The Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Stephen Rapp has told journalists in Liberia that there will be no more indictments.
Questioned on whether there are any more sealed indictments, by Liberian journalists on a trip to the country last week Prosecutor Stephen Rapp said “There are no sealed indictments. There are no other individuals from Liberia that stand indicted. The Court has a limited mandate, we have a completion strategy that basically requires us to conclude all of our trials and all of our appeals by the end of 2009. So our capacity to pursue further cases at this point is very limited. And indeed, we’ve developed a budget for the people that we have in custody that we need to try. So no sealed indictments, no other Liberians to be charged.”
His statements however come in the wake of a recent announcement over the SLBS radio during the Independence Day broadcast where the names of 42 people were read out for release from the prisons by the traditional Presidential pardon.
Among this list was the name of one prisoner who it was announced would be handed over to the Special Court.
This fueled speculation about a possible sealed indictment like the one for Charles Taylor which was only unsealed on the day he left Liberia for Ghana.
The action however has been reportedly frowned upon by the Special Court authorities.
As a result, reliable sources intimate that the Special Court has formally protested to the government about the disclosure of the name of their possible witness. The usually reliable source says that such issues are discussed with the highest levels of confidence and it was very surprising to see that confidence being breached.
This is viewed in the light of concerns raised by the prosecutor about the safety of Prosecution witnesses. Prosecutor Rapp says “All efforts that are needed to be made … will be made to protect the security and the identity of all prosecution witnesses. Our efforts are supported by the protective measures for witnesses put in place by the judges of the Special Court.”