Salone News

Special Court: Taylor Appears

By  | 3 April 2006 at 20:23 | 681 views

War Crimes and crimes against humanity indictee Charles, McArthur, Dahkpannah, Ghankay Taylor made his first appearnce at the Special Court in Freetown today Monday April 3.Taylor, who initially refused to recognise the right of the court to try him later relented and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Below is a blow by blow account of what transpired at the court today:


00:12:39 I will administer the oath under rule 76 to the interpreters - Chief of Court Management - Crystal Thompson - (Interpreters take oath)

00:14:26 Vincent NMehielle Principle Defender for SCSL acting pursuant to rule 45 appearing with me is Elizabeth Nahamya the Deputy Principal Defender, Mr Charles Jalloh, Mrs Haddijatou Kah Jallow, Mrs Claire Carlton Hanciles and Mr Lansana Dumbuya (appearing for the accused) - Principal Defender

00:15:35 the accused Charles Taylor is brought before the court to be formally charged - Judge Lussick

00:16:20 I know that after the reading of the indictment there may be issues of concern for the accused person to raise before the court if your honour permits - Principal Defender

00:17:02 I’m quite sure the accused has received the benefit of proper legal advise from the defence. Among these rights, you’re presumed innocent until otherwise and you’ll be given ample time to prepare your defence - in any event I can tell you that you have the right to defend yourself in person or to legal representation of your choice or the defence team will provide you with legal representation if you cannot afford to pay for it - Judge Lussick

00:19:04 - 00:48:59 (Reading of indictment by- Crystal Thompson)

00:49:36 Taylor stands

00:50:27 yes I do ( understand the indictment) - Charles Taylor

00:50:42 I’ll go through each of the counts one by one - count number one - how do you plead? - Judge Lussick

00:51:16 if it pleases the court I will like to respond to all the 11 counts at the end because there are some issues I would like to register here about the recognition of the court which I might not be able register here with regards of this court trying me as the 21st president of Liberia and there are other issues about how I got here these are fundamental issues for me it’s not a matter now for entering a plea because I do not recognise the jurisdiction of this court - Charles Taylor

00:52:52 they won’t be dealt with today but if you don’t complete your initial hearing today then they will not be dealt with so I advise that you answer to the pleas today - Judge Lussick

00:53:22 most definitely your honor I did not and could not have committed this act against a sister republic of sierra leone and I think that this is an attempt to divide, rule and separate the two republics of sierra leone and Liberia and so to these counts, I am not guilty - Charles Taylor

00:55:56 the accused person has supplied a declaration of means to which we asked to know whether or not he may need assistance of legal representation - I find that from the declaration of means filed by the accused person, the accused person will need legal representation as he could be determined indigent - Principal Defender

00:58:29 I do not know is you would permit the accused person to raise some of the concerns he has which he has communicated to me which he would love to raise to the court - Principal Defender

00:59:04 we lay this rule right now that if an accused is represented by counsel, it is the counsel that should raise the concerns - Judge Lussick

00:59:31 the accused person wants to informed the court that he fears for his life and therefore will express that to the court particularly in view of the fact that FS died in detention in this court and also that Milo died in the Hague and would therefore ask that necessary facility be provided - secondly that not being in Liberia, his family are not in contact so in view of that the necessary facility be provided for his family to contact him - Principal Defender

01:01:22 the accused person wants to bring to the court that he wants to be tried in sierra leone and no where else in view of the fact of his facility available for his witnesses and also for his family to be facilitated from Liberia - Principal Defender

01:02:49 the tendency that there may be deprivation for his witnesses to have access to the countries that are being mentioned in that they may be deprived of visas to the venues mentioned and that is why he prefers to be tried here in Sierra Leone - Principal Defender

01:04:42 adjourned this hearing to a date to be fixed and the registrar to set a date for the trial.

Photo: Taylor in court.