26 Apr One “Dissent” in the Taylor Case
At International Criminal Law Bureau, Kirsty Sutherland calls attention to a surprise moment during the Taylor verdict that has received, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely no attention from the media:
In an unexpected turn of events, as Justice Lussick (Presiding), Justice Doherty and Justice Sebutinde rose to leave the courtroom after delivering the verdict, Justice Sow addressed the Court:
“The only moment where a Judge can express his opinion is during the deliberations or in the courtroom, and, pursuant to the Rules, when there are no serious deliberations, the only place left for me is the courtroom. I won’t get — because I think we have been sitting for too long but for me I have my dissenting opinion and I disagree with the findings and conclusions of the other Judges, because for me under any mode of liability, under any accepted standard of proof, the guilt of the accused from the evidence provided in this trial is not proved beyond reasonable doubt by the Prosecution. And my only worry is that the whole system is not consistent with all the principles we know and love, and the system is not consistent with all the values of international criminal justice, and I’m afraid the whole system is under grave danger of just losing all credibility, and I’m afraid this whole thing is headed for failure.”
Hearing the voice of their counterpart did not deter Justices Lussick, Doherty and Sebutinde from walking out. Justice Sow’s microphone immediately cut out and a curtain was drawn across the public gallery. Nonetheless, he persisted to air his views to those present, unaided by a microphone.
Pretty stunning stuff. Judge Sow’s views are legally irrelevant, of course, because he was the alternate judge. But he is obviously intimately familiar with the evidence in the case, so his “dissent” supports the idea that the prosecution’s case was remarkably weak.