Delay in Posting Comments This Weekend

Dear Readers,

Just a quick note to let you know that the posting of comments will be delayed this weekend.  I am away with limited access to the internet until Tuesday. Sorry to slow down the conversation as it is so lively at the moment, but I promise to post your comments as soon as possible, hopefully at least a few times over this weekend.  Please still keep your comments coming! There are a lot of interesting discussions happening right now prompted by Mr. Rapp’s interview.

I look forward to hearing from you. Lovely weekend to all.


  1. Tracey,
    After listening to all that hot air from Stephen Rapp you deserve a little rest. Having said that we appreciate the time Mr. Rapp gave even though he evaded most questions posed.

    1. Hi Aki – thanks for pointing us to Shelby Grossman’s blog. It is also an interesting source of analysis for people about the Taylor trial.

  2. Yes! Tracey does need a break! Like the Liberian people will say, “enjoy! enjoy! until you die.” Yes’o , Liberian people say that “there is one life to live so you must enjoy.”

  3. Tracey,

    I add my voice to that of Big B, You are doing an excellent job. Weare all very grateful for this site as it has given us and the world an opportunity to see this case in full and at the same time voice our views in an open forum.

    I wish to commend the you and host of this site and all who conceived the idea to set it up. It is an example of transparency and accountability. WELL DONE!!!!!!

    1. Hi Andrew – I am. Will be back in full force tomorrow, so hope you and other readers keep commenting.

      In the meantime, I have seen so many posts on this issue of political trials. I am wondering: what do people consider the elements of a fair and independent trial to be? Does the Taylor trial meet this standard?


      1. Tracey

        I believe that the Charles Taylor trial is a political trial. Let me state my view on this. I urge my friends Bnker, Hellen, King Gray Noko, Peking others to weigh in.

        The trial of Taylor is cosmetic. The trial invokes all tenets of law, in order to legitimize the putting away of Taylor. The putting away of Taylor is a political agenda. The trial serves to promote the interest and philosophy of big governments in respond to that agenda. So the intent of the trial has little to do with justice. The big nations that wish to see Taylor put away are using the court in order to achieve that agenda.

        However, the trial itself is fair as far as I am concerned. I believe that Taylor is being accorded due process. The tribunal is impartial and Taylor is presumed innocent. He has a defense team that intends to summon 227 witnesses. Although there were disparity in time allotted for both defense and prosecution to prepare their respective cases, I think that issue is of little consequence now as the case is in full swing. We have not heard substantial account of abuse or ill-treatment of the accused. Although at some point there was a contention of Taylor wearing a waist-band, but the judges were swift in addressing that concern. And for clarity, it was the Dutch Government decision to place the waist-band on Taylor.

        So the trial is fair and it is free. However, the verdict will not be based on the outcome of the proceedings but based on appeasement of political appetite of big nations. Whether the judges will succumb to pressure from their donors or remain true to their oath is left to be seen.

      2. Tracey,
        We say POLITICAL because under a normal condition, this case wouldn’t have come this far….the MANDATE of the court alone should have DISMISSED this case.

        What we have seen presented in this court…..FACTUAL FACTS vs HEARSAYS !!! Like Mr. Taylor said….him been in jail was based on the UN EXPERTS PANEL REPORT. No one with COMMON SENSE will read that report and don’t ask questions??? Were everythings mentioned CHECKOUT to be SURE?? And the answer is a fat NO.
        So why can’t the prosecutors come to that conclusion also??? Amazely, we see FRONTLINE doing a documentary singing the same notes of this UN EXPERTS, making what LIES they were telling to be factual….PURE WICKIEST!!!!!

        Just today, RUF’s manifesto was read in court, a document known to the prosecutors but kept away from the public…..WHY??? The manifesto basically layout Mr. Taylor’s relationship and the climate in ’95 when it was written. NO WHERE within did we see or read A SECRET PACT which of course is the BACKGROUND to this trial. Moreso, it told us RUF was long alived even before Mr. Taylor lauched his revolution when we’re told he was the GODFATHER. ULIMO was mentioned in that manifesto and who is the prosecutors STAR WITNESS in this case related to ULIMO??? Mr Sherrif!!! And we are to believe his words????

