To help ensure this project maintains as much relevance as possible to West Africa, we have either conducted or participated in two sets of trainings for West African journalists:
From April 24-26, 2008, 50 journalists from Liberia and Sierra Leone underwent training in Monrovia, organized by Advocates for International Development (A4ID) and the International Center for Media Studies and Development in West Africa (ICMSAWA). The training focused on the coverage to date of the Taylor trial, the role of international law and tribunals, and gave guidance on objective, balanced, and fair reporting. Among the trainers was Alpha Sesay, a Sierra Leonean lawyer monitoring the Taylor trial for the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Although most participants were not aware of the site prior to the training, many felt they learned how to access the website and use its materials to write reports, research issues arising in the proceedings, and prepare their own analyses. Participants noted that there was a need to publicize the website to make more people aware of the availability of such a resource.
From August 18-20, 2008, the Open Society Justice Initiative conducted a training session in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for Sierra Leonean journalists, in cooperation with the Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Program (SLCMP). The training covered monitoring and reporting on the trial in general, and in particular how to make use of the www.charlestaylortrial.org site.
The participants had the opportunity to meet and interact with key figures in the trial, including Mohamed Bangura, a member of the prosecution; Elizabeth Nahamya, Principal Defender of the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and Lansana Kamara, a member of the Charles Taylor defense team. The training was co-facilitated by Alpha Sesay (from the Justice Initiative) and Mohamed Suma, National Director of the Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Project.