Breaking News: Former SCSL Prosecutor, David Crane, Will Answer Readers’ Questions

Dear Readers,

We have some very exciting news —  In response to readers’ requests, the former Special Court prosecutor, David Crane, is willing to be interviewed and to answer your questions in relation to the Charles Taylor trial.

As many of you may already know, Mr. Crane was the first lead prosecutor at the Special Court and it was he who issued the original indictment for Mr. Taylor.

We’re now seeking your questions for him, a selection of which we will ask him during a phone interview currently planned for January 29.  The cut-off time for posting your questions is 24 hours in advance of the interview, and we will post the interview on the site during the following week.

To be clear up front: we will apply the same rule to this interview that we apply to all our posts.  That is, the questions need to focus on issues arising from Mr. Taylor’s trial, not on other readers (or in this case, Mr. Crane) as individuals.  As always, we are trying to create a respectful space here for discussion and we ask all our readers to help contribute to that goal.  So please note: We will only post comments, and ask Mr. Crane questions, which meet this criteria.

With that said, we warmly welcome your questions and look forward to seeing the issues you want to discuss with Mr. Crane.

Thanks so much to Mr. Crane for making himself available for us.

(Remember too, Mr. Taylor’s lead counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, has also agreed to answer readers’ questions when Mr. Taylor’s testimony is finished).


  1. Hi Tracey,

    Questions to David Crane will follow the same paten as our questions to Steven Rapp. Invasive, incomplete answers, lies and nerves bothering. It is a waste of time in my opinion to divert our attentions from the trial at hand to post questions to David Crane. This is “Total Ludicrous” If Taylor had the opportunity to speak to his supporters from behind the cell walls, beyond a shadow of a doubt he will emphasized positing questions to one of the “Devils” is Total Nonsense and Ludicrous.

    Therefore, on behalf of our beloved President H.E. Dr Charles Gankay Taylor, I want to take this opportunity to appeal to all those Nationalists, Patriotic Liberians, Pan Africanist, and People of Justice to boycott posting questions to David Crane.

    Thanks Tracy for your continue support of free speech and opinions. I am grateful.

    1. Hi Big B — that is true. You are certainly entitled to your opinion and to call for a boycott if you wish to do so. I do think it would be a shame to give up the opportunity, but that decision is totally yours and others readers’ to make.

      I would encourage readers, however, to reserve judgment on the type of answers we will receive from Mr. Crane — he’s not had the opportunity to be asked or to respond to any questions yet, so we should not pre-judge his answers. He was one of the key actors in the history of this court and I am sure he will have interesting things to say, whether we, as readers, agree with him on everything or not.

      Also, remember Courtenay Griffiths has also agreed to answer our questions when Mr. Taylor finishes his testimony.


    2. I cannot comprehend what Big B is saying here;that we should not waste time quetioning Mr. David Crane on views about taylor’s trial, or that he fears Cranes’ responses that may further expose their chief’s trade mark. as compulsive lier? Everyone should be given fair chance to answer to the Whoever thinks this is ” ludicruos” seems short sighted! Jfallamenjor

      1. Hi J Fallah Menjor — am looking forward to seeing your questions for Mr. Crane too.

        1. Hi Tracey,
          Definitely, I will ask few questions, especially about what happened to dozens of boxes taken from from White Flower Mansion that could link this man directly to not only operating the Nation’s bank from his personal dwelling, but using it as a Fort to concel arms and drugs that he gave to child soldiers to rape and kill their own mothers and sisters during his brutal rule in West Africa!
          Again Tracey and Alpha; I only have admirations for all you do for us on this site.You have brought not only light to most, but have increased awarness amongt us and promoted freedom of expression that have never being tested in African politics to say the least! Thank you again..jfallahmenjor

          1. Thank you, J Fallah Menjor. It is such a pleasure to be part of this conversation on this site. I’m so glad you find it useful too. And good questions for Mr. Crane.

