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

  • [Prosecution Opening Statement]

  • [Open session]

  • [Upon commencing at 10:30 a.m.]

  • Please be seated.

    I call these proceedings to order. I understand there's a photographer in the house; is that correct? Is that the official photographer who has five minutes? I suppose as the photographs are being taken, I'll take the opportunity, before we get -- before we call the case, to introduce the members of the Bench in this case.

    On my immediate left is Justice Richard Lussick from Samoa, on my immediate right is Justice Teresa Doherty from Northern Ireland, and on my extreme right is Justice El Hadji Malick Sow from Senegal. Justice Sow will be serving as Alternate Judge in this trial, pursuant to Rule 16bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Special Court. I also wish to recognize the presence of the Acting Registrar, Mr Herman von Hebel, and of the various court managers, Mr Michael Adenuga, Ms Rosette Muzigo-Morrison, and Rachel.

    I notice -- I would have called appearances first, but I notice that the accused is absent. Mr Khan, do you have anything to say?

  • Your Honour, yes, I have an explanation, but perhaps it's more appropriately done after appearances are called by your Honour.

  • Thank you, Mr Khan.

    In which case I will now take appearances. I'll start with the Prosecution.

  • Good morning, your Honours. Appearing today for the Prosecution is the Prosecutor, myself, Stephen Rapp, our trial attorneys Mohamed Bangura and Wendy van Tongeren and Ann Sutherland. Also appearing are Alain Werner, Shyamala Alagendra, and Leigh Lawrie. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Rapp.

    Mr Khan, for the Defence.

  • If it please your Honour, my name is Karim Khan. I'm counsel for Charles -- Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor.

  • If it pleases your Honours, my name is Charles Jalloh, legal officer and duty counsel in the Office of the Principal Defender. Thank you.

  • Perhaps -- Mr Khan, I was about to call the case officially and then you'll make your submissions.

    If I may call upon the court officer to call the case officially, please.

  • The Special Court for Sierra Leone is sitting in an open session pursuant to Rule 84 in the case of the Prosecutor versus Charles Dankpannah Ghankay Taylor, SCSL-03-01-T, Justice Julia Sebutinde presiding.

  • Mr Khan, I recognize that the accused is absent. Do you have anything to say?

  • Indeed I do, your Honour. The accused, of course, has stated, when he first was brought before the Court, that he recognizes the jurisdiction of this Court and fully respects your Honour and your very important, indeed pivotal, role to play in ensuring a fair trial. Your Honours scheduled, in your wisdom, a Status Conference on the 7th of May. That, of course, was a Pre-Trial Conference. One of its purposes was to ensure that today's hearing go smoothly and without any hitch.

    Your Honour, on that occasion we had the privilege of a full Bench and issues were raised on behalf and on the specific instructions of my client that were of import and of great relevance. They were echoed by duty counsel. And they concerned -- they were focused on the concerns of my client regarding the size and composition of his legal team. His view has been that not only are the --

  • Mr Khan, I'm sorry to interrupt. I was expecting to hear a reason for the absence of your client in court.

  • Your Honour, I will give that reason. Your Honour may --

  • Let's try and get to it --

  • Your Honour, I'll be brief.

  • -- as expeditiously as we can, please.

  • Your Honour, I will. Your Honour made it clear that there was a bottle-neck, were the words your Honour used, and it be unblocked, and you instructed that the Principal Defender be able to communicate with Mr Taylor. Your Honour, Mr Taylor wished to speak to the Principal Defender. He is charged, of course, with the principal role, under the authority of the Registrar, to ensure the facilities and resources to the Defence.

    Your Honour, I have a response from the Principal Defender which I'll hand up in a moment. I won't read all of it, but, your Honour, it's dated the 1st of June and it states:

    "I have made every effort and taken every necessary step within my mandate as Principal Defender under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence to ensure that Mr Taylor's case is properly serviced in the realization of the Article 17 rights of the accused under the Special Court Statute. Unfortunately, I have increasingly been prevented from performing my role. Of late," the Principal Defender states, a senior court member of staff states, "Of late, the Registry has inhibited my ability to perform, to function as Principal Defender."

    Your Honour, he continues:

    "It has long been settled that the Principal Defender and the Defence Office act independently of the Registry in the performance of their legal duties in the interests of the rights of the accused. Unfortunately, that has of late been whittled away. I have always maintained that the credibility of the process of the Special Court would be measured by how the defence of the accused is treated, amongst other things. Having recently been inhibited and prevented by the Registry from performing my mandated role in the Charles Taylor trial, despite having passionately performed that role in the Freetown trial for the last few years, I find it increasingly difficult to assist you with your concerns."

    Your Honour, this has been a matter of concern to the client, one of many, and it was raised before your Honours on the last occasion and your Honours gave clear, unequivocal instructions that whatever the bottle-neck was, it be unblocked. It is a cause of lament and regret that despite your Honours' advice, still the Principal Defender has been barred from speaking to my client, and it's a matter for my client, of course, a matter of concern to him.

    Your Honour, this takes me on to the next point. Your Honour, I'll hand up in a moment a letter from my client.

    "Your Honours --" and it's addressed to your Honours. It's very brief.

    "Your Honours, it is with great sadness and regret that I write to inform you --"

  • Mr Khan.

  • Your Honours, could counsel please take his time to read that letter. I'm interpreting it here.

  • I do apologise. I'm going too fast.

  • Yes. If you could slow down a bit, it would help.

  • Perhaps I'll start again, with your indulgence.

    Mr Taylor states:

    "Your Honours, it is with great sadness and regret that I write to inform you that I no longer feel able to attend and participate in proceedings against me before the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Sadness because at one time I had hoped and had confidence in the Court's ability to dispense justice in a fair and impartial manner. Over time it has become clear that such confidence is misplaced. Everyone deserves justice. The people of Liberia and Sierra Leone, who for too many years have undergone tragic sufferings, deserve justice. The people of Africa, for whom the promise of independence was only pyrrhic, deserve justice. And I too deserve at least a modicum of justice. I have always, in my small way, been willing to make sacrifices for peace. I relinquished the presidency of Liberia and accepted exile in Nigeria to ensure that the people of Liberia would no longer --"

  • Mr Khan. Mr Khan.

  • Your Honour, Mr Khan is taking it -- could he please go over the last bit of the letter.

  • Mr Khan, it appears you're still too fast. If you could read this letter -- and I hope it's not very long.

  • It's not.

  • If you could read it, take it a little bit slowly, realizing that somebody is trying to interpret.

    But before you continue, Mr Rapp is on his feet. Let me just hear what he has to say.

  • Madam President, your Honours. Your Honours, several days ago, ruled that the accused could not give an unsworn statement from the dock if he had been here. Now, having thumbed his nose at this Court and refused to come, his unsworn statement, his political arguments, are being read out in this letter by Mr Taylor, and I suggest that this violates your Honours' decision.

  • Mr Rapp, the accused is not in court. He is not giving an unsworn statement in the dock. That is the first thing. As far as I'm concerned, I have no idea why Mr Taylor is not in court, and I've been encouraging Mr Khan to get to the reason why and I'm hoping somewhere along the line, in the not too distant future, he will do that. The least we can do is to hear the reason why Mr Taylor is not in court. This is not an unsworn statement by the accused from the dock. I don't agree.

    Mr Khan, please continue.

  • Your Honour, I am much obliged. Part of my excuse for racing through this was not to take too much time. Your Honour, the client, of course, before I get back to the statement, he has not thumbed his nose at this Court. That is rather intemperate language, in my respectful submission, and --

  • Mr Khan, I've overruled Mr Rapp. Please continue with this letter.

  • Right. Your Honour, the client continues:

    "I have always, in my small way, been willing to make sacrifices for peace. I relinquished the presidency of Liberia --"

  • I think you are crossing the line. We really are not interested in the political speeches.

  • I just want you to zero in on the reason why your client is not in court this morning, if you're able to do that.

  • Your Honour, I will read in that case only selected -- a couple of paragraphs.

    Your Honour, Mr Taylor states: "Justice is blind, justice pursues truth, justice is fair, justice is immune to politics. It is not justice to preordain convictions or emaciate my defence to the extent that I'm unable to launch an effective defence. It is not justice to throw all rights to a fair trial to the wind in a headlong rush to trial."

    Your Honour, the accused --

  • Your Honour, he is still going too fast with this reading. He is just reading -- your Honour, counsel is still going too fast.

  • Mr Khan, you are still going too fast. Is it possible for you to actually tell the Court why your client is not in court?

  • Well, your Honour, it would be far quicker

  • It would be far quicker if the counsel could --

  • Interpreter, you are not in charge of this Court. Could you let me sort this out with Defence counsel? We cannot have three people talking at the same time.

    Mr Khan, are you able to tell the Court a reason why, in nutshell, in one minute, why your client is not in court?

  • Because if this letter is addressed to the Judges, then we will get it at some time in writing, will we not?

  • Your Honour, you will, but of course the proceedings are public. This is an important explanation from the client on one of the most important days.

  • Will you not file this letter publicly?

  • Your Honour, I will be very brief. I will be very brief.

  • I will give you exactly 2 minutes to tell the Court why your client is not in court.

  • I'm grateful.

    Your Honour, Mr Taylor states:

    "Today marks the start of the trial against me. The Special Court's administration has been so dilatory that I have only one counsel to appear on my behalf, one counsel against a Prosecution team fully composed of nine lawyers. This is neither fair nor just. It is astonishing that as custodians of fairness this Trial Chamber is prepared to countenance this position. Given the size of the Prosecution team, it is not surprising that it has been able to produce a seemingly never-ending volume of material to be considered in this case. The limited Defence resources have made it impossible to review all of this material and it is distracted from the proper preparation of my defence."

    Your Honour, he goes on and talks about the camera issue and the fact that for three months he wasn't able to speak in confidence to us and that time wasn't given.

    Your Honour, I'll move on to the --

  • Mr Khan, you have 1 minute left to give the Court the reason why your client is not in court.

  • Indeed. Your Honour, for all of these reasons, Mr Taylor states:

    "I am driven to the conclusion that I will not receive a fair trial before the Special Court at this point. It is therefore with great regret that I must decline to attend any further hearings in this case until adequate time and facilities are provided to my Defence team and until my other long-standing reasonable complaints are dealt with. It follows that I must terminate instructions to my legal representatives in this matter. Despite my complete confidence in their ability and competence, I must ask that they cease to represent me before the Special Court and instruct them accordingly.

    "I cannot participate in a charade that does injustice to the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia and the people of Africa and to the international community in whose name this Court claims to speak. I cannot, I choose not to, be a fig leaf of legitimacy for this process. I hope and pray for a fair trial that will perhaps bring to an end the cycles of injustice. I stand ready to participate in such a trial and let justice be done for myself and for those who have suffered far more than me in Liberia and Sierra Leone."

    Your Honour, I have a letter to the Registrar in which the accused terminates representation and gives notice that he will represent himself in the manner he deems appropriate at this point. Your Honour, I do hope that rushed reason is adequate explanation for my client's non-attendance at court today. I am grateful.

    Your Honour, perhaps I can hand letters to the usher to hand up and perhaps one for my learned friend, the Prosecutor.

    Your Honour, if there's no usher, I'm very welcome to approach the Bench.

  • Mr Khan, that won't be necessary. If you can just hold on, we will get a hold of those letters.

  • If you will just take your seat. Was that all you needed to say?

  • Your Honour, unless you have more time.

  • On this point, that is, on the reasons. I've heard your reasons.

  • Your Honour, those are the reasons of Mr Taylor. The point of emphasis is that he does not dispute the jurisdiction of this Court, nor does he intend any disrespect to anybody in this Court, including my learned friends who have tried very hard for --

  • Mr Khan, you are assigned counsel, aren't you? You are assigned counsel?

  • Indeed I am, your Honour.

  • So the procedures for your withdrawal, you're aware of?

  • Your Honour -- well, your Honour, perhaps you wish to rise and discuss it. This is not an issue of withdrawal.

  • Okay. Just please be seated.

  • Your Honour, this is termination.

  • I need to hear from Mr Rapp, if there's anything that he needs to say, before we take a decision.

  • Your Honours, if it please the Court, I don't want to engage in extensive argument here, and I don't think that would be welcomed to your Honours. But suffice it to say that, in our view, there is nothing that prevents the accused from being here today to listen to this opening statement, and if he had respect for this Court, that is where he would be.

    I would note additionally that under your Honours' order of 25 May 2007, the decision which approved our second amended indictment which made a small change to count 5, your Honours ordered that the accused enter a plea to count 5 on 4 June 2007 before the opening statement of the Prosecution. It is not for him to decide whether he will enter a plea in this case. Certainly we do not want to delay this opening statement by requiring that he be brought down here to enter that plea before we begin. But it is consistent, of course, with the practice of this Court and all other international courts that that can be done and has been done.

    Without getting into great detail, the Prosecution believes very strongly in equality of arms. It believes that the Registry and the other organs of this tribunal have striven mightily in that direction; that Mr Taylor has been provided a counsel, a co-counsel, two legal assistants who are lawyers, an international investigator, a national investigator. They may not be here today. Currently there is a question about replacing the co-counsel with another attorney. Everyone is aware of the progress on that matter and it involves nothing that's the responsibility of this Court but rather a question of that individual representing another accused and that other accused's willingness to let that attorney come to Mr Taylor's side. Everything that can be done is being done.

    And we would note additionally that, your Honours, in regard to that issue of the camera, which was not a camera that monitored the sounds but only a security camera, that 20 days of additional time was provided --

  • Excuse me. Please stop. Something has happened to our channels. We are now hearing the Krio instead of the English. I don't know what's going on.

  • [Trial Chamber and court officer confer]

  • Sorry, Mr Rapp. Apparently the interpreter muddled with some buttons and switched off our channel. But the English channel is the 0 channel, so please continue.

  • As your Honour is, I'm sure, aware in regard to the order of the President that that camera be removed and the fact that that caused an 18-day interruption after that order in consultations between Mr Taylor and his attorneys, your Honours provided a break after today, from the 5th of June to the 25th of June, 20 days, for a makeup to provide for preparation time to be ready for the first witness, the first time that Mr Taylor will, in fact, need to be active in these proceedings.

    So under these circumstances, I think the Court has done everything that it can do, everything consistent with equality of arms, to provide Mr Taylor with his fair opportunity, an opportunity that we in the Prosecution and all of us involved in the Special Court and international justice believe is sacred, and that is his opportunity to test the evidence that will be presented here, to cross-examine these witnesses and eventually to bring his witnesses from the four corners of the world to testify on his behalf. In that regard, his team has also been provided with offices in Freetown and in The Hague and in Monrovia and expenses to provide for their continuing investigation.

    Now, your Honours, as far as how we progress today, it is, of course, something that is not unheard of in these international proceedings that accused decide not to come to court, and rather than force them to come and face the possibility of disruption of the proceedings, the rules and the practice provide that we continue with the proceedings. Obviously, the rules also provide, as I think your Honours were approaching, for the counsel who is assigned to continue to represent the accused and to diligently make sure that the evidence presented by the Prosecution is tested and all legal and appropriate objections are raised.

    So it's our position that today these proceedings can continue; however, that Mr Taylor needs to be brought as soon as possible here to fulfil a legal obligation, a pleading to this fifth count. I think, as I will submit in my opening statement - and perhaps I should defer comment until that point - but it is, of course, part of our position that Mr Taylor ignored the profound suffering that the execution of his plan visited and rained down on the people of Sierra Leone, and as he ignored the suffering that he caused today, he also wishes to ignore the presentation of the evidence of the crimes that he committed. Thank you.

  • Mr Khan, a brief reply, please.

