Direct Examination of Former Child Soldier Completed, Cross-examination Begins

May 5, 2008

2:30 (3:00 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in session.  Please note that the following is not a transcript.

Prosecutor Mohammad Bangura continues questioning former child soldier, TF1-143.

Problems with video

Pros: You said that there was a group, Red Lion?

wit: Yes.

Pros: SAJ Musa group was a group, that was the AFRC?

wit: Yes, AFRC and RUF were mixed.

Pros: When you left Colonel Eddietown, you said you were heading for Freetown, where was, where did you go next?

wit: We went past through some villages, in the morning we entered into the forest where we were for the whole day, and at night we moved.

Pros: Where did you end up? What big town?

wit: The other town we got to I don’t know its name, we fought there too with some soldiers, they told us to wait, we were waiting in a  village, until after fighting ceased.

Pros: Remember any names of towns?

wit: No, that was my first time to go to those areas, I didn’t know those areas, because we were doing those travels at night.

Pros: When did you get to Freetown?

wit: When we came we got to Baguima at night, it was there that my boss told me we almost arrived in Freetown, he said that is where the soldiers were trained, closed to Freetown.

Pros: Which soldiers did your boss tell you about?

wit: That was the soldiers in Freetown, who were in the town, the Sierra Leone soldiers.

Pros: What happened when you got to Banguima?

wit: They were looting ammunition, they said it would be risky for us to enter the barracks because some bombs were exploding.

Pros: Who is they?

wit: Our group, the red lion group and SAJ Musa’s group together.

Pros: Who was already in the barracks? Who is the “they”?

wit: That is the advanced team that is ahead, that is…some fighters that had gone ahead.

Pros: They told you at the gate, who was at the gate including yourself?

wit: We together with women and small boys and girls, Kabilia[?] came together with Kombah [?] and Mohhamed and stopped us from going into the barracks, and he asked me to carry the ammunition.

Pros: why did they ask you to stop?

wit: I asked them why can’t we enter, and he said, they have looted the ammunition and they have set fire to the remaining ones, a bomb exploded.

Pros: At that moment?

wit: at that time I saw him being brought and I followed them, I was behind those carrying the hammock and they took us to another place.

Pros: Carrying the hammock?

wit: 10 boys were ordered to take the hammock to the hill.

Pros: Where did the group go that was carrying SAJ Musa in the hammock?

wit: We used the main road, and entered in to the forest.

Pros: Anything happen in the forest?

wit: We went into the forest and Kabilah told me to wait he put me in a place where people were resting in the forest so the boys took SAJ Musa up to the hill, they told them to go back they attempted to treat him, and Kabilah told us that Saj had died, and Kabilah asked us to stay there until dark.  In the afternoon they dug a grave and they asked a captured priest to pray.

Pros: Were you there when this happened, when the priest prayed?

wit: After the burial it was explained to me by my boss, Kabilah, after SAJ Musa had died, priest prayed and 05 and Gullit gave an order for  a sacrifice for us to perform so that our mission will be successful. The lady should be buried alive next to Saj Musa.

Pros: This was info from Kabilah?

wit: Yes.

Pros: What happened after the burial?

wit: After burial in the evening when it was getting to dusk we were asked to come out of bush to head for Freetown and we came to Waterloo junction and headed for Freetown.

Pros: Were you all in one group?

wit: All of us left the forest, we are in the same group, we made houses on fire, we looted shops.

Pros: which group?

wit: It was the same group that was up the hill, when we were going to Freetown we were going into shops and looting and stole drink to sustain our lives.

Pros: who was leader of your group after Saj Musa died?

wit: 05 and Gullit.

Pros: When you entered Freetown where did you go?

wit: We went to Allentown, that is where I stopped because  I was unwell, I joined a group where Adama cuthand was, at that time I didn’t know her before, some of the boys she had, they said this is Kabilah’s boy, and they took me to the house, I didn’t know the group that she was part of .

Pros: had you heard the name before?

wit: No.

Pros: The group that came to Freetown included the Red Lion.

wit: Yes.

Pros: Who was in this group the Red Lion?

wit: It was Gullit, and some other names I don’t recall.

Pros: you mentioned Liberian soldiers right?

wit: yes.

Pros: Do you know the group?

wit: They were part of the RUF group.

Pros: You said that you stayed in Allentown, what about the rest of the group?

wit: they gone ahead into Freetown, I did not go with them because I was not well, my feet were swollen.

Pros: You stayed with Adama Cuthand?

wit: She gave me medicine and I took those, she said, I should not be at home, I should be in the patrols.  In the mornings where she was based, that is the way to Freetown off the main highway

Pros: do you know what part of Freetown Fomex is?

wit: yes, that is the way to enter Freetown on the highway.

