International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Prosecution and Defense to Appeal Charles Taylor Judgment and Sentence

Prosecution and Defense teams in the case of convicted former president of Liberia Charles Taylor will appeal various aspects of the judgment and sentence delivered by the Trial Chamber judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). This was made clear in separate filings made by the parties this week.

The Trial Chamber judges on April 26, 2012 convicted Taylor of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes including rape, murder, and destruction of civilian property by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) forces in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 to January 18, 2002. The judges further found that Taylor helped to plan attacks on three towns, including the diamond rich town of Kono and the country’s capital Freetown, in late 1998 to early 1999. On May 30, 2012, the judges sentenced Taylor to a jail term of 50 years for his role in the Sierra Leonean conflict.

Prosecutors had earlier alleged that in addition to aiding and abetting, Taylor was also in command and control of rebel forces in Sierra Leone and that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with the rebels. Prosecutors further alleged that Taylor planned, ordered, and instigated the commission of serious crimes during the conflict in that West African country.

Throughout his trial, Taylor maintained his innocence. When the judges delivered their verdict on April 26, they ruled that while Taylor aided and abetted the crimes committed in Sierra Leone, there was not sufficient evidence that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with the rebels or that he exercised command and control over them. The judges further ruled that while he was guilty of planning attacks on specific towns in Sierra Leone, the evidence did not support a finding that he ordered or instigated the crimes. As prosecutors requested that Taylor be sentenced to a jail term of 80 years because of the crimes for which he was convicted, the judges on May 30 sentenced him to a jail term of 50 years instead.

On July 19, Prosecution and Defense teams filed notices of appeal, raising several grounds on which they will appeal the findings of the Trial Chamber in both the decision on Taylor’s conviction and his sentence.

Prosecutors on their part have raised four grounds on which they will appeal the findings of the judges. These include the Trial Chamber’s failure to find Taylor liable for ordering and instigating the commission of crimes, the Chamber’s failure to find him liable for crimes committed in certain locations in 5 districts on the ground that they fell outside the scope of the indictment, and then Chamber’s decision to sentence the former Liberian President to a single term of 50 years. Prosecutors argue that the judges in making these findings “erred” in fact and in law.

Defense lawyers for Taylor, on the other hand, have raised 45 grounds on which they say the Trial Chamber “erred” in fact and in law as they convicted and sentenced Taylor on April 26 and May 30 respectively. Included in the numerous grounds of appeal are findings of the judges that Taylor was involved in planning attacks on Kono, Makeni, and Freetown in late 1998 and early 1999, the Chamber’s finding that he assisted the commission of crimes by providing medical assistance to rebel forces in Sierra Leone, that he assisted the commission of crimes by providing a guesthouse for RUF rebels in Liberia, that the jail term of 50 years that Taylor has been sentenced is “manifestly unreasonable,” that the judges “erred” in their failure to consider Taylor’s expression of sympathy as grounds of mitigation, that there were irregularities in the proceedings based on the statement made by the Alternate Judge El-Hadj Malick Sow that the there had been no deliberations among the judges, and that Justice Julia Sebutinde’s participation in the proceedings after she had already become a judge of the International Court of Justice was irregular. For these and several other reasons, defense lawyers for Taylor want the Appeals Chamber to quash the finding of guilt and sentence against Taylor.

In a separate application, Taylor’s defense lawyers have requested that the Appeals Chamber judges voluntarily withdraw from deciding those grounds of appeal that stem out of Justice Sow’s statement as delivered on April 26, and that in the event the Appeals Chamber judges do not withdraw voluntarily, that the request for disqualification be determined by a separate panel of judges. This, according to defense lawyers is because a reasonable person, properly informed, might suspect bias if the same judges are to address the issue.

The defense team explains in their application that after Judge Sow made his statement on April 26 pointing out that no deliberations had taken place among the judges and that “the system is not consistent with all the values of international criminal justice,” judges of the SCSL, sitting as a plenary subjected him to a disciplinary process and found him “unfit” to continue to sit in the proceedings. Taylor’s lawyers now want Judge Sow’s comment to become subjects of the appeals process and in doing so, they argue that the same judges who had disciplined Judge Sow for the comment will not be competent to determine appeals on those grounds.