  • Your Honour, I do note, and I think it's only right and proper to say, of course my learned friend has a right to respond and I note your Honours did him the great courtesy of allowing him to respond without interruption. I hope the same courtesy is extended to me.

    Your Honour, Mr Rapp, my learned friend, has sought to respond to the letter of Mr Taylor. The submission in response is replete with inaccuracies.

  • Mr Khan, Mr Rapp was responding to your submissions as you presented them. You're the one that read the letter.

  • Well, your Honour, he was allowed to --

  • So please respond -- respond or reply, exercise your right of reply, appropriately.

  • Your Honour, I will. Your Honour, I'm most grateful.

    Your Honour, none of these issues are new. Mr Taylor was transferred in June 2006 and the Defence have been round the houses - and the accused knows this, has been fully kept informed - to the President, to the Trial Chamber, to the Registry, complaining from the get-go, from the first opportunity, that there had been lamentable resources and that this Registry in The Hague is not, frankly put, fit for purpose. Whether it's teething trouble that Mr Registrar referred to or severe toothache is perhaps a matter for conjecture. But what is clear is that from July until March -- June until March, the Defence of Mr Taylor will work in cafes and restaurants because the Registry had failed to perform its function.

    In December 2006, the 15th of December, we sent a letter to the Prosecution -- well, to the Registrar, only copying the Trial Chamber, in which we complained of these issues.

  • Mr Khan, I'm sorry. I'm sorry to pull you up again. This is not a reply.

  • A reply is a response to some of the issues that Mr Rapp has raised. It's not an opportunity to raise new additional matters.

  • Of course. Of course, your Honour.

  • So please confine yourself.

  • Of course. Your Honour, my learned friend was purporting to state that everything was hunky-dory, everything was dandy, perfect, as far as the facilities of the Defence. My learned friend is one that opened the door and said that we have a local investigator and we have an international investigator and the Court's done everything it can. But Principal Defender is not a whining Defence lawyer, your Honour. The Principal Defender, who is charged as the most senior official of the Court -- in the Registry with the legal aid and charged with the responsibility for giving adequate facilities and resources, has said he is being hampered in fulfilling his mandate. That is a matter that, in my respectful submission, should give any reasonable court pause for thought. It's a matter, in my respectful submission --

  • Mr Khan, could you perhaps tell the Court, what is the current team, the composition of your current team?

  • Your Honour, I'm the only counsel of record. I have two legal assistants. I have a pro bono -- two legal assistants: One of two years' call; one not called at all. I have a pro bono legal assistant who's working part time in Liberia.

  • Is that it? You don't have an investigator?

  • I have an international investigator who was appointed in March 2007. I have a local Liberian investigator who was given a contract in May - in May - 2007. Your Honour, those investigators are contracted separately to the Office of the Principal Defender.

    Your Honour, my learned friend trespassed, in my respectful submission, and it was interesting, of course, to hear what no doubt will be a riveting opening, but the hyperbole that he displayed I think was inappropriate given the focus of my initial submissions.

    The accused cannot be compelled, in my respectful submission, to attend court against his well. Not-guilty pleas have been put; not-guilty pleas remain in relation to all counts of the indictment. Under the rules, my learned friend is well aware that if an accused stays mute, if an accused, for whatever reason, is disruptive or is removed from court, not-guilty pleas will be entered.

    So, your Honours, there's no reason to delay proceedings. I don't seek to delay matters. My learned friend can proceed, with your Honours' leave, to give an opening speech. I think the matter is straightforward given the client's letter and his letter to the Registrar.

  • Thank you, Mr Khan.

  • [Trial Chamber confers]

  • Okay. This is what the Court has to say in respect of these developments:

    Having heard the submissions of Mr Khan on behalf of Mr Taylor and the submissions of Mr Rapp on behalf of the Prosecution, the Trial Chamber is of the view that section 60 -- sorry, Rule 60 of the rules is applicable. The rule says as follows:

    "An accused may not be tried in his absence, unless:

    (i) the accused has made his initial appearance, has been afforded the right to appear at his own trial, but refuses so to do; or

    (ii) the accused, having made his initial appearance, is at large and refuses to appear in court.

    (B) In either case the accused may be represented by counsel of his choice, or as directed by a Judge or Trial Chamber. The matter may be permitted to proceed if the Judge or Trial Chamber is satisfied that the accused has, expressly or impliedly, waived his right to be present."

    It is the view of the Chamber that in this case, pursuant to Rule 60(A)(i) and 60(B), the accused is deemed to have waived his right to attend -- to be present. We have heard the reasons given and his purported withdrawal of instructions from Mr Khan. However, we are directing Mr Khan, for the duration of these proceedings, to represent -- today, to represent Mr Taylor, to continue representing Mr Taylor as of today.

    The other matters that have been raised, in our opinion, have at one time or another before today been addressed by this Chamber. The Chamber has tried its best to deal expeditiously with every issue that has arisen - the issue of the camera, the issue of adequate time, the issue of adequate facilities, et cetera. That is not to say that the issues raised by Mr Taylor as of now and the failure of the Defence -- Principal Defender to link up with him are not valid. These are matters that would be addressed, of course, by the Registry. But for today we would wish these proceedings to continue with the opening statements. These matters will be handled appropriately later. As of today we direct that Mr Khan continue to represent Mr Taylor who has absented himself voluntarily.

    With that ruling, that is, the ruling of the Chamber, pursuant to Rule 60(B) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the opening of this trial will commence, will continue, and I will ask Mr Rapp to start with his opening statement.

  • Your Honour, I do apologise, and I do apologise to my learned friend. Your Honour, I must, with respect --

  • Mr Khan, would you care to ask for permission before you run off with whatever submission? I have called upon the Prosecutor to stand up.

  • If you have anything to say, to interrupt, you need to ask our permission.

  • Your Honour, I hadn't even said four words. I was about to say, with respect, I must ask to interject. Your Honour cut me off. It simply was not possible.

  • Yes, because you're running off.

  • Well, your Honour, no. But with respect I would ask leave --

  • Why do you need to interrupt?

  • Your Honour, Article 18 of my Code of Conduct before the Special Court for Sierra Leone makes it patently clear, in my respectful submission -- and, your Honour, perhaps I'll pause until your Honours get it to hand. It's Article 18(A). Do your Honours have it to hand? Well, your Honours, perhaps I can read it.

    "Subject to subparagraph (B), Defence shall not" - it's mandatory, your Honours, it's mandatory - "Defence counsel shall not represent a client if Defence counsel's representation is (i) terminated by the client."

    It's very clear, your Honour. Your Honour, the only caveat, in my respectful submission, is 19(D). And 19D says, if your Honour would allow me to read, 19(D) says:

    "If representation by Defence counsel is to be terminated or withdrawn" - of course there is a distinction - "unless otherwise ordered by a Chamber, such termination or withdrawal shall not take effect until" - this is the caveat - "until a replacement Defence counsel is engaged by the client or assigned by the Principal Defender, or" - and this is critical, in my submission - "or the client has notified the Registrar in writing of his intention to conduct his own defence."

    Your Honour, Mr Taylor has complied with this rule and has given in writing a notice to the Registrar in which he has terminated by representation and is representing himself. Under the clear language, by the plain language of Article 18 of the Code of Conduct, I am terminated as far as legal counsel is concerned. Your Honours, I view that, in fulfillment of my own professional responsibilities, as completely non-negotiable and a primary duty from which I am not able to reconcile -- resile from.

  • Mr Khan, as far as we're concerned, first of all, this letter you intend to file -- I don't think you have filed it. It has not arrived yet --

  • Your Honour, I do apologise. I didn't hear that.

  • If you would wear your earmuffs, you would hear.

  • Your Honour, I was talking to your court usher. I think the earphones had to come off anyway.

  • What I'm saying is this letter you're referring to that you read in court has not been filed, as far as we're concerned.

  • Your Honour, it's been served on the Registrar today in person, in front of the full attention --

  • I see. And he has not had an opportunity to read it, nor has anyone had an opportunity to think of replacing. Now, that aside, your Code of Conduct cannot override a court order which I just made a few minutes ago. As far as we're concerned, you're still assigned counsel by direction of this Trial Chamber.

  • With the greatest of respect, your Honour, counsel is not hired help.

  • Mr Khan, I do not know how to say this so that you may understand. You are directed to represent Mr Khan for today -- sorry, to represent Mr Taylor. I beg your pardon.

    Additionally, Mr Khan, it's been brought to my attention, if you look at Rule 45(D) of the rules of the Special Court. Rule 45(D). I do not know if you have a copy handy.

    "Any request for replacement of an assigned counsel shall be made to the Principal Defender. Under exceptional circumstances, the request may be made to a Chamber upon good cause being shown and after having been satisfied that the request is not designed to delay the proceedings."

    Now, in our opinion, this rule overrides anything, any attempt by you to step down or any attempt by Mr Taylor to otherwise disable you from representing him today, in light of the order that we have just made. Therefore, I will repeat and emphasize that you are directed to represent Mr Taylor throughout the opening statement today.

  • Your Honour, with your leave, perhaps, as Rule 45 has simply been mentioned for the first time, I may be permitted your indulgence to say a few words in response.

  • No, I have not permitted you. There's nothing to respond to a court order.

  • Your Honour, it's only fair that when an issue of law is raised for the first time, natural justice, which must form all your decisions --

  • It is not an issue of law raised. It's a court directive.

  • Your Honour, it's the interpretation of Rule 45 and if it's just been brought to your attention --

  • Mr Khan, you are verging on contempt of court. You are verging on contempt of court.

  • Well, your Honour, before that happens, perhaps let me refer to Lord Brougham and his --

  • You do not need to refer me to anything.

  • Well, your Honour, I have. I am in a very difficult position.

  • Please, please, please. Would you please sit. Take your seat.

  • Your Honour, I'm not able to continue representation. Your Honour, I'd consider it an --

  • Please take your seat.

  • -- extremely serious matter. Your Honour has raised the spectacle of counsel, a member of the English and Pakistan Bar, being cited for contempt. This is not a matter to be taken lightly or to be brushed under the carpet.

  • Of course not, Mr Khan. Of course not and I said you are verging.

  • Either it's a vain threat --

  • You are verging, you are verging on contempt because you keep arguing after I've handed down a directive.

  • Your Honour, there is a pressure point between a counsel's duty to a client and the duty to the rest of the world. Lord Brougham states, and it's cited by the Appeals Chamber --

  • Mr Khan, we really don't need a lecture.

  • Your Honour, I do not --

  • We don't need a lecture to do our job. What you probably need to do is to have some respect for the directives of this Court. That's what you need to do. If you would kindly take your seat, sanity will return to this court.

  • Your Honour, in my submission, sanity has not left it for a moment.

  • Then please do take your seat.

  • Your Honour, I will if that is your final word.

  • Yes, it is my final word.

  • Your Honour, may it --

  • Please take your seat.

  • Your Honour, I'm no longer represented and I'm not engaged for today's proceeding.

  • Mr Khan, please take your seat.

  • Your Honour, does your Honour wish to assign independent counsel to advise me of the possibility of contempt?

  • Mr Khan, please take your seat. Please take your seat.

  • Your Honour, I would ask for independent counsel to advise me on the possibility of contempt. Under the Bar Code of Conduct --

  • Mr Khan, if you would sit down, we would find a way forward.

  • Your Honour, under the Bar Code of Conduct, under the Bar Counsel Code of Conduct --

  • Mr Khan, could you please take your seat.

  • -- I may not continue to represent an accused.

  • Mr Khan, you are very well aware that you haven't been charged with anything yet. Now, you've been politely asked to sit down. Sit down please.

  • Your Honour, I will do that, as long as it's clear for the record I am not instructed today. And your Honour has not heard proper submissions on the issue.

  • Mr Rapp, could you please proceed with your opening statement.

  • Madam President, your Honours, may it please the Court.

    I rise to begin the opening statement of the Prosecution in the case against the accused, and I will be joined in this presentation by my learned colleague, Mohamed Bangura. In my part I will provide a general outline of our case, stating what we believe the evidence will show about the pattern of conduct which we allege the accused is responsible, and to explain how that alleged conduct was criminal under our Statute as charged in the second amended indictment.

    In rising, I first want to state my appreciation to our host, the International Criminal Court --

  • Mr Khan, you have not been given leave to withdraw. You don't just get up and waltz out of here. You have not been permitted to leave.

  • Your Honour, I had asked for time --

  • If you do, you will verge on contempt.

  • Your Honour, I formally asked for counsel to advise me on the law of contempt. There is a breach --

  • Contempt proceedings have not arisen, Mr Khan. We are dealing with opening statements. There is a directive of this Court asking you to sit down and to represent your client, which you apparently have defied, and now you are walking out with further defiance, without leave. You are withdrawing from the Court without leave. Now you're really verging on contempt.

  • Your Honour, it's immensely regrettable --

  • You are disturbing the opening statements because you're walking out --

  • Your Honour, it's immensely regrettable --

  • If that's the decision you've taken, so be it.

  • Your Honour, there are two aspects only that I can lean on. I have sought to lean on authority, given that I'm in a position of huge disability and huge disadvantage --

  • Mr Khan, what you have done is you've chosen to disobey a directive of the Court and you have walked out.

  • If you choose to do that, do so.

  • Your Honour, I am no longer instructed in this case. You have the letter from --

  • Of course you are no longer instructed. You are directed by the Trial Chamber. That's the difference.

  • Your Honour, with the greatest of respect, I am privy to my -- I'm not an amicus, like Milosevic, that's then become court-appointed. I'm privy. I'm in a different position, your Honour. With the greatest of respect, I'm trying not to be difficult; I'm trying to be principled. Your Honour, I'm privy to the instructions of my client, and the reason I was seeking to lean on Lord Brougham was that Lord Brougham, in the Caroline's case --

  • Mr Khan, if you are not inclined to obey the directive of the Court, make it abundantly clear by walking out --

  • -- if that's what you plan to do.

  • Your Honour, I must. I do apologise.

  • Mr Jalloh, you are duty counsel.

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • Your Honour, I do apologise to the Court and to my learned friends for the disruption.

  • You are now directed to take charge of Mr Taylor's case throughout these opening statements.

  • I'm most obliged, your Honour.

  • [Mr Khan withdrew from court]

  • Mr Rapp, I apologise for the interruption. Please continue.

  • Thank you, your Honours.

    In rising, I also wanted to state my appreciation to our hosts, the International Criminal Court and the Government and the people of the Netherlands. I also want to recognize all of those who have worked at the Special Court both at the present and in the past to bring us to this day. In that regard I would like to take special note of the presence today in the gallery of my predecessors as prosecutors of the Special Court, David Crane and Sir Desmond de Silva, and the first Registrar of the Court, Mr Robin Vincent.

    This morning we also received news that resonated with all of us who have worked at the Special Court and with the citizens of Freetown. One of the ancient helicopters that provides transport across the wide estuary, the Sierra Leone River, fell from the sky at Lungi Airport, killing more than 20 passengers. All of us I'm sure have taken that helicopter, as have many citizens of Freetown and of Sierra Leone, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who perished.

    During this trial, as I've submitted in our discussions already this morning, the Prosecutor will seek at all times to ensure that it embodies the fundamental principles of fairness, due process and justice that, along with the other trials at the Special Court, will help ensure a future respect for law and the maintenance of a just and peaceful and safe society. In that regard we understand that justice is a system that we must all obey and that no individual is above the law and can be in a position to walk away from the system of justice.

    We acknowledge at the outset of this important judicial exercise the responsibility of the Prosecutor to bear the very heavy burden - and that is part of the reason why sometimes prosecution assets or resources or staff at various times are greater than those of the Defence - because it has the burden of proving the charges against the accused in an indictment beyond a reasonable doubt, a very heavy burden but a burden that preserves and protects the rights of the innocent.

