The Hague, February 11, 2011 (FH) - Judges adjourned sine die the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The court  granted on Friday the Defence team to appeal a decision refusing the late filling of their final written arguments, a document of almost 600 pages.

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A ruling from the Appeals chamber on that matter is not expected within several weeks.

On Tuesday, the Prosecutor had presented his closing argument to an empty box. Charles Taylor's lead counsel Courtenay Griffiths had left the courtroom just after the opening of the hearing, soon followed by Taylor himself. On Wednesday, Taylor waived his right to be present and stayed in his jail. Their absence was a mark of protest, with Courtenay Griffiths accusing the court of "injustice" for refusing to accept his written summary - which was 20 days late.

Judges instructed Courtenay Griffiths to attend Friday's hearing and to apologize for his misconduct in order to avoid sanctions.

The lawyer came to Friday's hearing but he didn't apologize and remained silent. His co-counsel Terry Munyard stated that the sanctions' issue was "very serious matter"  and that a "properly experienced counsel" was needed.

An hearing  on that question is expected in two weeks.

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor was indicted in 2003 with eleven charges including crimes against humanity and crimes of war committed in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002.

According to the Prosecution, Taylor backed up the rebellion of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in order to take control of Sierra Leone's diamond mines. The Liberian warlord allegedly provided the RUF with weapons, ammunition, and communication tools in exchange for gems.


© Hirondelle News Agency