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

Madam President, I rise to express a certain anxiety. Now, it is one thing to place before a tribunal of fact a witness who observed certain events and is relating those events. Likewise, I appreciate that in international tribunals because there is no rule against hearsay such hearsay statements about events can be put before the Court. We are now dealing with a very dangerous area. This man is not being put before this Court as an expert; he is being put before the Court as a witness of fact.

Consequently, when he as a journalist claims to be talking about certain issues in Sierra Leone, and on the evidence so far it is not a country that he visited more than once, one has to be extremely careful in order to identify what is the source of the information he is giving because we are told he is the editor of a newspaper, he is responsible for its opinion content. The only persons who can legitimately provide opinion evidence before a criminal court are experts, unless it relates to the reputation of a witness. Consequently, if we are now to be regaled by a litany of issues this man claims as a journalist he reported on in his newspaper, in our submission it is inadmissible.

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