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, Madam President, your Honours, opposing counsel. This morning for the Prosecution, Brenda J Hollis, Mohamed A Bangura and our case manager, Maja Dimitrova.

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today myself, Courtenay Griffiths, and with me Mr Morris Anyah of counsel.

  • Thank you. Before we begin the day's proceedings, I thought I would remind the parties of the new sitting schedule that starts next Monday. The Registrar informs me that the parties are well aware of this new schedule. There is a recent one - or the most recent one I think was issued last week on Tuesday or Wednesday. I hope you appraise yourself of the new sitting hours; that is, we shall start the proceedings of the day - or of a day at 15 hours in the afternoon - that's 3 o'clock in the afternoon - and work right through to 7.30 every day.

    As you know, this is necessitated by the fact that the ICC has, for the first time, two trials of its own running simultaneously on top of ours, and we need to share the two courtrooms that they have between the three trials. So I am just calling on all the parties to do your best to adjust to the new schedule. It will need a lot of adjustment from everybody, but it can't be helped. That's the way things are.

  • Madam President, can I say this. That for our part, our major concern is that Mr Taylor will be brought on time consistent with new schedule, and I think it would be helpful if Mr Townsend was to impress upon those responsible for the transport of Mr Taylor the need to get him here at the new time, because that's my major concern.

  • Indeed, Mr Griffiths, this is also the judges'. But we have been assured by our own Registrar, as well as the Registrar of the ICC, that the necessary adjustments will be done or made to the transportation of all the detainees, including Mr Taylor, and that he will be brought on time for his trial.

  • I also thought that it's important to mention that the judges of the Special Court were not really party to the new schedule. We - I suppose the Registrar spoke on our behalf - our Registrar of the Special Court - but we really didn't have much choice. Under the memorandum of understanding between the Special Court and the ICC, I think the ICC takes precedence when they have their trials within this building, you know, until we can find our own premises at sometime in the future.

    You will also note that the new schedule has - we are shown as not sitting on Wednesday, instead of Friday. So this is an adjustment that we have to make in the schedules. Perhaps at this time it's good for me to ask a rhetorical question, especially to the Defence: Would you mind, instead of not sitting on Friday, not sitting on Wednesday instead?

  • Well, Madam President, it does create difficulties. Because some of us, of course, as the Court appreciates, travel on a Friday to return on a Sunday. But at the end of the day, it seems to us that the smooth progress of this trial is more important than any inconvenience it may cause to any individual counsel involved in the proceedings.

  • I appreciate your understanding, Mr Griffiths, and just to note that perhaps it's just for the one week that this will happen. In subsequent weeks, the day that is set apart for not sitting will probably revert back to Friday, but this is not in our control. It could be a Tuesday, depending on the people who make the decisions. It could even be a Monday. So I thank you for your understanding.

    Now, Mr Taylor, I remind you, as we normally do, of your declaration to tell the truth.

    Thank you, Ms Hollis. Please continue.

  • Madam President, your Honours, there are other matters that require my attention at the latter part of this week so, with the permission of the Trial Chamber, Mr Koumjian will conduct the cross-examination on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, if that is permissible with the Chamber.

  • Certainly. Thank you for letting us know.