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

Thank you, your Honour. I venture to say perhaps I would be able to shed a bit of light into the matters that raised the initial concerns at the Pre-Trial Conference. You would be aware -- of course, your Honours would be aware, of course, that the Defence team, as you have rightly pointed out, have always complained about the adequacy of the resources that have been provided to them, but there are a number of issues, if I may, with your leave, just quickly go through.

The key issue has been the overriding funding concern. This has affected the ability of the Principal Defender's Office to assemble a good legal Defence team to meet the size and complexity of Mr Taylor's case. That is the first point.

Secondly, the level of financing available for Defence investigations was a matter of concern to Mr Taylor.

Thirdly, the status of composition of the team, or lack thereof, as we got closer and closer to the opening of trial. Mr Khan at the last occasion made mention of the fact that at least up to 12 QCs have been approached by the Defence seeking their involvement in the case and all of them had declined to represent Mr Taylor because of the funding that is available through the Defence Office from the Registry.

Of course, we've done all we can within the mandate of the office to address the issues, to bring them up to the Registry so that the Registry would be engaged. And I'm happy that the Acting Registrar is here. He may be able to clarify from that point of view why there is, as your Honour put it, a bottle-neck.

Now, aside from reporting on those concerns, Mr Taylor had repeatedly, I must say, requested to meet with the Principal Defender, and the reason for the meeting specifically with the Principal Defender is that only the Principal Defender, not duty counsel, myself, can address some of the more fundamental issues. But as your Honours are aware, again at the Pre-Trial Conference, the Principal Defender could not travel here and subsequently his attempt to travel to The Hague for this opening was also not permitted.

We are, of course, again aware of some of the logistical complaints in terms of setup of offices and the teething problems of the The Hague office at this time, which your Honours would confirm with respect to things like filings with motions and legal documents and all of this.

In short, in my respectful submission, the Defence team has faced a number of difficulties, ranging from the adequacy of the funding that our office could provide from the Registry to them, our inability to assist them to compose the team because of that lack of funding, and the hampering of the role of the Defence Office in facilitating the rights of the accused to the extent - to the extent - that the Principal Defender's direct involvement could result in resolution of some of the problems.

I would, of course, state for the record, your Honour, that Mr Taylor is partially indigent and, from the point of view if the Defence Office, he's going to be on a legal aid case, of course, until we can find evidence to the contrary. This is very, very important. And we are concerned, of course, as to Mr Taylor's rights in the sense of both having a properly composed legal team to meet the complexity of his case and at the same time for his trial to begin. He is anxious about that. He has stated that before. But there must be some areas of -- that we would have to jointly address with the Acting Registrar in the Defence Office.

I see Mr Herman had one or two comments, so I will leave it at that for now, subject to further clarifications from your Honours. Thank you.

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