Charles Taylor Denies Allegations That The Liberian Judiciary Was Not Independent Under His Presidency

As Prosecutors today described Liberia under Charles Taylor’s rule as a country in which human rights abuses were rampant and the rule of law was undermined, the former president denied that he was politically interfering with the Liberian judiciary or that human rights abuses were rife under his leadership.

As his cross-examination continued into another week, prosecutors have sought to establish that Liberia, under Mr. Taylor’s presidency, did not enjoy good governance, with widespread reports of human rights abuse, corruption and political interference with the country’s judiciary. Questioning Mr. Taylor about his alleged judicial interference, lead prosecution counsel Brenda Hollis read a report of a conference at which lawyers and other judicial officials made statements that  the “Liberian judiciary is rotten.” Ms. Hollis quoted two Liberian lawyers who both alleged that there was a “strong influence of the government on the judiciary.” She further read portions of the statement made at the conference by the then Chief Justice of Liberia that there was government interference in the judiciary and that the government’s financial support to the judiciary was very low.

Mr. Taylor dismissed the allegations as “totally incorrect.”

Referring to the report on the conference as read by Ms. Hollis in court today, Mr. Taylor said that “your conclusion of this entire document is ludicrous.”

“The judiciary was rotten, I agree with the contents, but I met it this way and I’m trying to fix it. This is a conference where Liberians are trying to solve historical problems,” Mr. Taylor said.

In her response, Ms. Hollis asserted that there was nothing mentioned in the statements by the various speakers at the conference that they were referring to historical problems.

“The interference into the judiciary continued during your presidency,” Ms. Hollis insisted.

“No it didn’t. The alleged interference didn’t continue,” Mr. Taylor replied.

As Mr. Taylor gave his responses to Ms. Hollis’s questions, the lead prosecutor accused Mr. Taylor of using his responses to deliver speeches. To this, Mr. Taylor responded that

“I am not delivering speeches, except you are the audience, so stop referring to my comments as speeches.”

During Mr. Taylor’s direct examination, he said he brought good governance to Liberia and that he respected the fundamental human rights of his citizens.  Prosecutors now seek to establish that Mr. Taylor was not a good president for Liberia. Prosecutors allege that as leader of Liberia’s rebel group the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), Mr. Taylor was involved in the commission of atrocities against the people of Liberia and that when he became president of the country in 1997, his system of governance did not reflect a democratic society. Mr. Taylor wanted the same system of governance to be reflected in neighboring countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia and that is why he kept supporting rebel forces in these countries, prosecutors allege. Mr. Taylor has dismissed the prosecution accounts as “untrue.”

“You did not act in a way to show the people of Liberia that your new order replaced the old order of violence,” Ms. Hollis stated to Mr. Taylor.

“You are totally incorrect,” Mr. Taylor responded.

Ms. Taylor also denied Ms. Hollis’s assertions that “human rights abuses were rife” during his presidency.

In seeking to demonstrate the dire human rights situation in Liberia under Mr. Taylor’s presidency, Ms. Hollis also read portions of a letter written to Mr. Taylor by former United States president Jimmy Carter on November 6 2000, explaining why his human rights organization, The Carter Center for Human Rights, was withdrawing from Liberia.

When first asked whether he was told why the Carter Center was withdrawing from Liberia, Mr. Taylor originally said “I don’t know why they pulled out. I was not answerable to the Carter Center. I have great respect for President Carter but I don’t know why they pulled out.”

Ms. Hollis continued to read the contents of the letter, which indicated that the Carter Center was withdrawing from the country because of the actions of Mr. Taylor’s government.

“Because of prevailing conditions and the actions of your government, you have made it difficult for the Carter Center and others to operate within democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Reports of serious human rights abuses are common, journalists and civil society members are suppressed. Liberia’s role in the conflicts in the sub-region has become a destructive one,” President Carter was quoted as writing in his November 2000 letter today.

“On reflection, I now see this,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor is responding to charges that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied allegations that he supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels in return for Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds and that he helped them plan certain operations during which atrocities such as rape, murder and amputation of civilian arms were committed. From July 14 to November 10, 2009, Mr. Taylor testified in direct-examination as a witness in his own defense.

Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination continues tomorrow.


  1. Ms Hollis has got nothing else to lied about regarding her false charges against Mr. Taylor and have now switched the prosecution case to Liberia. If Ms. Hollis and her socalled interactional justice people wants to prosecute Taylor for his presidency in Liberia, then let them support the implementation of the Liberian TRC report and establish a war crimes court in Liberia to tried Taylor and all those indicted by the TRC. But what we are witnessing here is a backdoor trial of Taylor for his role as president and a backdoor used of the TRC report by Ms. Hollis. This is offensive and a criminality motivated justice.

    Addressing the issue of the Liberian judiciary, as the prosecution has put it ,is misleading and deceptive. As a matter of fact, Lawyer Varney Sherman and Lawyer Taiwon Gongloe (current minister of labour and past minister of justice in this Ellen government.) As a matter of fact, it was Gongloe who filed the indictment letter against Taylor to be brought to Liberia from Nigeria. So let us first established who these two men were, they were oppostion leaders in Liberia (today, Varney Sherman political party is in a colaition political alliance with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s political party).

    So statements made by Sherman and Gongloe at that time were political in nature (it was the same Gongloe who publicly expressed his support for LURD forces while he visited Guinea during that war period). But the facts remain, as Taylor has corrected asserted that the Liberian court was already rotten before he became president. Even today, with all of the help that president Ellen johnson-Sirleaf is getting from the international community , yet she continue to complain that the court system in Liberia is rotten. More interestingly, the statements attributed to Sherman , Gongloe, and the then Cheif Justice , Madam Gloria Scott , was made at the ALL LIBERIAN CONFERENCE . Taylor had organized that conference for Liberians to examine the historical and institutional problems of Liberia. Taylor wanted for Liberians themselves to develop a new way of political arrangment and governance in keeping with our constitution and the rule of law.

    Many Liberians from all over the world attended that ALL LIBERIAN CONFERENCE and made almost similar statements regarging the problems, of not just the judiciary but the total governing nature of the country. I thought that was a good thing on the part of Charles Taylor, that for the first time in Liberia’s history, the people had a chance to actually examine and critique their government in open public without facing the wrath of security forces. When did such thing ever happened in Liberia? So the prosecution is operating purely on lies and deception. “TOTAL NONSENSE!”

    1. King Gray,
      Those are very good points. What do Liberia’s bad government, which according to many Liberian was bad from the beginning of the founding of the country, has to do with Sierra Leone and the charges against Mr. Taylor? Not only has the prosecution switched it case to Liberia, it have stop trying to impeach Mr. Taylor testimony.

    2. King,

      So, honestly, do you think the judiciary work independently under Charles Taylor? If so, please explain. Upon your explanation, I will put forth my argument….thanks

      1. bnker
        Yes, the judiciary worked inependently under Taylor and there are many evidences to that fact. We are not discussing the corrupt nature of the judiciary itself, in term of court officials recieving bribes and other social corruption. Because such behavior is still very much present in the court system today, and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf herself has commented on this behavior several times as Taylor himself did when he was president.

        Lets discuss some of the facts: do you remember Taylor’s brother in law , Cassell? Do you recall that Cassell took the law into his own hands and ordered the flogging of a taxi driver? He was arrested and prosecuted by the court, he was found guilty and sentenced to prison. He served his full term without Taylor’s interference. Do you remember Bedell Fahn, one of the most prominent NPP (Taylor political party) senior executive? He also served as member of the house during the transitional government. Bedell Fahn also abused the law and was arrested and prosecuted , he also went to jail.

        Ok, I will await your arguments.

