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

Madam President, we appreciate that.

Furthermore, your Honours, this Chamber has previously considered this issue, and indeed the Prosecution have reminded us of the decision made by this Chamber on their motion dated 22 May 2007, and we would submit that it would be quite wrong for this Chamber to go behind the reasoning which led to the decision on that motion back in the summer of 2007.

Now when saying all of that, your Honours, we understand on this side of the courtroom the Prosecution's concern for witness safety and protection. However we note that neither rule 34 nor rule 75(A) allows a concern for witness protection to infringe on the accused's right to a fair trial, which necessarily we submit includes the right to full cross-examination of any witness brought to testify against him.

Because we submit that the right to examine witnesses includes the right to put the accused's case to a witness for comment, because we submit that the rights of the accused are paramount and indeed should take precedence over those of witnesses or victims.

We refer, for example, as legal support for that proposition, to a decision made in the ICTY Prosecutor v Brdjanin, dated 8 November 2000, in which it was said that:

"The Tribunal's Statute makes the rights of the accused the first consideration and the need to protect victims and witnesses the secondary consideration."

We submit, your Honours, that following rule 90(F) the only instances where time limits should be imposed on cross-examination are where a party is wasting the Court's time by for example the asking of irrelevant or intimidatory or harassing questions, but I would assume given this Court's experience that this Court would not allow such behaviour in any event. Indeed, we accept our professional responsibilities in that regard and I hope it cannot be said that hitherto we have engaged in any form of time wasting by asking irrelevant or unnecessary questions.

Your Honour, I don't think I can assist your Honours any further unless there is a particular matter upon which you would like my assistance.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech