Charles Taylor absent for closing arguments

9th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor was absent Wednesday for the second day of closing arguments in his trial for arming rebels who killed and maimed thousands in Sierra Leone.

Having refused to return to the courtroom from a coffee break on Tuesday, Taylor gave no reason to judges for his continued absence.

"I note the absence of the accused," judge Teresa Doherty said on the second and last day set aside for closing arguments, the final step before the judges retire to consider their judgment.

She said there had been no note from the UN detention centre where Taylor is being held, adding: "There has been no indication that he was unable to come for reasons of illness."

Taylor's lawyer, Courtenay Griffiths, had stormed out of the court on Tuesday in a showdown with the judges, protesting their refusal to condone his late filing of a written summary of defence evidence.

This was followed two hours later by Taylor refusing to return to the courtroom after a morning coffee break.

Griffiths was scheduled to present the defence's oral closing arguments on Wednesday, but has said he would not do so "pending the decision of the appeals chamber" on the judges' refusal of his filing.

Taylor, 62, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, claiming his trial was based on "lies" and an intelligence conspiracy.

He is the first African head of state to be tried by an international tribunal.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article