2:00 Cross-examination of prosecution witness Corinne Dufka begins

Defense counsel Terry Munyard begins his cross-examination of prosecution witness Corinne Dufka: 

Def: Beginning with your qualifications, you have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and you’ve worked as a social worker?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You have no qualifications in anthropology?

Wit: No. As I’ve noted, my degrees are in social work.

Def: None in sociology?

Wit: No, but part of the social work degrees includes courses in sociology, anthropology or other fields.

Def: But no degrees?

Wit: No.

Def: You have no qualifications in history?

Wit: As I’ve noted my degrees are in social work.

Def: You have no qualifications in African history?

Wit: I have no degree in African history.

Def: You have no qualifications in West Africa?

Wit: No, but that doesn’t preclude me from being doing a great deal of reading.

Def: Have you ever worked as a clinical psychologist?

Wit: No, but social workers often do similar work, and some of the training is similar.

Def: How long was your master’s program?

Wit: It was a two-year degree.

Def: (Refers the witness to a document) This is the Human Rights Watch report “Sowing Terror” from 1998.  I’d like to refer you to pages 39 and 40.  We see the acknowledgements saying that the report was written by Scott Campbell and Jane Levitsky, consultants to HRW.  So they weren’t employees?

Wit: Correct, that’s a common practice of HRW in dealing with human rights emergencies.  Those consultants go through training before they go to the field and are selected on a competetive basis.  Scott Campbell now works for the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights as head of the Africa Division.

Def: What can you tell her about Jane Levitsky?

Wit: I don’t know her or about her background.  My understanding is that Cambpell did most of the research and writing.

Def: Do you know how many interviews they conducted?

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: (Refers to a particular page) Here it says there were interviews with “dozens” of individuals.  Is it HRW practice to document how many interviews it conducts in its research?

Wit: We interview all kinds of people, sometimes individually or in groups.  So it’s hard to give a precise number for individuals interviewed.

Def: You didn’t answer my question.  Is it HRW practice to note the precise number of individuals interviewed?

Wit: No, not always.

Def: You can’t tell us from this report how many groups or individuals were interviewed?

Wit: No, but we could try to glean it from the footnotes.

Def: Isn’t interviewing groups problematic because people copy each other’s accounts?

Wit: Yes, absolutely.  We’re trained on that.  Group interviews are often good for obtaining leads.  One interviewee can influence the statement of another. 

Def: There’s an inherent danger in group interviews because the dynamic of the group can lead to false testimony?

Wit: Yes, I avoid group interviews in my own research.

Def: Is there any indication in this report, Sowing Terror, whether group interviews were used?

Wit: No, but because confidentiality is HRW practice, any discussion of sexual violence would have been conducted one on one, perhaps with an interpreter present.

Def: Who is Binaifra Nowogee (ph), Counsel to the Africa Division?

Wit: At HRW, she was also our Liberia researcher at the time.

Def: She’s been described as a human rights expert and expert on gender crimes?

Wit: Yes. 

Def: I’m quoting from a decision by the ICTR cited yesterday, which rejected her testimony as an expert.  She was a lecturer at Harvard, conducted human rights research from 1993-1996?

Wit: Yes, and in Liberia as well.

Def: On page 40, with regard to HRW and its Africa Division, it says HRW was established to monitor and promote human rights.  On the staff list we see Binaifra Nowogee and Alison Des Forges.  Do you know her?

Wit: Yes.

Def: She has particular qualifications in African history?

Wit: Yes, she’s an expert on Rwanda and the Great Lakes.

Def: She has published and given evidence on matters pertaining to the Great Lakes region and Rwanda?

Wit: Yes.

Def: She was another of those rejected as an expert at the ICTR.

Prosecution objects: Defense did not raise this issue yesterday.  Defense merely handed out a judgement.  Defense:  The judges are familiar with this judgement.  Judge Doherty: These are observations and not questions for the witness.

Def: Do you agree that Ms. Nowogee has particular expertise in gender crimes, more than you do?

Wit: Yes, and she has a legal background.  I’ve consulted with her on my own research.

Def: Does Ms. Des Forges have any expertise in West Africa?

Wit: Not to my knowledge.

