Monday, October 25, 2010

At Status Conference, Defense Say They Will Call One More Witness, Judges Dismiss the Defense Contempt Motion And Set Time Table to End Charles Taylor's Trial

By Alpha Sesay

Source: All Africa

At a Status Conference held today in The Hague, the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges set a time table to end the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

The judges also dismissed in entirety a defense contempt motion requesting an enquiry into how prosecutors conducted themselves during their investigations. Defense lawyers further indicated that they would call one final witness to testify for Mr. Charles G. Taylor.

As the Status Conference commenced this morning, the Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber, Justice Julia Sebutinde, first informed the parties that the Trial Chamber will deliver an oral decision without reasons on the defense motion that contempt investigations be established against prosecutors for their conduct in dealing with witnesses during their investigations. In the motion that was filed by defense lawyers for Mr. Taylor on September 24, 2010, defense lawyers alleged that prosecutors had misconducted themselves during their investigations by bribing, intimidating, and sometimes physically assaulting witnesses to testify against Mr. Taylor.

As she delivered the very short ruling of the Trial Chamber today, Justice Sebutinde said, "The Trial Chamber dismisses this motion in its entirety and will publish its reasons in due cause."

The court then heard from Mr. Taylor's defense lawyers that they will call one more witness to testify for Mr. Taylor. The witness, who is identified by the Pseudonym DCT-102, will commence his testimony on Monday, November 1, 2010. Defense lawyers intend to lead the witness in direct examination for two days, but it is not clear how long prosecutors will take to cross-examine the witness. According to Mr. Taylor's defense counsel Terry Munyard, they do not anticipate that the witness's entire testimony will last for more than one week.

The court heard from both the prosecution and the defense on various issues, including disclosure of materials by the prosecution, a time limit for the closure of the defense case, and the time limit and length of closing briefs. After a brief recess, the judges returned to the court with the following orders.

1. The defense case will formally close immediately after the testimony of DCT-102 or at the latest by November 12, 2010.

2. The the court will observe a judicial recess from December 17, 2010 and will resume on January 10, 2011.

3. The parties will submit their final trial briefs by Friday, January 14, 2011 but either party could do so at an earlier date if they wish to.

4. If they wish to, the parties should file any written responses to each other's final trial briefs by January 31, 2011.

5. The court will hear final oral arguments from the parties for three days starting on February 8, 2011. Prosecutors will first deliver their final oral arguments on February 8, followed by defense oral arguments on February 9, then the court will observe a one day hiatus on February 10, and the parties will make any rebuttals to each other's oral arguments for two hours each on February 11, 2011.

6. The the length of each party's final trial briefs should not be more than 600 pages while any responses to the trial briefs should not be more than 100 pages from each party.

After the closing arguments, the court will then determine how long it will take before a final judgment is delivered. The court adjourned and will resume on Monday, November 1, 2010 with the commencement of the evidence of DCT-102.

DCT-102 will be Mr. Taylor's 21st and final defense witness.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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