Liberia’s Charles Taylor boycotts trial again

Liberia’s Charles Taylor boycotts trial again

THE HAGUE – Former Liberian President Charles Taylor failed to appear in court yesterday when his war crimes trial resumed, saying through an official the court did not give him adequate funds to assemble a strong defence team.

Taylor, who is charged with instigating murder, rape and mutilation during Sierra Leone’s civil war in a quest for the country’s diamonds, boycotted the start of his trial in June. He sacked his lawyer and declared the trial would not be fair.The UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone’s principal defender, Vincent Nmehielle, said at the opening of yesterday’s session Taylor would again not be attending.Nmehielle, who organises Taylor’s legal aid, said there were not enough funds from the court to hire the right calibre of lawyer and Taylor had rejected several candidates as unsuitable.”Mr Taylor …shared a deep interest in resolving what he called the current impasse and he undertook to return to court if his concerns are addressed,” he told the court.”He too is concerned with undue delay in his trial.”Taylor has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, related to the 1991-2002 civil war, which killed an estimated 50 000 people.In his letter to the court Taylor, once one of Africa’s most feared warlords, said his defence team was outgunned by the prosecution, and had not been able to prepare his case.He wants a top lawyer to represent him and the court to hire an international investigator for his defence, alongside those he already has working in Liberia and Sierra Leone.Earlier this month the president of the court and its prosecutor told the UN Security Council available funds would be exhausted by November and another $60 million was needed from voluntary contributions.Prosecutors hope the trial will end impunity for African strongmen as well as send a signal that international justice can operate efficiently and fairly.However, some observers fear Taylor is intent on disrupting proceedings.Nampa-ReutersHe sacked his lawyer and declared the trial would not be fair.The UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone’s principal defender, Vincent Nmehielle, said at the opening of yesterday’s session Taylor would again not be attending.Nmehielle, who organises Taylor’s legal aid, said there were not enough funds from the court to hire the right calibre of lawyer and Taylor had rejected several candidates as unsuitable.”Mr Taylor …shared a deep interest in resolving what he called the current impasse and he undertook to return to court if his concerns are addressed,” he told the court.”He too is concerned with undue delay in his trial.”Taylor has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, related to the 1991-2002 civil war, which killed an estimated 50 000 people.In his letter to the court Taylor, once one of Africa’s most feared warlords, said his defence team was outgunned by the prosecution, and had not been able to prepare his case.He wants a top lawyer to represent him and the court to hire an international investigator for his defence, alongside those he already has working in Liberia and Sierra Leone.Earlier this month the president of the court and its prosecutor told the UN Security Council available funds would be exhausted by November and another $60 million was needed from voluntary contributions.Prosecutors hope the trial will end impunity for African strongmen as well as send a signal that international justice can operate efficiently and fairly.However, some observers fear Taylor is intent on disrupting proceedings.Nampa-Reuters

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News