Africa

Charles Taylor's lawyer silenced in war crimes court

  • 12 August 2010
  • From the section Africa
Courtenay Griffiths at Charles Taylor's war-crimes trial (August 10, 2010)
Image caption Mr Griffiths referred to one member of the prosecuting team as a boy.

The lawyer of Liberian ex-leader Charles Taylor was temporarily banned from speaking at his war crimes trial after a row with a prosecutor.

The judge sanctioned Courtenay Griffiths after he lost his temper in an argument and referred to one prosecution lawyer as a boy.

Mr Griffiths later apologised and was allowed to resume speaking.

Mr Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He denies the charges.

He was arrested in 2006 and his trial opened in 2007.

The former warlord is accused of arming Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during the 1991-2002 conflict - a charge he denies.

Mr Griffiths recently cross-examined the model Naomi Campbell, her former agent Carole White and actress Mia Farrow, who all gave testimony at the trial over "blood diamonds" Mr Taylor allegedly gave to Ms Campbell as a gift.

Prosecutors say that from his seat of power in Liberia, Mr Taylor also trained and commanded the rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leone civilians, frequently hacking off their hands and legs.

The Sierra Leone war became notorious for the widespread use of child soldiers.

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