Thank you, Madam President. The Prosecution views this Defence request as really dealing with two different issues. The first issue is, very clearly stated, a request for a stay of proceedings until there is a decision on the outstanding motion, either through your Honours determining you will not grant appeal or through final resolution by the Appeals Chamber. But secondly, also what is either a request or an assertion that the decision relating to the filing of the final written brief by the Defence also preserves some right for them to then make oral argument.
As to the first part of the request, based on the outstanding motion, the Prosecution is of the view that your Honours may well determine it is appropriate for the smooth functioning of the proceedings to postpone closing the hearing until the motion is decided, either by your Honours or on appeal. However, that is a decision for your Honours to make within your inherent discretion to manage trial proceedings.
And we suggest there is no doubt that the Trial Chamber has inherent discretion to determine matters relating to the management of the trial proceedings. And so it would be for your Honours to exercise your sound discretion and determine if you would, indeed, grant the first part of this request for ancillary relief. And there are multiple cases that speak to your Honours' inherent discretion in this matter. The Prlic decision on 13 November 2006, at paragraph 14, an ICTY decision, speaks to that. Also an ICTY decision, the Seselj decision on 12 February 2008, speaks to the inherent discretion of your Honours in managing your trial proceedings.
However, we would suggest to you that should you determine that the close of the hearing will await a final decision on this pending motion, either through your Honours or on appeal, that the delay should only be for purposes of that motion being determined. It should not be allowed that the Defence would use such a postponement of the close to begin filing more motions on different issues. We would not be in support of that and we would suggest it would be improper and we ask that you not allow that.
As to the second part of the request, which relates to this request or assertion that, somehow, there is a remaining right of oral argument in this case, we would suggest that that is an unfounded request or assertion and that there should be no allowance of a final closing argument by the Defence, other than should they elect today to give a scheduled rebuttal to the Prosecution final oral submissions.
We suggest to your Honours that the motion conflates the issue relating to its untimely filing of a final brief with the right to an accused to file or present a closing argument. These two opportunities for the accused are independent of each other, and the making of final oral submissions is in no way reliant on filing a final trial brief. Nothing has precluded this accused, through his counsel, from making oral submissions to your Honours on the dates scheduled for such submissions. As to the 9th of February, it is very clear that the failure to make oral submissions on that date were the wilful, knowing, conscious choices of the accused as relayed to you through his Defence counsel.
There is no fair trial right that is at issue in this regard. We are facing this issue because this accused and his counsel refused to accept binding orders of the Court and, instead, attempted to assert their control over the proceedings, to impose their scheduling dates, to impose their conditions on the proceedings. That is not the reality of the way that criminal proceedings do or should function. The reality is the accused has wilfully and knowingly waived his opportunity to make final oral submissions to the chamber.
And if we look at some of the facts, this willing and knowing waiver becomes very clear. If we recall, on 3 February, at 1659 hours, was when the Defence filed its final brief, in excess of 800 pages. It is the understanding of the Prosecution that on Friday, the 4th of February, 2011, after it had processed this lengthy filing, Court Management provided the final brief to the Trial Chamber at approximately 1455 hours. The following duty day, Monday, 7 February, at approximately 1538 hours, this Trial Chamber issued its decision as to whether it would accept the final trial brief.
Thus, contrary to lead Defence counsel's dramatic misrepresentations it was the accused, through his Defence counsel, who filed his final trial brief at the 11th hour and indeed in reality, your Honours gave your decision at 11.01.
On 8 February, the day before the Defence was scheduled to present oral argument, if the accused through his counsel elected to do so, lead Defence counsel and the accused appeared in court. And on that date, Mr Griffiths made it clear to the Court that based on written instruction from the accused, he would not take part in the oral proceedings. Lead counsel stated it was the intention of both himself and Mr Taylor, in fact, to leave the Court.
Now, Mr Taylor did - or Mr Griffiths did leave the Court after an exchange with the Presiding Judge. But after he left the Court he spoke to the press and, in speaking to the press, he told them, as we understand it, we have decided not to participate in these closing arguments. Now, he went on to say because, "As far as we are concerned, it is a complete farce." But the point here is, he said, "We have decided not to participate in these closing arguments." Based on these comments, both inside and outside the courtroom, it is clear that the Defence, on instruction from the accused, had made the decision not to present closing argument as scheduled by this Trial Chamber.