Charles Taylor’s defense team will finally have the chance to make their closing argument on Wednesday this week, bringing an end to an almost one month impasse that plagued the former Liberian president’s trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
The schedule for the defense to make their closing argument was made this afternoon at a status conference convened by the Trial Chamber. Last week, Appeals Chamber judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone ordered that the defense be allowed to submit a final trial brief and an expeditious date be set for the defense to make their closing argument.
The Trial Chamber had earlier rejected the defense final brief on the grounds that it had been submitted 20 days late. Defense lawyers therefore decided not to take part in the closing arguments, which were scheduled to commence on February 8, 2011. After an Appeals Chamber decision that the defense final brief be accepted and they be allowed to make their closing argument, Trial Chamber judges convened a status conference to agree on a final schedule that will see the closure of the trial that has already lasted for over three years.
The defense closing argument has now been set for Wednesday, March 9, 2011 commencing at 11:30am. The defense closing argument will continue into Thursday from 9:00 to 11:00am.
Prior to the defense closing argument on Wednesday, the Prosecution will make an oral response to the defense final brief. The prosecution oral submission will take place between 9:00am and 11:00am on Wednesday. The prosecution choose the option to respond orally to the defense final brief. The defense, who chose to submit a written response to the Prosecution’s final brief will do so by 4:00pm on Thursday, March 10, 2011.
Rebuttal arguments to each party’s closing argument will take place on Friday, March 11, 2011.
The parties have also agreed to file public versions of their respective final briefs one month after today. Therefore, by April 7, 2011, the public will have access to the final trial briefs of both the prosecution and the defense.