        1. Ok oh….btw, I know Henry Cassell very well. He is my first cousin (His father, the late Ayun Cassell was adopted by my grand father C.H.O Cassell).

        2. King Gray,
          Excellent points you bring up. I hope the defense team will use the example of Taylor’s brother in law Mr. Cassell in their redirect.

    3. Dear King Gray,

      Thanks very much. I can only hope that other readers will comprehend your reading and understand that Ms. Hollis is not going any where with all these white lies. I’m really sorry for the many victims of war in SL that were made to believe that Mr. Taylor is responsible for their suffering. Have a good day sir, God bless you.


      Harris K Johnson

    4. King Gray

      In my view Mrs. Hollis is attempting to uncover inconsistencies in Mr. Taylor testimony. In actuality, Mr. Taylor is responsible for the direction of Mrs. Hollis line of questioning. If you can recall, Mr. Taylor testimony lasted several week and he attempted to clarify the inconsistencies with the allegation against him. In my view Mrs. Hollis is doing a great job jabbing holes in the defense brilliant strategy which revealed Mr. Taylor as a “victimize hero”. I was under the impression (from Mr. Taylor testimony) Mr. Taylor was unaware of the war crimes taking place in Liberia and if he know of such crimes an official investigation would have been launched and the accused would have been prosecuted. Mrs. Hollis evidence suggest otherwise. Mr. Taylor may or may not have impeded on judicial process, but when human rights groups are fleeing the country and writing letters you have to know something is going on.

      1. Al-Solo,
        Did you listen to prosecution witness Moses Blah testimony? if you did you will realise that even him agreed that indeed the NPFL had a structure to punish those who committed crimes during the war he corroborated Mr Taylors testimony that offenders could be taken as far as the Military tribunal to try them for serious offences. so indeed people where not allowed to carry out crimes with impunity in Liberia, that is not the case in sierra Leone. that is a dilema th prosecution is faced with because they have to prove otherwise in order to show a pattern between the RUF and the NPFL.

  2. Alpha,

    While I appreciate your hard work at reporting and summarizing the day’s events. I again would kindly advise more prudence with the reports. I’m making specific reference to Mr. Taylor’s alleged quote of “on reflection, I see this”. To someone not following the trial this out of context statement would give the impression that Mr. Taylor is agreeing to Mr. Carter’s letter, when in actuality his statement “on reflection, I see this” was in reference to the fact that Mr. Carter listed the reasons for his organization leaving.


    1. Mas,
      To Alpha defense, the context is quite explicit. “On reflection” doesn’t mean or insinuate agreement with the prosecution, but rather he is saying, now I remember or he could be saying, I overlooked it since he also says, “I see this”…If someone says he/she is taking a reflection, simple means recalling or looking back.

      1. Thanks, Bnker. If I may also jump in, Alpha correctly stated Mr. Taylor’s response.

        Just to clarify the context, here is the relevant section of the transcript:

        Ms. HOLLIS: So, Mr Taylor, indeed former President Jimmy Carter made it known to you why he was closing his Carter Center in Liberia.
        Mr. TAYLOR: Yes. On reflection I see this, yes.
        Ms. HOLLIS: And indeed not just in generalities, but in some detail for you, Mr Taylor?
        Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I will still say there is a lot of generalities here. I don’t see – there are some details I will agree, but there are some just vague and general statements. The fact that President Carter made suggestions of which he did and I was running a country and a lot of times people gave you suggestions that don’t work in the political establishment. President Carter and I continued to discuss even following his pull out. It was just unfortunate that he pulled out.
        Ms. HOLLIS: Mr Taylor, it is because under your government there was a failure to respect human rights and the rule of law. That was a factor for the international community to refuse to provide your government directly with international aid. Isn’t that correct?
        Mr. TAYLOR: That’s totally incorrect. Totally incorrect. If that proposition was correct, they would have provided it at some time. Even at the beginning. It never happened.

        Hope this helps.


    2. Mas,

      I don’t think “On reflection, I see this” as Alpha has reported it is “out of context.” I understood what it implied when I read the report and I think others would too. Besides, that was Taylor’s response. How else was Alpha suppose to report it?

      I agree with King Gray that the prosecution’s focus on Liberia is becoming rather frustrating. We hear about the ICC facing financial issues and the prosecution continues to waste time and money “deli-dalying” around the charges rather than hitting it head-on.

      The only thing I see the prosecution doing is proving that Taylor’s testimony is not credible but I don’t see how this strategy will convict this man of the crimes he had been alleged of committing. Can someone help me here? Cos this case is not making sense ANYMORE!


  3. Tracey
    I thank you and the contributors for their insights. I always look forward to reading their comments. I admire the intellegent and interesting comments that are posted on this site since the trail began.
    For me, I consider myself neutral and waiting for all the evidence to come out. For now, I just want to comment on the “control and command” issue that is being discussed.

    The command and control everyone seems to be focused on his one of established position of authority. But command and control can also be effective through the supply and exchange of resources vital to those that are being controlled. For example, guns for diamond is a sub-plot of this case.

    As I follow the case daily, I am troubled by an earlier admission by Mr. Taylor that he brought all those rebels from RUF to Liberia, made them citizens and employed them in the highest, most sensitive, and loyal security position in the country which is to protect the president of Liberia. In this process, he probably bypassed many qualified Liberians. Was he not aware of their terrible human rights records at that time?
    If so, what was his motive?

    1. Edward Roberts — thanks for joining in the conversation on this site. I agree with you — I look forward every day to see how people are analyzing the case on this site. I find it fascinating to see what people say too.

      Unfortunately I cannot answer your questions about Mr. Taylor’s awareness or motive at that time as I don’t know his state of mind. But this may be something that is explored further in this case. I’m sure we’ll both be watching to see.

      Glad you joined us — hope we keep heading from you.

    2. Edward Roberts,

      What he and the Committee of Five did to extract these Sierra Leonean fighters/rebels from Sierra Leone and relocated to Liberia, was in the best interest of the peace process of the people of Sierra Leone. That move helped to restore peace in Sierra leone today. So Mr. Roberts, President Taylor should be credited for helping to restore sanity to the people of SL.

    3. Edward,
      Under the PEACE process…..he had to allow them in along with Mr. Bockarie….under the Constitution and written LAWS, he had EXECUTIVE POWER to do such…he exercised it…what is the FUSS about???

  4. If you’re looking at Taylor disagreement with the prosecutor, you might be surprise at the end when the court rule against him. Because the court is not looking at how much he (Taylor) agree and disagree to but how good are the evidence presented against him. And maybe by then you will start to protest that he didn’t get a fair trial.

    And Just to know better, Ms. Hollis isn’t just bringing these things up against Taylor for nothing. She is a well educated person who may have been studying law for a very long time. These are reasonable points she’s using to convince the court of Taylor connection with Sierra Leone War. So you should know that she’s not trying to trial him for Liberia war. One way that good investigators derive at their lead suspect of a crime is to link people to crime that they committed in the past. If she can get the court convince that Taylor is responsible for similar crime against his own people, he is capable of supporting similar crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone by linking him to evidence (whether big or small) she have from the Sierra Leonean war. so you should know that it’s not some Liberian husband and wife case they’re judging here, it’s bigger than you think.

    1. Hi Lotson — you make a good point. The prosecution is not trying to put Mr. Taylor on trial for Liberia as he is not charged with crimes in Liberia. Just to add to your analysis, my sense is that the prosecution is also bringing up the situation in Liberia regarding human rights abuses and the lack of independence of the judiciary during cross-examination as part of their effort to discredit Mr. Taylor’s broader theme within his defense: that he was a man of peace and a statesman in West Africa acting in the best interests of his own people and that of Sierra Leone’s, and was scapegoated by the west as part of an international conspiracy.

