Though the Special Court for Sierra Leone is presently going in The Hague with the trial of the former president of Liberia Charles Taylor, the trial of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) indictees is almost at the end.
This definitely marks the end of the Special Court in Sierra Leone.
The case of the three convicts of the Armed Forces Revoluntiary Council (AFRC), Alex Tamba Brima aka Gullit, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu aka 55 ended in February this year with the Appeals Chamber upholding the 50, 45 and 50 years sentences that had been passed by the Trial Chambers.
The trial of the two Civil Defence Forces (CDF) commanders ended in May with the Appeals Chamber, which raised their sentences from the initial 4 and 6 years sentence to 14 and 15 years respectively for the convicts Moinina Fofana and Alieu Kondewa.
Last Tuesday, the last witness of the RUF ended his evidence in chief and cross examination marking the end of the defence case.
The RUF which started its case on the 5th July 2004 saw the prosecution concluding its case on the 2nd August 2006 with 86 witnesses.
The defence team of the first accused Issa Sesay used 59 witnesses to build their case among which was former president Tejan Kabbah; the case of the first accused ended on 13th March 2008 after starting on the 3rd March 2007.
The defence for the second accused Morris Kallon will conclude their case with 22 witnesses while the third accused Augustine Gbao used eight (8) witnesses to build his case.
Final trial briefs are due by 29 July 2008 and oral arguments will take place on 4-5 August, prior to the Court’s judicial recess. The Judges will then retire for deliberations. A trial judgment in the case is expected later this year.
With all these trials ending in Freetown this marks a significant step by the Court in completing its mandate.
By Betty Milton