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Special Court for Sierra Leone, RUF Trial, Update 8

Justice Sow and counsel
Friday, October 8, 2004
Country: 

Executive Summary:

The testimony of two of the Prosecution’s key insider witnesses was the focus of this week’s RUF trial proceedings. Two and a half days of trial were devoted to further cross-examination of Brigadier General John Tarnue, a former commanding general of the armed forces of Liberia and subsequent Assistant Chief of Staff (G3) (Planning and Operations) under Charles Taylor’s regime (from October 1997 to January 2000). On Thursday, the Prosecution began its examination in chief of Witness TF1-167, which primarily related to the joint operations of the AFRC and the RUF at the time of their de facto rule of Sierra Leone during the junta period, their exit from Freetown thereafter and their subsequent attack on several towns in the Kono and Bombali Districts between February and June 1998 and May and November 1998, respectively. The court adjourned early on Friday morning, when it was discovered that the witness was refusing to testify, allegedly due to illness. That same day, the witness’s identity was revealed in a local Freetown newspaper, “The Exclusive” as being “Junior Lion” (Mr. George Johnson), a former leader of rebel militia splinter group the West Side Boys, calling into question the effectiveness of the court’s witness protection measures in light of recalcitrant press.