International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

As Technical Problems Slow Down Court Proceedings, Prosecutors Say That Charles Taylor Gave Supermodel Naomi Campbell a Sierra Leonean Blood Diamond

The trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor got off to a slow start this week, as technical problems forced a two-day adjournment fresh on the heels of a month-long break. When court resumed on Thursday, prosecutors alleged that Mr. Taylor gave supermodel Naomi Campbell a rough-cut diamond that had been given to him by the Sierra Leone junta regime, which Mr. Taylor denied as “total nonsense.”  And in an ongoing battle over the use of “fresh evidence” during cross-examination of the former president, judges did not allow prosecutors to use the document in which actress Mia Farrow made the blood diamond allegations against Mr. Taylor because it could prejudice his fair trial rights.

“Mr. Taylor, that diamond that you sent to Naomi Campbell was one of the diamonds that you had been given by the junta in Sierra Leone. Isn’t that correct?” Lead prosecutor Ms. Brenda Hollis asked Mr. Taylor.

“Total nonsense,” the former president responded.

According to prosecutors, during Mr. Taylor’s 1997 visit to South Africa, he attended a dinner that was hosted by former South African president Nelson Mandela. Also present at the dinner where celebrities such as Ms. Campbell, actress Mia Farrow and popular musician Quincy Jones. Prosecutors have alleged that after the dinner, Mr. Taylor sent his men to deliver the diamond to Ms. Campbell.

“From among the diamonds you took to South Africa, after this dinner that you attended, you sent your men to Ms. Campbell’s room to provide her with a large rough-cut diamond,” Ms. Hollis said.

Mr. Taylor dismissed the assertion as “totally incorrect.”

When Ms. Hollis sought to present a declaration made by actress Ms. Farrow to a member of the court’s prosecution team that Ms. Campbell had relayed to her that Mr. Taylor sent his men to deliver the diamond to her, defense lawyers for Mr. Taylor objected to the use of such document, arguing that while the document was a declaration made by Ms. Farrow to Special Court for Sierra Leone prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, there was nothing indicating that the declaration was made under oath or whether it was a sworn affidavit. Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, further stated that Ms. Farrow’s declaration that certain guests at the dinner, including Mrs. Mandela, raised concern about the presence of Mr. Taylor at the dinner, meant that the document was prejudicial, and that the best person to have made any statement about the transfer of the the diamond would have been Ms. Campbell herself, not a third party. Mr. Griffiths called the document “third-hand hearsay.”

“This document is complete nonsense. It is ridiculous. It should not be allowed in a court of law. It has no probative value and it is highly prejudicial, and in that situation, any tribunal of fact has the discretion to exclude it on that basis, and I so invite you to do,” Mr. Griffiths told the judges.

Despite prosecution arguments that “this document impeaches that categorical denial by this witness that he ever had any diamonds during the time he was in the NPFL [National Patriotic Front of Liberia] or president of Liberia except that maybe he had a couple of watches that had diamonds,” the judges ruled in favor of the defense, stating that the document cannot be used in the cross-examination of Mr. Taylor.

Reading the order of the chamber, presiding judge Richard Lussick said that “The document allegedly is a statement by a person as to what she was told by a second person who was relating what she was told by a third person or persons. The accused, of course, has had no chance to challenge any of the allegations in this document or cross-examine the alleged makers of the various statements that embodied the document now before the court.We find that the document is highly prejudicial and we hold that the the criteria that are required to be met for the use of the document have not been met. In other words, there is nothing put before us that would allow us to say that its use in cross-examination is in the interest of justice or that it does not violate the fair trial rights of the accused. We therefore uphold the defense objection and will not allow the document to be used in cross-examination.”

Also on Thursday, prosecutors said that when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels entered into negotiations with the Government of Sierra Leone in 1999, Mr. Taylor sent a negotiating team there to ensure that the peace agreement benefitted the RUF rebels. Mr. Taylor denied the assertion, stating that “I sent an observation team there.”

Ms. Hollis read from a May 2000 Press Release that was issued by Mr. Taylor’s government in Liberia in which it was quoted that the Liberian foreign affairs minister “served as special envoy and chief negotiator at the Lome Peace Agreement.”

Mr. Taylor insisted that “the negotiations that were taking place were only between two parties. Liberia had a team there, Nigeria had a team there only to assist the process.”

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, the proceedings were marked by feisty exchanges between Mr. Taylor and lead prosecution counsel, Ms. Hollis, as she tried to keep a tight grip on the former Liberian president’s answers under cross-examination.

“Mr Taylor, you are a witness and it is your job to answer questions, not to make speeches. Do you understand that?” Ms. Hollis asked.