    3. Hi Noko5 — I just got a post waiting for moderation from you at 6:27pm. I understand your strong feelings – but the comment does not fit with our site policy. The person that is discussed is counted as a reader on this site because he will be participating in the discussion here. I am afraid I cannot publish the comment in its current form — but if you can reframe it so it fits with our policy (a focus on the trial and the issues surrounding it), I would happily post it. I can send the post back to you by email if you need a copy of it.
      Thanks in advance for your understanding,

  2. Thank you Tracey and the rest of your staff for inviting Mr. Crane to answer our questions. I think the good “Nationalists, Patriotic Liberians, Pan Africanist, and People of Justice” would be very happy to find out more from Mr. Crane order than just assuming. Even if he has become an enemy in the eyes of some, it’s good to understand more of how they came up with Taylor’s involvement into the Sierra Leonean war even thought he wasn’t the only president of the neighboring countries around Sierra Leone at the time.

    1. Hi Lotson,

      I absolutely agree with you. Mr. Crane is such a key figure in this trial – I do think the opportunity to have a conversation with him is a unique one.


  3. Tracey,

    Thank you for your efforts….I look forward to these questions to and answers from Cane. I see some are already rejecting the idea and already making assumptions that the answers will be evasive at best, its unfortunate, the the “lock mind” when opened can be “treasure chest”, but many of us refuse to see things from all parties’ prospective. For those who may elect to boycott this question and answer opportunity, it’s unfortunate and a shame. There is much to be learned from Mr. Cane whether he fits our political philosphy or ideology. It’s an opportunity to learn about the prosecution thought process and the formulation of the case. Anyhow, I would encourage all to ask questions, these opportunities are rare–seize it people, let’s ask and learn-

    Again, Trace, thanks!

    1. Thanks Bnker — I do agree with you.

      And just to get the ball rolling on the questions — here’s two I’ve been wondering for a while:

      Mr. Crane – can you tell us more about your calculations in deciding to publicly issue Mr. Taylor’s indictment while he was in Ghana at the peace talks in 2003 – why did you time it for that moment? And was there any diplomatic pressure to withdraw the indictment for the promotion of peace?

      1. Just to follow on Tracey’s question: Mr. Crane , why did you get the approval of the US government two months in advance before issuing the indictment? Does this not prove that this case is viod of legal merit rather is based on politics?

  4. Big B, i think we should all exhibit a certian level of respect and tolerance for others who views we do not share. Some on this forum have requested an interview with Mr. Crane and Tracey has gone out of her way , I am sure, including other members of her staff, like Alpha to bring Mr. Crane before us. To me, that is a wonderful thing and Tracey deserves all of our praises for doing exactly this. Tracey has been really nice to us on this forum and given us opportunities to confront some of the key people involve with such high profile international political trial. We should very well cherish this opportunity.

    For me, i want o publicly express profound apppreaciation and gratitude to Tracey for her tireless efforts, and I think some of these days when this trial is over, we as Liberians need to invite Tracey to one of our functions to express a sense of deep gratitute for her good works at tolerating our emotional outbursts.

    Here is my first questions to Mr. Crane: Are you not aware of Sandlines diamond business in SL? Are you not aware that Sandlines was the main suppliers of weapons for diamonds in SL, and that Sandlines did business with both the RUF and Tejani Kabbah? So why did you indict Mr. Taylor and not Sandlines owners?

    1. King Gray — thank you for your kind words. And your questions are great.

      Just two things: Mr. Crane told me that he would enjoy the dialogue with readers here, and said he was happy to join us. So I think kudos does go to Mr. Crane for his willingness to engage with us, as he knows not everyone is going to agree with him in this forum.

      And secondly: it is truly my delight to be moderating this site — and getting to know the readers (albeit electronically) who contribute to the conversation, all of whom prompt me to push my thinking about this trial in different and new directions, is the main reason why I enjoy it so much. So my thanks returns to you and all the readers here.


      1. Tracey,
        We OWE you the THANKS…really without this site, we would have been in the WILDERNESS solely depending on CNN and BBC. Glad you are seeing ALL sides…..

        My questions to Mr. Crane…






        Lastly, WHERE ARE THE BILLIONS??

        Thanks and keep up the good job…it may look like we don’t APPRECIATE your efforts….we do.

        1. Hi Noko4,

          I’m really glad you enjoy this site and that you are such an active contributor to the conversation. And thanks for the note that you appreciate our efforts: don’t worry — Alpha and I know that, and we are both grateful for it (and I equally remain thankful for yours and other people’s patience when they are waiting for answers to questions). We are also happy that readers keep us on our toes and question us if they think we make mistakes, are inaccurate or write something that seems to be unbalanced.