38 Comments
  1. Here are the notices of appeal by Defense and Prosecution; along with other filings.

    Prosecution’s notice of appeal;

    See link: http://www.sc-sl.org/scsl/public/SCSL-03-01-Talyor%20Appeal/SCSL-03-01-A-1300.pdf

    Public with confidential Annex A notice of appeal of Charles Ghankay Taylor

    See link: http://www.sc-sl.org/scsl/public/SCSL-03-01-Talyor%20Appeal/SCSL-03-01-A-1301.pdf

    Public with confidential Annex A and confidential Annex B Charles Ghankay Taylor’s motion for partial voluntary withdrawal or disqualification of Appeals Chamber Judges

    See link: http://www.sc-sl.org/scsl/public/SCSL-03-01-Talyor%20Appeal/SCSL-03-01-A-1302.pdf

    Public Scheduling order for written submissions regarding rules 111, 112 and 113

    See link: http://www.sc-sl.org/scsl/public/SCSL-03-01-Talyor%20Appeal/SCSL-03-01-A-1303.pdf

    Take care,

    Sekou

  2. Our prayer is with President Taylor. May God prolong his days on earth, while his enemies go to face justice before the most high God.

    • I agree that taylor get more years to live as long he does not live a free man! We agree also that taylor pays for his crimes against humanity and his deciples to face justice one by one before the Almighty for what they knowingly did to others!
      As for the appeal process; we know this is just formality and nothing is going to change. However, it gives hope to taylor group so they can live on their fantasies as always. All we know is that there is God, and whether one believes, or not, does not change the fact! Praise be to the Almighty….

  3. there WE GO AGAIN all at the expense of tax payers

  4. Who are your Charles Taylor’s enemies that will face justice before the most high God? Those he ordered killed in Sierra Leone, Republic of Guinea, the late Sam Dokie and his wife, Jackson F. Doe, Dr. Yekenson, Sam Bockarie and his family, Johnny Paul Kromah and his Family, Steven Danial, the 6 Catholic Nuns, and many other prominent Liberians killed in cold blood. I am wondering if you are talking of God or god. Keep-up, he will return as the next President of Liberia until Judgment day.

  5. No matter what some of you may think or feel, God will definitely fight the battle of justice for President taylor. Sam Dokie got paid in his own coin as he was on his way to Guinea to join LURD rebels to wreck havoc on peaceful Liberians; Jackson Doe and Stephen Daniels died by the hands of their kinsmen who felt that as a former officials , they did nothing for their people of Nimba (grudge); Bokarie melted in the Ivorian crisis and met his waterloo there; and you blame Taylor for Jonny Paul’s death? Taylor does not even know when and where Jonny Paul died.

    So whatever your evil wish for Pres. Taylor, the God of Justice and Vengeance will deliver Taylor from the evil hands of his enemies.

  6. Emmanuel, Sam Dokie, the Wife, the Servant were detained at the Manson and soon that morning, Benjamin Yeatan loaded them in a pick-up to Gbangai high-way where he burnt them alive and you here saying he was running to Guinea. Sorry, you people together with your Charles Taylor are bounch of Torrorists in Liberia. Sam Bockarie and his family were ordered killied because of his cup full of diamonds your father Charles Taylor took from him, and Johnny Paul Kromah because he did not want him to stand witness against him in the near future. Are you saying that Dr. Yekenson was killed by his kinsmen, the 6 Catholic Nuns ordered raped and killed were also killed by their kinsmen. God has already started showing you people example, the first son is serving 90 years jail and the father will not survive from going to jail. Keep praying to your human killing god and not (God)

    • This site was established with the intent for mainly African journalists to comment on the trial. However, the site took a nose dived from the intended purpose to mostly Liberians ducking it out. The part that amazes me the most, some of these idiot comments are tasteless, baseless and without substance. Sicken!

      • Go back and read the Objectives of this site, what, so you can get your acts together. We art liberians who want justice and here we are to stay to the end! No threats or garbage from anyone will stop us..period! Get use to this.. we are not idiots like some!

        • Wishing you well. Hope you do stay to the end . haha!

        • just in short term bro, you are a fool to say, we are Liberians who want justice, is this case for Liberians? some of you guys are just stupid especially this jfallahmenjor, if you are talking about justice, about Liberians than let the International Coummunity Set the same Court in Liberia but, I tell you it will never happen because they know what will happen. this hold Taylor Trail is behond what is on the surface:

  7. I am just curious as to how well will the Government of Sierra Leone handle Charles Ghankay Taylor’s Motion for Partial Voluntary Withdrawal or Disqualification of Appeals Chamber Judges

    See link: http://www.sc-sl.org/scsl/public/SCSL-03-01-Talyor%20Appeal/SCSL-03-01-A-1302.pdf

    Take care,

    Sekou

    • Seku,

      The right question to asked, how the west will handle Charles Ghankay Taylor’s motion for partial voluntary withdrawal Disqualification of Appeals Chamber Judges. The answer to your question, the same way how the Noemi Campbell’s subpoena was handled after the prosecution rested. This is misconduct of justice as it best. Judge Sow’s statement was clandestinely removed off court record, while on the other hand appeal judges who are to preside over the appeal sanctioned judge Sow on record. This trial is a mockery of justice. They need to stop this entire BS, take Mr. Taylor to the firing squid and shoot him in the head. This is not fair to the people of S.L. and tax payers.

      • It would sound silly for anyone to, primaturely, believe that the appeal process will affect the sierra leone’s government in any way! Let’s focus on the relevants, Sekou, for i know you sound like a scholar,and most likely, religious man, that should not sound so unawared of all circumstances, involved, in the taylor trial. It is sad for some of you rights protesters to come out here to,not only discredit the Court of Sierra Leone, but to cave into the same stereotype that “nothing good comes from africa”unquote; No matter how bitter taylor diehards become, will never change the outcomes very significantly!

    • Dear WHAT?,

      I will not offer any suggestions as to the outcome of this motion. All I will say is unless Mr. Taylor is given a fair trial; the Sierra Leone Government is no different than what they say Mr. Taylor is. If they know for certain that he is guilty; there should not have been any problems proving it.

      Take care,

      Sekou

  8. Sekou, thank you once again for the link provided. It’s rich and sound. Looking forward to seeing reaction from the other side. They always get what they want in this case anyways, so we expect no changes from how Mr. Taylor has been treated through the course of the trial. Good luck to the defense counsels. Boy o boy, the entire trial is a disgrace to justice and anyone who know the law. How can anyone sound coin this “a fair trial” is beyond reason. No offend! But reading through your last link, Sekou, I could not believe the foul plays from these judges.

    Speaking of ethic and professionalism, it’s unbelievable how far the so-called system is from those two words since the genesis of the Taylor trial.

    Good job underlining those fouls play DC!!

    Have a nice week Sekou, merci beaucoup!

    Tomas

  9. Sekou,
    I don’t know if you have personally been involved in jury/judges selrvtion process, An alternate or proper jury in processes as such are advice to keep their personal emotioms out of the procrdings. Usually most people chosen in these suitations result to writting books, or engaged in lectures after the facts but justice Sow’s anger couple with ill advice from who? you tell me will hunt his futures.. As long as Charles Taylor continue to be kept behind bars the world and west africa will continue to be a safe place for mankind.

    • Dear Ziggy Salis,

      I am unable to answer your question as to who advised Justice Sow to reveal what he considered an injustice. Perhaps you are willing to pass over an injustice to punish one you think has been unjust; but some people are not.

      Perhaps Justice Sow considered his loss a lesser amount than Mr. Taylor’s; should injustice prevail. I do not believe one can proclaim to be just when his actions are prejudiced against others. Again, if Mr. Taylor is guilty; there should be no problem proving it.

      Take care,

      Sekou

    • @ Ziggy

      “Someone terrorist is another person’s hero”

    • you name it ziggy

  10. Ziggy Salis, do u keep up with current events around the world. If you’re smart enough to draw your own West Africa map, could you possibly say the area has been safe since Taylor left? Be honest to yourself, please!

    What has, and is happening to Mali, Ivory Coast, and the Guineas; are those crisis Taylor’s doings?

