12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in session following the mid-morning break.
Prosecutor Julia Bailey: This witness has agreed to testify openly. Previously he has been granted a pseudonym, TF1-571. We apply for that to be rescinded.
Defense Counsel Terry Munyard: We have no objection to the application.
Judge Teresa Doherty: The application is granted.
Pros: I’d ask that the witness be brought in now. He will testify in Krio.
Witness enters – a very tall man, wearing jeans, a blue-green shirt, and pink jacket. He swears on the Koran to tell the truth.
Through a series of brief questions and answers, the witness relates the following.
Wit: My name is Karmoh Kanneh. I was born on January 1, 1968. I am known by the nickname that they used to call me by: Eagle. This was given to me during the war. Before the war they used to call me Owova (ph). I was born at Ngegbwema, Kenema district, Sierra Leone. I’m a Mende. I left school in 1980 after class six. I speak Mende and Krio. I do not speak or read English. I cannot read maps. In early 1991, I was mining in Zimmi Magbele (ph). I was mining diamonds for my father. I stopped mining when the war entered in Sierra Leone. The war reached me in Zimmi. I had to run away to my village, Ngegbwema. I was in my village when the rebels attacked our village. The rebels came from Liberia. Their group name was rebels.
Pros: What did they do?
Wit: They started shooting all around. Most of our colleagues escaped, but some of us were captured.
Pros: How many of you were captured?
Wit: Myself plus 16 others.
Pros: What were the sexes of the other 16?
Wit: All of us who were captured were men.
Pros: What ages were you?
Wit: There were two among us who had about 10 years of age. The others were above 23 years of age.
Pros: Describe what you mean by captured. What happened?
Wit: Those of us they met, they assembled us. We were the men among the women captured. They asked us to join them and said anyone attempting to escape would be killed.
Pros: Who was saying this to you?
Wit: One Man One.
Pros: What was that person’s position?
Wit: He was in control of all the rebels on the Pujehun front.
Pros: How did you know he was the leader?
Wit: He was later introduced to us as the leader.
Pros: Where was he from?
Pros: What happened after you were captured?
Wit: After some days they told us they were going to take us to the base.
Judge Sebutinde: How does he know this person was from Liberia?
Wit: He was speaking in Liberian tongue, and after I had joined them, I came to know.
Pros: Were you familiar with the Liberian tongue at that time?
Wit: Yes, their language is different. The man was a Gio. He was speaking Gio. In Sierra Leone, we do not have Gio.
Pros: You said they told you they were going to take you to the base. Did they say where it was?
Wit: Yes. Gissy Willow (ph)?
Pros: Did you go there?
Pros: Did the others also go?
Wit: We all traveled the same day.
Pros: What was at Gissy Willow?
Wit: The training base for those who entered through Pujehun.
Wit: The rebels who came from Liberian. The war entered through two fronts and that was one of them.
Pros: What did you do when you were at Gissy Willow?
Wit: They started training us.
Pros: How many people were training you?
Wit: The ones I can recall were five.
Pros: Can you name them?
Wit: Yes. P.I., J.R., Bockarie Pepeh, Chico Mayan, and Patrick Lamin. Those were the five I can recall.
Pros: P.I. – do you know where he was from?
Wit: Yes, he was from Liberia, also a Gio.
Pros: Did P.I. have another name?
Wit: That was the name we knew on the base.
Pros: Was he with any particular group within the rebels?
Pros: What group?
Pros: How did you know that?
Wit: They themselves told us that on the base. They said they were NPFL and they only came to escort.
Pros: What do you mean, they only came to escort?
Wit: They said it was Foday Sankoh who came with the war but he didn’t havej sufficient manpower. They were to assist so that afterwards they could hand the war to us.
Pros: Who told you this?
Wit: JR and PI.
Pros: Did JR have another name?
Wit: Someone called Junior is always called JR in Liberia. Junior was his real name.
Pros: Where was he from?
Wit: Liberia, a Mano.
Pros: How did you know?
Wit: They told us at the base.
Pros: You mentioned Bockerie Pepe. Where was he from?
Wit: A Liberian.
Pros: How did you know?