        I know you said you’ll wait for ALL sides to rest before coming to a judgement, but you yourself must be wondering. Take the COLLECTION and STORAGE of evidences…missing datas, missing evidences eventhough the log showed collected, no chain of command etc etc etc. And this is suppose to be the GREATEST court on Earth….funded by MILLIONS of dollars???

        Really, whatelse are we to see or know????

  4. Tracey, I think when people refer to this trial as a political trial they are not refering to the elements of the court itself. I think we all recognize that so far the judges in this trial have proven to be fair but the term political trial refer to the policy that establishes this case against Mr. Taylor.

    The policy that decided to indict Mr. Taylor and put him on trial was pure political without any legal reasoning. Take for example, the issue of internatonal law, according to Mr. Stephen Rapp, crimes against humanity are international crimes that over ride the soverienty of a nation. Mr Rapp said that despite whether amnesty was given for individuals in any nation , such individuals could still be prosecuted under international law for crimes against humanity. If what Mr. Rapp says is true then why is the very international community not prosecuting other warlords in Liberia for war crimes in Liberia? Why are they saying that the Liberia TRC report which recommends the prosecution of war criminals should be left to the will of the Liberian people? Why is this contradiction and selective justice?

    But more so, in the SL trials Mr Rapp categorize war crimes committed by various fighting group. He indicated that RUF was ranked number one, AFRC ranked number 2, CDF ranked number 3, followed by the Sierra Leone army, ECOMOG forces, Executive Outcomes and others.

    The question here is simple: why is Mr. Rapp grouping crimes against humanity by the various fighting forces. I would think that individuals committed those crimes and that those individuals should be held responsible for committing those crimes? Crimes against humanity is crime against humanity unless Mr. Rapp is suggesting that some people humanity are more valuable than others. But interestingly, Tejan Kabbah was the head of the “Executive Outcome, CDF, and SLA” and it is clearly documented that these forces committed atrocities but Kabban is not on trial.

    Rapp says he does not know if Kabbah had any knowledge about the atrocities or crimes against humanity that these Kabbah’s groups committed. How would Rapp know if Kabaah is not made to answer questions like Charles Taylor is doing? Or is Rapp telling us for sure that he actually knows that Taylor is guilty of war crimes? This is the political nature of this case, those who control this court and finance its policy applies the law one way against one group of people and appy it another way against another group of people. International law applies to Taylor and those who are percieved to be his associates but international law does not apply to Tejan Kabbah and Ellen Johnson. Is that any law or politics?

  5. Hi Tracey-glad you are back kicking and Scratching. The element of a fair an independent trial to me in a nutshell is when the judge(s) without malice apply the same set of rules to both parties involved in a legal proceeding. In addition, the burden of proof rest on the persecution, and when in doubt the benefit goes to the defense. So far, Taylor is getting a fair shake down; the judges are doing a terrific job. Kudos to them. However, we should be mindful, not because the proceeding is going on fairly it means that the VERDICT will necessarily be fair. The case is political and the verdict could also be political. As an optimist, this will not be the case.

  6. Tracey, poltical trial within my view means, prosecuting someone/politician in an unjust manner since you can not accomplish or defeat him through a legal means and through elections in a political process. Notwithstanding, politics simply means, who gets what, when, and how. In order words, it is the authoritative allocation of wealth. However, the Liberian and Sierra leonean opposition politicians understood that defeating President Taylor through election was a fleeting illusion to be pursuit knowing his popularity in Liberia and Africa at large. They therefore, decided to collaborate with the West who also had interest in the natural resources of both countries, but could not get hold on it because of President Taylor refusal to allow them exploit the people, take their resources, and profit from the misery of the people within the case of Liberia. The two groups formed an alliance. The West having all of the powers and resouces, sponsored and abetted an unjust war to remove a democratically elected government of President Taylor. You know the rest of the story. They lied, cheated and deceived the world. They indicted a sitting president in violation of UN Resolution. They reneged on the agreement that took him to Nigeria. They are now prosecuting him for the same thing others did and were not charged. Tracey, I could go on and on, but you know the rest of the story.