      Instead, yesterday Ms. Hollis was also trying to demonstrate that the international community didn’t just pull away from Mr. Taylor’s government out of diplomatic manouvring and in order to gang up against him as part of a broader conspiracy – instead she was trying to demonstrate that there were serious reasons why the international community withdrew its support for Mr. Taylor — specifically, she put it to Mr. Taylor that it was his “own failures in governance and the rule of law that led to the international community’s actions towards you.” (Mr. Taylor dismissed this assertion as “totally, totally incorrect.”)


      1. Tracey,
        You make some good points but for us who lived in Liberia during the Taylor presidency we know what the facts were. Liberia and Liberians were punished from day one by the United States and Britain for voting President Taylor into office . I don’t know why it is so hard for the United States and Britain to admit this. If they don’t like the leader of a particular country all they have to do is say we are not going to give our citizens tax dollars to help. Plain and simple!

        1. Hi Aki – I understand what you are saying. And it is certainly true that more generally throughout Liberia’s history, other countries have played roles which have not always benefited the Liberian people.

          Indeed in Mr. Taylor’s case, the role of the international community is an issue which the judges will need to consider in the context of Mr. Taylor’s defense. As we know, he is arguing that he was a peacemaker and a statesman who was scapegoated by the international community, particularly western countries, and that is why he is in court today. The judges will need to decide whether this was in fact the case and there is no merit to the charges against him, or whether he is responsible for the rebel crimes committed in Sierra Leone. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more about the role of the international community as Mr. Taylor’s defense continues.


      2. Tracey,
        Ms. Hollis trying to demonstrate that there were serious reasons why the international community withdrew its support for Mr. Taylor, specifically his “own failures in governance,” is nonsense. The western countries aka international community never supported Mr. Taylor and his government from day one as Aki stated. From day one after the election the U.S. started rumors that the people elected Mr. Taylor out of fear. That alone shows what kind of support Mr. Taylor was getting from the western countries aka international community.

        Mr. Taylor was right in dismissing Ms. Hollis assertion as “totally, totally incorrect.” Mr. Taylor after being elected president never had a chance to get his government off to a started before he and the country was attacked by Doe’s support and rebel groups supported by Sierra Leone, Guinea, UK and the U.S.

        1. Thanks Ken — yes, this role of the international community in Liberia during Mr. Taylor’s rule is certainly a contentious issue between the defense and the prosecution. I’m sure we’ll hear more from Mr. Griffith’s team on this issue of the international community’s role even after Mr. Taylor gets off the witness stand.

    2. So Lotson,
      What have been the evidences thus far in your view. We all are watching and hearing about Liberia….when will we get to Sierra Leone with FACTUAL FACTS to convict???

      Again, the actions of Ms. Hollis and Mr. Koumjain just put pressure on the judges…even if they wanted to convict, how can they given what is happening in this court???

      Score reads Ms. Hollis & Mr. Koumjain 1 vs Mr. Taylor 14

    3. Lotson,

      Mr. Taylor has never being convicted of any crimes before. If you disagree, prove me wrong. However, Ms. Hollis being all over the place, will not help your lost cause. Just show us the proof. How hard is it?

  5. Like virtually everyone who writes posts on this site, I’ve got a mind-set about whether or not Taylor is guilty. Even allowing for my own pre-meditated mind-set, I am struggling to see how today’s events relate to the charges aimed at Taylor, i.e. seeking to establish joint responsibility for the crimes in Sierra Leone. I have spent much time in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. Yes, it is true that there were serious abuses of human rights in both countries. But in the case of LIberia, so what? Is that what is on trial here? Crimes in Liberia or crimes in Sierra Leone? I know the answer.

    1. Hi Richard B — just a quick response: the discussion about the human rights situation in Liberia in yesterday’s proceedings was part of the prosecution’s effort to discredit Mr. Taylor’s main line of defense — ie that he was a peacemaker in Sierra Leone that was made a scapegoat by the international community who turned against him. Instead, the prosecution was aiming to demonstrate that there was a reason why the international community withdrew their support for Mr. Taylor, and that included the lack of good governance, human rights abuses and lack of the rule of law in Liberia under his presidency.

      So you are absolutely correct in noting that it does not directly address Mr. Taylor’s alleged responsibility for crimes committed in Sierra Leone, it does try to discredit Mr. Taylor’s broader defense arguments by trying to show that the international community’s withdrawal of support for Mr. Taylor was not part of a broader international conspiracy against him led by Western countries but instead there were legitimate reasons why the international community pulled away from Mr. Taylor’s leadership in Liberia.

      Just to note: Mr. Taylor also rejected that line of argument yesterday.


      1. Tracey,

        Let me remind you that from day-one of Mr. Taylor presidency to the every end, no one western country give any form of support to his government. So for anyone like Ms. Hollis to try to convince other people that the international community did not support Mr. Taylor because of human right abuse in Liberia, is again one of the many white manufactured conspiracies intended to bring him down.


        Harris K Johnson

      2. Tracey,
        Even if those were the reasons, the international community (western countries) turned against Mr. Taylor. It makes one question why they single out Mr. Taylor. The Doe government and the present Sirleaf government also when came to power had lack of good governance, human rights abuses and lack of the rule of law in their presidency. However, it did not stop western counties from giving those governments funds to help get back on their feet.

        The U.S. government made a statement during Liberia’s election that they would not support Liberia if murders and thieves were elect. Now if you survey the three branches of Liberia’s government it is full of murders and thieves, but the western counties are still giving funds to help in recovery.

        Mr. Taylor’s international conspiracy theory against him led by Western countries may not be true but it do have a strong backbone to it and the western counties history toward Africa make Mr. Taylor’s international conspiracy theory logical.

        1. Hi Ken — I do understand your point, and your sense of the resonance that Mr. Taylor’s defense argument holds for many people given Liberia’s history. It will be interesting to see how the judges address Mr. Taylor’s defense at the end of the trial. I’m sure we will hear a lot more about the international community as the defense continues to present its case in teh coming months.


    2. Richard B,

      They say pattern. They say impeachment of his credibility. But what they not say, evidence. I mean, concrete and solid evidence. Well, in court, evidence has more weight than the two.

      1. Richard B,

        They say pattern. They say impeachment of his credibility. But what they did not say, evidence. I mean, concrete and solid evidence. Well, in court, evidence has more weight than the two.

  6. Prosecutor Mr. Breda Hollis,

    Who determines that President Taylor is/was not a good president for Liberia? Is it you? Will it also be fair to say, or prudent to mention, that it is the Liberian people decision to make? Yes Mr. Hollis, we made that decision on July nineteen (19) 1997. He was our choice amongst all of the presidential aspirants. We voted for him and not against him. Folks, I am telling you guys again. This is a cataclysmic plot of stinks, designed by the prosecution to delegitimize the presidency of this innocent man. However, what she, Ms. Hollis did not tell the world, or want the world to know, is that this man was duly elected in a democratic process overwhelmingly by his people, the Liberian people. And the election results were viewed by the international community and other acclaimed international organizations as free and fair. This prosecution is imploding right before our own eyes folks. Their intentional zig zagging on governance of Taylor in Liberia, and courting of former foes like Taiwon Gongloe, former Solicitor General, and now current minister in this same Ellen government, is troubling. Bear in mind now, Mr. Gongloe reading of Mr. Taylor so-call rights during his illegal arrest at the Robert International Airport, just clearly shows how deeply rooted in the cleavages of politics and our nation concerning this fake case. Folks, this is total arrogance on the part of the prosecution. There is no other way to put. These are the same people who told us that the indictment ranges from the time Taylor became president to the time he left office by means of force. Eventhough, they could have charged him from 1991 to at least 1997. During which time frame he has admittedly told the world his dealings with the RUF. However, they had that wild window of opportunity, but they chose the other way around. This was an indisputably bad move to delegitimize his presidency. They refused to believe up to today’s date, that this man was democratically elected by the Liberian people. It is this same arrogance that Ms. Hollis has demonstrated here again. I know it was intentional. I also know that this trial is political. I certainly know, that Ms. Hollis has incompetently failed to pursuit this fake case as it is. “Political” in nature. Political in the sense, means, free from political maneuvering, super powers influence and compromise, despite the endless praise about this prosecution smartness and strategy by the international press. Political also Means, that which you can not accomplish in the political arena, you use your powers in disguise of justice to even out the scores. Folks, I will tell you why these people are stubborn and arrogant. It is simply because they are the authors and finishers of the court. They are the first and the last. They are in control. They are the ones that wrote the rules. They are the most self describe dominant species. They are “SUN GODS.”