Wit: He hailed from Cape Mount. He told us that. He was speaking the Vai language.
Def: In the documents provided, Pepe is spelled Peppe.
Judge Doherty: Which spelling are we using?
Judge Sebutinde: What language did he speak?
Pros: You mentioned Patrick Lamin. Where was he from?
Wit: Patrick Lamin was a Sierra Leonean.
Pros: Did he belong to any group?
Wit: Yes. The RUF.
Pros: You said PI was in charge of training?
Pros: For how long were you trained there?
Wit: I spent six weeks there.
Pros: Were there other people being trained there when you arrived?
Pros: How many were there when you arrived?
Wit: They always captured people and brought them. We were up to 500.
Pros: Of both sexes or one sex?
Wit: No, we were all mixed. There were men, there were women.
Pros: What ages were you?
Wit: There were all kinds of ages, starting from 10, 14, 15, up to 30.
Pros: How many of the 500 were between 10 and 15?
Wit: About 50.
Pros: You mentioned there were two fronts of the war that came into Sierra Leone. What were the two fronts?
Wit: The first front was the first battalion that entered through Pujehun.
Pros: Where did the second front enter?
Wit: Through Kailahun district.
Pros: Back to the training. What did your training consist of?
Wit: When we first entered, they taught us about arms.
Pros: Did they teach you anything else apart from about arms?
Wit: Yes, they told us about discipline.
Pros: When you say that the current issue at hand was about arms, what do you mean?
Wit: Because it was a war. When you go to the base, the first thing they tell you is about arms. Things at the base might go wrong – so you can defend yourself.
Pros: Did the 50 between the ages of 10 and 15, did they receive the same training or different training than that you received?
Wit: No, they distributed everybody into platoons, women, adults, young ones – we all went through the same training.
Pros: Did they teach you anything in particular about fighting? Any methods?
Wit: Yes, they taught us how to lay an ambush. How to attack. How to make an area fearful.
Pros: What were you taught about making an area fearful?
Wit: When we attack a place, we capture civilians and clear them from the area. That is one.
Pros: What do you mean when you say “make an area fearful”. What is “fearful”?
Wit: At the end of the day, you will see that nobody is living in the town again. You knew that the area is fearful.
Pros: Was this term “make an area fearful” used in the training?
Wit: Yes. They taught us those things.
Pros: After you completed your training, what did you do?
Wit: They graduated us. Some of us were given arms and we were moved to Zimmi. That was the first target.
Pros: What was the purpose of going to Zimmi?
Wit: It was a road. They picked us up in a vehicle and we moved.
Pros: Why did you go to Zimmi?
Wit: They said we should go there and board the vehicle. It’s a front line. Zimmi is on the main highway. We should get vehicles.
Pros: Did you get vehicles?
Pros: Where did you go?
Pros: What did you do when you got to Gbuwabu?
Wit: We had a target: Joru. The enemies were there. Were supposed to go and attack.
Pros: Did you attack Joru?
Pros: Who was the commander?
Wit: Commander Black.
Pros: Where was Black from?
Wit: He was a Liberian. He was a Mano by tribe.
Pros: What group was he commanding?
Wit: The rebel group that entered.
Pros: Were you a part of that group?
Pros: What did you do when you went there?
Wit: We were assembled, and we went and attacked Joru.
Pros: Were you successful in attacking Joru?
Wit: No. That was our first attack. We did not make it.
Pros: Why not?
Wit: We had not yet been used to the sound of the gun, so the enemy force pushed us back to Gbuwabu. We stayed there for a month.
Pros: what did you do there?>
Wit: We kept defensive against Joru.
Pros: Who was the commander?
Wit: Commander Black.
Pros: Where did you go after a month?
Wit: The enemy came and pushed us out of Gbuwabu. We came to Ngegbwema, Tonkia Chiefdom.
Pros: Who was the enemy?
Wit: The soldiers against whom we were fighting.
Pros: Where were you pushed to again?
Wit: To Ngegbwema.
Pros: What district?
Wit: Kenema district.
Pros: Did you remain there?
Wit: we were there for two weeks. We were keeping defensive.
Pros: What happened after the two weeks was over?