    With my learned colleague, we will, of course, be presenting an opening that is not evidence. Rather, it is a preview of the evidence that we will lead against the accused and which may eventually be weighed by your Honours in your final deliberations. Of course, if there is a conflict between what is said here today and what is eventually admitted to evidence, whether from witnesses or in documents, it is of course the admitted evidence that you will exclusively consider.

    As your Honours are well aware, this Special Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed after 30 November 1996, and because many of these were war crimes, the indictments have generally limited the focus to the period before 18 January 2002 when President Kabbah declared the war at an end in Sierra Leone. However, there are events outside this timeframe that must be described in order to understand the suffering visited on the people of Sierra Leone during this period.

    It is, above all else, that we are seeking justice for the people of Sierra Leone that we are all here today.

    How are we to grasp what happened in Sierra Leone? The world, I think, knows only part of the story. A small West Africa nation on the Atlantic Ocean. From it, in the late 1990s, came images in the media of some of the ugliest scenes of viciousness in recent memory. Human beings, young and old, mutilated. Rebels chopping off arms and legs, gouging out eyes, chopping at ears. Girls and women enslaved and sexually violated. Children committing some of the most awful crimes. The exploitation of the resources of Sierra Leone used not for the benefit of its citizens but to maim and kill its citizens. The very worst that human beings are capable of doing to one another.

    For those of us who were not there, it is almost impossible, I think, to comprehend the horrors suffered by the people of this small country.

    How did it happen? Sierra Leone has not been without its problems, and by the early 1990s its citizens had grievances against the government in place. But the country had also had many successes and had been a land of near constant peace. Its capital, Freetown, where the seat of the Court is based, was named for the freed slaves who settled it. It was the site of the first English-speaking university in Africa established almost two centuries ago. The city would come to be described by domestic and foreign observers alike as "the Athens of Africa." There was not a history of ethnic hatred or religious conflict. There were not the ancient rivalries that one often sees where great atrocities have been committed.

    One of our early witnesses that you will soon see in this courtroom, who himself saw hundreds of victims, will offer evidence of his observations and those observations have been contained in statements disclosed to the Defence many months ago. And he said in those statements, and we believe he will say in this Court, he saw no animosity between Sierra Leoneans. He simply could not understand it. There had not been conflict between tribes or religious groups. There had been nothing. He wondered how it could be called a war between groups. In his view, it was a case of terror being rained down on the people of Sierra Leone.

    How does one understand the occurrence of such a rain of terror? The Defence has provided a pre-trial brief asserting the non-involvement of the accused, best summed up by learned counsel who has now absented himself in the public quotation, his public quotation to the press of a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. "The fault ... lies not in the stars, but in ourselves." And from his explanation, it's clear that the accused is the star, the absent star today, without fault. The "ourselves" who bear the blame and the true responsibility for the horrors visited upon Sierra Leone are apparently Sierra Leoneans themselves. The savagery experienced was evidently a part of a national predisposition dormant for many years and then set off without external catalyst. In short, Sierra Leone has only itself to blame.

    That is not the view of the Prosecution and it is not what the evidence will show.

    The witnesses that we will call and the documents that we will present will prove that the accused is responsible for the development and execution of a plan that caused the death and destruction in Sierra Leone. That plan, formulated by the accused and others, was to take political and physical control of Sierra Leone in order to exploit its abundant natural resources and to establish a friendly or subordinate government there to facilitate that exploitation.

    Your Honours will hear in this address that within that overall plan there were, of course, sub-plans and strategies and operations, and the execution of that plan, of course, changed and varied in its tactics due to the unfolding of events and the resistance that it faced. The parties, however, to that plan engaged in a multitude of activities designed to ensure its fulfillment.

    The evidence will show that the accused's involvement in the crimes alleged in the indictment took a variety of forms - committing acts, planning, instigating, ordering, aiding and abetting, all in the commission of the alleged crimes, and otherwise participating in the execution of a common plan, design or purpose, what in some courts is referred to as a joint criminal enterprise. Additionally, we allege that he is responsible because persons under his effective control committed the crimes for which he had knowledge or reason to know and he failed to prevent or punish their conduct.

    The accused is indicted for 11 crimes under the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a Statute drawn from international humanitarian law as it existed as of 1996. The counts in the indictment are five for crimes against humanity, those specific crimes being murder, rape, sexual slavery, enslavement for forced labour, and inhumane acts against the civilian population of Sierra Leone. Five are war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocol, those being terrorism against the civilian population of Sierra Leone, killing, other physical violence, in particular cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and pillage, the looting of civilian property. And finally one count, a war crime, of other serious violations of international humanitarian law, being the conscription or enlisting of children under the age of 15 into armed forces or groups for their use to participate actively in hostilities.

    The Prosecution alleges that these crimes occurred in Sierra Leone between 30 November 1996 and 18 January 2002.

    It is, in fact, one over-arching crime, in the view of the Prosecution, and that crime is in and of itself a war crime, the crime of terrorism. But it was also committed through violent acts that are, in this context, also crimes themselves under international law. These component crimes included killing; cruel and physical violence, such as mutilations; the sexual assaults, such as rape, sexual slavery and other outrages; the enslavement for forced labour; the recruitment and combat use of children; the burning that killed and maimed human beings; and together with looting and pillage that deprived them of all that they had built.

    As we will explain in greater detail, they are crimes against international humanitarian law, as enshrined in our Statute. Some are charged -- some acts charge both as crimes against humanity and as war crimes, if that's permitted under our Statute; some charged as one or the other based upon their connection to the armed conflict and because they were committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.

    We are talking about all of this that was done in the implementation of a common plan, a common plan that necessarily involved as part of the plan, design or purpose, the commission of these criminal acts, but in any case a plan that necessarily involved these acts as foreseeable consequences.

    From its inception, the accused and the other participants in the common plan used criminal means to achieve and hold political power and physical control over the civilian population of Sierra Leone. These criminal means involved the campaign of terror waged against the civilian population of Sierra Leone that I have described. The crimes identified in the indictment also were involved in the criminal plan and were the natural and foreseeable consequences of it. As one of the members of the common criminal plan, the accused was fully aware of the horrific consequences that its implementation would visit on the civilian population of Sierra Leone and did nothing to stop them or to prevent or punish these crimes, and indeed continued to act in ways that caused or aided their commission.

    It's important to note, as we begin this address, that Sierra Leone is located in a region where borders exist only on paper. These lines were drawn during the colonial period and do not follow ethnic or linguistic groupings. Many in up-country border areas have closer relations to people across the borders than to those in their capital cities. Sierra Leone is divided into 12 districts, plus the Western Area that includes the capital Freetown. Liberia is divided into 15 counties and its capital Monrovia.

    Our amended indictment focuses on six districts or areas in Sierra Leone, and particularly significant in the indictment are the areas where the diamond resources are found, in Kono and Kenema Districts. Specifically in Kono, there are diamond fields in Koidu and Tombudu and Yengema. In the Kenema District, there's the Tongo Fields, and among those fields and in those fields is the so-called Cyborg Pit.

    Very significant and often mentioned in our indictment is the Kailahun District, and as I'm sure you've seen the map, you know that Kailahun is on a distant arm of Sierra Leone, in the far east and north, adjacent to Lofa County, also a county far distant from the capital city of Liberia, Monrovia. According to our evidence, Kailahun District was a long-term corridor between Sierra Leone and Lofa County, with forces moving back and forth at will during much of the time that we are dealing with under the indictment.

    To fully understand the crimes that we have described in the indictment and the central role that the accused had in the commission of them, it's important to look at the history and understand the major political events that led to the campaign of terror against the civilian population of Sierra Leone.

    As we have said, the jurisdiction of this Court is limited by the Statute to the crimes committed on the territory of Sierra Leone since 13 November 1996, and of course the crimes charged in this indictment were indeed committed between that date and the end of the Sierra Leone war on 18 January 2002. However, the planning and preparation of these crimes began long before 1996 and critical acts which furthered the plan and led to the crimes often occurred far from the borders of Sierra Leone. The evidence will show that the accused's plan to control territory in Sierra Leone through a campaign of terror began at least in 1991 when forces supported by him, including many of his own Liberian fighters of his force called the NPFL, or National Patriotic Front for Liberia, first invaded the territory of Sierra Leone in March 1991. But in some respects the planning and the preparation began even sooner.

    To understand the accused's motivation and his links to other members of the common plan and the Revolutionary United Front rebels, the Liberian group, and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, the eventual allies of the RUF, a group of soldiers that took over the country in 1997 and lost it in 1998, one must examine evidence going back to the period before 1996 and look at the international context in which the accused's intervention in Sierra Leone took place. It's also necessary to understand his own rise to power in Liberia and the ends to which he was prepared to go to achieve that power; his links to allies in the region and why he saw others as obstacles to his rule.

    One cannot fully comprehend the accused's ability to influence and control forces in Sierra Leone without some understanding of the uniquely personal nature of the accused's leadership of his armed forces, his political party and his government. The relationship often went far outside the de jure or formal chain of command. It ensured that these subordinates understood that the accused had the power and the will to reward those that assisted his plans and to punish or destroy those that displeased him. By the time the crimes charged in this indictment took place, the accused had well-established relationships with those on the ground in Sierra Leone who carried out the crimes. The RUF and its allies in Sierra Leone were clearly dependent on the accused and the individual commanders understood his power to reward or punish each and every one of them.

    Moreover, many of the crimes committed by the rebel forces supported by the accused in Sierra Leone mirrored crimes that had been committed by the accused's forces in Liberia. The RUF trained and learnt war and methods of guerilla warfare in Liberia in camps with the forces of the accused, specifically his NPFL. An example is the recruitment of child soldiers. The rebel forces in Sierra Leone carried out wide-scale recruitment of children, as was done by the NPFL in Liberia, and organized and utilized these children in their military campaign against the civilian population of Sierra Leone in the same manner that they had been organized and utilized in Liberia. The most obvious proof that the crimes committed by the RUF and allied forces in Sierra Leone were foreseeable is the fact that very similar crimes were carried out by the NPFL in Liberia.

    Further, the Prosecution submits that it will be essential for this Court to examine evidence of the accused's action after the indictment period. The Prosecution will seek to introduce evidence of post-offence conduct, in particular the murders of men who were in the accused's inner circle and who were aware of the crimes perpetrated by the accused. The evidence will show that these men were eliminated so as not to expose the accused, which behaviour goes to the accused's consciousness of his criminal responsibility for the crimes in Sierra Leone that come under the jurisdiction of this Court.

    Of course, the accused did not participate in this common plan alone. He was the leading individual but he worked closely and in concert with others in both Liberia and Sierra Leone to achieve the objectives of this enterprise.

    In Liberia, the accused's key subordinates who were directly involved in the conflict in Sierra Leone for the relevant period I'll list now. But it's important to note that many of these individuals were leaders in the bush, so to speak, in the period between 1989 and 1997, when Taylor was the Commander-in-Chief of this National Patriotic Front for Liberia, the NPFL, but that thereafter when he became President and took over the Republic of Liberia in August of 1997, they gained formal positions directly under him in the government and military of that country.

    Those key individuals include the following, here from Liberia:

    Benjamin Yeaten, aka 50 or General 50, was the right-hand man of the accused. The only man that Yeaten took orders from was the accused. No one else. According to the evidence, this man was the director of the Liberian Security Service once Taylor was President, but was a chief subordinate prior to that time. And throughout this period he was the principal liaison officer between the accused and his forces in Sierra Leone and involved in many aspects of their involvement and the accused's involvement in the Sierra Leone conflict.

    Another Liberian is Ibrahim Bah, aka General Ibrahim or Balde. Ibrahim Bah was a Senegalese from the southern area of Cassamance and was part of the accused's trusted inner circle. While he had no formal title, he played a central role in directly setting up most of the arms and diamond transactions for the accused involving Sierra Leone.

    A third individual whose name we will often here, from Liberia as well, Daniel Tamba, sometimes referred to as simply Jungle. He was the bodyguard of Yeaten and the main liaison officer between those on the ground in Sierra Leone and Yeaten from 1997 onwards. Jungle was instrumental in the delivery of arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone and also the main provider of reports direct from Sierra Leone to the accused and Yeaten. Jungle's relationship with the RUF was based on links forged on the ground in Sierra Leone with many of the RUF prior to 1997. The evidence will show that he was one of the individuals murdered in 2003 on the orders of the accused to prevent his turning against and exposing the accused.

    A fourth individual of great importance from Liberia, Musa Sesay, or Musa Cisse. He served as the accused's Chief of Protocol and was instrumental in setting up arms deals outside of Liberia and Sierra Leone for arms to be used in the conflict, and was involved in many important meetings with RUF commanders from Sierra Leone.

    Other Liberians who were under the direct command and control of the accused and whose names will feature prominently in the supply of arms in Sierra Leone or in the use of RUF forces in Liberia's own civil war, a very important fact showing Taylor's control of the RUF, the fact that he could bring the RUF into Liberia to fight there when he needed them, were Sampson Weah, a member of the Liberian SSS bodyguard of Yeaten. Others who were commanders in the first circle of the military forces of the accused were Christopher Varmoh, sometimes referred to as Liberian Mosquito; Joe Tuah; Duopo Merkazon; and Roland Duoh. And then there was the accused's own son, Charles Taylor Jr., who was the first commander of the accused's anti-terrorist unit in 1998.

    From the Sierra Leone side, the senior leaders who operated under the accused's effective control and who were, in effect, his Sierra Leonean subordinates included Foday Sankoh, the founder and leader of the Revolutionary United Front, or RUF. It's our evidence that he agreed on and launched a common plan with the accused. He was a former comrade of arms of the accused who shared experiences stretching back to the days that they were together in training camps in North Africa. It's important to note that for long periods of time from 1996 to 1999 and again after May of 2000, Foday Sankoh was in prison; first in Nigeria on suspicion arms trafficking and later after the attacks on civilians near his home in Freetown in May of 2000. So the accused often dealt directly not with Sankoh but with other subordinates in the RUF and alliance structure.

    The key one of those individuals is Sam Bockarie, aka Mosquito; as Sierra Leoneans would say in Krio, Maskita. He played the lead role, according to the evidence, in the link between the accused and the RUF and eventually the RUF and AFRC alliance. He's an indictee, of course, of the Special Court in 2003, and the evidence will show that he was murdered before he could be arrested in 2003 in Liberia, another of the individuals eliminated by the accused to prevent his turning against and exposing him.

    Another individual is Issa Sesay, a Sierra Leonean. Between 1998 to 1999, he was Maskita Bockarie's deputy. He became interim leader of the RUF in 2000, continuing into 2001, a central link between the accused and the AFRC/RUF alliance. Of course an indictee of the Special Court on trial as we speak today in Freetown before Trial Chamber I.

    Two other individuals also on trial in that same case: Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao, high-ranking officers of the RUF, who, according to our evidence, played an important role in the link between the RUF/AFRC alliance and the accused.

    Another individual is Dennis Mingo, aka Superman. This is an individual active in Sierra Leone but nonetheless a Liberian. He had been an NPFL commander under Taylor who had stayed on with the RUF from early on and became one of the highest commanders in the RUF. He played an important part in the link between these forces and was killed in 2001 under suspicious circumstances.

    Another individual whose name is quite familiar to all citizens of Sierra Leone and to this Court is Johnny Paul Koroma, a Sierra Leonean, a former member of the Sierra Leone Army, chairman of the AFRC Junta or Junta as they called it in 1997 and 1998, and during that time played an important role in the link between the accused and the AFRC and the alliance that it had formed during that regime of the RUF. He is, of course, an indictee of the Special Court for Sierra Leone whose whereabouts remain unknown.

