Witnesses out in the open

30 November 1999 by KELVIN LEWIS

Sam Hinga Norman, the former national coordinator of the Civil Defence Force (CDF), the principal armed group to back the return of the civilian authorities to Freetown, has apparently prepa ...

Sam Hinga Norman, the former national coordinator of the Civil Defence Force (CDF), the principal armed group to back the return of the civilian authorities to Freetown, has apparently prepared a list of around 100 witnesses to defend him before the Sierra Leone special court, according to the local news- paper Concord Times. The paper says that both the court and Norman's co-counsel deny that such a list exists. If it did, the entire lea- dership of the party in power ? with President Kabbah top of the list ? would be called to the witness box by the former Minister for the Interior and security at the time of his arrest in March 2003. Concord Times also alleges that the list includes ex-commanders of the West African forces (Ecomog) along with the British and American ambassadors. The former ambassa- dor of Great Britain, Peter Penfold, has already publicly announced that he will be testifying in favour of Chief Norman, while the American John Hirsch has said privately that he would probably not object to doing so.

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