Def: Your reports disguise the identity of the individuals interviewed?

Wit: Yes, for fear of reprisals by the armed groups.

Def: But in a court of law, the accused has no way of knowing the identity or reliability of an accuser?

Wit: That is an issue, and that puts the onus on me as the researcher.

Def: But that doesn’t remove the problem that the accused doesn’t know the identity, and perhaps whether they had an axe to grind with the accused.

Wit: Yes, but I believe only one of these interviewees mentioned the accused.

Def: But you have no idea whether an indivudual has motive to exaggerate or fabricate statements?

Wit: We’re trained to identify bias and hidden agendas.  Our interviews are aimed to solicit detail.  We try to corroborate incidents through many interviews.

Def: If a witness has a bias, they’re unlikely to tell you that, aren’t they?

Wit: We approach them.  They’re often people in hospital beds and refugees.  It’s confidentiality that makes them comfortable in talking to us.

Def: On page 11 of this report that you didn’t write, there’s a long footnote.  The second sentence in footnote 1: a publication by Mr. Koroma  states that the RUF decapitated civilian leaders in Kailahun and put their heads on sticks.  Have you read the account by Mr. Koroma or other accounts of this incident?

Wit: No.

Def: If this account were wrong, the report would be flawed?

Wit: It cites a source.  The report is written by a consultant with established credentials.  

Def: HRW is an advocacy organization?

Wit: Research and advocacy.  Changed behavior is the aim.

Def: It’s essentially a campaigning organization aimed at changing behavior?

Wit: Yes, but in-depth research is the backbone of what we do.

Def: I want to ask about your involvement in HRW.  You were working as a social worker, then left the United States to work in…?

Wit: El Salvador.

Def: You were working initially as a social worker?

Wit: Yes.  Then I started working as a photo-journalist.

Def: When did you come to work with HRW and for what reason?

Wit: It was in 1999.  I wanted to join HRW because I hold great respect for it.  I was interested in promotion of human rights.

Def: During your time with HRW, you eventually took a sabattical in 2002-2003 to work for the OTP of this tribunal?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Your work included interviewing witnesses who will be appearing in this case?

Wit: I can’t know whether they’ll appear in this case.

Def: We know that.  You interviewed them with a view to supporting the prosecution?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were gathering evidence to prosecute this particular accused?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In taking up that position, you knew you were aligning yourself with a particular party.

Wit: I was working for the prosecutor.

Def: That made you a protagonist in the case, or part of one of the protagonists in the case?

Wit: I wouldn’t put it that way.  I was working in the OTP to compile evidence for all cases.

Def: You were compiling evidence to be used against the accused?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The object in working for the OTP is to ensure the conviction of the accused?

Wit: Conviction is not my business – that’s up to the judges.  My job was to compile evidence.  It wasn’t up to me how the prosecution used that evidence.

Def: When you were working for the OTP, the purpose of the OTP was to obtain convictions before this court?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were playing a part to convict accused before this court?

Wit: Not only in this case, also in others.

Def: We know you’ve interviewed 18 witnesses in this case…

Prosecution objects: the question has been asked multiple times.  The witness can’t have known which trials the witness interviews would serve.  Defense: I’m getting different answers each time regarding her role.  This goes to the heart of her partiality.  Judge Doherty rules for the defense.

Def: You knew well that the object of the OTP was to secure the conviction of persons before the court?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You campaigned for establishment of the SCSL?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Your purpose in that was to secure the conviction of those you believed to be responsible for violations in Sierra Leone.

Wit: Yes, in accordance with fair trial standards.

Def: The purpose of the OTP is to secure convictions?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were playing an important part in securing convictions?

Wit: I played a part as an investigator.

Def: You’re on record as describing this accused as being at the epicenter of violence in the region?

Wit: I don’t recall, but I may have said that.

Def: You’re also on record as saying other African leaders with blood on his hands have reason to be concerned by Taylor’s indictment?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So you think the accused has blood on his hands?

Wit: Our conclusions that the accused has committed violations of international humanitarian law is based on many documents, including UN documents.  I do not apologize for, or hide the opinion that this individual has a case to answer.

Def: Your view is that he’s guilty?

