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

  • Good morning. Before I take appearances and remind the witness of her oath, you will notice that there is only two of the Trial Chamber and the alternate judge sitting today. Regretfully our learned colleague, Justice Sebutinde, is unwell. In accordance with the provisions of Rule 16(A), Justice Lussick and I have signed an order permitting the Chamber to continue sitting in the absence of a judge.

    Now, Mr Bangura, appearances please.

  • Good morning, Madam President. Good morning, your Honours and counsel opposite. Your Honours, for the Prosecution this morning, Ms Brenda J Hollis, myself Mohamed A Bangura, Mr Christopher Santora and Ms Ruth Mary Hackler. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura. Yes, Mr Anyah?

  • Yes, good morning, Madam President. Good morning, your Honours. Good morning, counsel opposite. For the Defence appearing are Courtenay Griffiths QC, Mr Terry Munyard, myself Morris Anyah and we are joined by an intern in our office, Ms Haffie Haffner and Haffie is spelt H-A-F-F-I-E, Haffner, H-A-F-F-N-E-R. Madam President, if it please your Honours, in respect of the absence of Justice Sebutinde the Defence would like to be heard on that issue in the person of Mr Terry Munyard.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • The witness is in court. There is no problem with the witness's presence?

  • No, there isn't, Madam President. Thank you.

  • Madam President, your Honours, the Court Officer was good enough to indicate to us in advance that Justice Sebutinde unfortunately is absent and that the Court was proposing to proceed under the rubric of Rule 16.

    However, we have looked at Rule 16 and we think that there may be a problem in trying to rely on Rule 16(A) for this reason, and I will read out just the relevant part, or what appears to us to be the relevant part of the rule, "If a judge is unable to continue sitting in a trial which has partly been heard for a short duration", and it seems to us that a trial that has been running for the better part of nine months doesn't sit easily within the ambit of that phrase, "a trial which has partly been heard for a short duration". It is for that reason.

    If one takes as the benchmark some of the trials that have been before the Special Court, then obviously some of them have gone on for an extremely long time, but by any standards it seems to us on this side of the Court at any rate that it's difficult to describe the proceedings in the present trial as having been partly heard for a short duration and it's for that reason that we raise the question of whether or not the rule rightly applies, or rather has rightly been invoked in this particular case.

  • Yes, I think, Mr Munyard, the problem you foresee really doesn't exist. It is a matter of rather imprecise drafting. If you look at Rule 16(A), "If a judge is unable to continue sitting in a proceeding it should be for a short duration". That is how it should read. To support that interpretation the subsection goes on to mention that the remaining judges can continue to hear the trial for four or five days, which itself is a short duration, and that is how we have always interpreted Rule 16 and we have had occasion to apply it on many previous occasions in the other trial.

  • I completely see your Honour's point. The Trial Chamber has the advantage over us in that you have been party to the discussion of the drafting of the rules and the way in which they are meant to operate and in the circumstances I agree that the drafting is poor, because the phraseology is attached to the wrong subclause and I now follow what Rule 16(A) is meant to cover. In the circumstances our query whether or not it applies seems to be otiose.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard. Just by way of self defence I might point out that none of the judges sitting on the Bench today had anything to do with the drafting of that subsection, or it would have been done differently.

  • Well, your Honour, for one awful moment I thought you were about the to say that one or other of you had drafted it and that is why you knew what it meant, but I am very glad that that's not the case. In the circumstances we have raised the issue, it has been resolved and we can proceed.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard. I haven't welcomed Ms Haffner to the Court and I do so now and I will remind the witness of her oath unless there are any other matters. No.

    Madam Witness, I again remind you that you took the oath to tell the truth, that oath continues to be binding on you and you must answer questions truthfully. Do you understand?