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

Madam President, your Honours, counsel opposite, can I use the remaining ten minutes to touch upon a couple of discrete topics, not in any particular order, and then to deal with a separate matter altogether?

Mr Koumjian's point this morning regarding the absence of proof as to meetings between Taylor and Bockarie, in the latter half of 1998, Mr Koumjian pushed that point to the stage where it would appear that he was suggesting on behalf of the Prosecution that the defendant bears some burden of proof in terms of providing evidence for the absence of such documentation. But what holds that argument below the waterline is this: If that be the case, that Mr Taylor was anxious to keep that relationship private, why is there documentary proof of his contact with Issa Sesay? Why? If he was seeking to conceal his nefarious activities, why act in one way in relation to Bockarie and another way in relation to Issa Sesay?

And Justice Sebutinde asked us for references to documents that are available to show contact between Taylor in 1998, and can I invite attention to exhibit D-169, dated 16 October 1998:

"On the 13th of October 1998, President Kabbah informed me, the Secretary-General, of alleged preparation by Liberia for the dispatch of fighters for an incursion into Sierra Leone. The allegations were vigorously denied by Taylor. UN military observers also detected no evidence of an armed incursion from Liberia."

Then this: "On the 16th of October, the two Presidents were reported to have spoken by telephone and to describe the matter as a misunderstanding that had been clarified. The two leaders were reported to have agreed to be in regular telephone contact in order to work towards strengthening relations."

So there is that.

We then come to this: Exhibit D-175, UN Secretary-General report of the 16th of December 1998, which refers to a meeting of the Mano River Union and the three heads of state agreed to work collectively to restore peace in Sierra Leone and maintain stability in the subregion.

"The Liberian government subsequently announced that Kabbah had agreed with Taylor's request for cooperation on joint border patrols."

And moving along swiftly, there is exhibit D-176, a letter to Bill Clinton, the contents to which speak for themselves, and so, consequently, I do not repeat them here.

The Tiagen Wantee letter, to which Mr Koumjian referred, the point he makes in our submission is without basis. Eddie Kanneh was Secretary of State for the East based in Kenema during the AFRC regime. Thereafter, the evidence is quite clear that he was in bed with Sam Bockarie. So I repeat the question: Why did he need to travel all the way to Conakry in order to seek permission to enter Liberia? The point remains.

Third point. Issa Sesay should be disbelieved because he's a murderer, he committed atrocities and the like. Very well. Let's apply that standard to all of the Prosecution insider witnesses. Somebody like Zigzag Marzah. Remember the cross-examination? How do you kill a baby, Mr Marzah? Oh, you just hold it by the feet and smash his head against a wall or throw him in the river. Very well, disbelieve Issa Sesay. Also disbelieve him and people like Isaac Mongor.

Discrete point number 4, at the time of the Camp Naama training between September 1990 and March 1991, Gbarnga was not the headquarters of the NPFL. The NPFL headquarters at that time was many miles away, perhaps 200 miles away, in Buchanan. You recall the point made this morning about his proximity to the camp.

So far as the point made about RUF personnel being in SAJ Musa's group during the advance on Freetown and vice versa, the evidence, in our submission, is quite clear that that was not as a result of any organisational links between the two groups but rather based on personal links between people like Gullit, who you remember, had had an altercation with Bockarie and had left Kailahun to join SAJ Musa, and so far as the latter is concerned, ample evidence to demonstrate his antipathy towards the RUF.

Justice Sebutinde asked a question regarding witnesses paid by the Prosecution at the time when WVS should have paid all expenses. We draw attention to rule 39(2) which states, "In the conduct of an investigation," and we stress that, "the Prosecutor may take all measures deemed necessary for the purpose of the investigation including the taking of any special measures to provide for the safety, support and assistance of potential witnesses and sources."

The Defence position is that only WVS may provide for witnesses after the investigation stage. Rule 34(A) provides for WVS to provide such assistance. And we submit it is an abuse of the Prosecution's discretion under rule 39(2) for the WVS and the Prosecution to pay a person at the same time, because the person is either a potential witness or a witness. The person can't be both at the same time. An individual - and individuals who fall into this category of overlapping payments include: TF1-274, TF1-362, TF1-334, and that list is not exhaustive. But if your Honours require further assistance in that regard, we may be in a position to provide that in writing.

Next point: The reason why we have dwelt on JCE in detail is that it lays the basis for all the alleged interactions between Charles Taylor and the RUF, or the RUF/AFRC, and it therefore establishes the factual basis for all other modes of liability. That's why it's so central to this case.

Finally this, your Honours: When in July of 2007 I took over as lead counsel for Charles Taylor, it was on the basis that this case would last 12 to 18 months. Three and a half years later, we have, to everyone's relief, finally got to this stage. It has been on occasion a very rocky road. On occasions, both anger and passion have come to the surface. Life at the front line of a trial such as this cannot be unemotional.

Now, on the 25th of February of this year, I walked out of this Court despite your request, Madam President, that I remain. I make it clear, I did not leave through anger, but principle, because I am enjoined by the code of conduct of the Bar in England and Wales, and I quote, "To promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means the lay client's," that's Mr Taylor's, "best interests and do so with regard to - without any regard to my own interests or to any consequences either to myself or to any other person."

However, if it is felt that I have been disrespectful to this Court, then I am willing to make a formal apology to this Court, in order to draw a line finally underneath these proceedings and bring it to an amicable end. We have always treated this tribunal and these proceedings with respect and will continue to do so.

But before I sit down, I am singularly unimpressed by Mr Koumjian's attempt this morning to see some kind of moral high ground by emotionally stating that the Prosecution were here representing the interests of victims. We are human too. We, too, appreciate that the inhumane acts which were conducted in Sierra Leone. But the point is this: Emotion is no useful guide to a fact finder in their task; it is a distraction. But before I sit down, I must say thanks to your Honours to all the Court staff, for whatever organ of the Court they belong to, and also thank those opposite for their endeavours ensuring that this trial has proceeded smoothly, and it has been a personal honour for me to have been involved in this trial. Thank you very much.

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