Taylor appealed for immunity from prosecution citing
his position as head of state, but lost [GALLO/GETTY]
1948: Charles Taylor was born in Liberia on January 28 to a family descended from freed American slaves. He earned an economics degree from Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.

1983: Flees Liberia after being accused of embezzling nearly $1m and is later detained in the US on a Liberian arrest warrant.

1985: Escapes from a Massachusetts jail.

1989: His National Patriotic Front of Liberia launches an armed uprising, sparking a conflict that leaves 200,000 dead.

1991-2002: Civil war erupts in Sierra Leone.

1997: Taylor is elected president of Liberia on August 2 after years of civil war.

2003: Indicted on 17 charges by a special court in Sierra Leone, including for murder, rape, sexual slavery, conscripting child soldiers and terrorising civilians during the civil war. He resigns as president and flees to Nigeria.

Taylor arriving at The Hague
prison in the Netherlands [AP]

2004: Loses an appeal for immunity from prosecution citing his position as head of state when indicted.

2006: Prosecutors amend the indictment and drop six of the 17 charges. Taylor disappears in late March after Nigeria bows to international pressure and agrees that he should stand trial, but is arrested while trying to enter Cameroon. He is later transferred to a special court in Sierra Leone.

2006: Detained in the United Nations detention block at The Hague while waiting for trial.

2007: Taylor's trial starts and is expected to last 18 months.

Source: Agencies