from The Fund for Peace (FFP) and Liberia Democracy Watch (LDW) were present in Gbarnga, Taylor’s erstwhile base of operations, for a conflict assessment workshop on the day of the conviction. Riot police and UNMIL forces were deployed en masse, standing by in the event of protest. However, time had apparently passed Taylor by. People went about their businesses. “It’s over,” one person said.