Taylor continues to boycott trial

The
war crimes trial of ex-Liberian leader Charles Taylor has been adjourned until
Friday after he failed to attend the court in The Hague.

He
and his lawyer walked out of proceedings earlier this week during the closing
arguments of the trial.

The
prosecution has finished its oral submission and the defence was due to start
its arguments.

Mr
Taylor denies fuelling Sierra Leone’s civil war in the 1990s by arming rebels.

He
is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The
trial started in June 2007, when Mr Taylor boycotted the opening, arguing he
would not get a fair trial.

The
verdict is expected later this year.

Mr
Taylor’s lawyer Courtenay Griffiths also failed to make an appearance.

He
had walked out in anger on Tuesday after the court refused to accept his final
written brief to the court 20 days after the deadline.

He
denied that it was a delaying tactic.

“I’ve
no interest in stretching this trial out, neither does Mr Taylor – that man has
been in custody for almost six years and he wants a decision on his fate,”
he said.

The
prosecution says Mr Taylor, Liberian president 1997-2003, armed and controlled
the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during a 10-year campaign of terror
conducted largely against civilians.

The
RUF became infamous for hacking off the limbs of their victims, and using rape
and murder to terrorise the population.

The
defence has argued that Mr Taylor tried to broker peace in Sierra Leone at the
request of regional powers.

He
is accused of selling “blood diamonds” for the rebels, in return for
supplying them with weapons.

Last
year supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Mia Farrow were summoned to give
evidence at the trial.

If
convicted, Mr Taylor would serve a prison sentence in the UK.