News / Africa

Prosecution Makes Closing Arguments in Taylor Trial

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor awaits the start of the prosecution's closing arguments during his trial at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, February 8, 2011
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor awaits the start of the prosecution's closing arguments during his trial at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, February 8, 2011

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was back in court in The Hague to hear the prosecution's closing arguments in his three-year old war crimes case. But his defense lawyer was not. He walked out of the trial, calling it a farce.

The trial of Charles Taylor is wrapping up the same way it began three years ago: with a walk-out by the former president's lawyer and by Taylor, as well.

Courtenay Griffiths defied judges' orders to stay in court and listen to the prosecution's closing arguments, saying it was not possible to properly defend his client after judges refused to accept his own written closing trial brief after deadline.

"In our submission, our very presence in court is incompatible with our duty to protect Mr. Taylor's interests,” Griffiths said. “And it is our intention, both myself and Mr. Taylor, to leave court at this point."

But Mr. Taylor stayed behind alone for a while and listened as prosecutors accused him of trying once again to manipulate the court. Prosecutor Brenda Hollis launched into the details of her closing argument: that Charles Taylor is ultimately and criminally responsible for the horrors of war he inflicted on the people of neighboring Sierra Leone using his proxy rebel RUF fighters.

Taylor remained in the courtroom for a while, but refused to return after a break. A court official told a judge that Mr. Taylor said "he was upset and needed some rest."

"Charles Taylor, this intelligent, charismatic manipulator had his proxy forces and members of his Liberian forces carry out these crimes to forcibly control the people and territory of SL [Sierra Leone] and to pillage its resources, in particular its diamonds, and they would do this through their agreed criminal means, a campaign of terror he waged on the innocent people of SL with all its attendant crimes,” Hollis said. “All this suffering, all these atrocities, to feed the greed and lust for power of Charles Taylor."

Prosecutor Hollis detailed some of those atrocities in court: killings on a mass scale, public amputations, mothers forced to laugh as their children were buried alive or to carry their severed heads, mass rapes, enslavement in diamond mines and children conscripted to fight. Some 120,000 people were killed and thousands of more mutilated during the country's 10-year civil war.

Taylor maintains he is innocent of the 11 counts he's charged with at this Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Defense lawyers were scheduled to make their closing arguments Wednesday, but lawyer Griffiths says he will boycott the proceedings pending his appeal of the judges' decision not to accept his written brief.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid