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Taylor defense set for January war crimes trial resumption

[JURIST] Prosecution and defense lawyers said Tuesday that they will be ready to present evidence when the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [SCSL case materials; JURIST news archive] resumes in January at the Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website]. Taylor's trial began in June, but proceedings were postponed to allow Taylor's new defense team [JURIST reports] more time to prepare. At a status conference in The Hague Tuesday, lawyers from both sides told the court they would be ready to proceed when the trial begins again on January 7, 2008.

Taylor faces charges [indictment, PDF] of murder, rape, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone. He has previously complained that his single court-appointed defense lawyer was unfairly outnumbered [JURIST report] by the prosecution team. The criticism prompted the SCSL to add four people to Taylor's defense team and increase funding available to Taylor [JURIST report] to approximately $100,000 per month, despite a UN report that concluded Taylor may control millions of dollars [JURIST report] held in bank accounts worldwide. The trial has been moved to The Hague [JURIST report] for security reasons. AP has more.

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