“I’m the accused. You do not – the judges are going to instruct me. I don’t take instructions from you. There are contexts involved here and this is my life,” Mr. Taylor retorted.

As the two traversed Mr. Taylor’s prior testimony under direct examination over the course of four months last year, Ms Hollis challenged him on topics ranging outside the indictment timeframe and in relation to events in Liberia (not Sierra Leone where the charges are based) — but which nonetheless may go to testing Mr. Taylor’s general credibility as a witness.

Ms. Hollis asserted that Mr. Taylor lied about his involvement in the 1985 coup to overthrow the then Liberian president Samuel Doe (Mr. Taylor rejected this: “I would not lie about it if I was a part of it”); that Mr. Taylor benefitted from money he allegedly embezzled from Liberia while he was in the United States (Mr. Taylor agreed that he had received $100,000 while in the US, but rejected that it was Liberian government money “and it was never proven that I embezzled any money”); and that Mr. Taylor knew rebel leader Foday Sankoh in Libya during the 1980s, well before Mr. Taylor said the two men met in 1991 (“Ms Hollis, I had never in my life met Foday Sankoh before 1991,” Mr. Taylor said).

Prosecutors also tried to cast doubt over the truthfulness of Mr. Taylor’s November 2009 testimony about his decision to step down from the Liberian presidency.  Ms. Hollis focused on Mr. Taylor’s description of the impact of an attack by Liberian rebels in 2003 which resulted in deaths of internally displaced people hiding in a targeted building called Greystone – an annex to the United States Embassy in Monrovia located across the street where civilians took shelter from the fighting in Monrovia in 2003.  Liberians took 18 dead bodies from this attack to the United States Embassy as a plea for the US to stop the bloodshed and restore peace.

In his November 2009 testimony, Mr. Taylor had asserted that this Greystone attack had triggered his decision to step down from power, as he realized that “they [Liberian rebels] would do anything to get rid of you as President, including victimizing your Liberian civilians, and so you decided to step down as President,” Ms. Hollis said. “Do you remember telling the Court that, Mr Taylor?”

“I remember telling the Court that and most other things that are associated with that, yes, I remember telling them that,” Mr. Taylor responded.

The Prosecutors went on to present evidence that this attack which resulted in 18 dead bodies being carried to the US Embassy in fact occurred in late July 2003, more than a month after Mr. Taylor was at the Accra peace talks where he indicated his willingness to step down from the presidency.  In raising the inconsistency in timing, prosecutors were attempting to demonstrate that this attack could not have been the reason why Mr. Taylor decided to quit the presidency.

Instead, Ms Hollis suggested that other West African leaders had pressured Mr. Taylor to step down in Accra – an assertion that Mr. Taylor vigorously denied.

“There was not one Head of State in that room that ever asked me to step down. On my honour, no President ever asked me to step down. I, Charles Taylor, just as I told these judges, volunteered. No one – if anyone in that room had asked me to step down, one, it would have been very much undiplomatic,” Mr. Taylor told the court.

“Presidents don’t just say, “Please step down.” I, Charles Ghankay Taylor, volunteered to step down from office. No one pressured me in that room. No one asked me to at all.”

Mr. Taylor is responding to charges that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied allegations that he supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels in return for Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds and that he helped them plan certain operations during which atrocities such as rape, murder, and amputation of civilian arms were committed. Mr. Taylor has said that he did not have arms and ammunition to fight rebel forces in his own country and therefore could not have supplied any materials to the RUF. He has dismissed the charges as a scheme by western countries, specifically Britain and the United States to bring him down.

Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination continues on Monday.

49 Comments
  1. If Charles Taylor and this cronies thinks that today’s decisions to exclude his dimond deals in South Africa meanse he innocent of war crimes against humanities, must be living in total amnesia. remember all found guilty with such crimes did plead innocent and denial every accounts of their involvement, such as Slobadan Melosavic,and those after him, and because these judges don’t want their decisions of GUILTY! over turn, will do everything to have this cannibal finally eat himself up.keep charging MS.Hollis, this man is coming to a breaking point.

    • Ziggy Salis,
      Mr. Taylor is not Melosavic who did not see justice till is sudden death in prision. Mr. Taylor is not dead, he is alive and winning, destorying all the lies that were told against him. But if by any means he is bought down guility, you and me known that Mr. Taylor has fought a good fight.

      Regards

      Harris K Johnson

      • ARE YOU A LIBERIAN OR SIERRA LEONEAN? I GFUESS NOT YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND.

        • Nyema,
          If it will intrest you, I’m 100% Liberian with root from Lofa and Bong Counties. What next?

