11:55 Former child soldier completes his testimony; court considering defense request to lift protection measures for next witness

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

Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continues his cross-examination of prosecution witness TF1-143, a former child soldier:

Def: Going back to where we left off yesterday, you said the reason you originally told the prosecution that you were present at the explosion that led to what Saj Musa’s death “was not too far away from we were standing”. You recall saying that to the court yesterday?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Do you recall telling prosecutors in 2004, in your second interview with them, that Kabila told you Saj Musa was dead and had been killed by bomb fragments from an fire in a house where ammunition was kept?

Wit: At that time, I was a little afraid. When they told me that it was a Special Court affair, I was a little afraid. Later when I had confidence, I started explaining. I saw it myself when the bomb exploded.

Def: So it would not be right to say that you were in the bush when the explosion occurred?

Wit: If I incurred wounding on my body, I would have told them.

Judge Doherty: The question was whether it would be right to say you were in the bush.

Wit: I was at the gate. I was standing there.

Def: So it would not be right to say that you were in the bush when the explosion occurred?

Wit: We were not in the bush. We had all come into the town. We were by the gate of the barracks.

Def: Had there been a fight the night before between the RUF faction and the SLA faction?

Wit: Where are you talking about?

Def: Before the explosion, or even the night of the explosion?

Pros: There’s no evidence that the explosion took place at night.

Judge Doherty: Counsel did not say it took place at night.

Def: You can talk about the “night of the coronation” and that means the night of the day that the coronation occurred.

Judge Doherty: It would be clearer to put it as two distinct questions.

Def: What time of day did the explosion occur?

Wit: I did not know the particular day, but we arrived there at night.

Def: What time of day was it when you were standing at the round-about when the explosion occurred?

Wit: Almost in the morning hours.

Def: So it was actually at night?

Wit: Yes. It was almost at night. I can say it was in the morning.

Def: Back to the original point, was there a fight between the SLA faction and the RUF faction around the time of the explosion?

Wit: The time we got there, our elders had already taken over the barracks.

Def: Was there a fight between the RUF faction and the SLA faction.

Wit: There was fighting, but before we got there, the fighting had subsided.

Judge Sebutinde: I don’t know if he understands. You’re asking about infighting. There were soldiers at the barracks loyal to the government.

Def: When I talk about SLA, I mean the AFRC faction.

Wit: Our advance team had already conquered the barracks from the SLA before we got there.

Def: Government soldiers or AFRC soldiers?

Wit: Government soldiers.

Def: Can you remember saying to the prosecutors in Dec 2004 that the RUF defeated the SLA and entered into Benguema?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And then saying to them that you were in a bush where there was a thick forest for the rest of the day?

Wit: That was the time when we left Benguema forest.

Def: You remember telling them you broke into shops and looted in Benguema?

Wit: That was in the evening when they buried Saj.

Def: I just want to know if you remember saying these things to the prosecution. Do you remember saying, “we spent the night there and in the morning Kabila said Saj was dead.”

Wit: We were there for the whole day.

Def: Can you remember telling the prosecution that in the morning, Kabila said Saj Musa was dead.

Wit: That’s not how it happened.

Judge Doherty: He’s asking whether you told that to the prosecutor these things.

Wit: Which things?

Def: I want to know if you remember saying these things to the prosecution. Can you remember telling them that in the morning, Kabila said Saj Musa was dead?

Wit: No.

Def: Can you remember telling them he was killed by bomb fragments?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You remember telling them you were in the bush when you heard the explosion?

Wit: No.

Def: And then telling them that Saj Musa’s body was taken to the bush in a hammock?

Wit: That is not what happened. I didn’t say it. It was those of us that came who took his body – it was not the soldiers in the barracks.

Def: [to judges] I have a statement here with a signature at the bottom and the witness’s name at the top. I propose to show it to the witness, and then show it to the court.

