Prosecutors can reopen their case against former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, paving the way for them to try to bring star-studded witnesses – including supermodel Naomi Campbell and Hollywood actress Mia Farrow — to testify at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Last month, prosecutors had asked the judges if they could re-open their case to focus on allegations that Mr. Taylor gave Ms. Campbell rough cut diamonds during a trip to South Africa in September 1997 – diamonds which prosecutors say were given to Mr. Taylor by Sierra Leonean rebels to exchange for weapons to help fuel the country’s brutal 11-year conflict in the 1990s. Prosecutors also want to bring in the supermodel’s former agent, Carol White, along with Ms. Farrow, to testify for one day about the allegations, which were said to have occurred after a celebrity-filled charity dinner hosted by former South African president, Nelson Mandela. In their motion to the judges, prosecutors argued that the evidence the three women can provide “was unknown to the prosecution when it formally closed its case on 27 February 2009″ and relates to “a ‘central issue’ to the prosecution’s case: The Accused’s possession of rough diamonds.”
Mr. Taylor’s lawyers had opposed the request, telling judges that “no reasonable Court could find that the anticipated evidence is relevant to the charges against Mr. Taylor.” Defense lawyers also argued that the prosecutors should have made greater efforts to seek evidence before their case was over about Mr. Taylor’s trips outside Liberia and his alleged possession of rough diamonds. “Thus the prosecution Motion must be denied,” defense lawyers said.
Today, the judges ruled in favor of the prosecution, allowing them to re-open their case and bring new evidence against the former Liberian president. In delivering their ruling, the judges relied on Rule 85(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which describes the sequence in which evidence could be presented as “(i) evidence for the prosecution, (ii) evidence for the defense, (iii) prosecution evidence in rebuttal, with leave of the Trial Chamber, and (iv) evidence ordered by the Trial Chamber.” The judges also relied on international jurisprudence that the prosecution “may further be granted leave to re-open its case in order to present new evidence not previously available to it.”
According to the judges, the requirements for a party to reopen its case in such a situation are twofold:
1. “The party must meet the threshold test of establishing that the evidence could not, with reasonable diligence, have been obtained and presented during its case in chief”; and if this test is met:
2. “The Trial Chamber must be of the view that the probative value of the evidence is not substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial.”
The judges held that prosecutors only received information about the alleged diamond gift in June 2009 — “well after [the prosecution] had closed its case” and had since been unable to contact Ms. Campbell.
“Accordingly, the Trial Chamber is satisfied not only that the Prosecution has shown that it could not, with reasonable diligence, have obtained and presented the fresh evidence during its case in chief, but that it subsequently acted with reasonable diligence to obtain such evidence,” the judges stated.
The judges also thought the three high profile witnesses may offer valuable information.
“The Trial Chamber, having perused the declaration of Mia Farrow and the interview notes of Carole White, is satisfied that the proposed fresh evidence is highly probative and material to the indictment,” according to today’s decision.
Judges were also not concerned that testimony of the three extra witnesses would be unfair to Mr. Taylor. His defense team had known about Ms. Farrow’s statement since December 2009 and about Ms. White’s evidence before prosecutors did. Since the prosecutors were asking for one day to complete their examination of the three witnesses, it would not cause any undue delay.
“The Trial Chamber is also satisfied that no injustice would be caused to the Defense by such re-opening in that it will be entitled to test the evidence of the proposed witnesses by cross-examination and may apply for time to make further investigations and call further evidence if necessary,” the judges said.
“Accordingly, the Trial Chamber finds that this is an appropriate case for the Trial Chamber to exercise its discretion to allow the Motion, in that the proposed fresh evidence is not substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial,” the judges concluded in their ruling.
The judges directed prosecutors to call the “proposed additional witnesses as soon as practicable and in any event before the close of the defense case.”
Judges still need to decide on the prosecutors’ request to issue a subpoena for Ms. Campbell.
