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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 99

Trial Chamber I spent this week hearing detailed oral arguments on the admissibility of prior statements made by the first accused, Issa Sesay. The statements in controversy were taken by OTP Investigators during ten days of custodial interviews in March and April of 2003, immediately following Mr. Sesay’s initial detention. At issue was the voluntariness of Mr. Sesay’s statements and his alleged waivers of the right remain silent and the right to counsel.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 98

First accused, Issa Sesay, concluded direct examination early in the week. Prior to cross examination, Mr. Sesay’s Counsel, Wayne Jordash attempted to bring a motion to suppress certain anticipated Prosecution evidence. The Trial Chamber spent a great deal of time hearing arguments about whether or not it was timely to hear arguments on the substance of the motion. Ultimately, the Bench barred Defense from bringing the motion on the grounds that it was premature. The Court also disposed, somewhat obliquely, of the unresolved matter of translation irregularities raised late last week.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 86a

The CDF trial resumed on Tuesday, following the adjournment of the case since June 2006. The defence case for the first accused was closed this week, after the Appeals Chamber issued its decision echoing the Trial Chamber’s dismissal of the defence motion requesting a subpoena against President Kabbah. The evidence of the remaining witness for the first accused, Chief Norman, was submitted in document form as the witness was unable to travel to Freetown.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 84a

The bench read its considered statement on the Defence submissions1 regarding the comments made by the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, during his visit to the SCSL on 3 July 2006, at the beginning of proceedings on July 20th. On behalf of all three defence teams, Mr. Jordash had argued that the reference made by Mr. Annan to the accused at the SCSL as criminals who had destroyed the country, was in violation of the rights of accused persons, enshrined in Article 17 of the Court’s Statute. The Chamber stated that “On the substance of Mr.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 83a

Summary The 4th week of the current RUF trial session saw the closed session testimony of both an insider witness as well as an expert witness for the Prosecution, who is set to close their case by the end of this session. The expert witness testified about the involvement of children under the age of 15 with RUF fighting forces during the conflict in Sierra Leone, as charged in Count 12 of the Indictment.1 The Prosecution also tendered a report authored by the expert witness in question, which, despite vigorous objections by the defence, was admitted into evidence by Trial Chamber I.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 81a

The second week of the eighth RUF trial session saw the testimony of two important witnesses, one being a UN military observer who was held hostage by the RUF during the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process in 2000 and the other being a former RUF-combatant who was forced to join the RUF after being kidnapped from his village as a child. The defence also had the opportunity to cross-examine Prosecution witness Alfred Sesay, for whom the Prosecution submitted a solemn declaration in lieu of having him give oral testimony.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 75

This week’s proceedings touched on several important legal and procedural issues, particularly concerning representation for the third accused. The matter of representation was not seen in isolation: the issue invoked a debate in front of the Trial Chamber regarding the legal propriety of actions taken by the Principal Defender and his Office, as well as regarding the proper role of the Defence Office.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 73

The week began with the cross-examination of witness TF1-108. The witness had previously testified in closed session for security reasons, but the last part of the cross-examination was conducted in public. The next witness called was TF1-330, whose entire testimony was also heard in closed session. As a result, the public was excluded from Tuesday morning until Friday afternoon.

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