          Regards

          Harris K Johnson

        • Nyema,

          I am also a Liberia 100% from Grand Bassa County, Liberia.

  2. The prosecution is seriously making fun of international justice to bring in thrid party hearsay during cross examination, as a means to impeach an accussed credibility. So why should the public simply believe anything from the prosecution when they have failed to produced any direct evident against Mr. Taylor? This is the worst case of due process I have ever seen in my life time, it is a shame on those powers thatt brought this case to court.

    Why can they simply use their supreme power to do whatever they wishes to Mr. Taylor instead of this political trial?

  3. Janice,
    The prosecutors have put PRESSURE on the judges and if they vote to CONVICT, it will be a DISGRACE to mankind.

  4. I think the week after the break was full of drama and suspense…from tough tackling questioning by the prosectution and visible signs of cracking by CT on the stand. Body language was unusually visible by the witness. The first round (Monday’s round) went to the prosecution. Taylor was placed against the ropes, Ms. Hollis seemed to have the upper hand on this day. However, by the end of the week, the prosecution made an “unforced error”. Evidence pertaining to diamonds to Ms. Campbell was rejected. The curve ball (this particular new evidence) was called a “foul ball” by the umpire (the judges). The defense lawyer as usually, seemed to be fully engaged and calculative with objections…

    After all said, the week in my opinion was a draw. Both teams scored points and suffered setbacks. Setbacks are not measured in terms of numbers for “materiality” to the defense or prosecution side.

    It was a good week for observers…

    • bnker,
      if you think being a double agent is a good thing, you must be able to do it objectively and deliver very very well. How can you be crediting the prosecution , when the most impotant issue that should be used to find mr. Taylor guilty (DE DIAMOND), was TRASHED by the judges???? Brother your double role is not bad, but just don’t be bias at it.

      • Noko5,
        My statements from last year still stand for 2010, immaterial aspects and things that does not add substance to me or the discussion will not be answered. I saw your other thread asking if I know what happens to double agents and I choose to be polite and ignore, but since you insist that I acknowledge your question….I see it, but it has no importance to me…maybe to you but not to me…..sorry! :0(

        • bnker,
          All I am trying to drill here is the patern of consistant objectivity..no need for games..cause it’s not getting any where especially inregards to the issue at hand; ( THE CHARLES TAYLOR TRIAL). Stop the gamic or corny behavior.. That is why I ask if you know what happens to double agents.. I taught to be polite too, that is why I took that route… sorry if you were offended by that.. but I hate people playing games in this kind very very serious deliberation. thank you….

  5. bnker, one can appreciate your kindness to the prosecution but I don’t know on what basics are you giving them credits. Is it because Ms. Hollis seems bold to tell more lies without facts? This case is not about who can say many things or become confrontational , rather it is a court case which is criminal and must be based on evidence beyond reasonable doubt. So far, the prosecution has not reach that treshold of beyond reasonable doubt.

    Everything the prosecution has presented in terms of evidence continue to be based on hearsay and not direct, or assumptions, theories, and presumption without any facts to prove Mr. Taylor guilty. So if one was examining this case strictly on its legal merits, no serious person can give this prosecution any credit. The prosecution case is a “whack job” as Mr. Taylor has asserted-”total nonsense.”

  6. Alpha Sesay,
    You did not mention the tape-recording play in Monday preceding. Was it the famous missing BBC’s tape? I know the preceding has problems this week but other evidence seem to have been offer other then the alleged Mr. Taylor gave Naomi Campbell diamond and the rehashing of the prosecution same allegations.

  7. Aki,
    You said in another post, “Remember 90% of Sierra Leonean said they heard Taylor on the BBC saying, “Sierra Leone will taste the bitterness of war” The only problem with what they heard as we found out during the course of the trial is that Charles Taylor never uttered those words.”

    This BBC tape was a key piece of evidence that the Prosecution and their witnesses was depending on as a linkage to Mr. Taylor and the RUF. Were you able to hear this tape in Monday preceding? If so, can you tell me what Mr. Taylor actually said on it?

    • Ken,
      Sorry I am not able to access the trial here in Liberia. I know there was some talk about a BBC interview with one Mary Harper I believe her name was from the BBC.

  8. Well Mr. Taylor is smart to have eliminated much evidence by killing Sam Bokarie,and Jonny Paul Koroma and even, perhaps, blessed by the untimely death of Foday Sankor, however, as a liberian who was caught up in the war then in Sierra Leone, I know sincerely that Charles Taylor did mastermind the atrosities in Sierra Leone. The Prosecutors maybe strugling to link pieces of evedence, but, the spirits of the dead, the prayers of the victims and the resolve of the humanity are all well on the path to placing Mr. Taylor behind bars for ever.

