International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Welcome back: One Week to Go Before Charles Taylor’s Trial Restarts

Happy New Year, dear readers, and welcome back. 

We have one more week to go before former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, returns to the stand at the Special Court for Sierra Leone to restart his cross-examination by prosecutors.  He has been testifying in his own defense since July 14, 2009, trying to fend off 11 charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed during Sierra Leone’s civil conflict. Mr. Taylor has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

As you will see from the post below — a detailed overview of Mr. Taylor’s defense case under direct examination by his counsel, kindly provided by Jennifer Easterday and Kimberley Punt, trial monitors from U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center — Mr. Taylor’s testimony has been fascinating. Over the course of four months, Mr. Taylor has provided (although not always consistently) a narrative of a regional peacemaker made into a scapegoat by other international powers.  He rejects allegations that he was in a position to prevent or punish crimes committed by Sierra Leone’s rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front, during Sierra Leone’s conflict. He also denies aiding and abetting the rebel group by providing arms and ammunition in exchange for diamonds, which prosecutors allege were brought to him by Sierra Leonean rebel leaders, and rejects the notion that he collaborated with the rebels in a joint criminal enterprise to destabilize Sierra Leone in order to instal a friendly governernment which would allow greater exploitation of the country’s natural resources and mineral wealth. 

Just before the recess last year, prosecutors started their cross-examination, confronting Mr. Taylor with, among other things, a covert bank account kept in his name through which millions of dollars are alleged to have flowed during the time of his presidency.  Mr. Taylor denied that the bank account was for personal enrichment but instead was used for covert operations on behalf of the Liberian government. This cross-examination will continue next Monday, and U.C> Berkeley will kindly provide another report for us covering Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination once that is complete too.

Meanwhile, the site has been quiet, but we have not forgotten about the trial.

Alpha arrived in Sierra Leone not long after the court took its early recess.  Over the past few weeks, he has been meeting with journalists, students and civil society organizations in the country to get people’s thoughts on the Taylor trial to date.  We will be posting updates from his trips and what he found out over the coming weeks.

The holidays also got me thinking about the broader context of the trial.  Many people who comment on this site identify themselves as Liberians or Sierra Leoneans, and regularly provide such rich analyses and discussions of places, people and background to the trial which enormously enrich the legal narratives emerging from the courtroom each day.  I realized that a number of other readers are, like me, not from West Africa but are increasingly fascinated with the discussions, ideas and analyses emerging from readers on the site, and want to learn as much as possible about the context and background of Sierra Leone, Liberia, the conflicts in both countries, and more about Mr. Taylor and his current trial.  It struck me that the best people to recommend reading/films/analyses for those of us who are not from the region but who want to deepen our understanding of the issues and events which underpin this trial, would actually be many of the readers and regular commentators on this site who are from Liberia and Sierra Leone.  So I now ask a request of you, dear readers: Might you be able to offer us some good reading/viewing recommendations as we wait for the trial to begin? 

Good to be back on board with you again and I look forward to our continued conversations throughout 2010.

Best,

Tracey

54 Comments
  1. I am not from Liberia, however, my father is. (I was born on the west coast of the U.S.) Although there are several documentaries about Liberia, the two most recent which I’ve seen were “Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” and “Liberia: America’s Step Child.” The first is a general overview of recent history as told through the eyes of a film producer who is searching for a relative. The second contains much detail about Liberia’s beginnings and early history. As for reading, the TRC report, even if it’s findings are disputed, contains an extensive Background section which, despite being lengthy, is definitely worth the read.

    • Hi Paivy — thanks so very much for these suggestions. I will look for the films and read the background of the TRC report as you suggest.

      Best,
      Tracey

  2. Dear Tracey,

    Like we always say in Liberia, “thank you very much” we wish you all the best.