Wit: We encountered another serious attack that was very heavy.
Pros: What happened as a result?
Wit: The enemy force was too heavy, so they pushed us backwards. We came to Golahun.
Pros: Where is that place?
Wit: It’s Kenema district, Tonkia chiefdom.
Pros: How long did you remain there?
Wit: We were not there for a long time. We were on the run. We were all afraid. The enemies were chasing us.
Pros: Were you chased any further by the enemies?
Wit: Yes, they attacked us at Ngegbwema. We all went to Zimmi, the main headquarters.
Pros: What did you do in Zimmi?
Wit: We met with most of the senior commanders.
Pros: Of what group?
Wit: For the rebel group that entered.
Pros: What was the name of that group?
Pros; Were you a part of that group?
Pros: Who were the senior commanders at Zimmi at this time?
Wit: Yes, some of them. One Man One was there. He was based there. C.O. Monamie was there. He was a Gambian.
Pros: Did One Man One go by another name?
Pros: Where was CO Monamie from?
Wit: He came from Gambia, but it was through Liberia that they all entered.
Pros: When you say he entered through Liberia, where did he enter?
Wit: They came through Bo Waterside and entered Sierra Leone.
Pros: You saw him at Zimmi?
Pros: Were there other senior commanders there?
Wit: I saw Mike Lamin. Those are the ones I can recall for now.
Pros: How long did you remain in Zimmi?
Wit: We spent another two weeks there.
Pros: Where did you go?
Wit: We were pushed and we went to Bo Waterside.
Pros: What did you do there?
Wit; We met with Foday Sankoh because he was based there.
Pros: What position did he hold?
Wit: He had declared himself the leader of the RUF.
Pros: You met him personally?
Wit: (laughs) No, he was based in that town. We all met him there.
Pros: What country is Bo Waterside in?
Wit: The towns are there, but Gendema is on this one side. It is the Sierra Leonean side.
Pros: You were on the Sierra Leonean side of Bo Waterside?
Pros: What happened at the meeting?
Wit: He called for formation of all the soldiers. He explained that the Liberians had disturbed his war.
Pros: Did he say what he meant by that?
Wit: Yes, he said what he told them was not what they did. They were all going in for people’s property and they did not go to the front to fight.
Pros: When he referred to “them” and “they”, who was he talking about?
Wit: The Liberians, the NPFL.
Pros: Did he say anything else about them?
Wit: He said if they wanted to go, they should go. He said we can stay and fight.
Pros: Did he say where they wanted to go?
Pros: The NPFL.
Wit: He meant Liberia, because all of them had vehicles loaded and they were crossing to Liberia.
Pros: Did he say anything more about what you should do?
Wit: Yes. He talked to us. He tried to encourage us. He asked us to be patient. It was during that formation that they decided to distribute us to various areas. We all went back.
Pros: Went back where?
Wit: I went to Wai.
Pros: Where is Wai?
Wit: Wai is in Pujehun district.
Pros: What did you do in Wai?
Wit: We went there to keep defensive whilst he was living in Bo Waterside – Foday Sankoh.
Pros: Did you keep the defensive in Wai?
Pros: How long were you there?
Wit: Up to one month.
Pros; Where did you go?
Wit: We were attacked from all fronts. They captured Bo Waterside. We ran away in Liberia. The first place we went was Teni. Then we went to Bomi Hills.
Pros: Did you remain in Bomi Hills?
Wit: We were there just a few days.
Pros: What happened while you were there?
Wit: We met One Man One there. All the senior commanders stopped there.
Pros: What happened during those few days there?
Wit: We were there when we saw Foday Sankoh and Mr. Taylor. All of them came.
Pros: How did Mr. Taylor come?
Wit: We just saw him. He was in a vehicle. He and Sankoh came.
Pros: Did they come together?
Wit: No. Sankoh first came.
Pros; Who is Mr. Taylor?
Wit: That name, Charles Ghankay Taylor, that is normally what we called him by.
Pros: Had you seen him before that time?
Pros: What did Charles Taylor do?
Wit: They called us to a formation. We were briefed. They said we shouldn’t fear. We will have to return.
Pros: Who was speaking?
