Court Resumes after Mid-Morning Break: Testimony of Tamba Mondeh Ends and Testimony of 47th Prosecution Witness Abdul Otonjo Conteh Begins

The Hague

September 29, 2008


Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths began by apologising for not being in Court in time this morning due to traffic problems and consequently began his cross-examination of witness Tamba Mondeh.

Members of the Bull family

The witness testified that he knows Samuel Bull very well, Samuel Bull being a pastor and the one who gave him permission to stay in the house in Motema. He knows the brother Emmanuel Bull but not very well, he also knows the father of both brothers. Mondeh said that the father as well as the younger brother Emmanuel were both not present at the house during the attack of the rebels.


The witness confirmed that the Bull family had a mining company, the father had a license to do mining and the company used Baling machines. Since the war started and during the war, the witness was not involved in mining, so he can not testify to have seen ECOMOG soldiers involved in mining, but he has heard that people were mining for ECOMOG.


The witness testified that he himself was not a Kamajor, nor did he know any member of the Bull family to be a Kamajor. Mondeh has not seen Kamajors in Motema from the time he was there in the house of the Bull family until the time he was shot. He confirmed that, when he was in the hospital in Freetown, being treated for his injuries, Kamajor fighters were present in the same hospital receiving medical treatment.

Attack on the Bull family house

The witness confirmed that he was downstairs in the parlour and standing up when he was being shot by the rebels and that the bullet did not go out at the back of his throat but went down. Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths suggested to the witness that the witness had been fighting for the Kamajors, had been shot when he was lying down and this way the bullet went down. Mondeh denied this.

Rebel Commanders

Mondeh testified that the commander of the rebels was Foday Sankoh. The rebel leader of the attack on the Bull family house was Fixo Bio. He has heard of the name Victor Bio as a rebel leader, but cannot conform if the rebel leader Fixo Bio he saw at the house and Victor Bio are one and the same person.
The witness has heard of and knew Kai Sandy, a chief hunter of the Kamajors and testified that Sandy was killed by rebels in a village far from Motema. Mondeh confirmed that he was once asked by a friend, while being in Mende area, to become a Kamajor, but that he declined.

The Defense had no further questions for the witness and the Prosecution had no need for a re-examination in chief.

Presiding Judge Doherty thanked the witness for giving his testimony in this Court, wished him a safe journey back and dismissed the witness.

The next witness is the 47th prosecution witness TF1-060 and this witness enjoyed protective measures during the RUF trial. However, the judges ruled, as they have ruled before, that the witness is a category 1 witness, who can not enjoy protective measures as can witnesses in the categories A (victims), B (children) and C (insiders). Therefore the application from the Prosecution to rescind the protective measures is redundant. The witness will testify in open session and is sworn in. Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian will do the examination in chief and Defense Counsel Morris Anyah will later do the cross-examination.


Prosecutor Koumjian began his examination of the witness TF1-060. The name of the witness is Abdul Otonjo Conteh and was born in Lalehun, Kenema District, his area also referred to as Tongo Fields. He was born in 1953, is now 55 years old and graduated from Fouray Bay College in 1992 with a BSc Economics with Honours in Sociology. Conteh is from the Mende tribe and speaks Mende, Krio and English.

Mining in Tongo Fields

Conteh testified to the following. In Tongo Fields there are about 10 villages, it is a mining area. Conteh worked there as a secondary school teacher from 1992 until 1994. In 1994 when the rebels came, he went to Kenema. He returned to teaching in 1996 up to 1997 when again Kabbah was overthrown. Conteh was a teacher and doing diamond mining from 1996 to 1997 in Tongo Fields. This was in a village in Tongo Fields called Sandeyeima. This town is well known for its diamonds, next to Kono District. Conteh inherited some land and he purchased a license from the government office. In order to get the license he had to show proof of ownership of the land. He hired workers to do the mining. The mining in Tongo Fields goes as deep as six feet (1.80 meter). When diamonds are found, they are taken to diamond dealers, these dealers also have a government license to do buy them from the miners. They were the Fullahs, Marakas, Mandingos and Lebanese. After the coup in 1997 the dealers all left. Whenever a worker finds a diamond, the price is agreed upon, the worker gets a third, the owner gets a third, and a third is used for the taking care of the workers, supplying lodging and food. To prevent the workers from stealing the owner must be present himself or have a close trusted relative watching them. There are no guns involved. Before the May 1997 coup The NDMC had its own area to do mining. The NDMC was not a private company, it was owned by private people and the government.

At this point at 1.30 p.m. Court was adjourned for lunch break.