The countdown: Only one more day to go…….

Welcome back everybody!

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor takes the stand again tomorrow, as prosecutors gear up to continue grilling him on his four-month-long testimony.

We’ll be listening closely as Mr. Taylor responds to the prosecution’s challenges, and watching how the trial judges manage the courtroom and the documents that the Prosecution intends to use.  The coming weeks are sure to be filled with some heated moments as Mr. Taylor responds to the challenges to the truthfulness and accuracy of his testimony by lead prosecutor, Brenda Hollis, and her team.

Meanwhile, our monitor, Alpha Sesay, returned back from Sierra Leone yesterday, and will have stories to share with us about how the Taylor trial is being received in Freetown among journalists, civil society and students.

And I am just delighted that we’ll be restarting our conversation here as the trial moves forward.  I, for one, have missed the active debate as the court went into recess over the vacation (and thanks to the intrepid few who still kept posting during the break).

As we get set for the trial to restart, I thought you might be interested in this: a story posted today by the Guardian (UK) about Liberian amputee footballers.  You will note, however, that some of the assertions made by the journalist are actually ones that are being contested in Mr. Taylor’s trial (the journalist, for example, attribute’s ownership by Taylor over the Sierra Leonean rebels and their actions: “His Sierra Leonean rebels used to chop off arms and legs of men who refused to sign up”) which we need to keep in mind as we read this article.  But still, thought some readers might still be interested in the story and the ideas contained within it.

You can find it here:

See you back here tomorrow as the trial starts.


  1. Hi Tracey ,
    One question I allways asked myself is, could a guy like Benjamin Yeaten be consider a legal credible witness for President Taylor if he was admitted by the defence ?? Could you help me please..

      1. Tracey,
        Did the trial resume as schedule today, I was not able to see it. I am waiting for Alpha summary and I observe the site posters are talking about other things.

        1. Hi Ken – yes the trial did start back again today, but unfortunately the court experienced techincal difficulties with the live streaming that created a lot of problems for people trying to watch the trial (apparently the problem is fixed now).

          Alpha’s summary will be delayed today, but we will post it as soon as we can.

          Very best,

  2. Jose Rodriguez,
    The more you write the more your need for a break surfaces.
    Let me highlight few of the many logical flaws and historical inaccuracies in your latest post.

    You wrote “Secondly, I told Flomo why they are blaming President Taylor; and my reason was because of President Taylor’s popularity.”
    One needs not be a rocket scientist to see the serious logical flaw in your aforementioned statement. How can a very popular president be forcefully removed from power, forced into exile, chained like a dog, taken to the Hague disgracefully and imprisoned like a common criminal yet not a single soul, save his cronies, henchmen and beneficiaries of his criminal empire has protested in any way or form? Every time Dr. King Jr. Ghandi, Mandela and other popular leaders were arrested we all know the widespread condemnations and massive protests that occurred on their behalf. Even the barbaric and tyrannic Saddam Hussein’s popularity among a section of his people can’t be denied by even Saddam fiercest opposition. So, save us the deceptions that a popular leader popularity only shows when he is dead or two person not recognizing a part of Dr. King’s work shows that he was unpopular until his death. My brother, if Taylor was opposed by only the US, the UK or by only Western nations you would have had an argument. But how can the entire Security Council, particularly the five permanent members, who hardly agree on major issues and a common threat to them all like Iran attempts to develop Nuclear weapon, overwhelmingly support traveling sanctions, armed embargoes and freezing of the personal assets on Taylor and inner circles and yet you want us to believe that Taylor is an innocent person. For the US, UK, France, China and Russia to unanimously agree on the Taylor issue, even harden critics of the UN will tell you that Taylor is a complete pariah.
    My friend, if Taylor was popular even among his fellow African leaders, ECOWAS and AU would have offered an official protest against Taylor’s arrest and trial and in no way will some of Africa’s most important countries be providing millions of dollars to the Special Court for the trial of Taylor. Save us the deception that one or two of Taylor allies in the destabilization of Africa criticizing Taylor’s arrest in passing while answering wide range of questions from journalist amount to a formal protest. Just looking at the formal communique issued by the AU rejecting the indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-BashirJose tells you the length at which African leaders will go to protect their own. The mere fact that ECOWAS and AU have not even table Taylor’s arrest and trial for discussion in any of their many meetings shows how much a pariah Taylor is. There is a common Liberian saying that if you enter a village and meet a person who tells you that everybody in his village hates me, you need no further investigation in order to know that such a person has serious behivour or attitudinal problem. For there is just no way an innocent person can be hated by everybody.