          Thanks also for the questions – we are getting a good little stockpile for Mr. Crane next week!


    2. King Gray,

      I read your posting addressed to me with admiration. I agreed Tracy and her staff have work endlessly to facility our views and opinions on this site. I joined others in extending kudos to Tracey and Alpha for their tremendous work. As a matter of fact, Trace is a household name in my residence. My wife jokingly referred to Tracey as my Internet girlfriend, because I say hi to Tracy more often than her.

      The issue is not about Tracey, it’s preposterous for anybody to imply that I don’t appreciate the work of Tracey and her staff. The issue is about David Crane. At a trice David Crane is coming out of the wood works agreeing to answered questions from the readers, a strategic move. Right now, public sentiment is at the lowest for the prosecution. Politicians don’t fell compel to give interviews when they are ahead in the race. Now that the prosecution is losing, David Crane wants to use this opportunity to poison the well. In other words, the motive for the questions are to create doubts in the mind of the public. Court was in recess for almost over a month, David had ample time to have agreed to answered reader’s questions.

      WE the PEOPLE, supporters of Taylor should asked ourselves, who is going to benefit from the questions and answers?

      I maybe one in a millions who take this trial personally, under the circumstances, it is my moral duty of obligations to defend Taylor outside the court room, just as much as it is Counselor Griffiths’ moral duty to defend Taylor inside the court room. Yes, I am Taylor’s consoler outside the court room. Therefore, I will object to anything that is not made in good faith.

      1. Hi Big B — thanks for your note and your kind words about the site.

        Just a note to let you know about the timing of this interview: we only approached Mr. Crane for an interview a week or so ago, and he responded to us within days of our request. I do understand your sense of obligation to defend Mr. Taylor in this forum and to ensure that things are playing out fairly for him – but in this instance, I would encourage you and other readers not to read too much into the timing of Mr. Crane’s interview beyond the fact that a reader asked when we returned this year if Mr. Crane might be willing to answer readers’ questions like Mr. Rapp did, which led to our approach to him.

        Big B — it remains, of course, completely your prerogative whether you choose to ask him any questions or not, or would see any benefit in doing so – but please know we would always welcome your questions if you change your mind.


      2. Big B, I think we are on the same side in this case but again, I must respectfully disagree with you on this one my brother. I agree with your rationalization regarding the motavition of Mr. David Crane to come here to answer questions. The recent international news reports on this trial speaks to your presumption that there is a further ploy by the prosecution to “poison the public well” given the low public morale about this case. You are correct on this one.

        Even, Liberians who I personally know that HATES Taylor to their guts refuses to believe all of this trash from the prosecution, and this is why in Liberia and particularly SL, most people are not paying attention to this case because everybody believes that this is a political trial simply to convict Taylor and not to seek justice for their sufferings. The Liberia TRC report is a clear demonstration that international justice is a political one and not based on due process of law.

        To date, we have not heard the international community clear support for the implementation of the Liberia’s TRC recommendations. Rather some international friends of president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have argued that the Liberian people should again decide the status of the report when it have already been decided by the people. The attempt , as usual is to “poision the well.”

        So Big B, I share your sentiments but as a frim believer in the rule of law and due process, i think we should embrace the fact that David Crane will have his day in the public court. it is a good opportunity for us to put Mr. Crane on the public records and let him answer to the public for his political behavior to abuse the conscious of a suffering people, especially so when Mr. Taylor was on a peace mission that these political charges was brought against him.

        Suppose Mr. Taylor had refused to resigned and jump into the bushes to continue the war. Today , most of us would not have a country to call Liberia, and nearly all of our remaining relatives would have by this time be dead.

        So the decision by this court to charged Mr. Taylor at that crucial time was callous , reckless, and totally disregarded the lives of a suffering people. Instead of rewarding Mr. Taylor for resigning they have chosen to prosecute him. Why these same socalled international justice people did not prosecute the racists South African leaders after they turned over power to Nelson Medala. Rather South Africa’s racist leaders like Frederik Willem de Klerk have been given accolades for ending Aparthied. So why Charles Taylor should not be given similar treated for ending the Liberian war at that time?

