The Trial of Charles Taylor

International Criminal Justice in the Making

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Trial Chamber Holds Status Conference In Taylor Trial

Posted by Webmaster on July 6, 2009

Monday July 6, 2009

9:30am: On Monday July 6, 2009, the Trial Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone held a Status Conference in anticipation of the opening of the defence case in the Taylor trial. Both Prosecution and Defence counsel raised several issues bordering on the commencement of the defence case on July 13, 2009. Defence Counsel for Mr. Taylor, Courtaney Griffiths requested the court’s permission to have the defence opening statement delivered on Monday July 13 while Mr. Taylor would commence his testimony on Tuesday July 14, 2009. The prosecution had no objection to this.  Presiding Judge Richard Lussick informed Taylor’s defence counsel Mr. Griffiths that the defence opening statement should be confined only to the evidence that will be adduced in Mr. Taylor’s defence.

Prosecution Counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis informed the Court that there were a few issues that still remain unaddressed by the defence. These, she said, include;

No. of Witnesses to be called by the Defence: Ms. Hollis said that the defence has now filed updated witness summaries and the time esitmate for witnesses’ testimonies. She said that according to the updated witness list, the defence intends to call 256 witnesses, which is 3 times more than those called by the prosecution. She said that an estimate of the time for the testomonies of these witnesses will amount to 94 weeks or a period of 4 years. This, she said, is a diaproportionate number of witnesses and time for their testimonies.

Ms. Hollis also said that the prosecution would want a list of core and back up defence witnesses. She said that she was aware that the defence will give a more refined witness list by the conclusion of Mr. Taylor’s testimony but she wanted the Trial Chamber to order this in case it did not happen. She further said that the summaries of some defence witnesses remain inadequate.

2. Expert Witnesses: Ms. Hollis informed that court that based on the summaries of witness testimony submitted by the defence so far, there are three witnesses whose summaries suggest that they are expert witnesses as one will give opinion evidence on the ethnic nature of the conflict, another to respond to Prosecution Expert Witness Ian Smilie’s testimony and the other on the cause of Sam Bockarie’s death. Defence Counsel Mr. Griffith responded that the said witnesses are not experts but are witnesses of fact. Justice Lussick ruled that the Chamber will stick to the point that the witnesses are witnesses of fact and that if their testimonies suggested that they are expert witnesses, said testimony will not be allowed.

Ms. Hollis also said that it was necessary to monitor Mr. Taylor’s communications with witnesses during his testimony.

In response, Mr. Griffiths said that the Defence has been very helpful within the available resources. In response to prosecution concerns about the list of witnesses, Mr. Griffiths said that the prosecution  disclosed  a list of over 300 witnesses but called only 91 of those. He said that the same thing will apply to the defence as not all those witnesses will testify.

On the Expert witness issue, Mr. Griffiths insisted that the said witnesses are not expert witnesses but witnesses of fact. ON monitoring Mr. Taylor’s communications with witnesses, Mr. Griffiths said that this is already the case as all of Taylor’s communications with the outside world are monitoried by the court. He said, however, that he will not allow any monitoring of conversations between Mr. Taylor and his legal team.

In making specific orders, the presiding judge addressed the following issues:

1. The Trial Chamber thinks that the issue of core and back up witnesses should be revisited at the end of Mr. Taylor’s testimony and that the issue of witness summary does not call for any specific order.

2. That the defence has insisted that the 3 witnesses concerned are not expert witnesses and that in case their testimonies suggest thus, the prosecution will be protected by the Rules of Evidence and Procedure and that the Court would make a specific order if necessary.

3. That the list of witnesses should be submitted one month before the witnesses are called and that there is an existing order for the submission of defence exhibits before they are used in court. He said that the prosecution can apply for relief if it can demonstarte that it has suffered any prejudice.

On the accused’s communication with witnesses, that the prosecution should make a formal application by motion if the Chamber should consider the issue.

The presiding judge also informed defence counsel that Rule 73 tar (d) allows the Chamber to order the reduction in number of witnesses if they are excessive.

Justice Lusick then ordered that the Defence opening statement will take place on Monday July 13 and Mr. Taylor’ss testimony will commence of Tuesday July 13 2009.

Court adjourned and will resume on Monday July 13 2009.

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Change of Start Date for Taylor Defence: July 13, 2009

Posted by Webmaster on June 20, 2009

On June 18, 2009, the Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone ordered the Taylor defence to open their case on July 13 2009. This is a change from the previously ordered date of June 29 2009. A Status Conference will take place on July 6 2009  at the ICC building in The Hague. Mr. Charles Taylor, testifying in his own defence will take the witness stand on July 13, 2009.

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Pre-Defence Conference for the Commencement of the Defence Case

Posted by Webmaster on June 9, 2009

9:30am: On Monday June 8, 2009, the Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone hearing the Charles Taylor case held a Pre-Trial Conference to discuss matters relating to the commencement of Mr. Taylor’s defence which is set for June 29, 2009.