    Regards

    Harris K Johnson

    • Hi Harris — thank you so much and welcome back. I hope you had a lovely break over the holidays.
      Very best,
      Tracey

  3. Happy New Year to everybody on this site and to CGT, I wish you the best. May God guide you all the way.

  4. Hi

    A very happy prosperous 2010 to all on this site and to MR.C.G.T happy new year papay
    BYE

    Zobon

  5. I am interested in knowing how papey charles spend the holidays. He must have received lots of xmas gifts as chief mentor to many who have come to hate humanity and rule of law as clearly demonstrated by the support he continued to get even though he killed their ma and pa! It’s a pity how liberians have come to this point in their life time! Great to be back well rested and ready to disrobe the Chief! Hail to the chief! Jfallahmenjor

    • Compliments of the season Fallah, obviously the holidays has given you anti Taylor people and the prosecution a respite which you surely need in order to rescue your crumbling case. Howevever, what av you got to say about the review by the UC Bercley team? especially their observation that owing to the overwhelming documentry evidence presented by the defence, the prosecution will find it almost impossible to prove that Mr Taylor acted as a mediator on his own interfering in the internal affairs of Sieera Leone in order to favour the RUF.

      What av you also got to say about the aspect that deals with the seeming contradictions in Mr Taylor’s testimony in his examination in chief? I think rather than lamenting the lives of fellow liberians, it will be good if you focus on the substance and issues arising from the case.

      • I’ve already commented on that,Sam. Besides, I do not hate taylor, I despise him! I rather burn than love taylor who kill my pa and ma!If I meet taylor in hell I laugh!

        • Fallah,FallahFallah!!!!
          Please it too soon to start lieing on Taylor again. Taylor didn’t know any of your Pparents. He killed nobody from you. If your Pa and Ma die some times ago, I want to extend my deepest condolencies but please stop lieing on this man……

  6. Happy new Year to all. I hope 2010 will bring continue peace and prosperity to all. I see all the usual suspects are back and it seems we are all set for a re-start next week, so let the debate begin.

  7. Just wondering why so many people blame CGT for the lives lost in Liberia when the civil war was basically a tribal war of the nimba citizens revenging on the grand gedeh citizens while in the process of removing SKD ? Furthermore this case has lacked substance. Why blame a man the troubles caused by someone else when it is vividly clear that Foday Sankor was the over all mastermind of what happen in salone?

    • Flomo,

      One of the primary reasons, in fact it is the primary why they blamed President Taylor. It is because of his overwhelming popularity. I can say thIs with absolute ontological certitude that Taylor is being loved by vast majority of the Liberian people. Why they don’t blamed LURD Deminte Conneh, who controlled most of Liberia? or GEORGE BOLEY’S LPC, ALIHAJI KROMAH’S ULIMO-K, ROSELVELT JOHNSON’S ULIMO-J ,ALMAH YULU WING OF ULIMO-J, THOMAS YAYA NIMELY’S MODEL, BROWNIE SAMUKAI’S BLACK BERAT, TOM WOWIYOU’S CRC, FRANCIO MASSAQUOI’S LOFA DEFENSE FORCE, HEZEKAIH BOWEN’S AFL THOMAS QUIWONKPA’S NPFL, and etc?

      Flomo, all the names that I mentioned combine, don’t even come close to President Taylor popularity.

  8. Sam,
    It is quite interesting that you are only interested in the part of the UC Berkeley team report dealing with Taylor’s positives. What do you have to say about the part dealing with the foundational issues of documentary Evidence?

    • Big Joe,

      The UC Berkerly Report was their personal analysis of the defense version. I personally think they did well and their report was more favorable to President Taylor as oppose to the prosecution.

      Concerning the issue of “foundation and documentary evidence, it still favors the defense. For example: they said, “unlike the prosecution, the Defense has relied heavily on documentary evidence to corroborate Taylor’s testimony.” They further stated on the foundation issue by saying, “it is important to note that at this point no documents have been admitted into evidence yet.”

      So Big Joe, I don’t see/follow your logic about foundation under Documentary Evidence.

    • Big Joe,
      I think the appeals chamber decision and views on this matter are very clear. I also think the decision of the judges in this case is also clear and that is when an accused is testifying as a witness in his own trial, the court has to be very careful not to infringe his fair trial rights a right that is not lost due to the fact that he is testifying in his own trial. Now rule 89(c) gives the judges the powers to admit any relivant evidence. when the accussed has an evidence which points to his innocence, it is within his right to present those evidence. this is different to another person who is testifying on behalf of the defendant. in that case sufficient foundation will mean at leat having a connection with the document i.e having knowledge of its origin, its content, its author etc.

