September 26, 2008
This morning while taking appearances the Prosecution introduced a new intern, Nathan Quick, who was welcomed to the Court by Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty. Prosecutor Christopher Santora continued his examination in chief of 45th prosecution witness TF1-459. At about 11.15 while giving testimony, witness TF1-459 broke down in tears and was attended to by the Witness and Victims Unit of the Special Court. Shortly before the mid-morning break Court was back in session to review the condition of the witness.
Prosecutor Christopher Santora began with some clarifications of what the witness has testified to yesterday.
The witness remembered that another name for the Commander known as Jah-Spirit was Massaquoi, but does not know his full name, only that others called him out by this name.
Witness TF1-459 yesterday stated that some commanders were wicked and others easy and clarified that certain commanders were more harsh than others in their treatment of civilians. Kalay Amara was in the “easy” group, the witness said that Amara did not treat civilians in a wicked way, he never victimised people; there was a war, he was fighting, he carried a weapon, but he treated the civilians lightly. Commanders in the “wicked” group were: Jah-Spirit, Cobra, who was Liberian; a commander called One Meh One, meaning one bullet for one man, Meh meaning Man in Liberian English.
When asked what he meant when saying: “These children are attached to each of the men”, while talking about the selection of civilians by the AFRC/RUF rebels, the witness explained that the children were chosen, selected by and assigned to the rebels.
Operation “Clear the Way” and operation “No Living Thing”
Witness TF1-459 explained that Operation Clear the Way and operation No Living Thing were actually two goals to be achieved in one mission by the ACRC/RUF. This operation started on May 9, 1998. They went in the direction of Njaimeh, Nimikoro not knowing that the 5th battalion of the Nigerian army was deployed there. When they crossed the bridge they heard a loud voice shout: “Halt!” At first they did not know if they were ECOMOG or Kamajors. The ECOMOG gave the AFRC/RUF a chance to surrender, but Foday Bangura wanted to fight and fired. ECOMOG subsequently started responding. ECOMOG was firing from Njaimeh, Nimikoro. Bull decided to flee. He took of his bright coloured shirt and crawled over the ground, reaching a swamp. There was heavy fighting and he heard a lot of screaming by the AFRC/RUF men. The fighting was all night until about 4 a.m. in the morning. It was raining, the witness had wounds everywhere and was exhausted. The next morning he reached a village and heard people speaking with Nigerian accent. He surrendered, saying he was a civilian, and ECOMOG soldiers approached him and pointed their weapon at him. His ID-cards that he had left behind in Mamboma, were retrieved when the witness was in the AFRC/RUF camp, so he was able to show his ID to the ECOMOG soldiers. The soldiers brought him to a vehicle. This happened on May 10, 1998. There was a dead body in the vehicle and they drove off to Njaimah, Nimikoro. As they were leaving, the people from the village, while seeing him, were shouting to the ECOMOG soldiers to give the witness to them, so they could “bury him alive”. In Njaimah, Nimikoro witness TF1-459 was taken to a white building. The ECOMOG soldiers wanted to interrogate him, while the Kamajors and the civilians there also wanted to kill him.
At this moment in his testimony the witness broke down in tears and was taken out of the courtroom so someone from the WVS (Witness and Victims Section) could attend to him. Court was temporarily adjourned.
At 11.25 Court was back in session to inquire after the situation of the witness. Court management said there was hope that the witness would feel well enough to continue his testimony at noon. Court was then adjourned to noon, when the condition of the witness will be reviewed.