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

Your Honours, I had the honour of speaking at the opening of the Prosecution's case and I'm honoured to now speak at its close. During the opening statement I referred to the Sierra Leonean saying, "Net long so tay, doh mus clean," meaning no matter how long the night, dawn will come. I referred to this saying because I thought it was apt. For years, the accused's crimes had remained hidden in the dark, but your Honours, dawn has indeed come and the evidence led in this trial proves Taylor's guilt for the indictment crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

Turning now to my part of the closing argument, I will cover, firstly, Taylor's relationship with certain key figures. The other portions of these closing arguments and the Prosecution's final trial brief, all extensively cover the relationships between Taylor and certain AFRC/RUF leaders such as Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay, Johnny Paul Koroma. My argument will instead focus on certain other key individuals, non-Sierra Leoneans who facilitated the relationship between Taylor and the AFRC/RUF. Secondly, I will focus on evidence of VHF, that is very high frequency radio and satellite phone communications, one of the critical means by which Taylor maintained his control and influence over the AFRC/RUF in Sierra Leone, especially during the indictment period.

Also, I will focus on certain key evidence related to the conscription, and enlistment and use of child soldiers and finally I will also focus on certain evidence relating to the crime of enslavement.

In relation to the first topic, that is Taylor's subordinates, I want to underline some key general points that came out during the trial.

There are certain names which have rung out again and again in this nearly three-year trial: Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay, Johnny Paul Koroma, Benjamin Yeaten, Daniel Tamba, also known as Jungle, and Ibrahim Bah. The Prosecution has said from the beginning that this accused never set foot in Sierra Leone during the period the indictment crimes were being committed, but the individuals just listed acted not only as Taylor's eyes and ears but also as his implementers. These critical individuals, answerable to and under the direction of Taylor, leave Taylor's figurative fingerprints at the scene of all the crimes. As the chief, the Papay, and ultimately the President, Taylor had many subordinates to do his criminal dirty work for him.

Taylor himself has admitted that, in the early years of the conflict, while based in Gbarnga, he sent NPFL forces to fight in Sierra Leone, from what he says, from between August 1991 to April 1992. It is important to focus for a moment on the significance of this admission. Taylor obviously needed his subordinates to form relationships with the RUF in Sierra Leone. Two military entities don't simply operate side by side without such. Taylor himself acknowledged that these relationships formed lasted for years. When Taylor told this Court about how he says Bockarie was first contacted, he said, "We had Dopoe Menkarzon, reach out to him as they had known each other for years. From the time the NPFL was in Sierra Leone."

Taylor's relationship with each of his subordinates was unique, designed to harness and exploit strength, whether it was the ruthlessness of Bockarie and Sesay, as we've heard, or the local knowledge of Jungle, a Kissi, born and raised in the border area between Sierra Leone and Liberia. Taylor's relationships with the AFRC/RUF leaders, and essentially his relationship with the whole AFRC/RUF was also ultimately one of dependence for the latter: The AFRC/RUF needed Taylor to survive and ultimately thrive. At critical times the AFRC/RUF leadership turned to Taylor who was regularly able to pull the AFRC/RUF movement out of the fire.

But the common thread running through all these relationships was that each individual was critical to ensuring that Taylor maintained his influence and control over the AFRC/RUF and its allies, in a way that was both effective for Taylor's ultimate objectives, and just as importantly non-transparent to the international community. Also when any of these individuals became a liability to Taylor, their lives immediately became threatened and in some cases forfeit. Superman, Jungle and Bockarie all suffered the consequences of crossing Taylor, while one of his most trusted associates, Bah, had to flee the country. Even his most loyal servant in Liberia, Benjamin Yeaten, who I will discuss in more detail later, ultimately was sold out by this accused. Towards the end of his case, Taylor presented evidence that it was Yeaten, without Taylor's knowledge, who was sending arms to the RUF.

When considering the evidence, the fact is that these individuals, all subordinates and proxies of the accused, all connect the accused directly to the indictment crimes.

As I mentioned, both the brief and the other Prosecution presentations today deal with Taylor's relationship with certain AFRC/RUF leaders. I will focus my attention on Taylor's relationship to the non-Sierra Leonean key figures that I have mentioned.

Looking firstly at Benjamin Yeaten, Yeaten also - Yeaten was known as Unit 50.

Your Honours, I just note the time, and I am beginning to go into a section that obviously will outlast the period that is left for sitting.

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