One of our regular commenters, $$ker-Bnker, asked to see some photos of the International Criminal Court and the Charles Taylor trial while I was in The Hague this week. Davenpost.Noko7 wanted to see some also. Well, here are a few from today’s proceedings taken from my phone while I was there – not high quality pics but they should give you a sense of what things look like.
In terms of what it is like in the courtroom: Mr. Taylor actively takes lots of notes throughout the testimony of defense witness Yanks Smythe, and reviews the documents as the witness is being asked about them. There are times when Mr. Taylor looks up and closely watches the witness answer the question – this morning he stopped his note-taking when prosecutor Nick Koumjian started asking the witness, Mr. Smythe, about rent paid for by Mr. Taylor for a place which Mr. Koumjian said was used as a prison to torture people (Mr. Smythe denied it was a prison where torture took place). Mr. Taylor watched the exchange intently, before going back to writing his notes. He sits at the back of the courtroom now he is no longer on the stand — off to the left side when viewed from the public gallery, dressed impeccably in a dark suit and cuff-links, with security guards sitting each side of him throughout the proceedings.
I also have to say that Mr. Koumjian is a very impressive and skilled prosecutor — well prepared, very good at cross examining witnesses and finding inconsistencies with their earlier testimony, or that of Mr. Taylor. Defense lawyer, Morris Anyah (who was in court this morning — Mr. Taylor’s lead lawyer, Courtenay Griffiths, was not in court today) is also impressive — he showed today that he has a keen eye for detail and clarity of questioning of the witnesses.
I won’t give you the details of today’s events –Alpha’s summary will come soon — but in the meantime, here are the photos. Happy to answer any questions about them.