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Sierra Leone war crimes court denies Taylor motion to acquit

[JURIST] Judges for the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday rejected [press release, PDF] a motion for acquittal of all charges filed by lawyers for former Liberian president Charles Taylor [case materials; JURIST news archive]. The Rule 98 motion for acquittal [materials], which was submitted [JURIST report] last month following the close of the prosecution's case, maintained that the prosecution failed to provide evidence linking Taylor to any of the charges. In denying the motion, the court found that there was evidence that Taylor had participated in the crimes. Reading the court's decision, Justice Richard Lussick said:

it is not necessary for the purposes of Rule 98 to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence in relation to each mode of liability and that it is sufficient if there is evidence capable supporting a conviction on the basis of one of those modes. ... In relation to the alleged participation of the accused, the Trial Chamber finds that there is evidence that the accused participated in the joint criminal enterprise.
Taylor's trial will resume in June.

Taylor is charged with 11 counts [indictment, PDF] of crimes against humanity, violations of the Geneva Conventions [materials], and other violations of international humanitarian law, to which he pleaded not guilty. In February, officials announced [JURIST report] that they expected the court to render a verdict by 2010, despite the SCSL's ongoing financial troubles. After complaints [JURIST report] of prejudice in 2007, the SCSL increased [JURIST report] Taylor's defense funding to $100,000 a month. Taylor claims to be indigent, but, in June 2007, a five-member UN investigatory panel found [JURIST report] that he retains control over millions of dollars hidden in African banks.

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