Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 6

October 01, 2004
Michelle Staggs
Sara Kendall
Special Court for Sierra Leone, CDF Trial, Update 6
Case or Series

CDF Trial

Case or Series

Special Court for Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone



This week marked the final week in the CDF trial before a month-long adjournment and the continuation of the RUF hearings throughout October. The prosecution continued to call witnesses in open session that testified to events which took place in Kenema and Blama in February 1998, during the period in which the de facto control of those towns was seized by the CDF from RUF and AFRC juntas. The week ended with the Chamber issuing its ruling (delivered by Judge Thompson) on the motion filed by the defense to have all hand-written notes from OTP witness interviews submitted as evidence to the court. This was followed by a short status conference for the RUF trial attended by Judge Thompson, counsel for each of the first and second accused, the Principal Defender and members of the prosecution who discussed the outstanding matters from the RUF trial’s previous session and eschewed in certain issues that would be dealt with during the month ahead.

The main issues that emerged during the CDF trial this week were: (i) the continuing issue of the credibility of witness testimony as well as certain issues relating to the temporal and semantic nature of the evidence given under cross-examination, (ii) the underlying tribal nature of the conflict and the attempts by the defense to frame witnesses through the prism of “junta collaborators” and (iii) the implications of the Trial Chamber’s ruling with regards to interview notes for the defense and the prosecution. Due to the continued featuring of closed sessions in the CDF trial, this report also includes a brief summary of the public perception in Sierra Leone of the necessity and desirousness of closed sessions, based on an interview conducted with a senior representative of the Special Court to Sierra Leone’s Outreach Section.