    Look, no matter how crazy a person is, he should be able to tell truth from fiction. You and so many people use this “as long Taylor is kept away, west Africa will know peace'” beat to justify your conspiracy (yes, I said conspiracy), to justify this joke your decorate in “trial” uniform for your own good. And whosoever does not dance along with your is a “Taylor loyalist” or a terrorist. What is wrong with your and your death tags? These are the tactics of those who destabilized west Africa from the beginning, even after Taylor left. Enough with the marginalizing tricks. Get real, and accept the simple fact that peace in west Africa means pleasing those who control regimes in this region.

    Your used the same “Taylor and Doe’s loyalists” to kill both Krahns and other Liberian natives in the name of getting rid of Taylor from the region. Over 250,000 Liberians were sent to their graves, and those behind this heavy lost were rewarded with undemocratic powers against Liberians will.

    Then your moved on to Ivory to plant another regime while getting rid of another west African leader in Ivory Coast. Everyone who did not fight against him was also a loyalist, mercenary, or a tribal supporters. Just last year, 3000 plus “loyalists” were also killed including innocent Liberians that I personally knew. Beheaded because they were Liberians, and anyone Liberians u guys and your western media has already declared fit for death. They were not supporting the OWO, therefore, they were enemies of democracy. But Taylor is a threat to West Africa region! And anyone who disagrees with such nonsense are his loyalists? What happened to freedom and human rights?

    Over 30,000. if not above 100k Libyans were murdered in cold blood because they did not fight along terrorists in their country. They, too, were loyalist according to your tag, Your bombed them all for months until Gaddafi was brutally killed. Nothing said. When do u stop these fictions of Taylor being the God of War in West Africa? When do u guys stop slaughtering innocent people and stop calling those who disagree “terrorists?” Grow up, and get real! West Africans might not all come here and express their knowledge, but they know who’s doing what in that region.

    And Peace in West Africa has nothing to do with Taylor not being there. If ADO or Ellen decided to take side with Liberians and Ivorians, their countries will be in flames. Taylor’s crime was that he opposed the Bankers who want to control the world’s resources and wealth. Teach him your lesson, but leave “justice, SL, et la paix in West africa” out of your inhumanity. We the 99% of the world know better by now. Those who don’t want their countries rob and exploited, are the enemies of peace because the bankers burn those countries down until they have a full control to starve its people. That “we’ll show u who’s the boss!” mentality is sic!!!

    Peace,

    Tomas

    • tomas
      yes. and taylor is a a saint. next time the pope is around, he will lift him up.
      good joke, buddy.

  11. Mr. Thomas, all this writing of yours is just best for yourself. I don’t care how evil or cruel one is, there must be people to seight with him or her. Your Charles Taylor is no different from the late Idi Amin of Uganda. Charles Taylor is Human Being eater. This, he did openly and most of us saw it. Charles Taylor is number two Terrorist in Africa after the late Khadafi of Libya where he had his Terrorist training after escaping jail in the United States of America. Proving his terrorism was when he secretively invited the late Osama bin ladin to Liberia. This he did and I saw it and not they say.
    Most of you are beating drums behind this man maybe, because of his alledged $3.7 billion dollars in various Banks. Being against the president of Liberia is well understood. That is, she sees Liberians as one people and decided to treat Liberians equally, equal. She is distributing positions in government not by WHO ARE, OR WERE YOUR PARENTS but, by WHAT YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU CAN DO for Liberia. Deny it or not, this is exactly the problems she is facing with you people. With this attitude in her, she will live longer and her children will face no problem in Liberia and in Africa as a whole but, you try and send one of Charles Taylors’ 14 children to either Sierra Leone, Guinea or Ivory Coast and she whether he or she will return. To be franked to you, your Charles Taylor is a disgrace to Liberia, the First Republic in Africa.

    • Some of you idiot must be grateful to Mr. Taylor for the political asylum you all are enjoying today. To prove that you are a pathological liar you have the audacity to mentioned in your rambling “She (Ellen) is distributing positions in government not by WHO ARE, OR WERE YOUR PARENTS but, by WHAT YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU CAN DO for Liberia”. You are another one of those Zig Zags. Follow the link silly, before you write garbage the next time. http://www.news.heritageliberia.net/index.php/inside-heritage/governance/268-cyril-allen-deputy-micat-boss-clash

      …And if you want more links to proved that you are a lier, please feel free to asked.