    • Dear Edward Massaquoi – thanks for your comment. I don’t think we have heard from you before and I want to welcome you to this forum. I hope we continue hearing from you as the trial goes on.
      Best,
      Tracey

    • And where were you Edward when the prosecutors were looking for EYE WITNESSES???…Oh well, why don’t you start by telling us some of the FACTUAL FACTS you know of….I said FACTUAL FACTS for they are LACKING in this case.

      • Noko4

        How about the fact that Mr. Taylor had a “covert account” that he used to by arms. Lets for one second disregard his alleged intentions for buying arms discreetly (because his story has not been verified which eliminates the possibility to confirm it as a fact). How about the fact that known NPFL soldiers were in SL fighting. Once again disregard Mr. Taylor theory on how his solider ended up in SL as stated above. Last of all what about the fact that Mr. Taylor had ties with the RUF before the SL conflict. Based on the facts I know about this case. I’m not totally convinced of Mr. Taylor accountstheories. I admit the evidence gather against Mr. Taylor were not vetted properly but the facts remains and Mr. Taylor clarification is becoming more inconveniencing.

        • Al,
          What cannot be VERIFY??? The account or the usage?? Both were verified in case you didn’t see his responses. He said YES there was an account, opened to buy arms….he provided the UN with the list of the purchase goods…the prosecutors showed it as FACTUAL EVIDENCE….what more??

          Al, please I beg you okay; as to NPFL fighting in SL, Mr. Taylor has told this court the time frame…..Aug of 91 to May of 92. We know for FACT based on the TRC report of SL that even the SL gov’t had Liberians fighting on her behalf….so how can we blame Mr. Taylor for ALL…..I said ALL Liberians that were fighting in SL???

          Do you know the MANDATE of this court?? Nothing to do with PRE November 96.

        • Al Solo Nyonteh,

          Is the covert account Sierra Leone’s money or diamonds? The prosecutor said OTC deposited almost 2 million dollars. Did they say RUF/AFRC? Besides, what was the balance in the account when the prosecutor told the world about such account?ZERO. Secondly, if known NPFL fighters was in Sierra Leone, did it cover the time frame he is being charged for? By the way, before we elected him as president, there was no such thing like the NPFL, because all warring factions have been dissolved. However, he’s being charged from November of 1997- August of 2003. On top of that, one of the prosecutions star witnesses in person of VP Blah said, they met Sierra Leoneans in the training camp in Libya when they got there. Moreso, Taylor has not yet come to LIbya. So how is Taylor being held responsible/tied for Sierra Leoneans planing their own war?

    • Edward Massaquoi , it is so sorrowful for our suffering African people when guys like you come into the international scene and repeat mere western propoganda without any facts to back up your claims. The SL own TRC report indicated that many Liberians fought in the SL war and they were not under the command of Charles Taylor. As a matter of fact, some key witnesses in this trial like Varmuyan Sheriff and others testified that ULIMO , which was controlled by Alhaji Kromah traded in weapons and diamonds with RUF, and at times fought along side the RUF.

      It is also a well established fact that the SLA (Sierre Leone Army) under presidents Joseph Momoh, Valentine Strasser, Johnny Paul Koroma, and even Tejani Kabbah all supported a SPECIAL TASK FORCE comprised of Liberians (mostly ex Liberian military officers under Samuel Doe) who fought on both sides of the SL war. So the prosecution claimed about Taylor masterminding the SL war is baseless and does not make rational sense.

      If Taylor had truly masterminded the SL war, this issue would not be so difficult to prove. Hundreds of people would have testified to that but what we witnessed during the prosecution presentation was nothing but low level foot soliders who claimed that Mr. Taylor was in communication with them on SSB radios. Why would Taylor need to communication with low level foot soilders when he had top officials and fighters who were powerfully known on the battle front and could have carry out those instructions without Taylor speaking directly to foot soldiers.

      But interestingly, the British and American both had warships on the ocean with advance communication facilities, and to date, have not produced one single evidence of radio communication between Mr. Taylor and any foot soldier in SL. The RUF communication log was brought into this court and there was nothing indicating any evidence that some RUF soldiers had any SSB radio communication with Charles Taylor. So my good brother Massaquoi, please wake up from that slumber and stop feeding on western media propoganda.

      The real culprit of the SL war are the Britishs who we all know love diamonds and used some of their merchants of death to fuel the SL war simply to exploit diamonds in that country. Why would the British built a prison to house Charles Taylor when he was not yet found guilty add to the political nature of this trial. No flimsy excuses will erase this fact. Sandline company and its executives should be on trial and not Charles Taylor because no sane Liberian cares about SL diamond and Charles Taylor did not care about SL diamonds.

