The defence team for Chief Sam Norman, Moinina Fofana and Alieu Kondewa had a very successful defence strategy and public sensitization meeting in Kenema District this weekend. Chief Defence Counsel, Dr. Bubuakai Jabbi, along with defence investigators met with citizens of Kenema District and the surrounding Eastern Region to plan for the upcoming defence segment of the trial of the CDF leaders.
We are informed that several hundred potential witness have lined up to testify for the CDF leaders. Many include women who plan to tell the so-called special court how they and their towns and villages were liberated by the Kamajor wing of the Civil Defence Forces of Sierra Leone. The Kamjors were singled out for prosecution by the UN hybrid tribunal invited to Sierra Leone by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah which resulted in the arrest and detention of Kabbah’s own Minister of Internal Security and former Deputy Minister of Defence, Chief Sam Hinga Norman.
Norman and his fellow CDF leaders were arrested by the Sierra Leone Police and have been in detention without bail for the past two years. They are accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and international humanitarian laws. The CDF was organized by Kabbah’s government and twice in two years restored his government to power after rebels of the Revolutionary United Front and their allies of the Sierra Leone Army routed the elected government from power.
The prosecution is expected to rest its case in June having run out of its paid witnesses who have been testifying about cannibalism charges against the Kamajors. Norman has informed the court that Kabbah and several members of his cabinet and advisers including octogenarian and senior adviser, Richard Sonny Lagao currently in New York, will be subpoenaed during the defence stage of the trial. Lagao was head of the War Council and Chairman of the CDF that his government now disowns.
The some times rambunctious crowd grilled Dr. Jabbi on why he was still attending the trial while his client was boycotting the court over the issue of the consolidated indictment. Jabbi explained that he has the full blessings of Chief Norman as he continues to file motion after motion both before the so-called special court and the Sierra Leone Supreme Court to have the case and perhaps the court itself invalidated. A similar meeting is scheduled for Bo District in about two weeks. Similar meetings were held in both places last November but we are told that public interest in the case in favour of Chief Norman and his colleagues has peaked even as the prosecution seems to be running out of steam as prosecution witnesses abscond with Crane’s money and senior court officials resign “for personal reasons”.
The defence team and the people of Kenema extended their heartiest gratitude to the friends and supporters of Mr. Fofana, Mr. Kondewa and Chief Norman for all their moral and financial support in keeping the fate of our national heroes in the forefront of the international community.
Another One Bites the Dust
Meanwhile, the Principal Defender for the so-called special court, Simone Monasebian, has resigned with immediate effect. Ms. Monasebian who is said to have an extensive background in defending and prosecuting those charged with serious violations of international criminal and humanitarian law will leave the court next week. Our unofficial sources tell us that Monasebian referred to in court circles as Simone, is leaving because according to her, the court is not a career building activity. Daah. As we say in Indiana, whoopidi doo. It is regrettable that Simone and the other Ayatollahs of international jurisprudence who materialized in Sierra Leone to save the savage Africans from themselves did not check in with our own Prof. A. K. Bangura who would have gladly told them what they are now finding out after wrecking their professional careers in pursuit of the comedy of errors otherwise known as the special court for Sierra Leone.
Also curiously missing in action for a long while is the court-appointed legal counsel for Mr. Norman, John Wesley Hall. After reportedly been trashed by fellow American and former USAmbassador, John Hirsh, for his participation in the so-called special court, Hall returned to his lucrative practice in Arkansas and has not been heard from since Chief Norman refused to attend court or speak to court-appointed lawyers on his defence team. Hall, who is head of the American Criminal Lawyers Association, is a college mate and personal friend of Principal Defender, Monasebian, who is now leaving the court.
According to her vitae, before her appointment to the so-called special court, Ms Monasebian was a Trial Attorney with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR.), where she prosecuted war criminals in complex, multi-defendant cases. Ms. Monasebian is also an Adjunct Professor of International Criminal Law at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, throughSeton Hall University Law School.
Readers on this forum are also aware that Chief Prosecutor, David Crane, who had vowed to make sure Chief Norman and his colleagues never see the light of day, will pick anchor and perhaps return to his former spy job at the US Department of Defence in June.
With the Chief Prosecutor and Principal Defender leaving the court, that leaves Registrar and Grand Ayatollah, Robin Vincent, and our own junior Ayatollah from California, Alieu Iscandari, Esq., to pilot the gradually sinking ship. We wish them all well (or not) in their next ventures as the prosecution of the 100 million dollar court prepares to rest its case and the Defence prepares to take center court with an international array of witnesses including former Us Ambassador, John Hirsch, former British High Commissioner, Peter Penfold, a former Special Representative for UN Secretary General and other senior diplomats and government officials from around the globe who have agreed to testify or are to be subpoenaed by Mr. Norman. The comedy continues.
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