Rebecca Richman Cohen, an independent journalist who recently launched a film on the trial of defunct commander of the RUF Issa Sesay has said that she was fascinated by him and the two extremes that were involved on his trial.
In an interview, Rebecca said that the extremes that were involved were the fact that he was accused of heinous crimes and at the same time many people were very grateful for his role on disarmament “and it seems to me to be two extremes of the human experience and I was interested in telling a story that will capture both of those extremes”
She revealed that another reason she decided to do the film has to do with timing since that was the last trial going on in Freetown when she was at the Special Court for her internship and the AFRC trial and the CDF trials were basically finished.”
Questioned whether she was not paid by the Issa Sesay defence team to do the film on their behalf, for them the lawyer turned journalist said “I was not paid by the Sesay defence team as independent journalist I did not let anyone see the movie before it was finished”
She went on “both sides had to trust me as an independent film maker to say that I was going to do an honest job to tell their story we raised serious criticism of the RUF and the crimes they committed. I don’t think it is an entirely flattering story of Sesay and it is a balanced story we told. Both sides of the prosecution and the defence and when people watched the film they will make up their own minds about what they think is right and what really happened on the trial of Issa Sesay.”
Rebecca Cohen who has been in Sierra Leone working at the Special Court for Sierra Leone for seven month and was assigned to the AFRC trial speaking about the court said, “I got to see the inside of the institution which is for most people a very weird glimpse into an organization which is publicly known and it is seen by the inside by very few. I thought it will be important not as an employee of the court but as an independent person to tell the story of the trial”
Speaking about some of the responses by people concerning the court, she said that lots of people complained about the court and some were even saying that the money spent on Sesay should have been spent on farmers or other areas of development in the country.
She went on, “the response of the court is an interesting one because I am not certain if the international community would have given the money to Sierra Leone.