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COCORIOKO » 2007 » January

Archive for January, 2007


Monday, January 29th, 2007
The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) says it does not believe claims by the opposition People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC)  that Former Internal Affairs Minister , Chief Hinga Norman and other indictees of the Special Court have joined them.
Talking to COCORIOKO  exclusively this weekend were the Chairman of the SLPP North American Branch, Mr. Matthew Margao and his Deputy , Mr. Sallu Saidu and both men ridiculed the document that the PMDC  released as coming from the indictees. Mr. Margao made it clear that as far as the SLPP was concerned , Hinga Norman is still a registered member of the party and the party has not been officially informed by Norman about the stories being peddled by the PMDC.
.The opposition People’s Movement For Democratic Change( PMDC)  has asked the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) to continue to live in its dream world. Speaking to COCORIOKO  in an exclusive interview with COCORIOKO  last night, PMDC Director of Public Information in the United States, Mr. Karamoh Kabba debunked claims by the SLPP  that the  recent document from Special Court indictees, in which they declared for the PMDC,  was false.
Newspaper publishers get down and dirty with each other in Sierra Leone , and ………
Sierra Leone’s Independent Media Commission   has strongly reprimanded two newspapers in the country for what it described as Immoral publications .
The IMC  which oversees the practice of journalism in Sierra Leone  said it was dismayed by recent publications in the Standard Times newspaper , published by Mr. Philip Neville and the Awareness Times, published by Dr. Sylvia Blyden.
However, the IMC gesture has only drawn a bitter response from the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists ( SLAJ ). 
The President of the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC) Chapter in New Jersey, Mr. Mohamed Azziz Nabe, has expressed his condolence to the Serry-Kamal family of Maryland, USA  and Sierra Leone for the tragic death in Columbus. Ohio , last Saturday of their family member , Ms. N’Dora Serry-Kamal, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend.

When in New York or Newark, eat the most delicious African food  at the  DIBITERIE  CHEIK AFRICAN CUISINE : Feel  like you are back at home  with your favourite dishes.   Co-Proprietor : Foday Mansaray


Monday, January 29th, 2007
 Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Professor, Mentor 
and Teacher to countless Sierra Leoneans

SEPTMBER 3, 1933 TO JANUARY 29, 2006
on behalf of all whom you inspired in Sierra Leone .


Saturday, January 27th, 2007
 The Leader of the Opposition All Peoples’ Congress party,  Ernest Bai Koroma,  has on Friday told supporters in Freetown that the APC leadership in the Western Area is determineD to deliver the seven seats in the west district , nine-five percent of which will be presidential, “Because the APC is the only party that can deliver Sierra Leone.”
Addressing a jam -packed We Yone Hall at the APC National Secretariat,  Brookfields,  Freetown; Mr. Koroma said that the governing Sierra Leone Peoples Party “SLPP don tamtor” meaning the SLPP has become  tired and Sierra Leoneans are now fed up with the green government.
That Norman denial in the press ….
COCORIOKO  has been told by very reliable sources connected with former Coordinator of the Civil Defence Force ( CDF) , Chief Hinga Norman, that he  never told anybody in the Sierra Leone press that stories linking him with a sensational switch to the People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC ) were false.
Norman , according to the sources from both the CDF  and the PMDC  did not issue any release .Instead the former Minister of Internal Affairs has refused to comment on the rumors and press reports that he planned to move over to the PMDC. . READ


Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

COCORIOKO, your popular and  one of the most trusted sources of information online can now reliably inform our readers that a watershed moment in Sierra Leone politics is about to happen. The Civil Defence Force  ( CDF)  , which valiantly helped to redeem Sierra Leone from the murderous clutces of the RUF and AFRC  rebels ), is about to declare its position in Sierra Leone’s political metamorphorsis.

Through frantic, efficient ,  water-tight  and relentless investigation by this newspaper, we can now reliably report that the CDF and  the new People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC) are edging towards the formation of a united front.


I am advising any one who reads Mr Leigh’s account of chief Norman’s situation to dismiss it as rubbish. Not only that Mr. Leigh is not a credible spokesman for the the SLPP government,but does not know what and when to say it.This is the same man  who referred to the Makeni  Convention as combention and at the same went on licking the boots of the product of the Combention-Solomon Berewa.A man without principles has nothing to live for . Maybe my brother Leigh should just keep quiet and hope to serve Berewa  if SLPP succeeds in stealing the elections which is intentionally scheduled in the raining season—-July 28 07.

