Members of the Civil Society for Sierra Leone and the Interactive Forum (SCIF) and the Outreach Section of the Special Court yesterday bade farewell to the outgoing Prosecutor of the Special Court Stephen Rapp during a ceremony which took place at the court yard.
The Outreach Coordinator Patrick Fatoma said that the parting came at a very crucial time when decisions on the RUF sentences is about to be delivered and they had wanted him to stay till the end. Stating that because of the great work of Mr Rapp he has been recommended for higher height.
On behalf of the children Hawanatu Dumbuya a JSS 3 Pupil of the Annie Walsh Memorial School said that they the children are vulnerable and that they were the ones who suffered greatly during the war in the country.
She further highlighted the role of the Special Court and the prosecutor as they are charged with the responsibility of bringing to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed in the country during the rebel war.
Paramount chief Joseph Kavura Kongoma of Fakunya Chiefdom Moyamba District said that children are the treasure which the war wanted to wipe away and that if these children were wiped away then the entire nation will have been wiped away.
He said that the people of Sierra Leone are very appreciative of the work of the prosecutor
Jeremy Waiser on behalf of the office of the prosecutor said that Stephen Rapp is not only a brilliant leader but a nice person who is determined to make things happen in everything he does. He read a line from the Deputy prosecutor Joseph Kamara who was absent saying that the confidence reposed in them who were left to run the court will not be misplaced.
One of the criminal investigators revealed that it was under Mr Rapps tenure in office that all of them from the Sierra Leone Police force were fortunate to receive training from the international Institute for criminal investigation in the Hague
Binta Mansaray said that the outreach activities are what make the court meaningful and that the prosecutor has contributed immensely to the work of the outreach section.She pointed out that Mr Rapp was not only a good man to his staff but also to Sierra Leoneans as it was through his recommendation that we now have a Sierra Leonean as deputy Prosecutor.
The President of the Special Court Justice Renata Winter pointed out that Mr Rapp had assisted her in getting money for the court and left him with the parting words of endurance, perseverance and patience.
In response Stephen Rapp said that the remarks by the girl has rendered him speechless and that they will make sure that the crimes committed in the country will never happen again.
He said that they have been able to put together the evidence and to convince the people to testify as they want to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
This court he said has been a success as the court now has the first conviction on the conscription of child soldiers which is the first in the history of international justice.
Mr Rapp pledged that they will ensure that the court has the resources till the end of the trial as they want the rule of law to be respected and justice given to the victims.
Statements were also made by the office of the defence and also from Witness and Victims Support Unit. Mr Rapp joined the Special Court in December 2006.
By Betty Milton