The World’s 6 Most Feared War Criminals


Charles Taylor (Liberia)

With an economics degree from a US college and guerrilla training in Libya, Taylor had a unique résumé even before his coup against Liberian president Samuel Doe. He’s notorious for his conscription of child soldiers, whom he kept loyal with drugs and permission to rape and plunder. He also greased the palm of Pat Robertson, trading mining concessions for DC lobbying.

Status: After three years on the lam, Taylor awaits verdict in The Hague, where he has two cells: one for him, another for his legal papers.


Joseph Kony
(Uganda)

As head of the Lord’s Resistance Army—which began a guerrilla war against Uganda in 1987 and has since expanded its reach to Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic—Kony is the king of African warlords. Since 2008, the LRA has kidnapped or killed around 6,000 civilians and displaced some 400,000.

Status: Fugitive since 2005. Indicted by the ICC on 33 counts, Kony allegedly traveled from exile in the Sudan to Congo as recently as January.


Félicien Kabuga
(Rwanda)

Called “Africa’s Pol Pot” by the Sunday Times of London, the Rwandan millionaire is accused of financing the genocide of Tutsis in 1994. In 2002, the US offered $5 million for information leading to his capture; a later attempt to arrest him left an informant dead.

Status: Still at large. While Kabuga’s wife and children are said to live in Europe, many believe that the septuagenarian is hiding out in Kenya.
 


Efraín Ríos Montt
(Guatemala)

Head of a military cabal in the 1980s, Ríos Montt ran a campaign to break leftist guerrillas and wipe out their Mayan supporters. A UN truth commission later called it genocide. Ríos Montt denied it: “Can one say President Clinton is responsible for the Oklahoma bomb because he is president?”

Status: Despite an international warrant issued by a Spanish judge in 2006, the 85-year-old has served in the Guatemalan Congress since 2007.

 

Ratko Mladi? (Serbia)

The “Butcher of Bosnia” was indicted in 1995 for his role in the four-year siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. Following the 2001 arrest of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, Mladi? went into hiding, evading capture for a decade.

Status: In jail. The 69-year-old Mladi? refused to enter pleas at his trial, instead disrupting the courtroom with several outbursts until he was removed.
 
 

Omar al-Bashir (Sudan)

President of Sudan since 1989, Bashir allegedly ordered the rape, murder, and torture of civilians in Darfur. In 2009, he became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC. (Moammar Qaddafi was the second.)

Status: That’s right: He’s still Sudan’s president. And since the ICC indictment and order for extradition, Bashir has visited Chad, Kenya, and Djibouti without incident.

Image credits from top: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters; AP file photo; US State Dept.; Carlos Duarte/Reuters; Srdjan Ilic/AP Photo; Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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