Pros: The witness said he could read and write English, but I understand his level is…

Def: I’m going to stop my learned friend there. I don’t want him making suggestions to the witness. I can establish that with the witness.

Pros: Very well.

Judge Doherty: What language was this interview conducted in?

Def: It was conducted in Krio and there was an interpreter present.

Def: If you look at that page in front of you, can you see your name at the top?

Wit: Which one? Which number?…Yes.

Def: Can you see a sentence that starts, “In another village…”?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Can you read that sentence to us?

Wit: Yes. “One woman, two old men, and two children were killed…”

Def: So you have no difficulty reading that English?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references another point in document] “The RUF…” Can you read that part?

Wit: “The RUF defeated the SLA and entered into Benguema. We were in a bush where it’s a thick forest…”

Def: “…thick forest for the rest of the day.” Is that what it says?

Wit: I had made correction on this page.

Def: We’ll get to that in a moment. Just tell me if what I’m reading is the same as what is on that page. “In Benguema we broke into shops, looted. We spent the night there and in the morning Kabila told us that Saj Musa was dead.” Is that correct?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “He was killed by bomb fragments because of a fire in the house where ammunitions were kept. I was in the bush when I heard the explosion. Saj Musa’s body was taken in a hammock to the forest by soldiers. I did not see Saj Musa die myself.” Did I read it correctly?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You said you made corrections to this. When did you make corrections?

Wit: It was December 2007 that I made corrections regarding this page.

Def: Alright, we’ll look at December 2007. [references document] You were indeed interviewed on 7 December 2007 and you did say some things about the time that Saj Musa was killed. But unless I have got it wrong, you didn’t correct the passage we’ve just been looking at. As far as I can see, the only thing you said about the time of Saj Musa’s death, was that the captured priest did prayers when Saj Musa died. Are you saying you did other corrections in December 2007 to the passage we’ve been looking at?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Do you understand that I’m reading from the notes from your interviews, and that if I’m saying anything wrong, members of the prosecution will correct me?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Now in 2008, you did make corrections to your first statement from 2003. You said, “Witness states he was not present at the explosion that killed Saj Musa. His recollection is based on what Kabila told him.” Is that what you’re talking about by making corrections?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What you were correcting was your first statement, where you said that you were present when Saj Musa died?

Wit: Yes.

Def: That’s what I was asking you about yesterday. You told the prosecution that you were present, standing behind Kabila when the explosion happened. You corrected that just three weeks ago. Do you recall telling the prosecution that you were present, standing behind Kabila in a very big store?

Wit: It was at the roundabout, at the gate.

Def: In a very big store? Do you remember saying that to them?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Now that’s different from saying you were in the bush?

Wit: We were not in the bush.

Def: Why did you tell them in the second interview that you were in the bush?

Wit: At that time, I did not recall all the events that happened. But over time I recalled more and I was able to tell them the facts.

Def: Do you agree that you have told the prosecution contradictory stories of your being near the explosion that led to Saj Musa’s death?

Wit: At that time, yes, I told them that. And I later made the correction.

Def: Why did you tell them that you were in the bush when the explosion occurred if you weren’t in the bush?

Wit: Benguema is not a bush, it is a barracks.

Def: Why did you tell them you were in the bush when you heard the explosion if that’s not true?

Wit: At that time I did not have much confidence because I thought they were hunting those of us who had taken part in the war. Then they said they wanted to bring peace. When they gave me confidence, I was able to tell them what happened.

Def: So the first story was not true, and the second was true?

Wit: Which second one? At that time I did not recall all the things that happened to me. It was only over time I was able to put things in place.

Def: The first story was not right, but then you gained confidence and told them the truth?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So the second account, that you were in the bush, is correct?

Wit: We were not in the bush.

Def: The time you told the prosecution that you were in the bush is more than 18 months later than the first time you were interviewed by the prosecution. It’s the time you had gained confidence in them and were then willing to tell the truth?

Wit: I have taken the oath. I’m telling the truth.

