The Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, Freetown and The Hague

Independent Counsel v.Eric Koi Senessie

Eric Koi Senessie

 

Eric Koi Senessie, a former member of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), was charged with nine counts of tampering with five Prosecution witnesses who testified against Charles Taylor in The Hague.

In February 2011, the Office of the Prosecutor filed two urgent motions alleging that Senessie and former SCSL Defence investigator Prince Taylor had approached Prosecution witnesses who had testified against Charles Taylor and pressured them to recant their testimony.

The Trial Chamber ordered the Registrar to appoint an Independent Investigator. On 2 April 2011 the Independent Investigator submitted his confidential report to the Trial Chamber. On 24 May 2011 Trial Chamber II found there were sufficient grounds to proceed against Eric Koi Senessie, but insufficient grounds to proceed against any other person. The Trial Chamber issued an order in lieu of an indictment charging Senessie with nine counts of knowingly and willfully interfering with the Special Court's administration of justice by offering a bribe to a witness (counts 1, 3, 6 and 7) and by otherwise interfering with a witness (counts 2, 4, 5, 8 and 9) who had given evidence in the Taylor trial.

At his initial appearance before Justice Teresa Doherty on 15 July 2011, Sennesie pleaded not guilty to all nine counts.

The trial opened in Freetown 11 June 2012. During five court sessions, the Prosection called five witnesses; the Defence called six witnesses, including Eric Koi Senessie who testified in his own defence; and one witness was called by the Court. The Defence rested its case on 15 June 2012.

On 21 June 2012 Justice Teresa Doherty found Senessie guilty on eight of the nine counts in the indictment. He was found guilty on four counts of offering a bribe to a witness, and on four counts of otherwise interfering with a witness, who had testified before a Chamber. He was acquitted on one count of otherwise inducing a witness to recant testimony.

On 4 July 2012, at his sentencing hearing, Senessie admitted his guilt in his allocutus. He told the Court that he had acted under instructions from Prince Taylor, the former Defence investigator at the time attached to the Taylor Defence team. See Case #2012-01. Senessie subsequently testified against Prince Taylor.

On 5 July 2012, Justice Doherty sentenced Senessie to a two-year prison sentence.

Senessie waived his right to appeal, but asked that the Appeals Chamber review his conviction in light of new facts which were discovered, and which were not available during his trial. The Appeals Chamber dismissed the motion, finding that there were no new facts, and that all of the alleged new facts were known to Senessie during the trial proceedings.