The President Justice Philip N. Waki of the UN backed Special War Crimes Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on Wednesday 9th March ordered the arrest and detention of former Civil Defence Force Coordinator Moinina Fofana for allegedly violating conditions of his early release from detention.
Moinia Fofana was granted conditional early release on 10th February 2015, after serving two-thirds of his jail term of 15 years imprisonment at Mpanga Prison in Kigali, Rwanda. He was supposed to complete his sentence in May 2018 under strict condition at his home town in Bo.
Fofana arrived in Sierra Leone on the 13th March 2015, when he was conditionally released to go home in Bo.
Before his release Fofana had signed an agreement stating that he understands that if he breaches any of the release conditions he will be re-arrested. He also underwent training to ensure he behaves properly while under the conditional release.
The Order for his arrest and detention specifically mentions one of the special conditions that he “shall conduct himself honourably and peacefully in the community and shall not engage in secret meetings intended to plan civil unrest or join local politics.”
It is not immediately clear which one of his conditions he is alleged to be in breach of but sources say he was spotted in a footage at a political event late last year where people had gone to pledge a partisan loyalty of sort.
The caveat to Moinina’s release state that “In the event that he violates any Conditions of his Early Release…the order for Conditional Early Release may be revoked and an order for re imprisonment for the time remaining on his sentence may be issued”.
If convicted at a trial scheduled to start within seven days, he could be sent back to jail to serve out his remaining term which ends in May 2018.
A source who should know says: “Because the other [war crimes] courts were not in the country where the crimes took place, any release, early or not, was final. [But] the Special Court is the first to have Conditional Early Release, where a prisoner can be reintegrated into his community and he can be monitored to ensure that there are no problems with victims and former witnesses. Fofana was the first to benefit from this.”
Fofana was arrested and brought to Freetown last night to await trial. The Special Court President has designated Supreme Court Judge, Justice Vivian Solomon to conduct the trial within 7 days.