Hon. Justice Vivian M. Solomon, President of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting at the Fast Track Commercial Court Government Wharf central Freetown, has ordered that the CDF convict Moinina Fofana must desist from attempting to influence anyone whose information has been provided to the court as potential prosecution witnesses.
“The convicted war lord, Mr. Fofana must not direct or indirectly contact witnesses or try to harm, threaten, intimidate, coerce or otherwise interfere with individuals whose information is before the court. He is to report to the monitoring authorities every Monday,” she ordered.
The judge warned that Fofana must not grant interview to the press on the trial and shall not discuss the proceedings of the trial to outsiders who are not associated with his defense or the Residual Court Registrar whilst the matter is going on.
She also warned Fofana to deviate from the habit of signing his monitoring compliance form in advance and must be physically present in Bo at all times. Justice Solomon added that the convict must comply fully with his initial release and must reaffirm his understanding of the terms of his conditional early release which he appended his signature on the 10th February 2015.
Moinina Fofana was also directed to obtain written permission at all times before traveling out of Bo. In addition, the judge instructed the court Registrar to file a date for the next hearing and also ordered the Counsels on both sides to file any additional documents if they so wish to the court within 14 days starting from Friday March 18, 2016.
After denying breaching the conditions at the preliminary hearing on the 16th March 2016, Moinina Fofana on Friday last week admitted in court violating the terms of his conditional early release by engaging in local politics when he attending the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party youths conference in the northern district headquarters town of Makeni in October 2015.
He confessed that he failed to report to his monitoring authorities due to a funeral ceremony he attended in Bonthe district and was constraints with vehicle to made his trip to his team.
He also admitted falsifying his appearance by pre-dating his presence.
Explaining his ordeal, Moinina Fofana said he left Bo for Freetown to see his daughter and upon arrival he was invited to Makeni by his brother where he attended the youth conference. He noted however, that he thought joining local politics is by carrying a party card and never knew that attending a political party meeting would amount to participating in politics. He stressed that he is not a card carrier of any political party in the country.
He apologized to the prosecution, the court and all Sierra Leoneans who were affected by the war to forgive him.
Pleading on his behalf, defense lawyer Melron Nicole-Wilson Esq. told the court that Mr. Fofana has never had formal education, adding that he was a farmer and fisherman before he joined the Civil Defense Force (CDF). He argued that it is quite obvious that Fofana never understood the conditions attached to his release, noting that he pleaded guilty not to waste the court’s time. Lawyer Nicole reiterated that his client conducted himself in a good behavior which was why he was granted early release. He appealed to the court to restore the previous release of their client and begged the judge to tamper justice with mercy on their client.
Replying to the application for the release of Moinina, the Prosecutor from the Hague, Brenda J. Hollis said she is aware of the educational level of the war crime convict, but noted that conditions 1 & 2 does not require education, arguing that his failure to appear before his monitoring authorities is not an excuse. She disclosed that there are evidence that he attended the youth conference and declared his political affiliation with certain political party.
Meanwhile, Moinina Fofana was granted release and escorted to his community in Bo.
It could be recalled that Moinina Fofana was convicted for committing serious crimes against humanity involving children, women and men who were not involved in the war.