International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Charles Taylor’s Defense Counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, Answers Your Questions – Part III

Dear Readers – here is the third and final instalment of answers to your questions by Courtenay Griffiths, Charles Taylor’s lead defense counsel. We look forward to seeing your comments and responses.

QUESTION 15: Who is paying for Mr. Taylor’s defense? And what does it mean for him to be partially indigent – how does that work?

Based on the following comments:

On March 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm, john thompson said:

Why did he decide to take on this case and how much is CT paying him or is his work pro-bono.

On March 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm, questions said:

Hello Tracey & Alpha.
These were asked before, but have been revised given the recent testimony (although I confess that I haven’t been able … Continue Reading


Charles Taylor’s Defense Counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, Answers Your Questions – Part II

Dear Readers — here is the second installment of answers to your questions from Courtenay Griffiths, Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel.  The final installment will be posted tomorrow.

QUESTION 8. What is your sense of how Mr. Taylor performed on the stand? Are you proud of your case and would you have changed anything?  What types of witnesses are you planning on bringing to the stand?

Based on the following comments:

On March 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm, Grebo said:

Mr. Griffith, …….

4, What is your take, on how C G Taylor performed on the stand and if you could change any strategy what will it be looking back

5, How many witnesses are you planning on calling

6, Can you share some light on what … Continue Reading


Charles Taylor’s Defense Counsel, Courtenay Griffiths Answers Your Questions – Part I

Dear Readers,

Here is the first installment of the interview we did with Charles Taylor’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, last week. The next two installments will be posted over the coming days. Enjoy!

QUESTION 1. Why did you take on this case? And are you winning or losing?

Based on the following comments:

On March 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm, john thompson said:

Why did he decide to take on this case and how much is CT paying him or is his work pro-bono.

n March 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm, Noko4 said:

I will like to know

1. What MOTIVATED him to take this case??

On March 6, 2010 at 8:48 am, Harris K Johnson said:

1.Why did you choose to defend Mr. Taylor, a man who Washington … Continue Reading


The Admission of Hearsay Evidence in the Taylor Trial

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear readers – many of you have asked for a legal commentary on hearsay in the Taylor trial.  We’ve been lucky enough that Valerie Oosterveld, a law professor at the Univeristy of Western Ontario, Canada, and her research assistant and law student, Heather Townsend Goodman, have written this commentary for us. Enjoy – and we look forward to your comments.)

What Are the Rules about Admitting Hearsay in the Special Court for Sierra Leone?

 The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is guided by its own unique rules of procedure and evidence. Of particular importance to the admission of hearsay evidence are Rules 89 and 95 of the SCSL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence:

Rule 89: General Provisions

(A)               The rules of evidence … Continue Reading


An Urgent Need for a Robust Outreach Pregram as Sierra Leoneans Give Mixed Reactions to Charles Taylor’s Trial

Sierra Leoneans say they are losing interest in the Charles Taylor trial because it is taking too long and they are not getting enough information about the high profile case that is taking place half way around the world in The Hague.  Reactions from Freetown underscore the need for the Special Court for Sierra Leone to further ramp up its outreach efforts in the sub-region, including through new efforts to reinvigorate lagging interest in the trial.

Since the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor was transferred to The Hague in 2006, the Special Court for Sierra Leone has been faced with immense challenges in implementing effective outreach programs that will inform the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia about the … Continue Reading


Your Questions Wanted: Interview with Courtenay Griffiths, lead Counsel for Charles Taylor

Dear Readers,

Some excellent news for us today. Courtenay Griffiths – Mr. Taylor’s lead defense lawyer — has agreed to be interviewed for this site next Wednesday. 

We are seeking your questions for him, which we’ll be accepting through until 9am EST, Tuesday morning (March 9, 2010).  We are still keeping in mind the questions asked when we interviewed Stephen Rapp, which are available here:

Mr. Griffiths only has limited time as he is so busy right now, so we will only be able to ask him a selection of questions, but we will try to ask as many as possible in the precious time we have with him.

As with Mr. Rapp,  I encourage everyone to be respectful of Mr. Griffiths in the questions they ask … Continue Reading


A Day In Photos at the Charles Taylor Trial

Dear Readers,

One of our regular commenters, $$ker-Bnker, asked to see some photos of the International Criminal Court and the Charles Taylor trial while I was in The Hague this week. Davenpost.Noko7 wanted to see some also.  Well, here are a few from today’s proceedings taken from my phone while I was there – not high quality pics but they should give you a sense of what things look like.

In terms of what it is like in the courtroom:  Mr. Taylor actively takes lots of notes throughout the testimony of defense witness Yanks Smythe, and reviews the documents as the witness is being asked about them.  There are times when Mr. Taylor looks up and closely watches the witness answer the … Continue Reading


Readers: You are famous beyond this website!

Dear Readers,

I was speaking with Frank Sainworla, a Liberian journalist with West Africa Democracy Radio, this morning. He does great weekly radio programming on the Charles Taylor trial.

One of the really innovative things that Frank does is to read out readers’ comments from this blog on his radio show as he gives updates about the trial.  He also has the voices of the judges and the prosecutors and defense team from the courtroom included in his show so that his listeners get a real sense of what is happening inside the trial.

Frank does a really fabulous job in reporting on the trial and keeping it interesting for readers who want to learn more about this trial but who don’t have … Continue Reading


An Update: What Is Our Policy For Comments?

Hi readers,

Thanks for your patience as we worked to clarify our policy on posting readers’ comments. 

Our goal in inviting readers to comment here is to provide a forum for discussion about the rule of law with this trial being a catalyst.  We want to make the operations of the trial less opaque and more accessible as an issue that people can engage with and discuss in a forum that tries to provide regular and balanced information about the trial. 

We try to focus the discussion on issues arising out of the trial, and inevitably that involves people discussing their thoughts on the evidence and arguments that are presented and how they relate to the question of Mr. Taylor’s innocence or guilt.  However, … Continue Reading


Postponement of Interview With David Crane

Hi Readers,

With apologies, former Special Court for Sierra Leone Prosecutor, David Crane, let us know he is no longer available on Friday to answer our questions.  We are trying to sort out whether another time is possible for his schedule and will revert with news when I have it.