    1. I like to explore a very fundamental and interesting point that Jose makes, which goes to the political nature of this trial. Why does the indictment not cover any period before the Taylor’s presidency? Rather , we see that the indictment is pointed directly at Taylor’s presidency. It covers the period only when Taylor became president up to the time he left office. Why was that so?

      Jose’s theory goes to the heart of this political trial that it is the intentions of those powerful international forces that despises Mr. Taylor , it is their intent to delegitimize the Taylor’s presidency and render Mr. Taylor a criminal, not a statesman. This is their sole purpose, because those powerful international forces have never respected the decision of the Liberian people. They believe that we, Africans are inferior and cannot make correct decisions, and this is why they continue to make an irrational and lunatic argument that Liberians voted for Taylor due to fear of him returning to war. What an insult to our intelligence, that we do not know what is in our best interest? These thieves in the international community should stop abusing our intelligence and accept our decision. We voted for CHARLES GHANKAY TAYLOR because we felt at the time that he represented our best interests.

      If that was the fear of the Liberian people,that Liberia would return to war if Taylor was not elected. Then by electing Taylor we should never have experience another war, because there would have been no reason for a war. The socalled Liberian peace makers in the opposition would have cooperated with the government of president Taylor to maintain peace in Liberia But this was not the case, instead we experienced a more deadly war, sponsored by powerful international forces.

      Those powerful international forces , who hated Taylor so much because Taylor insisted that Africans must control their own resources, saw him as a threat to their continue exploitation of our natural resources. So they sponsored a war and decided to prosecute him , as a means of reminding Africans not to make correct decision in their own interest. Taylor prosecution is a clear message to Africans not to think in their own interests but to allow themselves to always be explioted my greedy and corrupt international interests. This is why they always support corrupt governments in Africa.

  7. What does the independence of the Liberian Judiciary under Mr. Taylor leadership has to do with his alleged support to RUF in exchange of diamonds? It sounds crazy to me for Ms. Hollis to believe that there was no rule of law in Liberia during Mr. Taylor presidency by simply reading a note from a conference without establishing the intend of the writer. Let me remind Ms. Hollis and the many anti Taylor that Mr. Taylor was the first Liberian President to sing human right bill into law in 1998 given birth to the many right groups we see in Liberia today. Lastly, let Ms. Hollis know that our judiciary has been rotten from 1847 up till now under the watchful eyes of the United Nations and the United States Government. Ms. Hollis, please understanding that Mr. Taylor is not what you really think. So please show some respect for our former president.


    Harris K Johnson

    1. Hi Harris – thanks for your note.

      A number of people have been wondering the same question that you ask: what has the state of the judiciary in Liberia under Mr. Taylor’s rule got to do with the crimes alleged against him in Sierra Leone?

      In short, the prosecution yesterday was basically trying to discredit one of the major themes of Mr. Taylor’s defense: ie that he was a peacemaker turned scapegoat by the international community. She was trying to demonstrate that the lack of independence of the judiciary, human rights abuses and the lack of good governance under Mr. Taylor’s rule was why the international community pulled away from Mr. Taylor, not because of a conspiracy theory developed by the west to get Mr. Taylor out of power. Mr. Taylor denied this assertion yesterday in court.


      1. There was and still is an international conspiracy to get Mr Taylor. It was incumbent from the very early days of the incursion in Liberia. During that time there were many failed promises made by the US to the then NPFL as they the US double dealed with Samuel Doe even to the extent of providing him weapons to massacre the people of Liberia.

        They financed Ellen in 1997 in a hope of her winning the elections as she had misinformed them of her support in the country. When they found out that she was not as popular as she had indicated to them they tried to postpone the election so that they could come up with another trick.

        During Taylor’s election attempts were made to eliminate him through some elements of ECOMOG. When that failed, they decided not to lend any hand to the new government.

        If the proposition was true that it was due to Taylor’s poor human rights record why they did not support the government, then what happened to the very begining even before the so-called poor human rights? Why did they support an incursion into the country so early into the new government if there was no international conspiracy? Right after they convince Taylor to burn all his arms the country came under an armed attack from outside its borders? Why didn’t they condemn the attack but rather condemned the government for dealing with an incursion into its territory? Shall I go on?

        Why was there an arms embargo paralysing a new government even though they knew that when faced with armed attacks, a country has the right to self defence. Why was the arms embargo never lifted on the government? Why was no assistance ever provided to the new government despite Taylor’s many pleas for assistance for the military, paramilitary and civilian infrastructure of the country?

        They cannot say it had anything to do with his poor human rights record as that did not apply at that time as the government was in its infancy. It is as we in Liberia knew was because they did not like Taylor, period. This entire process is just an extension of that dislike.

        We are not fooled. Those like myself who are smart to see beyond the facade of such language as “good governance” “rule of law” etc know that it is just another tool used to deny support to those they do not like and provide support to those they favour for what ever reason.

        Talking about human rights abuse, is it not an abuse of the basic human rights of the individual for the UN to impose a Travel Ban and Asset freeze on individuals who have no means of defending themselves in a court of law. Do you realize that there have been people languishing on a UN Travel ban for nearly 10 years and are not given an opportunity to have their day in court? They are on this ban only because they have “association with Charles Taylor”? Is this justice or human rights abuse at its height?


        I would really like your take on this issue for grabs? How fair is this that the UN can issue a blanket ban on travel against certain individuals and freeze all the assets including future earnings of those individuals without explaining to them what crimes they have committed and giving them an opportunity to answer the charges and clear their name? I surely would like to know if this is not a clear example of victimization by the highest organ of the UN who should be the beacon of justice and hope.

        I say this is indeed a big international conspiracy.

        1. Helen – you asked a great question about the travel ban and assets freeze. I have been meaning to do a post on this for a while as Noko5 and others have asked about it before. I will add it to my list. It will make a good point for discussion on the site.
          Best, and thanks for raising the question,

        2. Helen,
          The UN, the HOLY BODY that is suppose to seek JUSTICE has yet to provide the Liberian gov’t an ounce of PROOF pertaining to Liberia seizing the properties of her citizens and ban from leaving Liberia. I have asked this question before in this room….WHAT QUALIFIED ONE GETTING ON AND OFF THE LIST?? I heard some folks that were on the list took the UN to took and over nite, their names were taken off without any court process….JUSTICE??

          Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf has tried the side door, the front door and the back door; she even wanted to jump thru the window to have a LAW pass knowing very what the Constitution says in Articles 13 and 21.

          Article 13

          b. Every Liberian Citizen shall have the right to leave and to enter Liberia at any time. Liberian citizens and non-Liberian residents may be extradited to foreign country for prosecution of a criminal offense in accordance with the provisions of an extradition treaty or other reciprocal international agreements in force. Non-Liberian residents may be expelled from the Republic of Liberia for cause.

