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Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 68

The CDF trial continued with the Prosecution’s cross-examination of the first accused, Chief Sam Hinga Norman. It focused on Norman’s own alleged command and control of the CDF as well as the roles of his co-accused, Fofana and Kondewa, in the conflict. Peter Penfold, the former British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, also took the stand this week as the second witness to be called in the CDF defence case. His testimony ended in controversy as he described the Indictment as a grave injustice.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 67

This week marks the second week of Norman’s testimony in the CDF trial. The examination-in-chief moved from general topics to more specific issues as Norman responded to particular allegations made by the Prosecution. In particular, the use of child soldiers was extensively addressed as were events surrounding CDF attacks in several towns included as crime bases in the Indictment, such as Koribundu, Tongo Field and Bonthe.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 66

The CDF defence case resumed on Tuesday after a two day recess was afforded by Trial Chamber I to the Norman defence team, who had requested for more time to chart out the evidence to be given by Norman himself. The former government minister is the first of a proposed total of 77 witnesses called in his defence case. Norman took the stand on Tuesday afternoon and his testimony continued throughout the week.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 66

The CDF defence case resumed on Tuesday after a two day recess was afforded by Trial Chamber I to the Norman defence team, who had requested for more time to chart out the evidence to be given by Norman himself. The former government minister is the first of a proposed total of 77 witnesses called in his defence case. Norman took the stand on Tuesday afternoon and his testimony continued throughout the week.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 65

This week’s proceedings, which began on Wednesday after a two day delay, marked both the resumption of the court after its winter recess as well as the continuation of the CDF trial and the opening of the defence case. Wednesday’s session consisted of the status conference, which dealt with a number of issues relating to courtroom management. On Thursday opening statements were made by the Fofana and Kondewa defence teams, although not by the Norman team as Norman himself had exercised this right earlier in the trial.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 64

The bench convened this second status conference less than one month after the first one, citing the lack of “any meaningful progress” in the defense case and the defense teams’ “major noncompliance” with the Trial Chamber’s directions. This bumpy start to the defense case can be partially attributed to a lack of precision in the Trial Chamber’s management order, as well as an overall lack of coordination and preparation on the part of the defense teams.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 59

The prosecution rested its case against the three CDF accused in July 2005. On 20 September 2005, Trial Chamber I heard comments and arguments on the CDF Motions for Judgment of Acquittal. On 21 October 2005, Trial Chamber I reconvened and the Presiding Judge read an extract of the bench’s decision on these motions into the record. On 27 October 2005, the Trial Chamber reconvened again for a status conference. The proceedings against the three CDF accused are scheduled to continue with the commencement of the defense case on 17 January 2006.

Special Court for Sierra Leone,CDF Trial, Update 55

Following the conclusion of the prosecution’s case in July 2005, counsel for the three CDF accused each filed a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal under Rule 98, arguing that the prosecution failed to present evidence which, if believed, could support a conviction against the accused. Based on the written and oral submissions of the parties, the Judges have the option of upholding the charges and continuing with the trial on the charges as they stand, or dismissing specific allegations, dismissing individual counts, or even dismissing the entire indictment.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 46

The prosecution heard its final witness in the CDF trial this week, with Witness TF2-EW3, a forensic anthropologist, testifying to his assessment of the death of four suspected homicide victims who were killed in Bo. The Chamber also briefly heard submissions regarding the admission of documentary evidence by the prosecution in support of its case against the accused. Once the Chamber has ruled upon the admissibility of this evidence, the prosecution will rest its case.

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 44

This week the prosecution called two of its three expert witnesses who are slated to testify in the CDF case. One witness was called as a military specialist to testify about the organization of the CDF, including the effectiveness of its command structure. The second witness was called as an expert on child soldiers, but the testimony was heard entirely in closed session in order to protect the witness’s identity. Both witnesses were contested by the defence on the grounds that their testimony was irrelevant or outside the scope of the indictment.

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