Tuesday March 1, 2005
Exponents of the Special Court for Sierra Leone heaved sighs of disappointment yesterday when the UN-backed court announced that Lead Prosecutor, David Crane was stepping down. Crane had been impressive in his zeal and fervour to ensure that alleged war criminals whom the court was trying were brought to justice.
Crane’s decision to step down disappointed Sierra Leoneans who want to see justice in their country because Crane had shown a passion and dedication for his job that would be difficult to replicate by his successor. As soon as he wasappointed in 2002, Crane went all over the country collecting evidence , visiting alleged scenes of war crimes and holding town meetings to educate the public about the mission of the court.He had relentlessly pursued evidence wherever he smelt one and seemed to have carved out a tightly-knit case against the accused. Crane made a colorful opening statement at the start of the trial during which he waxed poetic as he emphasized the war crimes committed during the Sierra Leone war.
However, Crane had been at odds recently with the Trial Chamber of the court when he consolidated the indictments against the Civil Defence Force( CDF) indictees but a legal question aroseabout whether or not he should have served the consolidated indictments on the accused and caused them to enter a new plea. The CDF indictees boycotted proceedings of the court for long over the issue. It is not known whether Crane’s resignation had any direct connection to the consolidated indictments row. COCORIOKO is investigating and will bring you the facts .