International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Judges Reject Taylor’s Request to Reopen Case

Judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague have rejected a request by former Liberian President Charles Taylor to reopen his defense case.

On February 9, the judges unanimously ruled that the Taylor defense “has failed to establish any justification for the re-opening of its case.”

Taylor’s defense team filed a motion on January 31, 2012 to reopen its case in order to seek the admission of a December 2011 report of a UN Panel of Experts on Liberia. The UN Experts report discusses the participation of Liberian mercenaries in the conflict in neighboring Ivory Coast and this, defense lawyers say, does not lay blame on the current Liberian government as being involved or complicit in the movement of fighters from its country to a neighboring country.

Defense lawyers argue this report supports their argument that during the Sierra Leonean conflict, it was possible for fighters to cross from Liberia into Sierra Leone “without being under the direction and control of Mr. Taylor and without the implicit approval of the Government of Liberia.” Defense lawyers further stated in their motion that one person named in the UN report as a Liberian mercenary fighter in Ivory Coast is Joseph Zig Zag Marzah, a prosecution witness who testified that his movement into Sierra Leone to provide assistance to Sierra Leonean rebels was directed by Taylor. His movement into Ivory Coast in 2010 and 2011 shows that he easily could have moved into Sierra Leone as a mercenary solely for his own benefit and this discredits his evidence against Taylor.

On February 7, prosecution lawyers responded to the defense motion arguing, among other things, that “excerpts of the Report…have no probative value or relevance to support the defense arguments,” that “admission of the proposed evidence at this advanced stage prejudices the Prosecution which will have no opportunity to address the issues before the trial judgment is delivered,” and that “proceedings are at an advanced  stage and admitting the proposed evidence could delay the completion  of the judicial process.”

In its decision issued yesterday, the judges said they considered the effect that reopening of the case would have on this stage of the proceedings as well as the fact that the crime base and time frame, which are subjects of the charges against Taylor, do not bear correlation to the subject of the Expert Panel Report that talks about the flow of Liberian fighters into Ivory Coast.

“The Trial Chamber considers that at this advanced stage of the proceedings, re-opening the trial would result in undue delay,” the judges noted in their decision.

Referencing the correlation between the events in Sierra Leone and those in Ivory Coast, the judges noted that “no parallels can validly be drawn between events that took place in Cote d’Ivoire during the period 2010/2011 and events that took place in Sierra Leone during the indictment period.”

“The Trial Chamber therefore finds that the Report is not relevant to the issues to be decided in this case and has no probative value,” the judges concluded.

The evidence phase of the proceedings against the former Liberian president was concluded in early 2011 when both prosecution and defense lawyers made their closing submissions. The judges then commenced deliberations on the evidence in order to deliver their trial judgment which would determine the guilt or innocence of Mr. Taylor.

Taylor is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone from November 1996 to January 2002. Taylor has denied the charges against him and has called his trial a conspiracy of Western countries, mainly the United States and the United Kingdom to get him out of Liberia. He says that his involvement in Sierra Leone was to help bring peace to the war-torn West African nation.

It is anticipated that the trial judgment in this case will be delivered in the early part of this year. Depending on the outcome of the judgment, both prosecution and defense will have the opportunity to file appeals.

26 Comments
  1. Judges decision to denied defense motion to reopen did not come as a surprise. No matter what, it’s a win for the defense. In my opinion defense knew motion to reopen was going to be denied, but the stage is been set for an appeal.

  2. Okay Big B we will agree that;”No matter what, it’s a win for the defense. In my opinion defense knew motion to reopen was going to be denied, but the stage is been set for an appeal.” But you need to also realize what a blow this is to defense that thought there was a way to prolong this trial out of silly claims as always! Now what are you going to do..talking about appeal..I thought this man was innocent! Crap talk and crazy conclusion! Dunks.

    • you are outside the legal thinking Mr Jfallamenjor… all you brought in is your personal feelings!
      these are criminal proceedings highly influenced by polotics so any legal aspect has to be exploited!!!! but thanks for your bsaic thinking.

      Bravo BIG B!

  3. fallah, I went through my archive and pulled this out especially for you. From now forward, let this comment serve as a template as to the guilt/innocent of President Taylor.

    On August 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm, B Big said:
    fallah,
    For the first time I agree with you 100 percent. You wrote “Let them show me a world criminal that went on trial at the Hague and return home ridding a dunkey and citizens spreading their tattered rags, caused by him, to welcome him? Think about it, Ziggy. Yet these guys truly believe this will happen”

    I can only speak for myself and maybe most of my Comrades, we feel the same. President Taylor will not walk. For the record, I don’t expect President Taylor to walk not because he is guilty, because as you rightfully put it. Nobody “went on trial at the Hague and return ridding a dunkey…” Being that the verdict is around the corner, I don’t want you to break dance on your head and make a whole lot of noise saying, I jfallahmenjor told your Taylorists that Taylor will never get out of jail alive. We are not “idiots”, we already know that.