David T. Squire MD.

Also , the Rev. Alfred SamForay has said that the John Leigh report on Chief Norman was inaccurate


Chief Hingha Norman Blasts Special Court for Sierra Leone

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007


By Sayoh Kamara
Jan 23, 2007, 11:32


The Special Court for Sierra Leone in the early hours of yesterday, 17th January 2007 flew out two of its detainees; Chief Sam Hinga Norman (CDF) and Issa Sesay (RUF) to Dakar, Senegal apparently for medical treatment but Chief Hingha Norman has now exclusively revealed last evening to Awareness Times that he is very bitter against the Special Court whom he emphatically states has not taken him into any hospital but have instead “dumped me into the worst jailyard in Senegal”.

However, the Special Court Spokesman, Peter Andersen denied the allegation when contacted last night.

“Chief Norman and Issa Sesay are in the VIP [Very Important Persons] wing of a military hospital in Dakar.” Andersen told Awareness Times. When pressed further to name the military hospital, Andersen refused to do so appealing for understanding from Awareness Times because of what he termed as “obvious security reasons.”

However, in an exasperated mood, Chief Norman stated unequivocally to Awareness Times during a facilitated telephone call between this newspaper and the Chief in Senegal that, the place himself and Issa Sesay had been taken to was, “very much unsatisfactory and not conducive for human living”.

Chief Norman said they had been taken not into hospital as expected but that they had been “dumped” into what he termed as, “the worst jailyard in Senegal” pointing out that if they are not taken from where they are at present to a conducive place, preferably a hospital of international standard for his surgical operation to be conducted, he would, “resist any attempt at performing the surgery until I am removed from where I am at present to a place that is environmentally conducive for a surgical operation.”

It now appears that the sudden transfer was done with the complete ignorance of the Norman family and his lawyer Bu-Buakei Jabbie who told Awareness Times yesterday that he (Jabbe) was surprised that Chief Norman was taken out of Sierra Leone without his knowledge. However, Special Court’s Peter Andersen posited that since it was a “medical issue” and not a “legal issue”, the court did not need to inform the lawyers for Norman or Issa Sesay before flying them out for medical treatment.

Chief Norman himself explained to this newspaper that he and Issa Sesay were suddenly whisked from their cells very early in the morning on Wednesday to the Lungi Airport and put on board a helicopter which shuttled them to Dakar in Senegal after they were assured that they were going to be admitted into hospital.

According to Chief Norman, they had agreed with the Special Court for Sierra Leone to be taken to “a reputable hospital that meets the international standards set in the statutes of the Special Court but not to a squalid environment like we are in now”, he angrily told Awareness Times, and therefore threatened, “If I am not removed from where I am now, I will embark on an indefinite hunger strike for the attention of the international community and the people of Sierra Leone as a way of highlighting my plight”, he noted.

He went on to express fear for his life and disclosed, “As I speak to you now, I have not seen any Doctor. Nobody has spoken to me and since I arrived early this morning I have not been given any food to eat”, adding, “We are being treated like virtual prisoners in a condition far worse than we were in at the Special Court in Sierra Leone.”

He therefore called, “Because of all these unprecedented happenings, I want to tell Sierra Leoneans and the world through you Awareness Times that I, Chief Sam Hinga Norman, am very much afraid for my life as it is put in the hands of people I do not trust to administer any form of medical treatment on me”, he stated.

Juliet Norman speaks with Awareness Times Editor last night

A daughter of Chief Norman, Juliet Norman who also spoke exclusively to Awareness Times pointed out that as a family, no one was informed or contacted about the transfer of her father. “I only came to know about it when I got an unexpected call from an unknown person in Senegal that my father wanted to talk to me”, she said.

She explained that the family had earlier requested from the Special Court that they be informed whenever they want to take him any where for what ever medical treatment, noting that they had suggested that at least a member of the family be allowed to accompany him.

“I was therefore shocked to hear from Papa that he was in Senegal and was in a place that is a jailyard and not a hospital”, Juliet told Awareness Times.

Juliet Norman drew a hypothesis emphasizing the concern of the Norman family, which suggests that her father may be about to be treated like the late Foday Sankoh.

