ESSA NEEDS TO SAY THIS: “THE TRRC REPORT ALONE CANNOT CONVICT ANYONE “!
People seem to be under the illusion that the TRRC Report itself can convict those judged “guilty” by The TRRC Commission.
That is NOT so, and Essa knows that as the defence lawyer at the TRRC for Charles Taylor and Kenya’s Vice-President William Ruto.
In a criminal trial, those accused must be able to cross-examine witnesses against them. The charge at the ICC against Essa’s client William Ruto collapsed because Ruto and Uhuru were able to prevent witnesses from going to the Hague to testify. In Kenya, almost a decade after the killing of some 2,000 people, their families remain without justice.
Jammeh (or anyone else) can only be chargedon the basis of the TRRC Report, but witnesses must appear at the trial to give evidence against Jammeh … just as Kanyi had to do against Yankuba Touray.
Where witnesses die or become unavailable after giving live evidence at the TRRC, their evidence will not be admissible and cannot be used.
On very rare occasions recorded evidence can be admitted in the absence of the witness, e.g. at a organised crime trials and in child abuse cases, but the TRRC process had three major weaknesses for the purposes of its evidence being used at a criminal trial without the witness:-
Firstly, TRRC witnesses were compelled and denied legal representation;
Secondly, TRRC witnesses were not cautioned against self-incrimination (the “you don’t have to say anything but the evidence you give may be used against you in a court of law” thing: you call it ‘Miranda Rights’ in USA);
Thirdly, those whom TRRC witnesses incriminated and got adversely mentioned werenever offered the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses – and those who demanded cross-examination rights and rebuttal were refused (I think both Hon. Halifa Sallah and Sam Sarr demanded such rights).
To conclude then, the TRRC REPORT ALONE CANNOT CONVICT anyone and the Victims need to know that.
Notting Hill, UK.