“The Trial Chamber is also satisfied that no injustice would be caused to the Defense by such re-opening in that it will be entitled to test the evidence of the proposed witnesses by cross-examination and may apply for time to make further investigations and call further evidence if necessary,” the judges said. This is the most fair decision taken by the Court so far. The Judges truly believe it would be unfair to further not allow reasonable doubts in the trial to all sides before final verdict! “Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas” “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us” Christopher Marlowe/Dr. Faustus.
This is crazy… the Judges are crazy. Liberia have diamond. Can the prosecution prove that diamond, if given by Mr. Taylor, came from Sierra Leone. Did Mr. Taylor tell Ms. Campbell that the diamond was from SL. This is just a waste of time and money that can go to the people of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution is grabbing on straw and anything that will keep it afloat; the judges have disappointed me and a whole lot. The prosecution had years to build their case, this is no smoking gun.
Waste of Money, waste of Money, waste of Money!!!
“The judges held that prosecutors only received information about the alleged diamond gift in June 2009 — “well after [the prosecution] had closed its case” and had since been unable to contact Ms. Campbell”
The above statement is false and grossly demonstrates the hidden power that actually controls this court. If that statement was true, then how did the prosecution obtained a handwritten letter from Mia Farrow to present during the cross examination of Mr. Taylor? This portion, “well after [the prosecution] had closed its case,” is blatantly false, misleading, and deceptive.
The prosecution knew about this before it closed it case, and they presented a socalled letter from Mia Farrow in court during their cross examination of Mr. Taylor. The defense objected because the document was not notarized and there was no legal validity to determine that it was Mia Farrow writing. These very judges granted the defense motion and rejected that letter purported by the prosecution to have come from Mia Farrow.
This is gross injustice to Mr. Taylor, and we can all finally appreciate that this court is a pure kangaroo court. The judges hands are tied because initially the judges rejected the prosecution request at the end of Mr. Taylor testimony. So what has change? The powerful rulers of this world have excerpted pressure on the judges. That is the only other explanation.
Here is an exchange that Lead Counsel Courtney Griffins had with Mr. Taylor following cross examination by the prosecution. This was on February 16, 2010.
Q. In 1997, Mr Taylor, did you go to South Africa?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. When in 1997?
A. September, October or thereabouts.
Q. For how long?
A. I was in South Africa for no more than I would say close to
two weeks, not more.
Q. What for?
A. I went there for a medical check-up and to visit with
Q. Who did you meet whilst you were down there?
A. I met President Mandela.
Q. Anybody else?
A. Yes. I was at a dinner invited by President Mandela that
had – Naomi Campbell was at the dinner. I think Quincy Jones was
there. What they call the lady? She was I think married or
something to Woody Allen. I will think on her name. She’s an
actress too, was there. I don’t – the name was called here.
Anyway, I will think about it and remind the Court. I can’t
recall her name right now. There were quite a few celebrities
there. The cricket – I think it’s cricket, a former player from
Pakistan was there. He used to be a cricket star I think. He
was there. I don’t remember his name. But there were quite a
few other dignitaries and I was invited – I was the only other
Head of State besides President Mandela that was there and I was
invited by him to grace the occasion.
Q. Okay. Now, Mr Taylor, whilst you were —
A. Farrow. Mia Farrow, yes.
Q. Now, Mr Taylor, whilst you were there, did you meet with
A. Yes, I met with Nico.
Q. What for?
A. He was honorary consul, so from the moment I arrived until
I left he was there to perform any service as honorary consul,
any little errands that had to be run. Any ANC or any officials
that somebody on my delegation had to meet, that was a part of
his function to help to make that happen.
Q. Did you meet any arms dealers whilst you were in South
A. No, not at all. Not at all, no.
Q. Because you appreciate that it’s being suggested that you
whilst on that trip to South Africa organised the Magburaka
shipment. You know that’s the suggestion, don’t you?
A. Yes. A very foolish one too.
Q. Why is it foolish, Mr Taylor?
A. Because no Head of State goes into an advanced country like
South Africa and just buys weapons. I mean, and as it’s
reported, and the weapons come into the Freeport of Monrovia.
