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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, Taylor Trial, Initial Appearance of Charles Taylor

Justice Lussick presided over the initial appearance of the accused, Charles Ghankay Taylor, in Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The initial warrant for the former President of Liberia’s arrest was issued almost three years prior to his arrival at the Special Court’s detention facility on March 29, 2006. During this initial appearance the accused was represented by the Principal Defender, Mr. Vincent Nmehielle, who acted as duty counsel as stipulated under Rule 45 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The Chief Prosecutor, Mr.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 93

On 22 February 2007 the First Accused in the CDF Case, Samuel Hinga Norman, passed away at a military hospital in Dakar, Senegal. Mr Norman was flown to Senegal on 17 January for medical treatment, and had undergone a successful surgical procedure on 8 February 2007. It is reported that Mr Norman suddenly collapsed in the morning hours of 22 February, and the Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone has ordered an independent investigation by medical experts to ascertain the cause of death.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 88a

Proceedings in the CDF trial resumed this week on Wednesday, following an adjournment due to the ill health of the second accused, Moinina Fofana. Fofana attended proceedings for the first time this trial session and his Counsel informed the court that his client had fully recovered from the chickenpox. The Defence case of the second accused accordingly commenced. Six witnesses testified this week in the defence of the second accused, with the defence case now in abeyance until the arrival of their expert witness, who is scheduled to testify on 9 October 2006.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 79a

This final week of the CDF trial session saw proceedings reconvene on June 15th, due to difficulty in locating the few remaining witnesses in the Norman defence case. Upon recommencement of the trial, the Trial Chamber issued its long awaited decision on the Fofana and Norman joint Defence motion to issue a subpoena to President Kabbah.1 Kabbah is currently listed as the first witness in the Norman defence case. In the majority decision (Thompson J dissenting) the Trial Chamber dismissed the Defence’s motion, representing a major setback for the defence of the first and second accused.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 78a

No witnesses testified during this, the sixth, week of the CDF trial session. The court reconvened proceedings from the previous week on Wednesday. Proceedings were again adjourned until the following Wednesday, June 14, 2006, as the Norman defence team was unable to arrange for the appearance of any of their remaining witnesses, the two remaining key witnesses to be called being President Kabbah and Major General AbdulOne Mohammed.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 77a

This week’s proceedings in Trial Chamber I were delayed due to the unavailability of witnesses for the Norman defence case. The defence team for the first accused called three witnesses starting from Wednesday. Chief Joseph Ali-Kavura Kongomoh, the Paramount Chief in the Fakunya district, represents the first witness to testify about the Moyamba crime base. Kenei Torma Kenei also gave evidence with respect to Moyamba and Lansana Bockarie corroborated previous testimony concerning the planning and organization of various attacks by the Kamajors.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 76a

During this fourth week of the current CDF trial session, testimony predominantly centered around two alleged attacks by the CDF: that on the town of Kenema and that on the nearby location known as SS camp. The Prosecution has alleged that in February of 1998 Kamajors attacked and gained control of these two locations, which involved the identification of suspected ‘collaborators’ and the unlawful killing and infliction of physical suffering on civilians and captured enemy combatants.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 76

A total of five witnesses for the Norman Defence testified during this third week of the current CDF trial session. Witness testimony was exclusively from the perspective of kamajor fighters, particularly battalion commanders, and centered around CDF attacks on rebel-controlled towns such as Tongo, Kenema and Bo. Questions posed addressed the planning of these attacks as well as the receipt of arms and ammunition by the kamajors.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 70

The sixth session of the CDF trial came to a close this week following the testimony of several Kamajor fighters as well as that of Lieutenant-General Richards, a British army officer who periodically worked with Norman during the conflict. This first session of the Norman defence case saw counsel lead in evidence a total of seven witnesses, including Norman himself, as well as several high profile colleagues.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 69

Oral arguments on the Norman and Fofana Motions for an Issuance of a Subpoena Ad Testificandum to President Kabbah1 were heard by Trial Chamber I on Tuesday. The Attorney General, representing the President, argued, in rebuttal of the defence’s submissions, that Kabbah was not subject to the authority of the Special Court. Furthermore, if a subpoena was indeed issued the Attorney General noted that the President would not necessarily obey it.

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