  5. I am wondering as to whether the physical evidence, in form of documents and other evidence, siezed from taylor’s residence could be used to connect taylor directly to some of these allegations against him, or are there not telephone logs,guest leasts, invitations, gifts, and living proofs that could be given since this would not only satisfy supporters who believe that only direct and physical evidence should be acceptable linkage to their chief’s guilt, but the entire world on this poor innocent man that was singled out to be prosecuted for deaths of 250,000 victims? I hope Mr. David Crane will answer to this questions because only He knows why the prosecution limited it’s field of “inclusiveness” in prosecuting this “CON MAN!”

    1. j fallah menjor, wake up from a dream! wake up! wake up! All those documents that were siezed from Taylor’s residence by this court was search very well and no evidence was avialable to link Mr. Taylor to any of the false charges that has been brought against him. As a matter of fact, Foday Sankoh and other RUF top military personels’ residences were similarly well search and documents seized by this special court-no evidence linked Mr. Taylor to the political charges of this trial.

      All of the documents that Taylor is using in this court, from his presidential library, were given to him as exculpatory documents by the prosecution. These were the documents that the prosecution siezed from Taylor’s residence. So I hope you can appreaciate why this whole case is a fraud and nothing else. “Total Nonsense!”

      1. Hi Helen — you posted a comment at 3:05pm which I am not able to publish in its current form because it doesn’t fit with our policy for the site (to focus on the trial and not other readers). I am happy to publish it if you are able to either remove the last line or else reformulate it so it fits with the policy.
        Thanks for your understanding, Helen, and I will look forward to seeing your revised post.

    2. J fallah Menjor,
      This is a good question but remember the Special Court has searched (burgalarized )Charles Taylor’s residences along time ago for any of such documents.

  6. Tracey, I want to submit two questions to the former Special Court prosecutor, Mr. Crane.

    1. Mr. Crane, as a Prosecutor, when the evidences were collected and presented for the indictment AND trial of Mr. Taylor, what was the “incontestable” piece of evidence that you felt would render a guilty verdict for Mr. Taylor?

    2. Mr. Crane, during your time as lead prosecutor in Mr. Taylor’s trial, did you anticipate or plan for the event that Mr. Taylor would even take the stand; it would be at the beginning of the defense case and in a way Mr. Taylor being the principle witness.

  7. king gray raises the issue about diamonds. this is interesting questions for Mr Crane.

    Why were no diamond dealers and other companies not indicted?

    Why was Mr Taylor not indicted for pillage of natural resources?

    Can any evidence gained in this trial be used in a future trial against Mr Taylor for any crimes he committed in Liberia?

    thank you tracey

    1. HI Tracey,

      Big B concerned is beginning to make much more sense to me then ever; although, I’ll never let the opportunity go without asking Mr. Crane my questions. There are hundreds of questions in mind, that I m perplexed which one to even ask. With that said, How can you ( Tracey) called Mr Digressions questionS GREAT? That make me to believe you’ll ask Mr. Crane such out of place questions to make him shine. The following question that you see as Great are:

      “Can any evidence gained in this trial be used in a future trial against Mr Taylor for any crimes he committed in Liberia?” What does this question as to do with the present case for which Mr. crane has agreed to answer? Secondly, what does Mr. Crane has to do with if any, a war crime court in Liberia? Thirdly, If there were a war crime court in Liberia, wouldn’t the judge or panel of judges decide if any so-called evidence(s) can be use?

      “Why was Mr Taylor not indicted for pillage of natural resources?” Although I wouldn’t consider this a GREAT question but everyone is entitle to what they want to ask. Considering this FINE Opportunity, this wouldn’t be a question consider so Great. Since there were lots of Diamond exploiting company funding and fueling the war E.g Sandlines, the Canadian Diamond company and the British company which is well know and public. How was the South African Executive Outcome paid? Taylor, pillage of natural resources? This kind of question will only play to mr. Crane advantage to shine and also boast Mr. Big B point exactly

      1. Hi Grebo — It is completely your right to disagree with me on the description of questions asked by other readers and I respect that. For me, I’m interested to hear what Mr. Crane has to say on all the questions that have been asked so far. I’m looking forward to seeing your questions to Mr. Crane too and glad you are planning to take up the opportunity to ask him about the issues on your mind.

    1. Noko5 – thanks, as always, for your understanding.

      I respect your decision not to engage in the interview — but please know we will welcome your questions if you change your mind.


