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

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused not present]

  • [Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.]

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

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, opposing counsel. This morning for the Prosecution, Nicholas Koumjian, Mohamed A Bangura, Maja Dimitrova, and Brenda J Hollis.

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, counsel opposite. This morning for the Defence, myself, Terry Munyard, Morris Anyah, Silas Chekera, Logan Hambrick, our case manager Salla Moilanen and joining - appearing in the Court for the first time are our new legal assistant, Kimberley Punt, P-U-N-T, and two interns, Sylvia Csevar, spelt C-S-E-V-A-R, and Alexandra Popov. Yes, I think that's the full complement.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard. And the team is certainly welcome to the Court.

    Mr Munyard, Mr Taylor is not in court. Would you like to put something on the record?

  • Yes, Madam President. He indicated that for personal reasons that he would prefer to remain where he resides today and to be informed by us of the outcome of today's hearing. And so, of course, he gives his full consent for proceedings to take place in his absence.

  • Very well. Then the proceedings will continue in the absence of the accused, pursuant to Rule 60B of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence in his absence.

    Now, we are here basically for a status conference that was convened pursuant to an agenda that was published a couple of days ago. But before we go into the agenda, as you know, there is one decision pending, there's a motion pending before the Court. And we have reckoned that in the interests of expediting matters, the Chamber will issue an oral decision now without reasons and will issue - we will publish the reasons later. And I'm speaking of the decision on public with confidential annexes A to J and public annexes K to O, Defence motion requesting an investigation into contempt of court by the Office of the Prosecutor and its investigators.

    The Trial Chamber dismisses this motion in its entirety and will publish the reasons therefore in due course.

    Now, to the agenda items. The first agenda item that was proposed by the Defence was an item entitled "Disclosure review by the Prosecution". Mr Munyard, I'm going to ask you to submit and explain what this item agenda is about.

  • Madam President, this really follows from the matter that I raised at the beginning of the last status conference, which was that as the Prosecution are under a continuing obligation of disclosure, we asked them to review all the material they had in relation to witnesses who we had indicated as potential Defence witnesses who had also been potential Prosecution witnesses. We have had, since that status conference, disclosure in relation to one of the witnesses who fell into that category, and, indeed, in fact, in relation to another one who was a potential Defence - or Prosecution witness. We've also had some disclosure in relation to him. So we've had disclosure only in relation to two.

    Madam President, you may well recall I think it was Her Honour Justice Doherty who clarified with the Prosecution that the batch of witnesses we were talking about was a small group, not the entirety of either the Defence or the Prosecution witness list. But it still ran into double figures. And, as I say, we've had disclosure since then in relation to two people who fall within that group. And so we are formally inviting the Prosecution to indicate if they are still continuing to review matters relevant to that batch of witnesses.

  • Very well. Keeping with that agenda item, Ms Hollis, can we hear from the Prosecution.

  • Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Prosecution has conducted a review using the guidance that your Honours put forward in your decision on disclosure relating to DCT-097. As a result of that review, we did, in fact, disclose, per your order, disclosure materials for DCT-097. Yesterday, per your order, we disclosed materials in relation to DCT-032. In addition to those witnesses, we have in our response to the Defence motion that your Honours have dismissed, disclosed information relating to DCT-133, and that was in confidential annex 2 of our response to that motion.

    As Defence counsel said, we have made one additional disclosure, and that was as to a witness who is DCT-102. It has still not been confirmed to us that, indeed, the disclosure we made was for the same individual as DCT-102, because there were different names that were used. But there were similarities and, to ensure that we were not violating the directions of the Court, we disclosed this information, assuming this was the same individual. It may not have been, but at any rate, we have disclosed for that individual as well. We have completed our review and we have no additional disclosure to make.

  • Thank you, Ms Hollis. I think that disposes, Mr Munyard, of that agenda item. And as far as the trial managers are concerned, namely ourselves, that is no longer an issue that stands in the way of the completion strategy.

