Issa Sesay, the first accused in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, will today testify in his own defence as they [defence team] commence their trial this morning.
Speaking at the status conference held at the Trial Chamber 1 of the court the presiding judge, Bankole Thompson, said that in the rule of the court when an indictee intended to testify in his own defence he would be the first to start and that this was applicable to the first accused, Issa Sesay.
Wayne Jordash, the defence counsel for Issa Sesay, disclosed that after the surgery of his client his recovery had been going on pretty well but that few days ago he started experiencing pains due to extensive sitting for long.
He added that he was taken to the Choithrams Hospital for x-ray.
It was further disclosed at the status conference that a total of 287 names of core witnesses had so far been submitted by the defence for the three accused persons.
Out of this list, Issa Sesay’s defence submitted 149 core witnesses, 34 Rule 92 based witnesses, 83 core witnesses and 3 Rule 92 based witness for Morris Kallon and the third accused Augustine Gbao submitted a total of 55 names of potential witnesses.
Justice Bankole Thompson revealed that during today’s session the defence for the first and second accused would start with their opening arguments to be followed by the start of their case.
The three accused are facing 18 charges and, the trial started in July 2004.
The prosecution closed their case on in August 2006.