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Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 19

Justice Sow and counsel
Friday, January 28, 2005
Country: 

Executive Summary:

Continued testimony of Witness TF1-071 Admissibility: Charts tendered as proof of prior inconsistent statements Witness profile at a glance Testimony of Witness TF1-015 Disclosure to the Defense: Alleged “trial by ambush” Events that occurred in Sierra Leone’s diamond-rich Kono district continued to dominate the RUF trial proceedings this week, with the trial chamber hearing further testimony from Witness TF1- 071, a category “C” insider witness (who began testifying last week), and Witness TF1-015, a civilian allegedly abducted by the rebels in March 1998.

The cross-examination of Witness TF1-071 took up much of the week’s proceedings, with the witness continuing to testify until Thursday afternoon. In particular, Defense counsel challenged the veracity of the witness’s testimony regarding the command structure of the RUF during the 1997-2000 period and the place of each accused within that structure. Tensions between the members of the RUF and SLA/AFRC high command were also highlighted.

Frustrations with the pace of proceedings were heightened as the week began, with the Prosecution declaring that they were “very concerned about time management. We’re in the third week. We’ve finished one witness”. This frustration was reiterated by the Presiding Judge later in the week, when he suggested to learned counsels that, while it was normal procedure to go into closed session, “wherever we can avoid it, please, we better do so, because the hassle is too much”. Issues relating to the disclosure and admissibility of evidence continued to feature strongly, with the Defense obtaining favourable rulings from the trial chamber in relation to its submissions in both instances.