    Now I will only carefully mention three other individuals. Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie Borbor Kanu, aka 55, because of course they are on trial before your Honours, and here today I will only say that in this trial we will present evidence to show that they played a role as well in the link between the accused and the AFRC/RUF alliance.

    Finally, there is Eddie Kanneh, a Sierra Leonean, a former SLA officer who joined the RUF in 1998. It's our evidence that he was a main diamond man for the alliance in dealings with the accused, especially from 1998 onwards.

    There will be other names for which you will become familiar during the course of this trial. Like the accused, each member of this criminal enterprise participated in and contributed to the execution of the common plan in different ways.

    Your Honour, I think you may be approaching the button and perhaps we could look at a break at this time. It's a good point in my speech, your Honour.

  • Thank you, Mr Rapp. We're breaking a bit late, but we will take a 15-minute break. According to my watch, it's ten minutes to 12:00, so we will reconvene in 15 minutes' time at five minutes past 12:00.

  • [Recess taken at 11:50 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12:07 p.m.]

  • Please be seated.

    Where is Defence counsel?

  • If I may, your Honour. I apologise. I was in the restroom facilities.

  • Mr Rapp, could you please continue with your opening statement.

  • Your Honours, it's important, I believe, to make a review of the history, not all of the history but the relevant portions, of the execution of this plan, and it really begins, as we indicated, before 1991, before 1996, in 1988 or 1989, with the military training in North Africa of Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh and other people who later became leaders of the RUF and NPFL.

    A plan was there formulated by the accused and others to take over political and physical control of Sierra Leone in order to exploit its abundant natural resources and to establish a friendly or subordinate government there to permit -- to facilitate this exploitation. This was part of a larger strategy that included helping others militarily in their respective revolutions to take over their respective countries, and the first one was to be Liberia. For that there was created the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, the NPFL, and then of course there was the RUF, the Revolutionary United Front, created for Sierra Leone.

    The agreement made by the accused and Sankoh was to begin, as I say, in Liberia with the help of Sankoh's forces, and Liberia would then be used as a base from which to move into Sierra Leone with the help of the forces of the accused. As we've indicated many times, access to Sierra Leone's abundant resources was a primary objective, but Sierra Leone would also be a source of manpower. And, as we've noted, the RUF and NPFL personnel were at various times interchangeable, with the NPFL sometimes fighting in Sierra Leone and the RUF sometimes in Liberia and even elsewhere.

    Some say that the RUF was fighting in Sierra Leone for a kind of national liberation, for the betterment of the people of that country. But we submit that the evidence will show that there was really only a thin veneer of ideology that masked the real motives of destruction and exploitation.

    At the very end of 1989, the relevant events began to unfold in the region. On 24 December 1989, Christmas Eve, there was the beginning of the Liberian civil war with the attack of NPFL in Nimba County in Liberia from across the border in Ivory Coast. Help was provided even at this very early stage by RUF forces.

    By August 1990, the Economic Community of West African States had deployed a peacekeeping force under the leadership of Nigeria and Ghana, known as ECOMOG, to enforce a cease-fire in Liberia, to establish stability in a way that would permit free elections to be conducted. Its deployment was opposed by the accused and he was soon in conflict with its forces. The then government of Sierra Leone, under President Momoh, was a contributing member of ECOMOG and allowed ECOMOG to be based on its territory.

    But meanwhile the accused gained firm control over large parts of Liberia but not the capital city, and he was a regular guest of Robin White on BBC Radio.

    On the 1st of November, 1990, he was interviewed by White, the broadcast of which you will hear in this courtroom as we intend to present it as an exhibit of evidence. But let me just recount and read that broadcast, its transcript. You'll hear the voice of Charles Taylor.

    "... I have had enough of the Sierra Leonean government permitting Nigerian aircraft to come out and kill my people. I'm saying that planes are taking off from bases at the international airport in Freetown at the end of the runway, that leave and they come and blow Liberian babies, women and old people away and my patience has run out in Momoh permitting this to happen from his territory."

    To which White asks: "But how exactly do you propose to stop 2?"

    Taylor responds: "It's anybody's guess. Maybe Momoh doesn't know, but he'll soon find out."

    "Are you," asks White, "suggesting that you will go and attack Sierra Leone yourself?"

    Taylor responds: "That's not what I'm saying, but it's for Momoh to determine."

    It's also important to note during this 1989-1991 period that there was training in the areas of Liberia controlled by Sierra Leone -- controlled by Taylor of Sierra Leoneans at Camp Nama specifically, or Naama, outside Gbarnga in Bong County. Gbarnga had become Taylor's headquarters. That training was done mainly by NPFL Liberians as instructors. But in that training, certain individuals from Sierra Leone became known as the Vanguards. These included Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, Augustine Gbao, leaders of the RUF during the 1990s and even into this century in Sierra Leone.

    Of course, as could be expected from that radio broadcast and as could be expected as well from the plan that had been developed to move next on Sierra Leone, on 23 March 1991, there was a cross-border attack on Bomaru town, the Upper Bambara Chiefdom, by NPFL forces, an attack from Liberia into Sierra Leone.

    On 27 March 1991, a group of RUF and NPFL entered Kailahun District from Liberia through the town of Koindu in the north of the district.

    On 28 March 1991, another RUF/NPFL crossed the Moa River forming the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone in the south-east part of the country. They immediately occupied Zimmi, the southern-most town on the road network in Pujehun District in the south of Sierra Leone.

    Early in April 1991, the Liberians launched an attack on a full scale with their RUF allies, and by mid-April had joined their fronts in Sierra Leone.

    The continuing role of the accused in that offensive is clearly shown by a letter that we will offer in evidence, a letter written by Foday Sankoh, the head of the RUF, to the accused on 5 May 1992 that will be offered in evidence, and that letter reads as follows:

    "Dear Brother: I am thanking you very much for the brotherly help you are rendering me in my liberation struggle ..."

    "I appreciate the five boxes of AK-47 rifle ammunition and ten boxes of RPG gun rockets which I should receive from you today ... I believe that what you have offered is still not enough to carry out the "Operation Capture Daru." So I'm asking you in the name of Almighty God to kindly increase the number of boxes of AK-47 ammunition to (20) twenty and that of the RPG rockets to (12) twelve plus some berretta rounds. This will sustain me for some time while awaiting the long term supply that you have promised me."

    In this period of 1991-1992, we see the total involvement of the NPFL under the accused in the war and its commission of massive atrocities against the people of Sierra Leone, atrocities that became so serious that the RUF in fact began to raise questions with the accused about the conduct of his men. But there was no punishment; there was no effort to stop that conduct, a pattern established then that we'll see revisited later. Instead, supplies kept coming from the accused in Liberia as he directed the war in Sierra Leone. In that conflict the RUF and NPFL gained ground in the first periods of the war, and in 1992, for at least a brief period, took control of the diamond fields in Kono.

    In that same period of 1991-1992, Ibrahim Bah created ties with the RUF - remember Mr Bah, a leading Liberian subordinate to the accused, a man from Senegal - created ties with the RUF, with Sankoh, on behalf of the accused and started to organize and set up arms shipments for the RUF from third countries. We saw regular shipments of arms and ammunition by trucks from the accused in Gbarnga, in Bong County in Liberia, his headquarters, to the RUF in Sierra Leone using that main road in Lofa County that goes into Kailahun in the north and east of Sierra Leone.

    As we talk about these events before the temporal jurisdiction of this tribunal, of this Special Court, it must be remembered that these weapons do not dissolve or melt or go away; they stay in the country, they stay in Sierra Leone, and according to the evidence are used repeatedly in the conflicts far beyond 1991 and 1992 and in the activities of the years to come.

    In 1992 and 1993 the conflict continued in Sierra Leone, but on the Liberian side - and I know this all becomes confusing - a new force, ULIMO, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia, comes into being to fight the accused and it leads a rebellion in Lofa County, this county bordering on Sierra Leone, against the forces of the NPFL, of the accused, and cuts the main road in the county where the arms and ammunitions had been going from Gbarnga to Sierra Leone. From that time until 1996 or 1997, no deliveries of arms and ammunitions from the accused to the RUF by trucks can take place. But the evidence will show that there are ongoing communications and movements of troops from the NPFL to RUF, from Liberia to Sierra Leone, and this continued using footpaths.

    In 1992 and 1994, some RUF elements come into Liberia and fight alongside the NPFL and other armed groups that are also resisting the accused in Lofa County and elsewhere in attempts to re-supply -- to re-establish that supply line so that they can get their supplies from the accused in Liberia to their war in Sierra Leone.

    In March 1994, as a result of the end of the accused's delivery of weapons to Sierra Leone, the RUF decides to change tactics and to retreat within the bush and do hit-and-run operations, and there's the creation of the base in Zogoda, in the Kambui Hills in Kenema District which will remain the RUF base until the end of 1996.

    Sometime between 1993 and 1996, some NPFL troops are pushed by ULIMO out of Lofa County and retreat to RUF territories held in Sierra Leone. They fight in Sierra Leone alongside the RUF until the accused becomes president in 1997. One of the Liberian commanders of these fighters was Daniel Tamba, this person called Jungle who we mentioned earlier, who because of his past links with the RUF becomes the main liaison officer with the accused between Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1997 onwards.

    Without going into great detail, of course, there is an ebb and flow of this conflict in Sierra Leone, and in February and March 1996, Abdul Tejan Kabbah is elected President of Sierra Leone after two rounds of the presidential election. This polling is characterized by RUF violence to prevent public participation in the election. But after the election there is eventually a peace agreement signed at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast in November 1996 between the RUF and the Kabbah government.

    However, less than six months after the Abidjan peace accord there's a coup d'état in Freetown with a group of soldiers of the Sierra Leone Army taking over the country, taking over the capital, overthrowing the elected government and establishing themselves as a Junta under the name Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, but immediately entering into an alliance with the RUF that many of the Sierra Leone Army officers had fought previously and referred to themselves as an AFRC/RUF Junta, and many of the leaders of the RUF become members of this Junta, or Junta, government.

    Meanwhile, for Liberia there's a peace agreement signed at Abuja in Nigeria which will pave the way for elections in which the accused is elected President of the Republic of Liberia in July of 1997.

    Back in Sierra Leone, the AFRC/RUF Junta is not recognized by the international community and is soon in conflict with the ECOMOG forces and a Civil Defence Force that fights in support of the elected government of Sierra Leone.

    In July-October 1997, Ibrahim Bah is sent by Charles Taylor to Freetown. Liberia is one country under Charles Taylor that will support the AFRC/RUF government and wants to find ways to provide that regime, unrecognized by all the world, with weapons. Ibrahim Bah arranged both the payment for and delivery of an arms shipment at Magburaka which arrived in October 1997 and helped the AFRC/RUF Junta to keep power for four months after October 1997. Another of the accused's liaisons is sent from Freetown at that time, and that's our friend that we've mentioned before, Mr Tamba, or Jungle.

    On 14 February 1998, ECOMOG pushes the AFRC/RUF alliance out of Freetown. There's a massive retreat of the AFRC/RUF troops into the countryside. Interestingly, on 14 February 1998, some members of the AFRC go to the man -- go to the country of the man that had supported them and managed to flee Freetown on board a plane and land in Monrovia, but there's still an ECOMOG force at the Monrovia airport and they arrest those AFRC/RUF Junta members. This angers the accused who orders ECOMOG in Liberia to leave the country. The same day the accused calls Bockarie in Sierra Leone and tells him that he will get arms and ammunition to fight the ECOMOG in Sierra Leone. They'll engage the ECOMOG militarily in that country through the AFRC and the RUF, now in the bush, who will continue their alliance after the retreat from Freetown.

    As we will see - and this will be particularly highlighted in the presentation from my learned colleague Mr Bangura - this leads to massive atrocities, atrocities clearly within the temporal jurisdiction of this Special Court.

    Around February and March of 1998, the accused sends people to get Bockarie in Kailahun and bring him to Monrovia. Bockarie is given money and a satellite phone by the accused and he gives him orders: Hold Kono. Hold the mining fields.

    In February and April 1998, a clever move by the accused, Liberian disarmament. Evidence will show that the accused orchestrates a scheme whereby the RUF purchases weapons from the ULIMO, the ULIMO combatants, the group that had been opposed to the accused in the Liberian civil war in Lofa County, thereby effectively disarming his domestic opposition in Liberia while arming the RUF in Sierra Leone. The accused gives money to Bockarie, the de facto leader of the RUF, because as we indicated early during this period Sankoh is in jail in Nigeria; money for the purchase of some of these arms and ammunition.

    Throughout 1999, there are ongoing communications between Benjamin Yeaten, the key lieutenant to the accused, and Sam Bockarie, the acting head of the RUF, and between the accused and Bockarie; radio communications between Sierra Leone and Liberia; numerous trips of the accused's representatives in Kailahun, specifically the town of Buedu and in Monrovia; numerous deliveries of arms, ammunition and other supplies. Regular updates come to the accused from his representatives in Sierra Leone about the situation in that country and in the AFRC/RUF alliance. And there are several trips by RUF High Command from Sierra Leone to Monrovia to meet with and take instruction from Yeaten and the accused.

    Then in September-October 1998, the accused sends Liberian troops to Sierra Leone to reinforce the AFRC/RUF.

    Let's talk about where we are. At this point the accused has taken eight years to conquer power in Liberia and he's now the head of state. He has spent a great deal of money on arms and other materiel for men in Sierra Leone. Sankoh is in jail. The accused does not want young bush commanders in the RUF sabotaging his efforts and the accused sends explicit instructions, radio communications, and he puts eyes and ears on the ground in Kailahun and elsewhere to know what's happening. Among those were the eyes and ears of our friend Mr Tamba, or Jungle.

    In November and December 1998, some of the closest men to the accused spend a lot of time in Kailahun with Bockarie to prepare a major country-wide offensive. Around the same period, Bockarie and the accused's men travel to organise a major arms and ammunition shipment which is delivered to Kailahun in Sierra Leone in December 1998.

    All of this coincides with a major offensive fought on several fronts, but in the end a coordinated offensive between AFRC and RUF forces to recapture Koidu Town where there are diamond fields, to reach Makeni and many other towns. And of course there is the invasion of Freetown done specifically by AFRC forces, though their success is aided by the RUF otherwise in the field, as my colleague will show in his presentation.

    In January 1999, Bockarie himself is promoted to general by the accused and we will hear at some point, as my colleague will describe, the famous conversation by Bockarie on BBC Radio where he refers to Mr Taylor as chief.

    In 1999, Charles Taylor sends his men to assess the diamond fields in Sierra Leone.

    Throughout 1999 there is ongoing communications between Yeaten and Bockarie, between the accused and Bockarie, radio communications in Sierra Leone and numerous trips back and forth. And there are, of course, these several trips as well from these RUF individuals as in the previous year to Monrovia.

    Then in 1999, Charles Taylor, who has been in control as President, begins to face again his own revolt in Liberia, an organisation called the LURD, L-U-R-D, comes into being, formed mainly by Mandingo or former ULIMO fighters. It attacks Liberian positions from Guinea. The accused fears that the LURD, as ULIMO did in the 1990s, would cut off the Liberian-Sierra Leone supply line. The war starts again in Liberia which has consequences in Sierra Leone.

    After 1999 the accused uses the RUF to fight the LURD in Lofa County in Liberia. The accused's various battles against the rebel movement known as the LURD, he was able to draw on these reinforcements from the RUF.

