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

Your Honours, again, we go back to the point that the termination of counsel with whose services the accused indicated he was fully satisfied was first brought to the attention of this Chamber and the Prosecution on the 4th of June. He was fully satisfied with those services. Therefore, the dilemma we are in today is of the accused's making. He had counsel with whom he was fully satisfied, competent counsel, ready to proceed. But rather than go forward with that, he chose, in an effort to manipulate the proceedings, to come forward and fire that counsel at the last moment, or at least attempt to. Therefore, when we're looking at a solution, what the Prosecution suggests is that the accused should not be allowed to unduly benefit from a situation of his own making.

In terms of the delay it would take to put a team together, the Prosecution suggests, once again, that what should happen is that the Principal Defender, the Duty Counsel, members of the fully constituted Defence team who are still available, should go forward with this case with some delay, because it takes them some time to be prepared to begin to cross-examine witnesses, but that they should go forward with this case with perhaps someone from the list so as to minimise the delay for the case to go forward. While the case is going forward, if there needs to be additional members brought on as a permanent team, those efforts could be going on while this case is moving forward.

But to say that we must stop now, as though we are back at ground zero, we suggest, is not consistent with the circumstances that brought us here today, nor is it consistent with the needs of the case, the needs of the accused. We have the means to go forward, and while we're going forward, then other steps can be taken to bring on additional team members.

Again, it appears that much too much emphasis is being placed on what the accused decides will be the way these proceedings run.

In terms of trying to entice the accused back into this courtroom, the Prosecution suggests that the accused has no right to refuse to attend criminal proceedings. Rather, what is in the rules and the Statute -- the Statute talks about the rights of the accused to be present, not to be absent; the rules talk about the discretion of this Trial Chamber to move forward in certain circumstances, such as when the accused refuses to attend. The rules do not say that the accused has a right to attend.

This Court, in fact, could order the accused to come forward. And in fact the Prosecution suggests that indeed the Court should order that because there is one technical but significant outstanding matter that has not been dealt with and that is an entry of a plea on the amended count 5 of the indictment. Now, of course, should the Trial Chamber elect not to exercise its discretion to force the accused to be in the courtroom, it could enter a plea of not guilty on that count, and perhaps the Court will wish to exercise its discretion in that manner.

But it is this Trial Chamber that has the duty and the authority to control these proceedings and to do the overall supervision of these proceedings to ensure that justice prevails and that it is a fair trial. It is not for this accused to negotiate his presence in this courtroom. It is for the Trial Chamber to determine whether they will require his presence or whether, pursuant to the rules, they will move forward in light of his refusal to attend.

This is not a matter for him to decide. This is a matter for your Honours to decide based on your sound discretion.

Thank you.

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