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

  • Good morning, Mr Koumjian.

  • Morning, your Honour. The appearances for the Prosecution today are Brenda J Hollis, Leigh Lawrie, Alain Werner and myself, Nicholas Koumjian. I would ask, before we continue with the cross-examination, if I could briefly address a matter when convenient to the Court.

  • A matter related to the cross-examination, or some other matter?

  • Related to all the examinations and the need for private sessions for very particular information.

  • I see. Just let me take appearances from the Defence side and we will deal with that then.

  • Morning, Madam President. For the Defence I appear, Morris Anyah, along with my colleague Mr Terry Munyard.

  • Thank you, Mr Anyah.

    We will deal with your matter first, Mr Koumjian.

  • Your Honour, the Prosecution has a request that in the future both parties, before asking particular information about the family members of witnesses which are testifying openly in public session, that we go to private session for that information when it is relevant. The reason being that we believe that this could intimidate future witnesses if the names of their family members, who themselves are not involved in the proceedings, are made public.

    We do this because we have received information that witnesses are concerned about the safety of their family members and their confidentiality and particularly in a case where, for example, just yesterday afternoon, at the end of the direct examination, the Court received testimony concerning the murder of Sam Bockarie's children because, according to the testimony, of the involvement of the Special Court. We want just to be safe for all witnesses. If the information is relevant it certainly should come out, but we would just request all parties go to private session to bring that out.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Your reply, Mr Anyah?

  • Yes, Madam President. We appreciate the Prosecution's concerns. Lead counsel for the Prosecution approached us at the close of the session yesterday and advised us that such a request might be forthcoming in the future.

    Our position is this: The Prosecution has the option to apply to the Chamber for protective measures of witnesses. When we appeared yesterday before the Chamber, the particular witness before the Court today - it was expected to some degree that he would be afforded such measures. Counsel for the Prosecution advised the Chamber that he was not a protected witness, meaning, as everybody is aware, he would be testifying in open session. That being the case, to the extent we do ask questions that are relevant and the Chamber finds them relevant, we should not be constricted in the manner in which we carry out what should otherwise be a thorough and sifting cross-examination.

    We do appreciate their concerns and we will do our best to accommodate them, but not to the extent that it prejudices our client's rights to confront the witnesses against him.

  • I don't think counsel for the Prosecution is curtailing your right to confront the witness. What I understand him to be requesting is that certain questions be in private session.

  • Those being the circumstances, we would accommodate that request.

  • Thank you.

  • We have considered the application and the reply. The Court will consider each application for a private session as it arises.