Even sailing time from South Africa to Liberia would take more
than two weeks. So how does somebody purchase weapons, put it on
a ship and send it into the Freeport of Monrovia as suggested
where ECOMOG is in control of? It’s total nonsense. I mean, an
advanced country like South Africa and a decent man like Mandela
will approve me buying arms to bring? It’s just totally
Q. Now, this Magburaka shipment, Mr Taylor, what did you have
to do with it?
A. Absolutely nothing had to do with any shipment called
Here is the discussion between Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Brenda Hollis, the lead prosecutor regarding this Mia Farrow testimony:
Q. When Ms Campbell related this incident to Mia Farrow the
following morning, she was telling the truth that you had sent
her a diamond, isn’t that correct?
A. But how do you expect me to answer “when she relate”? That
means that she did relate. I don’t know even if it’s a fact that
Naomi Campbell told Mia Farrow what happened. I don’t know that
as a fact, so objectively I can’t answer to this question. It
calls for me to speculate.
Q. And you don’t speculate in your evidence, correct,
A. Of course you know, counsel, I don’t. You know that.
Q. So, Mr Taylor, let’s take a look at tab 7 in annex 3.
MR GRIFFITHS: I object to the use of the document to which
my learned friend now seeks to draw the witness’s attention.
Now, I alluded to this document before Christmas when I mentioned
a particular document which we had received which related to this
incident being asked about by my learned friend.
I think it’s of importance at this stage that we all look
at this document before a decision is made as to whether or not
it’s appropriate to be used in cross-examination of Mr Taylor.
It’s at tab 7 of annex 3 in, I think, the first disclosure bundle
provided by the Prosecution. When we all have the document
before us —
PRESIDING JUDGE: I think we’ve all got it now.
Griffins continues with his objection:
MR GRIFFITHS: Do we all have this document dated 9
November 2009? Now, it needs to be observed, first of all, that
so far as the Prosecution claim, this document goes both to
impeachment and to guilt in relation to the latter aspect of it.
But I’ve been listening with care to the way in which my learned
friend has put the suggestion. The suggestion is Mr Taylor, on
this trip to South Africa, took with him diamonds given to him by
the junta. Those diamonds were to be exchanged for the purchase
of armaments. Out of that parcel of diamonds one was given to
Ms Naomi Campbell, the supermodel. So that’s the sum of the
suggestion being made.
This document is now said to impeach Mr Taylor in respect
of that global suggestion. Now, note first of all from paragraph
1 that this document, which is claimed to be a declaration – and
note that there is no preface suggesting at this is a document
made on oath or anything like that; it’s not a sworn affidavit –
and we see that the witness Mia Farrow was contacted by
Mr Koumjian on 10 August of this year.
Then Mr. Taylor jumps in to correct lead defense counsel Griffins:
THE WITNESS: Last year.
The Griffins accepts the correction , which means that the prosecution contacted Mia Farrow in August of 2009. Griffins continues:
MR GRIFFITHS: Of last year. Question number one: What
was it that prompted Mr Koumjian at that stage to make this
inquiry? If it was as a result of material in the possession of
the Prosecution, question number two: Why was that contact not
made earlier such that this evidence, if evidence it be, could
have been presented as part of the Prosecution’s case, bearing in
mind part of it is said to go to guilt?
Now, also note this: Farrow speaks of being present at the
dinner and of there being some concern being expressed by
Ms Michelle, later to become Mrs Mandela, of being in the company
of this defendant, suggestive, therefore, that Mr Taylor was some
pariah who those present at the dinner were anxious to distance
themselves from. That is prejudicial material, suggestive that
such was the nature and character of this man, that people were
responding to him in that way.
Now, you will note that so far as that part of this
declaration is concerned there is no note in the margin to the
effect that it goes to guilt, although on the face of it, it
clearly does in suggesting that the character of this man is such
that people were anxious to distance themselves from him.
Note, then, that so far as the meat of the document is
concerned and the part which bears the legend G for guilty, that
it would appear on the face of this that no contact was made with
Ms Naomi Campbell, who would be the person in the best position
to say what happened in relation to that diamond. Question then:
What attempts were made by the Prosecution, before they tendered
this piece of paper, to contact the person who allegedly received
the diamond to obtain that account directly from the horse’s
mouth? On the face of it, no answer to that query.