  8. My question to David Crane is whether or not the prosecution can lawfully pursue perjury charges and malfeasance on the part of Taylor and his defense team, given the aggregious denials (especially highlighted by the chronicity of certain events such as his stepping down, etc.) of said parties thus far?
    Also, I reiterate another reader’s concern of whether or not much of what was submitted as testimony and evidence in this present trial will also be fair game for a Special Criminal Court for Taylor and others set up in Liberia?

    Also, can you provide any information on the progress of pursuing his criminal charges in Liberia as well? What are the technicalities concerning bringing this into fruition?

    Thanks kindly,

    1. Thanks so much for your questions, Concerned Liberian in the US. Welcome back to this forum and happy new year also. Good to have you back with us after the break.

    2. Concerned Liberian in the US,

      The answer to all your questions are Yes, Yes and Yes. Why with this opportunity to ask David Crane the hard questions are you chosing “Soft Ball” questions ? It’s amazing that by asking questions about Liberia it seems you have given up on the trial in Sierra Leone. Let us deal with Sierra Leone for now which is what most of the anti-taylor supporters claimed they wanted at first.

  9. Here is another simple question for Mr. Crane since diamonds for guns is at the heart of this case. What is the total value of all of those diamonds that the prosecution alledges was given to Taylor to buy weapons? I am speaking here about the jar of mayonaise with diamonds and other diamonds that the prosecution have presented in this case as their own facts. What are the value of those diamonds?

    Then my follow up would be critical to understanding the nature of the prosecution case. What is the estimated cost of those weapons that the prosecution alledges Mr. Taylor bought with those diamonds? Lets not forget the total estimated cost for the weapons must include not just the actual cost for the weapons but travelled and other related expenses to purchased and supplied the weapons to the RUF. What was the estimated cost of those weapons Mr. Crane???? It is important for us to know since you guys claimed have the facts that Taylor actually purchased weapons from selling those diamonds or that Taylor exchanged those diamonds for weapons.

    So to summarize: what is the total cost of the alledge diamonds given to Taylor and what is the total cost of weapons that Taylor alledgely bought with those diamonds??????

  10. Tracey,
    Here is my question for Mr. Cane:

    Many of us have followed this trial with keen interest. I have been impressed with the lead defense, but the prosecution Ms. Hollis has been at best lack-luster. I frankly want to see justice for the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia. The trial in SL thus far lack substance and evidence (in my opinion) to render a guilty verdict against Charles Taylor. The prosecution thus far have been careless, and irresponsible in presenting evidence. I think there are several accounts and statements by Taylor that are false or misleading at best. The trial seems to be based on the “suppositions” and “assumptions” thus far. Are there evidences that provide direct link of Charles Taylor to the crimes in SL?

    I am an advocate for war crimes in Liberia. I am also a supporter of these UN courts to enforce the law where individual countries failed to “step to the plate”. Since Liberia has not yet taken steps to institute war crimes proceeding, is it possible that the UN as a body responsible for world peace (as well as regional) commence proceeding without the country (say, Liberia) itself starting the process. The UN did this against with LAURENT Nkunda from DRC, Slobodan Milosevic, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir (Sudan), and Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara (Guinea) as recommended by the UN report? This can be done fto Charles McArthur Taylor, Prince Johnson, Damente Conneh, Alhaji Kromah, George Boley and the remaining 95 or so names on the TRC recommendation? The evidence is more than sufficient to slam the doors and throw the keys away forever.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your questions, Bnker. We’ll have an interesting conversation with Mr. Crane this Friday.

      1. Tracey,
        Greetings….how was the interview with Cane, I look forward to reading his responses.

        Thanks again Tracey and thanks to your organization. This forum helps us to understand the process. I am no lawyers now, but it has been a light for all of us.


        1. Hi Bnker,

          Thanks for your note. Alas, Mr. Crane had to cancel last week due to other commitments. We have been following up to see if we could reschedule. I will let readers’ know when we hear back from him.

          Thanks also for your kind words, and for your own contributions to the site, which are always a great basis for our discussions here.


  11. Tracey,
    My question to Mr. Crane is as follows:
    It can be agreed by all sides that the prosecution got off to a very bad start and has not fully recovered. This coupled with several judges decision that have favored the defense. My question to you Mr. Crane is if hypothetically the cross examination of Mr. Taylor could start over again and you were the prosecutor. What would you do differently ?

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