Wit: It is not.

Def: That’s not your view?

Wit: I say he has a case to answer.  There’s an 11-count indictment for very serious crimes.  He has a case to answer and he should have his day in court to see that justice is done.  That is not saying he is guilty.

Def: You think he is guilty, don’t you?

Wit: My opinion is irrelevant.

Def: It goes to your impartiality as an expert witness.  Please answer the question. 

Prosecution objects: it is not up to the witness to determine.  Judge Doherty: This goes to impartiality and the question is allowed.

Wit: I feel this individual has a serious case to answer.  I feel very uncomfortable pronouncing his guilt or innocence.  My work has shown that we don’t only cover abuses on one side.

Def: My question is not about who did what. It’s about your views on this particular accused given your work with the OTP and your media comments.  Doesn’t that all lead to a conclusion that you find him guilty?

Wit: I feel that Taylor has a case to answer and is implicated in serious crimes.

Def: Implicated means committed?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Which intelligence services have you obtained inforamation from?

Wit: The intelligence branches of various armed factions and bodies.

Def: Which other intelligence services apart those from the armed factions?

Wit: None other than those associated with the armed factions.

Def: Have you ever worked for any intelligence service, directly or indirectly?

Wit: No.

Def: I want to turn to the specifics of the reports and documents you’ve put before this court.  You said that following issuance of a document, HRW notifies the governments concerned – through diplomatic missions, as well as attempts to contact them directly?

Wit: Yes.  That was not my work, but is typically done through our Washington and NY offices.

Def: Can you show us in your report where you discuss this?

Wit: On page 10, there are two references to this practice.

Def: Please identify where on page 10 where you mention diplomatic missions.

Wit: Here it says, we distribute our reports to “individual governments”

Def: You write nothing about diplomatic missions, do you?

Wit: This is shorthand.  It’s implied.

Def: Please look at page 21.  You make plain there that you were not able to send your reports on Sierra Leone and Liberia to Mr. Taylor when he was president.

Wit: I don’t see a contradiction.

Def: You mention three reasons for not sending the reports directly to Taylor.  Then you write that due to wide media coverage of the reports, Taylor had notice of your reports.  You don’t mention here sending the reports to his diplomatic missions.

Wit: It’s an omission.  It’s included earlier in the report.

Def: You didn’t include it earlier in your report.

Wit: I’ve said that’s the general practice. 

Def: And yet you choose in this paragraph on page 22 that it was because of wide media coverage that he knew about the content of the reports, not because you sent them to his government offices. 

Wit: That’s an omission in my report.  I should have noted that our usual practice was to send the reports to diplomatic missions.

Def: I’ve asked about the first report HRW did.  I want to ask about your work on the second HRW report, “Getting Away with Murder, Mutilation and Rape“.  Part of your training at HRW is in the laws of war?

Wit: yes.

Def: On page three there’s a reference to “systematic and widespread” atrocities in Freetown.  Where to you get that expression?

Wit: It’s a legal expression.  It suggests a certain level of planning, and it suggests a pattern of atrocity.  I’m not a lawyer, but this was reviewed by lawyers.

Def: But that language is intended to direct readers to international legal terms?

Wit: Not necessarily.  But it’s come to be a standard way of describing these types of situations in human rights reporting.

Def: On page four, in the third paragraph, you mention receiving hearsay evidence from victims that some of their assailants were from Liberia.  You said some of them identified Liberians based on accents?

Wit: Yes.  Some witnesses said their assailants said they were Liberian.

Def: I’m only asking about accents.  How familiar are you with accents along the SL/Liberian border?

Wit: I’m aware that people living along the border have an accent very similar to the Liberian accent.

Def: Turning to a later section, the background section.  Where you write that the Strasser regime contracted with Executive Outcomes as a private security firm.  Executive Outcomes is a mercenary organization, isn’t it?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And it was involved in human rights abuses in Sierra Leone?

Wit: Yes, some.  But when they were active, we had not begun our work in Sierra Leone.  I’ve heard hearsay of summary executions.

Def: All your reports are hearsay, aren’t they?

Wit: No, there’s a difference.

(Rapid exchange in dispute on “hearsay” continues.)

