July 7, 2008, 12:00 session: Cross examination of TF1-567 continues in open session

Prosecution asks for a series of photographs to be marked for identification.

Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths shows witness a map (S-19) and confirms the witness’s background that he is from the Mende tribe and born in Pentembu.  The witness does not know if this tribe is also located Liberia, though Griffiths pushes whether the witness had relatives in Liberia.  The witness went to school in Kenima and testified that there too he was surrounded by membes of the Mende tribe.  The Defense is trying to establish the physical boundaries of where the Mende lived. 

The witness was captured by the RUF while in Pentembu in 1991 and described his training while in captivity and when he became a guard for Foday Sankoh’s mansion.  The Defense asked a series of questions trying to establish whether the was captured against his will or whether he wanted to be part of the RUF.

The witness was captured at age 16, and was appointed to a mansion guard and then as Foday Sankoh’s bodyguard in august 1991.  Griffiths posed through his questioning doubt whether the witness really had issues with being a member of the RUF and asked how someone who was initially forced against his will to join the RUF could in a couple of months be appointed as and trusted enough to be a bodyguard? How could someone so reluctant gain so much trust? The witness responded that he did not leave the RUF because he was anxious that if he escaped he would be killed.  There were soldiers everywhere. 

The Witness remained Sankoh’s bodyguard until Sankoh was indicted, but that in 1992 the bodyguards were redefined as being members of the Black Guard. Defense pushed as to why he hadn’t escaped and the witness reiterated that he would have been killed.

The Black Guard was formed by Foday Sankoh.  The Witness explained that the Black Guards’ role in  the RUF was to go to the frontline to “sensitize” the combatants to the atrocities.  Soldiers were not permitted to rape, to burn houses, or to loot.  The Black Guard was responsible for reporting back to the leaders what was happening on the frontline.  Griffiths asked how this “reluctant recruit” felt in that role, how the witness could spread the ideology of RUF without being converted, and pushed the witness as to whether he felt the mission of the RUF was correct. Foday Sankoh told the witness that in his war they were not to intimidate or kill civilians, but to guard the revolution.

The witness sent reports to the leader about looting and atrocities. Witness testified that there were soldiers who raped women and burnt houses, but his duty was to send a report to the leaders to allow them to take action.  Questioning the level of discipline, the Defense asked about a specific occassion where Sam Bockarie was nearly arrested for killing a soldier who was caught raping a women.  The NPFL in Tompmanburg wanted to kill him.

RUF members who retreated from Pushahoon to Tubmanburg travelled through Liberia. Focusing on the area of the map where Sierra Leone projects into Liberia, the  Defense claimed that that part of Sierra Leone was controlled by the RUF in 1991.  Witness never had information that RUF had gone towards Guinea, but he knew that they were in control of some part of Sierra Leone. In this region both Mende and Kissies were located. Mende dominate the Kailahan district. There was a lot of trade going on in this area even during the war.

The Defense asked about looted items being traded across the border after the war broke out, but the witness only saw civilians coming in through that border claiming to be “freed” from the war and not persons trading looted items.  Although the Defense claimed there had long been the trafficking of arms and ammunition across that border, the witness testified that he only knew about arm and ammunition transactions when he joined the RUF leader Foday Sankoh.

An operation was launched to capture Kono. Sam Bockarie received this mission from Sankoh in the middle of 1992.  The Witness went with Sankoh to Kono and stayed there for 2 months.  Witness then went to Gandahu. Defense again tried to establish that there are a lot of Menday people in the area, but witness testified that he did not know the tribal makeup around Kono. Witness stayed in Gandahu until Sankoh sent a message to Mosquito (aka Sam Bockarie) that he received a message from Charles (his brother) to go to Gbarnga.  Defense tried to establish their movements where they traveled and length of time they were there. In 1991-1992 the RUF received arms supplies from Liberia, they conquered a large part of Eastern Sierra Leone, then government forces forced the RUF out of Pushahoon and they went to Tubmanburg around 1992.  At this time the only part of Sierra Leone controlled by the RUF was Kailahun province. Eventually, government forces forced the RUF to retreat to Koindu. Government forces were pushing RUF while ULIMO had cut supplies from Liberia. Therefore, from  1992-1998, the RUF was forced to fight a guerrilla war. According to the Defense, during this period the RUF depended on arms from those captured in ambushes and from trading with Guinea.  The witness could only confirm that they received arms from ambushes.

Witness says he was in Sierra Leone from 1993-1998. Defense wanted to know where he was based, witness said they were in the jungle and explained their movements.