Charles Taylor trial adjourned

The snub by Taylor, the first African head of state to be tried by an international court, came as his three-year-old trial lurched towards a rancorous conclusion.

Lawyer Courtenay Griffiths accused the judges of "a personalised attack on us" after they refused to admit a document summarising the defence's response to allegations that Taylor armed rebels who killed and maimed thousands in Sierra Leone.

"This is about ego, not justice," Griffiths told journalists outside the courtroom, claiming the judges were merely trying to teach his client a lesson.

Taylor, 62, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, claiming his trial was based on "lies" and an intelligence conspiracy.

But the prosecution argued yesterday that Taylor bore "the greatest responsibility for the horrific crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone through the campaign of terror inflicted on them."

While conceding the defence final brief was filed 20 days late, Griffiths insisted that neither he nor his client would return to court until there is a decision on his application, submitted yesterday, for leave to appeal the document's exclusion.

The lawyer was scheduled to present oral, closing arguments today but stormed out of the courtroom the day before, prompting Taylor's refusal to return to the courtroom from a morning coffee break.Both remained defiantly absent today.

The court received a letter stating that Taylor "has waived his right to be present".
With nobody in court to present closing arguments, judge Teresa Doherty adjourned the proceedings to Friday -- originally set aside for both parties to rebut contentions in each other's closing statements

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