11:22 Distraught witness describes being taken captive, killings of uncle and brother; court breaks again to allow witness to recompose herself

10:22 (10:52 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in session:

Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty: Are you feeling better now?

Wit: Yes.

Judge Doherty: Take this at your own pace. No one is rushing you.

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

Pros: We would like to put on record that we had checked with WVS. We were told that witness was not only willing to testify, but wanted to testify. [To witness] When you say those two girls were raped, what do you mean?

Wit: When the girls were captured, they were placed under gunpoint and raped. They were damaged in their vaginas and they were bleeding. I myself checked them.

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

Wit: Yes, the juntas went back, but said as they were going that they would come back to Karina.

Pros: Did anything happen after they left?

Wit: Yes. I was outside with my elder brother late that day. At daybreak I came out and saw a big fire in the other village.

Pros: How long after the soldiers left?

Wit: They went away two days, then came back on the third day. They came early in the morning. I got up early to go to prayers. I came to fetch water and saw a big fire in the next village. I was surprised because it had rained all night. I was doubtful, I was grumbling.

Pros: Where did you go?

Wit: Into my house, because I was fetching water to put in the bucket.

Pros: Who were you living with in the house, without mentioning names?

Wit: My brother and his child, my sister and her child, my mother, and me, my child and my husband.

Pros: Did you brother have only one child?

Wit: He had three children and my sister had two children. I had four children.

Pros: What time was it when you were fetching water?

Wit: Around 5:00 in the morning.

Pros; How did you know the time?

Wit: Because I had prayed.

Pros: When you entered the house, what happened?

Wit: My daughter had opened a window, and she said mama, look at the population passing by. It was my aunt and she was naked, bleeding at the jaw.

Defense Counsel Morris Anyah: I’ve objected previously about evidence not alleged in the indictment. Karina is in Bombali district, which is in the indictment – but only mentioned for charges of looting. I know the court has already ruled on this, but I thought it appropriate to renew my objection.

Lead Prosecutor Brenda Hollis: This evidence is relevant to this case and admissible. Although the court has judicially noticed that there was an armed conflict, it has not judicially noticed that there were crimes against humanity. This shows that the charged crimes were part of this attack, part of crimes against humanity. It is relevant that there was a campaign of terror, and that these were not rogue acts by rogue persons or commanders. It’s also relevant to prove various forms of liability – in particular Joint Criminal Enterprise. It shows continuous involvement by persons we allege were co-actors with the accused in that Joint Criminal Enterprise. It also goes to knowledge of the accused of the crimes.

[Judges confer.]

Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty: As we have already held, his evidence is relevant to the chapeau evidence of the crimes. We overrule the objection.

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra: You were testifying that your daughter called you to the window to look at her aunt who was bleeding. Can you continue?

Wit: I went to the window to see. I saw my husband’s sister and blood oozing from her face. The women were all naked. A man was amputated and crying. I called my children and said we should run to the bush.

Pros: Did you see others?

Wit: The people were many. Some were carrying guns, others cutlasses. I told my children, these are bad people. Let us run away. We ran away. We got to the last house and my sister’s child was lying down, sleeping. When I and my child ran away, I decided I should not leave my sister’s child behind.

Pros: What did you do?

Wit: I returned and strapped the child to my back. I woke the other one and we left.

Pros: What was the age of the child you strapped to your back?

Wit: About four years.

Pros: When you came out with this child, where did you go?

Wit: I ran to the bush. It was at the last house that I met those people.

Pros: Did you get to the bush?

Wit: No. I was put under gunpoint by the junta.

Pros: What happened then?

Wit: Two others emerged. One had a gun and the other a cutlass. They said if I moved, they would shoot me.

Pros; How were they dressed?

Wit: Some combat shirts, some civilian shirts. One had an axe.

Pros: What happened?

Wit: I stood still. They came and told me to offload.

Pros: Did you know what that meant?

Wit: No. They took a knife and placed it on my chest. They tore the clothes. I was stripped naked.

Pros: Where was the child you were carrying?

Wit: They told me to put the child down and the child was crying. One threatened to kill the child with the cutlass.

Pros; What happened when they stripped you?

Wit: I was not feeling fine because I have my dignity. [crying]

Pros: Can I continue?

Wit: I’ll continue.

Judge Doherty: Let us know if you need a break.

Pros; What happened?

Wit: They tied my arm and started beating me with a sword. They were walking me about the town. They started dragging me to the other house. I met a relative – they were trying to capture her when she escaped. They brought my elder brother’s wife. She was also stripped naked and beaten with a cutlass. They tied her hands.

Pros: Who was beating her?

Wit: The juntas.

Pros: After your hands were tied, what happened?

Wit: I was in pain because the chain had irons. The junta went to the other house and met one of my sisters there.

Pros: What happened when they met your sister.

Wit: They took her child and gave it to her grandmother. They stripped my sister naked and beat her with a cutlass. They tied all three of us together.

Pros: What happened next?

Wit: They said we should move from there, so we moved by the mosque.

Pros: How many juntas were with the three of you?

Wit: Six.

Pros: You were taken to the mosque? Did anything happen there?

Judge Doherty: “By the mosque”.

Pros: Where did they take you?

Wit: To the mosque area.

Pros; Did you see anything there?

Wit: Yes, I saw corpses lying down.

Pros; How many?

Wit: There were many.

Pros: Did you recognize any?

Wit: Yes. I saw my uncle. He had been hacked on his neck.

Pros; Was he alive?

Wit: Yes. [crying] He was reading.

Pros: When you say he was reading, what did you mean?

Wit: He was saying, “God is great”.

Pros: What else did you see?

Wit: I saw my other uncle. He was asking what his elder brother had done when they hacked him.

Pros; Who was he asking?

Wit: The junta.

Pros: Did the junta respond?

Wit: He hacked him across the face and said that was the answer.

Pros; What happened as a result?

Wit: He died. [crying]

Pros: How far away were you from your two uncles when this happened?

Wit: I was very close to them.

Pros; What was your reaction?

Wit: I was not feeling fine.

Pros: Did you say anything?

Wit: [crying louder] Yes.

Judge Doherty: Would you like the WVS staff to sit with you?

Wit: Yes, let the person come close to me.

Judge Doherty: Do you feel ready to continue?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You said you said something. What did you say?

Wit: I just said, finally our family is finished.

Pros: Who did you say it to?

Wit: My uncle.

Pros: What happened then?

Wit: They moved me from that place – the three of us who had been tied together. They brought me towards the story building.

Pros: Can we have clarification from the interpreter?

Interpreter: The interpretation is “story”

Judge Sebutinde: It’s “storied”, with a “d”.

Pros: What happened?

Wit: I was coming towards the building when I saw my elder brother struggling to die. They had continuously hacked him on his neck, and he was stretching his leg to die.

Pros; How did you know that this is what happened to him?

Wit: [upset, crying]

WVS officer: Your Honors, the witness would like to take a break.

Judge Doherty: Very well, we will take a break until the witness can continue.

10:52 (11:22 with the delay in video and audio): Court adjourns.