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Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 17

Justice Sow and counsel
Friday, January 14, 2005
Country: 

Executive Summary:

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. This was preceded by the first accused, Issa Sesay, attempting to address the bench regarding the contents of his statement, an attempt which the Judge Thompson precluded, reprimanding Sesay for attempting to “hold the court hostage” to political concerns and having Sesay physically removed from court.

After several adjournments in proceedings and further discussions between the bar and bench, counsel for each of the first and second accused announced that their clients each wished to exercise their right (under Rule 60 of the Rules) to waive their attendance at the trial for an indefinite period. As such, as of Wednesday, 12 January, none of the six accused currently on trial in the CDF or the RUF trials at the Special Court are attending the proceedings.

The prosecution’s first witness for the session, Witness TF1-304, gave testimony under examination in chief and cross examination over the two and a half days that followed. This brings the total number of witnesses heard in the prosecution’s case thus far to nineteen ? that being nineteen witnesses out of the anticipated one hundred and two witnesses due to be called in total.