Charles Taylor’s testimony was cut short for the second day in a row, as prosecutors asked for more time to “rearrange strategies” for the cross-examination of the former Liberian president on trial for his alleged role in crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s brutal conflict.
Today’s adjournment follows from yesterday’s developments, when Special Court for Sierra Leone judges refused to allow the prosecution to “introduce new evidence” in Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination. Instead, the judges asked the prosecution to submit a formal written application to justify why new evidence that had not been part of the prosecution’s case – nor part of Mr. Taylor’s direct-examination — needed to be admitted.
Yesterday, Mr. Taylor’s defense team had called the efforts to introduce “fresh evidence” a “trial by ambush.” Court was adjourned to allow the prosecution to “rearrange” their “strategies” and to continue their cross-examination of the accused today. When court resumed this morning, lead prosecution counsel, Ms. Brenda Hollis, requested an adjournment until Monday as the prosecution needed more time to plan. The application was granted by the judges.
The accused former Liberian president is facing charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone from November 30 1996. Mr. Taylor is alleged to have supported the rebel forces in Sierra Leone through the supply of arms and ammunition in return for blood diamonds, to have been in a position of control ofver Sierra Leonean rebels so that he could have prevented or punished their crimes during the conflict, and to have joined with them in a joint criminal plan — to install a friendly government in Sierra Leone and exploit its natural resources – which involved the commission of international crimes. The former Liberian president has denied the charges.
Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination continues on Monday.