      It is well established public knowledge in Liberia, and we all know about the rich diamond business in Weasua and other places in Liberia. Jungle James was the only Liberian, who roumours believe to have been Taylor diamond man in the Bomi area of Liberia, because he was still doing his diamond business duriing the war. No one in Liberia heard about Taylor doing diamond business in SL, if that was the case, that news would have come up by romours since Liberia is a small nation that top secrets are easily known to the public by news of relatives who worked in high places. We did not heard of any romour in Liberia that Taylor was doing diamond business in SL. So I find it impossible for anyone to suggest that Taylor was supporting RUF for diamonds. “Total Nonsense!”

    • Edward Massaquoi,

      Just leave your own with god. Thank god that you are acknowledging the many struggles of the prosecution. By the way Edward, is Johnnie Paul Kromah dead or alive? If he is dead, how did he die and if he is alive, whereis he? However, what Sankor death has to do with President Taylor’s trial? If Sankor was alive, don’t you think it could have been 50-50 chance in testifying for or agains Mr.Taylor if he was to testify? What has happened to those other AFRC/RUF leaders including Isaac Sassay that are alive today? Why can’t they testify on behalf of the prosecution?

      Edward, No evidence. Taylor is innocent.

    • Mr. Massaquoi,
      I actually pity the plight of you and and the dead, but hey ! we are dealing with the court of prudence jurisdiction; which calls for factual evidential facts. Sorry that you and the dead wiil be praying for somebodys’ father, loveone, husband brother, friend etc.. to be prosecuted for atrocities he has got nothing to ddo with. Hope we all know and keep at the back of our minds that it is also inhumaine to lie on another person like what people have been done to Charles Taylor. MAY the almighty lord bless mr. Taylor so he gets out that sting jail. There is not where he belongs… AMEN….

    • Edward Massaquoi thank God we are not dealing with emotions, the spirits of the dead or the prayers of the victims and the resolve of the humanity!

      But we are in a court of LAW so please get in right.

      And no one i can speak for myself is saying President Charles G. Taylor is a saint. He is not responsible for what ever happened in Sierra Leone.

      But for Liberia YES! Please get this into your heard.

      This message is from a son of Africa. As long as people like me is alive I will not stand bye and allow any foreign country like Britain and the “United States of America in the year 2010 still to dictate the future of Africa.

      President Charles G. Taylor will come through all this “Total nonsense,”

      God Bless Africa

      Nii Darku, Accra Ghana

  9. I think it would be useful to actually have some objective legal analysis on what the judges are doing to prosecution in terms of impeachment. There is simply no precedent for anything like it in international criminal law or any common law jurisdiction. Parties have the right to impeach using outside materials when assertions made by party in direct. It is very clear and established. Yet these judges are completely changing the rules of the game. This is not written in favor of one side….it just simply a strange thing and contrary to what any first year law student knows. Why has this observation not been made? I challenge anyone to show where there is any similar situation in any legal proceeding when it comes to impeachment?!? The faults for the delays lie with the chamber who should never have needed written submissions on such an elementary area of evidence and still continue to ignore the principles they eventually reached in that written decision. Such a joke and great example why this field needs professional judges.

    • Hi Bundu — that is an excellent suggestion. It would be worth getting some analysis on how this issue has been dealt with before at the SCSL, and by other international criminal tribunals as a point of comparison. We will look into what can be done and revert. It is an important issue and one which deserves significant attention.
      Best,
      Tracey

    • Bundu,
      What is the name of this court?? SPECIAL COURT!!!! Meaning from what I have seen and know, the NORMS are not the RULES. For example, HEARSAY….this court has including within it’s GUILDELINES, Hearsay as evidence….I am not talkin about 1st person but second, third and fourth hearsay.

      This court has allowed the prosecutors to bring in FRESH EVIDENCES eventhough, they have rested their case….again what is the name of this court?? SPECIAL COURT.

      I rest my case your honors.

    • Bundu, I don’t know which first year law school lessons you talking about. But there is no criminal case , ever, where a prosecution can present fresh evidence during cross examination of a witness which goes to establishing guilt. That cannot happen because any defedant must have the right to confront their accuser/s. So what opportunity will Mr. Taylor have to confront the thrid party hearsay that he sent men to sell diamond to Noami Campbell?

      Bundu, do you truly believe that it is in the interest of justice for a prosecution to simply produce any document against an accused and claimed that it was proved of guilt against the accused? Especially so when such evidence has never been tested and there is no way for the accused to test the facts of the evidence? Come on bro, no law school would teach such a backdoor way of seeking guilt of a defendant. So to me, the judges have been really fair to the prosecution more than to the defense.

      Because, the rules of this court is political, it is not based on actual criminal proceedure as one would expect in a serious international criminal case as this one. As a matter of fact, it was not the judges that made the court rules but rather the sponsors of this court, mainly the United States and Britian.

      The key to the prosecution case is based on pure hearsay, this rule of hearsay was not orginally part of this court upon its establishment. But realizing its lacking of direct facts to proved Mr. Taylor guitly, the political sponsors of this court used their influence to change the rules of this court to allow hearsay evidence. And it is this hearsay rule that the whole prosecution case is founded upon. John says he heard Peter told Mary this but Mary said she was told that by Sarah and Sarah was told that by her aunt just before her aunt died, but her aunt said that she heard that from her husband Joseph who was shot and killed in battle.

      Bundu, what kind of justice is this that relies on dead people hear say evidence without any direct facts to corroborate the hearsay? This case is a mockery of justice and will create more problems for international justice if Mr. Taylor is found guilty simply based on hear say by the prosecution. In criminal law, the burden of proof lies on the one who is making the accusation, and so far the prosecution has failed that simple test. All their (prosecution) key witnesses have contradicted themselves and told nothing but lies based on hearsay. This case is “total nonsense.”

      • Hi King Gray,

        Thanks for your comment. You raise important issues. Just wanted to flag a few postings you might be interested in on this issue in case you haven’t seen them already, and to alert you to an upcoming post which we are expecting by the end of the month.

        One (it is a long post, so beware!) outlines the court’s decisions on the use of documents, including those which are probative of guilt – the court has decided that such documents can be introduced during cross-examination if a case is made that it is in the interests of justice and that its use does not violate Mr. Taylor’s fair trial rights. You can read an overview of the whole procedural background here: http://www.charlestaylortrial.org/2010/01/10/using-fresh-evidence-what-does-this-mean-with-taylors-trial-restarting/ which explains the court’s decisions since November 30 last year on this topic.

        The use of the document in which actress Mia Farrow apparently stated that supermodel Naomi Campbell told her that Mr. Taylor’s men allegedly gave her a blood diamond from Sierra Leone after a dinner both women and Mr. Taylor attended in South Africa in 1997 was not allowed, because it was considered to contain information which the judges thought to be “highly prejudicial” to Mr. Taylor, and was found not to fit these two criteria for the use of this type of document (that it was in the interests of justice to allow its use and that its use would not violate Mr. Taylor’s fair trial rights). Alpha describes the decision of the judges here: http://www.charlestaylortrial.org/2010/01/15/judges-order-that-prosecutors-cannot-use-new-documents-alledging-that-charles-taylor-gave-sierra-leones-blood-diamonds-to-supermodel-naomi-campbell/.

        The judges found that this document did not meet the criteria for the use of hearsay evidence, which is a form of evidence that is allowed in international criminal courts, including the Special Court (as well as the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda), under certain conditions. The judges in this instance were particularly worried about the issue you raise in your comment – about Mr. Taylor’s ability to cross-examine the makers of the allegation. Judge Lussick said this: “The accused, of course, has had no chance to challenge any of the allegations in this document or cross-examine the alleged makers of the various statements that embodied the document now before the court.” Just to let you and other readers know, we have a law professor who is writing an analysis on the use of hearsay in the Taylor trial which we hope to post by the end of the month or early February, which I think will be a great springboard for discussion here.

        In any case, the issues you and Bundu are raising are important ones which we will be discussing in this forum more in the coming weeks.

        Best,
        Tracey

    • Bendu,

      I read you piece and I m a little confused about your assertion of the bench. What are you actually saying or crying foul about? If the persecution is bringing outside materials, those materials should be examine because anyone can make accusation. Are you saying any outside material should be brought in and accepted without bias?
      If you have been watching the proceeding, the judges usually asked that since the party that is making such an accusation is not around for crossing, can Miss Hollis or a member of the prosecution team be willing to be cross, she always happily response with a NO and let move- on reply because she knows better.
      Its only fair that if a material is being use in the court of Law, the person who is making or bringing such material(s) should be willing and able to defend it, although lots of hear-say material(s) was brought in that way, the judges are beginning to scrutinize them more and more.
      Sorry to, but your statement about the bench being bias about outside materials are strictly out of place and can only be done in Kangaroo courts; moreover, this is a SPECIAL COURT PROCEEDING. Do unto others that you’ll like someone to do to you, some day if you or any love one of your is in court, will you like a second or third party statement use against you without you or your lawyer having the opportunity to cross or ask them questions? You go and think about that, my new comer friend, think about it that way !!!!

