12.30 -14.00 (with 30 mins delay in video and audio)Open session
Pros: Call witness TF1-375.
Wit: I solemnly declare that I speak the truth, the hole truth and nothing but the truth.
Pros: In my discussion with the witness he made it clear that he had a preference for a entirely closed session and request so. This is however not the opinion of the prosecution, but we have to convey the witnesses requests. The witness believes this is necessary because some of the events he will describe contain personal information which is substantive evidence. Due tot the witness’ chronological display of events, the part for which he wants to testify in private session will probably take place tomorrow. The prosecution will come back to that when applicable. The witness is afraid that even with voice distortion he will be identified due to the personal nature of the events described.
Def: We are getting concerned with the enormous amounts of requests for private sessions. Moreover, the witness testified before the court on the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th of June, last week, and did not requested such a change in the already extremely restricted status of his testimony. Furthermore, last Friday, we received 40 points and a photograph and yet another series of amendments and clarifications of evidence to study over the weekend. There is jurisprudence by Courts such as this, that it is not proper to give so much evidence without enough time for the defense to prepare.
Pros: Permission to reply.
Judge: Is it a legal reply?
Judge: Proceed but keep it short.
Pros: The motion is a motion on request of the witness. It is not the prosecutor’s request. We believe that it is important for the defense to have all the relevant documents. And when we speak about the security concerns, we have to take them seriously.
Judge: We will now entertain a brief private session for reasons of security for the witness. Witness have you heard that? This will not be broadcasted. Do you understand?
Continuation of open session
Pros: Sir, did you ever became part of the military force?
Pros: Tell us when you became involved.
Wit: It was in 1991.
Pros: What happened in 1991?
Wit: I was captured by the RUF and taken to Pademba training base.
Pros: Where were you captured?
Pros: How old where you when you were captured?
Pros: Was anyone else captured at the same time?
Wit: Yes the RUF captured a lot of people.
Pros: How long were you in Pademba?
Wit: 5 to 6 months. No it was 6 months.
Pros: Was there anyone else with you?
Wit: Yes a lot of people where there.
Pros: Can you tell us the ages of the people who were being trained there?
Wit: Yes. There were adults but also SBUs from 5 years old and older.
Pros: Where they all men, or women or mixed?
Wit: They were both men en women.
Pros: What did the training consist of?
Wit: Ideology, shooting fire weapons, many things. And physical training.
Pros: What kind of weapons where you trained in?
Wit: AK 47, RPG, GMG, a lot of different guns.
Pros: Did you have a favourite weapon and if so which?
Wit: Yes. My favourite was a GMG.
Pros: What is a GMG?
Wit: It is a very powerful machine gun. It fires rapidly and shoots 11 rounds at the same time, while an AK only fires three rounds. Normally a GMG uses 150 rounds, but I used 1500 rounds.
Pros: What do you mean with u using 1500 rounds?
Wit: The weapon was fixed at 150 rounds. We could however adjust this, so that we could use more rounds. Depending on your strength, you could use up to 15.000 rounds.
Pros: What was the nationality of the ones giving the training?
Wit: Sierra Leoneans and Liberians.
Pros: After you finished the training where were you assigned?
Wit: To Superman.
Pros: For how long?
Wit: I was there 2 to 3 years.
Pros: What were your responsibilities?
Wit: I was used as a guard and I did some domestic jobs.
Pros: Where you also involved fighting with the RUF?
Pros: Can you tell us when you fought for the first time?
Wit: The first attack was in 1992. I belonged to the SBUs. After the attack I was promoted to corporal.
Pros: SBU, what is that?
Wit: Small boy unit.
Pros: Where there any SBUs when you were in training?
Wit: I was in a Small Boys Unit, they put all the small boys together.
Pros: What where your orders during the attack?
Wit: Sankoh said that the SBUs should man the checkpoints.
Pros: What was your responsibility?
Wit: To take all government property from the civilians.
Pros: What kind of government property?
Wit: Diamonds, cameras, anything with value.
Pros: What happened when they refused?
Wit: Sometimes we shot at them. There was a man who said no I will not handover my property, you are just here to steal. Then I shot him.
Pros: Who was this man? Was he a fighter?
Wit: No he was a civilian.
Pros: What happened to the man? Did he die?
Wit: He died.
Pros: How old were you at that time?
Wit: I was 12 years old.
Pros: After that operation, was your performance reviewed by your commanders?
Wit: Yes. Superman came to the checkpoint. He saw the body, I explained what happened, he laughed and passed by.
Pros: What was Sankoh’s reaction?
Wit: They promoted all SBU commanders to corporal.
Pros: Were you a SBU commander?
Pros: What was your role as commander at the checkpoint?
Wit: I was responsible for controlling the other SBUs.
Pros: Where you the only commander?
Wit: They had a lot SBU’s and respective commanders. There were companies, squads and battalions. I was a Battalion commander.
