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, Mr President, your Honours, opposing counsel. This morning for the Prosecution are the Prosecutor Stephen Rapp, Mohamed A Bangura, Maja Dimitrova and myself Brenda J Hollis.

  • Good morning Mr President, your Honours, counsel opposite. For the Defence today are myself Courtenay Griffiths, my learned friends Mr Terry Munyard and Mr Silas Chekera and also our case manager Ms Salla Moilanen.

  • Thank you. I don't know if either party has anything to mention, but if they do now is the time to do it?

  • Mr President, if I may, the Prosecution has two matters that it would like to be discussed today, or as soon as possible. The first matter deals with whether or not there will be a Rule 98 submission by the Defence and if indeed there will be such a submission then what procedure will be followed in light of the change to the rule and the timing of such a submission.

    The second matter has to do with a discussion related to the commencement of a Defence case, if there is to be a Defence case.

  • Aren't those issues a little bit premature, Ms Hollis? We've got, as you know, ten - virtually 11 Rule 92 bis interlocutory motions filed by the Prosecution which fall to be decided by us. Now that the Appeals Chamber has delivered its decision last Friday afternoon the way is clear for us to decide those, but that may very well entail the Prosecution electing to call more evidence or at least applying to do so. So, in other words, the Prosecution may not be able to close its case as this stage and so should we be talking about Rule 98 procedures and the Defence case at this stage?

  • If I may respond, we would suggest that first of all it is a good idea to talk about it to set some sort of framework for it. We think that the Rule 98 submissions would not be impacted by a decision on these documents as no document of itself would be the sole basis upon which there could be a conviction on any of the counts. The Defence is already aware of our testimonial evidence, the witnesses on the merits have been called and so we think that it is appropriate to discuss that either today or some day in the near future.

    In terms of the Defence case, again we think discussions at least as to what form that case might take would also not be premature and would assist in planning in terms of future scheduling and the duration of the trial.

    So we believe that it is really not premature to have those discussions although certainly dates perhaps could not be decided at this time, but the procedures to be followed for the Rule 98 could be decided so that the parties are on notice. And even an indication that so many days from the end of the Prosecution case any Rule 98 submissions would be expected, we think that those things could appropriately be discussed.

  • Just before we hear from the Defence, is the Prosecution saying that no matter what we decide on the outstanding motions the Prosecution won't be calling any further evidence?

  • We think any further evidence would be in relation to the documentary evidence. We don't anticipate that there will be additional evidence on the substance of the case, but rather dealing with how certain portions of documents may be admitted. That's what our anticipation is at this time.

  • All right. Do you have anything to say, Mr Griffiths?

  • Mr President, first of all, I am somewhat in the dark as to the last comment made by my learned friend in that depending on the outcome of the outstanding 92 bis motions there may well be need for the Prosecution to call a witness to deal with the admission of those documents. I don't know whether the Prosecution is saying they will not call any more witnesses even to introduce these documents, or whether they are saying they will seek the admission of those documents by another means.

    Now, the bottom line is this. We feel that any discussion regarding any proposed 98 submission is somewhat premature in that firstly the Prosecution case has not yet closed and, secondly, as a consequence we don't know what the final shape of the case we have to meet is. It seems to us that no final decision can be made by us as to that topic until the Prosecution formally close their case, so consequently we feel that it's much too early to be contemplating those kinds of matters.

  • Thank you.

    We have noted the Prosecution comments. Obviously the Prosecution has not closed its case as yet, but the matters raised by Ms Hollis are matters that are appropriate to a status conference. We consider that in the light of the outstanding motions it is premature at this stage to consider those matters.

    However, what we propose to do is this. We will need to dispose of the outstanding motions and we will need time to do so. As I have already mentioned, the Prosecution motions in relation to 89(C)-92 bis are 11 in number and now that the Appeals Chamber has delivered its decision we have now got a clear way to dispose of those motions. Nevertheless, as the parties are aware, some of the documentation is voluminous and we are going to need time. There are also other important interlocutory motions that need to be decided.

    What we are going to do is adjourn this case to enable us to attend to those matters. We will adjourn this case until Thursday of next week, which is Thursday 19 February, and on that date we are hoping to be able to appoint a status conference.

    In other words, we will adjourn the case until 19 February. It will be for mention only and we are hopeful that at the end of that adjournment it will be appropriate to fix a status conference for the following week and our order for that will include an agenda. So, adjourned until 19 February for mention only.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.44 a.m. to be reconvened on Thursday, 19 February at 9.30 a.m.]