    • Bundu,

      Where is the precedence of a sitting president being indicted and tried by hybrid laws of a court that is not a UN court?

      • Hi Jose – I know you asked this question to Bundu, but I hope you don’t mind me throwing in some information too.

        Though not a sitting president at the time of the indictment, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (a hybrid court set inside the domestic justice system in Cambodia with UN judges and staff) is also set to prosecute a former head of state, Khieu Samphan. He is being tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes for crimes committed in the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s, where approximately 1.7 million people (of an 8 million population in Cambodia) died from starvation, killings, torture, forced labor and disease. His trial is set to begin sometime next year, alongside three other high level leaders from that time.

        Also, the International Criminal Court is not a UN court (and not a hybrid court), but one created by treaty among states — and it has indicted a sitting head of state, the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir (though not arrested him).

        Best,
        Tracey

    • Hey Bundu,
      Quick suggestion… why don’t you recommend to the ICC to fire these judges, since you seem to have better knowledge. I am not refuting your view, but I think the judges are doingvery very well so far?? Now one question for you mr. Bundu, why didn’t you complain when the judges ruled to permit the admission of new evidences????? HELLO!!!!!

  10. First, thx Tracy for your consideration; Second Mr Gray, i wonder you are a student of Law or a lawyer; if you are then you could be using this site as your laboratory… In any case, you should understand that necessity creates reaction; by this i mean the SLA was forced in to counting on other liberians( ULIMBO) for help at a time when the NPFL-fed RUF was well in control of about 40 percent of Sierra Leone. I still remember how classes got disrupted for liberian students in Pujehun, how i was made to interprete messages from Creol and Mende into Vai and English Languages,including broken liberian english which the NPFL rebels understod better; Oh yes , i remember being at St. Paul’s Secondary school where Gibiru Massaquoi was a senior student but later swapped his education for a spokemanship for the RUF. And Guess What? I later saw him in Monrova, Congo Town. I Just came to the US and Could’t show up in Liberia for this… then…

    • Edward Massaquoi , anybody can say the things you saying but that does not makes it true. Someone could even say that Edward Massaquio was a mass murderer and he brutally murdered thousands of innocent people, that still does not makes it true. We have all heard about these terrible stories that NPFL did this and that but the facts remain completely opposite.

      Liberia was attacked by ex-AFL soldiers from SL, who claimed that they were refugees returning home, and that the only way that they could return home was to launched a full scale war. At that time, that these people attacked Liberia, ULIMO was not yet officially form. Alhaji Kromah was still in Guinea with his own forces, the Islamic fundamentalist group, the Movement for the Redemption of Liberian Muslim. Kromah’s groups was sponsored by the Saudis. Kromah would later go to SL and murdered General Albert Karpeh and take over the group, and named themselves ULIMO.

      Taylor’s assistance to RUF was in direct response to the attacks by these reactionary military forces from SL. If the BBC can produce the tapes, I remember quite well Taylor accusing SL of supporting military aggression against the NPFL and vowed to chase them where-ever they came from. So Taylor’s military assistance to the RUF was no secret. It was public knowledge in Liberia and any true Liberian nationalist and patriot supported such efforts because this was not the first time that SL had sponsored war against Liberia.

      Do you remember the 1985 Quiowonkpa Invasion of Liberia? That military operation was sponsored by SL, so if one looks at it objectively, it is the SLians who have been aggressive against Liberia.

  11. Edward Massaquoi,

    Even Charles Taylor didn’t deny some forces entering Sierra Leone, as a matter of fact, we all meaning most Liberian saw Liberian Fighters in Sierra Leone. The question here is, did Taylor approve such move. He has denied and challenge that it be proven. In his denial, he said it was one of the reasons Oliver Verner and others was executed. This case is not about earlier entry into Sierra Leone, it is about after Charles Taylor became President. Let’s take it from there and not keep repeating the obvious. The war push many Liberian outside Liberia to seek refuge including me, I saw Ulimo rooming openly in Guinea and Sierra Leaone with arms to attacked Taylor position, why NO-one is talking about that too. Do you remember the same Ulimo rebels making human intestine as gate? Are you also aware of Ulimo forces forcing innocent citizen to carry their arms for miles, and when they’re tired, it’s enough reason to shoot them. What’s about Lurd rebel, where did they come from to send out uncontrolled rockets into Monrovia to kill peaceful citizen? I guessed you do remember the U S embassy incident where bodies of innocent Liberian were laid to demonstrate the result of LURD rebel actions. Liberian doesn’t have blood too? Every mano river Union country supported some rebel factions one time or another, so what’s the fuss is all about seeing Liberian in Sierra Leone.

