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On December 6 the US Department of Justice took a major step in bringing its first-ever criminal charges for torture committed outside the United States against Charles “Chuckie” Taylor, Jr. The son of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor and a Boston-born US citizen, Chuckie Taylor is implicated in abuses committed while he served as the commander of an elite pro-government military unit in Liberia. After Taylor was taken into US custody when he tried to enter Miami in March, Human Rights Watch pressed for him to be investigated under never-before-applied US federal laws that make it a crime to commit torture and war crimes abroad. We also submitted a memorandum to the Department of Justice detailing Taylor’s serious crimes. Chuckie Taylor’s unit is alleged to have committed torture, including various violent assaults, beating people to death, rape, and burning civilians alive. These first-ever charges for torture committed abroad are a crucial first step by the US government to ensure long-awaited justice for the victims of Taylor’s crimes.

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