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

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Good morning. We will take appearances, please.

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

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

  • Good morning, Mr President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today, myself Courtenay Griffiths, with me Mr Morris Anyah of counsel and Mr Michael Herz.

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

  • Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, this morning we received your decision on the legal standards governing the use and admission of documents during cross-examination and under that decision there is a duty imposed on the Prosecution to disclose documents in category 2, probative of guilt, to disclose such documents forthwith. We do need time to determine which documents we would intend to use in such a way so that we could comply with your directive in this regard and provide the Defence with the most disclosure, the earliest disclosure possible.

    In light of that, Mr President, we would ask that we be allowed to spend today engaged in that exercise and also in the disclosure of these documents and so we would ask that we adjourn for the day, noting of course that we did come to court prepared to go forward but without the use of documents.

  • Yes. Thank you, Ms Hollis. What's your attitude to that application, Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr President, we oppose this application. We oppose the application for this reason: Whereas we are anxious to receive the material which your Honours has now decided should properly be disclosed to the Defence, we do note that our case closed, what, some three weeks ago and this Prosecution began almost seven years ago. It seems to us, bluntly, quite outrageous that three weeks into the cross-examination - well, four weeks into the cross-examination of this man, who has been in custody for over four years, that the Prosecution are still seeking time to put their case in order. In our view, that is totally unacceptable and the Prosecution should be required today to proceed.

    Now I have heard it said in the past that we made application in August 2007 for time in which to put the Defence case together, as if there is some justifiable parallel between the two situations. When we came on board in the summer of 2007, we came on board as a fresh team. This Prosecution have had charge of this prosecution now for over six years and it seems totally misplaced for my learned friend to be asking for more time this morning. We are not talking about a Prosecution team composed of one or two individuals. We are talking about a Prosecution team composed of a large number of individuals and they have been seized of the particular matters in issue for some three weeks now.

    And if, as my learned friend indicates, there are other matters which she had prepared to cross-examine the defendant on today, it seems to us that such cross-examination should continue whilst other members of the team properly seek to provide us with the material which frankly should have been provided to us as part of the Prosecution case, we say. So consequently we vehemently oppose this application.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. Do you want to reply to that, Ms Hollis?

  • It is quite simply this, Mr President, and that is one day to determine the disclosure obligations now imposed pursuant to this decision we do not believe is unreasonable. We do appreciate that this cross-examination has moved in, if you will, fits and starts but we have been diligent in moving forward to the extent of having Mr Koumjian appear when unfortunately I was ill. We do want to do things efficiently and methodically and appropriately and we believe that one day to digest this decision and to prepare to go forward on the basis of it is not inappropriate.

    As to the other arguments about evidence that should have been put in our case in chief, we believe the decision before us deals with those matters, so we will not address those.

  • Thank you, Ms Hollis. I must say I am a little surprised that Mr Koumjian's not here to finish off a point he started last Friday afternoon. He was about to ask some questions regarding witness summaries filed by the Defence and ran out of time and I thought naturally that's going to continue today. But, in any event, I will just consult with my colleagues. Thank you, Ms Hollis.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Ms Hollis, we refuse your application. We note that you did come to court today to continue on another track without documents, so we will ask you to continue in that way.

  • All right, Mr President. Thank you.

  • Mr Taylor, I remind you you are still bound by your oath.