Pros: What was Adama doing at Fomex?

wit: At that time, she told me I was to be part of the patrol, I met one of her girls with an injury so I took her weapon

Pros: what was Adama doing at Fomex?

wit: that was where they were base was where she amputated arms.

Pros: does Adama cuthand have any meaning?

wit: her group was to amputate arms

Pros: Did you witness this activity at her base, amputation of arms?

wit: Yes, when we came and I took weapon from girl, I met some arms she amputated and there was blood on the ground and machetes, and she asked the men, my boys have brought you, I am the doctor and the Tailor at the same time, you need to give me the style you want, so she ordered the boys to hold onto the men’s arms and one amputated on the wrist other on the elbow, and she took them to Pakaba [?] and they will get arms.

Pros: She was the doctor and the tailor?

wit: No, she said she was the tailor not the doctor.

Pros: did she say what she meant?

wit: She said, short sleeve-amputate around the wrist, or at elbow.  Short sleeve elbow and long sleeve is amputate at the wrist.

Pros: you said that you took a weapon from one of the girls who was with Adama cuthand, what kind of weapon?

wit: the weapon has two handles, I don’t know the name of the weapon

Judge: The witness mentioned the name of the girl?


Pros: you explained about long and short sleeve meant, can you say again for the court?

wit: Adamasaid, being tailor meant, that long sleeve meant cut hand at elbow, short sleeve at the wrist.

Pros: asked for this again.

judge: Let him lift his hand higher

Pros: Can you demonstrate to the court what was long sleeve and short sleeve?

wit: Ok, well, short sleeve that was to amputate at the elbow, long sleeve was down at the wrist.

Pros: did you get involved in any activity with Adama cuthand?

wit: yes.

Pros: What did you engage in?

wit: she ordered us, we should loot anyone who made comment against us, we take that person to her, so we went to Keesey (sp?) we went to a shop, we met two men.

Pros: Who were your boys? Her boys belonging to Adama?

wit: yes

Pros: How many of you were with the group?

wit:  We were many, about 8.

Pros: what happened at keesey?

wit: when we got there the shop we went to loot we met two men there and when we went, we were about to take anything from the shop and loading them into the vehicle, and the man said “they are taking our stuff,” and I told him that Adama said if anyone says anything we take them to Adama. So when we got to Adama I said, these are the ones that resisted, and she said she was the taylor, and they started crying because they saw amputated arms.

Pros: lets go back to adama cuthand asks if they want short or long sleeve, what happened?

wit: when she asked them they did not respond, so she ordered one of the boys to hold onto one of the man’s hands and put it down and one of the right hand amputated at wrist, and left hand at the elbow. From there, they were crying and she told them to go to Pakaba so they can get hands.

Pros: Did you take part?

wit: Yes, I with other boys took a patrol on our own. We left Fomex.

Pros: When hands were being amputated, did you take part in any of that activity?

wit: I held my weapon and pointed it at them.

Pros: After that you said you went with another boy to Portee?

wit: after the incident, Adama ordered us to move to Portee, so we took our own patrol

Pros: Portee?

Pros: so where did you go to?

wit: to Kiseey market, we went to a shop and we knocked and no one opened, so I used the bayonette and pried open the door.

Pros: Does the gun have a name?

wit: AK 47

Pros: So what did you do?

wit: We used force to open the door, when we entered we met two men, and we said you pretended you were not here… He said these words, and I said, you were in here and we were knocking, and the other boy said, that hand that you refused to open the door lets amputate them, so I took them outside and took the Machete and told him to step on the hand of the other man and I hacked it three times and it was cut off.

Pros: What part of the hand?

wit: the left hand, down at the wrist, after that, we took the other one outside too, and I amputated that one at the elbow.

Pros: As you amputated hands of these men did they say anything?

wit: they were crying, they were saying, we just took what we wanted.

Pros: did you take part in further activities after this?

wit: From there we left, we had heavy firing we went through Allentown, and we met Adama and she said to run away, and I hid in a mosque.

Pros: how long were you hiding?

wit: I was there for 3 days.

Pros: Did anything happen after three days?

wit: I was there when the Imam came, I thought he came to clean and he invited the Nigerian soldiers, and they took me out.

Pros: what happened?

wit: when they arrested me they took off my cloths and they saw the RUF marks on my chest and they wanted to kill me, and SSD said I should be interviewed first, Sierra Leone police.