          Article 21

          a. No person shall be made subject to any law or punishment which was not in effect at the time of commission of an offense, nor shall the Legislature enact any bill of attainder or ex post facto law.

          b. No person shall be subject to search or seizure of his person or property, whether on a criminal charge or for any other purpose, unless upon warrant lawfully issued upon probable cause supported by a solemn oath or affirmation, specifically identifying the person or place to be searched and stating the object of the search; provided, however, that a search or seizure shall be permissible without a search warrant where the arresting authorities act during the commission of a crime or in hot pursuit of a person who has committed a crime.

  8. Hey Tracey

    I saw your post about my comment I made the other day, what i said in it was just what the brother said in his comment. Anyway let us leave that and move on.

    Ms Hollis think by proven that Mr Taylor was inconsistent during his cross examination can seal the deal I say no because that will be very elementary.

    Ms Hollis the judiciary of Liberia have nothing to do with what happen is Sierra Leone, The only way this could have help if you guys have Link CT to the RUF.You guys have fail to prove the links that was alleged that Mr.Taylor have a relationship with the RUF. So all of your effort is in vain.

    Demonizing CT will not help you my dear, each day your suggestion and continuous allegation have no basic no foundation. The world is now see to what extend the west can go to what they want.

    Even with nothing Ms Hollis is still fighting on day after day. I am wondering what her next line of questioning would be like you used to rape your wife?

    Look free this man my people no Evidence



  9. The next time the prosecutor will be asking Taylor on how many Women he had and planned to get connubial, or ask him how many bed rooms he had in his house just to link him to crimes he said to have committed in SL. I love this drama that is ongoing at The Hague and will want to ask someone from Hollywood to put that into a movie.
    ALL LIBERIAN CONFERENCE will remained in Liberia history as one the best step in Liberia by a president, if ask to compare, I will prefer the ALL LIBERIAN CONFERENCE to the so called TRC.
    The cause of the many problems in and around this part of the world is illiteracy and that is water clear, but to put it under the rug just to create job for others is unfair, like the TRC and the court in The Hague.
    Let me give some examples of issues in this part of our world, the situation in Iraq when it was about to start people demonstrated around the world for and against, in Nigeria alone 300 people died from the demonstration in the war that they were very far from, compare to the real fighting that took place in Iraq, the collective number of people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan can never march the total number of people killed in Rwanda. That is how far we are when it comes to illiteracy. The war in Liberia and SL is no exclusion. The best way forward is not court or TRC, but what’s the way forward for where we are? Should we stay back and always and create jobs for other.
    There is a court in Tanzanian for crimes committed in Rwanda, this war could be stopped but anyway we have to create jobs, so they sat back and look, now there is a court for SL in the Hague, jobs are created again.
    The funs used on these courts and so called TRC should go towards the reduction of illiteracy, built more schools, open rural Universities, and get into the mobilization of rural dwellers to know the important of education in this part of the world.
    The second presiding Judge is about to take the Chair on the so called TAYOR’S TRAIL, the salary paid to these people could help educate thousand Liberian and Sierra Leonean which could shift their world and concept that no one will be able to fool them to take up arms against their own people.
    Time, knowledge and fun are wasted and just one thought that could help change the world.
    Let the Judges be paid to go to SL and Liberia to teach in the vary universities to improve the laws in these countries, let the IT technician assigned to these courts go to SL and Liberia to built system that reduce corruption, Let the driver assigned to these court s be pay to drive kids to and from school, Let the doctors assigned to these courts treat our sufferer,

  10. Mas,
    What are you saying, Mr. Taylor did not understand the content of the letter from former President Carter, until Ms. Holllis read it to him? I think this is also “TOTAL NONSENSE”. You are not an insider,only the insiders know the ACTUAL reason why Mr. Taylor is on trial today. I advise that you don’t make statements and take side too early. A hints to the wise is quite sufficient

    1. Rodicious,

      Thanks for saying nothing. I agree with you on point i’m definitely not and insider and it seems like you might know reason why Mr. Taylor is trial. Please point to me where I took sides.

      If you bnkr and Tracey read my comments clearly you’ll see I’m responding to the way I feel in my humble opinion the article reads. Again my contention is does Taylor’s statement “On reflection I see this” refer to his original answer of not knowing why President Carter pulled out or does this statement “On reflection I see this” means that he now agrees with and can understand why President Carter pulled out. For all intents it’s a small matter but In my opinion the article didn’t make it clear.

      And just in case you’re wondering, I have no skin in the game in this trial either way. I’m simply interested in justice and not emotional sensationalism. If the evidence is there to convict Taylor, send him to the Guillotene, if not let him go.

      1. Hi Mas — just so you know: I do very much appreciate you letting us know your reactions to our postings and highlighting things that either weren’t clear to you as a reader or which would benefit from a better explanation of the fuller context. Your note helped me to understand that we may benefit from posting the relevant section of the transcript to help put Mr. Taylor’s comments in context. So I would value your continued notes when you don’t think things are clear or require greater explanation — it helps us as if you are confused, I”m sure many others would be too.

        With thanks,

        1. Tracey,

          As always I greatly appreciate the hard work, you Alpha and the entire staff are putting into this and I appreciate your patience and cordialness at all times.

          1. Thank you Mas — I always enjoy our conversations in this forum. And we appreciate your attention to detail in what we write — it helps keep us on our toes! We do want this site to be accurate and you are helping us to do that.


  11. King Gray, whoa slow down brother are you giving speeches too, enorgh with the speeches, Taylor is already burning my ears. And whats with your thug Taylor, is everything question a lie or nonsense, all total nonsense. He needs to refrain from using those words.

    When is this circus coming to an end, I am tire of listening to this clown lie to people. See, men like Taylor think they’re so smart, but really when it comes down to it, he has no clue. This is starting to look like a mock trial. Everyone know the man is guity and yet they continue to drag this circus.

    But I will tell you my friends this is a good example, its time to send a message to these so called leaders, opps I meant dictators in Africa that times are changing.

    Mas, I think thats what Alpha meant, but let him give you an anwser

  12. Lotson,you are to the point about taylor supporters unawareness of Ms Hollis questions technique as trying to firstly associate taylor to abuses of power in the past before employing same in his new colony,Sierra Leone! It is a pity that the arrogance of this man sometimes seem to get adopted by his associates especially in how they present arguements, and their very seemingly perceptions about others who disagree with their views!
    Taylor could not possibly respect human rights with murders of witnesses to cover up,or using death as means of intimidation to the civilians when he displaced human skulls on his convoy, or had his notorious son Chuckie run the death squards in Liberia. This con man wants us to believe he wasn’t awared of any of these? Come on Taylor..your lying days are numbered!

    1. Hatters of justice , how does debunking taylors testimony precisely,directly links him to sierraleoneans comitted atrocities,if and only if the mandate of this case is followed to the letter. Mr. Taylor had comitted no crimes in that sisterly nation and theres no room for a guilty verdict… BRAVO GHANKAY…

      1. Hi Noko5 — while I don’t consider myself to be a “hater of justice”, may I still respond to your question?

        What the Special Court judges are faced with now are two competing versions of history and Mr. Taylor’s alleged role within it: one places Mr. Taylor at the pinnacle, or at least a joint part of, rebel efforts to terrorize the Sierra Leonean population through committing crimes including the use of child soldiers, rape, sexual slavery and mutilations; the other maintains that Mr. Taylor was a statesman and a peacemaker who acted in the best interest of Sierra Leone, was only in contact with RUF commanders for the purposes of peace, and was then scapegoated by the West. The prosecution then, not only bears the burden of proof in demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Taylor should be held responsible for crimes committed in Sierra Leone – but they also need to demonstrate to the judges in the process that their version of events is more credible than Mr. Taylor’s version of events in order to erase any reasonable doubt that may exist that Mr. Taylor’s version of events might be true. Mr. Taylor, meanwhile, maintains that he is innocent of all charges against him. Ultimately the judges need to work out which side is presenting the more credible evidence in order to determine if the prosecution has met its burden of proving Mr. Taylor’s responsibility for crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.


