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

Thank you, your Honour.

Like I mentioned just a few moments ago, in our consultation with Mr Taylor, we, as the Defence Office, were of the view, the best point that Mr Taylor has made a request that he would represent himself based on the concerns he raised because, according to him, they were not being addressed adequately, we felt that it would -- I mean, we thought that it is not in the best interests of Mr Taylor, the judicial process, and everyone involved, for him to represent himself, and therefore there was a need, in our view, to adequately address the issue of legal representation.

Now, Mr Taylor was open to the idea that it was not in the interests of justice for him to represent himself or the integrity of the judicial process, and felt that the issues about his legal representation needs to be -- need to be adequately addressed from the point of view of ensuring adequate resources and adequate time to enable him, if he would need a legal representation, to have a legal team be put together that, in his words, will match the capacity of the Prosecution in this enormous case.

Now, from that perspective, we came away with an understanding that the issue could be addressed from the point of view of engaging with the Registry to ensure an adequate defence, in line with Article 17 of the Statute, to facilitate the accused's defence with the right resources and facilities.

Now, in our consultation with Mr Taylor as to what kind of legal representation would adequately address his concerns and fair-trial rights under Article 17, he pointed out to us that his team requires a leading senior counsel at the rank of a QC to properly lead the case because of its complexity and the magnitude of the case; and that he will also want a senior counsel in addition to assist the QC, or the very distinguished advocate that he thought was necessary, on a day-to-day basis, as well as two co-counsel. Now, according to him, that will be the kind of team that will match the array of lawyers that he believes the Prosecution have.

He also went further in terms of the legal assistants, the issue of consultants, to enable him or his defence to deal with issues that the Prosecution have, you know, elaborated on in terms of the indictment, as well as in their bid to present experts to prove their case.

Along the same line, he articulated issues of thorough or proper investigation or investigative resources. Now, investigative resources to enable his Defence team subsequently to articulate issues within the disclosures, the number of witnesses that the Prosecution have outlined to prove their case. And he felt that the current, what he called mid-level investigation services that he has would not be adequate enough to address the expanse of the indictment in relation to the geography within the West African sub-region, Africa, and even beyond Africa, which do implicate the case.

Now, he thought that he needed a chief investigator in addition to the international investigator he has now, who he believes will be in a position to assist the chief investigator who he believes should be nothing less than a criminal -- an experienced criminal investigator, what he calls a Scotland Yard type of investigator or a senior CIA kind of investigator, rather than a mid -- a junior person who is operating as an international investigator.

Now, he feels satisfied, of course, with the local national investigator that has been provided in Sierra Leone and the national investigator provided in Liberia, but that the case transcends more than that. According to him, a number of parties in terms of the dispute in Sierra Leone or the war in Sierra Leone were involved beyond the West African sub-region and beyond Africa that necessitates him to have an international investigator of good experience and repute to be able to tackle the issues that flow out of it, out of the whole process.

Now, of course, he articulated other issues in relation to detention conditions which we may not go into here because they are purely administrative. But to the extent that they impact his ability to participate in the trial from the point of view of articulating his Article 17 rights, then those could be addressed; issues of whether or not he would be properly -- he would eat and be able to attend the court for a period of -- an extensive period of sitting.

But the bottom line is that at the end of the day, after our consultation on the 20th, we produced a report with a number of recommendations along the line of the issues expressed, more so concerned about the need for the upholding of the Article 17 rights of the accused to either self-representation, in which case facilities must be provided and resources and time must be provided to him; or, based on our advice, because of our experience and the work of the Special Court, more for him to rather have legal representation because of the interests of justice and the integrity of the judicial process rather than self-representation.

Now, we produced a number of recommendations which, if your Honours want us to clarify or to indicate to the Court, we would, but I just wanted to say that we reported this to the Registry and our expectation is that there's a need for engagement to move this matter forward, because I believe, from the Office of the Principal Defender's perspective, that there is a constituency of which the Honourable Chamber, I believe, is part, and of course the umpire that is interested in nothing but a fair trial for any accused before the Court, under Article 17 of the Statute of the Court. And I think that even the whole global society expects nothing less than a fair trial within Article 17 of the Statute, which cannot be overridden by other considerations.

Your Honour, this would be my report to the Court.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech