International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Final Post of Charles Taylor Trial Blog

Dear Readers,

It is with mixed emotions that we write to inform you that our blog monitoring the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor will be put into archive mode as of January 6, 2014. This means that we will no longer be posting updates or receiving comments from readers. However, the website will continue to exist as a resource on the trial and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Open Society Justice Initiative started monitoring proceedings in the Taylor case in June 2007. After a bumpy start that included Taylor sacking his defense counsel on the first day of trial, the case commenced in earnest on January 7, 2008, with testimony from the first witness for the prosecution. The … Continue Reading


Judges Set Date for Taylor Verdict

The long awaited verdict to determine the guilt or innocence of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor will be delivered at 11:00 AM on April 26, 2012, Special Court for Sierra Leone judges said today in a scheduling order issued in The Hague.

Mr. Taylor, on trial for allegedly providing support to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in their “reign of terror” during Sierra Leone’s 11 year conflict will know on April 26 whether he is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. He faces an 11 count-indictment 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. Prosecutors say that in addition to providing … Continue Reading


No Trial Today

Dear readers,

The International Criminal Court’s courtrooms were used for other trials today.  The trial of Charles Taylor will resume again tomorrow. Stay tuned…….


Slight Delays In Publishing Comments For The Coming Week

Dear Readers,

This is a quick note to let you know that there will be slight delays for the coming week in posting comments.  I will have less regular access to the internet while I am travelling — but I will be trying to ensure that comments are posted at least once or twice each day.  But I will ask you to bear with us if there are delays between your submission of comments and their publication, or with my responses to questions.  I will get ot them as soon as I possibly can.

With thanks for your understanding in advance,



Why Is a Different Trial Being Screened Sometimes on the Live Feed? Update on the new SCSL trial schedule

Hi readers,

Some of you have been wondering why you have seen a different trial when you have tuned in to watch Mr. Taylor’s trial.  And I know some of you have been frustrated at getting up at 4am to watch Mr. Taylor, only to find a different court case on your computer screen.  The reason is that the Special Court has to now share its courtroom at the International Criminal Court as the ICC gets busier with more of its own trials and hearings. Hopefully this schedule that we got from the Special Court for Sierra Leone, covering until April 9, might help in planning your day and your watching times.

This Week: February 1-5

Wednesday 3rd:  No Taylor hearings

Thursday 4th:  Taylor trial: … 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.


Legal Eagle Advice on Our Comments: Let’s Show Respect To Everybody

Hi readers,

During the week, a few readers objected to some of the comments that were appearing on this site, particularly those related to former Liberian president, Charles Taylor.   Nii Darku, for example, said this: “Charles G. Taylor is a hard core criminal” this is not acceptable. I do not this you will allow it used on any one on this forum.”  Others agreed.  Noko 5, for instance, said in response to Nii: “…Just to add to your voice, I just don’t understand why this site allows people to say anything to Mr. Taylor with impunity or any form of repremend for that matter…..I definitly feel it is very very and I say , absolutely wrong for people to be throwing insults at … Continue Reading


A slight delay with today’s post………

Hi readers,

Well, in an unfortunate start to the day, technical hitches have delayed our post for the first day back of trial.

We are still working on it and hope to be able to post an update here soon. 

Thanks, as always, for your patience.  If you are anything like me, I can’t wait to hear what happened today on our first day back.

We’ll be back with more as soon as we can.

Until then…….


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. … Continue Reading