        1. Thank you tracey,
          We hope the burden will remains on them and not shift one day, when they have come to the conclusion that thereis nothing absolutely to find this man guilty on. Because this case has the propounsity to brew very serious caos in in that part of africa if people are not careful. Like take for example, the part of the case today that had to do with the helicopters; I mean , plain and simple, instead of Mr. Taylor and miss Holis arguing today, I think the judges should have made these prosecutions to produce pictures of the proper identifications of said heicopters, since these equipments are present at the James Sprigs Field air port..PLEASE LET THIS NOT BE UNDERSTOOD AS I AM CONDEMNING THE JUDGES). Let the public determin too whether these are MI 2,8 or !7 as alleged by the prosecution…Anyway we are watching…Gods time is the BEST

        2. Tracey,
          Quick question. Would there be a point in this case where there would be direct deliberation between the defence and prosecution lawyers?

          1. Hi Noko5 — can you explain a little more what you mean? I just want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly to give you a proper answer.

            Very best,

    2. J Fallah Menjor,
      Even the prosecution did not try to present any evidence of Taylor having human heads tied onto his convoy of cars. So where are you getting this information from ? My other question name one person that you know of that Chuckie Taylor killed?

      1. Hi J Fallah Menjor — a quick note to let you know that I can’t publish your post that you submitted at 1:45am today in its current form. If you can reframe it to make your point but take the focus off another reader, I am happy to publish it. Let me know if you need me to send you the current text — I am happy to do so.


      2. Hi Sam — just a quick note to let you know that I cannot publish a comment we got from you at 6:41am today as it does not adhere to our policy of focussing on the trial and not on other readers. Might you be able to reformulate it in accordance with this policy and resubmit? I will be happy to publish it. Do let me know if you need a copy of your comment and I will send it to you.
        Thanks in advance for your understanding,

      3. For anyone to ask for proof or identity of victims of chuckie taylor’s brutal ATU is like asking for a name of that poor pregnant woman, it is alleged, who was buried alive as taylor’s ritualistic sacrifice to ward off indictment when he hastely returned from Accra upon hearing of his arrest for war crimes! And for those who dream of taylor canidacy to Sainthood is like A Nbel Peace Prize Committee considering Adolf Hitler for being a mastermind behind the Holocaust! Taylor is the MASTERMIND OF DESTRUCTIONS IN WEST AFRICA! What taylor justly deserves is the little VIP cell he presently occupies at the Hague and later in The United Kingdom he so much despise!

        1. Fallah,
          Please, please can you kindly go and show the world where this poor preegnant woman was buried? I am definitely sure you will win one of the nobel prices…such an information will make a hudge hudge difference in this case …try please???

          1. Don’t worry I doing a thorough research on this con man, Noko5. You will be surprised at what I already have on disk! You guys think the trial is going to be the end of thi…lie!

          2. Fallah,

            What are some of the things you may have on yourself made “disk”? What impact will that disk do to the trial? By the way, what kind of disk are you talking about?

  13. All this lying can’t possibly get this man out of the hole he dug for himself. Everything, as far as he is concerned, is totally Incorrect or total nonsense. The prosecution is doing a great job. They are trying to show the judges the real man, instead of the peacemaker, humanitarian, and statesman that the defense tried to show the former warlord to be.
    The prosecution is laying a sure foundation to prove that Mr. Taylor lied during his testimony about his leadership of NPFL/NPRAG/GOL and his role in the crisis in Sierra Leone.
    All those have problems with the strategies of the prosecution, need to relax and let the people conduct their cross. If they blunder, good for Taylor lovers. As for the money being used on the trial being better spent elsewhere, how about the GOL 14 million that was spent by Talor and Kadiatu? Don’t you think that money could have help move the peace process forward or help Liberia otherwise?

    1. Sansee,
      the 14 million was used to protect you. Charles Taylor using that 14 million helped prevent LURD and MODEL from taking power. That is a good thing unless you are a LURD or MODEL member.

    2. Sansee,
      If you were send to look at the specs of the choppers at that time for the prosecution, would you have changed MI 2 to MI 17??????

    3. Sansee,

      Maybe if those in the international community that supported LURD and MODEL had cared more about the Liberian people and not supported those rebel groups, the government of Taylor would have been able to use the money spent on protecting you and the people of Liberia on other more appropriate things.

      You all seem to forget how much havoc LURD was causing in the west of the country backed by the US through Guinea. If Taylor had not been strong enough to stave off those attacks at that time, most of us would have gone through a similar fate as that of the Sierra Leoneans. I am not saying that our civil war was not bad but it did not compare to the heinous crimes committed in Sierra Leone. We also know that ULIMO who later became LURD adopted the same kind of strategy as followed by the RUF, so let’s not kid ourselves here.

      Some of you have conveniently forgotten how people gravitated to NPFL control area for safety rather than towards ULIMO or LURD. This is a known fact. So if there were such atrocities being intentionally committed by Taylor forces, why were civilians running to them rather than away from them. During the early days of the war didn’t civilians run to NPFL areas rather than remain in areas controlled by Doe? Have you asked why? It is the same reason why during the attacks of LURD and MODEL that the civilians ran to the areas controlled by the government of Liberia under the very Taylor. They sought safety.

      This being said, it is clear that this man could not have been all bad or the above scenario would not have existed. It is sad how some people have a tendency to only complain when a person is down. They conveniently forget all the positive things that that person did and the negatives done by their opponents.

      I was one of those who took refuge in the Taylor controlled area away from ULIMO and LURD as I personally saw the atrocities being perpetrated by them (ULIMO and LURD). There was no comparison to what I saw in the Taylor area. I was able to live in safety there.

      I do not know which Liberia you lived in but it surely could not have been in the same one. I am not by any chance saying that things were completely rosy; however they were nowhere as bad as you want people here to believe.

      Has it ever occured to some of you haters why after all this time many people in Liberia still miss Taylor? Do you think they are crazy or something? No. It must be because he was not all bad. Go figure.

      Do not villianize a person that you know nothing about.

    4. Sansee,

      Do you really want to know the real liars here? It the one who said that this innocent man “HAS” five (5) billion dollars in foreign banks and can not produce a penny. Where is the five billion dollars? Where are the diamonds that he took from SL? Who bought them or exchange them for arms? What was President Taylor position within the chain of command of the RUF/AFRC? Why can’t the prosecutors show documents contrary to the RUF’S SALUTE REPORT? Why can’t they show the world receipts of arms purchased by Taylor for the rebels? Sansee, no way for you guys. It will hurt. it is hurting. And it will continue to hurt. Next time, you guys will have respect for the people’s choice.

  14. j fallah menjor and the haters of justice:
    Ms. Hollis line of questioning is silly and lacks any logical conclusion. We understand her drift to suggest a pattern of behavior by Mr. Taylor relative to the crimes that was committed in SL. But if one examine any war situation, in Africa and around the world, one will quickly see the same pattern of behavior. Even US soldiers raped and abused people in Iraq. This is the nature of war.

    So if Ms. Hollis goes to great length to demonstrate that war crimes was committed in Liberia , still does not prove any fact that Taylor was in “command and control” of the RUF, and knew of their activitiies. This is the central issue that the prosecution has not proven. One of the prosecution own star witness, former Taylor’s vice president, Moses Blah testified to this:

    “12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in session following the mid-morning break. Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp continues the direct examination of former Liberian President Moses Blah: ”
    Pros: How long were you in the camp in Libya?
    Wit: About a year and a half.
    Pros: Were there other nationalities?
    Wit: Yes. Gambians had just finished their training and went to overthrow their government but were not successful and came back. We met Filipinos and a few Sierra Leoneans.

