Trial Monitoring

Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 28

March 25, 2005
Michelle Staggs
Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 28
Case or Series

RUF Trial

Case or Series

Special Court for Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone



After being asked to come to the Special Court on several occasions to testify without being able to do so, Witness TF1-141, the twenty-seventh witness in the prosecution’s case, was finally able to testify this week. In accordance with the protective measures ordered by the Chamber for vulnerable witnesses, this alleged former child combatant testified via closed circuit television. Perhaps due to nervousness, the witness had to be asked repeatedly over the course of his examination-in-chief to slow down the pace with which he recounted his testimony. The witness also admitted on several occasions that he was unable to determine the length of time he had stayed at various locations, nor the month during which various events occurred, making it at times difficult to follow him. Witness TF1-141 was the only witness called this week, with a lengthy two-day cross examination by counsel for the first accused following his evidence in chief, despite warnings from the bench that all counsel should endeavour to be expeditious.

Other issues that arose at trial this week were the extent to which the payments received by prosecution witnesses may motivate them to testify and the age of child combatants, both of which are discussed in this report.