Def: Had you gained confidence in the prosecution in the 18 months since your first interview? Don’t look at the prosecution – they won’t help you.

Wit: Yes, I gained confidence to tell them everything. So I decided to tell the truth so that we would have peace reign in our lives.

Def: When did you first see and meet Adama Cut Hand?

Wit: I saw her the time I came to Allen Town.

Def: So the first time you see her is in Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And you didn’t see her at Koinadugu?

Wit: No.

Def: You didn’t see her at Benguema?

Wit: Not at all.

Def: Or Waterloo?

Wit: I did not see her there. I said it was when I got sick and when I went to Allen Town.

Def: Can you remember in the first interview with the prosecution, saying that Adama Cut Hand was your immediate boss at Koinadugu?

Wit: No. It was Kabila who was my boss since the day I was captured up until we went to Freetown.

Def: [references document] This is the interview of 7 April 2003. I will read out sentences, and you tell me if I’m reading correctly. “Witness said whilst in Koinadugu, they had two camps. They split into two – one group mixed with AFRC and RUF camped in the upper part of Koinadugu and were headed by Saj Musa. The group in which the witness was, headed by 05, stayed in the lower part. The next person to 05 in their own group was Kabila. The next to him was Leftenant Mohamed, an AFRC. Witness said Adama Cut Hand was next to Mohamed, and that she was in charge of the small boys group called Cut Hand Group, to which witness said he belonged.” Have I read that correctly?

Wit: You read it correctly.

Def: “Adama Cut Hand was witness’s immediate boss.” Have I read that correctly?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “Witness said their group had communicated with other groups. Witness said Junior Lion was in charge of the communications set”. Correct?

Wit: Yes.

Def: This deals with Koinadugu?

Wit: The question was about Freetown, Allen Town. Adama was the next boss to take me up.

Def: In that passage, it deals with Koinadugu?

Wit: At that time, what I told them was not the correct thing. When they read it to me again, I said “no”. At that time I did not even know most of those people.

Def: When you told them this, were you just mixed up and confused, or were you telling them something you knew wasn’t true?

Wit: At that time I was not having peace of mind.

Def: Were you just mixed up or were you deliberately telling them something that wasn’t true?

Wit: Those were the last things that happened to me that I recalled. I recalled the last things that happened to me very swiftly.

Def: I’ll move on. I’m going to ask about another passage in that same interview. “Witness said when they got to Waterloo, there was a fight, but not a big one, as there was little resistance from the Sierra Leone Army. many people were captured and houses burned….went to Benguema training center, where they looted arms and ammunition…another group that included Gullit, Five-Five, and Superman, came from Makeni to join them…group told them they came from Makeni, but doesn’t know if there was communication with his own group…witness said he saw most of the commanders together, including Junior Lion, Gullit, 05, 5-5, Superman, Kabila, Adama Cut Hand, and Leftenant Mohamed, and [another]…Witness said after ammunition was looted in Benguema, Saj came upon the scene…” Did I read it correctly?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When you told prosecutors that you saw Adama Cut Hand at Waterloo, were you mixed up, or telling them something that was untrue?

Wit: I was recalling the names of commanders I knew.

Def: When you were answering these questions in 2003, it was much closer to the time of the events than we are at the present time?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When answering these questions, you had to go back in your mind to remember who was there and what they were doing?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You weren’t just listing names of commanders you knew – you were saying who you saw at Koinadugu and Waterloo?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So why did you say that you saw Adama Cut Hand in both places?

Wit: I joined her in Freetown. She was my last commander there. That is why I recalled those incidents with her.

Def: I’m not going to pursue that. Did you actually see Superman at Koinadugu?

Wit: No.

Def: Did you see Superman at Waterloo?

Wit: No, it was my boss that told me he was amongst the group that came. That is Kabila.

Def: So what you said about him in April 2003 wasn’t true either?

Wit: How?

Def: By saying you saw Superman amongst the group at Waterloo?

