SPECIAL COURT WITNESS THREATENED, 5 IN HOT SOUP AND RUF INDICTEES BOYCOTT TRIAL

 

By Tamba Borbor in Freetown

Wednesday May 4, 2005

Special Court indictees of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Front (AFRC)- Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara, Alex Tamba Brima aka Gullit and Santigie Kanu aka 55 have boycotted court proceedings since the start of this week. In a letter, which was presented in court on Monday, the three indictees stated that they would not come to court until their demands are met.

The demands according to them include the issue of the suspension of one of their investigators and banning of some members of their families from entering the public gallery. On the 29th April this year the Trial Chamber issued a decision ordering the prosecution of five individuals for contempt of court. They were alleged to have revealed the identity of a witness thereby threatening a protected witness

. The five persons include Brima Samura, who was charged with contempt under Rules 77 (A) (ii) and Margaret Fomba Brima, Neneh Binta Bah Jalloh, Anifa Kamara and Esther Kamara who were charged under Rule 77 (A) (iv). This Rule states, “the Special Court, in the exercise of its inherent power, may punish for contempt any person who knowingly and wilfully interferes with its administration of justice including any person: [.] threatens, intimates, causes any injury or offers a bribe to, or otherwise interferes with a witness who is giving, has given, or is about to give evidence in the proceedings before a Chamber, or a potential witness.”

In the light of the above, it was alleged that the investigator, Brima Samura for the accused Alex Tamba Brima on the 9th March 2005 revealed the name of witness TF1-023 to Margaret Brima and Neneh Binta Bah Jalloh outside the public gallery. The two women said they knew where the witness lived and that they were going to attack her place.

It was further alleged that later on in the day, while the witness was being escorted from court, the four women called out her name and told her in Krio that they knew her and uttered words whose effect was to threaten and intimidate the witness. An investigation was set up and according to reports; the Trial Chamber found out that there were sufficient grounds to proceed against the five persons for contempt.  An independent Senior Trial Attorney has been appointed to prosecute the matter and a Judge of Trial Chamber 1 would hear proceedings at the Special Court.

The maximum penalty for contempt is seven years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding Le 2 million or both under Rule 77 (G). Meanwhile, Defence Counsels for the three accused disclosed yesterday that they no longer wish to continue representing their clients, except there is a change in their decision. In her ruling Presiding Judge, Justice Teresa Doherty said that Defence Counsels should make their submission in writing which must be submitted on Thursday. She added that the submission must be confidential and under seal. The court was adjourned to Friday.

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SYKE STREET TO BE RENAMED 

Monday April 18, 2005

By Tamba Borbor in Freetown

The Archbishop of Freetown and Bo- Bishop Henry Ganda has declared that Syke Street should be renamed Pope John Paul II Avenue, in remembrance of the deceased Pope. The Archbishop made this declaration during a memorial mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, held last Friday for Pope John Paul II.

During his homily, Archbishop Ganda said that the Pope’s death has become history turned upside down. He said, ” this is the first time in the history of the world when over four million people filed past the remains of one man.” the Archbishop maintained, ” it would also be the first time in the history of mankind that two hundred Presidents, Royalty, Heads of State and Representatives of Governments and other Dignitaries are coming to one place for the burial of the Pope, who is also a Head of State.”

Archbishop Ganda also stated that the Pope visited over a hundred countries to spread the message of love and peace, in a world where we are experiencing so much violence and war. He said he was the first Pope to step foot in a mosque and in a Synagogue, not for show, but to stress the human dimension of man, “one God, who is the Father of us all- a truth that transcends all religions.”

The Archbishop admonished the congregation to copy the Pope’s example; “a Pope that taught us all, especially Christians that suffering is part of the Christian life.”  President Tejan Kabbah, was present at the Mass while Vice President Solomon Berewa, read the second lesson. Dignitaries later signed the book of condolence at Santanno House.

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