Salone News

Norman Trial: British General Testifies

22 February 2006 at 11:15 | 385 views

Commentary

By Alfred Munda Sam-Foray

Following the bold stand by the former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Albert Joe Demby, as a witness for the defence last week, three more senior members of the Kamajor Movement have taken the witness stand in the trial of former Regent Chief, Sam Hinga Norman, Mr. Moinina Fofana and Dr. Alieu Kondewa. Demby, himself a senior member of the movement, testified for two days, interrupted by the interjection of the Attorney General, Fred Carew.

Last Friday, the man who hosted the Kamajors in Talia, in the Yawbeko Chiefdom, Bonthe District at the famous Base Zero, Chief M. T. Collier, appeared on the witness stand for the CDF. Chief Collier testified to his role as host for the CDF as well as to events that took place in Base Zero including the alleged Death Squad. The chief also gave testimony about the role of the War Council in appointments of CDF commanders and the council’s role in directing and strategizing the war as well as the acquisition of arms and ammunition by the Kamajors.

Next to testify after PC Collier was CDF Battalion Commander, Osman Vandi, alias Vanjawai. Commander Vandi testified about how the Kamajors captured Talia, home of Base Zero. He also testified to the actions of the soldiers and rebels in Bo prior to the arrival of the CDF, the joint defence of Bo by the CDF and ECOMOG and perhaps more importantly, the role of President Kabbah and the government in exile during the war. Commander Vandi also testified to alleged unlawful killings by men under his command in Bo and other towns and villages. Vandi has intimate knowledge of meetings between President Kabbah and commanders such as himself as well as Kabbah’s role in CDF appointments.

Following Chief Collier and Commander Vandi on the stand is general Battalion Commander, Kenneth Koker of Tongie, Bo District. Commander Koker has testified about the CDF supply chain and how the Kamajors received arms, ammunition and other necessities from the government of President Kabbah in exile. Koker told the court how junta forces disguised in Kamajor uniforms burnt villages they believed to belong to members of the Kamajor or their supporters. Koker was a lead commander in the re-capture of Bo from junta forces and narrowly escaped death in a rebel ambush near Bo Forrest Reserves.

General Richards Testifies
Another heavy weight of international stature took the stand for the CDF defence today. Gen. David Richards, third in command of the British Army and newly appointed commander in Afghanistan, appeared as Defence Witness No. 7. Richards, who was head of the British operations in Sierra Leone during the war, testified to the role of the international community in supporting the CDF in restoring democracy in Sierra Leone. He also testified to the coordination between the CDF and the British Army as well training provided by the British Army to the CDF. The Norman Defence Team is said to be well pleased with the general’s testimony.

Kabbah’s Subpoena
Meanwhile, deliberations on the oral arguments last week for and against the subpoena motion by Lead Counsel for Chief Hinga Norman, Dr. Bubuakei Jabbi, continues. We expect the judges to rule on the matter some time this week. Based on the Attorney General’s response (or the lack thereof) to the matter, it is all but certain that the judges will grant Norman’s request to have President Kabbah testify before the tribunal. Carew last week gave no particular reason why the president should not testify except that Counsel for Norman did not give sufficient reason for the president to appear. The judges were reportedly not impressed with Carew’s explanation.

Photo: Hinga Norman

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