Wit: I said it was a group that came and joined us in Waterloo. We had moved from Benguema when they came. By the time we got to the junction, we saw that shops were on fire and looting was going on.

Def: You told us you didn’t see Superman in Waterloo, but you told the prosecution in April 2003 that you did. You understand?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How was it that when ECOMOG captured you from the mosque in Allen Town, that you managed to escape?

Wit: I was in the mosque, and the pa who opened the mosque saw me in there and brought the Nigerians.

Pros: There’s no evidence that the witness escaped.

Def: How was it that after you were handed over to the ECOMOG forces that you ended up being released?

Wit: They were about to go and kill me. The head of the officers at the checkpoint, the Sierra Leone Police – they called him. They took me to him to conduct some investigation.

Def: I have no further questions.

Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura will re-examine the witness.

Pros: In answering questions from the defense, you made reference to corrections you made to your first two statements. Do you recall making a correction about what you said about the explosion that killed Saj Musa?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: [references document] In relation to the death of Saj Musa, did you say the following? “Witness said he was not present at the explosion.”

Wit: Yes.

Def: I read that word-for-word to the witness earlier, and he agreed.

Pros: It was not clear what the witness’s final position on this point. It needs clarification.

Pros: With regard to Adama Cut Hand, counsel asked if she was your immediate boss at Koinadugu, and you said she was not your immediate boss?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You agreed that this appeared in a previous statement?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: In April 2008, you corrected your 2003 statement. “Witness only met and worked with Adama Cut Hand when the group entered Freetown. Before that he had only heard her name.” You said that?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You also corrected your December 2004 statement. “Witness only met Adama Cut Hand for the first time when they entered Freetown. He had heard her name but had never seen or met her.”

Wit: Yes.

Def: Can we read the passage that is being corrected?

Judge Doherty: Are you directing re-examination, or are you objecting?

Def: It only makes sense to first read what is being corrected.

Pros: I’m not clear with what my learned friend is getting at.

Def: “It was in Koinadugu I saw Adama Cut Hand for the first time…” And that was then corrected by what was just read out.

Pros: For correct references, I have said that these corrections deal with a statement the witness made…

Judge Doherty: The witness has not dealt with the part that Mr. Munyard read out.

Pros: We’ve dealt with that. I asked about Koinadugu.

Judge Sebutinde: Mr. Bangura, I sit here utterly confused. The bench has no reference in front of us. We don’t see it and the witness doesn’t see it. Where does that leave the record? You’re saying you’re re-examining the witness, but this really leaves a lot to be desired. I’m left to wonder about the last three pages of the record. The prosecution and defense are not agreeing on the record, and you don’t have a clean copy to be put on the overhead for the court to see. There has to be improvement.

Def: I have clean copies of everything but that final correction interview.

Judge Doherty: Mr. Bangura, what’s happening?

Pros: The problem is I have a copy that is marked.

Judge Doherty: We still don’t know the language of the interview and whether it was interpreted.

Def: It was in Krio with an interpreted.

Pros: Defense put these questions to the witness. For the most part, the prosecution did not take an issue with them. I’m trying to show that when the witness made corrections…

Judge Doherty: The problem is that we don’t have these records.

Pros: In a previous statement read to you by counsel, it is stated that: “It is in Koinadugu that I saw Adama Cut Hand for the first time…” Do you recall defense asking about that?

Wit: Yes, he asked me, and I told him Adama Cut Hand was my last boss in Freetown.

Pros: And you corrected that?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: [references document] This is from 16-18 April 2008. “Witness only met and worked with Adama Cut Hand when the group entered Freetown. Before that he had only heard her name.” Did you say that to the prosecution?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: [references another document] Did you also say: “Witness only met Adama Cut Hand for the first time when they entered Freetown. He heard her name but had never seen her before this time.”

