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

Independent Counsel v. Brima Samura

 

On 10 March 2005, a witness giving evidence in the AFRC trial with the benefit of protective measures, complained to the Court that at the conclusion of her evidence the previous day, four persons including the wives of the three defendants had threatened and intimidated her on account of her testimony.

The Judges of Trial Chamber II ordered the Registrar to appoint an independent investigator to investigate Margaret Fomba Brima, Neneh Binta Bah Jallow, Anifa Kamara, Esther Kamara and Brima Samura. Samura, who was attached to the Tamba Brima Defence as an investigator, was alleged to have given the witnesses' name to the four women.

On 11 March 2005, the Registrar appointed an independent investigator, and on 16 March 2005 the independent investigator submitted his confidential report to Trial Chamber II.

On 29 April 2005, Trial Chamber II issued an order in lieu of an indictment against Brima Samura with having "knowingly and wilfully interfered with the Special Court's administration of justice by disclosing...the name and identity of protected witness TF1-023...in knowing violation of an order of a Trial Chamber."

On 4 May 2005 Justice Pierre Boutet, sitting as Single Judge, ordered that Brima Samura be tried separately from the other defendants. The same day, Samura appeared before Justice Boutet and pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

The trial opened on 5 May 2005 and concluded on 9 May 2005. Three prosecution witnesses testified. Brima Samura testified in his own defence and did not call any other witnesses.

On 29 May 2005 Justice Boutet delivered his judgement. Justice Boutet found the Prosecution witnesses credible and concluded that Brima Samura had indeed disclosed the name of a protected witness to the other accused. The Judge found, however, that the Prosecution had failed to adduce evidence that Samura was aware of the order of protection for witness TF1-023, and therefore had failed to prove that he had knowingly and wilfully violated it.

Judge Boutet found Brima Samura not guilty of the charge of contempt of court as contained in the order in lieu of an indictment, but added: "Having so concluded and having found you not guilty of this charge of contempt of court does not mean however that your conduct in the said circumstances was acceptable. I recall here that I have found that you had disclosed the identity of a protected witness."