“Perhaps because of fears that he might say things which some people never wanted to be known by the Sierra Leone people, he was first put in what they called “catatonic condition” only for him to die later. I am therefore very much concerned over my father’s welfare and life especially in the kind of conditions he now finds himself”, Juliet said.

According to Juliet Norman, she does not believe that her father was actually taken to Senegal for an operation.

“How could they have smuggled him out of the country like he was already a condemned prisoner that is being taken to the gallows?” she commented.

The Family of Chief Sam Hingha Norman at the Awareness Times offices last night

Miss Juliet Norman on behalf of the Norman Family (who all accompanied her to the Awareness Times offices last night) and on behalf of her father called on the international community especially Human Rights bodies to impress on the Special Court for Sierra Leone to bring back her father to Sierra Leone or to take him to international standard hospital and to also ensure the presence of at least a member of their family where ever he was to undergo his operation.

She said she was making this call because “I am not actually sure whether Papa would receive the kind of attention a surgical patient deserves if he is forced to be operated on. I truly do not have any confidence that he would be treated accordingly”, Miss Norman asserted.

The daughter of Chief Sam Hingha Norman at the Awareness Times offices last night.

Since agents of the Special Court arrested him on 10th March 2003, Chief Norman has been complaining of pains in his right thigh, which he attributed to a fall in the vehicle which was transporting him to the Special Court. He had complained that his hands were handcuffed behind his back and his right foot chained which made it impossible for him to gain his balance in the speeding vehicle when he had to fall heavily on his right side.

The operation that is to be performed upon him is expected to be a hip replacement operation.

In a passionate appeal last night to Awareness Times, Chief Norman pleaded for this newspaper to ensure that the world got to know of his plight.

“I hope that you will not allow yourselves to be intimidated into not letting the world know of what has happened to me in Senegal.” he pleaded.


What’s the Medical Policy of the SLPP, APC, Or PMDC?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
By Oswald Hanciles