Then Griffins characterized the document in this way:
“Note the obvious point that this is hearsay. The clearest
hearsay. Note also the obvious point that whereas Ms Farrow is
supposed to have been told on the following morning by Naomi
Campbell, in fact Naomi Campbell herself has been told by some
that the diamond came from Charles Taylor. So it’s not even
hearsay – firsthand hearsay. This is thirdhand hearsay.
So what then is the link between Charles Taylor, that
diamond on the face of this document, and the global suggestion
being made that he carried a parcel of diamonds with him to South
Africa, it was – came from the junta, it was to be used for the
purchase of arms, and out of that he gave one to Naomi Campbell.
How does this evidence impeach that?
Well let me stop it here. Others can click on the link above and continue enjoying the exchanges.
mysterious men who arrived at her bedroom door the previous night
Yes, Momo Dahn, I would suggest you refrain from these long and unnecessary copying and pasting. We all can read and write and capable of opening the links! Short quotes are okay. This is just my advice in this, but you need not pay heed to it. “A hint to a wise is sufficient.”
I appreciate the long and necessary copying and pasting…it helps to put this old irrelevant issue in perspective for those of us who do not follow daily. lol
So there we have the last straw available to the prosecution to save this fake case. We are going to see how their witnesses will fare when they take the stand.
It is instructive to note here that the Judges in this case has taken a very wise and crucial decision in order to make whatever verdict they reach very difficult for the prosecution to challenge on appeal based on the groubnds that they (the prosecution) were not allowed to call additional witnesses.
Just end the case for goodness sake, enough with the witnesses already, just lock the monster up and throw the keys away. Quit trying to show justice becuase you and I both know at the end of the day there is know way this monster will be set free
Here we are again,how long will black be used by white?to all supporter or non suporter of Mr.Taylor,let us put down our personel differencies,let us look at where this trail is going,but I dont stand to blame the white too much,why should Ellen turn Mr.Taylor in?even if mr.Taylor send troop in SL to fight,the president of that country send troop to come n killed Liberians first,why should Liberians be so much concern about those guys that came Liberia and killed Liberians too?I some have some problems with Mr.Taylor,but this case is not about Liberia or Liberians,are u telling me that those that get killed in S.L are better than Liberians?I know longer have interest in this case and I dont even think that this is about S.L, or Lib.
I am anxious to see how this new ruling will affect the trail. I’m interested to see if Ms. Naimo talks.
Secondly, of course Liberia has diamonds that is not the argument here. Taylor said he at no time gave Ms Campbell diamonds he also denied having a large quanity of diamonds in his posession. So if Ms. Campbell actually testifies firstly and testifies that Taylor gave her a large rough diamond that will 100% contradict everything that Taylor testified concerning this matter under oath.
I see people preparing already for the possibility that Ms. Campbell ‘might’ testify that Taylor did ineed give her some diamonds….FYI Liberia having or not having diamonds is not what’s up for debate. It whether after Taylor said he did not give campbell or diamond or have a large diamond, it will be found that that was untrue.
If Campbell cofirms Farrows story there is only one scanario, Taylor lied or Campbell lied. And if Taylor lied about giving a rough diamond even if the defense change up their story, the question still remains, why did he lie in the first, place? If the diamonds are from Liberia then it is why lie about having it or giving it?
Of course this will be turned into a race issues….as a african woman black people never cease to amaze me….Quit playing the race card….racism exist but we are so quick to cry foul in the name of racism. If the judge made a ruling that was not lawful or not a judicial practice…it will be highlighted by many human watch officials. The ruling was lawful and its a judicial practice.
Let’s quit the white man black man thing.
Imploring blacks or Liberians to unite against an issue that is not about injustice but rather personal disagreement is almost comical.
Even if she says I got diamond from his men….and Mr. Taylor says NO I didn’t gave anyone diamond to carry to anyone….what are we left with?? The question the defense will be asking WHO WERE THE MEN?? DISCRIBE ANY….the we ask the South African to produce photos……
But I can see her coming in there and say NO I RECEIVED NO DIAMONDS. If so, what does that do to the prosecutors case??