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Counsel asked about Superman – whether you’d seen him in Koinadugu and later at Benguema?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You denied that you had not met Superman before, neither at Benguema nor at Koinadugu?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Did you make corrections about this to the prosecution?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: [references document] This is from April 2008. “Witness never saw Superman as stated. He had only heard about Superman before but had never seen or met him.” Did you say that?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: That’s all for the prosecution.

Judge Doherty: Mr. Witness, I have one question. On more than one occasion when answering questions, you said “they said that the things we went through, we should not recall them again”. Who is “they”?

Wit: Because I didn’t have confidence in what they were asking, I was afraid. The police officer interviewing me said that I should not be afraid – that they were fighting to make sure that it would not happen again what had happened to our country.

Judge Doherty thanks the witness for his evidence and excuses him. The blinds to the public gallery are briefly lowered to block public view of the protected witness leaving the stand.

Prosecutor Julia Bailey calls the next witness, TF1-215.

Pros: The witness will testify in Krio. He has been granted protective measures by the chamber – use of a pseudonym and a screen during his testimony. He was categorized as a category 1 witness, as an ordinary fact witness.

Judge Doherty: There are three sub-categories within category one.

Pros: He’s not in one of those sub-categories. He’s just an ordinary fact witness. [references chamber’s decision on witness protection measures]

Judge Doherty: I have been unable to ascertain a list of witnesses to which this decision relates. It’s not so easy to check these things without an annex or list.

Pros: I’ve received instructions that the witness was a category 1 witness.

Judge Sebutinde: You don’t have a list?

Pros: I don’t have a list myself.

Judge Sebutinde: Are you saying the prosecution does not have a list of witnesses to which that decision applies?

Pros: Let me seek clarification on that point. [prosecution team confers] In April 2004, a list was filed with the trial chamber 1 with 266 witness listed. The trial chamber requested more detail and a categorization.

Judge Sebutinde: It would assist the trial chamber to provide us with such a list. We cannot just take everybody’s word for it. How soon can we get this list?

Pros: It’s a very large document. It can be printed and the case manager is doing that now.

Defense Counsel Morris Anyah: I wish to make an application that these measures be rescinded. We were disclosed a DVD about this witness. I believe it’s a public video from the Open Society. This was disclosed in March 2007. It has been stated that the protection measures were in 2004. The video, I believe, is a public document. I’m being intentionally vague in order not to disclose the date of publication and the entity from which it came. The witness does say in his statement that he did appear in the video. I respect to the July 2004 decision, it’s been four years. The events in question occurred in the late 1990s. We’re talking now about events that happened ten years ago. People’s faces change over ten years, people have moved. The continued viability of these requests and measures should be revisited. The prosecution should have to show the necessity for continuation of these measures.

Pros: This is not a timely application by the defense. It is one thing for the prosecution to request the lifting of protective measures for its witnesses, but it is quite a different thing for the defense to ask at the last minute that protective measures be lifted. Secondly, there is a video in evidence, but it does not show in any way that the person shown in the video is to be a witness in the proceedings. Thirdly, as recently as January 10 this year, your Honors decided that you were satisfied that potential threats to the security of witnesses do exist. This witness does hold fears for himself and his family.

Def: Can she give me the reference number to the decision?

Judge Doherty: Do not refer to counsel as “she”.

Def: I apologize.

Pros: [provides decision number]

Judge Doherty: We will consider the application.

[Judges confer for several minutes.]

Judge Doherty: The bench requires this list before we consider this application. We will take an early break while the prosecution gets the documents together. We have also been informed by our senior legal officer that according to WVS, the next two witnesses would like an officer from WVS to accompany them in court. We would like clarification.

Pros: I’m told that witness 026 did have accompaniment when she testified a few months ago.

Judge Doherty: We would still like clarification. Has there been an application?

Pros: This is the first we’ve heard of the witnesses’ request.

Judge Doherty: We will adjourn until 12:00, or if we have not deliberated, we will inform the parties.

11:25 (11:55 with the delay in video and audio): Court adjourns for the mid-morning break.