    World two super powers are against President Taylor, maybe God himself can’t save him. God will prefer for President Taylor to be killed by the unjust and later sit at God’s right hand in heaven. GB had a cell in waiting before the trial, the American Ambassador; Ms. Greenfield had direct interference with the trial. Now pray tell me, how in the world will President Taylor be free? But the “evil that man does shall live after him.” Today England is burning and the American economy is in shamble. These are just few calamities of God’s way of payback.

    Fallah, again, under no circumstances Big B expect President Taylor to walk. No body goes to the firing squad and come back alive. At the firing squad the gun may misfired, jammed, but shooters are trained to tab, rack and fire to clear the jam.

    I am a realist, and for the first time you are being objective.

    • Well said BIG B….
      may be one day some justice will served somewhere…

      what Jfallamenjor has forgotten is that NELSON MANDELA was “A TERRORIST” in U.S books until 2009 but in reality was he???? or the racist southafrican government was??? who was who here??
      some time we need to reason rathen than talking out of our feelings and news from BBC(british broadcasting cooperation) mind you.. it says what they are told to say…

  4. Lofa County to Honor US Ambassador, Linda Greenfield. Finally, Linda Greenfield is leaving Liberia. Pay closed attention to the campaign pin Linda is wearing on her left breast of ellen and Boakai on the campaign trail. What a Deplomat!
    http://www.newdemocratnews.com/index.php/component/content/article/44-the-executive/1165-lofa-to-honor-us-ambassador-its-adopted-daughter

  5. I said it here first and will re- echo! Griffith’s attempt to prolong this much awaited verdit will not fly. Charles Taylor under Griffith’s supervision decided to take the stand and was on the stand for a little over three months resulting into been caught in lies while under oath during his cross examination by prosecutors and vastly implicating himself. My conclusion might not sit well with Noko5 and some on the other side of this coin. The decision by Griffith & his team of defense lawyers to have CT to take the stand in his own defense was wrong on day one and have resurface to bite! enought is enought!

    • Ziggy, it’s true you have been saying this all along, that you think it was a mistake for Griffiths and his team to put President Taylor on the witness stand in his own defense. Ziggy, if President Taylor hasn’t taking the stand in his own defense would it have made any difference? President Taylor was premeditated guilty before the trial. England has a cell in waiting before the trail even kicked off. I agree with you in one instance, if this was a court of fair and balance and a juries of the defendant’s peers to decide his (Taylor) faith and not a Kangaroo court your point would have been well accepted. For example, The O.J. Simpson trial, Johnnie Cochran did not put O.J. Simpson on the witness stand. Also, the Casey Anthony trial Jose Baez didn’t put Casey on the witness stand because of the exact same thing you are saying of Griffiths putting President Taylor on the witness stand, contradictions of the witness. These are different circumstances and we shouldn’t mixed one with another. As alleged, prosecutions in the Simpson and Casey trials proved their cases beyond a reasonable doubt effectively then the prosecution in the Taylor trial. O.J and Casey were found not guilty.

      President Taylor will be found guilty whether he took the witness stand or not, in my opinion. It’s impossible for President Taylor to go against the World and win. It will never happen. It was a brilliant moved by Griffiths and his team for President Taylor to take the witness stand in his own defense at least to get his side of the “story” out to the world then sitting quietly. It is a no win situation.

      I am an optimist but a realist. I would love for justice to prevail; unfortunately it’s not going to happened. That’s the reality of life. It’s best to go down fighting knowing fully well you will get your rear end kicked standing or on your way down.

  6. Hi Alpha,

    Is Justice Sebutinde still part of the Special Court? Or is she no longer part of this trial after taking the new job at the International Court of Justice?

    Thanks,

    Shelby

    • Dear Shelby,

      Justice Sebutinde is still working on drafting the Taylor judgment and has not yet formally started in her new position at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). We do not know the exact arrangment between the Special Court and the ICJ.

      Kind regards,

      Taegin

  7. Fallah,
    I thought “YOU SAY YOU KNOW BOOK”. How come you cited a quotation of Big B, in such manner? Is that not a direct quote? Hello, 20 masters degree… what format is that?????..ha ha ha..Is that APA, MLA or what?.. Fallah..liar.

    • NOKO5 needs to stop this nonesense about degree! I am not Shakepears of England. I am a Kissi Man from Liberia and English is my second or third language.. let’s focus on relavant arguement for God’s sake, NOKO5. This’s where you guys get me getting foul in response, sometimes! Stop it Boy! Taylor is nearing his trial..we need to wait and see justice..250,000 people lost their lives and this is not silly moment we are dealin with..this is not CDC campaign, nor Weah Rubbish..taylor trial is first of it’s kind..this is going to determine the future of african tyrants! Don’t come back here..i hate to get raw with you, NOKO5.

