Former President Charles Taylor says he is very well and alive, following speculations here early Thursday morning that he has passed on in The Hague.
"I just spoke with him one minute ago," an aide of Taylor told this paper Thursday, adding "He wants you to tell the others that he is very much alive. He is expecting his wife to be with him at the detention cell in The Hague."
Rumors of the convicted ex-president's death spread here early Thursday morning with many calling this paper to verify the speculations.
Taylor, now 65, was found guilty of all 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the modes of liability (the degree of his involvement) being planning (arguably the more serious of the two) and of aiding and abetting.
He is currently awaiting his appeal trial which is expected to begin next month with oral argument.
Judges at the UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone say, they have set September 2013 as a timeline to hand down their verdict in the Taylor's appeal trial.
"The judges envision that the appeal judgment will come next September, not October or November," the Special Court's Chief of Outreach and Public Affairs Mr. Peter C. Andersen said in an email to this paper's editor in reaction to an article attributed to Taylor's new lead Defense Counsel, Morris A. Anyah last Friday, November 9.
"While timelines have been known to change to reflect what is going on in the courtroom, at this point we have not been informed of any and this is the official word from the judges," Andersen said.
He said the judges set the Taylor appeal timeline at their plenary last May 30, and it has not changed, adding that oral arguments on the appeals submissions, if they are deemed necessary, will be in December, and they have been so scheduled for a long time.
The prosecution had argued that he should be found guilty on the more serious modes of command responsibility and/or engaging in a joint criminal enterprise.