24 April 2008

Liberia: 'Taylor's Trial is Political' - Defense Counsel

Defense counsel for former Liberian President Charles Taylor Wednesday said the trial of his client was political.

Speaking at an outreach session organized by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown Terry Munyard said other nationals have committed the same crime Taylor was accused to have committed but they have not been prosecuted in any international criminal court.

"International criminal courts should be made for anyone that is found wanting," he said.

He said the defense team of Taylor was very small and that they were open to lots of restrictions from the prosecution adding, "We have very little resources to carry on with the trials." "The prosecution is making their case on two evidences which are linkage witnesses and crime based witnesses," he explained noting, however, that the defense team does not intend to challenge the prosecution's crime based witnesses.

Munyard said they would be submitting to the prosecution that some of the linkage witnesses were bags of lies, adding that "Taylor is in good health to go ahead with the trial." Legal assistant Logan Hambrick said they were experiencing problems of witness inducement by the prosecution, a development he said would undermine the credibility of those testifying in the court.

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