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

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.]

  • Good morning. We'll take appearances first, please.

  • Good morning, Madam President. Good morning, your Honours. For the Prosecution, the Prosecutor Brenda J Hollis, Kathryn Howarth, Maja Dimitrova and Nicholas Koumjian.

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence, myself Terry Munyard, Courtenay Griffiths QC, Morris Anyah and Silas Chekera.

    Madam President, I will be taking the next witness. Before that there are two preliminary matters I would seek to raise for the Court's consideration. The first in fact is simply to inquire if I may through the Court how long the Prosecution seek by way of an adjournment to consider further preparation for their cross-examination of witness DCT-125. I'm asking that through the Court because there are obvious logistical issues that arise in relation to other Defence witnesses and it would be helpful to us to know how long the Prosecution seek so that we can make the proper arrangements and assist the Witness and Victims Section also.

    Then the second matter I'll raise, once that's dealt with, is, I will be making a short oral application for some protective measures in relation to the next witness who we will be calling.

  • As I understood yesterday, the proposal that the Court adopted was that this new witness would be interposed and the adjournment would last for the duration of this witness's examination-in-chief. Now, that puts the ball back in your court. But if you say that there are logistical problems, we could revisit.

  • Madam President, I don't anticipate that this current witness will be terribly long in total and that's really why I'm raising the question now, because I hope it's for the convenience of everybody, both parties and the Court and the Witness and Victims Section for us to get some idea of whether the Prosecution are asking for a day, two days or whatever. Because I am reasonably confident - although counsel's time estimates are never very reliable - I'm reasonably confident that we should be able to finish this witness inside a day.

  • That is the examination-in-chief or in total?

  • In total, working, of course, on the basis that I don't know how much cross-examination there will be, but that's my best estimate.

  • Good morning, counsel opposite. Your Honours, the Prosecution when we spoke yesterday, we are relying, as we generally are, on the time estimates given by the Defence in the summaries. The time estimate given until just a moment ago for this witness 068 was 11 hours in direct examination or two days total, so we were looking to having until Tuesday to commence the cross-examination of - or continue with the cross-examination of DCT-125. So our request is, if this is a witness that will be finished within a day, apparently the Defence has listed another witness for this week, 025, and we'd ask to do his direct and, if possible, I don't know if that witness can be finished tomorrow, that would be fine, but we would ask to start the cross-examination on 125 on the next court day which would be Tuesday. And that would give us sufficient time, in our view, given the short notice that we had, to prepare both a thorough and efficient cross-examination on 125.

  • Did you say 068? We've been given to believe it's 146. DCT-146. Who is the next witness? What is the DCT number?

  • I have to say, I tend to work in people's names, but on this occasion I know I've correctly remembered the number and it is 068. I'm mystified by the suggestion that it's somebody else or a different number.

  • Obviously we were misinformed and I do beg your pardon.

  • I'm sorry if that's arisen as a result of anything that's come from our side. I don't know how it's arisen.

    Can I say this in relation to time estimates that were previously given by us: That we obviously tried to be as accurate as we could, but once one goes into proofing a witness, quite often the situation changes. And may I remind the Court of something that may feel now in 2010 like ancient history, but the very first witness who was called in this case on 7 January 2008 by the Prosecution was listed as likely to give evidence-in-chief for 16 hours. He gave evidence-in-chief for four and a half hours. He was cross-examined for one hour that same day and another hour the following day, 8 January. Re-examination was quite short and he was out of here before the lunch adjournment on the second day. This is no criticism of anybody. It is simply to illustrate the way in which the time estimates genuinely given well in advance of a witness may turn out to be inaccurate.

    In any event, I would have thought that everybody would be pleased that it's anticipated a witness will not take as long as previously predicted. I'm sure the management committee would be pleased to hear that.

  • The management committee doesn't run the trial; we do. Mr Munyard, of course these things cannot be predicted with the precision of mathematics, but the question that I'd like you to address is whether or not the Defence is in a position to interpose two instead of one witness as proposed.

  • Well, then that settles it. I propose that we go into the evidence of this next witness and see how far we go. And I think the Prosecution's request until Tuesday is not unreasonable in the circumstances. They were entitled to 21 days; they got 16, leaving a balance of five. That's basically about a week. So I don't think it's an unreasonable request.

    Please call or address us regarding your next witness.

  • Yes. Madam President, your Honours, you will appreciate that in relation to all of the Defence witnesses, there were pre-trial protective measures put in place by virtue of the Court's order of 29 May 2009 under Rule 69 in which the names of the witnesses, the true identities of the witnesses were replaced by a pseudo number. And in relation to all of the witnesses thus far called, we've given the Prosecution the identities of the witnesses we're calling in accordance with the Court's rules. This particular witness is going to be the first Defence witness who comes from Sierra Leone. You will note that the two other witnesses who we've called so far do not originate from Sierra Leone. This particular witness is especially anxious, as the first Defence witness for Mr Taylor to come from Sierra Leone itself, that he may suffer reprisals for giving evidence in a cause which, I hope I can put delicately in this way, is not a particularly popular cause in Sierra Leone. It is for that reason that he has expressed very considerable anxiety to me when I've seen him over the last few days about his identity being disclosed fully to the public.

    What he would like would be simply for his name and identifying details not to be made public. He is a gentleman who always, when I've met him, wears a hat, and his view is that if he were allowed to wear his hat, that would also to a degree protect his identity.

    May I say there's an incidental further point as far as that is concerned. He is suffering at the moment from a cold, and he therefore would like to dress up as warmly as possible. I can tell your Honours that despite the central heating being on in the premises where we've been seeing these witnesses, several of them have sat there wearing coats and even gloves because the temperature for them, coming from West Africa, is still very difficult indeed to adjust to. While we've been taking off layer after layer of clothing, they've been putting them on.

    But in any event, in his case he is suffering from a cold, he would like to wear as many clothes as possible, including, if you would allow it, his hat, which would also go some way about allaying his concerns about many people recognising him as somebody who has been involved in the past with the RUF. That is the organisation that he will be talking about.

    His anxieties do not stem from any particular incident. They stem solely from his own concerns as somebody who has lived in Sierra Leone throughout the entire period and who is still anxious that people do not know him any longer - sorry, do not associate him with the history of the rebel movement of that country.

    Unless there's any other matter on which you think I can specifically assist you, those are my submissions.

  • Mr Munyard, do I understand that the witness is willing to testify openly as long as his name is not mentioned?

  • And as long as his residence is not mentioned?

  • Yes. And he would like some sort of - he'd like to have his appearance modified to the extent that I've mentioned.

  • Yes, but surely, Mr Munyard, the wearing of clothing is not a recognised mode of protection under the rules.

  • It may not be, and it would therefore fall entirely within your Honours' discretion.

  • If he's simply cold, that's a different matter that we can consider. If his head is cold --

  • I can tell you that his head is shaven, so he doesn't have is the sort of protection that some of us have as a result of having hair on our heads.

  • I object, your Honour, to counsel's remark. Just kidding on that. Just for the record, your Honour, we don't oppose the measures proposed by counsel. We would simply note that the witness's name was disclosed to us on 22 February, 17 days ago. We're prepared to proceed at this time.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian.

    Mr Munyard, for very humanitarian reasons we will allow the witness to wear a hat in court. You may call the witness.

  • Madam President, we're very much obliged.

  • Mr Munyard, after the witness has taken his oath, I will propose that we go into a brief private session to take his personal details.