    • Grebo,
      My whole Liberian brother. I say job well done. I enjoy you pekin. OUTSTANDING.

    • Grebo,
      Thanks for tearing his vagueness apart; you see gentle men, this why our country (liberia) keeps going through problems over and over, again and again. I don’t know why some of us will not stop thinking one way, look at the issue broadly and come up with unbias analysis. Do people really really think that if Taylor dies today the crap will be over, I will say no. The problem was never started by Taylor, and it is never going to end even if he was being estinguished….LEAVE CHARLES ALONE…

    • Grebo you are so isolated from truth my friend. There is no river without a source: follow the channel of the incursions in Liberia ,and Sierra Leone with a realistic time of each incursion so u can work out the puzzle, if it is.
      However you ague this trial , there will be enough circumstancial evdence to put Mr. Taylor behinde bars . Such outcome would give the Victims of Sierra Leone Justice and even give Liberians a peace of mind as we pray and work tirelessly to bring former war lords of Liberia to book.
      The Sr. commanders who initially proxied Mr. Taylor’s greedy operations in Sierra Leone were all killed between 1991 and 92 after they had failed to anex Sierra Leone then. It was all done through his craftiness and machination in other to distroy any evidence that might have been brought from Sierra Leone. Just to name those commanders: Devon, One- Man -One, Oliver Varney and Dikson. They could have been perhaps valuable to day in testifying
      All of his trickery put together is not and will never be enough to buy him Freedom.

      • Edward Massaquoi,

        The judges are not going to sentence someone to life in prison based on circumstantial evidence alone. Remember the Taylor defense team has shown documentary evidence . The prosecution as I think you will admit is already in trouble and the defense has not yet even called their second witness.

  12. Hi Zobon – you posted a comment at 10:49am today but unfortunately it doesn’t meet our policy here on the site (ie to focus on the trial and not other readers). Would you mind revising so that it can fit with that policy? I would be very happy to post it.
    Best, and thank you for your understanding,
    Tracey

  13. No matter what happens; Mr. Taylor is already guilty in that the U. S. and Britain have a big say in what happen at the court, and CT is their arch enemy. What is mind boggling is the level of ambiguity by these two power houses who hypocritically champions justice and fairplay; yet behind the scene they are via their stooges(Brenda Hollis and co) wipe their feet on the truth.

    There is no way, or may i say up to this point, that the evidence presented by Hollis and Co. or the lack thereof can anyone be convicted . It would be a sad day for Africa, yea the world to see justice slaughter on the altar of Imperialism; for those judges would do nothing short of the wishes of the UK and the US. This is grand standing of the imperialistic design- divide and rule.

    I mean tell me folks, how can anyone convict CT for war crimes in SL. I am sorry for those who lost their Limbs, but this can not be attributed to CT. If it were so, why didn’t this become the MO for the NPFL in Liberia?

    Do you all understand the havoc the kamajors, and SLA caused the people of northwestern Liberia? Not to mention the launching path the SL government has offered to many dissidents to destabilize Liberia?

    will continue highlight the miscarriage of justice in this trial of CT, even if he is found guilty. I have not heard nor seen anyone here prove that Mr. Taylor is responsible for the war in SL. Remember, the charges are from when he became President. Anything prior is inadmissible.

    Justice delay is justice denied. SET CHARLES TAYLOR FREE! SET CHARLES TAYLOR FREE! SET CHARLES TLO

  14. Noko5..

    Thanks for your response…”All I am trying to drill here is the patern of consistant objectivity..no need for games..cause it’s not getting any where especially inregards to the issue at hand; ( THE CHARLES TAYLOR TRIAL). Stop the gamic or corny behavior.. That is why I ask if you know what happens to double agents.. I taught to be polite too, that is why I took that route… sorry if you were offended by that.. but I hate people playing games in this kind very very serious deliberation. thank you…”

    I am not offended, I thought the question was irrelevant. I need not pretend to as to who and what I believe in. Unlike most, I try to look both sides of the debate. I see it almost like checkers, chess or any other game or sport…understand the teams and strategies, after that, one can predict the next move or outcome….

    Noko5, I am in the least bit offended, OK! I don’t play games….

    • Ok bnker!!!
      You’ve won. Now do you mind if I ask that we pay attention to the trial sir…

  15. Hi, Tracy & ALL

    HAPPY NEW YEAR
    HE’S COMING OUT YES HE IS

    To the good guys that see things objectively I say thanks for the good and hard job.

    • Welcome back 4 ur eyes only – and a happy new year to you also. Glad you are back and joining the discussion again.
      Best,
      Tracey