The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • We'll take appearances, please.

  • Good morning, Mr President, your Honours, opposing counsel. This morning for the Prosecution, Brenda J Hollis, Mohamed A Bangura, Christopher Santora, and Maja Dimitrova.

    Also, Mr President, the Prosecution has a trial management issue that it would like to raise today. We could either do that before the accused begins his testimony this morning or later in the day, as your Honours wish, but I did want to alert you to that matter.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • All right. Thank you, Ms Hollis. We'll deal with that before we start the evidence. Appearances, please, Mr Griffiths.

  • Good morning, Mr President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today, myself, Courtenay Griffiths, with me Mr Morris Anyah of counsel, Mr Silas Chekera of counsel, and we're also joined again today by Ms Haydee Dijkstal, one of our interns.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. What's the trial management issue, Ms Hollis?

  • Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, on 8 June, when we were discussing estimates for testimony, the Defence indicated that for this witness their estimate was that the testimony, both for direct and cross-examination, would be six to eight weeks. Now, I believe we're either on the 10th or 11th week of direct examination and the Prosecution would like to know - would like to have a realistic time frame for when the direct examination will be finished. And that is our request, Mr President.

  • Thank you, Ms Hollis.

    Mr Griffiths, I do note that on 8 June you did estimate the evidence of Mr Taylor would take between six and eight weeks and, in fact, you said that would be both in chief and cross-examination. However, we recognise that the estimates of counsel on the length of testimony of their witnesses is notoriously inaccurate. So, obviously, at that stage, on 8 June, it was impossible to be precise. But, nevertheless, in the light of what Ms Hollis has said, is there any estimate you can give as to the anticipated continued length of this testimony?

  • Mr President, yes. Your Honours, as you rightly observed, Mr President, it's notoriously difficult to provide an accurate estimate of the length of time testimony will take, and at the stage at which I gave that time estimate, I anticipated that six to eight weeks would be entirely adequate. Unfortunately, we need to bear in mind that we've effectively lost a week due to my own illness and also because, quite properly, your Honours have decided not to sit on a Friday. Again, the estimate I've given, bearing those factors in mind, is at this stage not that widely inaccurate.

    Nonetheless, taking all of those factors into account, I estimate that when we resume after the recess that we should be able to conclude Mr Taylor's testimony in chief in the order of a couple of weeks. Thereafter, it's impossible for me to anticipate how long the Prosecution will take in terms of cross-examination. And given the breadth of the issues, that is also likely to last some weeks, bearing in mind, of course, that on resumption we have, on my estimation, some seven weeks before we rise for the Christmas vacation, and then we also have to factor in possible re-examination and also what I anticipate will be a substantial amount of time devoted to the exhibition of the 263 plus documents which we have already identified - marked for identification. And from the reaction of counsel opposite yesterday, when the issue as to whether or not that process should be begun before the recess was raised, I anticipate that there will be much argument regarding those 263 documents.

    Bearing all of those factors in mind, bearing also in mind the fact that we have an extended Christmas vacation because of the move, it seems to me likely that the testimony of Mr Taylor will run into the New Year.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths.

    Ms Hollis, I think Mr Griffiths has answered your immediate inquiry, which was a realistic time frame for when the direct examination will be finished. Leaving aside the other considerations, Mr Griffiths has said a couple of weeks after resumption after this Court recess. So I think from then on it's going to be a question of perhaps legal arguments on the documents marked for identification and, of course, your cross-examination.

  • Yes. Thank you, Mr President. Now we do, hopefully, have a realistic estimate for the remainder of direct.

  • Yes, hopefully so.

    Mr Taylor, before there are any questions asked, I'll remind you, you are still bound by your oath to tell the truth.

    Yes, please, Mr Griffiths.

  • Yes, may it please your Honours.