I have written several times in this Column that what we have in Sierra Leone is a ‘fake democracy’.  Seven months to another General Elections in our Second Republic there is nothing in the blazing partisan headlines of newspaper stories, the well-attended political meetings…to change my mind.  Democracy is supposed to be a competition of ideas.  The electorate are supposed to buy (vote for) the party, or candidate, with the best ideas.  Democracy has- largely; not absolutely – sired capitalism.  The core logic of capitalism is competition. As businesses compete among themselves they would continually offer the consumer better goods, services, and ideas.   This logic is central in democracy too.  But, in a fake democracy like ours, there is almost no competition of ideas.  So, whatever party wins an election, it could not be because of that party having marketed the best ideas.  Perversely in Sierra Leone , political parties have won elections because they have peddled the basest ideas – ethnicism, regionalism. .
  On UN Radio in Freetown , I have challenged the populace thus: can you come out with a single point that shows a difference between the education, health…. policy among the SLPP, APC or PMDC? Yeehnnn!!  Nothing!!  Maybe, I am writing ‘Greek’ here, while the majority of Sierra Leoneans only understand Vai, Sherbro and Gola….Okay, so, if we are Temne-speaking, we insist that a Temne-speaking man must be President or Vice President.  Or, if we are Mende-speaking, we insist that a Mende-speaking man must be our national leader, or, at worst,  vice president.  What was the ‘tribe of the bullet’ and cutlass that Foday Sankoh used to massacre us?  When we are sick – seriously!! – do we ask whether our doctor is Mende or Temne?  We can continute to  insanely cling to our primordial political emotions in Sierra Leone ,  but, for once, let us shift  focus….
“About 90% of the doctors trained by the medical school in Sierra Leone over the past ten years have emigrated to greener pastures”: the slim 28 year old Dr. Baimba Tapima Rogers told me on Saturday, January 13, 2007, in the office of his medical-doctor father’s KRIM CLINIC on Krootown Road . Most of these doctors trained in our medical school here have fled. Why? Low pay!  The extremely meticulous, and intellectual, Dr. Baimba Rogers told me that doctors fresh from our medical school would sometimes have to wait for five months before they are put on government payroll. And when they get paid, it would be about Le260,000 (eighty seven U.S.dollars).  A MONTH!!!, please.  Dr. Baimba Rogers in his subdued jocular way said: “If you see a nice looking well-dressed gentleman by the roadside, frenetically looking at his watch…he is likely to be one of our young medical doctors…” If a doctor lives in Calabar Town , and has to come to work in downtown Freetown , all his monthly pay would be spent on just transportation alone. On poda-poda!! (‘Poda-podas’ are over-crowded mini-buses; which are normally scrambled for during peak hours).  How can a medical doctor endure such indignity for  even two months….It’s no wonder that they’ve left. In droves…
I asked Dr. Baimba Rogers to name names of his peers who have left the country.  He did.  Dr. Sahr Kortequee (who was a firebrand student leader five years ago), a 2001 graduate from COMAHS, now a surgeon specialists in Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom .  Dr. Maadi Rogers, a radiologist at Guy’s Teaching Hospital in London . Dr. Christopher Sondai, now a research assistant in Oxford University . Dr. Franklin Luke, a radiologist in Sheffield , U.K. Dr. Alpha Gebbeh, and Dr. Yemma Gebbeh (siblings), both in the U.K.  Dr. Marian Morgan, a Pediatrician in the United States .  Dr. Desmond Wright, also practicing in the U.S….And many others.  Some of  them working an average of £2,700 a month (One British pound exchanges for about Le5,500. So, the young Sierra Leonean medical doctor in the U.K. would earn about fifty eight times what his peer in Sierra Leone would be earning).  The tragedy of the global medical field is that…Well, we have such few doctors that the majority of our citizenry die prematurely from even simple ailments that a medical doctor would diagnose, and issue prescription for.  Maybe, Dr. Baimba Rogers is being bridled – for now – by his medical doctor father, Dr. Thomas Tibo Rogers.  
  In September of 1973, Dr. Tibo Rogers entered the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in West Germany , to study medicine.  In 1980, he passed the MD (“Aerztlicke Pruefung”) in Erlangen .  In 1982, he was awarded Ph D, Magna cum Laude at the Department of Legal and Forensic Medicine, in the same university he had his first degree in.  In 1996, Dr. Tibo Rogers continued his Postgraduate Training in General and Thoracic Surgery at the University of KIEL, Germany; and in 1998, passed the Specialist Examination of the German Chamber of Surgeons, and received the recognition ‘FACHARZT FUER CHIURGIE’ Surgeon Specialist…Between 1998 and 2000, he was Assistant Lecturer at the Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, University of Kiel, German….Well, Dr. Rogers has not always been studying medicine in Germany.  Dr. Tibo Rogers returned to Sierra Leone from Germany in 1986, and he has worked in hospitals in Bo, Koinadugu, Kambia, Moyamba, Pujehun, Bonthe, and in Freetown .  He is currently Senior Surgeon Specialist, and Acting Head of Surgery in the main teaching hospital in Freetown , Connaught Hospital .  That a man like Dr. Tibo Rogers can work in Sierra Leone for so long while his peers are earning, relatively, fortunes in the West manifest his sublime nature.  But, for how long would he rein his medical doctor son, Dr. Baimba Rogers?  
So frightening is this problem of brain drain for Africa that one cannot overemphasize the need for innovation, and political will –  as is being experimented with by countries like South Africa
   The South African Network of Skills Abroad (SANSA) is an example. Through its website, it invites professional South Africans to sign up. It reports that at least 22,000 graduates from five major South African universities resident abroad remain in touch with the universities. Looking at the nature of their skills, the group estimates that about 30 per cent of the University of Cape Town ‘s contactable doctoral graduates are living overseas. Whatever ideas are experimented with, it is what the politicians make of a country like Sierra Leone that matters.   
In Kenya , the election of a new president, Mr. Mwai Kibaki,  spawned a period of euphoria and a wave of returns by exiles hoping to rebuild a country that had all but collapsed under the weight of 24 years of rule by former President Daniel arap Moi.  Current Kenyan President Kibaki has been quick to invite Kenyans “who have been hounded out of our shores by repressive policies of our predecessors to come back home and join us in nation-building.” He notes that the country desperately needs “the genius of its citizens wherever they are. It’s time for healing and we need every hand on deck”: Reversing Africa ‘s ‘brain drain’By Gumisai Mutume, 2006.
We have experienced in Sierra Leone one of the most nauseous and brutal civil wars in human history. We are still healing our wounds.  One hopes that as we intensify our politicking, we would not open old wounds, and inflict new wounds on our nation.  Let us swing away from our traditional ethnic and regional politics…And turn the spotlight on policies on health, education, mining…Challenge!!!


