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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 72

The Prosecution continued to bring their case against the three accused in the RUF trial this week. The question of witness motivation previously raised by defence counsel was taken up again during Monday’s proceedings. The debate also touched on the bench’s evaluation of witness testimony, as Jordash contended that Prosecution witnesses must be assumed to be lying in order to maintain the presumption of innocence.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 71

The 7th trial session for the RUF case began this week, with the previous session having ended on 8 December 2005 . A status conference was held on Monday and the trial session began on Thursday, with all three accused in attendance. The status conference, presided over by Justice Thompson, dealt with several managerial issues including witness lists, the health of Issa Sesay and the legal representation of Augustine Gbao. The Prosecution continued to lead its case and called its 58th witness thus far.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 61

The sixth session of the RUF trial resumed on Wednesday after a lengthy recess of three months. Due to bank holidays, no hearings were scheduled for Thursday. The week began with a status conference on Tuesday under Rule 65bis. As with past RUF Status Conferences, a single judge conducted the hearing.

The first witness called was Witness TF1-314, who testified in court on Wednesday and Friday and came back for the second half of cross examination on Monday, 7 November 2005. On Friday and Monday, the third accused, Augustine Gbao, did not attend the hearings. 

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 52

Proceedings in the final week of the RUF trial continued primarily in closed session, with the continued cross-examination of Witness TF1-036 dominating the proceedings. The prosecution called a further two crime-base witnesses in open session on Tuesday, bringing the total number of witnesses called thus far in the RUF trial to forty-three. The witnesses primarily testified to alleged attacks by the RUF on towns and villages in the Koinadugu district during 1998 and 1999.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 37

Trial Chamber I only heard evidence for half of the week in order to allow time before the shift to the CDF case next week. Proceedings began with the continued cross-examination of a witness who was called last week, though much of his evidence in both direct and cross examination was heard in closed session. In concluding the fourth trial session of the RUF case, the prosecution heard testimony from its 34 th witness, who gave evidence in support of allegations of looting, burning, and amputations in the Koinadugu district in 1998.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 35

The RUF trial resumed sitting on Tuesday this week after a ten-day adjournment, during which his Honour Judge Boutet conducted contempt proceedings for the five alleged contemnors in the AFRC trial. Proceedings were further cut short by a plenary meeting on Friday afternoon, hence reducing the usual four and one half-day week to two days and two half-days. A further two witnesses were called, bringing the number of Prosecution witnesses called thus far in the RUF trial to 32. A further 66 witnesses are slated to be heard from the Prosecution’s core witness list.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 31

This week began with the continued cross-examination of insider witness TF1-362, whose crossexamination by counsel for the first accused took longer than direct examination, lasting a total of two full days. The court was adjourned Wednesday to observe the anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence from Britain. Proceedings continued on Thursday with the testimony of a prosecution investigator, who was called in response to a request by one of the defense teams to clarify an issue from a previous witness statement.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 30

The prosecution in the RUF case thus far has called a total of 28 witnesses, and the pace of the trial has proved to be considerably slower than the other two trials. This slow pace seems at least partly due to the substantial amount of testimony given by insider witnesses in recent sessions, though it also appears to result from the extensive leeway granted by the bench to crossexamination by defense counsel.

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