      • Fallah,
        Bring it on. THIS IS NOKO5, THE ROCK OF ROCKS…..You’ve always said Taylor and his supporters were, or, are illiterate people.. MY BROTHER, THE FIGHT IS IN YOUR BACK YARD..stop begging for MERCY. Taylor will be free pretty soon and we will see all the roaches, and rats running to find their hide outs again…

        • Okay NOKO5, “to satisfy a fool is to agree with him” I am glad he realized finally why jfallahmenjor thinks about his level of comprehension. I agree taylor is nearing his return to Liberia and that all Ellen support will erode over-night! Jfallahmenjor will then return to his adoptive nation, USA., and NOKO5 will become Foriegn Affairs Minister for taylor third term as tyrant of West africa! What a crazy or psycho talk coming from illitrate NOKO5! Have a nice day!

  8. Dear Schatzie,

    We cannot approve your comment at this time because the last setnence does not comply with our website’s policy for comments. You phrase your last sentence in the form of an opinion or remove it from the comment?

    Thank you.

  9. Tom Kamara, AKA Fallah Menjor,
    Ellen Johnson just made you a member of a set of a board. Is that all you worth? “A BOARD MEMBER”. I thought you were going to be put in the lamp light to stir the shape of technological or socio-economic diversities, our country Liberia needs now. instead, you are being put in the BACK SEAT. For nothing money eating position, “MEMBER OF THE BOARD”, my ***. Don’t you think that is degrading and demeaning??? I mean a severe loss of dignity? think about it… PLEASE!!! Why are you all about Charles Taylor when you are not even recognized by your peers? WHY?

    • NOKO5 aka charlestaylor from the Hague; I do not need position..I told you this earlier..I make more money from my retirement funds than Ministers made in your taylor government! Money is not my problems..but how to spend it! Since you cowarldly feel you must attack Tom Kamara any means necessary, go on, NOKO5. You are at liberty even though I don’t feel you deserve it. You will see changes on the ground in Liberia as long I live! And you will never know who I am until I shake your hand Noko5. I am closer than you ever dreamed..because I live in Greater Monrovia..and travel at will..through out the World..not on travel ban like some of you!

    • Fallah Menjor,
      “You shake NOKO5 hand” that is a blessing God has never destine for you. The exact feeling that will be cast upon you will be, inferiority complexities. I do not just shake anything hand. Tom Kamara, I don’t know how sitting in a wheel with dead limbs and distorted cardivascular electromechanical wave system, is gonna get you around the world. Who do you think you are fooling? I dare you my friend, if you call your self a real man, lets exibit our tax infomations to the public……Big Mouth..

      • I pay taxes to Uncle Sam, Is this clear.. and not you or CDC. Therefore I am not entitled to disclose my incomes at any time, NOKO5 or anyone else that thinks this silly! Let me tell you my friend, You got it all wrong in your mind this time;..I am not who you think you know, any thing further will only give you clues you have never deserved from jfallahmenjor!

  10. Once again, we saw it coming…..HELL NO said the judges!!!. Looking at the case, the ONLY hope to jail Mr. Taylor is ASSOCIATION and asking why Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf is NOT blame for Liberians crossing into Ivory Coast will crush some of the HEARSAYS of this case.

    How to save GRACE so this case won’t be coined A DISGRACEFUL DISGRACE is the issue.

  11. It was unfortunate that the defense did not raise this matter during the hearings but it is still relevant. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should be charged with using “child soldiers” in the NPFL war. Here is a verbatim segment of her June 1990 testimony before the American congress:
    “This revolt symbolizes a civil war which encompasses regions of the country where more than two thirds of the Liberian people live and the greatest resources are located. These people, MANY OF THEM CHILDREN, have joined this struggle for freedom, with little more than courage and hope for the future. It is within this context that the uprising represents an opportunity for creative transformation of the Liberian landscape.”

    Very interesting issues reflected by Ellen:
    1. She argued that the children who “joined this struggle for freedom” did so due to their “courage.”
    2. Due to the “courage” of the children, Ellen argued that the ” uprising represents an opportunity for creative transformation of the Liberian landscape.”

    Now consider the timeline of this presentation before the US Congress, it was done in June of 1990 at the time that Samuel Doe was holed up in the executive mansion and NPFL forces had reached Monrovia in the Sinkor area towards the executive mansion.

    By this same period, people like Moses Duopuo from Nimba county and other prominent people had already died on the battle front. By this time, Ellen had already conducted the interviewed with BBC in which she indicated that “Taylor should level Monrovia down.” So we see here that Ellen did not separate herself from Taylor due to what she characterized as Taylor’s abused of human rights.

  12. Dear cen,

    Here is an interesting website you may have some interest in.

    See link: http://radical8.com/

    Take care,

    Sekou

  13. Dear Noko4,

    And I would like to thank you for the compliment you expressed to cen on February 18, 2012; I try!

    I am commenting on this page in case you miss it on the February 1, 2012, Commentary Page.

    Thank you Brother Man.

    Take care, Sekou

  14. Dear Stevenson,

    Hope you are doing great. I was wondering if you have any ideal on the closing date of this case. Would you please share with updates if you have? Unofficial report filtering in Monrovia says the verdict is expected in March. We can’t wait for this day.

    • Dear Harris,

      Unfortunately, the Special Court has not released the date for delivery of the judgment. We will let you know as soon as the date is announced.

      Regards,
      Taegin