Your Honour, none of this is the fault of your Trial Chamber. Your Honour, there is no complaint at all regarding the conduct of you and your colleagues. These are matters that are within the purview of this rather twilight zone that has been characterised as administrative and diplomatic functions of the President, whatever that may mean.
This is part of the morass and rather confused responsibilities , one may say, of the Registry. Your Honour, the fact that an accused has been moved precipitously , perhaps because of political or state concerns, is evidenced by the fact that I have not been contacted by anybody from the Registry or from the Court to be even told that my client has arrived safely in The Hague.
Your Honour, yesterday I was spoken to by a member of Mr Taylor's family and they asked me whether or not the accused has arrived. I said I don't know, and I turned on the television and I saw my client getting off an airplane from CNN and BBC World Service. Their services are greatly appreciated , but, Your Honour, I should not have to rely upon the international media to inform me of my client's whereabouts .
Your Honour, the accused, at his own expense - from the family expense - had arranged for his wife and his sisters and brother-in-law to come to Sierra Leone. He was given no warning of the movement. They are here in this country. They do not have visas for the Netherlands . There is no Dutch embassy in Freetown. There is no Dutch embassy in Liberia. The closest embassies are in Accra and Dakar. There is no procedure in place -- the Registry does not know the route by which visas are to be obtained. It cannot be right that because of backroom discussions and this holy grail of security concerns, which is untried, untested in any judicial body, that an accused can be deprived of the support and solace of his family, an accused, of course, that is declared innocent at this moment in time.
Your Honour, the Registry and this Court had three months, the Special Court, three months to put the procedures in place since President Fernando, as he then was, requested that this case be transferred to The Hague. Your Honour, not only are no visas available, not only have I not been told my client has arrived, I have not been able to speak to my client. Nothing could be more serious, in my respectful submission, to the administration of justice than an accused who is whisked away and held, in effect, de facto incommunicado .
Your Honour, I left a message today after ringing around as an investigator , some kind of Sherlock Holmes, trying to find a relevant phone number. I left a message finally with the head of the ICC detention facility; he wasn't available. I then, with various assistance, got the number of a member of the Court Management staff, who I won't name, who happens to be in The Hague. I said I need to speak to my client so I could inform Your Honours as to the state of play for today's hearing. None of us, of course, wish to waste Your Honours' time or Court costs. I was told something extremely remarkable, in my submission. I was told that my client was not allowed to receive telephone calls.
Your Honour, all of these procedures should have been put in place by the Registry before the transfer of my client. That it was not done so is as startling as it is lamentable. I do ask you and Your Honours in the discharge of your obligations to make the necessary orders regarding the procedures that should be put in place.
Your Honour, individuals on a personal level may have difficulties . Of course, one may sympathise with them. But the bottom line is those difficulties are of no legal consequence to the rights of an accused. Your Honour, I would be grateful if you and Your Honours could give the appropriate directions, consistent, in fact, with the Security Council Resolution, that visas be issued to those members of the family that already have security clearance here in Freetown, without delay, so Mr Taylor may meet them.
Your Honour, I would be grateful if directions can be given by Your Honours, irrespective of the Registrar's decision, that the Rules of the ICC should apply mutatis mutandis that the accused, Mr Taylor, be allowed to receive calls and make calls in precisely the same way that he was allowed to make and receive calls here in Freetown.
Your Honour, my initial motion on venue started, of course -- or mentioned one aspect of discrimination. It cannot be right with all the accused here, from all three trials under way, are permitted to make and receive phone calls and yet, from what I'm told, my client is not. Your Honour, I would ask very seriously that you and your colleagues make those orders to ensure the proper administration of justice.
Therefore, rather belatedly --