  • Well, your Honour, I can in fact confirm for Ms Hollis - I'm slightly surprised that I need to - it is the same witness. So let there be no doubt that 102 is the witness that we are both talking about. The disclosure that the Prosecution have given to us does relate to that person.

  • Very well. Now, the second agenda item, which is the date of formal closure of the Defence case.

  • You'll remember that at the time - the last time the Court sat here, substantially, I did draw the parties' attention to the fact that the Court has set - or had set the date of 12th November as the closure - the date of the formal closure of the Defence case. And that was contingent upon the calling of seven outstanding witnesses.

  • Yes.

  • Now, when that didn't happen, the Trial Chamber was prepared to review that date by bringing the closure date forward, not extending it. Forward. And so in view of the information we received yesterday, by email, that the Defence is thinking of calling one more witness, we would like to hear from the Defence what their ideas are on this second agenda item.

  • Certainly. The position is that we decided to call one further witness, this is DCT-102. We were initially under the impression that he was fully ready to travel and we were hoping he would be travelling very, very shortly. In fact, it subsequently turned out that although he'd been through all the WVS procedures, his Schengen visa had very recently expired. Less than two weeks ago, it turns out, his Schengen visa had expired. So we've spent a considerable amount of time discussing logistics. And bearing in mind, in particular, the cost to the Court, with the WVS, we've come up with a practical proposal which appears to be the speediest time that we can get the visa proposed and the witness here.

    What it is, the timetable that we've worked out with WVS is that - I won't go into all the details about the visa process, but the timetable we're looking at is flying the witness here on Wednesday, Wednesday of next week.

    Now, he will arrive, having travelled overnight, and so that's Wednesday 27th. So we don't anticipate being able to proof him until Thursday. Realistically, it's going to take two days to proof him. So we would wish to call him on Monday - the following Monday which is 1st November. I do not intend taking any more than two days in evidence-in-chief.

    How long he will be cross-examined for, of course, isn't a matter that I can cast any light on. But looking at a best case scenario, we could anticipate concluding that witness's evidence by the Friday, which is the 5th of November.

    However, I think to be safe, and to allow for eventualities, such as problems in processing the visa, eventualities such as occurred earlier in the year when there was a huge disruption to air traffic by act of God, the volcanic ash from Iceland - allowing for those sorts of eventualities that none of us can predict, if we were actually to go back to 12 November as the formal date of closure of the Defence case, hopefully we will be in a position to close before then. But I certainly agree with my colleagues who have suggested that we ought to build in a certain amount of leeway for the kind of eventualities that I've just been talking about.

    So if we were to say definitely by 12 November and hopefully before that, then I believe that that is a practical and sensible approach to the timetable for closure of the Defence case.

    May I say, and I'm anticipating some of the other agenda items here, I'm not going to go into them in any detail now - may I say that the formal closure of the Defence case is not of course stopping us working on the other matters that the Court is going to be concerned with in the rest of the agenda for this morning. So in that sense it's a formal closing date but we're not asking that anything else only flows from that date.

  • Mr Munyard, just out of interest, you'll be taking this witness yourself, right?

  • Thank you.

  • Perhaps at this stage I can only say that it's really in the Defence's hands to get this witness here as quickly as possible. So far I have heard nothing to cause me to shift that date originally set of 12 November, and certainly would welcome an earlier closure date. But we'll hear from the Prosecution, if they have anything to say in response.

  • Simply this, Madam President, your Honours: We would suggest that the closure date be the end of that witness's testimony and, in any event, no later than 12 November.

  • Mr Munyard, do you oppose that proposal? It sounds quite logical to me.

  • I think actually Ms Hollis is encapsulating the very proposal that I put forward and therefore obviously we agree. The parties appear to be at one on that matter.

  • We note that the parties are in agreement and certainly the Chamber also agrees that the order as it now stands is that the Defence closure date will occur at the end of the witness DCT-102 and, in any event, not later than 12 November 2010. So it's a slight amendment to the earlier order.

