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, your Honours. For the Prosecution - good morning, counsel opposite. For the Prosecution this morning, Kathryn Howarth, Maja Dimitrova, Christopher Santora and myself, Nicolas Koumjian.

    Your Honours, if I could just convey Ms Hollis's regrets and explain why she is absent today. I realise she was in the middle of a document. Given your Honours' order of yesterday, and the order partially being that certain documents that could be used to go to guilt would be disclosed forthwith, in order to comply efficiently with that order she believed it was necessary for her to be in the office today helping with that rather complex logistical and legal exercise, so she asked for your - excuses herself for her absence and asks for your understanding. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian. Yes, Mr Griffiths.

  • Good morning, Mr President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today myself, Courtenay Griffiths, with me Mr Morris Anyah and Mr Terry Munyard of counsel, and we are also joined again by Mr Michael Herz.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr President, whilst I am on my feet, can I register this complaint. In our submission, it's somewhat unsatisfactory that the cross-examination of Mr Taylor should be conducted in a sense by relay, whereby he is cross-examined by one counsel for a couple of days and then by somebody else on another day, and points being made by one counsel are left hanging in the air for until whenever the other counsel returns to pick up the point. In our submission, it's unfair to Mr Taylor, and this is a totally unsatisfactory way of conducting the cross-examination of a defendant in a case as grave as this.

  • Yes. Well, Mr Koumjian, I will certainly give you an opportunity to reply to that, but I do note that you were in the middle of a point on Friday, and then Monday Ms Hollis comes without you having developed that point, and now here you are on Tuesday. But do you wish to reply to Mr Griffiths's observations?

  • Your Honour, I would just point out that we prosecutors are quite fungible human beings. In our view, we are doing - at times we have switched the prosecuting attorney in the interest of the efficiency of the trial. When Ms Hollis was ill, this allowed us to go forward when I took her place when I was notified, rather late, that she was not feeling well enough to come. In the present case, in order to comply efficiently with your Honours' order to disclose information to the Defence, she believed that this is the most efficient use of the Prosecution resources.

    It seems to us that which Prosecutor is doing which task is completely an internal matter for the Prosecution. If a question has been asked and is asked again, that is a legitimate objection. If counsel is saying that points are not followed up on, it would seem to me that that benefits only the accused.

    So I would also point out that there is precedent. For example, in the Krajisnik case he testified for a long time, not nearly as long as Mr Taylor, and the Prosecution counsel did switch off and on on the cross-examination. That was Mr Tieger and Mr Harmon at the ICTY. Thank you.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Well, Mr Griffiths, we will note your comments and I can see your concern there. But nevertheless, Ms Hollis was ill last week, and today she thinks that the best way to comply with our order that those documents be disclosed forthwith is if she applies herself to that task today. So while it is ideal that the one counsel cross-examining keep at that task until that particular area of cross-examination has been finished, it's not always possible; but nevertheless, we will see how things progress from here. We have taken a note of your objection.

  • I am grateful.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you are going to be asked some more questions, and I remind you you are still bound by your oath. Yes, Mr Koumjian.