Pros: you said someone said you should be interview?

wit: I was interviewed, the man asked me for my name, and he asked me where I was born and asked for my mother’s name and he called the Nigerians and he said, this boy was captured from my village, I know his family, he is the son of my sister, his brother is here.  And he said he would locate my family. I was relieved when he located my brother and I was rescued from them.

Pros: After this did you go anywhere?

wit: yes, my brother came and took me to the hospital, I had serious pain in my stomach, I was treated and from there he called my mother, he told my mom, and my father came and took me from that brother of mine

Pros: You mentioned that you were marked on the chest, RUF, do you still have that marking on your chest?

wit: No, when I was at my father’s place, there was anNGOthat came and removed the writing with an operation. Done at Lungi.

Pros: During your meeting with the prosecution team, did you show them, after the operation what appeared on your chest? After the operation, do you have any marks on your chest?

wit: yes, the scar is still there, when the operation was done at my chest and I showed the prosecution, they took a picture.

Pros: Showing photographs of scars, do you see the photo?

wit: yes

Pros: Do you recognize it?

wit: It is the scar on my chest.

Pros: Was this taken by the prosecution?

wit: yes.

Pros: Admit this document into evidence as an exhibit.

Pros: Mr. Witness, you mentioned that you went back to school, is that correct?

wit: yes

judge: I don’t recall the witness saying that, sorry you are correct.

Pros: did you bare this mark when you went to school? When did you go back to school? When did you go to school?

Def: Objection: Are they relevant?

Pros: when did you go back to school?

wit: in 2000, I returned to my father at the time.

Pros: at time you went back to school had you had the operation done on your chest?

wit: I had it, it was removed later.

Pros: As a boy going to school with this mark, did you have concerns?

wit: Yes, because I would button up so  no one would see it.

Pros: Would you take part in physical activities where you would have to take off your cloths?

wit: No at that time, I did not take part in anything, because I feared for the mark on my chest, because if I had done so, my friends would not like me

Defense: objection, if this is relevant, I would expect that prosecution would provide the defense with statement in advance, we have no information on the impact on him, it must be obvious to anyone what the impact must be.  So is it relevant? If it is to be led, then it is surprising then it should have been disclosed.

Pros: we are dealing with the witnesses feelings about the way the treatment he got impacted his life afterwards.

Judge: majority view is that the question is relevant.

Pros:  I take you back to a point that came up earlier, you tried to ask questions about the age of the girl that was raped by Komba, and your first answer was that this girl was about your height. When you talked about the girls height, what did you mean?

wit: That one, I didn’t know her age, but I knew her height.

Pros: what did you mean by height?

wit: she was my height, but she was a little fat, I couldn’t tell if she was older or younger.

Pros: I also asked about the ages of boys trained with you, and you said you went to schools together, what did you mean?

wit: Some of the boys who were all captured in the villages were in the same school and same class and same age group.

Pros: Asks to confer. That is the end of the examination of the witness.

Def: In some jurisdictions there are victim impact statements, it is very common when that is regarded as relevant. In those circumstances I would invite the court to order the prosecution to serve such statements on the defense.

Pros: This goes behind the ruling.

Defense: This evidence is prejudicial and if it will be submitted with other evidence it should be given to us in advance.

Judges: are you aware of any international tribunals where victim impact statements are ordered to be circulated or disclosed?

Def: I’m working on the basis of what I see and hear in this court today, if this court rules that this evidence is relevant, then all evidence must be disclosed to the defense. This court ruled this evidence can be given, so I would, on that basis, that this decision of the court constitutes jurisprudence for these purposes. In England and Wales there is a practice of victim impact statements, usually after conviction, but sometimes during the course of evidence when a person is pleading guilty, but that is always disclosed in advance as a written statement. England and Wales are modelled on the US jurisdiction. I need to do further research for the court.

Judges: conferring

Def: The next witness coming up, we have a victim impact statement disclosed for him.

Judges: The provisions of rules of evidence, provides that all evidence must be disclosed to the defense, but chambers may apply rules for a fair trial, the rules do not distinguish between evidence and impact statements. The intent is full disclosure. Notwithstanding that broad provision, by majority we rule that evidence was relevant, and we are not prepared to order disclosure of victim impact statements.

Cross Examination Begins:

Def: you mentioned a number of times, the red lion group. Who made up that group? Who was a member of the Red Lion group?

Wit: well, the ones I knew of were junior  lion, Gullit and name  [cant decipher)

def: when did you hear them referred to ask red lion?

wit: well, it was when we got to konalida town?

def: so early 1999? pr late 1998?

wit: well, I can’t recall that time now

Def: A little before the invasion of Freetown, correct?

wit: yes.

def: You knew them as red lion from then on

wit: Yes.

def: Did you tell the Prosecution from 2003 until last month that this was a group called Red Lion group?

wit: They did not ask about the name of the groups, they only asked me about the group I was attached to which was the AFRC group and RUF group.