    I hope I was able to help you.

  7. Guys, Tracey provided a link here reated to the evidence that Rapp suggested concerning Taylor’s LBDI account. Rapp told the world another bold lie that some $1 plus was deposited in the Government of Liberia’s account in the morning and later that same day that very money was transfered to Taylor’s private account at the LBDI.

    If you guys could just follow this link on Shelby Grossman’s Blog you will see what I am talking about. Stephen Rapp continue to decieve the world and waste needed human and capital resources for a political trial. The money wasted on this trial could have done a lot of good for the people of SL.

    here is the link:

    1. I think it is about time for Jose Rodriguez to check Shelby Grossman’s website. It is long overdue. No more delay.

  8. King Gray,

    To clarify what I wrote in my blog: First, as I note in the post, I may be confused about the discrepancy between what Stephen Rapp said and what the UN report said. But if I’m not, the larger point that Mr. Taylor took kickbacks from multi-national corporations and directly stole funds from his country is supported by both the report and Mr. Rapp’s response to questions from readers of this blog.



    1. Miss Grossman,

      Accountability has been a major departure in governance of african governments, Liberia included. Taylor’s and the current Ellen administration are no exception. Past and the present government of Liberia have failed to take meaningful steps to ensure accountability and check and balance. There have been suppression of opposition, suppression of press, secrecy of budgets, contracts and expenditures to name a few. These acts brew corruption. The leadership have encourage these acts and they enjoy the consolidation of power to perpetuate selfish agenda. Corruption in Liberia is not unique to Mr. Taylor Administration.

      A few have used the wealth of the country to their own advantage while the majority remain poor. 65-80% poverty rate and 85% illiteracy rate are not accidents. The country being backward and underdeveloped is not an accident. They are intentional designs. Ellen can take the bull by the horn and take some meaningful step to begin the breakaway with corrupt acts. For example:

      1. She can begin by dealing without favor with anyone including official who is found engaged in corruption.

      2. Reduce the power of the presidency by attempting to amend the constitution so that county officials and judges are elected. let county official draw up their budgets, implement it and report to central governments on a quarterly basis.

      3. The election commission derives its authority from the legislature with members being nominated by civic groups and the body decides its leadership on a rotating basis. That way the election commission will be free of executive manipulation, even when Ellen leaves office.

      4. Her administration can set the pace for contracts to be disclose for public comments and scrutiny before it is signed by government.

      5. The LPA system in Liberia be abolished. Government should not be a party to private citizens and their business transactions.

      I can go on but I hope the point is clear. But Ellen will not do any of these because government running is supposed to be a secret affair rather than a public one.

      But back to the issue at hand, the question posed to Mr. Rapp was not about Taylor’s corruption, but the billions that Taylor allegedly accrued from Sierra Leone diamonds, that are stacked in foreign accounts, which is an issue of contention in this case. Mr. Rapp circumvented the issue to introduce a sidekick. But it is clear that there is no billions of dollars and Rapp misled the world.

  9. Hi Everyone,

    Tracey threw a topic for us to ponder over. I expected opinions on the topic to have overflowed or overwhelmed this medium. How is a trial considered to be fair and independent and how does this trial fits in?

    I gave my view and some others King, Jose, etc. I hope others can contribute. I you read my comments you will conclude that I believed that the trial is fair. It is easy to evaluate degrees of fairness. However, levels of independence is more difficult to ascertain because it involves some personal judgement. And its determination is done after the fact. This is where questions of doubt lingers. Will the judges be independent in the rendering of the verdict. So far I believe that they are being independent. They have made decisions regardless of fear or favor.

    The big question is will the verdict be applied similar standard? A fair answer is we hope so.

    The trial has been fair and the judges have demonstrated degrees of independence in their decisions. We hope this will continue to the end of the trial.

  10. Shelby, I do not think taking kickbacks is anything knew in this world. All over the world government officials do take kickbacks, In the United States , it is called lobbying. But so what if Mr. Taylor was taking kick backs, it is the Liberian people under Liberian laws that should deal with such issues. This is one of the problems that continue to give an impression that other humans are inferior. What has this court got to do with any government officials taking kick backs? Let us try to respect each nation and its laws instead of people like Stephen Rapp acting as a god for the earth.

