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

Your Honour, yes. Your Honours, at 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon, we received your majority decision not to accept service of the Defence final brief, in which we make our written closing arguments, which analyses over three years of evidence. We were 20 days late in filing that brief. We have rehearsed on two earlier occasions, in writing and orally, why the Defence failed to serve a final brief by the deadline fixed by your Honours on the 22nd of October last year, and I have no intention of rehearsing those arguments here. However, noting Justice Sebutinde's reasoned dissent, mindful also of our professional duty to guarantee the accused's inalienable rights under Article 17 of the statute of the Special Court, we do not feel that it could be appropriate for us to take part in the oral presentation when a majority of you have refused to accept our written submissions. And we have Mr Taylor's instructions to that effect. We feel it is our professional duty to withdraw pending a decision on our motion to appeal yesterday's decision which will be filed today.

We cannot, in our professional view, bearing particularly in mind Articles 5, 8 and 14 of the Code of Conduct for Counsel of this Special Court for Sierra Leone, adequately represent the accused's rights within the permitted six hours of oral argument allowed us tomorrow and the two hours on Friday, given the vast volume of transcripts and exhibits and the complexity of the issues that we have analysed in our written submission which two of you have refused to accept. And also, volume of material which has been adverted to by the Prosecution on more than one occasion.

In our submission, our very presence in court is incompatible with our duty to protect Mr Taylor's interest and it is our intention, both myself and Mr Taylor, to leave court at this point.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech