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

  • We will take appearances first, please.

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

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Yes, thank you, Ms Hollis. Mr Griffiths.

  • Good morning, Mr President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today myself Courtenay Griffiths, assisted by my learned friends Mr Morris Anyah, Mr Silas Chekera and Mr Terry Munyard.

  • Yes. Thank you, Mr Griffiths. I understand you had some submission to make.

  • Well, the first matter I would like to raise is an application for some time. A matter arose unexpectedly over the weekend. I had the opportunity of mentioning it to Mr Taylor this morning but, unfortunately, had insufficient time to discuss it both with him and with my learned friends. And, consequently, I would ask, initially, for 30 minutes in order to discuss the matter thoroughly with Mr Taylor and with my colleagues. It is that important.

  • I see. This came to your knowledge just this morning, is it?

  • No, no, it came to my knowledge over the weekend, but we were unable to meet over the weekend because we were all in various locations around the world.

  • You are only asking for half an hour?

  • Do you have any difficulties with that, Ms Hollis?

  • Absolutely none, Mr President.

  • We take it, as you say, that it is important, Mr Griffiths, so we will give you that time. We will resume at, let's say, five past 10.

  • [Break taken at 9.33 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 10.00 a.m.]

  • Yes, Mr Griffiths. We have given you the time. What's the problem?

  • Mr President, half an hour has expired and we still have not been able to see, Mr Taylor, because --

  • Why not?

  • There is apparently a rule that only three lawyers at a time may see Mr Taylor at the back of the Court, as if undoubtedly we're going to attack the guards and free him. And we are talking about a matter here which is so important, it could result in this trial being aborted. Now, each of us on the Defence side have been looking at different aspects of what is a very novel situation and we need the input from all four of us in this discussion. Yet we have come up against the brick wall of this stupid rule, and I say that quite bluntly, which means that we can't have the meaningful discussion that we require and that's the problem.

    Short of us rising at this stage, Mr Taylor being taken back to the prison in Scheveningen and we all travel to Scheveningen in order to see him, it is impossible for us to have the discussion with our client which the exigencies of this situation demand.

  • Tell me, Mr Griffiths, why can't three of you speak to Mr Taylor and pass it on to the fourth one? What's wrong with that?

  • No, Mr President. We find that unacceptable in the circumstances because of the various work we have each individually done since I brought this matter to their attention and the need to have a collective decision on this.

  • I don't know what matter you're talking about, but surely you can have a collective decision by three of you passing it on to the fourth one and then getting his input as well.

  • Well, Mr President, I don't want to appear difficult on this, but it's not as if we are demanding a great deal here. All we are asking for is for Mr Taylor's four lawyers, instructed by him, to see him and have a discussion - a consultation with him. That's all we are asking for.

  • Mr Griffiths, I wouldn't have thought you are asking for a great deal either, but the ICC security have their rules. I am with you when you say what do they think Mr Taylor is going to do, or what do they think the four Defence counsel are going to do; attempt a break-out or something that impossible? But the fact of the matter is the ICC detention people are bound by their rules and I guess they suffer consequences if they go outside them, except hearing from superior authority.

    My understanding is there is no superior authority available to give my instructions which is a wonderful way to run a trial, I agree. But tell me this: The matter you are talking, bout does not stem from an unbidden email sent by the UN to you and a copy to me? Is that the one?

  • It is the matter.

  • Well, look, Mr Griffiths, isn't it a totally unacceptable proposition that some person, who is not a party to this trial, who doesn't have any right of audience before the Court, can send an email and thereby - completely unbidden email thereby cause a delay to this trial. That's a ridiculous situation too.

  • I total agree, Mr President.

  • Why can't we get on with the trial. I am taking no action at all on the email I saw. I don't know who the person, I don't know what they are talking about. They are not entitled to address the Court and the email is not about any issue before this Court and it hasn't been put in issue before this Court by either of the parties. So why are we suffering these delays?

  • I am grateful for that indication, Mr President, and in the circumstances my submission is that we should get on with the trial.

  • Let's get on with it. If there is any issues to be raised from that email, they will be done in the proper manner by a party.

  • I totally agree, Mr President.

  • Yes, Mr President. You are talking about an email and parties raising matters, but the Prosecution has no such email so we don't know what you're talking about, so we couldn't raise anything if we wanted to because we don't know what this is.

  • That's exactly my point, Ms Hollis. But let's get on with it.

  • Your Honours, if I may be permitted to inform the Court about the present situation with regard to the ICC security. There has been a development.

  • That's all right. We are getting on with the trial.

    Mr Taylor, can you step into the witness box, please.