    Which brings me to item agenda number 3, the date for filing of the final trial briefs. I don't know if it's practical at this stage, with this nebulous point in time or period of the closure of the Defence case, but I will hear from the Prosecutor now first. Date of the filing of the final trial briefs.

  • Thank you, Madam President. We think it is entirely appropriate to discuss this matter now and to set the date. And we would note in that regard that in the RUF case Trial Chamber I set the date for the filing of the final trial brief before the closure of the Defence case. And there's no reason not to do that.

    As Defence counsel acknowledged, there's nothing to prevent the parties from working on the final trial brief, and we expect that the Defence has, as we have done, begun our preparations already. So we suggest that it is appropriate and we would ask your Honours to set a date for that today.

    In terms of what that date should be, we suggest that that date should be 17 December, which is a date we propose to be the last working day before the recess. That is a Friday, 17 December.

    Again, as the Defence has acknowledged, the fact they are calling one more witness after a six-week break in their case, and another apparent week before that witness - or more before that witness will be called, should not be a reason to delay the filing of the final trial brief. It would be eight weeks from today if your Honours set it for 17 December.

    That period of time is consistent with past practice. And if we review past practice, we look at the RUF case, from the end of the last witness's testimony of the last accused, the final trial brief was set for six weeks from that date. Six weeks from the date of the end of testimony of the last accused's witness.

    Now, as I said, the date for the final trial brief in the RUF case was set before the Defence case had closed, so it was set at a time when counsel were still involved preparing to question witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses. And as your Honours will, of course, remember in the AFRC case it was approximately five weeks from the conclusion of the testimony of the last witness of the last accused until the filing of the final trial briefs in that case. So we suggest that this would be a period of time that is sufficient time and is consistent with past practice.

    It is more than enough time for the parties to file their submissions. As we said, both parties have had ample time to begin to work on the final trial brief and typically, that is what you do. You don't wait until the last witness and the last party to call a witness has finished before you begin that work.

    The Defence team certainly has the resources to make this happen in this period of time. We note that in addition to the lead Defence counsel, they have four co-counsel. The last order of appearance that was filed with the Chamber, they had five or more legal assistants. And, of course, they had interns. And in that regard, they have had more resources than the accused in the other cases before this Court and they certainly have sufficient resources to meet that very ample deadline. So we would suggest that the appropriate date that is consistent with the dual mandate of this Court to ensure both a fair and expeditious trial, is the 17th of December. And we would also suggest, anticipating a bit this issue of whether there would be a written response, that the 17th of December should be the date, the last date upon which all written submissions are filed with this Court. So that as we move into the new year, we have only the oral argument before us.

  • Ms Hollis, I'd rather you didn't pre-empt item number 5, because we haven't even ruled that there will be any replies.

  • So we'll stick with the fourth - third agenda item.

  • Yes, Madam President. All written submissions in our view should be before your Honours no later than the 17th of December. And that is our recommendation to your Honours.

  • Right. Ms Hollis, I'm going to invite the Defence to give us their indication of when they propose the filing of the final trial briefs will be. What I propose to do actually is to go through the agenda items one by one. The Bench will then retire to consider carefully each item and then we'll return with our decision on what we think is the best way forward.

    So on item number 3, Mr Munyard, I think we'll hear from you.

  • Thank you, Madam President. We are, of course, cognisant of the resources that we have. I don't propose outlining to the Court all the members of staff of the Prosecution, partly because, frankly, I've no idea and how many staff they have doesn't concern me. All I can say is that we have carefully, and I hope judiciously, attempted to come up with a realistic and reasonable timetable for the submission of a proper closing brief in this case. We have also, of course, taken account of practice in other trials. But, of course, this trial has its own unique features. And you, as the judges, although you've sat on another case, are all too cognisant of the unique features of this case, and so past practice, while helpful, is in no way binding and may not in fact be a particularly useful guide when it comes to looking at the time table for this case.