    2. You must be either joking, being seriously gullibly or completely indocrinated to believe your own statements ” Like Taylor, he wanted his country resources to be for all South African people and not for westerners only.” Can you give any instances in which Taylor try protecting Liberia’s natural resources? Is his contract with the Oriental Timber company OTC (the only meaningful contracts he would attract since no serious companies were willing to do business with a criminal) for which OTC would never be taken to court for breaking Liberian laws (check the OTC agreement if you already don’t know) Taylor’s way of protecting our natural resources from exploitation? Is giving our nature parks and virgin forest for exploitation Taylor’s ways of protecting the Liberian resources? Is bringing in phony companies to exploit the natural resources in his control areas during his NPRAG government days a way of protecting Liberia’s naturaI resources? Only Taylor and his inner circle receiving monies from all the criminal consessions going in his control area while the rest of the employees of his so-called government were never paid Taylor’s way of using Liberia’s resources for all its people? I bet, you can’t give examples of Taylor resisting the exploitation of Liberia’s natural resources.

    3. Your statements “However, prior to the war, and history has taught us, that there have always being a tribal wars between the people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh County. Taylor is not the source of the conflict. What you are saying is just an outlie and unmitigated disaster about Mr.Taylor and the two groups. It is literally outrageous to blame Taylor for the two counties inherenly in-cohabitation” can never be the statements of a person who want to be taken seriously in any informed, enlightened and educated environment.
    In essence, you are telling us that Taylor knew that there was already a tribal war between the people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties and in order to bring democracy, peace, prosperity and unification to Liberia he decided to take the people of Nimba as his ‘freedom fighters’ but he should never be blamed for the systematic killing of persons solely on the basis of their tribes that occurred on an unprecedented scale than ever heard of in Liberia because of his demonic decision to use one warring tribe against another. Yet, you want to convince us that a man who can go this length to obtain power and wealth is a great statesmen and should be placed in the class of Dr. King, Ghandi, Mandela, etc. I’m now beginning to see your worldview.
    Jose, you see, there is this Liberian saying that the chick knows how to run but it doesn’t know how to hide. After running all over the place, you have just exposed yourself by unknowingly attested to the fact that Taylor so-called war of liberation was all about his personal quest for illicit weath and raw power and that he was willing to use any means no matter how detrimental to the stability and well-being of Liberia such mean was. Which decent person with a conscience will know well enough fully of the hatred and suspicion among a section of this own people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh County, the high degree of illiteracy among those people and yet recuirt the most illiterate of those people (mostly Gios since the Mano are the most educated)? Is there any other reasons except for Taylor to have absolute power of these illiterates, for which all persons of prominence including all educated Nimbians ( Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, etc) who crossed over or lived in Taylor’s control area were killed under mysterious circumstances?
    No, Jose, great statesmen doesn’t sacrifice a country for their comfort and pleasure rather they sacrifice their comfort and pleasure for the good of their country.

    1. Big Joe,

      You were warned several times for telling me what to do or say, and you have not adhere. I do not work for you. Don’t tell me what to do or say. I tell what, it is clear that you do not have the mental stimulus to engage me in this open forum. As the result, you want me to either quit writing or take a break. “Boss”, not only am I here, but here to stay.

      Look, listen up, you said “Taylor was forcefully removed from power, forced into exile, and etc.”

      Big Joe, you said “force” and not elected out of office. To me, that says a lot. Everything that epitomizes President Taylor being in the Hague Today, was either through illegal means or force. The Liberian people who elected their president never had any saying in the entire process. Even President Johnson Sirleaf unilateral decision to turn this man over, was not signed on by the Liberian people through their Congress. So Big Joe, if you will consider forcing of one out of office and subsequently taken to the Hague by international “Powers “as a means of him being unpopular in Liberia, than I say you are just one in the millions that thinks this way.

      1. Jose and Big Joe — let’s keep the discussion focussed on the trial issues, yes?


        1. Tracey,
          However, there is no proof on Sierra Leone, that’s why these guys are bringing in Liberia. They will not agreed to stick with the Sierra Leone debate. Instead, they will talked about pattern in Liberia, impeach President Taylor credibility in Liberia, Taylor action in Liberia, and etc. If these people really want justice, President Johnson Sirleaf will act on the TRC report. Instead of she and her international partners saying the Liberian people will decide. When it came to Taylor, she did not say the people will decide, but it’s your time now, we are getting all the excuses.

          Anyways Tracey, I will listen to you for now. And I hope others will also listen and stick on the issue of Sierra Leone and not Liberia.

        1. Noko5,

          You bet. Good acknowledgement Noko5. However, I couldn’t have done this without all you guys support.

          Noko5, have you notice something? They temporarily stopped calling us UNEDUCATED people as of late. Good. They also temporarily stopped calling us rebels, cannibals and all those despicable names. However, we are doing an outstanding job. Pretty soon, they will stop talking about Liberia. And when they do that, and start talking about Sierra Leone, they will be indisputably convinced, that the entire case is a hoax. The foundation of the entire case is based on illegality and brutal force. However, What we have here is not a case. We have a whistle-stop casino. The game is rigged. The dice are loaded. The roulette wheel is being controlled. And the cards are marked. But we know their tricks and gimmick. Therefore, we will not play along with their tricks and gimmick.

    2. Big Joe

      Well put together. In my opinion, it was mildly confrontational in a inoffensive way. Your topics strictly related to disagreements related to issues about Mr. Taylor. I just hope Jose can respond to your posting logically without accusation the you were offensive.

