The charges against Charles Taylor include:
Taylor has refusal to attend the trial, saying it was not fair.
Vincent Nmehielle, the court’s principal defender responsible for ensuring Taylor can mount an adequate defence, said he had received a phone call informing him that Taylor would not be in court.
“He [Taylor] said the chamber knows why he will not be in court,” said Nmehielle.
Julia Sebutinde, the presiding judge, responded: “For the record, the chamber does not know. We have not been officially informed why Mr Taylor is not in court.”
Tim Friend, reporting for Al Jazeera from The Hague, said: “The judge is becoming more an more irritated with the defence, who have not found a replacement attorney to represent Mr Taylor.”
He said: “Taylor is sitting tight in a prison about twenty minutes away from here … He’s letting them get on with it and they’re not getting on with it very well.”
At the opening of his trial on June 4, Taylor, charged with instigating murder, rape and mutilation during Sierra Leone’s civil war, refused to appear.
In a letter to the court, read out at the time by Karim Khan, then his lawyer, Taylor said his defence team lacked resources and had not been able to prepare his case.
Khan later walked out saying Taylor had decided to represent himself.
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: News Agencies