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

Madam President, I would like to inform the Court of Mr Taylor's position in light of the report prepared by Mr Townsend which we had sight of this morning. We are dismayed at the attitude of the Dutch authorities because noting as we do the contents of in particular paragraph 15, page 3, of Mr Townsend's report, your Honours will see that the measures requested by the Dutch authorities have been targeted at three named individuals.

However, in this context it should be noted that the first named individual's [Redacted]. Consequently in reality he will not be subject to these measures, although he has also informed his lawyers that he will refuse to accept these measures.

Secondly, the third named individual in paragraph 15, [Redacted], is unlikely in the circumstances to be required to attend court in the near future, if at all. So consequently of the three named individuals only one will in practice be subject to this regime and that is Mr Taylor. We note in that regard that your Honours observed on Tuesday last, 19 August, having received further information from Mr Townsend in chambers, that there is no rational basis or justification for Mr Taylor to be subject to these security measures.

Now, Mr Taylor's instructions to me are quite clear as relayed to this Court and as noted at paragraph 11 of Mr Townsend's report. Those instructions being that his continued attendance was conditional on this matter being addressed. He remains anxious that his trial continue, but cannot accept in all conscience that he can allow his humanity to be demeaned in this way. Therefore, extremely reluctantly he will refuse to attend court so long as these measures remain in place.

Now, in conclusion we observe that this Court cannot be powerless to issue orders to rectify this situation. Mr Taylor is after all under the power and control of this Court which is in turn fully able to control the proceedings to ensure the orderly and efficient progress of the trial. By analogy, if the Dutch authorities refused to provide medical attention to Mr Taylor in a situation in which he clearly required it I ask rhetorically would this Court be powerless to act? I think not.

We therefore do not accept Mr Townsend's conclusion that the Registry is powerless to act in this situation and would request that further efforts be made to rectify this situation as soon as possible. Those are our observations, your Honour.

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