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

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.]

  • Good morning. We will take appearances first, please.

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

  • Good morning, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today, myself, Courtenay Griffiths.

    Before we commence, Madam President, can I thank the Court for its indulgence during my illness in the two days before the recess.

  • Mr Griffiths, you are most welcome back. It's good to see you, and I hope you're feeling much better.

  • Thank you. I don't know if there are any preliminaries before I speak with the current witness.

  • Yes, your Honour, I believe when we adjourned Friday, there was an issue, and that is regarding the appearance of Ms Campbell. There is an outstanding court order for her to appear on the 29th of July. A communication has been received by I believe the court, that they are requesting a modification of the order to the 5th of August. The Prosecution has no problems with that. So we would request that the date of appearance be modified to 5 August for Ms Campbell, that your Honours' record be modified.

  • Mr Koumjian, were there any reasons given for this change of date?

  • Yes, your Honour, I believe they were in a confidential communication with the Court.

  • I don't know what organ of the Court you're referring to, but the judges certainly are not aware of the reasons for this change.

  • Basically, your Honours, it was the availability of counsel; that was their main reason given.

  • Just for my own, edification, I was under the impression that Ms Naomi Campbell was a witness. What's this about counsel being available or not?

  • That, of course, is a matter for your Honours, but that was the communication, that there is a request to have her counsel. We are not taking a position ourselves, the Prosecution, but, because this requires certain logistical arrangements, we were not adverse, especially given that the current witness has been taking longer than anticipated, that the date be modified to 5 August.

  • Very well. Mr Griffiths, do you have any views on this issue?

  • Well, we were alerted to the request that the appearance of that witness be delayed until 5 August. The reasons given initially were different to the reasons now being canvassed by my learned friend because as we understood the situation, inquiries were being made by - on behalf of Ms Campbell, which required the delay in her appearance, and it was not until, I think it was last week, that I received what purports to be a motion requesting certain protective measures, and also the appearance of two lawyers to have rights of audience in court on behalf of Ms Campbell. We received that last week. Interestingly, that purported motion is not signed by anyone on behalf of the Prosecution, but is actually signed by a former roommate of mine in the United Kingdom and a former Director of Public Prosecutions in the United Kingdom, Lord Macdonald, which I find somewhat strange. We have not had an opportunity to reply to that purported motion, but in due course, and I can make it plain now, we would oppose any application for any special measures to be taken on behalf of Ms Campbell, including the right of audience of two lawyers to be in court in order to assist the witness. We find that somewhat strange because as far as we are concerned, there is nothing special about this particular witness.

  • Mr Griffiths, for now really all that I'm interested in was whether or not you oppose the application really to defer her appearance until 5 August.

    The other matter relating to the motions, we are aware that they have been filed but we haven't had a chance to read them and that's a totally different matter and I'm sure the parties on both sides will have an opportunity to make their submissions known in relation to that other matter.

  • Well, so far as the adjournment - request for the adjournment is concerned, Madam President, we have no difficulty with that.

  • Very well. Then I think in the interests of expediting today's proceedings, we will restrict ourselves to that. I've consulted my colleagues and we are of the view --

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • As I was saying, we have heard from both sides. Mr Koumjian, we believe that the parties have a right to organise the order, the call order, of their witnesses. As for the reasons given in this particular instance for Ms Campbell delayed appearance, I will not go into those now since there is a motion or two pending in relation to that issue and I would not want to pre-empt a ruling in that regard. But I can only say that the leave is granted and the date is postponed accordingly for her appearance, with the hope that it will not be postponed yet again.

    Now, Mr Sesay, good morning. I know it's been a week or more since you last testified, but I will not have you swear again; I will simply remind you of the oath that you initially took at the beginning of your testimony to tell the truth and that oath is still binding on you today. I believe we were continuing with the examination-in-chief, Mr Griffiths. Please continue.

  • That is correct, Madam President.