Very good analysis. However the same is true for Ms. Campbell. She has already said in the ABC Nightline interview that she never received any diamonds from Mr. Taylor. If she then comes to the court and says she did receive a diamond her credibility will be jeopardized.
you r truly funny. the story goes “someone gave her a diamond on his behalf.” his version “I did not give her a diamond.” Unless her story is ” CT personally gave me a diamond” we are left with a non issue to impeach or otherwise. fish or cut bait with your comments I beg u!?
Ms. Teage, who mentioned that this was a black and white affairs or racial problem? I don’t recall anybody saying antthing of this nature. This, I feel is about, MIGHT MAKE RIGHT.
Your attempted argument makes non sense….lets follow your logic just this once. Random guys showed up to Ms Campbell door giving her diamonds in the name of Taylor when it was all a lie…..so what was that, a plot of the prosecution to set up Taylor for this trail in 2010 rigth…..all part of the conspiracy against Taylor…..why would random guys years ago deliver a gift and lie about the source? Come on dude your a smart guy let’s try another scenario because this one was a huge blunder….why would a president walk to a persons room to deliver a gift when he has a host of ‘subjects’ to do so?
Here is a bit of ‘Who said something about black and white’
….read the rest above…next time atleast try reading the comments before you post such a comment..im just saying
“Here we are again,how long will black be used by white?to all supporter or non suporter of Mr.Taylor,let us put down our personel differencies,let us look at where this trail is going,but I dont stand to blame the white too much,why should Ellen turn Mr.Taylor in?”…………
His words against hers….she produces the diamonds and we go into digging for RAW DIAMOND to match…..waste of time.
Did he buy arms in South Africa?? Was she given the diamond if true to buy arms??
Ms. Teage you are educated to think elementary.
Put on your thinking cap.
Well folks, the prosecution is now granted the chance to reopen the case, however, it still remains to be seen whether or not (a) such witnesses will appear, and (b) if they do, that these witnesses will help the prosecution’s case. Even if the judges order these witnesses to appear, I find myself wondering what powers they have to enforce such an order. I mean, if the SCSL were a state, it could rely on extradition, however, since the SCSL is not a state, I don’t know what power it has to compel external witnesses to testify.
I’m almost , almost sure that I might be the youngest person on this blog, so my age is probably elementary compare to most of the bloggers.
What do you know about my education? Two bachelors and a law degree brewing, try again….
Stop trying to be childish and attack me because you don’t agree with what I said you are a grown man act like one. Stick to the issues and not me I’m well educated and was educated that way, one of the best schools for my field in the U.S and UK. Nice try though come next time with something stronger or legite better yet actually comment on the issue and not me.
I’ll give you a little project research…goggle or wikipedia what ‘Ad hominem’ is….and then do the opposite of what u learn…
LMBO nice one. You all very cease to amaze me.
For me , I like to learn some new things; NO SWEAT…But please my sister, what is LMBO..Its good to say the true. I almost use LMBO on Fallah after I read one of his post….
We’re back to the irrelevant comments again. If you used LMBO on Fallah then clearly you knew what it meant. This is seriously getting ridiculous. I don’t think its productive to responde to or even ask unnessary redundant questions/ comments that have nothing to do with the issues.
But just for those who are so curious to know what it meant……
LMBO means ‘Laughing my butt off’…thats what I do when I’m flabbargasted by prepostrerous comments.
Ms. Teage – you did educate me. I was curious!
I am not an english major, but thought you would have picked up on the prepositional fragment of my statement, which I think should be very simple for a law major. “( Almost use)”; Did not say, I use. Now, I think you were being counter productive by writting abbreviations that don’t promote the purpose of your post(COMMUNICATION). Anybody on this site would be interested in learning the meaning of a group of abbreviated leters posted here, especially if there’s a need to respond. My sister, communication as an exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another, must be accomplished for it to be . Thats why we go to school,learn and sometimes decide to part take in these kinds of public forums. Lets controll our emotions and be scholarly productive while we move on with this trial against our president, Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor……
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