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

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

  • Good morning, Madam President. Good morning, your Honours. Good morning, counsel opposite. For the Prosecution this morning, Ms Brenda J Hollis, Ms Maja Dimitrova and myself Kathryn Howarth.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.]

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence this morning, myself Terry Munyard, Logan Hambrick, Elizabeth Espinosa and joining us for the first time in court is another of our interns Fatmatu Jalloh who is a student at Southern University Law School in Louisiana.

  • Ms Jalloh is certainly welcome to the Court.

    Before we commence with the day's business regarding DCT-190, there is a ruling of the Court pending upon the oral application of Defence counsel last week and the following is the ruling.

    Two weeks ago the Trial Chamber acting on the advice of the Registrar announced a new sitting schedule whereby the sitting day would commence half an hour earlier each day, namely at 9 a.m. instead of 9.30 a.m. The new schedule also entailed rising half an hour earlier on Fridays, namely at 1 p.m. instead of 1.30 p.m. In summary the new schedule results in two additional sitting hours per week and this was done at the initial request of the Defence in order expedite the trial.

    On 17 June lead counsel in an oral application requested the Trial Chamber to revert to its former sitting hours and describing his earlier request to the Registrar as a mistake that was having a negative impact on the fair discharge of justice. Mr Griffiths submitted, amongst others, as follows:

    That the new schedule had been arrived at without prior consultation of the parties or service providers, such as court reporters and interpreters, who could not cope with the additional sitting time and that the new sitting schedule was causing witness fatigue as the witnesses, or witness, was having to rise early in order to make it to court on time. Thirdly, that the accused was unable to collect his thoughts in the morning and Defence counsel were unable to take instructions from their client at the beginning of the day.

    The Prosecution, on the other hand, were agreeable to the new sitting schedule, observing that it would ultimately result in a more expeditious trial.

    Since then and after consulting the Registrar, who under Rule 33(A) of the Rules is responsible for the administration and servicing of the Court, the Trial Chamber has established the following:

    1. That in late March 2010 lead counsel Mr Griffiths did approach the Registrar to consider the possibility of extending the sitting hours once the Special Court moved to the STL in order to maximise the time available and in the interests of expediting the trial.

    2. That between 31 March and 15 April written consultations were indeed carried out between the Prosecution, the Defence and the head of office of The Hague sub-office, Mr Gregory Townsend, in which amongst others the Prosecution proposed longer sitting hours on Fridays rather than extending the daily sitting hours as had been proposed by the Defence in order to enable them to prepare for cross-examination of witnesses at the end of each day.

    3. That the Trial Chamber having taken into account the views of the Defence and the Prosecution as shown in the emails exchanged between themselves came up with the revised sitting schedule.

    4. That subsequently the Registrar, having consulted all relevant parties and units responsible for servicing the Court, in particular the court reporters and interpreters, made appropriate arrangements to ensure that all service providing units are well equipped and provided for in order to meet the demands of the trial. These measures include the hiring of additional court reporters and compensation for overtime served where applicable.

    In addition, the Trial Chamber notes that since implementing the new sitting schedule it has not received any complaints from WVS, the unit responsible for the welfare of witnesses and for their transportation to and from the Court, nor has the Trial Chamber received any complaints from the detention authorities in relation to their ability to transport the accused to and from the Court on time.

    The Trial Chamber has also taken into account that the new sitting schedule does allow the parties some time at the end of the day for consultation with the accused or witnesses as the case may be and for preparation for cross-examination where necessary.

    Now, in view of the foregoing, the Trial Chamber by a majority, Justice Doherty dissenting, finds no merit in the concerns raised by lead Defence counsel and holds that the new sitting hours are consistent with the Trial Chamber's duty to conduct a fair and expeditious trial under Rule 26 bis.

    Accordingly the Defence's oral application is dismissed and the revised schedule remains unchanged.

    Now to the matter of witness DCT-190, {redacted}, good morning. We're going to continue with your testimony today in cross-examination. You remember at the beginning of your testimony you took a solemn oath to tell the truth. Do you recall that?

  • I recall that.

  • That oath is still binding on you today. I'm not going to make you swear again, but that oath is still binding on you today to tell the truth.