  9. Jose Rodriguez,
    What is the true intent of your latest post? Is it intended to prove that our government is supplying arms to dissidents in Guinea? When did you become so concern about about independent and full investigations of allegations, free from political maneuvering and compromise, about a Liberian government alleged support to destabilization of a neighboring country?
    You have absolutely no qualm with notorious Sierra Leoneans being given Liberian citizenship cheaply by the President of Liberia and enjoying VIP status in Liberia especially when these were well known criminals and murderers causing instabilities in the sub-region and you absolutely have no issues with the failure of the Taylor government to allow the International community full and independent investigation free from political maneuvering and compromise about his supports to the RUF and you strongly believe that the current trial against Taylor is politically motivated but you are now a die-hard crusader for independent investigation of allegations levied against a much more decent and law abiding government.
    Wow! Man can really do strange things when he is cornered by facts from which there are no escape. In an attempt to defend the indefensible, there is no limit to the absurdities one can come up with. Siphoning the scarce Liberian resources under the guise of covertly protecting the country is acceptable but allegations from a brute, repressive, unpopular and irresponsible military junta as well as agents of the war criminal Taylor demand a full investigation, free from political maneuvering and compromise.
    Jose, please stop joking with serious matters.

    • Big Joe,

      What is wrong with investigation?

      Big Joe, the Liberian government said it is currently under UNSC arms embargo. Therefore it does not have arms.

      Big Joe, the arm embargo on Liberia has been lifted.

      Big Joe, why the Liberian Government is lyingt to the world that it is still under arm embargo?

      Big Joe, the UN is saying that they have lifted the arms embargo, at least, for twelve(12) months. conversely, the Liberian Government is saying that they are still under the embargo.

      Big Joe, someone is not saying the truth.
      Big Joe, that’s why we need an investigation.
      Big Joe, we don’t know which one of these authorities to believe.
      Big Joe, the Guinean Junta has accused the Liberian Government of sending arms and ammunition to Guinea with the intent to destabalize that country.
      Big Joe, the investigation will benefit every body.
      Big Joe, the investigation will help us establish the truth.
      Big Joe, support the investigation.
      Big Joe, what is bad /wrong about investigation?

      • Jose,
        I think you need to pass on your LYRICS to Jay Z…..well put. Some come in here with CLOSED EYES but seek the truth.

        Yes Big Joe…..WHAT IS WRONG WITH INVESTIGATION???

  10. Same old same old, when will they lock this man up and throw away the keys, save my tax money and just leave him in there and throw away the keys or better yet give him to his enemies, oh I know just give him to Prince Johnson he will decapitate him just like Doe.

    And why is it for some reason everyone in Liberia wants to be the president, even the ones with no education. To them I say take a page out of George Weah book and get an education first, it will help you greatly, you might not become president of Liberia but you sure will be a productive citizen.

    What a waste, Charles Taylor the demon, he came and destroy a whole generation of Liberian kids, the country’s future. Do these Taylor supporters know Liberia has one of the world’s worst literacy rate. Everyone wants to live in Monrovia, go back to your farms and do what you know best and feed your country. Farmers are a key part of the economy. Stop the begging in the streets and these arm robberies. Before the war there was no such thing as “Arm Robery” in Monrovia, now a day people can’t walk the streets late at night.

    Well no matter who becomes president or the outcome of Taylor’s trial nothing will make Liberia better unless the people are educated.

    • John Thompson,

      To me, you have given up on this trial. You just want this innocent man put in jail without cause and the keys thrown away. Well, sometimes some things don’t need explanation. Therefore, I will not go any further. Your comment says a lot.

  11. The problem with the judges not cutting Mr Taylor off when he lapsed into endless digressions is that much of his digressions were blatantly incorrect: his descriptions of Liberia’s forests–“Liberia has the world’s biggest elephants”… wrong; that the Liberian shipping registry was started to protect ships during WWII… wrong…

    it goes on and on.

    The problem for the prosecution is: what do they correct?

    Was it the defense’s strategy to baffle the judges with information (much of it irrelevant, as the Berkeley report points out)?

    If so, then if the prosecution tries to correct everything, do they just feed into the defense’s strategy by overwhelming the judges?

    • Digressions — I don’t think we have seen you on here before. Welcome to the discussion.

      These are good points and questions to raise — what are the strategic calculations available to the prosecution as they move forward with cross-examination to ensure the most effective use of time and to make its case most powerfully? Such questions will provide readers will a great point of departure in analysing and discussing the legal and strategic process going on in court daily as the cross-examination continues.

