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

  • Before I take appearance I see Mr Taylor is back with us and I hope he is fully recovered. Now, Ms Alagendra, we will take appearances please.

  • Good morning, your Honour. For the Prosecution are Ms Brenda Hollis, Mr Mohamed Bangura and myself, Shyamala Alagendra, and Maja Dimitrova. Thank you.

  • Good morning, your Honours, Madam President. For the Defence we have Courtenay Griffiths QC, Mr Terry Munyard, myself, Morris Anyah, and we are joined today by Silas Chekera, duty counsel from the Office of the Principal Defender.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Thank you, Mr Anyah. Ms Alagendra, I presume you have carriage of the next witness. Please proceed.

  • The next witness is TF1-362 and this witness is subject to protective measures from the Trial Chamber, that she will testify in a closed session.

  • Is this an existing order?

  • Where does this order come from?

  • Your Honour, I am willing to provide a copy of the order from the Trial Chamber if it will assist.

  • Trial Chamber I, your Honour.

  • Not our Trial Chamber?

  • If we can have a copy of that order, please.

    Mr Anyah, you are on your feet and I was going to ask you if you have seen a copy of this relevant order.

  • Indeed, I was going to seek permission to have a copy if it would please the Chamber. We do not have a copy of it.

  • I will ask Madam Court Attendant to show you a copy before making a relevant - unless, Ms Alagendra, you have a spare copy for the Defence. Thank you.

    Mr Anyah, you have seen the order?

  • Yes, Madam President. I have read it. I do have some arguments to make. One of them might actually vitiate some of the concerns because it relates to our position that the witness's name is already in the public domain. That is looking at the order and the reasons given for the protective measures. I would note, as the Chamber is aware, the order is dated 11 May 2005, before the accused in this case was even taken into custody.

  • If you are going to make a reference, please ensure that you don't name the witness.

  • I certainly will not, yes. There would, in our view, be an obligation on the part of the Prosecution to show that the circumstances which necessitated this order back then continue to prevail and obtain at the present time, because we are now in the year 2008 and, as I have said, or made reference to, we are of the view that the witness's name is already in the public domain in another context which I cannot really elaborate on at this point.

  • What do you say, Mr Anyah, to what appear to be the mandatory provisions of Rule 75(F) sub-rule 1?

  • We are, indeed, governed by protective measures decisions that are taken by a preceding Trial Chamber and we ordinarily would be obligated to come forth with an application at an appropriate time to this Chamber, but I don't know that, since this new Defence team took carriage of the case, this issue has been litigated to the full extent given that a lot of the notices of these measures were given to the prior Defence team.

  • Mr Anyah, are you saying that the prior Defence team was actually notified of the protective measures pertaining to each and every prosecution witness?

  • I do not know. I was a part of the prior Defence team, but this issue was not in the forefront of discussions. I sincerely doubt that in every case when a prior Trial Chamber rendered such a decision notice was given, because ordinarily we would not be aware that a possible witness in another case might be a witness here until much later in the process. So, I cannot speak to that, that they had notice of this decision. Of course, all decisions - the argument could be made that notice is always given when any decision is made, but I do not believe I can sincerely say they had notice of this decision.

  • Thank you. I am not sure if you are making some form of application, or on an observation. Therefore, I am not sure whether I should invite a response from the Prosecution.

  • Well, the forcefulness of our presentation would be enhanced if I could indicate why we want this decision reconsidered and that would take it into the nature of an application. Like I said, we are of the view that the witness's name is in the public domain. I would leave it at that and I would rest on that in making this an application that to the extent this Chamber finds it within its discretion to rescind this order, that it should.

  • Ms Alagendra - Ms Hollis, you have heard the Defence.

  • If I may be allowed, Madam President. The reason I rise is this has broader implications extending to other witnesses as well. Indeed, the Defence were given notice of existing protective measures very early on, in accordance with Rule 75, and, in fact, when disclosure was made, even redacted disclosure was made, regarding this witness it was clear from that disclosure that there had been prior protection.

    In addition to that, in something that we filed on 28 January reference to this witness was made and an oral decision was put in this reference and the oral decision is one that was followed by the written decision you have before you, so for the Defence to say they did not have notice, we suggest, is without merit.

    Secondly, 75 says very clearly they are in effect until there is an application for them to be rescinded. There needs to be a timely application for this. Witnesses are not ping pong balls. We can't bring them, keep them here until the last minute, have it decided that they can't go in a forum that they find comfortable and protective of their security and then expect them, at some later date, to be able to come back. This is an untimely application and we suggest they have given no reason that there should be any change to it and such application is untimely. If they wish to go into more detail to make a record, we suggest we go into private session. Again, I think there has been a very cavalier treatment of the protections afforded these witnesses and we think this should be, in a minimum, private session, if not closed session, if we are going to go into the specifics.

  • Thank you, Ms Hollis.

  • Ms Hollis, there is something we didn't quite understand. The record is not very clear here, but you referred to there has been a "cavalier" manner in which these witnesses have been afforded protective measures, or something.

  • The cavalier manner in which the protective measures have been dealt with and we refer to instances --

  • Yes, we refer to instances where the names of protective witnesses have been given in open session. We refer to instances where questions relating to particular personal circumstances of a witness have been given, or asked, in open session so that the whole world knows particular circumstances of the family of a witness, which is not relevant. So, our concern is that we deal very, very cautiously when we are discussing even these matters and so I certainly applaud Defence counsel when he says he would not be able to go, in open session, into further detail and that is why the Prosecution invites that if there are further submissions to be made they be made in private session, or in closed session, because nothing is done in a vacuum and a bit of information here and a bit of information there can very well lead to violation of protective measures.

  • Incidentally, Ms Hollis, I didn't hear, on this occasion, the Defence mentioning the name of this witness, or anything that seems to --

  • No, they did not on this occasion.

  • That is why we didn't quite understand what you meant.

  • We note there was no timely application to vary or rescind the order of Trial Chamber I made in May 2005. Therefore we are, albeit reluctantly, bound by the provisions of Rule 75(F), and the order of Trial Chamber I, and this witness's testimony will proceed in closed session.

    On a very practical point, I do recall it was said at some previous occasion that we would like a little more notice of these closed sessions to be able to put the practicalities in place. I do note Ms Hollis has informed the Bench and reminded us that documents are filed. I am just looking at purely the practicalities, immediately before the witness comes into court. In the circumstances, we direct a closed session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 4798 to 4920, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in closed session.]

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m. to be reconvened on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 9.30 a.m.]