Pros: How many SBUs had you under your command?
Wit: 62, sometimes more.
Pros: What were the ages of those under your command?
Wit: 8,6,9,10,11,12 and 17. Everyone under the age of seventeen was a SBU.
Pros: Where they mixed or did they only consist of men?
Wit: They were all boys. There were also Special Girls Units, SGUs.
Pros: Did you take notice of the 1999 elections?
Pros: Did you receive any order with regard to the elections?
Pros: Can you tell us what kind of orders?
Wit: Yes. Superman told us to go to the crossing point at the river to meet Zeno. He was in charge of the RUF. We wanted peace before the elections could took place. Some people wanted elections before peace.
Pros: What was the position of Zeno?
Wit: He was deputy rebel leader for RUF Command.
Pros: Deputy to whom?
Pros: Did you get any orders at the time of the AFRC coup d’état?
Wit: Yes, but Superman did not believe it at first. After it was confirmed a special group needed to meet the army.
Pros: Where you in that group?
Pros: What happened when you got there?
Wit: Superman met with their commander.
Pros: What was your relationship with superman?
Wit: I was the personal bodyguard to Superman at that time.
Pros: After this meeting, what was your next assignment?
Wit: We needed to go to Hastings airfield in the Western Area. The SLA occupied the airfield and we the nearby police barracks. Two days later fighting erupted with RUF and SLA fighting against ECOMOG.
Pros: What happened to you?
Wit: We fought for 7 or 8 hours before ECOMOG pushed us away from the barracks.
Pros: What were your next orders?
Wit: They told us to retake Hastings airfield.
Pros: After going to Hasting what exactly happened?
Wit: We went to Hastings, but ECOMOG was not present.
Pros: Where was Superman at that time?
Wit: Superman was in Freetown.
Pros: How long did you stay there?
Wit: A long while, until we were flushed out by ECOMOG.
Pros: Did you get any assignments from Superman after that?
Pros: What was the assignment?
Wit: Superman told us to go to meet Sam Bockarie in Kenema to collect ammunition. But when we arrived, Bockarie told us that the ammunition was not there yet. He gave us a car and we went to meet a man named Jungle. Jungle offloaded the ammunition and joined us to meet Sam Bockarie. We gave some of the ammunition to Bockarie and brought the rest to Superman.
Pros: What type of ammunition was it?
Wit: GMG rounds, AK 47 rounds and RPG rockets.
Pros: Who was Jungle?
Wit: Jungle was in the SSS in Libera. He was a bodyguard to President Taylor, part of the Close Protection Unit.
Pros: Was this the first time you met him?
Pros: Did you get to know better him later on?
Wit: Yes, he became my best friend. He was like a older brother to me I was with him until his death.
Pros: How did he get the ammunition?
Wit: The first time we met, we did not discuss this. Later he told me that he crossed the border regularly to transfer ammunition from Taylor to Bockarie.
Pros: Jungle took ammunition to Sierra Leone, but what did he take back to Liberia.
Wit: He gave ammunition to Bockarie and something in return to Taylor.
Def: I think something is missing because the witness is talking extremely fast.
Jud: Mr witness, everything you tell us is new. We are listening very carefully. Could you please talk slowly?
Wit: Jungle was complaining about Sam Bockarie having sidelined us in the deals. I used to tell him to take care and that everything would be fine. I told Jungle, what goes around comes around.
Pros: You are talking too fast witness. Nobody can possibly keep up with you. You disregard everything the judge just asked you.
Pros: What was Bockarie doing at that time in Kenema?
Wit: Bockarie was supporting mining in Tongo.
Pros: How did you know about the mining?
Wit: Because I had personal friends who went there.
Jud: Why are you talking so fast? We are not playing games, this is a court of law. I am signalling with my hands to slow down all the time. Please try to slow down.
Pros: It would be best if you tried to pause after every sentence. Who was doing the physical mining?
Wit: The civilians were mining for the government.
Pros: Were there any security force near the mines?
Wit: Yes, they told me that there were SBU’s guarding the mining site.
Pros: Where were you at the time of the intervention?
Wit: I was at Waterloo
Pros: What was your assignment?
Wit: I was assigned to the frontline.
Pros: What happened?
Wit: ECOMOG attacked us from Hastings at Waterloo. Our job was to protect the route for our fleeing forces from Freetown.
Pros: What orders did you receive afterwards?
Wit: The commanders initiated operation “Pay Yourself”. Which meant that everyone should take everything they needed for our retreat into the jungle.
Pros: Was this ordered passed to anyone?
Wit: Yes to everybody.
Pros: What actually meant that everybody should take what they needed?
Wit: We looted everything we wanted to use in the bush.
Pros: What happened if the persons did not want to give up their property?
Wit: Some people resisted, but we killed them.
Pros: How long did operation “Pay Yourself” continued?
Wit: Until we got to Kono.
Judge: We are up to lunchtime break.