Trial of Liberia's Taylor to resume

Uncertainty on whether the former president will continue to boycott proceedings.

    Taylor, charged with war crimes, has said he
    will not receive a fair trial [AFP]

    Prosecutors delivered their opening statements despite Taylor's absence and are expected to present evidence on Monday even if he stays away.
     
    At the trial opening, Taylor's lawyer read out a letter in which Taylor explained the reasons his boycott.
     
    His lawyer later walked out saying his client wanted to represent himself.
     
    But according to Solomon Moriba, a court spokesman, the court has not received a formal request from Taylor to act as his own lawyer.
     
    No new lawyer has yet been appointed for Taylor.
     
    War crimes
     
    Charles Taylor


    The charges against Charles Taylor include:

    1. Acts of terrorism

    2. Murder

    3. Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder

    4. Rape

    5. Sexual slavery and any other form of sexual violence

    6. Outrages upon personal dignity

    7. Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular cruel treatment

    8. Other inhumane acts

    9. Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities

    10. Enslavement

    11. Pillage

    Click here for timeline

    Judges ruled that the prosecution could deliver its opening statement after they appointed a temporary defence lawyer to act for Taylor for the day.
     
    Without a formal request from Taylor the judges are unlikely to allow him to represent himself.
     
    The appointment of a new lawyer, though, would likely delay the trial by several months as a new counsel would need to read up on the case.
     
    In his letter to the court Taylor said his defence team lacked resources and had not been able to prepare his case.
     
    "It is therefore with great regret that I must decline to attend any further hearings in this case until adequate time and facilities are provided to my defence team," he said.
     
    Since then, he has been able to meet in The Hague with the Freetown-based court official in charge of organising and funding his defence.
     
    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.
     
    The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up jointly by the Sierra Leone's government and the UN in 2002 to try those deemed most responsible for human rights violations during the later stages of the civil war.
     
    Prosecutors have promised to produce evidence, including letters and witness testimony, that Taylor directed fighters from the Revolutionary United Front as they carried out a campaign of terror against Sierra Leone's civilians.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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