Def: They asked a lot of question over a period of years?

wit: Yes, they asked me those questions, they asked me about the one I spoke about

Def: When they first started asking you questions, did they ask you to tell theme the story from time captured until you were rescued in Allentown?

wit: well, the time they interviewed me, at that time, I had some fear, I thought there was a problem, so I didn’t have confidence to tell them most of the things I took part in.

Def: You were first interviewed in April 2003, does that sound about right?

wit: Yes, that was the first time they went to me.

Def: Next time was December 9, 2004, is that right?

Wit: yes

Def: next time was June 10, 2005

Wit: yes.

Def: Fourth interview Dec 7, 2007, is that right?

Wit: yes.

Def: Last time was on the 16-18 of April 2008, right?

Wit: yes.

Def: In each of those interviews you were asked about events at Colonol Eddietown?

wit: Go over that question?

Def: You were asked in those interviews about what happened on your way to Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Do you agree that you never once mentioned the name Red Lion anything in any of those interviews?

Wit: Because I was not asked about the group we met

Def: Why was it that you used that expression today “Red Lion Group”?

Wit: The boy who was junior lions own boy said that their own group was the Red Lion group.

Def: Why was it that you told us today that this was a Red Lion, why hadn’t you told the Prosecution before that they were called Red Lion?

Pros: Objection-double complex question

Def: Why is it that you have been telling the court today that this group of people was called the Red Lion Group but you never told the Prosecution that before?

Wit: The time they asked me about the group, I said I met the Junior lions group, I already told them I was attached to AFRC and that was Saj Musa’s group

Def: But why not tell them that this group is called Red Lion group?

Wit: They did not ask me too much about that group, they only asked me about commanders that we met.

Def: You told them more then the name of commanders, you were in a AFRCgroup mixed with RUF, so telling them more then just names?

Wit: yes.

Def: Has somebody asked you to use the name red lion group when giving your evidence in this court?

Wit: I have not had such a discussion with anybody, the boy I told you about was the junior lions boy, and he told me he was attached to the Red Lion Group.

Def: So why not tell the prosecution that?

Wit: At that time I didn’t recall everything, but as I sit here I recall the names.

Def: You were asked a lot of questions about group at Colonel Eddietown over the last few years?

Wit: They only asked me about how many groups I met.

Def: so each time discussed this with Pros you forgot to tell them tha5tt the group called itself the red lion group?

Wit: yes.

Def: it is just by chance that you are remembering to call that today in evidence?

Wit: Nobody told me to use that name. That is the name we were called.

Def: Are you saying that now, in May 2008, your memory has improved from April 2003?

Wit: At that time I was almost forgetting some of the things that happened in the past, but as the interviews went on I started recalling more of the events.

Def: Is it right to say there were no Liberians in the red  lion group?

Wit: No.

Def: There were no Liberians in the Red Lion Group?

Wit: Well, that group was a mixed group. They were the RUF, some of them did not speak the same creole, so they were mixed and we all headed towards Freetown.

Def: Which group were you in?

Wit: I was is Saj Musa’s group, not in red lion.

Def: So you can’t say if there were any Liberians in the Red Lion group can you?

Wit: Well, when we left colonel Eddietown, they were mixed with us, most of them spoke a different language and they had on red bands, so that is how we defined them the red lion group. My boss told me that those that did not speak the same creole were all Liberians.

Def: Why have you never mentioned before that they were the red lion group?

Wit: I have made it clear to you that, the time they used to go and interview me, they didn’t ask me about the two different group we met.

DEf: But you told me a few minutes ago that you didn’t only tell me about the names?

Wit: I told them about commanders at colonel Eddietown, and I was attached to Saj Musa’s group, and that is the group I knew about.

Def: Did you tell them about body guards at colonel EddieTown?

Wit: I did not tell them about body guards, I only told them about names, I recalled four of the names, boys that were bodyguards.

Def: So you did tell them about bodyguards, not just commanders, do you agree?

Wit: Go over that.

Def: Three weeks ago, when you were interviewed over 3 days, were you interviewed here in teh Hague?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And you gave them information about what went on in colonel Eddietown?

Wit: Yes

def: And you gave them the names of body guards?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Who were the body guards?

Wit: When we got to Colonel Eddietown, the body guards we met, junior lions body guards [cant decipher names]

Def: And the prosecution wouldn’t know what the groups were called unless you told them, right?

Wit: I told them.

Def: So they had to rely on you, who was in the groups and what they were called?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So why didn’t you tell them just three weeks ago this information, that they were called red Lion group?