    I would want all the Taylor haters to seriously consider this statement by Blah, “We met Filipinos and a few Sierra Leoneans.” This means that SLeons were already in training in Libya before the Liberians got there, and that the SL already had their own plans. Now , a quick note to also remember that before the Liberians got to Libya Taylor himself was in jail in Ghana. So the fact remain that Taylor had no controL over the SLeons from day one and had never been in control of RUF.

    It is insulting to the people of SL who were suffering under a bad government and decided to take their own action against that government, for people to suggest that they were puppets for Mr. Taylor. “TOTAL NONSENSE!”

    1. King gray, if you think Ms Hollis questioning technique is “silly” then taylor responses must be “total nonsense” and just his usual arrogance in responding to questions that attempt to uncover his devilish behavior and pattern of deceptions to say the least! Why do we keep arguing like school children on these facts about this con man and thief? Taylor’s deeds cannot be redeemed by all the rethorics his supporters have resulted to presenting on this site because they seem to think they must respond to every statement made against their con man! Taylor is lucky to be given justice that he never accorded others and those he murdered cold bloodedly, not to mention those whose parts he used for selfish desires! It’s sometimes very sickining hearing this con man talking rubbish about things he knows are nothing but stories which is surprisingly the character he had always been..Con Man!

      1. Fallah could you please respond to the substance of King Gray’s argument rather than rhetorics? you and your prosecution people have held that Taylor “hatched a plan in libya to in effect destabilise west africa” but the testimony of your witnesses does not prove this. are we to rely on the available evidence provided by the prosecution or are we to rely on our preconceived view about this man? Fallah justice demands that we rely on available evidence before us to decided this man’s fate.

        1. Fallah,

          Please respond or say something at least to King Gray and Sam. “Don’t just sit there, do something.”

      2. Hi Helen — you submitted a comment at 11:25am today which needs some revising to adhere to our policy for posting. All that is needed is a change to the last sentence and specifically to the last seven words. If you wouldn’t mind removing them, I am happy to post the rest of comment as is.
        Thanks in advance for your understanding, Helen.

    1. Hi 4 ur eyes only — I am not sure what is to become of the footage of Mr. Taylor’s case or whether that has actually been decided by the court itself. I will ask Mr. Moriba and see if he knows more about what will become of the video archive after the Taylor case finishes.

    1. It is of course no problem, 4 ur eyes only. Very easy and common typo with my name. Think nothing of it.

  15. King Gray, what with the speaches again, give it a break, you are now sounding like CT, “TOTAL NONSENSE”. How come every CT response has a “TOTAL NONSENSE” somewhere in it. I think the court should ban that phrase ” bescause it is now having an impact on the way you’re expressing your opinion. Yes this forum is a matter of opinion but where Taylor is sitting is a court of law.

    King Gray you also said “But if one examine any war situation, in Africa and around the world, one will quickly see the same pattern of behavior. Even US soldiers raped and abused people in Iraq. This is the nature of war.”

    How sad, does this give Taylor soldiers the right to rape and abuse innocent people. Does two wrong make a right. These are the type of narrow thinking that put us African far behind the rest of the world. We do not know how to lead or be good leaders. Did Ghandi or M.L.King use force in India or the U.S respectively to bring about their change.

    I hope all Liberians know that a nasty CIVIL WAR was not the answer to our problems, all it did was make matters worst and nation in turmoil. Taylor could’ve taken several peaceful and diplomatic approach but he didn’t, now he has to answer for his actions.

    “TOTAL NONSENSE” or “TOTAL GUILT” a wise man knows.

    1. John Thompson and King Gray — I just wanted to pick up on a point you both raise: that of raping an abusing people as being part of the “nature of war.”

      One interesting thing about legal developments in the past 15 years in particular since these international courts were set up is that rape is no longer considered an acceptable part of the nature, or “spoils,” of war, at least in a legal sense. It is prohibited by international criminal law, and the Special Court has in fact prosecuted people for sexual crimes during conflict. This does not mean it does not still happen in practice — you are both right to point to its occurance in conflicts such as Iraq. But increasingly, these courts are trying to ensure that such acts do not go unnoticed or unaddressed (although the sad reality is that many rapes and instances of sexual violence do go unaddressed during war).

      In this case, Mr. Taylor is also charged with responsibility for rape and sexual slavery as crimes against humanity allegedly committed by RUF, AFRC or Liberian fighters in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied these charges. You can see the particulars about these charges in the indictment here:


      1. Tracey,

        I am not aware that it has been established that there were Liberian fighters under the command of Taylor fighting in SL. I believe it is supposed to be the RUF AFRC who should have allegedly been acting under his leadership. Correct me if I am wrong.

        1. Hi Helen — you are absolutely right — it has not been established that there were Liberian fighted under the command of Mr. Taylor fighting in Sierra Leone. However, the prosecution alleges this to be the case in their indictment against Mr. Taylor.

          If you go to page 9 of the indictment against Mr. Taylor and look at paragraph 34, the prosecution has set out the form of responsibility alleged against Mr. Taylor. Here the focus is on command responsibility. That paragraph says this: “the ACCUSED, while holding positions of superior responsibility and exercising command and control over subordinate members of the RUF, AFRC, AFRC/RUF Junta or alliance, and/or Liberian fighters is individually criminally responsible for the crimes referred to in Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Statute.” (Just for reference, Article 2 is crimes against humanity; Article 3 is war crimes; and Article 4 is other serious violations of international humanitarian law). You can find the indictment here —

          And indeed, Mr. Taylor has rejected the suggestion that he was in charge of Liberian fighters in Sierra Leone in the course of his testimony, so it is a point of dispute between the prosecution and defense.


    2. John Thompson,

      You were the same man who said Taylor should just be killed. You also said you are tired with this case. As the result, they should just jail him and throw the keys away.
      John, if we were to follow and obey your unlawful orders and logic, than there is no need for this trial anymore. If this is true, than why are you still commenting? Why are you still writing, based on your logic? Just assume that President Taylor is in jail and the keys thrown away or, he is dead. John, emotion will not help here. It was the same emotion that made the prosecution imploding right before our own eyes when they brought bogus charges without proof against this innocent man.

  16. Trace,
    Since there is so much contention about the questioning techniques and place of crime (SL) rather than Liberia, the judges have the legal authority to question the prosecution if they feel questions are irrelevant to the trial, right? For example, if the judges think that the activities in Liberia do not relate to events in SL they can ask the prosecution, “where is this going” or “what relevance is this question to the trial”, correct? If this is the case, then the questions are not irrelevant as many in the forum are saying.

    I personally think these questions are geared toward showing that Taylor was a controlling, and overbearing person who wants to know about all the happenings around him (as I think the prosecution is alleging). If is he as they characterize, then he should have known about the crimes in SL. I suspect this is their strategy. By using the judicial interference, they are trying to established CT as a control freak and who had control over RUF.

    My observation.

    1. Hi Bnker — yes you are absolutely correct. The judges are allowed to help control the courtroom proceedings by ensuring that lines of questioning (or answering) are relevant.

      The judges derive this power from Rule 90(F) of the court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence says: The Trial Chamber shall exercise control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to:
      (i) Make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth; and
      (ii) Avoid the wasting of time.

      So the possibility is there for them to block irrelevant lines of questioning or refocus off-topic answers. Some observers have questioned the extent to which the judges have used this power to control the courtroom proceedings on the whole to ensure time is not wasted on irrelevant issues or digressions (see for example the Berkeley monitors’ report available here who lamented the judges’ passive approach to Mr. Taylor’s direct testimony, arguing they should have been more pro-active in ensuring that his answers remained on topic and relevant: But the same judicial powers can be used to question the prosecution or defense on the relevance of their own lines of questioning too.


