FIU College of Law wins $22 million damage award for victims of Liberian torture

MIAMI – Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor, owes five Liberian victims more than $22 million in damages for torturing and persecuting them while he headed the infamous Liberian Anti-Terrorism Unit under his father’s dictatorial rule, according to a ruling issued today in federal court.

Florida International University’s College of Law, through its Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, represented five Liberians in a 13-month-long civil trial that argued Chuckie Taylor imposed irreversible physical and psychological damage on the plaintiffs.

“The victims have finally had their day in court in this case,” said Troy Elder, director of the clinic and co-counsel in the case. “They suffered unspeakable horrors, crossed an ocean and faced their attacker, and now, even though money can never undo the damage that has been done to them, Miami federal court has sent a clear message that torture is unacceptable in a civilized society. It also is amazing that our student lawyers were able to defeat in civil court someone who was once so feared.”

Chuckie Taylor is the son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who is currently being prosecuted in The Hague. In 1997, Chuckie Taylor was appointed by his father to the position of commander of an elite special forces group known as the Liberian Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATI).

The trial follows Chuckie Taylor’s 2008 conviction under the Convention Against Torture, when he was found guilty and sentenced to 97 years in federal prison.

“Our students and law clinic did outstanding work in this case,” said College of Law Dean R. Alexander Acosta, who as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted Chuckie Taylor under the Convention Against Torture. “The victims suffered incomprehensible pain at the hands of Mr. Taylor, and I hope the judgment that our law clinic worked to achieve will help them to repair their lives.”

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan described Chuckie Taylor’s acts as “a chilling example to man’s inhumanity to man.”

The Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at FIU’s College of Law allows students taking part in the clinic to act as student attorneys on behalf of disadvantaged immigrants from all over the world. The clinic has also recently expanded to provide assistance in areas of international human rights work in various countries.

Media Contact: Jean-Paul Renaud at 305-348-2716.

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About FIU College of Law:
The Florida International University College of Law meets an important need in the community by providing a quality, affordable legal education for South Florida residents. The student body, while principally from South Florida, is diverse in racial, ethnic, and professional background.  FIU College of Law graduates have passed the Florida Bar Exam at rates exceeding the statewide pass rate.

About FIU:
Florida International University was founded in 1965 and is Miami’s only public research university. With a student body of more than 38,000, its 17 colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. More than 100,000 FIU alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “High Research Activity University”. In August 2009, FIU welcomed the inaugural class of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. For more information about FIU, visit