Special Court for Sierra Leone: Chronology

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | Current

21 November 2005: In the AFRC case, the prosecution rests its case.

11 November 2005: The Security Council, acting under its Chapter VII peace and security authority, expresses it appreciation to President Obasanjo for providing for the “temporary stay of former President Charles Taylor in Nigeria,” and decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will include apprehending and detaining Taylor and transferring him to the Special Court for Sierra Leone “in the event of [his] return to Liberia.”

1 November 2005: The Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, upholds a lawsuit by two Nigerian nationals who had their hands amputated by RUF rebels allegedly supported by Former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Emmanuel Egbuna and David Anyaele petitioned the court in May 2004 to strike down Nigeria’s grant of asylum to Taylor, arguing that it violated the country’s obligations under international and domestic law. The Nigerian government raised procedural objections and also argued that the case involved a political decision unsuitable for judicial review. In rejecting the government’s arguments, the court noted the personal injuries suffered by the plaintiffs, their specific allegations against Taylor, and the fact that the grant of asylum precluded them from seeking redress for their injuries. Indicted by the SCSL in March 2003, Taylor has lived in a private compound in the city of Calabar since he left office the following August.

3 October 2005: Lovemore Green Mulo of Malawi replaces Robin Vincent as Registrar on a three-month interim basis. He was formerly the Deputy Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

3 October 2005: International donors committed $9.8 million towards the Special Court’s 2006 operating costs at a pledging conference at UN headquarters. The Court needs an estimated $25 million to complete its work.

26 September 2005: Robin Vincent steps down as Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, after serving since 2002.

21 September 2005: In the AFRC case, the wives and a friend of the defendants— Margaret Fomba Brima, Neneh Binta Bah Jalloh, Anifa Kamara and Ester Kamara—who were charged with contempt of court in April 2005 for revealing the name of a protected witness, plead guilty. They are discharged conditional on their good behavior in the future.

16 September 2005: Robin Vincent, the outgoing Registrar of the Special Court, says that a total of $104 million has been spent so far on the activities of the court since its inception, and that a balance of $25 million is need to continue its activities through 2006.

29 July 2005: The interim president of Liberia formally requests that Nigeria hand over former Liberian President Charles Taylor to the Special Court. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo reiterates that Taylor will only be turned over at the request of an elected Liberian government.

14 July 2005: In the CDF case, the prosecution rests its case.

11 July 2005: Christopher Staker is appointed Deputy Prosecutor of the Special Court. He succeeds Desmond de Silva, QC, who was appointed Chief Prosecutor after David Crane stepped down in June.

30 June 2005: Chief Prosecutor David Crane steps down at the end of his three-year term.

6 June 2005: Vincent Nmehielle of Nigeria is named Principal Defender at the Special Court. He succeeds Simone Monasebian, who left the Special Court in May.

27 May 2005:Justice Pierre Boutet of Canada is elected Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber I, succeeding Justice Benjamin Itoe of Cameroon. Justices Boutet and Itoe, along with Justice Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone, are hearing the CDF and RUF cases.

25 May 2005: In the CDF case, the trial resumes.

5 May 2005: Deputy Prosecutor Desmond de Silva, QC, of Great Britain, is selected by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to succeed Special Court Chief Prosecutor David Crane when he steps down in July. Mr. de Silva was admitted to the Sierra Leonean Bar in 1969.

29 April 2005: In the AFRC case, Trial Chamber II issues an order to prosecute five individuals for contempt of court. Brima Samura, an investigator for the defense team of Alex Tamba Brima, is accused of revealing the name of a witness in knowing violation of a protective order to Margaret Fomba Brima, Alex Tamba Brima's wife, and Neneh Binta Bah Jalloh. Brima and Jalloh, along with Anifa Kamara and Ester Kamara, then allegedly shouted threatening statements at the witness as she was leaving the Court. Samura has been suspended from his duties as an investigator.

6 April 2005: In the RUF case, the trial resumes.

5 April 2005: In the AFRC case, the trial resumes.

22 March 2005: The Special Court agrees to cooperate with Dutch authorities in the trial of Gus Kouwenhoven. Mr. Kouwenhoven, a Dutch citizen, is being prosecuted in the Netherlands for committing war crimes against Liberians and violating a U.N. arms embargo. He was reportedly close to former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who has been indicted by the Special Court.

21 March 2005: The Special Court goes into judicial recess until April 3.

18 March 2005: In the AFRC case, the trial is adjourned until April 5.

17 March 2005: In the CDF case, the trial is adjourned until May 25.

7 March 2005: In the AFRC case, the trial begins in frot of the Second Trial Chamber. The three accused, Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu, are charged with crimes against humanity (murder, rape, sexual slavery) and other serious violations of international humanitarian law (recruiting child soldiers). This is the third and last trial to open at the Special Court. Johnny Paul Koroma, the leader of the AFRC, is also accused but his whereabouts are unknown.

6 March 2005: In the CDF case, defendant Moinina Fofana decides to end his boycott of the proceedings and returns to court.

28 February 2005: In the CDF case, the Trial Chamber rules that both the Prosecution and Defense teams will be allowed to attend closed testimony of witnesses.

28 February 2005: Chief Prosecutor David Crane announces that he will not renew his three-year contract, which ends on July 15, 2005, citing family reasons.

15 February 2005: In the AFRC case, the Special Court allows the prosecution to drop four charges against the three defendants relating to attacks against UN personnel. In making his request, the prosecutor cites a lack of evidence that the accused were involved in a joint criminal enterprise between April 15 and September 15, 2002 involving "intentionally directing attacks against personnel involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission," unlawful killings, murder, abductions and hostage-taking. Such attacks are now imputed only to the three defendants in the RUF case.

9 February 2005: In the CDF case, the trial resumes.

1 February 2005: In the CDF case, Allieu Kondewa resumes attending hearings. His co-defendants, Sam Hinga Norman and Moinina Fofana continue their boycott.

31 January 2005: In the RUF case, Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon resume attending their trial. Augustine Gbao continues his boycott.

19 January 2005: In the RUF case, Trial Chamber I decides to continue the trial of Morris Kallon and Issa Hassan Sesay in their absence pursuant to Rule 60 of the Court's Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The Chamber notes that Kallon and Sesay remain represented by counsel of their choice. It orders that a daily record be kept of the accuseds' waiver to appear in court.

17 January 2005: Three new judges for Trial Chamber II are sworn in: Teresa Doherty (Northern Ireland), Julia Sebutinde (Uganda), and Richard Lussick (Samoa). They will begin hearing the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) case against Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie Borbor Kanu on March 10.

11 January 2005: In the RUF case, the trial resumes without Augustine Gbao, who continues to boycott the proceedings. He also refuses to meet with or instruct his lawyers. During the opening of the session Issa Sesay is granted four minutes to speak. His speech is interpreted by Judge Itoe as a political statement, and Sesay is ordered to stop. He and co-defendant Morris Kallon leave the chamber and commence a boycott of the trial, but request that their lawyers continue to represent them.