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
The Spokesman of the Hinga Norman Defence Fund, Rev.Alfred SamForay , has said that supporters of former Interior Minister Chief Hinga Norman  have reason to believe that the real reason for taking Mr. Norman to Senegal was that the Special Court of Sierra Leone may have already determined his guilt and “As such it is quite convenient to take him there and to incarcerate him there for the duration of his sentence. ”
Rev. Samforay made the assertion today during an exclusive interview with COCORIOKO . Frustrated by what he described as the unfair treatment of Chief Norman , Rev.Samforay quickly injoined :  “This, of course, is unacceptable to us, but we will wait and see how things develop over the next few days.
However, Special Court Chief of Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Peter Andersen also told COCORIOKO  earlier today that Mr. Norman was in knowledge of his trip to Senegal for medical treatment.  Said Mr. Andersen : “We even talked about it while sitting in the UNIOSIL departure lounge at Lungi Airport, joking a bit about whether anybody could speak French. He knew it for sure more than a month ago because it was discussed with him


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
The Editor-In-Chief of COCORIOKO, Rev. Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu called the one-time Coordinator of the Civil Defence Force ( CDF), Chief Hinga Norman today to seek clarfication about his whereabouts in Senegal. The strong , vibrant voice of the Chief came over the line after  the phone rang  for almost 40 seconds. . He was excited when this Editor greeted him in Mende, referring to him as “Marda” to demolish  suspicions that it was  a prankster.
But just as the Editor was about to start asking questions, a man with a strong Scandanavian accent ( I guess ) came on the line demanding who I was.I introduced myself but he said that the Chief could not talk to me for security reasons and asked me to talk to the Press and Public Affairs Office in Freetown instead. .I praised Mr. Peter Andersen for having graciously provided me pictures and the releases from the press conference already.Seeing that I was persistent, the man advised that I speak first with the defence lawyers. I told him that I did not understand why I had to when all I wanted to know was whether the chief was in a hospital or detention centre as had been reported by other papers online
The man said he cannot confirm or deny that the chief is in detention but he did not have authority to tell me.I should call Peter Andersen .  Unable to get past him, I asked him : “By the way, who are you ?”.The man responded that he was a detention officer .Since he stuck to his guns about not divulging information or allowing the chief to talk to me, I decided to  follow his advice. COCORIOKO  will talk to the chief tomorrow through his defence attorneys. Stay tuned for this interview because I aim to leave no question unasked ( If the Queen’s language can allow me to say so ). 


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

After  long standing speculations over who is going to be appointed as Vice -President Solomon Berewa’s running mate for the July 28th elections, President Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah yesterday  bluntly told members of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party  ( SLPP) that the issues of who will be the party’s presidential nominee is left with the leader (Mr. Berewa.)
President Kabbah made the pronouncement at the unveiling ceremony of the SLPP national Secretariat where he confidently reassured Mr. Berewa that he will be the next presidents of Sierra Leone come July 28th this year.  
The ruling Sierra Leone’s People’s Party ( SLPP)   yesterday officially unveiled the party secretariat after several months of repairs. Speaking to the general public, the Chairman of the occasion Mr. U.N.S. Jah thanked the party for the honour bestowed on him to chair the occasion. He said it has always been the custom in the party to recognise leaders past and present and more so to have them in their mist in an occasion like this. Mr. Jah personally congratulated the President,  Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah,  for his relentless effort to renovate the Secretariat, which had been under seizure, during the reigns of then N.R.C. military regime.   

Hinga Norman and Issa Sesay flown out to Senegal

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
The Special Court for Sierra Leone today announced  that former Coordinator of the Civil Defence Force (CDF)  , Chief Hinga Norman,  and the former head of the Revolutinary United Front ( RUF) , Mr. Issa Sesay , had been taken to Senegal for medical treatment.
The two men are among accused facing trial at the UN-supported Special Court for alleged War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.
The Special Court called a press conference in Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital, today where the event was announced. We now bring you the speeches of the Registrar of the Special Court and the new Prosecutor .

Statement by the Registrar of the Special Court, Freetown.