    There were two significant offensives of the LURD which the AFRC/RUF from Sierra Leone fought in Liberia: One in April 1999; the other in mid-2000 onwards. During this first deployment, there was massive looting in Liberia by the Sierra Leone forces, the AFRC/RUF alliance.

    Meanwhile, there were negotiations for peace in Sierra Leone. Though the AFRC/RUF alliance no longer controlled Freetown, the offensive had left it in control of much of the country, including the diamond fields. The accused's representatives are present in Lomé, in Togo, for the peace talks, and he and the RUF are able to strike a very favourable bargain in the accords that were finalised on 9 July 1999.

    Despite immense atrocities that will be outlined more specifically by my colleague that have been committed across Sierra Leone just weeks before, an amnesty is declared for all of the perpetrators and the RUF's Sankoh, recently released from jail, is actually put in charge of the Sierra Leone mining industry.

    In October 1999, the UN Security Council Resolution 1270 establishes UNAMSIL, a peacekeeping force to monitor and enforce the Lomé Peace Accords.

    In the year 2000 the RUF is in control and remains in control of a large part of Sierra Leone and continues to exploit its mineral resources. There are several trips of the RUF High Command to see the accused in Monrovia. There are regular shipments of arms from the accused to the RUF in Sierra Leone. The accused's men continue to visit the RUF-held territories and update the accused on what's going on.

    Then in May 2000, there's the abduction of the peacekeepers by RUF folks -- by RUF forces, by RUF troops. There's a demonstration in Freetown outside Sankoh's house and 25 civilians are killed. Sankoh is arrested some days later with many of his RUF commanders. The ECOWAS appoints the accused to ensure that the RUF complies with the terms of the Lomé Agreement, and in that role he negotiates or orders the release of the UN peacekeepers. The UNAMSIL hostages in mid-2000 are sent by the RUF not into neutral territory in Sierra Leone for their liberation but to Monrovia, to be released there by the accused.

    Why is this relevant to the criminal charges? Because, again, it demonstrates the power of the accused to control the RUF. It may seem like a benign act, but by it he was showing that when he wanted to prevent crimes or end crimes committed by these forces he could do so, and also showing that before he had not acted to prevent the crime or to end their commission.

    In mid to late 2000, the accused orders the RUF to start operations in Guinea, a third country, as the accused thinks that the Guinean government is backing the LURD. There is a second offensive that we discussed by the LURD at this time. RUF fighters were sent to Liberia by Sesay, the Deputy Head of the RUF at this time, on orders of the accused. The focus of the attack was an attack on the Guinean town of Guekuedou in order to try to assist the forces of the Liberians in Foya. The man who attack the Guinean town are given orders by the accused and his subordinates: Kill everyone and burn down all the houses. Materiel in support of this operation are supplied from Liberia through Kailahun in Sierra Leone.

    In December 2000, there's a UN report on Sierra Leone which details extensive support by the RUF -- for the RUF by the accused's government and recommends a complete embargo on all diamonds that are coming through and out of Liberia.

    In May 2001, the United Nations Security Council imposes an arms embargo to punish the accused for trading weapons for diamonds with the RUF. Sanctions are imposed which include a travel ban on many associates of the accused.

    In January 2002, the war is declared over in Sierra Leone, but the AFRC/RUF troops are still fighting in Liberia.

    In January-February 2002, the LURD defeats the RUF in Lofa County and by mid-February are 44 kilometres from Monrovia. The accused declares a state of emergency in Liberia. The war is over in Liberia and a demobilisation programme has begun, weakening the accused in Liberia, and within 18 months, the LURD has pushed the accused out of power but not before the accused has killed Tamba Jungle and Sam Mosquito Bockarie.

    The Prosecution will lead evidence that the accused, through the senior leaders of the organized group known as the Revolutionary United Front, instructed commanders to follow a certain modus operandi, sometimes referred to as an MO, same as the -- and it was the same MO as employed by the NPFL at all times during the Liberian civil war in the years 1989 to 1996 and 1999 to 2003.

    That method of operation had its hallmarks. It included, particularly in Sierra Leone, attacks against the civilian population, beginning with an armed attack against a civilian village, a town or a city, carried out by members of the RUF, or the AFRC/RUF Junta, or its alliance after it was in power, or by Liberian subordinates to the accused.

    Two, the attackers would use a variety of arms and other materiel to take control of all or part of the village, town or city.

    The attack against the civilian population included the murder, sometimes almost the random murder, of many civilians.

    Typically, the attackers would enslave large numbers of the civilians to use as fighters, miners, farmers, domestic workers, not allowing them to leave the control of the attackers.

    Those who objected to their captivity or attempted to flee were routinely killed or beaten.

    Typically, the attackers would rape women and girls, often repeatedly, turn them into sexual slaves or sometimes long-term bush wives.

    The attackers would mutilate the captive civilians, amputating arms, legs, gouging at eyes.

    Children were conscripted by attackers, often after killing their own parents, with the children provided with drugs and weapons and conditioned to view their commanders as the new leaders of their family.

    In addition, the attackers would typically loot and burn the homes of civilians.

    This was the brutal and bloody strategy which, under the command and control of the accused, was followed by those on the ground in Sierra Leone.

    It wasn't, in essence, the military capability of their opponents that the RUF targeted for destruction. If the accused and the groups subordinate to him or associated with him had limited themselves to active hostilities against government forces in Sierra Leone and the organized groups aligned with those forces, we would not be here today.

    But this was a campaign of terror against civilians, not combatants. It reached its peak in 1998 and the senseless carnage which was wrought in Sierra Leone was succinctly summed up by a report of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees issued on 28 January 1999. Let me quote the exact words.

    "It soon became clear that the scale and nature of the crimes perpetrated served only two purposes: intimidation and humiliation." "... perpetrators of these crimes do not discriminate with regard to the age, sex, ethnic origin or other criteria in the choice of their victims."

    My colleague, Mr Bangura, will now rise to outline the evidence about this campaign of terror, specifically as to the crimes perpetrated against the people of Sierra Leone as alleged in our amended indictment.

    I will return after his remarks to conclude this opening statement. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Rapp.

    It is now 20 minutes to 1:00. Originally we had scheduled that we would take an early lunch break at a quarter to 1:00, which is in five minutes' time, and I'm just wondering, we could either break now and return later after the lunch break or we could go on for another 20 minutes and adjourn at 1:00, in which case we would interrupt Mr Bangura's presentation. I don't know what you prefer.

  • Your Honours, I'd rather that we start after the lunch break.

  • Okay. In that case, we will take a break of one and a half hours and we will reconvene at 2:00. We will reconvene at exactly 2:00 to continue with the opening statement of the Prosecutor.

    Court is adjourned.

  • [Recess taken at 12:42 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 13:59 p.m.]

  • Good afternoon. We'll continue with the opening statement of the Prosecutor. I call upon Mr Bangura.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

    Your Honours, this afternoon I will present to the Court the crimes charged in the second amended indictment as they unfolded in Sierra Leone between November 1996 and January 2002. We have told you that you will hear evidence from which you can infer there was a plan, that the accused was involved in the creation of this plan, that he participated in this plan with others.

    What I will present now to the Court are the details of the devastating effect which this plan had on the civilians of Sierra Leone. Evidence will be led showing that the accused knew of these devastating effects but continued with the plan.

    I will touch on what actually happened in Sierra Leone as stated in the indictment and the crimes which were perpetrated there, crimes that were perpetrated with the aim of causing terror.

    Your Honours, the Prosecutor has already enumerated the crimes which we charge in the indictment. This Court will hear evidence that the people of Sierra Leone suffered.

    From Kenema to Kono, whole villages were destroyed. The capital was under siege. No one was safe, young or old. Families were forced to turn on each other and then were torn apart. The main victims of the war in Sierra Leone were poor, defenceless civilians, ordinary folks on the countryside who had nothing to do with politics, governance or corruption and who had nowhere to hide. They longed for peace but were instead subjected to years of atrocities, atrocities which are reflected in the indictment and for which we stand here and allege that the accused, Charles Ghankay Taylor, bears responsibility.

    Your Honours, you will hear the perpetrators of these crimes being referred to by various names: RUF, rebels, RUF rebels, People's Army, AFRC, AFRC/RUF, Junta, Junta rebels.

    No matter what name they were called, the story is the same - all these groups committed mindless acts of violence, terror and degradation, devoid of any human reason. You will hear that the man who gave orders to the leaders of these groups, who provided safe haven to these groups, who provided much-needed weapons and supplies to these groups, who encouraged and aligned himself to these groups, is the accused Charles Ghankay Taylor.

    Your Honours have heard the names of some of the associates and subordinates of the accused who provided many of the links to the crimes perpetrated in Sierra Leone and through whom the accused acted alongside to further the common plan. Your Honours have heard the names Sam Bockarie, Mosquito; Ibrahim Bah; Benjamin Yeaten; Colonel Jungle; and Issa Sesay. Your Honours, I ask you to remember these names which will echo in these chambers throughout this trial. The accused may not have set foot in Sierra Leone during the time period, but he stamped his mark indelibly on the whole country.

    The crimes included in the indictment took place between the 30th of November, 1996 and the 18th of January, 2002. This was but part of a conflict that lasted over ten years. However, it was in this period that the seeds sown by the accused and the other participants in the common plan bore their most bitter fruits.

    Your Honours, let me describe the significance of Kailahun and Kono Districts.

    Kailahun District, bordering Liberia, was throughout the conflict the corridor between Liberia and Sierra Leone. This district has a long history with the RUF and the NPFL and was one of the first targets of the RUF and NPFL forces in 1991. Your Honours will hear that later the town of Buedu became the RUF stronghold and the location of its headquarters.

    During the conflict, for fighters on either side of the border, Kailahun District and Lofa County, Buedu and Foya were one territory, one group of people, all fighting the same fight, aiming towards the same goal. Geographical boundaries had no meaning.

    What had meaning in this conflict were diamonds. Between 1998 and 2000, diamonds mined by forced labour were first taken to the headquarters in Buedu and from there to the accused in Liberia. In return, arms, ammunition and supplies were regularly transported through Lofa County to Buedu. The Prosecution will present evidence that Buedu was a place stocked with arms and ammunition supplied by the accused. These arms were then distributed to the AFRC/RUF forces throughout the country.

    Buedu was, for a large part of the conflict, the epicentre of operations. As the Prosecutor has highlighted, in 1998 and 1999, Bockarie directed, planned and ordered operations from Buedu, including the 1998 attacks on Kono and Makeni. These attacks killed and maimed hundreds of innocent civilians.

    Your Honours, right next door to Kailahun District is Kono District, a major diamond mining area. Diamonds were at the heart of the common plan because they helped fuel the war.

    In exchange for diamonds, the accused provided the RUF, and later the Junta, with much needed arms and ammunition, enhancing their ability to continue the war. It is clear that the district's strategic importance lay in its economic value.

    In February 1998, on losing control of Freetown, the need to control the country's other strategic areas became even more critical. The accused's order to the Junta in around March 1998 was to hold Kono. This order was conveyed by Bockarie to his men. But in April 1998, the AFRC lost control of Koidu Town in the heart of Kono. This loss triggered the launch of two brutal attacks to try to retake the town in order to obey the accused's command.

    With assistance provided by the accused, including a supply of arms, the RUF and AFRC rebels launched their attacks on ECOMOG and the Civil Defence Forces, known as the CDF, in Koidu Town and its surrounding areas. In the coming months you will see and hear evidence of the crimes committed during these attacks. These series of attacks was called Fiti-Fata in Krio, the local parlance in Sierra Leone.

    Your Honours, I would like to use the words of a witness to describe what Fiti-Fata meant in the context of the attacks. It meant 24 hours without any control. If any fighter wished to kill someone, he could kill anyone he wished. In other words, your Honours, there were no rules and no one was safe.

    The civilians of Kono paid a heavy price for living in such a mineral-rich area. During the indictment period, many areas of Kono were razed to the ground. You will hear evidence of the order given by Morris Kallon of the RUF to burn Koidu Town. You will also hear evidence of the order of another rebel commander, given casually to his men, to light candles, which meant to burn houses. However, the evidence will show that the destruction that resulted from was anything but casual. The destruction was part of the overall campaign of terror charged under count 1 of the indictment.

    Your Honours, this campaign of terror also included the unlawful killings which occurred in Kono and Kailahun and are charged under counts 2 and 3. Let me describe two incidents, your Honours.

    The Prosecution will call a witness who will describe the joint AFRC/RUF attack on Koidu Town around May 1998. This witness will describe how he was taken captive and forced to walk to Koidu Town. On this walk, the witness stepped over corpses, stepping in blood, pools of blood. The witness estimated that he stepped over about 50 corpses. However, this is not where his trauma would end. Instead, on arrival the men, women and children were divided into groups, made to stand in line, and then RUF rebels opened fire on them. On that day, your Honours, 101 people were killed.

    In Kailahun, the killings were equally as shocking. One particularly horrific killing during this period was the execution of approximately 65 men in Kailahun Town who were suspected CDF fighters. These men were captured and detained for several days before Bockarie ordered their execution. Bockarie himself participated in the killing, shooting some of the men in the head at close range.

    Physical violence is also charged for Kailahun and Kono under counts 7 and 8 of the indictment. The Prosecution alleges that the AFRC/RUF engaged in widespread acts of physical violence in Kono, Kailahun, and other parts of the country, and that in Kono villages such as Tombodu, Kaima and Wondedu suffered brutal attacks that took many forms, including but not limited to the application of force with weapons, the mutilation of civilians, and amputation of limbs.

    The Prosecution will lead evidence of what can only be described as a barbaric practice of the RUF and AFRC, namely to carve the letters RUF, AFRC, or RUF/AFRC into the flesh of captured civilians. The evidence will include testimony as well as demonstrative and photographic evidence which show the scars that still exist on the bodies of some.

    The evidence will suggest that this practice had a strategic element in that the AFRC/RUF fighters were of the view that carving their letters into their captives would result in them being identified by other free civilians as RUF or AFRC fighters. Consequently, the scarred captives would be unwelcome in civilian villages and back in their own homes. This practice was part of an overall strategy to terrorize civilians, thus holding a large population of people not only in Kono but throughout the country in a state of physical and psychological captivity.

    The Prosecution will introduce evidence of what we respectfully suggest is the most well-known atrocity inflicted on persons in Sierra Leone at the relevant times of the indictment, namely amputations. We will call witnesses who either saw or were themselves victims of amputations, and they will describe not only the physical acts of cutting off limbs but also the words of the rebels who allegedly committed these acts.

    You will hear evidence that victims were told that they should go to President Kabbah to ask for new hands. In the words of one rebel commander after ordering the amputation of many civilians, he said: "You see, you don't want Foday Sankoh, you want Tejan Kabbah. Well, go to him to get new hands."

    Your Honours, sexual crimes were also committed in Kailahun and Kono and are charged under counts 4, 5 and 6.

    Our evidence will show that the practice of using women as sex slaves became widespread and commonplace among the RUF, and later the AFRC/RUF fighters throughout the war.

    You will hear that Sierra Leonean women captured by the RUF or AFRC were forced to make strategic choices that no woman should ever have to make. These women would seek to become attached to a single commander or fighter as a "bush wife" because this was the best way to limit the abuse they would suffer. The alternative was that, and I quote a witness, "to be treated like a football in the field," being exposed to one rape after another perpetrated by many men without any consideration for health, feelings or lives.

    Your Honours will hear evidence that the girls and women of Sierra Leone were subjected to extreme sexual violence; that they were abducted and raped, oftentimes publicly, oftentimes by numerous fighters, oftentimes for extended periods of time, and then generally forced into sexual slavery.

