August 25, 2008
At 10.08 today Court went back in open session, with half an hour delay in audio and video. Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty announced there had been a failure in the recording system but this had now been fixed, this being the reason that the Court had adjourned earlier this morning.
Subsequently she asked the head of the SCSL The Hague Sub-Office Gregory Townsend to relate his findings concerning the maximum security level measures during the transport of the accused.
Townsend mentioned a four page confidential report with a one page attachment, also confidential, a letter of the Dutch EBB, the Guarding and Protecting Service, which is part of the Dutch DJI, the Department of Prisons, wich comes under the responsability of the Dutch Minister of Justice. This report has been distributed to the Court. The report relates to the reasons why the security measures during transportation to and from the Court for Charles Taylor have raised to a maximum level. Dutch authorities have informed Townsend they are unable to cease the two extra security measures (chain around the waist and sensory deprivation) and will confirm this in writing.
Lead Defense Counsel Courtnenay Griffiths informed the Court that the Defense is dismayed at the attitude of the Dutch authorities. The maximum security measures apply to three individuals as mentioned in the confidential report. The first individual will not appear in Court until next November and has informed his lawyers that he will not accept these two security measures. The second individual is Charles Taylor. The third individual is not likely to appear soon in Court, if at all. So of these three individuals only one will in practice be subject to this regime and that is Charles Taylor. So there is no rational basis or justification for Taylor to be subject to these security measures. Even though his client strongly wishes Court proceedings to continue, he refuses to attend Court when these measures are in place. The Defense does not accept the conclusion of Townsend that this Court is powerless to act against these measures.
Prosecutor Nick Koumjian added that at least one of the other two individuals, to his knowledge, has a Court date in the very near future.
Subsequently the judges conferred after which Presiding Judge Doherty expressed their conclusion:
1. They have considered the report and heard what has been undertaken to have the transport regime of Charles Taylor changed;
2. These increased security measures are not due to any action or misbehaviour of the accused;
3. Remedies to have the security measures lifted have not been exhausted;
4. Concerning this matter the Defense may appeal to the President of this Court if it so wishes;
5. In the meantime, the accused is required to be in Court pending a resulution of the matter.
Then Court then went into private session to continue cross-examination of prosecution witness TF1-375 by Defense Counsel Terry Munyard.