The Defence motion is without merit and should be dismissed in their response to the defence motion filed against them on the 20th May, the Special Court Prosecution team has respond that the motion is without merit and therefore urged the Trial Chamber to dismiss the said motion.
In their written motion, the prosecution team submitted that rule 39 (ii) authorizes the prosecution to provide for the safety, support and assistance of potential witnesses and sources both before and after the indictment and that Article 15 of the Statute of the Special Court also provided mandates that the prosecution act independently in carrying out its functions.
They further submitted that since June 2004, they [prosecution] have been providing the defence with information showing the disbursement and other documents and that during cross-examinations, the defence often refers to these documents and that these issues raised by the defence is not so since they have been using these document for over three years now.
The prosecution also submitted in their response that this matter was not raised at the earliest opportunity, and that the defence chose not to raise it during the prosecution case nor during the Issa Sesay case and that the defence has not offered any reason for its delay.
It was also submitted that according to rule 5 it requires that “where an objection of non-compliance with the Rules or Regulations is raised by a party, at the earliest opportunity, the Trial Chamber or the designated Judge may grant relief if the non-compliance has caused material prejudice to the objecting party.”
The prosecution also cited certain parts of the Statute and the Articles of the Special Court which gives them [prosecution] the responsibility to preserve, store and secure information and physical evidence obtained in the course of their investigations.
The prosecution also submitted that Rule 39 (ii) “grants to the prosecution a wide and unfettered discretion.
The prosecution is permitted to take all measures deemed necessary for the purpose of the investigation.
It is for the prosecution, and prosecution alone, to determine what support and assistance to witness” it gives.
They continued “moreover, it is not confined to witnesses; the Rule also applies the same discretionary power on the prosecution with respect to sources.”
They added that suggestions made by the defence in their motion concerning investigation which they said is operative only during the investigation stage, “erroneously restricts the meaning of investigation as defined in the Special Court Statute.”
They revealed that some potential witnesses were forced to be relocated on an emergency basis because of threats to their safety and of their families. Some of these witnesses were relocated and were forced to give up their employment and that others were inconvenienced to the extent of being asked to come to Freetown 3 or 4 times to testify and they were forced to stay much longer because of the slow process of the trial.
Because of these, the prosecution added they have acted within the authority granted to them, in the Special Court Rules and these information disclosed to the defence to permit them to raise those issues deemed relevant, adding that “the inflammatory language adopted in the Motion does not mask the absence of substance.”