5:00 An upset protected witness takes the stand

4:12 (4:42 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in session following an adjournment to allow a technician to set up voice distortion for the next witness.

Judge Doherty: I see there’s no witness in the box although the voice distortion has been set up. Ms. Alagendra, what’s the situation?

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra: I don’t know myself.

Court officer: The witness is experiencing some difficulties and would like some time to compose herself. We’ve been informed by the Witness and Victims Section that she’s upset and needs some time to calm down. It should be just a few minutes more.

Judge Doherty: Is there a backup witness available?

Pros: There will be a back-up witness tomorrow, but there’s none for today.

Judge Doherty: Perhaps we could ask that the witness’s present condition be checked.

[brief pause]

Court officer: The witness is now being brought in. She will be supported by a staff member of the Witness and Victims Section.

Judge Doherty: We will close the curtains to the public gallery while the witness is brought in.

Defense Counsel Morris Anyah: I will be examining this witness on behalf of the defense. I don’t know if the prosecution made an application for the support staff to sit with the witness.

Pros: I’m not able to comment on the issue of the support staff. It was not the prosecution that brought it to the attention of the court. I’m in the court’s hands.

Court officer: My recollection of the discussion on November 28, during the trial management meeting, is that it was agreed that WVS staff would not sit in the court all the time, as is the practice in Freetown. But where the witness requires support, the WVS staff member would sit at the Registry bench. The prosecution and defense agreed to this procedure, and I haven’t received anything contrary to that.

Judge Doherty: Mr. Anyah, you’ve heard that there’s no application for the support staff to sit next to the witness.

Def: If no application has been made, then there’s no issue before the court.

Judge Doherty: Good afternoon witness. I hope you’re feeling better now.

Wit: No.

Judge Doherty: You cannot be seen by anyone outside the court. I hope that helps you feel a little better.

The witness swears on the Koran to tell the truth.

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra will examine witness TF1-028:

Pros: I’m going to ask you a few questions, and I’m going to ask that you answer the questions slowly. Can you tell the court when you were born?

Wit: I was born in 1965.

Pros: Do you know how old you are now?

Wit: Yes. 42 years.

Pros: Which country do you come from?

Wit: Sierra Leone.

Pros: Your ethnicity?

Wit: Mandinka.

Pros: What languages do you speak?

Wit: Krio, Mandinka and Timene.

Pros: Are you married?

Wit: I’m separated from my husband.

Pros: Do you have children?

Wit: Yes. Four biological children, and three from my late brother.

Pros: Have you been to school?

Wit: No.

Pros: Can you read or write?

Wit: No.

Pros: What do you do for a living?

Wit: Petty trading and farming.

Pros: Do you remember 1998?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Did anything happen that year?

Wit: Yes. During the intervention, my people moved from Freetown and came to Karina. When my people left Freetown, in three days time the juntas entered Karina.

Pros: You’ve told the court that in 1998 there was an intervention. What do you mean?

Wit: It was the time Tejan-Kabbah was overthrown. He was moved from another country to come to Sierra Leone. It was the time Tejan-Kabbah was returned to Sierra Leone together with ECOMOG. Many people left Freetown and went to Karina.

Pros: Did anything happen in Karina?

Wit: Yes. The junta went to the town in the morning hours. In the evening, they came to the town at about nine at night.

Pros: Who is the junta?

Wit: The soldiers.

Judge Sebutinde: Is the assumption that the witness also went to Karina?

Pros: Where were you during the time of the intervention?

Wit: Karina.

Pros: What soldiers are you referring to in Karina?

Wit: Some had combat, some had civilian clothing.

Pros: Did they belong to any group?

Wit: At that time I was unable to tell who their leader was. We only saw them with guns.

Pros: What happened when they came?

Wit: They started beating people in the town. My elder brother was beaten and his foot broken. They sprinkled plastic on his body.

Pros: Were there others beaten apart from your brother? Don’t mention names.

Wit: His child was also beaten. He was about 12 years old.

Pros: I note that there’s one minute left and she may go into substantial detail at this point.

Judge Doherty: We note the time and will adjourn.

4:30 (5:00 with delay in video and audio): Court adjourns until 9:30 tomorrow morning.