See also:
» 02.07.2010 - Naomi Campbell must testify in Taylor case
» 04.06.2010 - Trafficked Bangladeshis return home from Liberia
» 07.09.2009 - New UN trained special police graduate in Liberia
» 04.05.2009 - Taylor's acquittal plea thrown out
» 17.03.2009 - Liberia Senate chief resigns
» 12.12.2008 - Special police body team to help in Liberia's prison break
» 04.12.2008 - Liberia president calls for strategies to fight rife corruption
» 20.10.2008 - Clearing Liberia of Marijuana an uphill battle

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Society | Politics

Taylor snubs UN-backed court

afrol News, 5 June - The former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, did not only boycott the sittings of the UN-backed Special Court in The Hague, he also went extra mile to dump his attorney.

Mr Taylor, who was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, refused to attend the court hearings arguing that he would not enjoy a fair trial simply because he has got only one defence lawyer.

The ex-Liberian rebel-turned-president has been accused of supporting Sierra Leonean rebels during the country’s civil year war in which thousands of civilians were amputated, maimed or killed.

Mr Taylor’s attorney, Karim Khan, clashed with the Special Court judge, Julia Sebutinde, after she had asked the proceedings to continue even in the absence of the accused.

Before tendering Mr Taylor’s letter, Lawyer Khan said, said his client had not thumbed his nose at the court because he though he would "not receive a fair trial at the Special Court at this time."

Accusing the court for not fitting its purpose, Taylor said he would appear before it provided adequate time and facilities are provided.

"I cannot take part in this charade that does injustice to the people of Liberia and the people of Sierra Leone. I choose not to be a fig-leaf of legitimacy for this process,” his letter read.

"I stand ready to participate in such a trial and let justice be done and for those who have suffered far more than me in Liberia and Sierra Leone."

Mr Khan also protested by walking out of the court, arguing that he could not represent his client without getting instructions from him.

But the drama did not stop the prosecution from opening its statements.

Mr Taylor, who has been indicted on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and violation of international humanitarian law during the Sierra Leonean civil war, was transferred to The Hague for security reasons.

His charges include terrorising population, murder, sexual and physical violence, using child soldiers, looting and enslavement.

The trial is expected to wind up between a year and 18 months.

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