SATURDAY DECEMBER 10, 2005
I write following the publication of the decision of the Appeal Chamber regarding the appeal in the Brima Case for the re-instatement of Lead Counsel.
I have thought it prudent not to enter the fray while the matter was, as it were sub judice, I would however like to clear the air in respect of a number of matters in view of some apparent personal attacks being made against my integrity.
Firstly it has been suggested that while I was Lead Counsel in the Brima Case, Co-counsel were left to present the case for “long periods”. The record will show that this is not the case. I had submitted dates on which I would need to be away and, as it happened, while the court was in session I do not believe that I missed more than a week of sitting. I used my best endeavours to represent the Accused at all times and believe that my fortitude and integrity in his Defence remained intact throughout.
Secondly it appears that the Registrar at the time, Mr. Robin Vincent, made comments which suggested that my “conduct and demeanour” was questionable in his private communication with the Presiding Judge. I would like to state that these comments have never, to my knowledge, been substantiated and, more to the point, I have never been told the basis upon which they were made. In fact, although I visited Sierra Leone after Lead Counsel were permitted to withdraw I experienced such hostility from the Registry as it was then constituted that I was prevented from entering the facility as a visitor, have previously made arrangements with the Defence office, until the Chief security officer (armed) came to meet me whereupon I was escorted to the visiting area. I had to attend the office of the Head of Security before being allowed into the facility.
Thirdly, after serious consideration of ours position following the threats received, Wilbert Harris and I attended upon the then Principal Defender, Ms. Simone Monasabian, and discussed the matter at some length. We both agreed that we did not want the Accused to be left without their lead Counsel and expressed that our concern was with being made Court Appointed Counsel in view of the threats. We expressed our willingness to remain as Amicus if the court would agree to this and agreed that there were steps that could be taken to resolve the security concerns, such as employing security guards.
Last, but not least, Mr. Harris has given me permission to disclose that on his return to England he was feeling very unwell. Tests showed that there were toxins in his blood that could only have been administered through food or drink.
I am sorry to trouble you with this communication, but felt it necessary to try to set the record straight, in as much as I can without going behind the confidential part of these proceedings.
Kevin A. Metzger
cc. President of the Special Court
Tamba Alex Brima