This morning at 7:45 a.m. an operation began to move two detainees of the Special Court, Sam Hinga Norman and Issa Hassan Sesay, to Senegal for medical treatment.

The two detainees were airlifted by U.N. helicopter from the Special Court’s helipad and flown to Lungi International Airport. From there, they were flown by plane to Dakar.

Today’s operation was made possible by an agreement concluded in September between the Government of Senegal and the Special Court. The agreement provides for the provision of medical services for detainees which cannot be provided locally.

I wish to thank the Government of Senegal for their assistance to the Special Court, and to all who worked to bring about the agreement. In addition, I thank the United Nations, the UNMIL Mongolian Guard Force and the Government of Sierra Leone for providing logistics and security for today’s operation.

The Rules which govern the treatment of detainees in international courts forbid the public disclosure of medical information on detainees for reasons of privacy. We have previously said that neither suffers from any life-threatening condition and that continues to be the case.

The medical procedures in each case are considered routine. The two detainees will be returned to the Special Court once the treatment has been concluded.



Freetown, 17 January 2007

Statement by Special Court Prosecutor Stephen Rapp.

The Prosecutor was introduced by Mr. Lovemore Munlo, Registrar of the Special Court

Thank you, Lovemore, for your kind introduction. Thank you also to the Sierra Leone News Agency for hosting this event. It is wonderful to be here with you all and I am very pleased that my first press conference as the Prosecutor of the Special Court is with you, the journalists of Sierra Leone. I wanted to be sure that before I spoke with the international press, I first met with Sierra Leone’s domestic reporters so that I could tell you personally how important I believe the work of the Special Court is to the people of this country, and to its future.

First, please let me tell you a bit about myself. I am originally from a small town in the state of Iowa, in the United States. In my early career I worked in private practice, on the staff of the US Senate in Washington, DC and as an elected representative in Iowa. In 1993 former President Bill Clinton appointed me as a United States Attorney for Northern Iowa, where I served until 2001. I then joined the Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. There I acted as the Senior Trial Attorney of what has been called the “Media Trial.” The defendants in the case were accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity by virtue of the terrible hate speech they spread over a radio station and through a newspaper. I am very proud of the convictions we secured in that case. After the trial, I became the Chief of Prosecutions at the ICTR, a position I held until coming here to the Special Court.

Becoming the Prosecutor is truly a dream come true for me. I am honored and humbled to be part of such an important endeavor in the history of this country, an endeavor that I believe is marking a turning point for Sierra Leone. Since the end of the war, the international community, the government of Sierra Leone and the people of this nation have been working to create a more stable, prosperous and just society. The Special Court is certainly not the only part of this effort, but it is indeed a crucial component. The Court is both a concrete example and a symbol of this turning point. For many years there was chaos, now there is order. Where once there was volatility and violence, now there is peace. Where once wicked men shattered many thousands of lives, now impunity no longer reigns.

This Court also represents a greater hope for the international community as a whole. In the words of the United Nations Security Council, it is part of an effort “to end impunity, establish the rule of law and promote respect for human rights and to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

The Court has recently reached a significant milestone with the completion of the trial phases of the CDF and the AFRC cases. In the coming months the judges in these cases will render their verdicts. The RUF trial continues in May with the presentation of the Defense case. Finally, the trial of Charles Taylor will begin this year in The Hague. The Court’s Outreach Program has capitalized on the Court’s domestic location to communicate the Court’s message to every corner of the country and ensure a maximum number of citizens learn about what is happening in the case. For this reason, some are concerned about the decision to move the trial of Charles Taylor to The Hague. While I support this decision as necessary for the stability of the region, let me say how important I believe it is that the Taylor trial be brought home to the people of Sierra Leone. Every effort is and will be made to ensure that Sierra Leoneans have transparent access to this trial. Each case at the Special Court is heard, argued and decided upon in the name of the people of Sierra Leone, and the many miles between here and Mr. Taylor will not change that.

Let me say once again how pleased I am to be with you today and how honored I am to be part of this significant chapter in the history of Sierra Leone. I will be happy to take your questions.


Rev. Alfred Samforay, the spokesman of the Hinga Norman Defence Fund, today claimed that the former Civil Defence Force Coordinator, Chief Hinga Norman,  was fooled into believing that he was being taken to Senegal for medical treatment. Samforay complained that the Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs had been placed in a maximum prison with hardened criminals . R