After parties for Prosecution and Defence announced their respective representations, Presiding Judge Richard Lissick asked whether anybody wanted to mention any new matter before dealing with items on the anenda for the pre-trial conference. Defence Counsel for Mr. Taylor Courtaney Griffiths informed the court that the Rule 73 motion that was earlier filed by the Defence was incomplete and that his team intended to file a complete version with exhibits as soon as possible.  He said that the exhibits pertinent to the commencement of the Defence Case will be filed.

Justice Lussick then went through the following as list of agenda items for the conference and asked for defence response to each item.

1. Length of Defence Opening Statement

Defence Cousel Griffiths responded that the defence opening statement will not last longer than the Prosecution’s opening statement that was delivered by the Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp at the start of the trial.

2. Defence Access to the Accused during his Testimony.

To this, Prosecution Counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis stated that as a general rule, once a witness commences his testimony in court, he should have no access to either party (prosecution or defence) but that this should be related with accused person’s right to have access to his counsel during the trial. She informed the court that she was in possession of an ICTY rulling which laid guidelines for such a scenario and was willing to share it with the court.

In response, Mr. Griffiths said that in most domestic jurisdictions, there should be no access to the accused once he becomes a witness in his own trial but that this case should be treated differently taking into account the circumstances in this case. He said there was need to take note that the  defence investigations are still ongoing and that counsel will need advice from the accused on some witnesses. Mr Griffiths said that there was need for:

a. Mr. Taylor to have access to all defence staff in order to make progress with his case. These, he said will relate to matters outside his testimony, and

b. He should have access to defence staff in relation to his testimony as far as content and length are concerned. He said that Taylor should be given all necessary assitance and that the accused will need to be in touch with some witnesses.

Ms. Hollis replied that she if the accused had access to counsel and witnesses during his testimony, that should be a suitable area of cross-examination in order to determine what his conversations with those witnesses are.

Defence counsel Griffiths objected to this, arguing that this will breach legal professional privilege. Ms. Hollis also responded that if there was any contact with the accused, then the ICTY case supports cross-examination. Defence Counsel Griffiths in turn said that he found Ms. Hollis’s position very offensive as an officer of the Court to suggest that counsel might try to influence what the accused will say in his testimony, to which Ms. Hollis pointed that during the presentation of the Prosecution’s case, Defence Counsel suggested on many occassions that the Prosecution had told the witnesses to tell lies.

3 and 4. Defence to provide one month in advance list of witnesses to be called for each calender month and the language in which they will testify.

Defence Counsel Griffiths responded that the list and language of testimony be provided two weeks before the testimony, to which Ms. Hollis replied that it will be necessary to have one month for the list of witnesses and two weeks for the language in which they will testify.

5. The length of trial sessions and the availability of the ICC Court Room.

Presiding Judge Lussick told the parties that he has been informed by the Registry that the ICC was asking for the use of the Court Room for two weeks, starting on October 4, 2009. He said that it would therefore make sense for the Taylor trial to take the summer recess of three weeks within that period, starting on October 5.

Ms. Hollis said that she wanted the follwing two issues added to the agenda items:

1. The time estimate for the accused’s testimony, and

2. Clarity on whether said estimate will be only for direct examination

Ms. Hollis also said that reading from the defence list of 227 witness who should testify for Mr. Taylor, the follwing issues were unclear:

  • Testimony of the two expert witnesses
  • That four numbers were missing from the witness chart
  • That 5 witness summaries were worded the same
  • That there is no time estimate for about 40 witnesses
  • That the defence had stated that the defence case would last for 348 trial days and she wanted to know whether this was just for direct examination or whether it included cross-examination
  • Which witnesses are core and which are back-up witnesses
  • Clarity of the names of 4 former African leaders who should testify for Mr. Taylor
  • Concerns about “Senior ECOWAS Officials”, “High Ranking Members of the UN” and whether these had asked for protective measures that their names have not been disclosed
  • That the witness summaries are inadequate
  • That three witnesses seem to give opinion evidence and should be more suited as expert witnesses

In response, Mr. Griffiths said that the testimony of the accused should last for 6-8 weeks, including both direct and redirect examination.

On the time length for the testimony of defence witnesses, he said that the estimate is for direct examination and that the defence will be providing a list of additional witnesses to complete the total number of witnesses that will likely testify for Mr. Taylor. He agreed that the original filing had some defects because the defence wanted to meet the deadline that was set by the Court. He said that Defence will do a better filing soon.

Justice Lissick told counsel on both sides that these are matters that can be better settled between the parties. He said if the parties could not reach agreement on these issues, then they should ask the Court for help.

Asked whether all the 227 witnesses are core witnesses, Mr. Griffiths said that it is unlikely to call all those witnesses on the list to testify but that the defence will be be screening the list and selecting those who will testify. He said that the Defence will look into the issues raised such as the issue of expert witnesses and make clarifications to them. Justice Sebuntinde told Mr. Griffiths that the language in which witnesses will testify should also be made clear. Mr. Griffiths responded that the defence will address that as well.

The Court took a brief adjournment and upon resuming, Presiding Judge Richard Lussick made the following orders:

1. That the Court will take a summer recess on October 5 2009 for a period of three weeks

2. Procedural matters can be settled between the two parties and that if matters are out of their reach, they can apply to the Court for an order on the issue.

