The Appeals Chamber of the UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone yesterday commenced the oral argument of the appeal cases of the three members of the defunct Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC): Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu.
Submitting on behalf of the prosecutor, Christopher Starker said they had nine grounds of appeal as they were requesting the Appeals Chamber to revise the judgment of the Trial Chamber.
One of the points raised by the prosecutor was the individual responsibility for crimes committed in Bombali and Freetown, and that they did not intend to repeat the argument raised before the Trial Chamber.
In challenging the credibility and reliability of the witnesses, Mr Starker said the Trial Chamber should have taken a holistic approach to prove the fact as Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Kanu were senior officials during the war and they created a climate of crimes. On the issue of allegation and defect, the prosecutor said that could be highlighted at the trial stage although defects could be raised during the course of the trial but that strong reasons should be given for the defects.
For the AFRC, defects were not raised at the trial stage but that it was done at a later stage. It was therefore submitted by the prosecutor that all decisions by the Trial Chamber findings on defects should be squashed.
On amputations and killings, he submitted that the accused were convicted on war crimes and not crimes against humanity, and so they urged the Appeals Chamber that the judgment must reflect all the crimes.
Kojo Graham on behalf of the first appellant, Alex Tamba Brima, submitted that the first ground raised by the prosecutor that the Trial Chamber erred in law but they could not prove that the meeting called by SAJ Musa showed that his client was a member and he aided in the commissioning of the crimes. And that substantial evidence was adduced by the prosecution to prove these events.
He also submitted that they had faith, trust and confidence in the Appeals Chamber as they would have to separate the wheat from the chaff at the end of the appeal cases.