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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 28

After being asked to come to the Special Court on several occasions to testify without being able to do so, Witness TF1-141, the twenty-seventh witness in the prosecution’s case, was finally able to testify this week. In accordance with the protective measures ordered by the Chamber for vulnerable witnesses, this alleged former child combatant testified via closed circuit television. Perhaps due to nervousness, the witness had to be asked repeatedly over the course of his examination-in-chief to slow down the pace with which he recounted his testimony.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 27

After a three-week recess for the Easter break, the RUF trial commenced its fourth session this week, with the prosecution calling its twenty-sixth witness. The trial session opened on Wednesday with the Honourable Judge Itoe “welcoming back this family” after a long break. Calling upon divine intervention, his Honour then added that the Chamber hoped “the Lord God will endow [us] with the energies to be able to scale through the six weeks that lie ahead…”

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 20

The pace of proceedings in the RUF trial quickened considerably this week, with the prosecution more than doubling the number of witnesses it had called thus far in the last four days of the session. This change of pace was largely assisted by a tactical decision taken by the Defense to refrain entirely from cross-examining two of the witnesses called, a decision likely to have been adopted due to the sensitive nature of these witnesses’ testimony.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 19

Continued testimony of Witness TF1-071 Admissibility: Charts tendered as proof of prior inconsistent statements Witness profile at a glance Testimony of Witness TF1-015 Disclosure to the Defense: Alleged “trial by ambush” Events that occurred in Sierra Leone’s diamond-rich Kono district continued to dominate the RUF trial proceedings this week, with the trial chamber hearing further testimony from Witness TF1- 071, a category “C” insider witness (who began testifying last week), and Witness TF1-015, a civilian allegedly abducted by the rebels in March 1998.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 18

The third session of the RUF trial is moving slowly in its second week, with only two witnesses called thus far at the midway point of this session out of a total of nineteen anticipated witnesses. Members of both the bench and the bar have expressed concern about the pace of the trial; however, the chamber appears to be caught in the tension between its concern for expeditiousness and its desire to adhere strictly to proper procedure.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 17

The 2005 trial sessions began this week with the recommencement of the RUF trial in Trial Chamber One. As has become the practice of the Special Court, the week began with a short status conference on the first day of the session, after which the court adjourned in anticipation of hearing witness testimony the following day. Rather unexpectedly, the court faced a hiatus in proceedings this week, as each of the first and second accused protested (in written statements) against their indictment and prosecution by the Special Court.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 9

The examination in chief of insider witness TF1-167 resumed on Monday, followed by over two days of cross-examination by the defense. Testimony centered on the chain of command within the RUF and AFRC as well as on details of the 6 January 1999 attack on Freetown and the Western Area. The witness described command and control relationships, planning meetings among commanders, and orders that were given in violation of the laws of war.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 8

The testimony of two of the Prosecution’s key insider witnesses was the focus of this week’s RUF trial proceedings. Two and a half days of trial were devoted to further cross-examination of Brigadier General John Tarnue, a former commanding general of the armed forces of Liberia and subsequent Assistant Chief of Staff (G3) (Planning and Operations) under Charles Taylor’s regime (from October 1997 to January 2000).

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 7

After one month of the CDF trial following its August recess, the court reopened proceedings for the RUF trial on Monday, 4 October. All three accused in the RUF trial have been charged with eighteen counts of crimes against humanity, violations of Article III common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law for their alleged involvement in the command and organization of the RUF. The trial resumed this week in the presence of the first and second accused, Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon.

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