3. That the defence should provide a witness order, language of testimony and anticipated exhibits that the witness will use two weeks before the witness’s testimony

Justice Lussick also asked the parties whether there was a need for a status conference may be a week or so before the commencement of the Defence Case on June 29. Ms. Hollis responded that there was a need for such a status conference and ideally, that should take place on Friday the 19 or Monday the 22 of June 2009. Mr. Griffiths said that the defence would prefer to have the said conference on Monday June 22.

June 22 2009 was scheduled as the date for the Status Conference before the comencement of the Defence case.

Mr. Griffiths asked that the submission of the final list of witnesses be delayed untill the end of the week so that issues raised by the prosecution will be addressed.

Ms. Hollis had no objection to this.

Court adjourned and will resume for a Status Conference on Monday June 22, 2009.

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Trial Chamber Dismisses Motion for Judgement of Acquittal in the Charles Taylor Case

Posted by Webmaster on May 5, 2009

Special Court for Sierra Leone

Outreach and Public Affairs Office

Press Release, The Hague, May 4, 2009

Trial Chamber Dismisses Motion for Judgement of Acquittal, Orders Taylor Defence to Open on June 29, 2009

The Judges of Trial Chamber II in The Hague have dismissed in its entirety a Motion for Judgement of Acquittal brought under Rule 98 by the Defence Counsel on behalf of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. This means that Mr. Taylor has a case to answer on all 11 counts in the indictment.

The Trial Chamber ruled that the Prosecution had presented sufficient evidence on all counts which, if believed, would be capable of supporting a conviction. The Chamber made its findings based on the Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) mode of liability , and ruled that it need not examine other modes of liability, that is, aiding and abetting, planning, instigating, ordering and superior responsibility.

“The Chamber agrees with the Prosecution that it is not necessary for the purpose of Rule 98 to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence in relation to each mode of liability and that it is sufficient if there is evidence capable of supporting a conviction on the basis of one of those modes,” Justice Richard Lussick said in reading out the Chamber’s decision. “In relation to the alleged participation of the accused, the Trial Chamber finds that there is evidence that the accused participated in the joint criminal enterprise.”

Justice Lussick emphacized that the standard for determining sufficiency of evidence under Rule 98 “is not evidence on which a Trial Chamber should convict but evidence on which it could convict.”

The Chamber ordered that the Taylor Defence open their case on 29 June 2009. A Pre-Defence Conference will take place on 8 June 2009.

Mr. Taylor is expected to take the stand in his own defence. Under the Special Court’s Rules, he will be the first witness to testify in the Defence case.

Note: The Chamber’s decision to dismiss the Motion for Judgement of Acquittal does not amount to a conviction against Mr. Taylor. It basically means that Mr. Taylor has a case to answer and that he should do so by presenting his defence in order to rebutt the Prosecution’s evidence. It further means that if the case were to be closed at this stage without Mr. Taylor presenting his defence, there would be a case against him based on the Prosecution’s evidence.

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Prosecution’s Oral Response to Defence Submission of No Case To Answer

Posted by Webmaster on April 11, 2009

Thursday April 9, 2009

9:30am: Prosecution counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis made her oral response to the defence submission of no case to answer. On Monday April 6, 2009, Defence Counsel for Mr. Taylor, Mr. Morris Anyah made an oral submission of no case to answer, othewise known as Rule 98 submission or motion for judgement  of acquital, during which he argued that the prosecution had not proved its case on the varoius counts in the indictment to warrant a conviction. On Thursday April 9, 2009, Prosecution Counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis gave the prosecution response before the Trial Chamber II judges, with Justice Richard Lussick presiding.

In her response, Ms. Hollis sought to address specific issues that were raised by Mr. Anyah in the defence submission. In particular, she focussed on the following:

Crime Base Evidence: Ms. Hollis stated that defence counsel Mr. Anyah had asked the judges to strike out certain locations in the indictment because no evidence was led as to the crimes committed there or that some names of crime bases had been spelled incorrectly. Ms. Hollis responded that the defence submision in this regard must fail. Referencing the Trial Chamber II’s decision in the AFRC trial, she stated that the Chamber had ruled that it is inappropriate to strike out evidence based on incorrect spellings as dialects differ and many witnesses are not literate, thus leading to different spellings. The same rule, she said must be applied to the Rule 98 decision in the Taylor case.

On defence submission that prosecution had not led evidence on certain crime bases in the indictment, Ms. Hollis responded that the prosecution had led evidence on all crime bases mentioned in the indictment. Providing records of said evidence, Ms. Hollis made reference to several witness testimonies and prosecution exhibits that provided evidence on said crime bases. She pointed out the following records:

a. Buring: Goderich, Kent and Grafton–Confidential Exhibit 384, testimonies of TF1-334 and 585

b. Tumbo: Testimony of TF1-097

c. Wendedu: Testimonies of TF1-015 and 217

d. Bambua Fuadu: Testimony of TF1-192 and prosecution exhibit 202

e. Kayima: Prosecution exhibits 191, 192 and 193

Contradictions and Inconsistencies: Ms. Hollis stated that it is inapproriate at this point to strike out evidence because of inconsistencies or contradictions in witness testimony. The test, she said, is to know whether there is basis for conviction for one or more counts in the indictment. Referencing the Chambers judgement in the AFRC trial, she said that the Chamber should look if there is some evidence, not all evidence for a conviction.

