The International Law Bureau is reporting that the reserve judge in the Taylor case was silenced while trying to express a “dissent” in the guilt of the former Liberian president. This has not been reported in the media, yet it is possibly the most significant facet of the judgment. Regardless of whether it is proper for a reserve judge to issue a “dissent”, the manner in which this judge appears to have been silenced casts a shadow over the validity of the findings of guilt, especially considering that the full written judgment has not been issued. We cannot review the legal reasoning or the factual evaluations of the Trial Chamber.
It is possible that there is no reason to be concerned and that the judgment, when it is finally issued, will be precise and well reasoned. This is not a good sign, however.