    May I note in relation to the RUF case, there the Trial Chamber issued a date for the filing of the closing brief, the final trial brief, some three months before that date. On 29 April 2008 they set a date of 29 July for the submission of the final brief. Now, by that time, 29 April, when they gave that order, the first accused's case was closed. I accept, of course, that they, obviously, had an interest in the remaining witnesses relating to the other two accused. But I'm merely raising this to illustrate that giving examples of what happened in other cases isn't always of direct application to this case.

    As far as we are concerned, we looked at the remaining weeks of the year. We've also borne in mind that there is likely to be a judicial recess. We're assuming that there is going to be a judicial recess. And so doing the best we could, we worked on an assumption, and it is only an assumption, and you yourselves will make all the decisions. But we worked on an assumption that if there was a three-week judicial recess commencing close of business Friday 17 December, that that our submission is that the date for the filing of the final trial brief would be the end of the first week after a three-week judicial recess. And let me give you the dates I'm talking about. If the Court rose on Friday 17 December, and after a three-week break sat again on Monday 10 January, we would invite you to say that Friday 14 January would be an appropriate date for the filing of the final trial brief.

    If any party was able to submit their final trial brief before that date, or as Ms Hollis has just indicated, she takes the view that Friday 17 December is more than enough time for both parties to put in their final trial brief, then it may well be that one or other party could file it before the date the Court sets. But doing the best we can and being realistic about the size of the task before us, being realistic about the huge number of exhibits in this case, for example, that makes it very different from the RUF case and the other cases, we came to the conclusion that nine working weeks rather than eight would be an appropriate time in which to complete that task. That, of course, leaves the parties some time, whatever time they choose, to work over the course of the recess, or part of it. And so that effectively we are asking for one more week than the Prosecution are asking for, but it does give the parties the opportunity of using the judicial recess to continue work.

  • What you are saying, Mr Munyard, is you are incorporating one more week, effectively, but also incorporating the judicial recess in this scenario.

  • Well, the time period would include the judicial recess. It's entirely up to the parties what they use that recess for.

  • I understand. Okay. Just give me a moment.

  • Certainly. I was just going to say is there any other area you would like me to deal with in relation to the date for the final trial brief.

  • No, Mr Munyard, there's nothing else on that agenda item.

  • Thank you.

  • As I said, we'll go through the agenda items and then the Trial Chamber will retire.

    Item agenda number 4 is the length of the final trial briefs. Now, as you know, there's a length I think prescribed in the practice direction, but we'll discuss this. We'll hear your views, Ms Hollis.

  • Madam Prosecutor, your Honours, at an informal meeting on 20 October the Defence indicated that they wished a length - an extension of the length to no more than 600 pages. And the Prosecution does not object to that request for an extension of the length of the final trial brief to no more than 600 pages.

  • What about your own brief? I thought you - are you talking about the length of your own brief or the length of the Defence brief?

  • We're talking about the Court giving to both parties an extension of no more than 600 pages.

    The Defence has proposed that. We do not object to that. We are hopeful that ours will not be that length, but if your Honours were to grant that for the Defence, we would ask that similarly, you grant that the Prosecution be allowed to file a final trial brief of no more than 600 pages.

  • Very well. Mr Munyard, is that in order?

  • That's correct. And I note in passing, although I have just invited the Court, to a certain extent, not to take account of past practice, the only thing I would say about past practice is that none of the other trials have adhered to the limits set out in the practice direction. They've all exceeded them by up to and including 600 pages. I've no more to say on that. Thank you.

  • Very well. Item agenda number 5, which is the possibility of a written response to the final trial briefs and then the date - if we do think that that's suitable, a date and the length thereof of filing of that response. This again is an item agenda proposed by the parties. Perhaps I'll hear you from you, Mr Munyard, first.

  • Madam President, we thought, bearing in mind the size of the case, and bearing in mind the inevitable necessity to deal with a number of issues raised by the opposite party, that it might be convenient for - not just the parties but the Court also - to have in writing the response on key issues of each party to the other party's final brief. And we were proposing that because we thought that it would actually help to clarify issues before a short hearing - or short oral hearing which is provided for in the rules as the final stage in this part of the case. And so what we would propose is perhaps three weeks after receipt, after the filing of the final trial brief, the parties' written submissions in response, limited to a page limit of 100 pages, no more that 100 pages in response. And then - well, I don't want to move on to item number 6, I think -

  • Is this by consent or is this a Defence proposal purely?

