Salone News

Special Court: Hinga Norman Defence Ends

By  | 15 September 2006 at 22:09 | 866 views

According to a statement from Mr. Alfred SamForay, a Hinga Norman loyalist, the defence of the former SLPP Interior minister and Civil Defence Forces (CDF) leader at the Special Court for Sierra Leone has ended today.

The final submission, according to Samforay,was made by Norman counsel Alusine Sesay in the absence of Norman’s Chief Counsel Dr. Bubuakei Jabbi who is "away on business".

Also, according to SamForay, the Special Court’s Appeals Chamber, on September 11, denied the motion by counsel for Chief Norman(photo) that would have compelled president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to testify for the defence.

"In a split four to one decision, the justices refused to allow Kabbah to appear as witness on the grounds that Mr. Norman failed to present sufficient and necessary reasons why Kabbah should appear", SamForay said.

He added that Justice Geoffrey Robertson, a Queen’s Counsel,however strongly disagreed with the other justices in a 28-page dissenting opinion in favour of Norman stating that president Kabbah possessed relevant information which he alone can provide the court.

Two other witnesses that did not appear in person were SamForay himself who is defence witness number 46 and former ECOMOG Chief of Staff General Abdul Wan Mohamed of Nigeria who has just recently returned to Nigeria from Germany where he had allegedly sought medical attention and is still too ill to travel to Freetown.Alfred SamForay lives in Indiana, USA.

However, SamForay said Chief Norman "scored a big victory" with the admission into evidence of a large number of defence exhibits from ECOMOG headquarters containing documents which, he said, could implicate Mr. Kabbah in what amounts to "serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions (War Crimes)".

SamForay’s 32-page testimony was integrated into the testimonies of Mr. Norman and other defence witnesses while the trial of the other two CDF defendants, former Director of War Moinina Fofana and former Chief Initiator Dr. Alieu Kondewa resumes next week (Monday) following the brief illness of Moinina. Verdict in the Chief Norman case is not expected before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, according to a Special Court press alert issued today September 15, a second Status Conference in the case of the prosecutor versus Charles Taylor will take place in the Hague on Friday September 22 at the ICC’s courtroom(D-wing), the same venue as for the first Status Conference last July. The hearing will take place before Justice Julia Sebutinde and will begin at 1400 hours local (Hague) time.