News24

Charles Taylor timeline

2012-04-26 10:35

Here is a timeline of Charles Taylor's rise and fall. The ex-leader is awaiting verdict on charges of arming Sierra Leone's rebels in return of "blood diamonds" in the 1990s.

28 January 1948: Charles Taylor born in Arthington, Liberia, into a family descended from freed American slaves.

1970s: Lives in Boston area of the United States, earning an economics degree from Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.

1983: Flees Liberia after being accused of embezzling about $1m. He is later detained in the United States on a Liberian arrest warrant.

1985: Escapes from a Massachusetts jail.

December 1989: Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebel group launches armed uprising in Liberia, sparking a conflict that leaves 200 000 dead.

1991-2002: Sierra Leone civil war.

Aug. 2, 1997: Taylor elected Liberia's president following years of civil war.

03 March 2003: Special Court for Sierra Leone indicts Taylor on charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery, conscripting child soldiers and terrorising civilians for his support of rebels during Sierra Leone civil war. Indictment is unsealed on 04 June 2003, during Taylor's first overseas trip since his indictment.

11 August 2003: Taylor resigns and flies into exile in Nigeria.

31 May 2004: Appeals judges reject Taylor's claim that he was immune from prosecution because he was a serving head of state when indicted.

Late March 2006: Taylor disappears after Nigeria agrees, amid international pressure, that he should stand trial.

29 March 2006: Taylor taken into custody as he tries to cross border from Nigeria to Cameroon. Is transferred to the special court in Sierra Leone. Then-prosecutor Desmond De Silva says Taylor's arrest "sends out the clear message that no matter how rich, powerful or feared people may be — the law is above them."

20 June 2006: Taylor transferred to the UN detention block in The Hague to await trial.

04 June 2007: Trial starts with prosecution's opening statement. Taylor fires his lawyer and boycotts the proceedings.

07 January 2008: Trial resumes with new defence lawyer after a 6-month delay.

13 June 2009: Taylor begins his defence.

12 November 2010: Taylor wraps up defence.

11 March 2011: Judges begin considering verdicts.

26 April 2012: Judges due to deliver verdicts.