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. I will take appearances. I note, Mr Bangura, your Bar remains as before.

  • 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; and Ms Maja Dimitrova. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura. Mr Munyard, Mr Griffiths?

  • Good morning Madam President, your Honours , counsel opposite. For the Defence we have: Courtenay Griffiths QC; myself, Terry Munyard; Morris Anyah; and today for the first time Fiona Gray who is a legal assistant in the Defence office and she is appearing in court for the first time today.

  • I do think there is another member of your team.

  • There is also present the head of office - I think I have covered everybody on our side. The head of office who is on the other side of the courtroom, Gregory Townsend, who is not part of the Defence team, but actually part of the Registry and I didn't want to usurp his position by announcing him myself.

  • I hadn't heard Mr Anyah's name mentioned. That's what I was alluding to, but I notice he is on record and he was mentioned. It's my fault.

  • Very well. Can I add the obvious that this morning Mr Taylor is here.

  • I was indeed going to note that. Thank you, Mr Munyard. We welcome Ms Gray to the Court for the first time and we note Mr Townsend is also for the first time in court, so we welcome him also. If there are no other matters, we will proceed with cross-examination.

  • There is one other matter, Madam President, and it's this. I anticipate that you will have received a memo from Anders Backman, chief custody officer at the United Nations detention facility.

  • Yes, we have received that document.

  • You will have noted that it essentially corroborates the account I gave to the Court yesterday. However, Madam President, on behalf of Mr Taylor I would like to express our total dissatisfaction with the account given by Mr Backman because it fails to address why it was found necessary to take this most unprecedented step of strip searching the detainees including Mr Taylor.

    In light of our dissatisfaction with the memo provided by Mr Backman we suggest two proposals: Firstly that the Court orders the Registrar who has responsibility for the welfare of Mr Taylor to conduct a full enquiry and report back to this Court and also to Ray Cardinal, head of security in Freetown, as to why it was found necessary to conduct a strip search of Mr Taylor and whether it is proposed to make such a search a regular feature of his custody whilst in the unit.

    Secondly we would suggest that this Court orders the Registrar to conduct regular inspections of Mr Taylor's prison records for two primary reasons: Firstly to see if on the face of such records there is any intelligence or reports suggesting his involvement in illegal activities such as having in his possession prohibited items which under the regulations of the ICC can be the only justification for a strip search. I am aware of that because I met with David Hooper yesterday, counsel for Mr Katanga, who had had an opportunity of examining the statutory and other provisions of the ICC and under those provisions a detainee can only be searched if there is evidence that that detainee has in his possession prohibited items. It seems to us that, given the Registrar's responsibility for the welfare of Mr Taylor, that the Registrar should undertake such inspections to see whether or not there can be any justification for any future repetition of such searches.

    Secondly, we submit that such inspections of Mr Taylor's prison records will provide and inform the Registrar's continuing responsibility to keep under constant review the conditions of detention of Mr Taylor, because we submit, your Honours, that it behoves this Court to adopt these measures because unnecessary and unjustified behaviour by custody officers has the capacity to affect the smooth and efficient progress of these proceedings as we learnt to our cost yesterday, with the financial implications which are important which come as a result of that. So, we submit that it is a matter which the Court should take seriously and we submit that the proposals that we have put forward would go some way to preventing a repetition of what occurred yesterday with the consequent waste of time.

    In conclusion, can I inform the Court that we are in touch with counsel for the other detainees in the facility and we hope collectively to address a number of issues regarding the conditions of detentions in that unit which we submit, given the nationality of the five detainees currently in that facility, does not properly take account of their cultural differences and needs and consequently collectively we are hoping to address some of those issues with the ICC itself.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. Before I invite replies, allow me to confer with my colleagues.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • We do not consider it necessary to invite replies on this matter. We note the applications and the reasons for them. We are of the view that, based on the rules of the Special Court and our jurisprudence in previous similar applications, that these are matters that must be dealt with in accordance with the Special Court for Sierra Leone Rules of Detention Rule 59 to be investigated by the Registrar without undue delay. Any dissatisfaction concerning the investigations by the Registrar are matters to be referred to the President in accordance with the rules of evidence and procedure.

    Mr Townsend, you are on your feet.

  • May it please the Trial Chamber, my first prayer would be to be excused as you continue with the witness.

  • Thank you, Mr Townsend. If there are no other matters, I will remind the witness of his oath? No. Mr Witness, you have taken the oath to tell the truth and again this morning I remind you that that oath is still binding upon you and you are obliged to answer questions truthfully. Do you understand?

  • Yes, ma'am.