      1. Al Solo Nyonteh,

        I have responded dis proportionally in a overwhelming way to Big Joe’s posting. for every topic he introduced, i responded. For example, he talked about the indictment of Ellen, I responded. He talked about VP Moses Blah, I responded, He brought in Dr. King, Mhandi, Nkrumah, and mandela, I responded. He talked about me taking a break and my posting is adsurd, I responded, and etc. In fact, in my responses, I provided more information with dates and time of events than Big Joe. For example, I talked about the date and place of Nkrumah’s Pan-African Congress, OAU, his residence in exile, how and when he was overthrown. I also talked about mandala 27 years in prison. I talked about Dr. king civil rights movement and how the State of Arizona does not recognize him for what he did and even his birthday is not reognized. I talked about Ellen’s government respond to the accusation of arms and ammunition being sent to Guinea. I also said we need an investigation, as the result of the two separate stories we are getting from both the UN and the government. For example, the UN said the arm embargo has being lifted on Liberia for at least twelve(12) months period. And I provided evidence through the UN own website. On the order hand, the government said, it is still under the arm embargo. And I alsoprovided evidence through quotes of the four(4) ministries joint statement.

        Al, I provided so many comparisons of Taylor to the names he mentioned. I also said to him why Taylor is blamed, but not the likes of Prince Johnson, Kromah, Ellen, and the rests. So, I don’t know where you are coming from with me accusing him of being offensive. Show me, where did I accuse this man of being offensive. However, if you have the time, take your time and re-read all of my responses.

  3. Welcome….and we are back to TRICKS and TREATS by the prosecutors…..over four weeks and they couldn’t file a motion to settle this tricks…..TWO WEEKS NOTICE of the next witness….oh well, who will be the next witness two weeks from now??? Mr. Taylor!!!

  4. Hi Tracey,

    Happy New Year to you, Alpha and all of the staff. While I appreciate your tireless efforts at trying to keep the conversation going, I don’t see how the guardian article contributes to this debate about this trial.

    For starters as a Liberian who lived through the entire civil war the article is fraught with inaccuracies and again unfortunately shows how sloppy some western journalists can be when reporting on Africa. Not only are some of the statements in the article untrue but the story is told outside of the African context which could dangerously mislead readers not familiar with that part of the world.

    To stimulate debate I would encourage us all to post relevant articles about the trial and not pro taylor or anti taylor propaganda that lacks little or no substance but opinions.

    1. Mas — hello and welcome back! Happy New Year to you also.

      Thanks for your comments — indeed, I noticed the challenges with that article too in terms of stating issues as facts that are still under deliberation by the SCSL. I’m glad you alerted me to the problems with the article.

      I too would welcome any links to articles related to the trial that are useful and accurate if you and other readers are willing to share them with us when you come across them. It is an excellent suggestion of yours.


  5. During my long trip back this weekend from Washington D.C. to Brussels (Layover for five hours ) then on to Monrovia. I read a very interesting article on the plane in the December 2009 edition of the New African magazine. It covers the Charles Taylor trial. Unfortunately they do not seem to have a web link but I encourage all those interested in the trial to get a copy.

    1. Hi Aki – glad to hear you made it home to Monrovia safely. Thanks for the tip on the New African magazine article — I think one needs a subscription to access the website, from what I can tell.

      I will see if I can get my hands on a copy and try to summarize it for people here if I can. Thanks again for the tip.


    1. Hi there Aki — that is so kind of you. I have just sent you an email to the address I have for you on the site. Do let me know if you don’t receive it.

      Please do not worry about sending it through if it is any trouble – I can also try to pick up a copy of the magazine myself too. It sounds like an interesting read.

      Very best, with appreciation,

  6. Jose Rodriguez,
    You should allow your writings to speak for you. My brother, calling a cow a goat doesn’t make it a goat. So, you ahead and say I lack the intellectual abilities but fail woefully the very simple task of giving examples as to how Taylor protected Liberia’s natural resources, how he made sure all Liberians benefitted from them and answer which national and patriotic duties motivated Taylor to arm one warring tribe against another and yet he should be held responsible of the tribal killings brought about due to his devilish act.
    Indeed, Taylor was forced out of power by LURD and by the Demand from President Bush that he must step down. Of course LURD are Liberians and President Bush made the statement because it was cleared that there can be no peace in Liberia with the mad man Taylor as President.
    Look, the democratic processes don’t end at the ballot box. A democratically elected government that willfully violate the constitution of the land become undemocratic. Being democratically elected President (even if he got 100% votes) is an a sanctuary from prosecution for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    The soonest you understand that Taylor is in the Hague because of his gross violation of International laws and for his committing of crimes against humanity then you will appreciate what is going on.
    Did you follow yesterday’s trial? You have been asking for documental evidences, now they are coming out. Everyone knows I knew Foday Sankoh long before the revolution (not verbatim) now means everyone know that it is false that I knew Sankoh long before I launched my revolution.
    I can wait to hear more Taylorberish (Taylor’s new language).

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