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

Thank you. MR O'SULLIVAN: May it please the Court, thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon, your Honours. Good afternoon, counsel from the Office of the Prosecutor. Your Honours, I'll be addressing the third question that you ask in paragraph 2(i) to your scheduling order of 30 November. The question is whether customary international law recognises that certain forms of liability set forth in Article 6(1) of the Statute are more or less serious than other forms of liability for sentencing or for other purposes. Your Honours, I'll endeavour to be succinct and to the point. In my submissions, I'll be drawing a distinction between a rule of customary international law and a general principle of law. In our submission, the short answer to your question is no, there is no rule of customary international law that pertains to the question you pose. However, there is a general principle of law which applies to the sentencing of persons convicted of aiding and abetting. The Trial Chamber adopted this general principle at paragraph 21 of the Sentencing Judgement, when the Trial Chamber wrote that it "adopted the jurisprudence of the ICTY and the ICTR that aiding and abetting as a mode of liability generally warrants a lesser sentence than that to be imposed for more direct forms of participation." Now, to assist the Chamber and hopefully to make the point, in answering your question, last Friday we provided you with a bundle of additional authorities, 13 Judgements from the ICTY and the ICTR. Very quickly, those are the Krnojelac Decision Judgement, the Kajelijeli Judgement, Vasiljevic, Krstic, Kvocka, Muhimana, Semanza, Bisengimana, Oric, Simic, Nchamihigo and Sljivancanin. The question, in our submission, are what are the general principles that apply to sentencing a person convicted of aiding and abetting? We say the key factors are the gravity of the offence, the conduct of the accused, and that generally -- this is the point -- that generally an aider and abettor warrants a lesser sentence. I would direct your attention to the Krstic decision which is at tab 5 of the bundle I've just referred to. In our submission, this general principle applies to a person in a leadership role as well. Krstic was a military commander who commanded a military brigade of the Army of Republika Sprska at Srebrenica, and the Appeals Chamber found that his conviction for aiding and abetting merited a considerable reduction of his sentence. Now, your Honours, we are not saying that there's an absolute requirement that a person convicted of aiding and abetting must receive a lesser sentence. We are saying, however, that there's a general principle that, generally, an aider and abettor warrants a lesser sentence than that to be imposed for more direct forms of participation. As we set out in our written submissions and as we argue there, we say that this general principle should have been applied by the Trial Chamber. We argue that the Trial Chamber did not apply it and the Trial Chamber gave no valid reason for departing from this general principle, and for this reason we say the Trial Chamber committed a discernible error in the exercise of its sentencing discretion, which resulted in a manifestly excessive sentence. Your Honour, I said I'd be succinct and to the point. Those are my submissions in answer to that question.

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