Wit: He himself, Charles Taylor, was the first person who spoke. Then Sankoh spoke.
Pros; What did Taylor say?
Wit: He said he had come with armaments and materials. He said we were going to get ready and go back to Sierra Leone. He said he was going to divide the group into two.
Pros; You said Sankoh then buttressed what Taylor said. What do you mean?
Wit: The words that Taylor spoke were the same things he said. We should have courage and go back. He polished what he said.
Pros: When you refer to “he”, who are you taling about?
Pros; What do you mean, he polished what he said?
Wit: He repeated the same thing for there to be a guarantee. He said the same words.
Pros; Who polished what who said?
Wit: Ghankay spoke first, then Sankoh spoke.
Pros: Sankoh polished what had been said by Taylor?
Pros; You said Taylor said he was going to divide the group into two. Did he do that?
Pros; How many were in the group before it was divided?
Wit: We were many. I can give an account about the ones I went with.
Pros; How many people were placed into the group you were in?
Wit: When we moved to Bomi Hills, we were initially 500.
Pros: After the group was divided into two groups, you were placed into a group?
Pros: How many were in that group?
Pros: Did the group you were placed into have a name?
Pros; Who gave the group the name?
Wit: Mr. Taylor.
Pros: What was the name of the group?
Wit: Black Gaddafa.
Pros: Was someone in charge of the group?
Wit: Yes, General Pepe.
Pros: Is this the same person you referred to as Bockarie Pepe?
Wit: They are not the same people.
Pros: Where was General Pepe from?
Wit: He was an NPFL general.
Pros: Was there a person who was reporting to him in the group?
Wit: Yes, General Devon.
Pros: Where was he from?
Wit: An NPFL general.
Def: We have documents with “Peppe”.
Pros: How did he spell his name?
Pros: We accept that it’s spelled Peppe.
Pros: Were there others from Sierra Leone in Black Gaddafa?
Pros: Any commanders?
Wit: Stewart Sheriff.
Pros: What was the first name?
Wit: General Dry Peppe.
Pros: No the other one.
Wit: Stewa (ph), called Jusu Sheriff.
Judge Doherty: We don’t understand the first name.
Wit: Stewa (ph)
Pros: What was his position in Black Gaddafa?
Wit: He was between us and the NPFL. He was the commander for us who were divided when we went there – the Sierra Leoneans.
Pros: When you say for “us”, who do you mean?
Wit: The RUF.
Pros: Who did Sheriff report to?
Wit: Commander Pele Boy
Pros: The Sierra Leoneans in Black Gaddafa – were they known by particular terms?
Wit: They called us junior commandos.
Pros: What did that mean?
Wit: All of us in the first group trained in Sierra Leone – they called us junior commandos.
Pros: How do you know that Taylor gave the name Black Gaddafa to the group?
Wit: We were all in formation. We got that name in Bomi Hills.
Pros: How did you know Taylor gave the name?
Wit: We were all in formation. It was not a secret.
Pros: At the formation, did he name either of the new groups at the formation?
Wit: No, it was only the other group that was going that other end – they were given that name.
Pros; What do you mean?
Wit: The group I was part of, that was the group given the name Gaddafa?
Pros: Who gave the group the name Gaddafa?
Wit: It was from the formation, from Mr. Taylor.
Judge Sebutinde: What formation?
Wit: At Bomi Hills. The formation that was called.
Judge Sebutinde: was Taylor at Bomi Hills?
Wit: Yes. I have just spoken about that.
Pros; Were you told what the purpose of Black Gaddafa was?
Wti: They said we were to sabotage the movement of the enemy in Sierra Leone.
Pros: Who said this?
Wit: That was in Bomi Hills, we were told this. They said that was our mission. Pa Taylor and Foday Sankoh – both told us this.
Pros; What were you told to do?
Wit: They said we should set up ambushes constantly, then we should make sure we make the area fearful. We should take all the civilians from the villages.
Pros; Who said you should make the area fearful?
Wit; Mr. Taylor and Mr. Sankoh told us this.
Pros: At that stage, who was the enemy you were facing?
Wit: The Sierra Leone soldiers and ULIMO.
Pros: Did the Sierra Leone soldiers go by any name?
Wit: They were soldiers.
Pros; Were you told anything else about what you were to do as a member of the group Black Gaddafa?
Wit: That was the most important thing they told us. They told us to set ambushes and clear the villages. If there were no soldiers, we should take all civilians from that area.
Pros: What did you do after you were placed in this group?
Wit: We went to the base and started the operations we were told to do?
Pros: Where was the base?
Wit: Mano River. They called the place Congo.
Pros: Did you start the operations?
Wit: Yes. We started setting ambushes.
Pros: Where did you set them?
Wit: Between Bo Waterside and Zimmi.
Pros; What happened after you set the ambushes?
Wit: The enemies advancing fell into the ambushes and they were seriously damaged. We captured a lot of arms and ammunition from them.
Pros; What did you do then?
Wit: We withdrew to Mano River.
Pros: For how long did you remain there?
Wit: We were there for up to six months.
Pros: What year was it?
Wit: From 1992, early.
Pros; Until when?
Wit: We went there early 1992. It was the same 1992 that we were there.
Pros: When did you leave Mano River?
Wit: At the end of 1992.
Pros: Who left?
Wit: All of us who had been there.
Pros: You told us there were 250 in Black Gaddafa. Did the whole group leave Mano River at the end of 1992?
Pros: How many left?
Wit: I cannot give an estimate now. It was the RUF group that crossed.
Pros: Were you among those leaving?
Pros: Did you remain a member of Black Gaddafa?
Wti: After that six months, we did not call ourselves that anymore. The mission had been accomplished.
Pros: What exactly had been accomplished?
Wit: We were trying to have a base in Sierra Leone and thank God, during the operations we were able to get a base.
Wit: Sogbewema Chiefdom.
Pros: Where in the chiefdom?
Wit: It’s in the Pujehun district.
Pros: Was the base in any particular part of Pujehun district?
Wit: That is the name of the chiefdom and district. It was close to Zimmi.
Pros: Was it in a particular village?
Wit: No, it was the entire chiefdom, including Bo Waterside.
Pros: What was the purpose of the base?
Wit: It was not a training base. It was where we had a place to settle.
Pros: Did you settle at this base?
Wit: Yes, we settled there.
Pros: How long did you settle there?
Wit: We were in that area from 1993, 1994, 1992-1993.
Pros: Were you any particular rank?
Pros: While you were there, did you achieve any particular rank?
Pros: What were your duties?
Wit: The group were divided by areas. We were on the highway so the enemy could not penetrate.
Pros; What did you do?
Wit: We kept guard. We set ambushes on the highway.
Pros: You said you were there from 1993-1994.
Judge Sebutinde: I thought he corrected that.
Pros: When did you leave that base?
Wit: The end of December to January 1994.
Pros: January 1994 or December 1994?
Wit: December 1993, I left. I had to go to the other base in January. December 1993 was when I left. I got a call.
Pros: Where was the other base you went to?
Pros: Who did you get a call from?
Wit: Foday Sankoh.
Pros: How did you get a call?
Wit: At that time we hadn’t a communications set. He sent people to call me.
Pros: Did you go to Zogoda?
Pros: What did you do there?
Wti: We went and met Foday Sankoh.
Pros: Did Sankoh speak to you?
Pros: What did he say?
Wit: He said he was the one who invited us. He said he had a base in Zogoda. We should carry on with operations.
Pros: What did you do?
Wit: He gave me an assignment and rank.
Pros; What rank did you receive?
Wit: The first rank was Leftenant.
Pros: What assignment?
Wit: Company commander.
Pros; What company?
Wit: Company A.
Pros: How many were in Company A?
Wit: Over 200.
Pros: Who did you report to?
Wit: Directly to Foday Sankoh.
Pros: Did you commence your assignment as company commander?
Wit: Yes. I moved with the men who were given to me to the target area.
Pros: What was the target area?
Wit: Baoma Koya
Pros: What were you assigned to do there?
Wit: To clear right up to and keep defensive.
Pros: Is Baoma Koya a village?
[very brief disruption in video and audio]
1:30 (2:00 with the delay in video and audio): Court is adjourning for the lunch break.