  • It was a Defence proposal. I think that what came out of the informal meeting between the parties two days ago was that if it were to happen, then it should - there should be a page limit of no more than 100 pages. I think we agreed that the page limit, not necessarily the principle of written submissions.

  • Ms Hollis, what are the Prosecution views on this?

  • Well, we do believe that past practice is something to look at, and we see no reason to deviate from past practice in this case. And the past practice has been that the oral argument is the opportunity for the parties to respond to the opposing party's final trial brief. The fact that the parties have to deal with issues that the other party has raised is not new to this case, that's been true in all of the cases, and the practice in this Court has been to deal with those issues in oral argument. We would suggest that that is an appropriate practice, it is an efficient practice and it is one that should be followed.

    In terms of clarifying issues for the Trial Chamber, your Honours will have the benefit of the final trial briefs. You will have had the benefit to review those and to determine in your own minds what areas you want additional clarification on, and of course that could be given in the form of responses to your questions during oral argument. So we don't think either of those reasons would justify having a separate written response that would further delay the final conclusion of this Court - of this case and providing the case to your Honours for deliberation.

    We believe that responding during oral argument is a fair procedure. It requires, in some ways, the parties to focus more clearly on the significant issues so as to fit them within the time frame of oral argument. And if your Honours want additional submissions in writing after reviewing the final trial briefs and even the oral arguments, you can certainly direct that.

    So we do not support a request for a written response. In our view, it should be as has been the practice in the past and it should be part of the oral argument in the case. And we certainly would not support a written response three weeks after a final trial brief that the Defence proposes to you would not be filed until sometime in January. We'd be looking at January or February before all of the written responses, all of the written submissions were before your Honours. And we don't think that that is fair or expeditious and we do not support that.

  • Thank you. And, Ms Hollis, whilst you're on your feet, I'll ask you to address us on the sixth agenda item, that's the date for presentation of the closing arguments.

  • Yes, Madam President. This is tied somewhat with our suggestion for the recess, and so I will base it on that and then give a more conditional answer.

    What we suggest is that the oral argument occur during the week of 17 January for three consecutive days. We choose the week of 17 January because we will suggest to your Honours that there should be a recess that would end the week of 17 January.

    Three consecutive days. The first day would be oral argument for the Prosecution. And the reason that we are in agreement of one day each for the Prosecution and Defence to make their initial closing arguments to your Honours is that, of course, we do have a lengthy record and so one day would give the parties the ability to respond to the opposing brief as well as to respond to your Honours' questions. So the first day the Prosecution would make its oral argument to your Honours. The next day the Defence for one day would make its oral submissions to your Honours. On the third day the Prosecution and the Defence would each have one half day to address any issues that have arisen during the prior two days that were not addressed at that time. So three days; one day Prosecution, second day Defence, third day Prosecution and Defence each having a half day. That is our proposal to your Honours.

    In terms of three consecutive days and the order that I have just outlined, that, it is my understanding, was agreed to by the Defence during our informal meeting on 20 October, although of course the dates for the oral argument were not agreed.

  • Thank you. Mr Munyard, please address us on the same issues.

  • Madam President, I'm not entirely sure if I followed Ms Hollis on the dates, because I thought she was saying consistent with the Prosecution's position in our informal meeting, that they were proposing a four-week recess ending the week - ending on the 17th - sorry, a four-week recess - oh, yes, I have understood her. They are proposing a four-week recess followed by a week in which there is oral argument.

    I'll simply address the matter from our perspective, if I may, rather than responding specifically to the dates and proposals put forward by my learned friend.

