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

  • Thank you. Before I take appearances and proceed with the evidence, I understand there may be a problem with the microphones and the recording. Madam Court Attendant, could you please advise us what the situation is?

  • Your Honours, we have been informed by the AV booth that the microphone systems have gone down. They are presently not working. This translates into the fact that there cannot be a recording of the proceedings or a broadcast to Sierra Leone and presently they are trying to rectify the situation by trying to get some equipment from courtroom 1 to see if we can proceed as soon as they do that.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Have they given you any indication of how long it will take, because I notice LiveNote appears to be recording as we speak.

  • Your Honour, there is no indication. This is the broadcast on the DV cam, the tapes, the record of the audio and the visual feed of the proceedings.

  • Thank you. Allow me to confer.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

    In the circumstances it is obviously important that the full recording is maintained. We will be obliged to adjourn temporarily until this matter is sorted out and I will then note the presence of Mr Townsend in the Court. We will deal with his matter before we proceed after this is rectified. Please adjourn court temporarily.

  • [Break taken at 9.32 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 10.07 a.m.]

  • Before I take appearances and proceed, I note that this Court resumed its sitting at its normal commencing time of 9.30, but due to a technical problem outside of our control we were obliged to adjourn temporarily until the recording system was fixed and for that reason there has been no hearing until now at 10.08. Can I take appearances, please.

  • Good morning your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian and Maja Dimitrova for the Prosecution.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian. Mr Munyard?

  • Good morning your Honours, good morning counsel opposite. For the Defence: Courtenay Griffiths QC, myself Terry Munyard and Morris Anyah.

  • Thank you. Before reminding the witness of his oath and proceeding to hear his evidence, I will again note the presence of Mr Townsend, the head of the sub-office in court, and ask for his report as directed last week. Mr Townsend?

  • May it please the Trial Chamber, thank you, your Honours. In compliance with your decision of 19 August 2008 the Registry has submitted before you a confidential four page report with a one page attachment which is also confidential which is a letter from the EBB, or the guarding and protecting service which comes under the Department of Justice of the Netherlands. They informed us of the reasons for the increase in the security level and we, on behalf of the Registry, have again pursued this at the next higher level which is the Department of Prisons or the DJI and as of Friday they have informed us that they are unable to cease the two practices to which Mr Taylor objects. We are waiting for something in writing to that effect.

    We will continue our efforts to relieve these practices being put in place for Mr Taylor, but that is my report and the confidential report contains more details, your Honours. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr Townsend, and thank you for your efforts. Mr Griffiths addressed the Court on this matter before. Mr Griffiths, are you addressing in relation to the report presently before us?

  • Madam President, I would like to inform the Court of Mr Taylor's position in light of the report prepared by Mr Townsend which we had sight of this morning. We are dismayed at the attitude of the Dutch authorities because noting as we do the contents of in particular paragraph 15, page 3, of Mr Townsend's report, your Honours will see that the measures requested by the Dutch authorities have been targeted at three named individuals.

    However, in this context it should be noted that the first named individual's [Redacted]. Consequently in reality he will not be subject to these measures, although he has also informed his lawyers that he will refuse to accept these measures.

    Secondly, the third named individual in paragraph 15, [Redacted], is unlikely in the circumstances to be required to attend court in the near future, if at all. So consequently of the three named individuals only one will in practice be subject to this regime and that is Mr Taylor. We note in that regard that your Honours observed on Tuesday last, 19 August, having received further information from Mr Townsend in chambers, that there is no rational basis or justification for Mr Taylor to be subject to these security measures.

    Now, Mr Taylor's instructions to me are quite clear as relayed to this Court and as noted at paragraph 11 of Mr Townsend's report. Those instructions being that his continued attendance was conditional on this matter being addressed. He remains anxious that his trial continue, but cannot accept in all conscience that he can allow his humanity to be demeaned in this way. Therefore, extremely reluctantly he will refuse to attend court so long as these measures remain in place.

    Now, in conclusion we observe that this Court cannot be powerless to issue orders to rectify this situation. Mr Taylor is after all under the power and control of this Court which is in turn fully able to control the proceedings to ensure the orderly and efficient progress of the trial. By analogy, if the Dutch authorities refused to provide medical attention to Mr Taylor in a situation in which he clearly required it I ask rhetorically would this Court be powerless to act? I think not.

    We therefore do not accept Mr Townsend's conclusion that the Registry is powerless to act in this situation and would request that further efforts be made to rectify this situation as soon as possible. Those are our observations, your Honour.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. Mr Koumjian, is there any matter that you consider pertinent to comment upon?

  • Your Honours, just perhaps as a friend of the Court and the Registry I just wonder if the information about the other individuals should be public or not? And I would point out that at least for one of the individuals there are media reports quite clear that that individual has a court date in the very, very near future, so that's not correct information, but other than that I have no further submissions, thank you.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

    We have considered the report and heard counsel. We note the report and the efforts of the head of office in The Hague to have the transport regime of Mr Taylor changed. We restate our earlier observations that the implementation of this regime has not been due to any action or misbehaviour on the part of the accused, Mr Taylor, and nothing in this further report causes us to change that view. It appears to the Trial Chambers that the remedies of the accused, Mr Taylor, have not been exhausted and an appeal now lies to the President of the Court. In the meanwhile, the accused is required to attend the hearing pending further resolution of the matter.

    Mr Griffiths - a small discussion with my learned colleagues. Are you clear on the third point that has been made?

  • Your Honour, we think we are.

  • Mr Griffiths, just to clarify, it's not the chamber, the Trial Chamber, that appeals to the President. That is just to remove that ambiguity. It is the prerogative of the Defence if they so wish to pursue an appeal with the President.

  • I am grateful, your Honours, and we understood that. Thank you.

  • If there are no other matters I will now remind the witness of his oath and we will proceed with his evidence. Mr Witness, I again remind you, as I have done on other mornings that you are under oath, you are obliged to answer questions truthfully. Do you understand?