22 August 2012

Sierra Leone: Court Gives Taylor Deadline

Photo: RNW
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

The UN backed special court for Sierra Leone has given ex-President Charles Taylor October 1, 2012 as the deadline to file his submission months after his lawyers filed a notice of appeal. Similar deadline has been awarded the prosecution to file its returns.

Mr. Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison early this year for aiding and abetting the Sierra Leone's civil war. His lawyers have since filed a notice of appeal and have twice requested an extension of time to complete preparation. Prosecution has also requested additional but not in the same number as the defense has requested.

The Court on Monday August 21 granted both the defense and prosecution an additional 21-day extension to file their submissions after an earlier request for 41 days were granted. Both parties have been granted extensions in the amount of 108 days, thereby allowing them 162 days for the filing of all appeal submissions.

In its ruling, the Special Court Appeal Judges indicated that they considered the defense request for additional time to that already granted as "necessary to prevent injustice," suggesting it (defense) will not be able to complete preparation of its Appellant's Submission by September 10, 2012.

The court agrees that the defense admission that the earlier extensions granted were not enough to complete preparations to file its submission "goes to the fair trial rights of the Appellant, who is entitled to competent assistance of counsel in the preparation of his appeal."

The requests the court said were in line with its rules but stressed that the deadline for filing of the submissions are adjusted to reflect the 21 day extension.

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