Salone News

Special Court: Penfold Annoys Judges, Demby Appears

By  | 11 February 2006 at 02:00 | 558 views

Former British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Peter Penfold,ended his testimony on Wednesday without any startling revelations as most of what he said was already public knowledge among Sierra Leoneans.

But Penfold, who has never concealed his dislike of the Special Court, managed to annoy the judges with some of the statements he made. One of those statments was believed to be the one in which he asserted that Norman was not a "war criminal", but a "war hero".

Penfold’s testimony, which was merely a repetition of what he had been saying and writing since Hinga Norman was arrested and incarcerated,dealt with, among other things, the fact that it was he that brought together senior members of the exiled government to establish and later train and provide arms and ammunition to the CDF for the restoration of the Kabbah government overthrown by junior members of the Sierra Leone army in May 1997.

Penfold said he and other diplomats had warned Kabbah of the impending coup a week before it occurred and that Kabbah had assured him he would take action, but never did.

Penfold also spoke about corruption in the army and the major role Norman played in the restoration of the Kabbah government.

Meanwhile former Vice President Albert Joe Demby started his own testimony Wednesday afternoon.

The eagerly awaited oral arguments on the subpoena motion on president Kabbah were put on hold yesterday because Attorney General Frederick Carew had written to say he could not make an appearance. It’s not clear what will happen next.

Our sources say tongues are wagging in Freetown over the appearance or non-appearance of Kabbah at the Special Court. A legal expert told the Vanguard that Kabbah will ultimately have to appear because the Special Court, because of its hybrid nature, is above the laws of Sierra Leone which grant the president several privileges and immunities.

Photo: President Kabbah, after his return from exile in Guinea
Credit: BBC online.