Acts of Terror: Ms. Hollis referenced defence submission on the primary purpose of terror. In response, she noted that while there was a requirement to show the primary purpose for terror, it was not necessary to show the motivation for doing so. She said that to determine “primary Purpose”, one can look at evidence outside the jurisdiction of the court if such evidence is relevant, looking at the circumstances in which actions were taken. She referenced testimomonies of prosecution witnesses such as one during which villagers were forced look and hear civilians being raped and killed, and  another witness who was forced to carry a bag of human heads and later realizing that the heads of her children who were killed were among these that she carried in the bag. The circumstances here, she said, showed the primary purpose of terror. She also reference the rebel attacks on Freetown in January 1999 during which civilians were amputated and larcerated and said that the primary purpose was not chaos but terrorization. She further referenced a written article of 1991 that was tendered as prosecution exhibit which proved that there was terror in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ms. Hollis also pointed out that in 1994, Charles Taylor adviced RUF leader Foday Sankoh to attack Sierra Rutile Mines and terrorize civilians, an attack which she said was carried out by the RUF.  She said that in 1996, just before the elections in Sierra Leone, Foday Sankoh called Taylor and informed him that he intended to make people fearful and that Taylor gave his approval to this. During these operations, she said that hands or civilians were amputated and that their chests were carved with the title “RUF.” Referencing the testimony of Witness TF1-562, she said that “Operation Spare No Sould” was meant to “make the area fearful.” She further referenced other witness testimonies that Johnny Paul Koroma gave orders that Kono was not for civilians, resulting in the execution of civilians and Bockarie’s orders to Issa Sesay that Kono should be made fearful. Ms. Hollis said that witnesses testified that the NPFL and the RUF used the same tactics to make civilians fearful such as hanging human heads on sticks and checkpoints. She insisted that evidence shows that Taylor and Bockarie planned the attacks from Kono to Freetown and that Taylor provided arms and ammunition for the operation.  She said that most of the evidence before the court shows that the crimes were committed after 1996 but that those before 1996 were also relevant.

On “Planning”, Ms. Hollis said that a Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) can occur before the crime is committed. She said individual criminal responsibility is not strictly a count in the indictment and so as along as there is evidence to support a conviction for JCE, the court should do so. She referenced several cases in the ICTY which support the view that the court should consider any, not all, evidence to support conviction on any count in the indictment.  She said case law supports the position that evidence to support the existence of a commom plan/purpose, supported by direct or circumstantial evidence should warrant a conviction.

Ms. Hollis questioned defence submission that if there was a common plan between Sankoh and Taylor to support each other in their respective quests to capture power in Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is no evidence to show that Sankoh rendered support to Taylor in Liberia. Ms. Hollis said that there is no requirement that the common plan has to be a two way strip, but that if there was, then there is evidence that Sankoh did render support to Taylor in Liberia. She referenced evidence that Sankoh, together with a few RUF fighters, fought alongside NPFL rebels in Liberia, that in 1993, Sankoh sent rebels to Liberia to help Taylor in his fight against ULIMO rebels and that in 1999, RUF rebels were sent to fight in Liberia and Guinea upon Taylor’s request.

Ms. Hollis pointed out that there was a common plan to “Forcibly Control the Population” in Sierra Leone and Liberia. She referenced witness testimonies of a meeting in Voinjama where Taylor agreed to send fighters to take over in Sierra Leone, and another meeting of Special Forces in Liberia that Sankoh will go and take over Sierra Leone. Ms. Hollis said that Taylor was bound with Sankoh to fight and they did.

Making enphasis on JCE, Ms. Hollis said that taking note of the Agreed Facts before the court, the AFRC and RUF formed a merger after the 1997 coup. She said this aim continued after the junta were ousted from power in 1998.  She said the motivation is not relevant but that the aim was to control Sierra Leone. Ms. Hollis said that Mr. Taylor sent messages recognizing the AFRC/RUF partnership and that diamonds mined were handed over to him. She said there is no evidence that Taylor later returned these diamonds to the RUF or AFRC fighters. According to Ms. Hollis, there is evidence that Taylor told the AFRC/RUF merger to capture Kono and to construct an airstrip where arms and ammunition would be offloaded. She said there is evidence to show the existence of a common plan and prupose. She further referenced Defence Exhibit 24 which was a “response of the Liberian Government to Allegations of Liberian Involvement in Sierra Leone.” In the said report, Ms. Hollis said there is reference to an AFRC/RUF alliance. Pointing out more JCE between the RUF and AFRC, Ms. Hollis said that there is evidence that Sankoh ordered the RUF to join the AFRC, that RUF and AFRC fought together at Hastings in the Western Area of Sierra Leone, and that a particular witness testified that he was sent by Taylor to Buedu, where he met RUF and AFRC fighters working together. She emphacized that there was a common chain, where in you had one AFRC commander and an RUF deputy, and vice versa. She further said that there is ample evidence that RUF rebels were part of the troops that entered Freetown in 1999 and that other RUF rebels freed from Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown joined the fighting forces upon their release. She referenced a witness’s testimony that Bockarie gave orders to fighters to enter Freetown, that Gullit, the leader of the troops that entered Freetown was in constant communication with Bockarie, that Bockarie ordered Superman, Rambo and others to move with reinforcements to Freetown but only stopped at Waterloo, and Issa Sesay’s broadcast on BBC that the rebels were at State House in Freetown. She said Liberians travelled to Sierra Leone and that materials were transfered from Liberia to the AFRC/RUF alliance on Taylor’s instructions.

