Salone News

Special Court: Problems with Norman Defence

17 June 2006 at 12:46 | 429 views

By Our Correspondent

Reverend Alfred SamForay of the Hinga Norman Defence Fund recently stated in a press release that the Norman Defence team may appeal Tuesday’s decision by the Special Court to dismiss the subpoena motion on president Kabbah. But it looks like an appeal at this time is highly unlikely according to investigations conducted by this paper.

Usually reliable sources at the court informed us that the Norman team has first of all to seek the permission of the trial chamber to appeal the decision and that this has to be done by submitting a motion to trial chamber. It is also the prerogative of the court to accept or dismisss such a motion. Moreover the Norman defence team has not been able to conclude its case this trial session due to problems of marshalling its witnesses and presenting them to the courts.

"They have run out of witnesses", one of our sources stated.

Two prominent witnesses, Major General Wan Mohamed of the Nigerian army(formerly of ECOMOG) and Mr. J.A.Carpenter, the Clerk of the Sierra Leone parliament have not yet appeared. They may appear in September when the court resumes.

Meanwhile the British government has announced that it’s ready to jail former Liberian president Charles Taylor if he is found guilty. The Security Council cleared the way yesterday for Taylor’s trial to be held in The Hague. Below is a press release from the Special Court welcoming the news:

Freetown, Sierra Leone, 16 June 2006

Special Court Registrar Welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution

The Registrar of the Special Court, Mr Lovemore Munlo SC, has welcomed today’s Chapter 7 Security Council Resolution, which clears the way for the trial of Charles Taylor to be held in The Hague.

“Resolution 1688 provides the legal basis for the Government of the Netherlands to conclude a Headquarters Agreement with the Special Court for Sierra Leone,” Mr Munlo said. “This was a necessary step before the Special Court could make a determination on whether Charles Taylor should be tried in The Hague”.

The Security Council Resolution calls the presence of Mr Taylor in the subregion “an impediment to stability and a threat to the peace”, and asks the Secretary-General “as a matter of priority” to assist in making the legal and practical arrangements for the transfer of Mr Taylor to the Netherlands, and for the provision of all necessary facilities for the conduct of his trial.

The Security Council also calls on the Dutch government to facilitate the trial by allowing, among other things, the transport to and the detention of Mr Taylor in the Netherlands, and enabling the appearance of witnesses, experts and other persons required by the Court under the same conditions as are provided for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mr Munlo emphasised that although the trial will take place in a courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it will be conducted in accordance with the Statues and Rules of the Court by Judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. “The Resolution stresses that the Special Court will retain exclusive jurisdiction over Mr Taylor during his presence in the Netherlands,” Mr Munlo said.

The headquarters of the Special Court will remain in Freetown, where three other trials are already underway. Two of these trials have already entered the Defence phase, while the Prosecution is expected to conclude its case in the third trial later this year.

Photo: Left to right: Professor Nmehielle, Principal Defender, Lovemore Munlo, Special Court Registrar and Dr. Donald Harding, Special Court Medical Officer.