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

Yes, Madam President, I will.

Madam President, it has become even more clear, based on what Defence counsel has just told you that what has happened in this case is that the accused has made a deliberate election not to file a final trial brief. To say that he has made some other decision is to, in effect, give him control over the proceedings. To say that he will file a final trial brief and has the right to do so when conditions are such that he believes are appropriate is to, in effect, let him sit in the middle of the courtroom and run the trial. He has no such right. No accused has such a right.

The Defence counsel has made it very clear that it was express instructions from the accused, Mr Taylor, not to file on the date ordered by your Honours, even after the Defence had attempted to get a modification or rescission of the order establishing that date. Unsuccessfully attempted to do that. And then he elected not to play. Well, he can elect not to play but this Court does not have to then change the schedule or change the rules to play as he wishes to play. These are serious dignified formal proceedings and he does not control them. It is not any violation of fairness or justice to hold him to account for the consequences of his deliberate and wilful choices.

Now, as the matter stands today, he has two additional opportunities to present his views and arguments to this Trial Chamber. There is a response that he may file on 31 January. He has elected not to look at the Prosecution brief but it is there and available for him to look at. If he chooses not to look at it and not to file a response, that is once again a deliberate and wilful election on the part of the accused. And it is not one that he should be rewarded for by giving him additional time at some nebulous time in the future to file final submissions.

In addition to that, he has the opportunity through his counsel to make oral argument to your Honours in February. He may or may not avail himself of that opportunity. Again, that is a choice that lies squarely with him and he should be held to the consequences of that choice.

We believe, your Honours, that it is not through the actions of this Trial Chamber that we find ourselves here today. It is through the actions of the accused through his Defence team. If you recall, on 22 October, it was the Defence who chose 14 January so that they could file a proper, final brief. The Trial Chamber gave them that choice and then the accused chose to ignore it.

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