    On our proposal, if the Court were to adopt a three-week recess and then come back and at the end of the first week have the final briefs submitted, then if we're talking about final briefs of up to 600 pages each --

  • Sorry, Mr Munyard, you have your judicial recess ending precisely when?

  • Well, the Court would resume on Monday, 10 January. Final briefs lodged on Friday, 14 January. That's the one extra week. Well, I say it's one extra week that the Defence are suggesting. On the Prosecution's timetable of course it's not an extra week because their timetable postulates a four-week recess. And so we'd all be coming back on the 17th rather than the 10th. However, I'll stick to our proposals --

  • Mr Munyard, stick to your proposals. We'll work the mathematics out.

  • Yes, exactly. If we were to submit final briefs on the 14th, then it would be in our submission unrealistic to expect oral argument on the final briefs, including the opposing party's final brief in the following week. And we would submit that two weeks would be needed for the parties to digest each other's final briefs and be in a position to then follow it with oral argument. And so we would suggest two weeks later.

  • But, Mr Munyard, did you not just a few moments ago say that after your final briefs, if you were to go for a written response, and at this stage it's only the Defence that's in favour of this --

  • You would need three weeks after the filing on the 14th. Isn't that what you've just said?

  • Yes. I'm sorry, I'm addressing the - I'm dealing first of all on the assumption that there isn't a written response.

  • No, I don't think you can do that.

  • All right.

  • I want you to be consistent in the Defence timeline as you see it.

  • All right. I did submit earlier three weeks for a written response. If the Court - the Court may decide that a written response would be appropriate but not give us such a long time. And so either a two-week or a three-week time to submit a written response. If we work on my original three weeks written response, then a week after that, which would take us to the end of the first week in February - so we'd be beginning Monday, 7 February for the oral argument.

    Now, we do agree with the Prosecution one day for the Prosecution, one day for the Defence, and then half a day each in rebuttal. It may be that the Court would think it appropriate to have a break between the first two days and the rebuttal day. It may be that you would think one day for Prosecution, one day for the Defence, a day's break then for the parties to consider each other's arguments and come back on day four for the half day each in rebuttal. That's a matter for the Court. I suggest that as one practical approach to that.

    So sticking with our proposed timetable, file the closing brief on the 14th, three weeks later written response, which takes us to Friday the 4th, and argument starting on Monday the 7th, oral argument.

  • 7th of February?

  • 2011. And the Defence timeline has the whole thing wrapped up by when exactly?

  • Well, either 7th, 8th and 9th, ending on 9 February with the two half days of oral argument - sorry, the day in which each party has half a day to present their oral argument. Or, if you thought it appropriate, have a break on the Wednesday and the parties come back on the Thursday to present a half day each of oral response.

  • Thank you. Mr Munyard, I don't know, this is probably rhetorical now, but we're on agenda item number 8, which is the date for the proposed judicial recess, the next judicial recess.

    Mr Munyard, please address us on your reasons, if I may say, for wanting a judicial recess and for the length that you propose of the judicial recess.

  • Borrowing the words from my learned friend opposite, past practice has always provided a judicial recess over the Christmas and New Year period. Past practice has involved initially the announcement of a three-week judicial recess over that period and then much closer to the time we have had an extra week added on. And so past practice has involved a four-week judicial recess. We are not asking for that length of time. We are asking for what has been traditionally a three-week judicial recess, because it seems to be consistent with the three previous years that we've been here. I was trying to count the number then, that's why I was slightly lost.

    I mentioned three weeks rather than four because when we have been given a fourth week it's been given later and for reasons I no longer recall. And so I am, on this occasion, relying entirely on past practice.

  • So you propose a three-week recess starting?

  • 5 p.m. or 5.30 p.m., whatever our closing time is, on Friday, 17th December and resuming on Monday, 10th January 2011.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard.

  • May I say, I don't mind being given a four-week judicial recess but we're not asking for it at this stage. We're certainly not opposing it.

  • Ms Hollis, what are your views on the coming judicial recess other than past practice?

  • Well, we would suggest that our views will be consistent with past practice. Our recommendation, consistent with our request that the final trial briefs be filed no later than 17 December, is that we, indeed, be given a judicial recess commencing that following Monday, 20th December to 17th January. The 17th of January being the first working day after the recess. And we request the four-week period, contingent on the date determined that the final trial brief will be filed.

    The reason that we suggest four weeks after a filing on the 17th is that, indeed, in the past this Trial Chamber in this case has given four-week - recesses of four weeks, that it would be appropriate at that time, because four weeks gives each party sufficient time to be able to phase time off, vacation time for its members, but still continue to work toward what we hope will be oral submissions. So the four weeks gives us flexibility in terms of what period of time people may take off on our team, so we can stagger that. We do not look at a recess as everybody going home and not working during the recess, but we do look at it as a time to give our people some time off but still enable them to be able to work toward our next objective. That's the reason that we suggest the four weeks if the filing date is 17th December. Should your Honours make the filing date in January, then we would ask, as does the Defence, for a three-week recess.

    So if your Honours do not order final trial briefs to be filed on 17th December but you order them to be filed later, then we support the Defence request for a three-week recess, the first day of that recess being 20th December.

    Are there are any other questions about that, that I may answer?

  • No, I was just wondering about the - I suppose I'm asking this because I don't have a calendar for next year in front of me. But if we were to look at the four weeks that you propose, commencing 20 January 2010 [sic], then we would be back in court precisely when?

  • We propose the oral arguments the week of 17th January, 17th is a Monday, so the recess would be over on the Monday. What we propose is that the arguments take place the 19th, 20th and 21st. So that by the end of the week of the 17th of January all submissions will have been made to your Honours and the case will be to your Honours for your deliberations. So the 17th of January is a Monday, the 19th is a Wednesday, the 20th a Thursday, 21st a Friday, of January.

  • Actually, the simple question I had asked is; how long do you have your judicial recess ending, your four-week recess ending? That's the simple question I asked, without anything else.

  • If it is four weeks, the recess itself would be over as of the 17th, that would be the first duty day after the recess.

  • And we would propose the arguments at the end of that week, the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

  • Thank you. Now, that brings me to the last agenda item, which is any other business. Is there any other issue that the parties wish to bring to the Chamber's attention before we retire to deliberate?

  • We have nothing further.

  • We think that we need sufficient time to look up a number of things that will help us to fix specific dates, in view of all these things that we've discussed today. And so I reckon that we will take the rest of the morning to do that, and we will reconvene at 2 o'clock with - we will - just one moment, please.

    Like I was saying, we will reconvene at 2 o'clock and return with some rulings on the time frames. Thank you.

  • [Break taken at 11.03 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.18 p.m.]

  • Yes, good afternoon. Ms Hollis, you are on your feet.

  • May I note a change of appearance, Madam President, Mr Koumjian is no longer at the Prosecution table.

  • Likewise, Madam President, there is a change of appearance on the Defence Bench, in that Mr Anyah is no longer here.

  • That is noted, and, of course, the accused continues not to be here, but as ruled before, we will proceed.

    Now, after considering the submissions of the parties on the agenda items set for the status conference, the Trial Chamber has fixed specific dates for the final stages of the trial proceedings in this case.

    In fixing the dates we have taken into account a number of factors. Firstly, we've taken into account the fact that the Defence has confirmed to the Court that its last witness will be witness DCT-102 whom they expect will start testimony on the 1st of November. After which testimony the Defence will then formally close its case or at the very latest, by 12 November 2010. The date being the date that the Trial Chamber ordered earlier for formal closure of the Defence case.

    We've also taken into account that given the complexity of this case and the unprecedented volume of the evidence and transcripts - and here I'm given to believe from the registry that we have over 1,000 exhibits filed and for the time being we have up to 50,000 or thereabouts, 50,000 pages of transcript. Now, in view of that volume, the Trial Chamber expects nothing less than comprehensive and well reasoned arguments, in the final trial briefs and closing arguments, because these are the kinds of arguments that will assist us in our deliberations and judgment writing at the end.

    Here I would like to note that from past experience, of both Trial Chambers of this Court, the final trial briefs of the parties have often not been comprehensive or well reasoned enough, with the result that judgment writing has been delayed or certainly not assisted by the submissions of the parties. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber has taken into account the fact that the parties require adequate time to be able to prepare well reasoned, well researched and comprehensive final trial briefs.

    Now, thirdly, and related to this is the issue of the written responses to the final trial briefs. Here the Trial Chamber agrees with the Defence that written responses tend to be well thought out and more comprehensive than oral arguments delivered in court. And that they are ultimately more helpful to the Trial Chamber during its deliberations and judgment writing. And so we will agree that - we have agreed that if a party wishes to respond to the final trial briefs, it will have to be in the form of written responses.

    Now, we've also taken into account, given that the year is coming to an end, that everyone needs to take a meaningful break. We've seen the staff, the parties around, looking fatigued, and, of course, here we are mindful that the judicial recesses that have been scheduled so far this year have not really been meaningful as the staff and parties have often worked right through those recesses and certainly the judges have not been able to take a break throughout the year. So the Trial Chamber intends to accord the staff and the parties and themselves a meaningful break towards the end of this year, provided, of course, that the recess will not prevent a party or the parties, if they so choose, to make filings during the recess. But that will be their choice.

    Also in fixing the dates the Trial Chamber has taken into account the fact that after receiving the final trial briefs or written response, as the case may be, an opposing party would require sufficient time to study the pleadings, meaningfully before it can respond. And the parties appear to have overlooked this aspect in the morning when they were making their submissions. So we've tried to provide or factor in the aspect of the time required. And lastly, of course, we've noted the aspects upon which the parties agree, for example, the length of the final trial briefs et cetera.

    And so the Trial Chamber makes the following orders:

    1, that the Defence case will formally close soon after the end of the testimony of witness DCT-102 or at the very latest by 12th November 2010.

    The Trial Chamber also schedules a three-week judicial recess commencing close of business Friday 17 December 2010 and which ends at the beginning or the opening of business on Monday 10 January 2011, in other words, we expect to see everybody back at work by Monday, 9 o'clock in the morning, Monday 10 January 2010 - 2011, I beg your pardon.

    Final trial briefs will be filed by close of business Friday 14th January 2011. Of course, if a party is ready well before that and they feel that they need to file before, they're welcome to do that.

    Now, the written responses, if a party wishes to make written responses, those will be filed by close of business Monday 31 January 2011.

    The oral arguments are scheduled to commence on Tuesday 8 February and the Prosecution will take that day to make their closing arguments. The next day, Wednesday 9 February, the Defence will make their closing arguments. There will be a one-day hiatus on 10 February for the parties to consider any rebuttals that they may wish to make. Then on Friday 11 February, and we intend only to sit during the morning hours, so Friday we will commence at 9 o'clock with the Prosecution rebuttal, if any, and that will be two hours from nine until eleven, for the Prosecution rebuttal, and we will close with the Defence rebuttal from 11.30 to 1.30. So you see there's a 30-minute break in between the two rebuttals.

    Now, the Trial Chamber will issue a formal scheduling order, perhaps I omitted to state that the length of the final trial briefs, as agreed by the parties, will be not more than 600 pages each. And the length of the written responses, if any, will not exceed 100 pages each.

    With those orders I will now adjourn the proceedings to 1 November at 9 o'clock in the morning for the testimony of witness DCT-102.

  • Madam President, before we formally leave today, we would like, on behalf of the Defence team, to record our warm appreciation of the work of Ms Sidney Thompson, one of your legal officers who is leaving the Court, who has been a pleasure to work with all the years that we've been here, and we wish her well in her practice, in her criminal practice in the future.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard, that's very thoughtful of you. And Ms Sidney is definitely in court I think, isn't she? Yes, I'm sorry. And those comments are appreciated.

    Court will adjourn until 1 November at 9 o'clock.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.29 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 9.00 a.m.]