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

  • [Open session]

  • [In the presence of the Accused]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.47 a.m.]

  • Good morning. I will open the Court by noting that Justice Sebutinde is not here with us. I have her authorisation to read a notification, which I received this morning from Justice Sebutinde, and I will read it out verbatim:

    "This is to notify you that in view of the recent developments in the Trial Chamber, and consistent with my earlier views and opinion on this matter, both in Chamber and on the Bench wherein I dissented from the directive to lead counsel, I will on principle, not attend Friday's hearing."

    I will therefore, first, invite appearances, and secondly -

    I haven't added the words end of quote.

    In the light of this, I will first invite appearances and, secondly, I will ask counsel if there is any matters which he wishes to make before proceeding.

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, and Ms Donlon, who is the Deputy Registrar, who's here in court, that's the first appearance that I note.

    Madam President, on the Defence bench is Courtenay Griffiths QC, Morris Anyah, Logan Hambrick, myself, Terry Munyard, and beside me is counsel Mr Peter Robinson, who is here to represent Mr Griffiths this morning, following your order granting Mr Griffiths right of representation of two weeks ago.

    Unless there is anything further you wish to hear from me, I propose now to hand over, first of all, to Mr Robinson.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard.

  • Thank you, Madam President. It's a privilege to appear before your Court and a real honour to represent Courtenay Griffiths. I'd like to speak to you for a few minutes, if you don't mind, about the issue of sanctions under rule 46 that were mentioned.

  • Prior to you proceeding, Mr Robinson, on that, I did invite comments, first, on the question of the constitution of the Court, in the light of the matter I have just read, and in the light of Justice Sebutinde's absence. I must dispose of that first, prior to hearing any submissions on the issue before us.

  • Very well, Madam President, since we hadn't had any notice of that, would you mind giving us a few minutes to consult among ourselves before we address that issue?

  • [Defence counsel confer]

  • Yes, thank you, Madam President, we would like to invite the Chamber to invite Justice Sow to participate, so the Bench is constituted of three regularly constituted judges.

  • Let me make this very clear: This Bench is regularly composed with three judges sitting, as it shows. Two judges cannot sign decisions. When the Bench is sitting, it's sitting with three judges, not two judges, and I don't know what. I'm not here for decoration. I am a judge. This Bench is regularly composed, as everybody can see. I don't know how people can think that two judges - I don't know where in this world you will see two judges sitting. It's not possible. This Bench is regularly composed with three judges. This is my comment. No matter how parties will look at it, it shows and it's apparent that this Bench is composed with three judges. We are three judges sitting.

  • The Articles governing the composition of this Court and the Trial Chamber mandate that it is to be composed of three judges. This is not a situation where rule 16 applies. Accordingly, in our view, this Trial Chamber is not properly constituted and we consider we have no alternative but to adjourn this hearing today. The matter is adjourned for a date to be fixed.

    Please adjourn the Court.

  • [Proceedings adjourned at 9.54 a.m.]