Wit: I did not tell them they are called Red Lion Group, I said Junior Lions group.

Def: why didn’t you tell the Prosecutor that in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008?

Wit: This…at that time I did not recall most of the things that happened a long time ago.

Def: While you’ve been here, have you been staying with other witnesses

wit: No, the place where I live there are only workers and security, when I want to eat or to watch games I go with him.

Def: go with who?

Wit: I said the security who lives with me in my apartment.

Def: Have you learned of any of the evidence that has been given in this case before you came today?

Wit: No.

Def: Are you sure?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You told us a lot of detail about training in the use of weapon that was too heavy to carry, had you previously told the prosecution that it was too heavy?

Wit: yes.

Def: had you told prosecution that person training you had ammunition around his neck?

Wit: I told them that.

Def: when you told them these things were they written down in your presence?

Wit: They wrote it down.

Def: But I have not seen in any written accounts what you have been telling the prosecution, correct me if I am wrong. Is it the case that in your discussion with the Prosecution before giving evidence you have talked to the prosecution about naming that group the Red Lion group?

Wit: Because when I came, I just read over my statements, I did not tell them about that.

Def: did you notice that there was nothing in there about the gun being too heavy and the ammunition about his neck?

Wit: I only told them that the one who captured me, the gun he had, I didn’t know the name of the gun, and that the chain was connected to the gun

DEf: you told them and they wrote it down?

Wit: yes.

Def: Did they read back to you what they had written down for you to check?

Wit: They read it back to me, but as I sit here today, I have taken an oath on the bible and I say the truth.

Def: Do you remember the day you told them about the ammunition around the man’s neck and the heavy weight, do you remember that didn’t appear in notes read back to you?

Wit: No. I did not tell them about that.

Def: When did you tell the Prosecution all of that? 2003? 2004? 2005? 2007? 2008?

Wit: 2007.

Def: We’ve been given the notes about what you said to the Pros, and as far as I can see, there is no such information in there, so they must have failed to record that?

Wit: Maybe, the person who interpreted for him failed to tell him what I said. But the person who had the heavy gun was advised not to make me carry it because it was too heavy.

Def: none of that is in the written notes, do you understand?

Wit: The gun that was heavy was in the notes, and they read it to me.

DEf: Do you know how Saj Musa came to die?

Wit: When we got to Banguima it was my boss who approached me and told me that a bomb had exploded, and I saw him in the hammock and we followed him up the hill. My boss told me that Saj is dead.

Def: You were not present when Sajreceived the injuries that lead to his death?

Wit: Look at the gates and look at the ammunition and you will see where the bomb exploded, I saw it live when the bomb exploded.

Def: You were present?

Wit: I was not too far away from the place.

Def: Do you remember telling the Prosecution in the first interview with them April 7, 2003, that you were present when the bomb exploded and killed Saj Musa?

Wit: The bomb did not kill him that moment, I was not far from there,

Judge: Do you remember telling the prosecution?

Wit: Go over the question.

DEf: Do you remember in the first interview that you were present when the bomb exploded that subsequently killed Saj Musa?

Wit: during the first interview I told them that it was not far away. I told them that I stood there and I saw when the bomb exploded,

Def: Do you remember telling prosecution later that you were not present? But that Kabillahtold you about the incident that lead to his death?

WIt: When he died, I went up the hill. Kabilah told us that he was dead. But at the time the bomb hit him, he didn’t die at that moment.

def: do you remember telling prosecution that Kabillah told you what happened to Musa?

Wit: I told them that Kabillah took him and that bomb exploded and hit Saj Musa

Def: So first version you gave about being present, and then later you said Kabillah told to you?

Wit: I made this clear for you. In 2003, I had some fear in me because they said I was from special court. But in 2006-2007, that i started saying some of these things.

DEf: Why would you tell them you were present when Musa was killed when you weren’t because you had fear?

Wit: Because, even when I told my mother she told me I shouldn’t, she thought it was something bad. It was later when they explained the court, they explain everything, that was when my mother accepted and had confidence.

Def: We are almost at the end, but I want to put his to you. Why did you tell them in 2003 that you were present, and then in 2008 you told them you were not present when the explosion occurred, but that your account of events was from Kabbilah?

Wit: The reason why I said I was present, was because it was close to where I was standing. We were standing just outside the gates.

Def: Why did you say you were not present?

Wit: That question, I told him I was not present, in that it was not in my face, I told them I stood close by to where it occurred.

Judge: We will adjourn now. We will finish the court for today and we will start tomorrow at 9:30. You may not discuss your evidence with anyone else.