September 30, 2008
During the beginning of the 2nd session today there were some problems with the streaming of the Court proceedings over the internet, so it was impossible for the monitor to give a complete record. The 48th Prosecution Witness TF1-064 was put on the stand. The witness enjoys protective measures: pseudonym, screen and image distortion. It is a crime-base witness, a female of about 30 years old. Court went into private session for about half an hour and subsequently went back in open session for the remainder of the 2nd session.
The witness is a married woman of about thirty years old. During the war in Sierra Leone she was living in Foendor, Kamara Chiefdom in Kono District, Sierra Leone. The nearest main village to Foendor is Tombodu.
Events during the war
When the witness heard the rebels were killing people, she and her family fled to the bush: the witness, her parents, her husband, his parents, his younger sister, her younger brothers, her three year old son (her first born) and others. The family searched for bush yams to be able to survive in the bush. The witness was pregnant at the time.
Abduction and rape
The first time the witness encountered the rebels, she and others were abducted. It was the dry season. She did not know any of the rebels. The witness was released by the rebels because she was pregnant and far advanced. She did not know what happened to the others who were captured by the rebels.
Shortly after the first capture, she gave birth to a baby girl in the house of her aunt, her mother’s sister.
Not long after this, she was captured by rebels the second time, some of them wore combat clothes, others civilian clothes. One rebel wanted her to become his wife, but another rebel told the first rebel that she was a suckling mother and she was released. She was able to return to her mother in the bush outside of Foendor.
Later she was captured for a third time by a group of rebels, some dressed in combat fatigue, others in civilian clothing. One of them was known to her: Tamba Joe, before the war he was living in Foendor. The rebels said they were ECOMOG. The witness had never heard of ECOMOG. They spoke Krio. Her three year old son was holding on to her, but the rebels grabbed him and threw him in the bush. The rebels told her sister in law they wanted to rape her and if she didn’t concede they would tear her private parts. They took her away while the witness’s son clung on to her. The boy later came back, but the witness never saw her sister in law again. The rebels had captured a Temne man and wanted the Temne man to rape the witness. When the Temne refused the rebels started to beat him up. Eventually the Temne man gave in and raped her. During the rape Tamba Joe was there. Not all the rebels had guns, but some did. Tamba Joe carried a gun. Then the mother of the witness was forced to prepare a bread fruit she was carrying, so the rebels could eat.
Subsequently the rebels took the witness and the others to Foender. Tamba Joe told the witness and the others to put the children down. They made the children sit down by an orange tree: the witness’s two children (the three year old son and the new born baby girl), her three young brothers and an adopted child. Tamba Joe told them they should enter a house and strip themselves naked. When they entered the house, the rebels started killing the children.
At this point the witness began to cry. The judges allowed the witness a break. Court was adjourned at 1.15 p.m. for lunch break.