Charles Taylor: Warlord and showman
Charles Taylor may be a former warlord but he also has a reputation as a flamboyant showman.
He was once asked in a BBC interview why some people thought he was little better than a murderer.
He shot back: "Jesus Christ was accused of being a murderer in his time."
In 1980 Taylor joined the regime of Master Sergeant Samuel Doe in Liberia, but the two men fell out and he fled back to the US, where he had studied.
He apparently escaped from a prison in Massachusetts by sawing through the bars, and returned to Liberia to wage war on Doe.
Prosecutors at the Hague say he was trained in Libya by representatives of the government of Colonel Gaddafi.
He is said to have formed or helped to form the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), beginning attacks in Liberia in the late 80s.
Taylor is accused of being allied with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
The RUF was responsible for widespread atrocities during Sierra Leone's civil war, which lasted from 1991 to 2002.
The rebel soldiers, including children, were notorious for hacking off hands and limbs.
Prosecutors say the RUF paid Taylor using "blood diamonds" from mines under their control, and he paid them back with guns and weapons.
After winning power in Liberia militarily, he won elections in 1997 and became president.
But after yet more bloodshed he was forced to step down in 2003 and fled to Nigeria.
He was arrested three years later on the Nigeria-Cameroon border in a disguised diplomatic car which was allegedly full of cash.
Taylor, 62, now denies 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The charges include murder, rape and sexual slavery, and using child soldiers.
Taylor is accused of being criminally responsible for countless atrocities in which innocent victims were shot, hacked and burned to death, and subjected to horrific acts of sexual violence.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson in official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Teleradiology s...
£19000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Telera...
£14600 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 2003 the company...