      I hope we continue to hear from you, Digressions, as the case continues.

      Best,
      Tracey

    • So Digressions,
      Are you placed right within the minds of the three judges at the same time to know what is on their minds, and why they don’t cut President Taylor off when he is talking, because they know “much of his digressions were blatantly incorrect”?

      Digression, how do they know that what he is saying is incorrect?
      Digressions, way to go. I won’t come down too hard on you this time, because I have not seen a pattern yet. But when you speak, speak with facts and accuracy, especially on this website. We are not having a child’s play here. This is not a playing or practicing ground.

    • Digression,
      Are there elephants in Liberia??? If the answer is YES then it’s view how one imagines the size right?? RIGHT!!! Now are you saying that some of the world BIGGEST ELEPHANTS are not found in Liberia or what are you saying??

      Why was the shipping registry established?? To some degree, Mr. Taylor’s answer is correct….he didn’t say that was the ONLY reason….so how can he be wrong??

      Digression, there are some questions that require a YES or NO answer…and there are some one cannot just do in ONE WORD…period. The problem I see with the prosecutors is Mr. Taylor knows MORE ABOUT the issue/subject matter than they do ….so how do they DEFEAT him on that???

      Today in court, we hear about the Mary somebody of BBC….now instead of carefully reading the man’s words…..Ms Hollis jumped on it only to be made a FOOL.

  12. Jose Rodriguez,
    Let assume that President Sirleaf refuses to independently investigate this issue and in fact the situation intensifies in Guinea with the wanton hardships, and suffering including chopping off the limbs and hands are visited upon innocent civilians and It become clear from reports from reputable news agencies like BBC, VOA, NGO’s, independent observers and from President Sirleaf own actions and inactions including harboring these heinous criminals and murderers from Guinea who are notoriously known for committing these despicable acts, even employing them in her elite and personal army, cheaply and illicitly giving making them citizens of her country and giving them her nation’s traveling documents to break the UN traveling embargo.
    Will it be unjustifiable for an International tribunal to indict President Sirleaf for war crimes? Should any serious minded Liberian consider such trial politically motivated? Should any Liberian share a single drop for her?

    • Big Joe,
      where are you leading us with this indictment of Sirleaf and etc?

      I don’t know what you are talking about here “boss”.

      I am simply saying what the UN said about lifting the arm embargo on Liberia for at least, a period of about twelve months.

      In contrast, the government is saying that they are still under the UN arm embargo.

      So, in order for us to know the truth, let there be an investigation conducted.
      What is wrong with investigation? Why are you bending over backward, inside, outside, side way, upside down, and grabbing you ankles of saying things that are not of vital importance now?

    • Big Joe,
      You’re a smart man!!!! Good question I don’t know I may be a bit slow but the hypothetical situation sounds like ummmm I don’t know his name…is it Charles G Taylor. All this ludacris claims that Ellen Johnson should be investigated….but a murdering mad man like CGT is hailed as ” One of Liberias best president”, Pure foolishness!! I continue to read the most rediculos claims on this site!!! Charles Taylor is right were he belongs we finally get a president that is really good and is doing tons of good for the country and she needs to be prosecuted why? because she sign extradition papers that allowed Taylor to be taken into custody.
      Goodness gracious come on!!!

      • Teage,

        Really? Did she sign extradition paper that allowed President Taylor to be taken into custody?

        Anyway, thanks for telling us something that we already know. This is not news to me.

      • Ms. Teage,
        Guinea is accusing Liberia for supporting ARMS on her ground ….how do we get to the bottom???? Mr. Taylor was CHARGED for crime….I guess after some INVESTIGATIONS right??? Isn’t that what the “ludacris” are asking?? INVESTIGATE and you have a problem with that?? Really??

  13. Jose Rodriguez,
    You continue to amuse me with your logic. I have never read anything more absurd than your recent rant:
    “One of the primary reasons, in fact it is the primary why they blamed President Taylor. It is because of his overwhelming popularity. I can say thIs with absolute ontological certitude that Taylor is being loved by vast majority of the Liberian people. Why they don’t blamed LURD Deminte Conneh, who controlled most of Liberia? or GEORGE BOLEY’S LPC, ALIHAJI KROMAH’S ULIMO-K, ROSELVELT JOHNSON’S ULIMO-J ,ALMAH YULU WING OF ULIMO-J, THOMAS YAYA NIMELY’S MODEL, BROWNIE SAMUKAI’S BLACK BERAT, TOM WOWIYOU’S CRC, FRANCIO MASSAQUOI’S LOFA DEFENSE FORCE, HEZEKAIH BOWEN’S AFL THOMAS QUIWONKPA’S NPFL, and etc?”
    What is the relation between Flomo’s question ” Just wondering why so many people blame CGT for the lives lost in Liberia when the civil war was basically a tribal war of the nimba citizens revenging on the grand gedeh citizens while in the process of removing SKD” and your huffing and puffing?
    All you needed to tell Flomo is that the Gios, Mano, Krahns have lived peacefully in Liberia for millennia and always found ways of resolving their differences until Taylor came and inflamed their differences for the selfish acquisitions of power and illicit wealth and the formation of other factions were the fallout of Taylor’s criminal war. All Flomo need do in order to fully understand the Taylor’s factor is compared the systematic killing of persons on the sole basis of their tribes that occurred between 1990-1998 and he will easily see that it occur on an unprecedented scale than ever in Liberia’s history.
    If you were not out for deception, you would have told Flomo that all of the characters mentioned by you are blamed for lives lost in Liberia and have been recommended by the TRC for prosecution.
    Jose, it is interesting that the GEORGE BOLEY,ALIHAJI KROMAH, ROSELVELT JOHNSON ,ALMAH YULU and other heinous criminals and murderers are the class of men you are using to measure the popularity of your Papay and not the likes of Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Martin Luther King, Jr. Mohammed Ghandi or other great Statesmen.
    Ok, I’m now beginning understand your line of reasoning. Your Papay Gankay Taylor is the most popular (the actual word is notorious) of the murderers. Definitely, you are right. Taylor notoriety stands out to the extent that he was willing to go any length to satisfy his blood thirstiness for wealth and power.
    Jose, I recommend you take a break and put yourself together. Apparently your feeders from the Hague has informed you of the weight of the prosecution new evidences and how they are damaging to the heap of lies Taylor built up during his testifying and this information has caused you to lose all composure.

    • Big Joe,

      First of all, thanks for doing nothing or saying anything. I will not obey your unlawful order to take a break. By the way, do not tell me what to say or do, the very next time. I am warning you right now, seriously. Secondly, I told Flomo why they are blaming President Taylor; and my reason was because of President Taylor’s popularity. Whether you want to accept it, or reject it, that’s your calling. I said what I had to say. Moreso, those names I mentioned in my previous piece, allegdly committed horribly terrorifying crimes, including Gios and Manos on one side, and krahns and mandingoes on the other side, and are not as popular as President Taylor. 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. Nevertheless, I will not be disquieted about such a scheme by you. Do not count on vast majority of the Liberian people as suckers. And you know we are not suckers, and we will never be suckers. So stop selling us your snake oil.

      Concerning the names you made mentioned of , in persons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, and Dr. Mhadi Ghandi, well, President Taylor and all the names mentioned are unique in its own way. They all have something in common. That is fundamentally standing up to the establishment of the world’s “Powers.” They were all falsely accused and put in jail, they were also despised by the usual suspects. Those names were never recognized by the powers, until just recently. And even not all of them is being recognized Today. For example, Dr. King’s birthday and work is not be recognized by former failed presidential candidates, Berry Goldwater, and Senator John Mccain’s State of Arizona, in the US. However, Dr. king publically announced to the world his opposition to social and racial injustice and the war of Vietnam, couple with the American air strike. There was a moral protest denouncing the wrongs of the war. He led demonstrations all over American, and was savagely murdered.

      Kwame Nkrumah, for his part study in the States, just Like President Taylor, and furthered his schooling in England. He was a Pan-Africanist, and founder of the Pan-Africa Congress in 1945. He and President Taylor are strong believers in African Liberation. Nkrumah pursued a radical Pan-African Policy, playing a key role in the formation of the organization of African Unity in 1963. He was overthrown by the military in 1966, with the help of western backing again. He spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972. His legacy and dream of a “United States of Africa” still remains a goal among many.

      Turning to Nelson Mandela, He led anti Apartheid campaign. As the result, he was jailed for 27 years again by the powers of this world again. Like Taylor, he wanted his country resources to be for all South African people and not for westerners only. What did the powers of the world did to the leaders of Apartheid, including President FW de Klerk, P Bolta, and so many white separatists who suppressed and annihilate the black South Africans? “NOTHING.”

      Lastly, Dr. Ghandi, who Dr. King mirrored in his non-violence approach: demanded the total liberation of India from colonial control.

      Big Joe, I can go on, and on, and on. But, I will stop here for now. However, history will be fair to Taylor. History will remember Taylor as the Liberia President who fought to save our lives and redeem our resources from being exploited by “big powers.”

      • Jose and Big Joe — good that a spirited discussion is starting already — but just encouraging you and all readers that we get off on the right footing as the trial restarts — focusing on the issues and not on each other.

        Only two more days to go! The countdown is on.

        Best,
        Tracey

  14. Jose Rodriguez,
    I created an hypothetical situation for which you fully understand. All I needed from you was an answer to the question I posed to you. Since, apparently, you couldn’t see my questions clearly, I will resend them. Maybe, you just experience an eye glasses malfunction.

    1.Will it be unjustifiable for an International tribunal to indict President Sirleaf for war crimes?

    2. Should any serious minded Liberian consider such trial politically motivated? Should any Liberian share a single drop for her?
    I’m not convince that you lack the intellectual might to answer these very simple question. So, please answer and stop the “playing me.”

    • Big Joe,

      I am not dealing with hypothetical here when in fact, we are looking at current reality of the day. The Liberian Government has been accused by the Junta and re-echoed by one of our dailies. However, the Liberia Government response was, it is still under a UNSC arm embargo. As the result, it does not have arms to defend the citizens, least to mention itself. Now in contrast, The UN is saying that the arm embargo has been lifted for a period of at least, twelve(12) months. Nontheless, there are two different stories that we are getting here from these two separate entities. Here is the website of the UN, that says the arm embargo has been lifted on Liberia.

      http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9824.doc.htm

      Your diversionary scheme of refusing to address the cureent issue and having it being replaced with your self made “hypothetical”, does not warrant ferocious urgency of the moment from me.

      We the people do not need the UN to prosecute Ellen for any crimes. We are not concerned about Ellen prosecution. I don’t know where you are leading us with Eleen prosecution. Let me tell you what we need. We need the UN to leave us alone. It is you guys that need them after all your attempts (through all the rebel groups) to get at President Taylor failed.

    • Big Joe,
      I say YES to question #1 if we will have Mr. Taylor tried in Liberia…..

      I don’t know what you meant about “SERIOUS MINDED LIBERIAN” but if the EVIDENCES are there to support the charges against her, then why will it be “POLITICAL”??? That is not the situation in the Hague….Where are the FACTUAL FACTS in the Hague. Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf in her own words has told us about her INVOLVMENT in the Liberia theater….her words will be the fruit of the crime……compare that to Sierra Leone and Mr. Taylor’s actions???

  15. Jose Rodriguez,
    My post to sam was not about the merit or demerit of Blah’s testimony but upon his claim that Taylor didn’t call persons he appointed to high positions as illiterate. Now, I am really interested in your statement “VP Moses Blah helped President Taylor more than he did for the prosecution.”
    Is vivid pictures of the barbaric, vicious and despotic leadership of Taylor a way of helping Taylor? Is he testimony that Bockerie was killed by Yeaten on Taylor’s order in order to destroy evidence as a way of helping Taylor?
    I hope you can tell us how Blah’s testimony help Taylor.
    As I said before, you have lost your composure and you need a break. I suggest you get the hotline number of the nearest cardiac arrest team in your area. For very soon, you will need it

    • Hi there Big Joe — great to have you back on board as we all gear up for the restart of the trial on Monday. I, for one, am really looking forward to it — not only to hear what happens in the courtroom, but I am missing the lively conversation that we are all used to here! Thanks, Big Joe, for being among the dedicated few who are getting a jump start on the issues.

      One gentle reminder to all readers as we restart our conversation: let’s remember that we are focussing on the issues that emerge around this trial, and not on each other, as we start our debate rolling again.

      Also, we’ll be posting more today and in the lead-up to the start on Monday. Can’t wait to have everyone back on board.

