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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 3

Beginning Monday, 12 July, the Special Court's prosecution team began calling its first witnesses in its case against three of the alleged leaders of the RUF (Revolutionary United Front). Between 12 July and 23 July, nine witnesses were called in total, each of them recounting multiple atrocities allegedly inflicted upon them and their families by rebel forces between 1998 and 1999.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 2

The Special Court for Sierra Leone opened a new trial session this week with the opening of the joint trial of three of the key leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). These three individuals, all alleged to have been senior officers and commanders within the RUF, are Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, and Augustine Gbao. They are charged with eighteen counts of crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian law, their charges including acts of terrorism, collective punishment, extermination, murder, enslavement, and pillage.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF and RUF Trials, Update 48

 The RUF trial began its fifth trial session this week, with the prosecution calling a further four witnesses in its case against the three accused Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao. During a short status conference on Monday, the prosecution announced that it had been granted leave to add a further three witnesses added to its core witness list, bringing the total number of witnesses slated to testify in the prosecution’s case to 102.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, The Trial of Charles Taylor: Prosecuting "Persons who bear the Greatest Responsibility"

This report is the latest in a series of periodic analytical reports issued by the War Crimes Studies Center as part of its permanent international monitoring program at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL or “Court”). Since the Court began in 2004, the War Crimes Studies Center (WCSC) has been the only international organization to have maintained an ongoing presence at the SCSL. Our monitors have covered all four trials, producing regular critical analysis on the development, jurisprudence, and functioning of the Court.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, Taylor Trial, The Opening of the Trial: Early Developments and Delays

The agreed timeline for Charles Taylor’s trial has been pushed back once again due to issues relating to Taylor’s legal representation. Trial Chamber II of the Special Court has had to balance pressures to move the trial forward with concerns relating to fair trial rights. These two sets of concerns are not necessarily in tension, as the right to be tried without undue delay is guaranteed by the Statute of the Special Court, but the issues relating to Taylor’s representation were considered substantial enough to delay the trial.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, Taylor Trial, Update 116

The Taylor Defense team formally rested its case on November 12, 2010. The Trial Chamber will not sit again until closing arguments commence in February 2011. During this reporting period, the last Defense witness was called and the Chamber ruled on several Defense motions. The Chamber denied a Defense motion requesting an investigation of the Office of the Prosecutor on allegations of contempt of court, but granted the Defense leave to appeal.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, Taylor Trial, Update 115

The Taylor trial began to wind down during this reporting period, with the testimony of two Defense witnesses and three additional witnesses for the Prosecution. Issa Sesay concluded his testimony and the Defense called DCT-008, a Liberian radio operator for Taylor’s Special Security Services (SSS) unit. The Prosecution also called three witnesses in August, re-opening its case approximately a year and a half after formally resting in February 2009.

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