Court is back in session.
Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura continues to question prosecution witness Corinne Dufka:
Pros: You have seen the video clip. When was that interview conducted?
Wit: It was in 2000, conducted by Mark Corcoran for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It was recorded in the Murray Town War Wounded Camp in the Murray Town section of Freetown. There were several hundred amputees and other wounded individuals there. The journalist asked me to comment on the recruitment process taking place at that time, 2000, for the new Sierra Leone army. Human Rights Watch (HRW) was concerned that there was no effective vetting of recruits for past abuses, and we’d started to receive reports of SLA recruits being involved in misconduct and crime. The media is an effective way to make our concerns and recommendations known.
Pros: (Shows the witness a document) Does this transcript reflect what was said on the video?
Pros: I would now like to play a second clip. (Clip plays: Scene is in a helicopter as narrator discusses mercenaries training the rebels. The helicopter is flown by a South African working for the government. There are complaints that the helicopter attacks have been indiscriminate. Witness is shown at the Murray Town camp, criticizing attacks by the government helicopter on public places, such as markets, where many of the victims of the attacks are civilians.) Is this transcript an accurate reflection of this clip?
Pros: Could you comment on the background of this interview?
Wit: We were discussing another aspect of our research in 2000 – the indiscriminate use of the government helicopter gunship which had caused numerous civilian casualties in rebel-held areas. We issued press releases also criticizing those attacks.
Pros: The location there is the same as in the previous clip.
Judge Doherty warns the prosecutor that he’s leading the witness again.
Wit: Yes, it’s at Murray Town.
Pros: How does this reflect your approach?
Wit: We are balanced, neutral and objective. That’s central to HRW’s mandate. Our research on violations by the SL government is entirely consistent with our mandate.
Pros: I’d like to show a third clip. (Clip plays: It shows a village as a narrator talks of the atrocities committed. The witness is shown saying that something has to be done to end the suffering.) Is this the transcript of the video?
Pros: Could you give us background on the clip?
Wit: I was expressing concerns about the lack of international engagement. This was in 2000 after the May 2000 crisis in which UN peacekeepers were taken hostage by the rebels. There was concern about viability of the peace process. The reporter inaccurately portrayed a number of things. The three-year old shown did not lose her arm to a “drug-crazed rebel”, but according to our research, she lost her arm after her grandmother who was carrying her was shot. People were not being “butchered and mutilated every day”. There was a decrease in mutilations in 2000. The clip was shot at the Murray Town camp in 2000.
Judge Sebutinde: How does a grandmother being shot lead to loss of a hand?
Wit: The baby was strapped to her back and they were both shot from behind by a rebel as the grandmother tried to flee. One of the bullets hit the hand of the girl and another killed the grandmother.
Pros: I would like to show another video (one that had already been played during the testimony of witness Ian Smillie). (Clip plays: It shows diamond fields, rebels, and victims. The narrator and individuals interviewed discuss the importance of diamonds. The clip shows President Tejan-Kabbah and the narrator discusses amputations as rebel retribution for his election. A victim is shown telling of her amputation. Other victims from Kono tell of a rebel attack. One woman who was pregnant says that her husband was caught. The rebels stripped her and inserted a stick into her. “He was going to split my stomach open and remove my baby.” She says her husband ran to her with his hands cut off. She asked the rebels why they’d done it. A rebel said it was because he’d voted for Tejan-Kabbah.) In your earlier evidence, you’ve indicated that you researched violations committed throughout the war?
Pros: Do you identify any particular incident of atrocities identified in the clips?
Wit: Yes. I’ve researched amputations…
Defense objects that the witness is not answering about a particular incident. Judge Doherty sustains the objection.
Pros: Did you document atrocities such as those identified in the clip?
Wit: Yes. We did documented atrocities in Tombodu and other places mentioned by the victim. More generally, I interviewed scores of victims of amputations. I also conducted research to try to understand the entirety of that problem. I obtained medical records from a number of sources to try to come up with numbers of individuals who suffered purposeful amputation. It’s hard to come up with a number because the statistics include victims of non-purposeful amputations, such as gunshot wounds. Other victims died and were not recorded. The number of amputees is around 1,000, but it could be more or less. Another violation discussed in this clip is sexual abuse. Our report “We’ll Kill You if You Cry” tried to bring attention to this crime that affected many thousands of girls of women.
Prosecution has no further questions for the witness.
Defense counsel Terry Munyard begins his cross-examination of Corinne Dufka.