    2. Bnker,

      We don’t care, or we don’t want to know about the prosecution strategy. It is their business. We can care less. However, they claimed that President Taylor knew or had reason to know of the crimes, since in fact, he was part of the command and control structure of the rebel. They horribly failed to point at his position within the chain of command. The rebels however, denied such claimed by the prosecution. The rebels SALUTE REPORT dimissed such a ridiculously terrifying lie by the prosecution. Certainly, Mr. Taylor also said nothing of such to back up the prosecution false claim. So, why can’t the prosecution show proof? Why this has to boil down to prosecution’s strategy? My brother, show us the evidence. How hard is that? The prosecution strategy is not an evidence to me. Besides, I don’t want to know. And certainly, the world doesn’t want to know.

      1. Jose,
        You may not be interested in the prosecution strategy or my perception of the strategy, I think not being concerned about their strategy has led to the one-sided thinking by many in this forum. While it may not be relevant to you, I am sure it provides a another prospective of this trial and thought process. If you are not interested in my post or my position on strategy, you are at liberty to not read or respond. I take the time to read yours, some I respond to others I don’t find it necessary to. But, the choice is yours.

        While I will agree with you that evidence is lacking, I asked Tracey a question about reasoning and whether it was sufficient to render a guilty or otherwise judgment. She took the time and provided a clear explanation–I would recommend reading it; it makes good read and the information therein I think you will find useful. It’s under the Jan 20 report. I hope you read and enjoy it….

        Thanks for responding! Yea, but this week, seem to be a really tough for the defense. I wrote a tread on this too, but again, strategy is involved so I presume you might not be interested in reading it. Anyhow, I hope you would, though.

        1. Bnker,

          I enjoy this piece. However, I’m laughing while reading. Good thread though. Anyways, I read Tracey post that you talked about. However, I find it fascinating and interesting. I most often don’t respond to her posts, but I certainly read all of her posts.
          But listen up. Nice to know you agree with me that the evidence is lacking.
          Again, I had fun reading your post.

  17. Congratulations for this amazing project!
    I’ve just found out about it on the OSI website – if we could follow and document each step of human rights violations trials, more people would be aware of the attrocities being commited and check daily on the trial proceedings preventing corruption and impunitiy.

    Keep up the great work!
    from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    1. Hi Marina Motta — I am so glad you found this site — I think you are the first reader we have here who has identified herself as Brazilian. Welcome! I’m so pleased to hear that you like the project.

      But I have to say quite honestly, it is the people who read and comment on the site who really make the site interesting and make it work so well. If not for the readers, it would not be anywhere near as dynamic.

      Great to have you with us and hope we continue to hear from you.


    2. Marina,
      Welcome….I guess you all in Rio and Brazil are excited about the Olympic games, huh? I think you all deserve it.

  18. john thompson
    It is very humorous to see the way you reasoned. i have never defended the commission of war crimes, whether it was rape or any other inhumane behavior. I argued that crimes is the nature of war, in any war terrible criminal behavior occurs. So the prosecution weak argument that since crimes were committed in the Liberian war , so it must be Taylor who commanded RUF forces to commit crimes in SL is silly to say the least.

    Was the RUF war a valentine treat or some kind of merry making event? Such argument undermines the prosecution case and further demonstrate their desperation to condemn a man that has done no such thing. The evidence are very clear that SLeons went to Libya, for military training, before the NPFL, to wage a war on their own country. They had their own plan and their own command structure.

    But Harris Johnson raised another important point regarding the political nature of this trial, by westerners to denied Liberians fundamental human rights. If the socalled international community was not against Taylor personally, then why would they imposed an arms embrago upon Liberia while our country and families were being attacked by their dogs of war, and merchants of deaths? Why did the socalled international community never condemned LURD and MODEL and seek war crimes charges against them for all the terrible crimes they committed against the people of Liberia?

    These socalled international powers are evil and wicked, to sponsored the deaths and destruction of ordinary Africans just because we voted for president Taylor so that our natural resources would not be exploited, as was done in the past. These people are really evil and demonic, to do such a crude and inhumane action against the sufferiing people of Liberia. it is the socalled UN people that should be on trial here for displaying such wickedness against us.

    Do you know how some of us really suffered during the war? Do you feel the deep wound we continue to bear as a result of such callous wickeness by people in high places? Do you know how much we lost, our dear and love ones? Look , this case is “TOTAL NONSENSE” for all i care. This is no justice that represents my pains and sufferings and the deaths of my loved ones. “TOTAL NONSENSE!”

    1. King Gray,

      I cannot begin to imagine what you and others on this site must have suffered during the war, and that trials in and of themselves cannot heal those wounds.

      I also think I understand more clearly what you are saying about the rapes and other abuses/criminal behavior committed in war — I understand you to be saying that it is a sad fact of life that rapes and other abuses happen during war, sometimes opportunistically, and so to say that Mr. Taylor ordered RUF forces to perpetrate them is silly — am I understanding your argument correctly?


      1. Yes Tracey, you have correctly understood the argument I am making regarding the nature of war.

    2. King…
      Wow! You had a lot to say and I empathize with you. No one can deny that Western powers have used Africa for their proxy wars (US vs. USSR). Liberia was just one of those countries. It’s also a fact that the largest arm dealing countries in the world are the 5 members of the security council. Moreover, we all acknowledge that there are collateral damages from war, say, a bomb missing its target. However, excess or indiscriminate killings are intolerable and wrong; further, they are not considered collateral damage or excess–they are simply murder. Though I didn’t lose any of my family members and was never really harassed, I witnessed others being tortured. This is my problem with these rebel leaders, they flat out failed, all of them failed to save guard lives and property (image a friend of mine killed for coconut and another Malcom Wilson (Magic) killed in Gbanga because he dated one of Charles Taylor’s daughter). Because these activities were not curtailed early they spread. Further complicating this nonsense and sheer madness was the use of child soldiers–these kids don’t reason. How can a 5 year old rationalize; Impossible!

      Though our conflicts may have been influenced by western countries as you said for our natural resources which I doubt. Liberia’s largest natural resources are the forest and iron ore reserve, most of the ore have been depleted (at least the high grade ore). Though, I have learned from a reliable source that marketable quantity oil deposit was recently discovered in LIberia (it has not been announced yet), I don’t think natural resources was the reason. If you argue that economic reasons were the involved in the robust involvement in stopping the carnish I will see reason, but not starting it. We cannot always blame the western nations or the “so called UN” or “so-called international community” for our folly. The question we need to ask ourselves, why our leaders trade national interest for selfish ones? The failure and atrocities are linked to failure in leadership to seek their nation’s interest–simple! If we thought nation first, the US, China, or all other nations won’t allow us to kill each other.

      Because of the many atrocities, I advocate war crimes for the victims including the loved ones that you lost. You asked a good question, “Why did the socalled international community never condemned LURD and MODEL and seek war crimes charges against them for all the terrible crimes they committed against the people of Liberia?” We have the opportunity to seek justice and “seek war crimes charges against them” as you mentioned. Thus far, the best means by which you may seek justice against these groups is through war crimes court for Liberia. If Liberia won’t step up to the plate, I hope the international war crimes court in the Hague would prosecute them or seek justice as they’ve done with the Laurent Nkumba (DRC rebel leader), Omar Hassan Al-Bashir (Sudan), and Guinean junta leader Camara as recommended by the UN report. I also hope that those involved in crimes as recommended by the UN report on Israel and Palestine conflict face justice as well.

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