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

At the time when the order was made by this Court that final briefs should be submitted by 14 January of this year, certain matters had not arisen which have since arisen, ex improviso, which had to be addressed by Defence and which in our submission requires detailed and concentrated focus by this Court before we can properly decide on all the issues to include in our final brief. At the time that the order was made, we did not know, for example, about the Wikileaks cables which implicated the very integrity of the Prosecution and this Court. Furthermore, other issues have arisen which are still outstanding and which are of profound importance in terms of our final brief. In our submission, by way of example, we have a situation where, in that Wikileaks cable, mention is made of the fact by the US ambassador to Monrovia, that Mr Taylor is still popular in many rural areas of Liberia. How does that square with the Prosecution which claims that he terrorised the civilian population of that nation? Is that not directly relevant to the contents of a final brief? Because our understanding of the word "final" is that all outstanding issues have been dealt with before one can issue a final brief. And we have a large number of outstanding issues which have not been decided by this Court. And Madam President, may I mention in passing that this is not the first time that the Defence have been prejudiced by late decision-making by this Court. You will recall that the decision on JCE came after the close of the Prosecution case which as a consequence meant that we were unable to cross-examine any Prosecution witness on what eventually was stated to be the purpose of this joint criminal enterprise. And as far as we are concerned, we are not prepared to be prejudiced in that way again, which is why we have taken the principled position that unless and until we receive decisions on the outstanding motions and appeals, we will not be filing a final brief.

And to deal with another matter raised by your Honour, we have refused service of the Prosecution's final brief because we do not want to be accused in due course of tailoring our final brief, no pun intended, based on the contents of the Prosecution's submissions. We want our submissions to stand alone in their own right.

I don't know if there are any other matters that you'd like my assistance on at this stage.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech