Interview with Chief Prosecutor, Stephen Rapp – answers coming soon

Dear Readers,

Mr. Rapp spoke with us on the weekend and answered a good number of readers’ questions. His time was limited as he was in between flights at the airport, so we did not get through all questions.  But we tried to ensure that almost everyone who submitted questions got at least one of their questions answered.  For those whose questions remained unanswered, you will get priority when the next interview opportunity arrives – just remind us.

Can you give me a day or two to get it all transcribed from my tape recorder and then post it?  I know people are eager to hear what Mr. Rapp had to say.  I will try to get through it as quickly as possible.




  1. Tracey,

    wish you all the best. i believe you can have all the time that you need. I just cannot imagine the level of delusion had this media not been in place. Our hearts out to all of you and you should be bestowed strength to edure as you carry on your work.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Andrew. I appreciate them. I will try to get the interview up and posted as soon as possible.

      Thanks as always for your patience,


    1. Hi Ziggy — let’s see if others have the same problem. If there are techincal difficulties at the SCSL’s end, I will be happy to raise it with the court.

    2. Ziggy,

      I was able to watch the trial on August 31st with only the usual occasional breaks. I am using Comcast high speed broad band.

  2. Thank You!!! You and your colleagues are doing a great job in providing us with a window into this momentous ‘precedent setting’ judical and geo-political drama.
    Once again
    ‘Thank You’
    As Always Wadi’The Zima’

  3. Tracy,
    Thanks for your continuous and time consuming efforts. Looking forward to your interview with Courtenay Griffiths.

    1. Hi Aki — thank you. Yes, I think many of us will also be looking forward to hearing from Mr. Griffiths, given the defense case to date.

      Meanwhile, we will get up the interview with Mr. Rapp as soon as we can – I know that has generated a lot of interest too.


  4. Bnker and Al Solo Nyonteh,

    Grateful to be dialogue with such learned minds. This wave of exchange that is sweeping across Liberia is healthy. I believe that had past leaders of Liberia been opened to differring views situation in our beloved country would not have been as appalling as they are. In one of my recent posts, I suggested that we find ways to continue our exchange of ideas after the Open Society closes this site down when this trial is over. we can come up with ideas. I was throwing in medium like facebook, twitter or even discussing with Tracey as to how we can open a website of this nature. I know it would require monitoring/updating and upkeeping. But we should begin to ponder over this. It will be healthy for our country.

    I have always admired and aknowledged the degree of tolerance and civility that this administration has demonstrated. It is remarkable. My concern is not with the present but what happens when she leaves without establishing a structure to nurture and protect the legacy that she has begun. Ellen has to create laws and put into place mechanism regulate our democratic behavior. How those mechanism and laws are crafted will be the object of debate that we all contribute towards. We should use this time to put some system into place. what have we learned from the pasts, and what can we do to prevent similar situation from recurring? These are my concern.

    For instance I have suggested that we come up with a Liberian styled election commission that assumes its responsibility and composition from the constitution or the legislature. A system whereby the president will not be involve in the appointment, removal or administration of the election commission. The membership could be drawn from a cross-section of Liberian society and they upon sitting select a chairman on a rotational basis. The membership could be drawn from the Liberian bar association, press union of liberia, interfaith mediation committee, council of chiefs and elders, etc. Names will be nominated, submitted to the president and transmitted to the legislature for confirmation. These are just few ideas that could be expounded upon so as to prevent manipulation of the election commission.

    Another system is to pass laws reducing the appointing powers of the president. We could amend the constitution to allow superintendents, commissioners and magisterial judges to be elected rather than they being appointed by the president.

    Guys, there are work to be done. Ellen craved for this presidency. I was hoping to see sweeping reforms and changes. while we hail her achievements they are not out of the ordinary. We even expect more.

    Where we differ I believe a little is on the the view that Ellen should be exonerated from the waves of astrocity that Liberia experienced. She is not above the law. We should hold her to the same standard that we hold CT to as far as the years of the war are concerned. One should face their responsibility and not evade it. We should forgave and forget.

    That is why the TRC Final Report should be allowed to die a natural death. which Liberian has the right to withch-haunt another Liberian over the other? That report is a disgrace and a disservice to the Liberian people. Take survery now and see how many Liberians would advocate a war crime tribunal or attempts to bring war-lords to justice.

