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

Your Honour, I would -- I would address the Court on this particular issue.

Now, the issue of replacement counsel for Mr Taylor for this morning is a very tricky one in the sense that, of course, reference in what has transpired since the 4th of June and the need to address this matter from the point of view of discussing these concerns and meeting logistically the needs of Mr Taylor, I had a period of between the 20th and the 25th, which is today, two working days, to address the issue of replacement of counsel.

Now, from the point of view of the Registry, any lawyer could be brought to replace counsel. Now, in our view, it is almost practically impossible that, notwithstanding we have tried to engage replacement counsel, we have briefed the Registry on the attempts that we are making, we have spoken to a number of people -- in fact, we have spoken to -- made contact with three leading QCs in the UK on this matter as to the possibility of replacement counsel. One of them is only available for us to talk to him from the 27th of June. The others were not available, but their clerks or practice managers promised to call us back, and indeed one of them did call back to leave a message. That was between the 20th and the 22nd and the 23rd.

Now, again, we advised the Registry on this issue. The point as to just choosing any lawyer to come here today is a very tricky one, like I mentioned, because even if we look into the former Defence team as constituted, if we do look into the former Defence team, Mr Karim Khan, of course, has withdrawn. Prior to that period, Mr Roger Sahota, who was legal assistant and bumped up to co-counsel, had left to engage fully in a trial in ICTY. And, of course, we were left with two legal assistants who had no standing, according to the rules, to appear in court.

So the effort was rather to look around to ensure that we get replacement counsel. Now, replacement counsel, from the point of view of the accused if the issue of his legal representation should be addressed adequately, is one that has brought us to the point of looking around for distinguished lawyers to be able to replace.

So that is a difficulty we have, and we have briefed the Registry on this. And we came to an agreement that it was necessary for us to do the utmost to engage -- to ensure that counsel is replaced within the shortest possible time, and that we have been on and it's not been very easy to get these people on board. If somebody has to say, Well, I am going to a funeral in the Caribbean, could you please call me back on the 27th of June, it becomes an issue for us to follow up within that period, and while others said we're not available and would return our call, and for us to -- to find as to the next available time to be able to speak to them, and this was between, of course, the weekend period and today, which is Monday.

So the issue of having replacement counsel, like I said initially, is a very tricky one, and for all practical purposes it was almost -- it was impossible to have replacement counsel today, being Monday.

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