Referencing Taylor’s continued involvement with the RUF, Ms. Hollis said that after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord in 1999, AFRC members met with Taylor in Liberia, during which Taylor informed them about how he had been helping both AFRC and RUF, that he had sent some AFRC soidiers who were in Liberia to join the RUF in Buedu, and that he encouraged them to be united with the RUF.

In response to a rhetorical question as to why would Taylor meddle with these groups at this time, Ms. Hollis explained that after the Lome Peace Accord, there was a general amnesty for all rebels and that since the RUF controled diamond areas at this point, there would have been no interuption from outside powers.

She explained that the accused person’s participation in the common design need not be the commission of the crime but his contribution to the common design, and that the contribution need not be significant but it is sufficient to to prove that he shared the intent to support the common purpose. She said there is no need to show participation in all forms, but in just one of the forms. She said Taylor gave support at the begining and throughout the existence of the alliance. She gave examples of Taylor giving US dollars to RUF rebels and supplying arms and ammunition to them. She said the accused provided bases and safe havens for the RUF, that the RUF rebels moved into Liberia when they were pressed by Sierra Leone Government troops.

Mens Rea for JCE: Mens rea means the guilty intent with which an accused commits a crime. Ms. Hollis said that this differs according to category and that the motive is immaterial. Talking about the basic form of JCE, Ms. Hollis said that there was an intention to commit the crime and to be part of the JCE. On the extended form of JCE, she said that the crimes committed, even if not intended, were forseable. Giving evidence of reasonable forseability, Ms. Hollis said that Sankoh used to brief Taylor on the activities of the RUF in Sierra Leone. She said that Taylor knew, listened to radio, read human rights reports and UN Resolutions which all mentioned the attrocities in Sierra Leone by the rebels, and he still continued to give support to them.  Ms. Hollis further explained that the accused’s advice on how to get materials and said materials later used to commit crimes could be regarded as mens rea.

On the actus reus (guilty actrion) of JCE, Ms. Hollis referenced an ICTY decision that said action could well be done by the personnel of the accused and the accused could be culpable. She said that Bockarie and Taylor spoke about “Operation No Living Thing” and that Taylor designed “Operation Free The Leader” with direct intent to make it fearful.

Instigating: Ms. Hollis said that the first element of this is prompting. She referenced witness testimony that there were secret meetings between Taylor and RUF leaders and that Taylor sent Jungle and Gen. Bar to tell RUF rebels to take Kono and construct an airstrip where arms and ammunition would be offloaded. On the face of it, she said there could be no instigation but there was prompting.

Ordering: Ms. Hollis referenced all the previous issues raised as evidence of ordering. She said that the accused was in a position of aithority and that as head of the NPFL, no one could question his authority since he made all the decisions. She said that Sankoh used to call Taylor “Chief” and that Taylor was Sankoh’s mentor. She said that Bockarie took orders from Taylor and that Jungle was Taylor’s eye in the RUF. According to Ms. Hollis, when Sankoh was arrested in Nigeria, Taylor sent a message to Bockarie that in Sankoh’s absence, all orders were to be taken from him (Taylor). She said that Taylor told Johnny Paul Koroma to call him if he had any problems with the RUF rebels and when Issa Sesay resisted arrest following the looting of the Iranian embassy in Freetown, Johnny Paul Koroma called Taylor and informed him. She said that Bockarie went to Taylor for frequent briefings as well.

Explaining the requirement for a person using authority to get others to commit an offence, she said that the accused need not be the immediate superior. She explained that existence of authority can be proved by circumstantial evidence, such as instructions from Taylor for the RUF rebels to hold Kono.

On whether the order substantially contributed to the crime, Ms. Hollis said that a causal link need not be established to say that the crime would not have been committed without the order.

Mode of Liability of Superior Authority: In explaining this, Ms. Hollis said that there should be a superior-subbordinate relationship, effective control to prevent or punish the commission of a crime and that it is sufficient to identify the perpetrator as belonging to a group controlled by the superior. She gave other examples as Taylor giving orders for the release of abducted UN Peacekeepers and orders to attack Guinea.

Ms. Hollis said that the accused failed to prevent or punish the commission of criminal conducts. She said that the existence of a concurrent authority does not relieve the accused of responsibility. She further said that after the Freetown attack in 1999, Taylor promoted Bockarie to 2 Stars General.

JCE/Aiding and Abetting: Ms. Hollis said that to consider this, the Chamber should only consider if there is evidence to support conviction with one of the forms of liability, not all of them.

Ms. Hollis then concluded her submission.

Asked by the presiding judge whether he had any response to the prosecution’s response to his submission, Defence counsel Mr. Morris Anyah said that he had no further response.

Presiding Judge, Ruchard Lussick informed all parties that a decision on the Motion for Judgement of Acquittal/Submission of No Case to Answer will be rendered on May 4th, 2009.

Court adjourned and will resume on May 4, 2009.

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Defence Makes Oral Submission of No Case Answer

Posted by Webmaster on April 7, 2009

Monday April 6, 2009.

9:30am: The defence team for Charles Taylor today made an oral submission of no case to answer before the judges of Trial Chamber II. This submission, also known as Rule 98 submission is an oral arguement put forward by the defence that the prosecution failed to present evidence or prove its case beyond reasonable doubt on all counts in the indictment that would warrant a conviction against Mr. Taylor.

The defence oral submission was made by counsel for Mr. Taylor, Mr. Morris Anyah, with Justice Richard Lussick presiding. In commencing his presentation, Mr. Anyah stated that he wanted to move the court to dismiss all charges against Mr. Taylor.  He said that the presecution evidence that has been presented to date does not support or was insufficient to warrant any conviction against Mr. Taylor.  He said that the basis of his request had nothing to do with the crime base evidence that was presented by the prosecution as the defence has not disputed any evidence that crimes were committed in Sierra Leone.  He said that the defence was in agreement with the prosecution that terrible things happened in Sierra Leone during the conflict.  The problem, he informed the court, had to do with the linkage evidence presented by the prosecution. He informed the judges that during his submission, enphacis will be put on the mode of liability as required for the crimes charged and the issue of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE). He added that during the presentation of the prosecution’s case, there has been a lack of evidence for the mode of liability required for the crimes charged.

Explaining the procedure that his submission would take, Mr. Anyah told the court that he will proceed in this order:

1. Factual Record.

2. Suggest approach that the court should adopt.

3. Indictment: To consider certain locations where no evidence has been led by the prosecution.

4. Review of Evidence.

5. Ask for the dismissal of the counts against the accused.

Mr. Anyah then moved to the discussion of the specific points above.

1. Factual Record: Mr. Anyah stated that from January 2008 to the conclusion of the prosecution’s evidence, 91 witnesses testified against Mr. Taylor. He said that two prosecution witnesses, TF1-196 and 081 were withdrawn as prosecution witnesses and that a total of 473 exhibits have been tendered in court by both prosecution and defence teams. He referenced a few decisions that have been rendered by the Trial Chamber in the Taylor trial, including some on agreed facts and law in the trial.

2. Approach: Mr. Anyah stated that in making his submission, he would first articulate the law, citing the elements of the offences, and also articulate the respective modes of liability. Giving terror as an example, he said he would seek to explain whether said terror was part of JCE or Superior Responsibility.

3. Indictment: Mr. Anyah informed the court that he would seek to explain that no evidence was led by the prosecution for certain crime bases mentioned in the indictment. For example, in Count 1 of the indictment, Mr. Anyah explained that for the offence of burning as part of Acts of Terrorism in the Western Area, no evidence was led for certain crime bases mentioned in the indictment. These, he said, included Goderich, Kent, Grafton and Tumbo. He also explianed that one of the witnesses who testifued about alleged attrocities in the Western Area spelled the crime base ‘Tombo’ which was different from the ‘Tumbo’ as spelled in the indictment. Mr. Anyah stated that for lack of evidence for these crime bases, they should be stricken off the records. He also said that for the crime of burning in Kono, the indictment mentions the crime base ‘Wendedu’ which was spelled in court as ‘Wendadu.’ For lack of evidence for the crime base ‘Wendedu,’ counsel asked that it be stricken off the records.

Under Counts 2-3, Mr. Anyah said that for the crime of unlawful killing in Kono, the indictment mentions a crime base ‘Bomba Fuidu’ for which no evidence was led by the prosecution. For unlawfull killings in the Western Area, specifically ‘Tumbu,’ counsel said that evidence was led for ‘Tombo,’ not ‘Tumbo.’

Referencing Count 9 of the indictment, which deals with recruitment of child soldiers, the prosecution alleges that this was done by the fighting forces throughout Sierra Leone. For the crime bases mentioned for which no evidence was led by the prosecution, counsel asked that the crime of recruitment of child soldiers should be stricked off as no evidence was led for these places. Counsel referenced a few other places in the indictment for which no evidence was led by the prosecution.

4. Modes of Liability

a. Planning: Mr. Anyah stated that paragraph 33 of the indictment delineates the modes of liability for planning. He referenced the Special Court Trial Chamber’s case law that there were both preparatory and executory stages and that the level of participation in either stages must be substantial.  He explained that the mens rea for planning must be a direct intent. He said that the prosecution has led vary little evidence of planning against Mr. Taylor.  He said that Witness TF1-371 testified that sometime in 1998, Sam Bockarie received orders from Taylor to maintain RUF hold on Kono. Mr. Anyha explained that looking at the elements of planning, the witness’s testimony was not applicable to the preparatory and executory phases of the crime. He further referenced the testimony of another prosecution witness who testified that the 1999 invasion of Freetown was planned by the RUF. He said that the same witness later said that no senior RUF commanders were involved in the Freetown invasion but that the attack was undertaken by AFRC soldiers. Mr. Anyah enphacised that the said evidence was not capable of supporting a conviction. Mr. Anyah also referenced another witness’s testimony that Superman received ammunition from Jungle, who inturn had obtained the ammunitions from Mr. Taylor for Operation Fiti Fata. Mr. Anyah said that such evidence does not apply to planning.

b. Committing: Mr. Anyah said that the element for committing required a dirtect and physical perpetration of the crime by the accused. He said that there is no evidence supporting the direct and physical perpetration of any crime by the accused.

c. Instigating: Mr. Anyah explained that the actus reus of instigating requires that the accused should have urged, encouraged or prompted another person to commit the crime and thet the accused’s act/ommission must contribute substantially to the conduct of the perpetrator. Counsel referenced a witness’s testimony that Mr. Taylor spoke to Johnny Paul Koroma via satelite phone and told him to capture Kono. Counsel said that this in itself does not have any substantial contribution to the conduct of the crimes in Kono. He referenced another witness’s testimony that there was a meeting in Buedu during which Gen. Ibrahim Bar informed them that Mr. Taylor recognized the AFRC junta and adviced them to capture Kono and build an airfield. He said the same witness had acknowleged to the Sesay defence team that he did not attend the said meeting. Mr. Anyah said that the law requires that there should be a causal link between the accused’s act of instigation and the perpetration of the crime. He said that in this case, the said causal link was absent in the evidence. He also explained that the mens rea for instigation requires direct intent, not recklessness.

d. Ordering: Mr. Anyah referenced the Trial Chambers case law definition of this as a person of authority ordering a subbordinate to commit an offence. He said that for this to happen, there must be intent and forseability of the commission of the crime. He referenced a witness’s testimony that Mr. Taylor ordered Sankoh to travel to Ivory Coast for peace talks in 1998 and that Mr. Taylor ordered that artillery to be sent to the RUF in Gbarnga in 1992. Mr. Anyah stated that it is a judicially noted fact that Sankoh was in custody in 1998 and was only transferred to Sierra Leone in 1999.

e. Aiding and Abetting: Mr. Anyah explained that there had to be assisting and encouraging for this to happen. He said that the actus reus for this requires the accused to have given practical assistance, encouragement and moral supprt which had a substantial effect on the conduct of the crime. He referenced the judgement in the CDF case that  aiding and abetting must be specifically directed, must have a substantial effect and must go to a certain specific crime.

Counsel referenced a witness’s testimony that from 1991 to 1996, the RUF received arms and ammunition from the NPFL in Liberia.  He, however, informed the court that during this period, the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone was closed for most of the time. He said that this was confirmed by prosecution witness Vamunya Sheriff and Moses Blah. The witness was also quoted as having said that sankoh travelled to Liberia to collect radios. This, counsel said, was not substantial to the perpetration of the crime.  Counsel also said that the indictment period only covered crimes after 1996, not 1991 to 1996. Counsel also referenced testimony that Bockarie bought ammunition from Taylor in Liberia, using money obtained from Kono. This, he said, did not amount to aiding and abetting. He also referenced another testimony that SAJ Musa advanced to attack Freetown on his own vilution and not on orders from Bockarie. He refereneced the Trial Chamber I ruling in the RUF case that the Freetown invasion of 1999 was undertaken by the AFRC and not the RUF. Coulsel further referenced another witness’s testimony that  Mr. Taylor held a meeting with AFRC soldiers in Liberia during which Johnny Paul Kormoa was present. He said that Taylor adviced the AFRC soldiers to be united with the RUF. He said this meeting took place in May 1998. According to Mr. Anyah, the same witness said that he had no knowlege of Johnny Paul Koroma trvelling to Liberia from May 1998 to August 1999. He also said he was not aware of any trade of diamonds between Johnny Paul Koroma and Charles Taylor.

Mr. Anyah explain that there is precedent in the CDF judgement to support that words of encouragement, moral support, provision of medicines, affirmation that actions are appropritate does not constitute aiding and abetting. He said that an aider and abetter must be aware of the perpetrator’s intentions (the mens rea element). He said that the same principle has been upheld in various international tribunals.

f. Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE): Mr. Anyah noted that there is a present application before the Trial Chamber on the issue of JCE and until the Chamber disposes of the application, he does not wish to discuss the details. He, however, raised questions about the JCE pleaded in the indictment against Mr. Taylor. He asked to know what the common purpose of the enterprise was and whether such JCE was done during the time period that falls within the court’s jurisdiction. He said that to establish JCE, the accused must participate in the common design or purpose. He said that the mens rea element requires a shared intent by the parties to perpetrate the crime and then one party commits the said crime. He said the accused has to contribute to the enterprise and the crime which is foreseable actually takes place. Referencing a decision from the ICTY, counsel said that the accused must take risk that such foreseable crime must occur. Counsel referenced the Chief Prosecutor’s opening statement in the trial that Sankoh and Taylor met in Libya in the late 1980s where they agreed to assist each othet to capture political power in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Counsel said that while there are allegations that Taylor assisted Sankoh in Sierra Leone, no reference has been made to any assistance rendered by Sankoh to Taylor in Liberia, thereby fostering the agreement reached in Libya. Counsel then asked to know for how long and during what time period did the said JCE take place? He said that the Court’s jurisdiction covers crimes committed from Nov. 30, 1996 to Jan. 18, 2002. He said while Taylor and Sankoh had their plans in Liberia, the coup of May 25 cannot be part of that plan. He said that prosecution has suggested that the purpose did not change but did not lead any evidence to bear out that common plan remained one and the same. He also said that while Sankoh was in custody, he had problems with Bockarie and so how would the meeting of the minds between Sankoh and Taylor transfer to Bockarie.  He also asked how Issa Sesay could have become part of the same common plan.  He said that for JCE to take place, there must be a shared criminal intent of all the co-perpetrators. This, he said must be the same with Bockarie, Sesay, SAJ Musa, Tamba Brima, etc.  According to Mr. Anyah, there is evidence that in attacking Freetown in 1999, SAJ Musa wanted to reinstated the Sierra leone Army.  If the parties actied with different intents and purposes, how can Mr. Taylor be responsible, he asked.  He said the prosecution should lead evidence about the change of purpose. Counsel referenced several witness testimonies such as Taylor being kept abreast fo issues in Sierra leone. He referenced that another witness said that he did not see or hear any messages from Taylor to RUF about the Freetown invasion, while another said he did not hear of any transfer of arms or discussion of military strategy with Bockarie. According to another witness, Taylor met with the West Side Boys in Liberia and encouraged them to respect the Lome Peace Agreement. Counsel asked whether this gives any evidence of shared intent for JCE and whether this was not in conflict with Taylor’s plan with Sankoh in Libya. Another witness said that when Sankoy and Taylor met in Libya, there was a third person from Gambia and the three men agreed to assist each other in their respective countries. Counsel asked whether there was any evidence that said assistance was rendered to attack Gambia. He said that noting the different purposes with which the various fighting forces attacked various places, like SAJ Musa wanting to reinstate the army, etc, the prosecution failed to establish the starndard to prove that there was JCE.

g. Superior Criminal Responsibility: Mr. Anyah noted that the prosecution had alleged that Mr. Taylor held a position of superior responsibility and exercised control over the RUF, AFRC and Liberian fighters, that he knew or had reason to know that they had coomitted crimes or were about to do so but had failed to take measures to prevent or punish the commission of said crimes. He said that the prosecution had failed to prove this.

Legal Requirements: To prove superior criminnal responsibility, there must be effective control to prevent or punish the commission of crimes and that the accused must have the ability to prevent or punish. Counsel asked whether Taylor would have had the material ability to prevent or punish criminal conduct of Superman.

On the abduction of UN peacekeepers, a witness testified that the former UN Secretary general Kofi Annan asked Mr. Taylor to secure the release of the abducted peacekeepers. He said that Mr. Taylor was in a dilemma; one was if he got involved, they would establish more links between him and the rebels, and if he refused to be involved, they would say he was obstructing the process. In either case, Taylor could not win, Mr. Anyah said.

Concldung, Mr. Anyah stated that every count in the indictment fails. He also said that while he would not push for the assessment of the credibility of some prosecution witnesses, he would seek that where the evidence is rife and inconsistent and can be regarded as discredible, the judges could use their discretion to rule such evidence out.

Counsel then concluded his submission.

Presiding Judge, Richard Lussick thanked Mr. Anyah for his submission and noted that the prosecution would need to respond. Prosecution counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis informed the court that the prosecution will be ready to respond on Thursday April 9, 2009. The judgess accepted this proposal and stated that the said response will take place at 9:30 on Thrsday April 9, 2009.

Court adjourned.

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Trial Report-Dec. 08 to Feb. 09

Posted by Webmaster on March 22, 2009

Charles Taylor Trial Monitoring Report-Dec.08 to Jan.09

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Trial Report-October 2008

Posted by Webmaster on March 22, 2009

Charles Taylor Trial Monitoring Report-October 2008

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Trial Report-August 2008

Posted by Webmaster on March 22, 2009

Charles Taylor Trial Monitoring Report-August 2008

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Taylor Defence Team to Make No Case Submission (Rule 98 Submission) on April 6, 2009

Posted by Webmaster on March 20, 2009

On April 6, 2009, defence team for Mr. Taylor will make a Rule 98 submission before the Trial Chamber judges. This submission, called a “No Case Submission” or a “Motion for Judgement of Acquital” will take the form of an oral submission by the defence that the prosecution has not proved it’s case or has not rendered sufficient evidence on one or more of the counts in the indictment. The defence will have four hours to make it’s submission. The prosecution response to the defence submission will be made few days later. No date has yet been set for the prosecution response.

The decision to have this hearing on April 6, 2009 was made at the Status Conference of the parties held on February 27, 2009. No date has yet been set for the commencement of the defence case.

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