Court Recalls Witness TF1-367: Cross-Examination Continues

12:00pm: The court recalled witness TF1-367 for cross-examination by defense counsel. It could be recalled that TF1-367 had commenced his testimony, prosecution had completed examining-in-chief, and that he was being cross-examined by defense counsel Courtney Griffiths. He was, however, asked to step aside so that the court could complete the cross-examination of TF1-375, whose cross-examination was suspended before the court went on its annual judicial recess in July 2008.

Conflicting Information on how the Witness joined the RUF.

Defense counsel took the witness through his prior testimony as to how he became a member of the RUF. Witness reiterated that he was in Kakata, Liberia when the NPFL attacked that town. He said that his brother Mike Lamin told him Sankoh was going to pay a visit to Kakata. Witness said that Sankoh indeed came and addressed a crowd of Sierra Leoneans about joining the RUF. The witness said that Sankoh later sent a truck which picked them up and took them to Camp Nama, in Liberia, where they were trained and later taken to Sierra Leone to fight. The witness said that while in Sierra Leone, he became Ground Commander for Sankoh’s Mansion and was later made Minning Commander.

Defense counsel presented the witness’s first statement to the OTP investigators in which he had stated that he was captured in Bo Gendema by RUF rebels and was taken to Zimmi for training. The witness responded that he indeed said so but he did so out of fear because when he first had contact with the Special Court officials, he was scared that he would be arrested and so he gave them the wrong information.

Witness Testified in the RUF Trial

Defense counsel asked the witness if he testified for the prosecution in the RUF trial, to which he responded that he did testify. Defense counsel also asked the witnes if he had visited the 3rd accused in the RUF trial, Augustin Gbao, while in detention at the Special Court. The witness said Gbao and the other accused had requested to see him and he had reluctantly gone to see them. The witness denied that he had gone there with members of his family. Asked if he knew at that time that he was going to testify against his RUF colleagues, the witness said, no.

Diamond Minning in Kono and Inconsistent Statements

The witness confirmed that he served as Minning Commander for the RUF in Kono. He said that all diamonds mined were handed over to Issa Sesay. In his prior statement to OTP, the witness had said that once he handed diamonds over to Issa Sesay, said diamonds were taken to Buedu and handed over to Sam Bockarie. The witness said in same statement that he did not know what happened to the diamonds once they went to Buedu. In his oral testimony, the witness says that he actually knew what happened to the diamonds when they were taken to Buedu but that he withheld information on that because he did not want to implicate anybody when he spoke to investigators. He admitted that the original statement in which he denied knowlege of what happened to the diamonds is not true. The witness was also asked about two Libenese men whom he said went to Kono. In his initial statement, he had said he did not know where they came from but in his oral testimony, he said they had come from Liberia.

Asked about the beating of civilians who refused to mine for the RUF, the witness said that the Operations Commander beat up civilians who did not mine but that when he knew of that, he ordered that no civilians should be beaten. He said he was later removed as mining commander because they said he was soft on civilians. He said that he was replaced by Amara Salia, aka, Peleto. He said he went to Makeni but was reinstated by Sam Bockarie. The witness said that for a second time, he was removed as mining commander. He said he later fought in Guinea, sustained an injury and he moved to Magburaka, where he remained until the disarmament took place.

Defense put it to the witness that he had earlier said that he was minning commander for eight months but that he is now saying he was in that position for about two years. The witness said he said so because he was making a blend of the two times he served as minning commander. That, he said, made the entire period about two years.

The witness said that the first time he spoke to the OTP, he was scared that he would be arrested and so he gave them the wrong stories, but that when he spoke with them a second time, he told them the truth.

In his previous statement, defense puts it that the witness had said he joined the RUF voluntarily in Liberia. The witness responded that he was misquoted and that he did not volunteer to join the RUF. He said he joined the RUF for two main reasons.

Defense counsel made an application for the proceedings to go into closed session as his next questions might disclose the identity of another prosecution witness who had testified in private.

The court went into closed session.