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

The Trial Chamber has considered the submissions of counsel. This Status Conference was convened on the application of the Defence to, and I quote, "Give Defence an opportunity to explain why it failed to file its final brief on the 14th of January 2011 as ordered, and why it has refused to accept service of the Prosecution final brief."

On 22 October 2010, the Trial Chamber issued orders to the parties inter alia to file their respective final briefs by 14 January 2011. We learned today that lead counsel from - from lead counsel for the Defence, that Mr Taylor has instructed him not to file a final brief until decisions on outstanding motions and appeals are rendered. In other words, Mr Taylor instructed his counsel not to comply with the Court's order.

The Defence has also refused to accept service of the Prosecution final brief.

The outstanding appeals and motions referred to were filed after the Defence closed its case, at a time when the Trial Chamber expected that the Defence would be preparing its final brief. The decisions on outstanding motions and appeals may call for further orders to be made in relation to the presentation of the Defence case and in the interests of a fair trial. But the Trial Chamber emphasises that any such orders will be made by the Trial Chamber and not by Mr Taylor. Mr Taylor does not have the option of obeying or disobeying court orders as he sees fit.

The Trial Chamber has a duty of fairness to all parties, and a duty to ensure an expeditious and fair trial. In this vein, the Trial Chamber has indicated that it will afford the Defence the opportunity to apply for ancillary relief, if necessary, after the decisions on the very recently filed motions and appeals are rendered. The majority of the Trial Chamber, Justice Sebutinde dissenting, consider that they have not heard submissions that causes the Trial Chamber to review or amend the original orders rendered on 22 October 2010 and the majority decision of 12 January 2011.

Justice Sebutinde will make a dissenting - give a dissenting opinion.

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