    You will hear that girls and women were forced to continue performing sexual acts as well as domestic duties for their fighter husbands. Those who dared to escape and who were caught were either killed or were marked with RUF on their bodies.

    During the indictment period, as set out in count 10, civilians in Kono and Kailahun were harnessed and forced to work intensively towards the war effort.

    Aside from domestic duties forced upon female captives, men and women of all ages throughout Sierra Leone were forced to perform other types of work for the rebels without pay.

    Abductees were forced to work on RUF farms in Kailahun District. They were also forced at gunpoint to carry arms, ammunition, food, fuel and other supplies from Buedu to Koidu Town - a distance of over 70 miles following narrow bush paths.

    In Kono, diamond miners were often forced to work without food. Those who were too tired to work were stripped and beaten and, in some instances, killed. Diamonds mined under these conditions were given to senior AFRC/RUF commanders and were then sent to the accused in exchange for arms, ammunition and supplies. Evidence will show that the accused sent his subordinates from Liberia to provide advice to Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay on the Kono mining operations, thus protecting his own economic interests.

    You will hear evidence that in an effort to strengthen the rebel forces and to sow the seeds of the common plan, AFRC/RUF commanders ordered the training of captured civilians and then forcibly conscripted them into the ranks of the fighting force.

    In Kailahun and Kono, abducted civilians were trained at Bayama, Pendembu, Bunumbu, Koinadugu and Yengema.

    The training often involved severe beatings of those who were uncooperative and sometimes resulted in deaths of the trainees. Your Honours will hear evidence that from Liberia, the accused provided arms and ammunition, rice and food for these trainees -- for these training camps where abducted civilians and children were forcibly trained.

    Your Honours, let me move to another diamond-rich area, which is Kenema District.

    This district is home to the famous Tongo Fields. As we already saw in Kono, such wealth attracted much violence. In 1997 and 1998, these fields produced a bitter harvest which resulted in counts 1, 2, 3, and 10 being charged for this district in the indictment.

    In the context of the indictment, the crimes charged for Kenema are those which took place largely during the Junta period. The significance of diamonds to the survival of the Junta regime cannot be overemphasised and this was evidenced by the very presence of Sam Bockarie himself in Kenema throughout this period.

    That being said, the need for diamonds was so great that they were to be mined no matter what the human price.

    The governing body of the AFRC regime - the Supreme Council - which was located in Freetown, received frequent updates from the mining commanders on the number of diamonds extracted and other essential information regarding productivity. The Junta government was not recognized by the international community and had to rely on its own resources. Therefore, simply as a matter of survival and to pay for the rice for its soldiers and the weapons needed to fight the ECOMOG troops, the diamond fields in Kenema needed to be intensively mined by civilians.

    This internationally isolated regime did have one friend, though, and that friend was the accused.

    Your Honours have heard the name Ibrahim Bah and about the Magburaka arms shipment. This shipment was paid for partially by illegally mined diamonds.

    Your Honours, the conditions of miners working in the diamond fields was harsh and brutal. Mining was undertaken in areas such as the notorious Cyborg Pit, which has been mentioned before. Child soldiers renowned for their brutality guarded the miners at gunpoint.

    This period of intense forced mining was punctuated by frequent killings. Many civilians were killed at Cyborg Pit; some because they were suspected of stealing diamonds, others because their deaths helped instill a climate of terror that would deter escapes. Terror was guaranteed to be generated when, on the orders of Bockarie, miners in Cyborg Pit were fired on indiscriminately.

    Indeed, this was a district controlled by fear. You will hear evidence about one famous event in the township of Kenema where several community leaders accused of supporting the CDF were detained and tortured. Subsequently, several of the detainees, including BS Massaquoi, a former cabinet minister and municipal leader of Kenema, were killed on the orders of Bockarie.

    Your Honours, I move to Port Loko. Count 11, pillage, is charged for this district between 1 February 1998 and 30 April 1998.

    In February 1998, the Junta, which had ruled for just short of a year, was finally routed by ECOMOG forces. This event, known as the intervention, resulted in the withdrawal of the RUF/AFRC forces from Freetown. As the forces withdrew, their passage was marked by violence and looting. This passage from west to east is reflected in the districts and towns charged in the indictment under count 11 for the crime of looting.

    Masiaka is a town in Port Loko District. It was here that the defeated members of the former Junta and their men received the infamous order for the forces to pay themselves, popularly known as Operation Pay Yourself.

    Your Honours, this journey of retreat and looting took the forces to Bombali and accordingly this district is included under counts 1 and 11 of the indictment.

    Makeni is a strategic town in Bombali District which controls the route between Freetown and Kono and facilitates access to the northern and eastern areas of Sierra Leone.

    Once Operation Pay Yourself had been announced in Masiaka in February 1998, the forces simply kept heading east back to their strongholds, taking whatever they came across in the villages and towns they passed through.

    Your Honours, Freetown and the Western Area encompasses the city of Freetown and the entire peninsula. Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone and the seat of political power. After the May 1997 coup, Freetown was the Junta's headquarters. In February 1998, Johnny Paul Koroma and many other senior Junta leaders fled from Freetown. In their wake, their forces abducted civilians and took them to Kono and other areas in Sierra Leone. Freetown again came into focus at the end of 1998. The final objective of the operation commencing with the attack on Kono District was to retake control of Freetown in order to re-establish political control over the country.

    The movement towards Freetown, the invasion of Freetown and then the retreat from Freetown covering the period from 1998 until 19 -- covering the period from end of 1998 until early 1991 -- 1999 is the focus of the crimes charged in the indictment.

    On re-establishing control over Koidu Town, AFRC/RUF forces from Kono, under the command of Issa Sesay, and from Koinadugu, under the command of Superman, launched coordinated attacks on Makeni which led to the takeover of the town.

    In the meantime, the forces of Alex Tamba Brima and SAJ Musa were on their way to the next target, which was Freetown.

    The advance to Freetown began in Rosos and took the route through Waterloo in the Western Area to Benguema, from Hastings to Jui, from Allen Town to Calaba Town, from Wellington to Kissy, and from Upgun into the city centre. A large number of Liberian former NPFL fighters were sent to Buedu from Liberia in 1998 to reinforce the AFRC and RUF forces on their planned attacks. A good number of these Liberian fighters went from Buedu with Superman to Koinadugu in mid 1998 to join SAJ Musa in the Northern Jungle. They later reinforced the forces of Alex Tamba Brima at Colonel Eddie Town and entered Freetown with the predominantly AFRC forces. Throughout the attack, AFRC/RUF commanders in the Freetown area were communicating with AFRC/RUF commanders on the other fronts.

    For the people of Freetown, the January 6 invasion did not come as a complete surprise. What astounded the population was the viciousness of the attack.

    With the State House under their control and the central prison gates flung wide open, the invaders had free reign over the eastern and central parts of the city for almost two weeks.

    AFRC/RUF forces were eventually forced to retreat eastwards by ECOMOG and other SLA forces. However, they took with them a huge band of abductees. In this band were able-bodied men and a large number of young girls and children. Left behind in the now-empty streets, thousands lay dead as vultures fed on decomposing bodies.

    You will hear evidence that the city's hospitals and clinics were full beyond capacity with wounded and the dying. Whole streets lay abandoned, houses burnt, wrecked and abandoned vehicles littering the streets. As if this was not enough, your Honours, waives of freshly amputated civilians began streaming into the city from the eastern outskirts, sending a grim reminder that the invaders were still close. Hospital corridors soon became lined with amputees.

    The accused's responsibility for the events of January 6 and its aftermath will be established through Prosecution witnesses who will testify to the following facts:

    First, that throughout the invasion period, Bockarie became the only spokesman for the forces. Such was Bockarie's importance that he negotiated the cease-fire on behalf of the fighters on the ground. Bockarie was known for his vanity. He had no hesitations about making public his role and gave a number of interviews on the BBC. In one he threatened to burn Freetown and in another he referred to the accused as his chief.

    Second, there was ongoing radio communication throughout the -- communications throughout the Freetown invasion between Bockarie and Alex Tamba Brima. These communications increased as the fighters took over State House, gained control over the city until they eventually retreated from State House. Orders from Bockarie to Alex Tamba Brima included holding the city while RUF reinforcements were being provided. Later, they dealt with issues of cease-fire, the burning of embassies, the retreat, as well as other orders. Brima complied with these orders.

    Third, RUF fighters and some Liberian fighters sent by the accused weeks before the invasion reinforced the fighters of Alex Tamba Brima and enhanced the military strength of the forces which entered Freetown on that fateful day of 6 January 1999.

    In addition, Bockarie ordered that the RUF fighters in Waterloo -- excuse me. In addition, Bockarie ordered that the RUF fighters in Waterloo ensure the safe passage of the retreating RUF/AFRC forces from the city by holding the Guinean ECOMOG contingent at bay.

    The scale of the atrocities also indicates that the invasion should be set in context. This was the culmination of years of assistance by the accused towards the common plan to take over the political control of Sierra Leone. In order to achieve this objective, from May 1997 to January 1999, the RUF/AFRC alliance and the Liberian fighters supplied by the accused engaged the ECOMOG forces throughout the country in constant combat and attacked their military bases. This had the effect of considerably reducing the ECOMOG capacity to defend Freetown, which made the January 1999 invasion of Freetown an inevitable success for the RUF/AFRC allied forces.

    The scale of the terror that was unleashed on Freetown is unparalleled as a single event in the entire conflict. No other incident, event or attack by the RUF or AFRC throughout the war involved such large-scale burning of civilian property in locations throughout Freetown; such killing of civilians; such widespread beatings and amputations; such abduction of civilians; such widespread looting; and such abuse of young girls and women.

    At the end of this period of extreme violence which shocked the entire world, the accused called Bockarie to Monrovia and promoted him.

    A few months after the invasion, in mid 1999 in Monrovia, the accused hosted Johnny Paul Koroma and some senior leaders of the AFRC. At this meeting the accused praised the rebel advance into Freetown and gave the delegation $15,000 as a show of support.

    Your Honours, yet another haunting image of the conflict in Sierra Leone is that of children carrying guns taller than they were. Children were conscripted, enlisted and/or used in active hostilities throughout the war in Sierra Leone.

    Count 9 of the indictment states that between about 30 November 1996 and about 18 January 2002, members of the RUF, AFRC, RUF/AFRC Junta or alliance, and/or other armed factions fighting in Sierra Leone routinely used hundreds of boys and girls under the age of 15 to participate in hostilities.

    The evidence will demonstrate that a pattern was followed throughout the war. Children were abducted by the rebel fighting forces during attacks on their villages and taken to training camps.

    The training in these camps was harsh beyond measure. When learning to crawl to avoid fire, real bullets were often fired above the heads of the child recruits. Those who failed to follow instructions on how to crawl and who raised their heads were killed by these bullets.

    After training, some of these children were given military ranks. The children were then used by the rebels to fight at the front lines, to carry arms and ammunition to the front lines, to act as bodyguards, and to provide security to commanders and fighters and conduct reconnaissance.

    This was a pattern which had been followed by the forces under the command of the accused in Liberia in the late 1980s and which was continued until about 2003.

    The boys and girls that were trained in Sierra Leone were grouped into units called the Small Boys Unit, or SBU, and Small Girls Unit, SGU. These names were used by the NPFL in Liberia from the early 1990s.

    Your Honours, I would like to thank the Bench for the opportunity to address you on this historic day. It has truly been an honour for me to do so.

    The people of Sierra Leone have a saying: "Net long so tay, doh mus clean." No matter how long the night, light will come. For years the accused's crimes have remained in the dark. Today we start to shed light on his responsibility for the suffering of the people of Sierra Leone.

    That ends my portion of the opening statement.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura.

    Mr Rapp, you wish to continue?

  • Madam President, your Honours, thank you, and thank you, Mr Bangura, for that eloquent representation and review of the crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone as alleged in our indictment.

    This indictment, of course, accuses Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor of direct responsibility for these individual crimes. Based upon Article 6(1) of our Statute. Of course, that article deals with committing, planning, ordering, instigating, and aiding and abetting the commission of crimes. It is, as we've said earlier, a case founded as well on the idea that this plan was a common plan in which the accused participated over an extended period of time, and so in the execution of that common plan, he also was involved in planning, ordering, and instigating particular offences.

    In our pre-trial brief and, to some extent, in Mr Bangura's presentation we've heard about some of the instances of ordering and instigating and planning these crimes, but I would like to focus in a little more depth with the aiding and abetting aspect of the case, because it is on this that the evidence is absolutely overwhelming.

    Throughout the relevant period, the accused provided vital and substantial assistance, encouragement or support to the RUF, then to the Junta, and finally to the AFRC/RUF alliance in the bush which enabled these forces to conduct this widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Sierra Leone.

    To support this indictment, during the course of this trial we will, of course, present many witnesses who will testify and be examined and cross-examined, and we will also present many documents. I'd like just to mention two of those documents, two of those documents which were found in the Sankoh home/residence in Freetown after his arrest in May of 2000.

    One was a narrative report provided by one of his followers, prepared almost like a diary during the periods of 1997 and 1998 and early 1999 in order that the leader, when and if he were released, could have an account of what happened while he was sitting in prison in Nigeria.

    In that ten-page letter, a report, which is signed by a Black Guard Commander and addressed to his commander Foday Sankoh, there are many very interesting passages, but I'd just like to quote from one, describing events in 1998 between the fall of the Junta, the intervention in February of 1998 of ECOMOG that caused the defeat of the group that had controlled the country for nine months and its withdrawal into the countryside, and the attack on Freetown by some of the same forces some ten months later during that year of 1998 which saw such enormous brutality across Sierra Leone.

    "The High Command was called to report by the President of Liberia, Charles Taylor. Wherein the President seriously briefed" the person in "the High Command and gave him the confidence that he should not give up, but to keep up the struggle and uphold the revolution until the leader" - that would be Sankoh - "returns. The President gave full assurance to the High Command and promised to give his maximum support to the RUF. The President also took an oath that he will never betray his brother (Corporal Foday Sankoh). From that point, the President gave huge logistics" - and then the author says - "(ammunition) to the High Command for us to start repelling the ECOMOG advancement or to contain the situation ..."

    Another document found in the residence on Spur Road in Freetown was essentially the minutes of a meeting that occurred among the RUF leadership following Sankoh's release and before the Lomé Accord, and it goes through and discusses the comments of many as they reported to the leader on the events that had transpired over the course of the period 1996 to 1999. One of them is quite instructive of how the diamond transactions worked with the top individual, the person they referred to as Big Brother and who, it is evident from the context, is clearly Charles Taylor.

    The particular account and the part that I would like to read begins with a description of a troubled mission in which they had arrived at Koindu in the evening, which is, if I'm not mistaken, on the Sierra Leone side, in Kailahun.

    "We ... met Benjamin," presumably Yeaten, "Memuna and others where we left them and gave them the feedback on our mission. Bra," who they refer to and, from the context, it appears to be Ibrahim Bah, the person that we discussed earlier in our outline of the persons involved in this case, a close subordinate of the accused, "said 'No problem. This is how God works out things,' that he could have been arrested. He said we should write a letter and hand over the 1,832 pieces in 9 plastics to Papay," the person that -- the common name used for the accused. "Bra" or Bah, "approved the letter. General Ibrahim Memuna and Jungle went to Liberia while we returned to Buedu. When Pa Rogers and others went to Gbarnga later, these diamonds were shown to him. Big Brother told them he is going to reserve them until you," Papa, Pa Sankoh, "return ... With regard to the 244 pieces that we sold, I have a record in a ledger with the quantity and everything ... we haggled on prices for the gems and we agreed on 17,000 US dollars."

    As you see further in the letter, certain people took money from the 17,000, but 15,000 was available for "items that the boys needed at the front."

    So a story is told of the delivery of 1,832 pieces, which we believe must be inferred from the evidence to have been diamonds; that 244 of them, some one-eighth, were then liquified, in a sense, to provide materiel for the front; seven-eighths of the diamonds were kept by Big Brother in anticipation of Sankoh's return.

    The evidence, I think, will later show in our case that when Sankoh returned those diamonds were unavailable to him.

    That's just some of the evidence we'll be presenting in this case to show the continuing assistance to the RUF and to the Junta and to the AFRC/RUF, assistance that allowed the war to continue with its brutality to civilians, a key aspect of its strategy, but also a transaction of profound benefit to the accused himself.

    Of course, we're dealing with the ways that he's responsible for what happened in Sierra Leone and that is based upon the fact that he was providing arms; he was providing ammunition and other materiel; he was providing manpower; he was providing military training; he was providing facilities and safe havens in Liberia; he was providing strategic and tactical advice, direction, encouragement, as well as other assistance. And this enabled the members of the RUF, Junta and AFRC/RUF to carry out the campaign of terror charged in counts 1 through 11 of the indictment and to commit the crimes outlined by my learned colleague.

    The accused's assistance had a substantial effect on the ability of these groups to commit these murders, mutilations, beatings, rapes, sexual slavery, enslavement for forced labour, looting and other crimes charged in the indictment.

    As we will later show, the accused provided this assistance with full knowledge that these crimes had been and were being committed, or with the awareness of the substantial likelihood that his assistance, encouragement, or support would assist the commission of these crimes.

    We earlier heard about the arms in the original offensive back in 1991 for which Sankoh thanked Taylor, but significantly and certainly within our temporal jurisdiction, we had great shipments of arms from 1997 and on into 2002. The materiel provided included the shipment of arms and ammunitions to the Magburaka airstrip in Tonkolili District in the fall of 1997 and the shipments used for the attacks throughout 1998, including the attack against Koidu, Makeni and other locations in 1998 as part of the operation to retake Kono and to march on Freetown.

    The materiel was stored, these arms and other material were stored in facilities at various locations in Liberia before being sent into Sierra Leone, including the accused's own residences in Gbarnga and Monrovia and at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia. Subordinates of the accused working at these storage facilities would provide the materiel to the RUF, Junta and AFRC/RUF on the instructions of the accused. These instructions were usually communicated through a senior level subordinate such as Benjamin Yeaten.

    There was manpower provided. The accused provided subordinate Liberian personnel to assist the RUF, Junta, in particular the RUF component and AFRC/RUF, throughout the early 1990s and throughout the conflict.

    In 1998, the accused sent several hundred men of the Scorpion Unit to fight with the RUF. The accused drew these personnel from the NPFL, other organized armed groups within Liberia, the Liberian population in general, and, after the accused became President, from the AFL, which are the Armed Forces of Liberia, and specialized units such as his SSS, his Special Security Service, and his ATU, the Anti-Terrorist Unit. These personnel functioned in a variety of roles, for example, as fighters, trainers, and communications operators.

    In addition to the fighters, military trainers and communications operations, the accused also provided personnel to facilitate the movement of RUF, Junta, and alliance members between Sierra Leone and Liberia. These personnel also facilitated the movement of arms and ammunition and the movement of diamonds. They served as security escorts, drivers, messengers, and acted as liaison between the accused and the RUF, Junta, and AFRC/RUF. The accused's subordinates also provided these groups with passes to get them through check-points in Liberia.

    Then there was military training. We've discussed that in passing in the past, but let's note that the accused provided facilities at bases in Liberia, such as at Camp Nama, or Naama, and at Cobra Base and the Bomi Hills, where members of these groups or forces were trained. The training included basic military and combat skills and advanced combat skills and training in communications systems, techniques and procedures. The Sierra Leonean and Liberian trainees at these bases had no separate chain of chain of command; they were all treated as one body.

    The trainers in Liberia included Liberians and Gambians subordinate to the accused. The commanders of these bases were personnel subordinate specifically to him. He held ultimate authority over the operation of these bases and the commanders, trainers and trainees at the bases would attend graduation ceremonies at these bases when they concluded their training.

    The accused also provided military trainers and training commanders to the RUF in Sierra Leone. The trainees in Liberia and Sierra Leone included children under the age of 15, and they were given the same training as adults, that is, were given military training to include basic and advanced combat skills.

    Then there were facilities and safe havens in Liberia. The accused provided facilities to the RUF, Junta, and AFRC/RUF alliance at the training bases as described above. In the early years of the conflict, Sankoh and the RUF made use of safe havens in Liberia. The RUF fighters would retreat to NPFL areas and bases or facilities, such as those in the Bomi Hills, where they would rest and reorganize. The accused would reposition -- re-provision these fighters with arms and ammunition to prepare for their return to Sierra Leone to continue their attacks against civilians there.

    The accused provided Sankoh with a residence in Gbarnga, in Bong County, from which he made trips to RUF locations in Sierra Leone to distribute arms, ammunition, and other materiel, supplies provided -- and supplies provided by the accused. Additional facilities that were made available to the AFRC/RUF included a guesthouse in Monrovia at the time Taylor was President from 1998 through about 2001. The accused provided the security for the guesthouse, the domestic staff, the equipment for the communications centre established there to enable continuous communication between the guesthouse and the RUF, Junta, and AFRC/RUF alliance back in Sierra Leone.

    Additionally, the accused provided strategic and tactical advice, direction and encouragement. Throughout the conflict, the accused did this, particularly with the RUF and the Junta and its RUF component and the alliance. Leaders of these groups conferred with the accused before making significant decisions and were in frequent contact with him, as those two documents that I just read indicated. In addition, from 1998 until the end of the conflict, the accused regularly sent Liberian subordinates and associates to Sierra Leone to provide guidance and advice to Bockarie and Issa Sesay, and, as I indicated earlier, to be the eyes and ears to make sure that the provisions that he was furnishing were well used in the conflict. These personnel included, but were not limited to, Yeaten; Bah; Musa Sesay; Duopo Merkazon; Christopher Varmoh, the famous Liberian Mosquito; and Daniel Tamba, whom we know as Jungle.

    There was, of course, other assistance. Throughout the conflict, the accused provided financial assistance to the RUF, Junta, particularly its RUF component, and later to the AFRC/RUF alliance.

    In 1998, the accused gave Bockarie cash to purchase arms and ammunition from the former ULIMO fighters in Lofa County, as I earlier described, in Liberia. Between 2000 and 2001, the accused provided large amounts of cash on several occasions to senior leaders of the AFRC/RUF, including Sesay and Kallon, in addition to supplies of arms and ammunition.

    Throughout the armed conflict in Sierra Leone, the accused provided the RUF, Junta, and AFRC/RUF alliance with rice and other food, military uniforms, fuel, mining supplies, vehicles, medicine, and morale boosters, such as cigarettes, drugs, which were often used in the indoctrination of the young, alcohol, and other items. The accused's subordinates brought these supplies to Sierra Leone or personnel from the groups collected them in Liberia.

    Throughout the armed conflict in Sierra Leone, the accused provided communications equipment to the RUF, Junta, and AFRC/RUF, including VHF radio sets and satellite phones. The accused also provided these organized armed groups with an FM radio station in Kailahun District which was used to broadcast instructions and propaganda in areas controlled by these organized groups.

    It is our position that the accused knew that his assistance, encouragement or moral support would assist in carrying out the campaign of terror against the civilian population of Sierra Leone.

    Why do we state that? Well, he had abundant notice. Indeed, the only inference that can be drawn from that notice is that he intended the crimes charged in the indictment. This can be proven in a number of ways.

    First, there were national and international media reports discussing the crimes committed in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. The United Nations and other international and non-governmental organisations widely reported and condemned these crimes, and some of these reports were published in Liberia itself, in newspapers in Monrovia within sight of the accused's residence in the presidential mansion.

    In February and March of 1996, let's look at a particular newspaper, the New Democrat Weekly, published in Monrovia. Headline: "Votes Counted in Sierra Leone Amidst Protests." Excerpt: "Some voters did not vote because of the rebel activities of Foday Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front elements, putting the voters at great risks. Several persons were killed and others were maimed. The RUF recently vowed to disrupt the voting."

    And then, of course, if there had been ever any question about the way the RUF conducted itself during the conflict, one only need turn to the very famous RUF speech to the nation presented in June of 1997 after the RUF was invited to rule by the AFRC in a joint group known as the Junta. In this communique to the nation, they confess to the way they conducted the war and they said:

    "We looked at our brothers and killed them in cold blood. We removed our sisters from their hiding places to undo their femininity. We slaughtered our mothers and butchered our fathers. We have wronged the great majority of our countrymen. We have sinned both in the sight of man and of God. We therefore openly and publicly apologize to you, our Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters, for all the terror and the mayhem we unleashed on you in our bid to make Sierra Leone a country that all Sierra Leoneans would be proud of."

    But, of course, that was not the end of RUF activities. After the ECOMOG intervention, the RUF, in alliance with the AFRC, was back in the field conducting the same kind of campaign that involved killing mothers, raping sisters.

    17 February 1998, just after the overthrow of the FRC. Sierra Leone, Humanitarian Situation Report. "Many civilians have been killed and injured." Another excerpt: "Widespread looting has been reported in Kenema and Bo towns as the AFRC have commandeered vehicles and food and other supplies from relief agencies."

    20 February 1998. Daily Times. Headline in Monrovia where Charles Taylor was President: "In Sierra Leone, 52 Burned Alive as Junta Goes on Rampage."

    1 May 1998, a Medicins Sans Frontieres report. Atrocities against civilians in Sierra Leone. Excerpt:

    "On 6 April 1998, Connaught Hospital started receiving small or large groups ... the following overview gives the number of patients admitted with arm amputations: 115 total number of patients interviewed; 4 with double arm amputations; 23 with single arm amputations; 5 men had, in addition to having their arm amputated, a part of, or one or both ears cut off; tendons, broken ulna and radius, as a result of cutlass attacks; 7 patients with either a complete hand or several fingers missing as a result of cutlass attacks; 20 patients with gunshot wounds; 2 women who were raped and had foreign objects inserted in their vaginas. Only one interviewee could be identified as a combatant (in this case a Kamajor fighter). All others were civilians, with occupations ranging from housewives, trader, farmer to diamond digger and miner."

    10 May 1998. AAP Newsfeed:

    "AFR: Sierra Leone Villagers Tell of Rebel Atrocities." "Ousted from power by a West African force loyal to Sierra Leone's president, former junta members hiding in the countryside were wreaking revenge with ethnic killings and maimings. Aid workers today transported 18 amputees from the northern town of Karina to a hospital in the capital of Freetown after rebel fighters hacked off their hands on Thursday."

    12 to 15 June 1998, news article from Heritage, a Monrovia newspaper. Excerpt and the headline:

    "In Sierra Leone: Massacre Again, As Mercenaries Still Flood In. The disintegrated empire of the deposed junta, now under the command of Samba Bockarie, alias CO Mosquito, is now leaving behind a heap of corpses as remnants of the rag-tag militiamen loyal to him have no resort but to wanton killing of civilians."

    24 July 1998, news article from Daily Times, a Monrovia newspaper. Excerpt:

    "Across Liberia-S/L Border: Guns, Rice Traded for Diamonds. AFRC/RUF military Junta disclosed that they receive supplies of rice and arms from Liberia in exchange for diamonds. They told General Shelpidi and party that the gruesome atrocities being perpetrated by them are being committed with a view to pressuring for the release of RUF leader Foday Sankoh ..."

    13 July 1998, an Amnesty International report. "The United Nations Special Conference on Sierra Leone: The protection of human rights must be a priority for the international community." Excerpt:

    "AFRC and RUF forces in the east and north of Sierra Leone are deliberately and arbitrarily killing and torturing unarmed civilians. A deliberate and systematic campaign of killing, rape and mutilation -- called by the AFRC and RUF 'Operation No Living Thing' has emerged since April 1998."

    15 October 1998. "Tejan Kabbah Points Finger at AFL - Blames Liberians for Turmoil. As accounts continue to filter in about countless massacres that are being committed by heartless Liberian bandits against Sierra Leoneans, President Tejan Kabbah over the weekend expressed disgust over the continued participation of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia in prolonging the Sierra Leonean crisis."

    11 November 1998. After the rebel attack on Gbendembu where at least 100 bodies were found, a survivor told Reuters:

    "... he had watched the attack as he hid on the roof of a building next to the Wesleyan Church. 'They searched from house to house ... Then I saw them march 11 people, men, women and children from the nearby bush into the church. The rebels closed the door after they entered. After two or three minutes, I heard the hostages screaming. It was horrible. They were screaming that the rebels were killing them, cutting their throats.' The survivor said the rebels, numbering about 20, left the church after about 30 minutes. 'I waited another half hour and stole into the church. There were the bodies of the 11, all of them with their throats cut and blood still gushing out.'"

    27 December 1998. "Rebels Nearing African Capital Two Burned Alive in Sierra Leone. Rebel commander Sam Bockarie said yesterday his forces dragged the bodies of the dead Nigerian soldiers through the streets of Makeni with an armoured car 'as an example to everyone.'"

    Then in early 1999, an Amnesty International report that details events in 1998. Excerpt from page 3:

    "The town of Koidu, in Kono District, Eastern Province, was virtually destroyed by rebel forces in April, and more than 650 bodies were reported to have been found there. More than 200 unarmed civilians were killed during an attack on Yifin, a village in Koinadugu District, Northern Province, in late April."

    That's from the media; some published in Liberia itself and from international reports in the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations. But, of course, let's remember that the accused had his own reporting systems. He had communications and a variety of mechanisms within the NPFL, the RUF, the Junta, the alliance, his eyes and ears, including in those direct subordinates or agents who were present in Sierra Leone, and those individuals were meeting in Liberia with senior leaders under his command.

    The inference, I think, is clear that he committed this crime -- these crimes with clear intent and knowledge. But we should note as well that under our Statute it is possible to hold an official, particularly an official in a military organization, as Mr Taylor was when he was the Commander-in-Chief of the NPFL and the chief of state who is also the Commander-in-Chief of his armed forces, responsible under 6(3) of our Statute for his acts -- for the acts of his subordinates.

    Prior to and throughout the armed conflict in Sierra Leone, the accused exercised formal or de jure as well as de facto authority and direct control over his Liberian subordinates. People like Yeaten, Bah, Jungle, Cisse, Weah, Varmoh, Tuah, Merkazon, Duoh, and his son Charles Taylor Jr., particularly after he became President when these individuals were under him in the Liberian government and military, those are individuals for whose acts he is very directly responsible on both a de jure and de facto basis. But he also exercised informal or de facto authority, what we call effective control, over the RUF and AFRC/RUF alliance because he had the material ability to prevent or punish the criminal conduct of members of these groups, in particular the RUF component, but certainly after it became an alliance, the whole group as well.

    When the accused ordered senior level leaders of these groups to travel to Liberia to meet with him, they did so. When the accused ordered them to provide personnel to fight with his forces in Liberia, those senior leaders always obeyed those orders. When the RUF took UN peacekeepers hostage in 2000, the accused ordered Issa Sesay, then the interim leader of the AFRC/RUF, to release the peacekeepers. Issa Sesay obeyed that order but indicated that had it not been for the accused's order, he would not have released them. That makes these individuals his subordinates for whom he is responsible if the other conditions of Article 6(3) of our Statute are met, and that of course requires knowledge or reason to know what these individuals were doing.

    It's certainly our position, given all of the notice that was provided to him, both publicly and directly through his own means, that he did know and, beyond all question, had reason to know that his Liberian subordinates in Sierra Leone and the RUF, Junta, in particular its RUF component, and the AFRC/RUF, were engaged in a campaign of terror in Sierra Leone. And we have just shown that some of this notice was available regarding the campaign of terror conducted by his subordinates against the civilian population including the reports of killings, rapes, mutilations, beatings, abductions, sexual slavery and forced marriage, use of child soldiers, and the looting and burning of civilian property.

    Finally, of course, your Honours, we are here today charging crimes under Articles 2, 3, and 4 of the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. These are crimes which are violations of international law, and at least in the case of ten of the crimes charged, or the ten counts charged here, those are crimes that might otherwise be domestic offences but become international crimes because of contextual elements, because of their nexus to certain other factors.

    I doubt whether there will be great dispute that these crimes were connected to an armed conflict, and indeed I have outlined already in my history the progress of this armed conflict in Sierra Leone and the related conflict in Liberia.

    They are to be found to have sufficient nexus if they were closely related to the armed conflict that they play -- that this conflict played a substantial part in the perpetrator's ability to commit the crimes, the decision to commit the crimes, the way in which the crimes were committed, and the purpose for which they were committed. The crimes were shaped or dependent on the environment or were committed in the furtherance of, or at least under the guise of, the situation created by the fighting.

    I think from all we've learned what was happening, even though this was no way, and no legal way, to fight a war, there was a conflict ongoing closely related to these offences.

    Secondly, of course, to the extent we've charged crimes against humanity, we must show a nexus to widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population of Sierra Leone, and that, I think, is throughout our proof that there had been, indeed, a campaign of terror against the civilian population of Sierra Leone that had taken place in the context of the armed conflict, but that the target of this violence was not opposing combatants; rather, the target were those not taking any active part in these hostilities, the civilian population of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

    Of course, as we discussed earlier, the evidence will prove that the accused was aware of these continuing widespread and systematic attacks and crimes, and with this knowledge continued to provide substantial support and to participate in the common plan that he himself developed. And the evidence is no where so compelling in the evidence -- than the evidence that Mr Bangura has presented of the re-supply and of the other things that the accused did at the very time that these attacks were occurring against civilians, providing the means that permitted the attacks to become only worse, culminating in the attacks in Freetown and elsewhere in 1999.

    The only reasonable evidence, we submit -- the only reasonable inference, we submit, that can be drawn from the evidence is that the accused in fact intended the crimes charged in the indictment. But even if it were somehow not proven that he intended these crimes, he would be responsible because they were committed by his subordinates, with his actual or constructive knowledge, and he failed to do anything to prevent or punish this conduct.

    Your Honours, the crimes which we have described to you in this opening statement are nothing short of enormous, and we submit that the evidence that we will present will be strong and compelling and be more than sufficient to prove the accused guilty on each count beyond a reasonable doubt.

    As we begin this trial, we are about to take another major step forward in the name of justice for Sierra Leone. The people of Sierra Leone have high expectations. They are the ones who still bear the scars of this brutal conflict and for whom this process of accountability, no matter what the eventual outcome, will have its greatest meaning.

    A judgment will not bring back the dead from their graves, nor give back limbs to the thousands of amputees; nor will it remove the physical scars that remain from the deep gashes and gruesome injuries inflicted, nor heel the thousands of women who were raped or sexually abused. It will not restore the childhoods of countless boys and girls. Your Honour, this trial will not erase even the emotional scars etched on the memory of the people of Sierra Leone. What this trial will do is give them some small measure of closure.

    Your Honour, there's a Sierra Leonean expression in Krio, which I do not speak, a quotation given to me by my colleague Mr Bangura. "A hundred days for tiff man, wan day for master ose," meaning that the wrongdoer may escape for a long time but eventually will have to answer in the most important house, the house of justice.

    This historic trial shows that while mayhem and terror were rained upon Sierra Leone and its people, there are those in this world who are ready to uphold the law and to decide that no matter how high the position of the person responsible, there will be a day of justice.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr Rapp and Mr Bangura, for that opening statement.

    As stated in one of our earlier decisions, today we would only hear the opening statement of the Prosecutor and then we will have an adjournment of 18 days which would bring us to the 25th of June for a continuation of the Prosecution case.

    However, before we adjourn, there is a matter that greatly concerns the Trial Chamber and this is the matter of the fair-trial rights of the accused, Mr Taylor, who's not with us in court today for one reason or another.

    On the 7th of May, 2007, when we had the Pre-Trial Conference here, we did hear from Mr Taylor's Defence lawyer, Mr Khan, who expressed a concern on behalf of his client that Mr Taylor had expected to speak with the Principal Defender before the Pre-Trial Conference and to speak with him in confidence over a matter that neither Mr Taylor, nor Mr Khan, were willing to divulge to the Court for confidentiality reasons. However, Mr Khan did make it abundantly clear that that matter did touch upon the fair-trial rights of the accused and that, if not addressed at that time, had the potential to delay this trial.

    That matter lay with precisely the Principal Defender being able to speak with the accused, a matter that we at the time thought really there would be no problem. We were concerned then, and I remember saying that although no official orders were sought from the Court or directives were sought from the Court, we did express a concern and said that if there was a bottle-neck in the Registry, this bottle-neck should be attended to and removed, and that Mr Taylor should be availed the opportunity to meet with the Principal Defender and address his concerns.

    Now, obviously that did not happen and therefore we found ourselves in the unhappy situation this morning. We are disappointed as a Trial Chamber because the Office of the Principal Defender was established precisely to look after the fair-trial rights of the accused. That we would rise up in the morning and come to court and be confronted with a situation where the accused has repeatedly been denied this opportunity, the bear minimum to be able to address his concerns, is very, very disappointing and we take it seriously.

    We still do not know why the Principal Defender could not meet with the accused to address his concerns. What we do know is that this is fraught with potential to delay this trial. And if a delay does ensue, this delay will, to a large measure, be the responsibility of the Registry for failure to address the concerns of Mr Taylor as and when they arose.

    I realise that duty counsel, Mr Jalloh, is in the house. He was in the house at the Pre-Trial Conference. But we were told then, and I think the matter still holds, that Mr Jalloh, given his standing, was not in a position to address Mr Taylor's concern.

    Mr Jalloh, could you let me finish. I stand to be corrected afterwards. I'll give you an opportunity to speak.

    We have heard this morning a number of reasons given by Mr Khan culminating in his withdrawal from the case. A number of the issues he touched upon, really, in our view, were not valid complaints because the Trial Chamber has at one time or another addressed each of these issues.

    For example, the camera surveillance that was installed in Mr Taylor's detention room -- cell, I think -- no, in the room where he has interviews with his client. That also was an unfortunate incident that went on for a period of time, culminating in the counsel and the accused not being able to consult because they were being surveilled, in spite of a court order. There was a court order in place, I think -- no, the President did issue an order. This order was not complied with for 18 days, but those 18 days were compensated for by the Trial Chamber, and that is why today we've only heard opening statements and we granted the accused a further 18 days towards preparation time.

    There is the issue, I think, that Mr Khan has mentioned of lack of a full team. That I cannot blame -- I don't understand where the blame lies other than some kind of disorganization somewhere. It is a given that Mr Taylor is being defended by assigned counsel. He is indigent, or partially indigent, and therefore basically it's the responsibility of the Office of the Principal Defender to ensure that Mr Taylor is adequately represented.

    Article 17 of the Statute is very clear. The accused is entitled to adequate time and facilities to prepare. And from the time that the accused was indicted, formally arraigned, until now there's been a continuous attempt to delay the proceedings and there's been continuous complaint from the accused that he does not have adequate facilities, he does not have adequate time.

    One of the facilities that he lacks, or his lawyer lacks, is an office from which to operate. This has been, time and again, brought to the attention of the Chamber and we believe this, again, falls in the province of the Principal Defender under the Registrar. And, really, there is no need for the Trial Chamber to tell the Registrar how to do his job. It's the bottom line. The article is very clear: The accused is entitled to adequate time and facilities to prepare his case. That's the bottom line. That his lawyer would stand up today and tell us that he's operating from the cafeteria is most unfortunate. Today he's still operating from the cafeteria. I don't know if that is true or not, but it doesn't sound good to our ears. And, really, if we are to pretend that this trial is going to be fair, as indeed we hope it will be fair, then there's got to be some kind of equality of arms.

    Therefore, I'm going to make certain directions, after hearing from Mr Jalloh, I want to make some specific directions to the Registrar before we rise.

    Mr Jalloh, I want to hear from you if you have anything either by way of clarification or correction in what I've said so far. Thank you.

  • Thank you, your Honour. I venture to say perhaps I would be able to shed a bit of light into the matters that raised the initial concerns at the Pre-Trial Conference. You would be aware -- of course, your Honours would be aware, of course, that the Defence team, as you have rightly pointed out, have always complained about the adequacy of the resources that have been provided to them, but there are a number of issues, if I may, with your leave, just quickly go through.

    The key issue has been the overriding funding concern. This has affected the ability of the Principal Defender's Office to assemble a good legal Defence team to meet the size and complexity of Mr Taylor's case. That is the first point.

    Secondly, the level of financing available for Defence investigations was a matter of concern to Mr Taylor.

    Thirdly, the status of composition of the team, or lack thereof, as we got closer and closer to the opening of trial. Mr Khan at the last occasion made mention of the fact that at least up to 12 QCs have been approached by the Defence seeking their involvement in the case and all of them had declined to represent Mr Taylor because of the funding that is available through the Defence Office from the Registry.

    Of course, we've done all we can within the mandate of the office to address the issues, to bring them up to the Registry so that the Registry would be engaged. And I'm happy that the Acting Registrar is here. He may be able to clarify from that point of view why there is, as your Honour put it, a bottle-neck.

    Now, aside from reporting on those concerns, Mr Taylor had repeatedly, I must say, requested to meet with the Principal Defender, and the reason for the meeting specifically with the Principal Defender is that only the Principal Defender, not duty counsel, myself, can address some of the more fundamental issues. But as your Honours are aware, again at the Pre-Trial Conference, the Principal Defender could not travel here and subsequently his attempt to travel to The Hague for this opening was also not permitted.

    We are, of course, again aware of some of the logistical complaints in terms of setup of offices and the teething problems of the The Hague office at this time, which your Honours would confirm with respect to things like filings with motions and legal documents and all of this.

    In short, in my respectful submission, the Defence team has faced a number of difficulties, ranging from the adequacy of the funding that our office could provide from the Registry to them, our inability to assist them to compose the team because of that lack of funding, and the hampering of the role of the Defence Office in facilitating the rights of the accused to the extent - to the extent - that the Principal Defender's direct involvement could result in resolution of some of the problems.

    I would, of course, state for the record, your Honour, that Mr Taylor is partially indigent and, from the point of view if the Defence Office, he's going to be on a legal aid case, of course, until we can find evidence to the contrary. This is very, very important. And we are concerned, of course, as to Mr Taylor's rights in the sense of both having a properly composed legal team to meet the complexity of his case and at the same time for his trial to begin. He is anxious about that. He has stated that before. But there must be some areas of -- that we would have to jointly address with the Acting Registrar in the Defence Office.

    I see Mr Herman had one or two comments, so I will leave it at that for now, subject to further clarifications from your Honours. Thank you.

  • Mr Herman von Hebel, the Acting Registrar, you want to say something before I make some directives?

  • Yes, your Honour, I will be very brief on this matter.

    The Defence for Mr Taylor entered into a contract with the Principal Defender in September of last year, and as of then the resources for him to prepare his case has been clear. There have been discussions with the Principal Defender and also with the Registrar's Office since then, and in March of this year there was an agreement with the Defence counsel, Mr Khan, on which we would increase the amount of support for the Defence Office and for -- in particular, for the Defence counsel.

    The final situation -- financial situation is now comparable with the support that is used in other tribunals, like the Yugoslav tribunal, and actually his position is a better one than the one in -- than the system that is applied in other tribunals. So also for us it was a bit of a surprise this morning to see some of the complaints. As you, your Honour, yourself indicated just a couple minutes ago, some of the comments by the counsel were not justified.

    I'm more than happy, in detail, to write to the Chamber in order to clarify those certain matters. In particular, the question about being -- sitting in the cafeteria or otherwise to work is certainly not correct. The Defence has always had the opportunity of using office space in Freetown and in The Hague as of February of this year. But there may be other issues. I'd be more than happy, of course, in writing later on to inform the Chamber of all the measures taken in the past, and of course we will be in full support of any further orders from the Judges in order to ensure that there is no delay in the proceedings for this case. Thank you very much.

  • Mr Herman, there is one question we would like you to answer for us. Has the Principal Defender been refused money to come to The Hague for the purposes of talking to Mr Taylor? Is that correct?

    MR. VON HEBEL: Your Honour, on this question, there have been consultations between myself and the Principal Defender. He has indeed requested to travel to The Hague in order to be at the Pre-Trial Conference. Since Mr Jalloh is the representative of the Defence Office and can deal with all matters relating to the functioning of the Defence Office, I thought it was not necessary, in addition to the presence of the duty counsel, to have Mr -- the Principal Defender being here, which is also in conformity with the practice in Freetown. It was therefore my decision indeed not to have him travel over here to Freetown -- to The Hague because all issues of contact with Mr Taylor could have been addressed through the duty counsel.

    As far as I was informed at that time by the Principal Defender, the issue related to the financial aspects and those aspects, as I said earlier, were already discussed with the Defence counsel himself and with the duty officer as part of those proceedings. And so the agreement was already there on the financial support for the Defence by myself, by the Defence Office and by Mr Khan as the Defence counsel for Mr Taylor. Thank you.

  • Well, that definitely sheds some light on the reason why we find ourselves in this unhappy situation.

    Mr Jalloh, you wanted to say another word? We need to bring this to a close.

  • I will be very brief. Your Honours, to state for the record, I am aware of some of the discussions between the Defence Office and the Acting Registrar. Since we are concerned about facilitating the process going forward, I think it is important to note that at the Pre-Trial Conference I did mention that the Principal Defender had tried to come to The Hague to meet with Mr Taylor, and subsequently there was another attempt. There have been repeated requests. In my meetings with Mr Taylor, he has asked me to communicate, communications that the Registry was copied on, that "I immediately need to speak to the Principal Defender directly."

    So to the extent that that would assist the Court in its orders for the Registry, I think it would be important, going forward, so we can avert, hopefully avert, further delays in now dealing with the fallout from this situation. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Jalloh.

    It is clear to me that Mr Taylor's request to speak with the Principal Defender is not an unreasonable one in the circumstances. Obviously, there will be situations and there will be issues over which Mr Taylor, for one reason or another, would rather speak to the Principal Defender than Mr Jalloh and I think that is perfectly reasonable. It's a reasonable request and falls within his rights to do so. The Office of the Principal Defender was set up precisely for reasons like that.

    Now, we've not heard a convincing reason why the Principal Defender has repeatedly been denied the opportunity to come to Freetown and perform his -- to come to The Hague and perform his duties. On the contrary, what we have seen is that the trial -- the smooth running of the trial is being hampered by this kind of development and it's not good.

    I'm therefore going to issue certain directives addressed -- directed at the Office of the Registrar, the Acting Registrar, and the order or the directive is in these terms:

    The Registrar is directed to immediately facilitate the Principal Defender to travel to The Hague for the purpose of speaking with Mr Taylor and sorting out his defence problems. The Registrar is further directed to ensure that logistically the accused has adequate facilities, in accordance with Article 17 of the Statute, without further delay.

    I think with those directives that should bring us to the close of today's proceedings. The trial will adjourn to Monday, the 25th of June, at 9:00.

    Please adjourn the court.

  • All rise.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3:33 p.m.]