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Taylor set for first war crimes court appearance as lawyer appeals for defense funds

[JURIST] Former Liberian president and accused war criminal Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] is set to make his first appearance in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] before Justice Richard Lussick [official profile] at Freetown on Monday, where he is expected to plead not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity [amended indictment, PDF]. Lawyers from the SCSL defense office [press release, PDF] have met with Taylor and will represent him at Monday's hearing. A court spokesman says, however, that Taylor has not yet chosen his legal team for the trial, which is not expected to begin for several months. One of Taylor's lawyers, Richard Flomo, has told Reuters "Mr Taylor is broke. He does not have money to plead a case," despite reports that the car Taylor was traveling in when he was captured [JURIST report] was full of US dollars. Flomo added "We hope goodwilled people and other institutions will come and help so that we can plead his case." Flomo is seeking permission from the UN to travel to Sierra Leone to consult with his client. Reuters has more.

While Monday's hearing will take place in Sierra Leone, the trial itself is expected to be conducted at The Hague [JURIST report] following an SCSL request last week. The UN Security Council is considering a resolution [JURIST report] on the matter. AP has more.

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