First accused Issa Hassan Sesay in the trial of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has successfully secured a court order to subpoena former president Kabbah to testify on his behalf.
This was after the trial chamber ruled on Thursday March 13, 2008 that it was “satisfied that the application meets the required standard for the issuance of a subpoena”
The defence lawyers acting on behalf of Issa Sesay were asking for the issuance of a subpoena “on H.E. Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, for a pre-testimony interview and for testimony at this trial.”
It will be recalled that the Appeals Chamber had rejected a request by the defence lawyers for Hinga Norman in the Civil Defence Forces trial who was also asking for President Kabbah to testify on his behalf.
Apparently Issa Sesay’s lawyers cleverly used the decision of the Appeals Court in its ruling against Hinga Norman, in getting the court to rule in their favour as can be seen in the present Court order stating that its ruling is based on the “enunciation” of “the Appeals Chamber in its decision on interlocutory appeals against Trial Chamber Decision Refusing to Subpoena the President of Sierra Leone dated 11th September 2006”
Earlier Issa Sesay’s lead counsel Wayne Jordash told Awoko that the application made by the defence team had “huge merit,” and that the prosecution’s response had none.
The purpose of the evidence of the ex- president he explained is to establish the fact that the accused did not order an attack or coordinate attacks against UNAMSIL troops.
The defence lawyer maintained that “Kabbah has full knowledge of Issa Sesay’s innocence in this regard, he has refused to cooperate and ought to in the interest of justice be compelled.”
The Special court order further stated that the former president shall testify if called as defence witness on Thursday 24th April this year. By Betty Milton