    My brother, we should begin to put into place a democratic system with laws and mechinations that will not rely on the good will or civility of individuals. If we get another despotic leader without system of check and balance in place, we have ourselves to blame.

    1. This site has been a great learning experience and it has been a pleasure to read your comments. You are right we need to contribute to Liberia and you have some good ideas. I think all Liberian abroad can offer a contribution if educated. Something so small, like storing a small percentage of your savings in a Liberian owned bank, can have a significant impact on the economy. I’m all for continuing our discussion after the Open Society closes this site down. Please keep me updated and educated.

  5. This site has been a great learning experience and it has been a pleasure to read your comments. You are right we need to contribute to Liberia and you have some good ideas. I think all Liberian abroad can offer a contribution if educated. Something so small, like storing a small percentage of your savings in a Liberian owned bank can have a significant impact on the economy. I’m all for continuing our discussion after the Open Society closes this site down. Please keep me updated and educated.

    1. Hi Andrew and Al-Solo,

      I really am delighted that people are interested in continuing the conversation generated on this site. The discussion so far has been thoughtful, engaged and reflective, and readers have grappled not only with issues in the trial itself, but also a lot of larger issues triggered by the Taylor trial, including what it means to have domestic accountability for crimes committed during conflict in Liberia, and what that accountability process might look like.

      I am happy to explore options at this end about possibilities for keeping this site open after the trial finishes. I would also welcome suggestions about other alternatives to this site to ensure people can continue the conversation after the trial finishes. Perhaps we can start a facebook page or something similar that people can join and keep discussing after the daily updates come to an end. Let’s give it some thought together. We still have some time to work it out.

      I will warmly welcome readers’ ideas and suggestions.


      1. Hello All,

        While I appreciate the exchange of ideas that go on this site, I would also like to caution against making this site a solely Liberian affair! I for one is neither a Liberian nor are my a Siereleonian, but am nonetheless interested in this trial. If any further discussion forum is to be worth it’s salt, then we would need to be discussing and analysing issues of global concerns. Like poverty, human right, good governance, climate change among other contemporary and transnational issues.

        And for you Tracey Gurd and your other collegues, you will not know how much your contributions have facilitated the exchange of views on this site. All eyes are on this trial! The reputation of SCSL is at stake!! Will justice prevail at the end of this trial? Let the judges decide!!!

    2. Andrew,

      I think we’ve had many exchanges and we seem to agree more than disagree. It’s almost like I know you. I remember one of the first threads that I read was yours, you expressed concerned about the continuity of the changes that have instituted. In the same breath, you address another possible problem, the power of the presidency. If I am not mistaken, I mentioned in the past the president was the prosecutor, judge, and jury. This is the first time at least in my life, that I can remember that judicial interference by the Executive is either nonexistent or extremely minimal (technically shouldn’t be any at all). The Government has lost cases, this is not something that I’ve heard during Doe or Taylor administrations. This is healthy and encouraging. The salary of government lawyers and judges have spiked incredibly. We will all agree that one of the reasons for corruption is low salary.

      I think we are finally pointing in the right direction. We all have a responsibility though. Al-Solo recommended ways that we all can contribute. In my opinion education and knowledge is the best way to move forward. Followed by private sector investment. However firstly people, we need to be discipline. Some government employees go to work at 9am and leave at 12 or 1pm. I am an advocate and believe for government to maximize its employees’ output–though radical– I think everyone below a director should be wage earners. That would what I would term, “imposed discipline”. Well, I could go on forever!

      But, yeah! let’s find a forum to continue this discussion. I hope Crown-Hill Peking could join, he seem insightful and calculative in this thoughts.

  6. Tracey,

    I sometimes wonder, you don’t get tired with us complaining and pouting? You know what, you deserve the “Super lady” award.


    1. Dear Bnker,

      You ask: Do I get tired of people “complaining and pouting”? Quite the opposite, dear Bnker! I’m delighted by how engaged, interested and attuned the readers are who comment on this site – I don’t think people pout and complain here (or if they do, it is often for a very legitimate reason). And quite aside from that, I find that so many readers who comment — such as yourself, Bnker — are always a pleasure to read with their measured analysis, thoughtfulness in approach to the issues at hand, and respect shown to other readers who may disagree with their opinions. As you know, we are monitoring the trial so I am neutral in the debate over Taylor’s guilt or innocence here, but I do enjoy learning from readers’ comments enormously.

      But thank you for your kind words!


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