10:30 Testifying about rape of her daughter and niece, witness breaks down and court takes a break

9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video and audio): Court is in session.

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra continues her examination of protected witness TF1-028:

Pros: I want to clarify a few issues from yesterday. You said that in 1998 at the time of the intervention, you were living in Karina. Where is Karina?

Wit: I have something to say. Yesterday I was seriously upset because when I came, the woman who is the boss – since I came I’ve been sick. I was supposed to report, but when I reported to the woman she didn’t do anything about it. When they took me to the hospital, the doctor said I could die at any time because I have heart disease. I told the woman but she didn’t do anything. When she came in yesterday, she was trying to encourage me. She merely came to provoke me. That’s why I was upset yesterday. I’m appealing to all of you to start fresh. I was seriously upset yesterday.

Judge Lussick: Ms. Alagendra, do you feel comfortable putting the witness through this ordeal?

Pros: We discussed this with the witness and she indicated she was willing to testify.

Wit: I’m ready to testify, because I know that is the reason that brought me here.

Judge Sebutinde: We have noted your concerns. Are you feeling better today?

Wit: Yes, I’m feeling better.

Judge Sebutinde: These matters are to be handled by the Witness and Victims Section.

Pros: The witness indicated she wanted us to start afresh from yesterday. Does the court want that?

Judge Doherty: We understood what you said yesterday, but if there’s something you need to make clear, please do so.

Wit: How would I understand if she does not repeat what she asked yesterday.

Pros: I’ll clarify a few questions from yesterday and remind her what she said. You told the court yesterday that in 1998 at the time of the intervention, you were living in Karina. Where is Karina?

Wit: In Bombali district.

Pros: You testified that around the time of the intervention, the junta came into Karina. You said they were soldiers – some in combat, some in civilian clothes. You said that at the time you didn’t know who the leader was. You said the junta came to the town in the morning, then that they came in the evening. Could you clarify when they came?

Wit: The junta came to Karina in the morning and then in the evening around 9:00 they came in again.

Pros: When they came in the morning, did anything happen?

Wit: They went on capturing people, beating up people. They beat up my elder brother.

Pros: You said yesterday that they sprinkled plastic on his body. What did that mean?

Wit: They set fire to the plastic and dropped it all over his body.

Pros: You said his 12-year-old child was beaten. Who was beating him?

Wit: It was the juntas.

Pros: How is it that you know about the beating of your brother and his son?

Wit; They loaded them into a vehicle, and drove around the town with him. They opened fire everywhere.

Pros: How do you know about this?

Wit: The vehicle came to our part of the town. They were dropping melted plastic all over his body.

Pros: Was anyone else beaten?

Wit: They beat most of the people and they were raping the small girls in the town. It was the juntas.

Pros; How do you know about the rapes?

Wit: The girls were all crying and some were bleeding.

Pros: Did you know any of the girls that were raped?

Wit: Yes. There was one who was my elder sister’s daughter, and another, my brother’s daughter.

Pros: How old was your elder sister’s daughter that was raped?

Wit: They were around 8 and 7 years old. They were young young girls.

Pros: Your sister’s daughter – how old was she?

Wit: It was around 7,8, up to 12 years.

Pros: Your sister’s daughter – how old was she specifically?

Wit: 8 years.

Pros: How old was your brother’s daughter?

Wit: 7 years.

Pros: How do you know about these rapes?

Wit: They had blood on them. They were wasting blood.

Pros: How do you know they were bleeding?

Wit: They stripped all the girls naked. When we heard people screaming, you just rushed and saw what happened to your family members. I saw blood and they were naked.

Pros: Did you know what happened to them?

Wit: Yes, they’d been raped. At that time the girls did not say anything. But looking at them, I knew they were raped.

Pros: Do you know who raped them?

Wit: I was not present, but the girls said it was the juntas.

Pros: How many girls were raped by the junta that day?

Wit: In our own area, I knew about three people. In the other areas, they said the same.

Pros: What other areas?

Wit: Karina Town.

Pros: Did anything else happen that day in Karina?

Wit: After they raped them, they returned.

Pros: Did anything else happen in Karina after this day?

Wit: Around 9:00 at night that same day. At that time, we had all entered and gone to sleep. They all came again and they broke into houses and took all our properties. They even put me at gunpoint. They went to other people’s houses, and took the property on vehicles, and went.

Pros: Who are “they”?

Wit: Juntas.

Pros: How many houses were there in Karina Town?

Wit: 117 houses.

Pros: Do you recall from how many houses the junta took property from that day?

Wit: Yes. In our own area, I can recall the name of the people – like my brother’s houses. They looted about 8 houses and put the property on board the vehicle. They took my box with clothes. There was a woman who had her petty wares in a box and they took it away.

Pros: When the junta came to your house and put you under gunpoint, did they say anything to you?

Wit: Yes, they said it was “Operation Pay Yourself”. They said Tejan-Kabbah could not pay them, so they are going to pay themselves.

Pros: Did they explain how they were going to do this?

Wit: That is where they stopped.

Pros: Did anything else happen in Karina this night?

Wit: They went on looting and they were beating people.

Pros: How long did they stay on this occasion?

Wit: After they took the properties, they went.

Pros: After they went, did anything else happen?

Wit: Yes, the other juntas came to the town, the RUF, and soldiers.

Pros: Can you clarify “RUF and soldiers”?

Wit: Yes. Some spoke the Liberian dialect and some spoke the Sierra Leonean dialect.

Pros: How long were they there?

Wit: About two weeks.

Pros: Did anything happen in those two weeks?

Wit: Yes. When they came, they said the town chief should lodge them. The town chief said he had no place to lodge them and they said they would lodge themselves. They had an upstairs building where Dr. Sherif had his clinic. They broke in there and stayed there.

Pros: Did anything else happen?

Wit: Yes. They went and took people’s properties, then took property from other villages.

Pros: Who was taking these properties?

Wit: The junta.

Pros: You told the court that on this occasion, the group that came was RUF and soldiers. You say it was the junta taking people’s property?

Wit: It was the junta and the RUF.

Pros: Whose property was being taken?

Wit: They took my sister’s property. They took people’s cows.

Pros: Did anything else happen in Karina in those two weeks?

Wit: Yes. My sister’s girl and my girl – my girl was around 13 years – she was raped. My sister’s daughter, about 12, was also raped.

Pros: Who raped them?

Wit: It was the RUF and the junta, because they were mixed, living in the house there.

Pros: How do you know they were raped?

Wit: [distressed, crying]

Judge Doherty: Perhaps WVS could assist…The witness seems overwrought. We’re going to take a break until the witness can proceed.

10:00 (10:30 with the delay in video and audio): Court adjourns.