The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court has dismissed the motion filed by the three accused persons of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of the voluntary dismissal of Justice Bankole Thompson, a sitting judge of the trial chamber.
In their argument, the three appellants submitted that the trial chamber erred in law with regards its interpretation and application in the standard of review for refusal of application.
It was also submitted by the three appellants that “the trial chamber erred in law and fact in finding that despite findings some indicia of an appearance of bias existed, it did not merit disqualification.”
In the response filed by the prosecution, it was submitted that the appellants failed to demonstrate that the trial chamber committed an error, of law, misapplied law or fact or otherwise abused or exceeded its discretion in making its findings.
The appellants further submitted that their right to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal was integral to their right to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 17 of the statute, which also provides that the judges of the court shall be persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrated and so a judge who sits at a trial or appeal chamber in any case in which his partiality might reasonably be doubted on any substantial ground must be disqualified so it is against this background that the appellant filed a motion of voluntarily or dismissal of Justice Bankole Thompson. In their judgment, the Appeals Judges submitted the standard of review on appeal is than when an appeal is brought on the basis of an error of law, the Appeals Chamber has the final arbiter of the law; must determine whether such an error was in fact made and whether the error renders the decision invalid.
“The trial chamber therefore does not invalidate its decision because a reasonable and informed observer reading Justice Thompson’s opinion would not apprehend bias against the appellant.”
The Appeals made by the three, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao, came as a result of the Trial Chamber’s decision for the voluntary withdrawal or disqualification of Justice Bankole Thompson from the RUF case.