  11. Hi Tracey,

    In response to your question of political trials and what we consider to be the elements of a fair and independent trial, I will start by first saying and reiterating that this trial is in my opinion very political but is being held under the guise of justice. While I am quite impressed thus far at the apparent fairness of the judges thus far, I am sceptical as to the final judgement. .

    This is because first of all Mr Tauylor has already been condemn in the court of public opinion by the very countries that are financing this trial. They led the world to believe that this man was guilty without doubt and that there was overwhelming evidence to prove it. Mr Bush was so convinced that he insisted that this man should step down from power in 2003. Where in the world is it legally allowed for one president of a country to order another president of another sovereign country to relinquish power? This is the first instance of the political nature of this trial The very way in which Mr Taylor was ordered to step down by Mr Bush.

    We also have the way inb which the indictment was unsealed.According to Mr David Crane, “it was to give maximum humiliation to Mr. Taylor” Why should a prosecutor seek humiliation of an African President. He is there to prosecute the legal aspects of the case not get some sick satisfaction out of humiliating a man howbeit “evil” he is perceived to be. The law is not meant to humiliate but to expound justice. When these types of emotive expressions enter the picture they do connote a political context.

    Then we have the tacit agreement on the terms of his exile which were bridged by the international community which is again another fact of political interference. The international community was fully aware of the arrangements of the exile of Mr Taylor and in fact assured him, regional leaders and his leutenants that this arrangement would be respected; only to dishonour it.

    Now on the involvement of the UN in this trial. We see from the socalled documents that the court used to bas the indictment on “UN Reports” were seriously flawed to the extent of being carefully constructed lies. Why would a socalled august body as the United Nations intentionally put forward such erroneous documents and then go further as to act upon it not just in the instance of Mr Taylor alone but assocuiates of his who hav no direct involvement in the affrars of Sierra Leone or directly in Liberian policies? This is again meant to exercise maximum punitive damage; all without any substantive evidence. This is all because they have the power to do so and can. This in my opinion is political. When the powerful can exercise their power over the weaker without a just or substantiated reason, is a very strong indication of political influence and control.

    Now here we have the same UN setting up this court with monies from the same powerful nations that had a beef with Mr. Taylor from the onset. What does it tell us? It is obvious that this is with an ultimate political agenda to bring the man to his knees.

    Now as to whether this trial is independent, I am not sure of that. It has already been prejudiced by the western media, and the funders of the court. How can your accusers be the very one who is paying for your trial? This Court would not stand the test under any national jurisdiction. It would have been seen to be biased from the first instance. However let’s for argument sake assume that there is some altruistic reason why the court was set up and that they may try to be fair. What is the guarantee that those who are funding the salaries of the judges will not tamper with the verdict?

    iI am not very optimistic that they will be satisfied with Mr Taylor being acquitted as they will see it as a slap in their face after all the hype over this case in the first place. The judges are in a very difficult place, I would say as they have an obligation to expend justice but are constrained by those who fund ansd sponsor the court and pay their salaries. CAN THEY DO THE RIGHT THING? It remains to be seen.

    We then go to the rules of the court; where in the world has anyone seen this level of evidence or may I say the lack thereof presented in a court and yet the judges still say that there is a case to be answered? I am shocked that the socalled human rights groups are sitting by and letting this happen; but oh I forgot they too are being finajced by the same people.

    Well there it goes Tracey. How can this case be free and fair or for that matter meet the standard of an independent trial. This is a very hard one.

    It would meet the standard if the UN and international community would first of all admit that the documents used fro the indictment were flawed and to a large extent manipulated, and then produce more accurate reports based on truth, lift the TravelBan and Asset Freeze on these individuals who are associates of Taylor who have no means of redress in any court.
    Allow the judges to make their decision solely based on the legality of the case free from any political interference from them.
    Report the truth of this case rto the world just as they were reporting that Taylor was definitely guilty
    Let justice be for all rather than selective; only to one group.
    Mete out the same burden of proof to others as they did to Mr Taylor regardless of who they are etc.

    Shall I go on? I guress I have said more than enough

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