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

  • I note that absence of the accused. We have been informed verbally of the reason. Before we go into that matter and we proceed on I wish to raise one preliminary issue so I will first take appearances and then raise that preliminary issue.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused not present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • For the Defence today, Madam President, it's myself Courtenay Griffiths, my learned friend Mr Terry Munyard and my learned friend Mr Morris Anyah.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. Ms Hollis?

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours. Brenda J Hollis, Nicholas Koumjian, Alain Werner and Maja Dimitrova.

  • Thank you. As I've indicated I wish to raise the fact of a motion that was filed yesterday. I will obviously be careful how I word it because it's a confidential motion and it's an urgent Prosecution motion. I will stress and note that I would not normally adopt the procedure I'm adopting now, but because we will be going into recess tomorrow after court I am going to refer and ask the Defence you will note if you have read the motion that the Prosecution refer to a previous Defence position in paragraph 11 of that motion. Are you aware of the motion I'm referring to, Mr Griffiths?

  • I'm not, your Honour.

  • It is motion 435 and it is an urgent Prosecution motion for additional protective measures. It was filed yesterday and I therefore obviously inquire if it's been served on you.

  • Well, I've not seen it, your Honour. I was in the office until 8 o'clock last night.

  • Your Honour, I can confirm that the motion was served and has been electronically distributed as well.

  • I'm told by my learned friend Mr Munyard sotto voce that he's now seen it on his email.

  • In the light of the fact that you haven't seen it it's premature for me to continue. I would therefore request Defence counsel at their earliest opportunity to consider the content of that motion, I have referred to paragraph 11 therein, and I will raise it again in the course of the day.

  • Very well, your Honour.

  • We will now deal with the - I have been informed informally that the accused Mr Taylor is within the Court building.

  • He's arrived, but he's going through the procedure of being brought up to this level.

  • Have you any indication how long it will take?

  • None whatsoever, Madam President.

  • Madam President, the time estimate given to the Registry is quarter to 10.

  • Since it appears that the accused is not going to be immediately within the well of the Court for purposes of record we will take a note of why the accused has been delayed in coming into court. Mr Griffiths, can you just briefly outline to us for purposes of record?

  • Apparently, Madam President, there was an accident on the motorway adjacent to the Court today which I'm told resulted in a fatality and on my way into Voorburg I saw a helicopter landing on the motorway. As a consequence the whole motorway was blocked up and I'm told that those charged with bringing Mr Taylor to court thought that there was a security risk if they came to be stuck in traffic, because the whole centre of Den Haag was clogged up, and so consequently they returned to Scheveningen.

  • Thank you for that explanation. I presume, Ms Hollis, you have no comment to make on that explanation. It's outside the control of all of us.

    We will therefore retire to await Mr Taylor's being brought into the well of the Court. In the interim I will ask that the - just to clarify, this motion that I mentioned, Mr Griffiths, the Bench has in mind, in light of the urgency and the fact that we're going into recess, to take the step of making an oral order if the Defence consents, hence my referral to paragraph 11, and I will allow you time to consider your position.

  • Madam President, perhaps what we ought to do is to use a convenient break during the course of today, perhaps either at the end of the short adjournment or the 11 o'clock adjournment and take 15 minutes to try and deal with the matter in the absence of the witness so as not to inconvenience him.

  • Thank you. If that's convenient to all concerned we will deal with it in that way.

  • Madam President, apparently he will be in in approximately five minutes.

  • In that case we will rise and resume in that time. Please adjourn temporarily.

  • [Break taken at 9.37 a.m.]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon resuming at 9.41 a.m.]

  • I will remind the witness of his oath and I note that Mr Taylor is now in court and I hope he hasn't been unduly shaken by the experience.

  • May it please your Honour. Mr Marzah --

  • I haven't reminded him of the oath. I like to adopt that procedure from day to day, Mr Griffiths.

    Mr Witness, first I'm sorry we're late starting, reasons beyond everybody's control, and I want to remind you that yesterday you took the oath to tell the truth. The oath is still binding on you and you must answer truthfully. Do you understand?

  • Yes, sir. I will say the truth and nothing but the truth before God and man.