Prosecution objects: defense is being argumentative.  Judge Doherty agrees.

Wit: We have not detailed abuses by Executive Outcomes.  We only have rumors of summary executions of rebel combatants.

Def: Was Neil Ellis in Executive Outcomes?

Wit: Yes, and later he was  contracted by the government of Sierra Leone to fly their helicopter gunship.

Def: Did he have a senior position in Executive Outcomes?

Wit: I don’t know.  He was a pilot.

Def: You write that after Strasser, Brigadier Bio became leader.  Have you heard of the Special Task Force under Strasser or Bio?

Wit: Yes.

Def: It was a group or 3-4,000 Liberian fighters, fighting against the RUF?

Wit: Yes.  The STF were comprised primarily of Krahns who had been in the armed forces of Liberia who had fled after the killing of Samuel Doe.  They fled to Sierra Leone and worked under President Momoh.  Sierra Leone used them to fight against the RUF and allowed them to use Sierra Leone as a staging area for attacks into Liberia.

Def: So they were mercenaries for attacks on Liberia?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What human rights violations were they involved in?

Wit: Looting, killings, rape.  But we’ve done no targeted research on that period.

Def: Your report on mercenaries and your predecessor’s report from 1998 both cover events earlier than your investigations?

Wit: Yes, background information.

Def: How long did the STF remain as an active force operating out of Sierra Leone?

Wit: I have a brief characterization of them in “Youth, Poverty and Blood“, in an annex. I believe it was from 1991 to around 1995.  Elements of the STF became LURD.

Def: Where is the reference to them?

Wit: I didn’t refer to them as STF, but as special forces.  On page 73 of the annex, I discuss how the Sierra Leone government used Liberian rebels to fight the RUF, and allowed ULIMO to use Sierra Leone to attack Liberia.  The names are fluid.  When they first came over, these individuals were “former members of the armed forces of Liberia”.  I’m not clear on when they became STF.  Some were Kamajor fighters who went to Monrovia for training at a place called the “Risk Institute”.

Def: You don’t refer to the STF.  Is that because you weren’t aware of them or their commander?

Wit: I’m aware of Brigadier Bropleh.  I’ve met with him.

Def: I want to ask about your report: “We’ll Kill You if You Cry“.  This report is written by Louise Taylor, you and a third person, Ellen van Muelen (ph).  Are you able to identify which parts of this report rely on your material?

Wit: Usually I can say which testimonies I took.  I can’t always say for certain.

Def: Louise Taylor was a consultant for HRW.  What are her background qualifications?

Wit: A master’s in international law, has worked for aid agencies, human rights organizations.

Def: Did she work for the OTP?

Wit: Yes, as an investigator working on gender issues.

Def: Over what period of time?

Wit: I can’t say for sure.  We overlapped.

Def: Ellen Vermeulen (ph)?  What are her qualifications and did she work for the OTP?

Wit: She didn’t work for the OTP.  She just conducted a few interviews.

Def: On page 10, in the first paragraph, you refer to violence and looting by Liberian mercenaries in the RUF.  You base this on information that there were individual Liberians working in the RUF, not members of the NPFL?

Wit: That’s cited to a book.

Def: Are you talking about individual mercenaries rather than NPFL fighters?

Wit: I read that book.  I cannot say what the book characterizes.  I can’t speak to that particular statement.

Def: In the third paragraph it says that it was in March 1995 under Strasser that Executive Outcomes was contracted.

Wit: Yes.

Court is now adjourning for lunch and will reconvene at 2:30.  Our account will continue at 3:00 (2:00 in Sierra Leone and Liberia).


  1. What is most upseting about this mis-nomer of a trial, is that this pandora’s box of legal precedent is bound to repetedly trip up generations unborn in important legal cases. What on earth is going on in that courtroom!? Has the international community glibly discarded normal trial rules just because Charles Taylor walked into their courtroom?!

    Mmh. On seconds thoughts, we were probably right for removing Taylor from the region then. As he apparently has more power than power itself!

    Imagine uprooting the foundation of a skyscraper just the build a little zinc shack!

    Don’t kick against the pricks oh! Especially if you’re barefooted!

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