Thank you, Madam President. And I initially rose simply to note a change of appearance. Brenda J Hollis, Mohamed A Bangura are present for the Prosecution. Joseph Kamara and Nicholas Koumjian are absent.
Madam President, a few things. On 15 July, at the very latest, the Defence were aware of the problems they may encounter because of the health problems that Mr Griffiths was encountering, and it was raised in court that day that Mr Griffiths was not available because of health problems.
On 15 July - and I'm referring first to page 44524 - your Honours, of course, indicated that it was unfortunate that Mr Griffiths was ill, and I might say no one is saying that his illness is anyone's fault. However, your Honours went on to say that there had to be a plan B in place in the event Mr Griffiths is not ready to proceed in the foreseeable future. And your Honours gave two options on 15 July to the Defence.
The first option, at page 44524, was asking the Defence if they had a witness to interpose in the interim. At that point in time, Defence indicated they did not have such a witness. At page 44525, your Honours also wanted to emphasise that you were anxious to have the trial move forward and encouraged the Defence to look into the possibility of another Defence counsel taking over the testimony of Issa Sesay in the event or the unlikely event Mr Griffiths is indisposed for some extended period.
Madam President, your Honours, Issa Sesay has been here in the Hague for his testimony from the second or third week of June. His testimony began on 5 July. Since that time, eight court days of that possible testimony have been lost due to the illness of Mr Griffiths, and that is including today. We suggest that it is overtime for the Defence to have prepared for another witness - for another counsel to step in and conclude the testimony, the direct testimony, of this witness, who to date has been testifying for 75 hours of what was to be 44 hours of direct examination.
The other alternative that your Honours mentioned to the Defence on 15 July was to have another witness ready to interpose. On 16 July, the Defence indicated to us that should they need to interpose a witness, that witness would be 008. So since 16 July the Defence has been aware that should they need to interpose a witness, it would be 008. And yet today, on 3 August, we are told that 008 is not ready to testify.
The Prosecution suggest that your Honours were correct to emphasise that we need to move forward and that the Defence has not acted as it should to be prepared to move forward, given the state of Mr Griffiths' health, either by preparing someone to take over this lengthy testimony of Issa Sesay or to have another witness here and prepared and ready to go. And we would suggest that your Honours order that another counsel take over the examination of Mr Sesay forthwith or, in the alternative, that they interpose witness 008 starting tomorrow.
We have concerns about that alternative, because it is our understanding that witness 008's estimated length of direct examination will be 14 hours. So what would the plan be? Would it be that 008 would be interposed and concluded before we went back to Issa Sesay, in addition to the three witnesses the Prosecution will call for very, very short direct examination? Or would 008's testimony begin and then, as soon as Mr Griffiths' health permits, Issa Sesay would be recalled for that evidence to continue? So we think that perhaps we are getting into some logistical and efficiency problems, in terms of interposing additional witnesses. But we do believe that we should be back in court tomorrow, either with Mr Sesay with another counsel asking the questions, or with 008.
Thank you, Madam President.