      Very best,
      Tracey

    • Hi Jose — I have a post of yours that needs a slight modification in accordance with our policy before I can post it — it is the one you submitted at 10:17am on 9 January. It just needs to focus more on the facts and isues you are addressing, and not on the reader to whom you are responding. Would you mind resubmitting?
      Best,
      Tracey

      • Dear Tracey, a very Happy New and Prosperous Year to you and my fellow posters who can’t wait for the few hours left for the resumption of the journey to unmask the Papay. I humbly appeal to Jose Rodriquez and his friends to spare us the agony of listening to them comparing CGT to Nkrumah, Ghandhi, King and Mandela. It is the ultimate act of blasphemy! They should also learn to be guided by your gentle prodding and focus on the issues and be more temperate in their language. Hurling of abuse and invective at people who disagree with them in the manner of their Papay is only evidence of their desperation and despair.

        • Dear Gyakabo — welcome back indeed and a wonderful 2010 to you also.

          I do understand your point. And we do recognize that our decision to encourage freedom of expression on this site can also at times make it difficult for readers with other points of view, especially when they read the content of comments with completely different perspectives. We draw our guidance from the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which under Article 19 states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” The exception being, when set out by law and if necessary “respect of the rights or reputations of others.”

          In light of this, I do very much value your encouragement and support in our hope that readers can stick to the issues around this trial and not resort to personal attacks.

          Yes, only a few hours now until the trial resumes. I know we are all eagerly awaiting it to start again.

          Nice to have you back on board, Gyakabo.

          Best,
          Tracey

    • Big Joe,

      VP Moses Blah ascendancy to the VP position was because that slot was allocated for Special Forces and not necesssarily edution as a requirement, even though, it will help. However, in politics, compromise and concession are made.

  16. Dears,

    After following your many posts on this site, it is about time that we too add our voice to the many voices on this site. We will start to post our our view as soon as the trial resume on Monday.

    Thanks

    Lofa Pekin 2010

    • Hi Lofa Pekin 2010,

      I’m delighted that you are joining us. Welcome to the site and we will look forward to hearing more from you as the trial continues.

      Best,
      Tracey

  17. Tracey,
    Thanks. We will try our best to stick to the issues and avoid personal attack.
    Nevertheless, we will not allow anyone mislead the public that Liberians are in support of the madman, thief, liar and mass murderer Taylor who by some mistake of nature happen to be born a Liberian.

    • Hi there Big Joe — thanks for your understanding and we’ll look forward to your continued comments in the conversation as the trial restarts. Not long to go now!
      Best,
      Tracey

    • Big Joe,

      As the result of the same old name calling of this innocent man, we the people got on the streets of Monrovia, viscerally singing and chanting, ” you kill my mom, you kill my pap, I will vote for you.” Surely, we voted for him with over 75% of the total votes cast. Again, he is dominating this website and influencing Liberian politics: despite he is in the custody of the powerful. So you can say, or call him all the names you want, the Liberian people care less about your self description of “the man”. Knowing what we know now, we will still sing that song with even more slogans to show our unflinching support for this innocent man.

      By the way, Are you blaming nature again for serving its course or purpose. UNBELIEVABLE.

  18. ose 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.

    Reply

  19. Comparing Taylor to Ghandi and Nkrumah etc, Umm…. maybe it is the chirstmas pudding. Well, pan africanism, Taylor does not know the meaning of the word. He should focus on clearing his name from charges such as murder, rape, pillage etc.

    • Eagle eye,

      You were the same one that told us and with continuity, just the other day, that we should be patient, “the evidence will come.” We asked you when. And you still could not tell us the time. However, you said it is not coming with whistle and bell sound, but you could tell it was coming. And we told you, you were the only one hearing it.

      Eye, President Taylor had already clear his name as far as the evidence before those honorable judges and the world is concerned. Nontheless, it is the prosecution that needs to clear their name by bringing solid and concrete evidence, being supported with facts and documentatary evidence.

      Eye, whether you like it or not, President Taylor is a Pan-Africanist, just like Kwame Nkrumah. Even during his testimony, he said it. And it is a fact.

    • Eagle-eye,
      Can you name me a PAN AFRICANIST who didn’t pick up arms??? Even in South African in their struggle…ARMS were used.

      So what is your view of the word PAN AFRICANIST??

  20. All Pan Africanists in Africa have been involved in warfare. Taylor is no different. This court should send this man back to his home to engage in peacebuilding work.