3rd Session: 72nd and 73rd Prosecution Witness Take the Stand

The Hague

October 23, 2008

72nd Prosecution witness TF1-104

Prosecutor Alain Werner applied for the rescission of protective measures for witness TF1-104 as granted by the Court’s decision of May 11, 2005. The Defense has no objection and the application is granted. The witness will testify in open session in English and was sworn in on the Bible. The name of the witness is Samuel Raddar John and he was born in 1968 in Shegbwema, Chiefdom Agaluahun, Kailahun District. John has tertiary education and speaks Mende, Krio and English.
Two transcripts were put before the witness and John adopted this as his testimony given in the RUF trial. The transcripts were marked for identification as MFI-1 and MFI-5.
A statement dated May 25, 2007 was put before the witness and John adopted this as his prior statement to the Prosecution. The statement is marked for identification as MFI-6.


Defense Counsel Terry Munyard began his cross-examination and established the following. In the statement in 2007 the witness added information to his previous statement in 2005; this information deals mainly with rebels speaking Liberian English. John had his main dealings with the rebels on January 18, 1999 when he was amputated. John had his first dealings with the rebels on January 6, 1999, the day they entered Freetown. People were singing and dancing in the street and he later heard gunfire. At the time he was working in a medical institution. Between January 6 and 18, 1999, many SLA and RUF rebels came to this institution requiring medical attention. The SLA rebels spoke Krio, Mende and English, but no Liberian English.

STF (Special Task Force) and ULIMO (United Liberation Movement for Democracy)

The witness has heard of the STF before the events in January 1999: he heard the name, knew it was a militia but did not know exactly who they were. Munyard put before the witness that the Strasser government brought in a unit of Liberian soldiers, ULIMO, to help fight the RUF in the mid 1990’s and called them STF. John has heard about ULIMO militias and that they were fighting alongside the SLA, but has not made connection between the STF and ex ULIMO members. The witness was not aware that there were Liberian mercenaries fighting in the Sierra Leonean war.

Rebels speaking Liberian English

The witness confirmed again that he met rebels between January 6 and 18, 1999 in the medical institution were he was working and that these rebels spoke Krio, Mende and English. Some of them were ex child soldiers whom John had tried to rehabilitate a few years earlier. When a person speaks Mende the witness can sometimes, but not always, tell if the person is Sierra Leonean or Liberian. It was difficult to see if a rebel or soldier was Sierra Leonean or Liberian: sometimes he would speak to a rebel in Krio and he would answer in Liberian Pidgin.

Preventing misdeeds and combat clothing

During this time working in the medical institution the witness was aware that on two occasions a rebel commander did prevent some soldiers committing misdeeds: he prevented them from raping a nurse and he prevented them from shooting at somebody.
According to the witness most rebels were haphazardly dressed: about half of them were in full combat, about half of them in half combat, like combat trousers and a pulo or T-shirt.

Documents tendered as evidence

The transcript MFI-1 is tendered as evidence as prosecution exhibit P212a (open session) and P212b (closed session). The transcript MFI-5 is tendered as evidence as prosecution exhibit P213a (open session) and P213b (closed session). The statement to the Prosecution MFI-6 is tendered as evidence as prosecution exhibit P214.

Presiding Judge Terese Doherty thanked the witness for giving his evidence, wished him a safe journey back and dismissed the witness.

73rd Prosecution witness TF1-085

Witness TF1-085 is a category A witness (victim of sexual violence) and subject to protective measures pursuant the Court’s decision of July 5, 2004. Lead Prosecutor Brenda Hollis applied to have all protective measures rescinded apart from B and C as far as they concern the address and present whereabouts of the witness becoming public. The Defense has no objection. The application is granted. The witness will testify in open session, is called in and will testify in Krio.


The name of the witness is Akiatu Tholley, born in Freetown, from the Temne tribe. She has had education up to form five, speaks Temne, Krio and English and reads English.

Events in January 1999

In January 1999 Akiatu was living in Wellington with her mother, sister, brother and cousin. On January 5, 1999 Akiatu was on her way to the market when she heard people shouting that the rebels were coming and that they were burning houses and amputating people. She ran home to tell her mother. They all went inside the house and locked the door. Rebels were passing and heard children crying. The rebels shouted to open the door or they would set the house on fire. Before her mother could open the door the rebels had already broken the door and came in. She does not remember how many rebels came in, but they were many. They were dressed in black trousers and black T-shirts with the name Tupac on it. The rebels were male adults and speaking Krio. The first child they saw was amputated by the rebels: a boy of 3 to 4 years old. Akiatu grabbed the child of her brother and hid in a wardrobe. A rebel took her out of there and beat her. Her mother had to put out her hand to be amputated. Her mother pleaded and cited from the Quoran. Akiatu was beaten with a belt and with the back of a gun. A man dragged her under the mango tree, she was bleeding and unconscious. The rebel commander of the group was passing and telling his boys to take her away. She later found out that the name of this rebel commander was James. The boys were boys previously captured by James and who had to carry his ammunition. Akiatu was told to carry ammunition and to go with the rebels to Allen Town. She saw the rebels burning houses and capturing people. Many civilians had to carry ammunition for the rebels, men and women alike. The wives of James were with this group. The ammunition was in boxes, the box Akiatu had to carry was very heavy and it was especially difficult for her as her physical condition was not good because of the injuries she had suffered. After they had reached Allen Town many civilians, including the witness, decided to drop the boxes with ammunition they were carrying, because they were tired. James’s boys said they were going to kill the civilians who were stripped naked. The civilians were adult men and women, but no small children. The rebels pushed the civilians on the ground when an Alpha Jet flew over. Both rebels and civilians were hiding. The witness hid in a house. There she met Fatmata, one of James’s wives. Fatmata gave her a dress to wear.

Raped in a church

James was by then searching for Akiatu. When he had found her, he took her to a church. In the church rebels were raping girls and beating some of them. Some girls were stabbed with guns, killed because they refused to be raped. She heard the girls talking and pleading. Then Akiatu was raped by James, he damaged her.

At this moment the witness begins to weep and is given a break for about 15 minutes.

Akiatu explained she was damaged because she was a virgin and did not have her menses yet. After the rape she was unconscious. She woke up in a small hut where an old woman was preparing herbs to help Akiatu to stop the bleeding. The hut was in a place after Allen Town. When James came, he killed the old woman, Akiatu does not know why.

On the way to Waterloo

James forced her to go to Waterloo with him. Many rebels and captured civilians went in that direction. Akiatu did not have to perform any duties, but other civilians had to carry ammunition and looted items. On the way the rebels burnt houses, amputated people and looted more property. They did not encounter fighting. There were children and suckling mothers amongst the civilians.

Death of a child and mental torture of the mother

A suckling mother’s child was crying. Commander Five-Five, who was leading the group Akiatu was in, told his boys to dig a hole and bury the child alive. Five-Five told the mother to take mud and put it on the child’s grave. When it was over Five-Five told the mother to laugh. The mother did both things. The witness was standing by and saw it happening. She was standing by close enough to overhear the talking. Akiatu said she cried and felt very badly.

At this moment in her testimony Court is adjourned at 4.30 p.m. In connection with special training for the staff of the Special Court there will be no hearing tomorrow. Court will reconvene on Monday, October 27, 2008 at 9.30 a.m.