      • Mr. “WHAT?”,
        This be your cry baby, Sir! http://allafrica.com/stories/201208071214.html
        She’s hurt by the truth. As we say in San Pedro, it it redens the eyes, especially when she’s (the Truth) naked.

        And while I am not hear to convince anyone to change position, I’ll let you and you man to wipe the dust off your donkey and “TRY TO BE RATIONAL!” when taking on these terroristic jobs of defending evil for a penny. Ellen may have killed my family and hide behind the Distric of Criminals, but I know the truth of these dumb games. She knows nada, so does those working for her to feed her master who helped her found the war with millions: http://allafrica.com/stories/201208080300.html. U still thinks she gives jobs to qualified people? LOL…

        • Your comment is incoherent. I am not sure what your point is. Do you agreed or disagreed that Ellen is a war monger grandma, corrupted, full of nepotism, and vindictive? Maybe you are new to this forum, and lacking knowledge of the trial. Your comments are rubbish, as the alleged late jfallahmenjor used to say (RIP). Why don’t you go back and read earlier postings on the trial, and bring yourself up to date. You need to seized from making all these nonsense comments. Silly! Your lies may have ended you in San Pedro; you are one of those who jumped on the band wagon to lie on Mr. Taylor. You should be grateful to Mr. Taylor, you know. What else are you benefitting from beside the political asylum, housing, food, monthly allowance, car, medical, education, and money to start small business, while victims of S.L. are left hanging to dried?

  12. Jtf, I concord with your assessment of these irrational beings that fail to “see clearly after the rain has gone.” These guys really believe taylor is their savior and mentor. This shows you how low and uncivilized most people seem even with all the efforts made by Missionaries in Liberia to change the views and perceptions of these people. If taylor would turn death ear to cannibalism, would you expect Sekou, Tomas, or What to agree that such practice was not only evil, but unchristian or unmuslim? Birds of the same feathers flock together is as true as the case of taylor and his followers. These guys should never be allowed to hold any position of trust in Liberia if we want the population to increase and not get eaten by their very practices! I am tired of calling attention to these despical citizens of our Land, that they can go to blazes if they disagree with the cour rulings or shut up. Too much noise, and signifying nothing! Go protest in Ney york, or at UN! Taylor is gone, we are happy in Liberia. Case close!

  13. Than Ellen is the worse virus in Liberia and all of Africa. Remember, she created the monster you speak of! She is the father and mother of the wars you speak of, and she has no regard for law and or life outside her family circle. And an old lady who shuts down opposition media houses, steals elections, shoots innocent peaceful protesters, sits on the findings of the TRC as a way to avoid justice for her war crimes and distributes positions to her fellow criminals and relatives, is better than Taylor? If anything, she’s best left to God for judgement, jtf. Our fate would be better off if there was never Ellen Johnson born in Liberia, Taylor wouldn’t even be where he is now. We would be doing a lot of good things instead following this nonsense we called trial for justice.

    • It could equally be said that;’cursed is the day taylor was born’ for had he been aborted, or lost through miscarriage, 250,000 citizens would not have met their untimely deaths! Cursed, also, is taylor being born on the liberian soil, because had Bob Gray turned his forefathers away, there would have never been such damned name in Liberia! Therefore, Tomas, if taylor is your mother or uncle, you may want to curse that relationship,in order to be fair in your judgement of others!

    • tomas
      even if all were true what you are saying: at least she is not a cannibal.

  14. Now is a legal battle. The previous was a preparation. This man is likely to walk free.

    • sasco
      on no not again, taylor will rot in jail.

      • Than Ellen is the worse virus in Liberia and all of Africa. Remember, she created the monster you speak of! She is the father and mother of the wars you speak of, and she has no regard for law and or life outside her family circle. And an old lady who shuts down opposition media houses, steals elections, shoots innocent peaceful protesters, sits on the findings of the TRC as a way to avoid justice for her war crimes and distributes positions to her fellow criminals and relatives, is better than Taylor? If anything, she’s best left to God for judgement, jtf. Our fate would be better off if there was never Ellen Johnson born in Liberia, Taylor wouldn’t even be where he is now. We would be doing a lot of good things instead following this nonsense we called trial for justice.

  15. God bless former president taylor, one day he is going to walk free from the prison.

  16. barlea
    on no, not again, taylor will stay in jail