October 17, 2008
Rape by the rebels
Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura continued his examination in chief of Ibrahim Wai. The witness testified that around midnight girls were raped by the rebels. Wai could easily see this from the toilet where he was, because the toilet had no door and, as many houses were on fire, it was bright even though it was night time. By this time a female rebel leader had appeared on the scene. She told the “boys”, the other rebels that if a girl did not agree, they should kill her.
Time in the hospital
One rebel unknown to the witness came to the toilet and asked Wai for money. “You have just amputated my hand and now you come and ask me for money?” the witness replied. Wai left from the toilet and went on the road. He saw many civilians whose hands had been amputated. The next day Wai reached Brook Fields hospital and was treated. There were many like him in the hospital. After two weeks the witness was operated, in total he stayed in the hospital for a month. Wai mentioned several names of persons who had been amputated or raped.
Record of the amputation
At this moment Prosecutor Bangura wanted to conclude his examination. Justice Sebutinde pointed out that the Court had not yet seen the amputation of the witness. She was referring to the fact that the members of the Court have to officially see this and describe this for the record which will be reflected in the transcript of that day. The witness misunderstood this, became emotional, showed his amputated arm to all in the Court and pointing in the direction of Charles Taylor, saying that everyone in Court had been able to see the absence of his hand and that “the children of Charles Taylor were responsible for this”. The witness was told by Justice Sebutinde not to point fingers at anyone in the Court and to speak respectfully to the lawyers; Bangura was reproved by Sebutinde not to forget to officially show the Court the amputation so it can be described for the record. Subsequently Ibrahim Wai showed his left arm to the Court, his arm is amputated at the wrist and was bandaged. This was officially put on record.
Defense Counsel Terry Munyard began his cross-examination and established the following.
The Mohamed who came to Wai’s house in Tombu and stole his tape recorder, money and other things was the same man who amputated his hand in Freetown. This man was known among his “colleagues” as Captain Blood. Wai knew him well, knew his real name and knew who he was.
The rebel who stopped the witness at the PWD junction was on his own, even though there were many rebels around, demanded money from the witness and gave Wai a dozen lashes on his hand and nowhere else.
It was in Freetown, when the rebels entered the house of Wai’s sister and not before, that Wai found out that the nickname of Mohamed was Captain Blood. Mohamed was in full combat, the other rebel was in half combat and identified himself as a mercenary. Wai knew this rebel was foreign because he spoke Krio, but not a very clear Krio. When asked, Wai said that he did not think this mercenary was from Burkina Faso.
Wai not only heard but also saw the amputations of Koroma Brima, the younger brother of his sister’s husband.
Statements to the OTP
Munyard took the witness through his statement to investigator Corinne Dufka from the OTP (Office of The Prosecutor) dated March 5, 2003 and a review of this statement dated October 21 and 26, 2005. Munyard established the following inconsistencies between these statements and Wai’s testimony in Court.
• In Court Wai testified that the rebels were SLA and RUF, while in his statements to Dufka there is no mention of the RUF. Wai maintained that he did mention the RUF to Dufka.
• In the statements there is mention of the events in Tombu and Freetown, but there is no mention of the name of the rebel being Mohamed, neither that this was a person so well known to the witness that he even stayed at Wai’s house.
• Munyard put before the witness that his memory about the events in 1998 and 1999 would be much more reliable in 2003 when giving his statement than now in 2008 while giving evidence before this Court due to the passing of time. Wai disagreed with this.
• In the statement the incident with the rebel giving Wai lashes on his hand is mentioned, only there it deals with two dozen lashes. Another occurrence is mentioned: several rebels took Wai to an old market place where he had to lower his pants bend over a table and was given two dozen lashes. Wai denied this happened and said he did tell Dufka to take it out of the original statement when they sat together to revise the first statement.
• The statement said that Wai had seen ECOMOG shelling and suggested the houses that Wai saw being burnt were a result of this. The witness insisted the houses were set on fire by the rebels.
• The statement said that according to the witness the foreign mercenary was likely from Burkina Faso, which Wai denied saying that maybe the interpreter had got it wrong.
• The statement said that the SLA soldier in Freetown introduced himself as Captain Blood, while in Court Wai testified that he heard the other rebels call him Captain Blood.
• In the statement Wai said that the rebel that came to Wai in the toilet felt sorry for him and let him go, even showing him the way to the main road and not, as he testified in Court, ask him for money.
Munyard put before the witness that neither in the statement in 2003 nor in the revising statement in 2005 there is mention of the RUF, which made him ask the witness if anyone recently suggested to him to mention the RUF in Court. Wai answered that Dufka had told him to relate all the things that had happened and that he had to begin with the first person who had done something bad to him, which just happened to be an SLA man. Wai maintained that he did mention the RUF to Dufka on both occasions.
“When you said it was the children of Charles Taylor who did this, did anyone suggest to you to mention the name Charles Taylor in this trial?” Munyard put to the witness: “You are simply repeating what other people told you, aren’t you?” To which the witness answered “Yes”. Munyard: “Who was the last person who told you it was Charles Taylor’s fault?” Wai: “Nobody told me. He was responsible. He used our brothers to amputate our arms.”
The Defense had no further questions. The two OTP statements are marked for identification as MFI-1 and MFI-2.
Re-examination in chief
Prosecutor Bangura conducted a short re-examination in chief and referred to the testimony of the witness that there was infighting between the SLA and the RUF. When asked what infighting means to him Wai answered that it is fighting between themselves.
The two statements marked for identification as MFI-1 and MFI-2 become Defense exhibits D65 and D66.
65th Prosecution witness TF1-314
Prosecutor Christopher Santora stated that this female witness gave evidence in a previous trial with an order of protective measures. He makes an application to rescind the measures A, D, E, F and H; to rescind the measures B and C except for as far as they relate to the address and present whereabouts of the witness; to retain the measures J, K, L, M, N and O; measures P, I and G are not relevant to this witness.
Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths said the Defense welcomed the application, however this witness on November 2, 2005 gave part of her evidence in closed session and he would also like to cross-examine her on this part of her testimony.
Santora said the position of the Prosecution is, that closed testimony remains closed.
Griffiths suggested that as long as it is not mentioned that a particular portion of evidence was given in closed session, the decision of Trial Chamber 1 can be circumvented.
After having conferred Presiding Judge Doherty conveyed the decision that by not referring to a closed session, even not referring to another trial but by saying: “you stated on a previous occasion” it will be okay to cross-examine the witness on the part of her testimony that was given in closed session, however this decision applied only to this witness in this trial. The rescission is granted.
At 1.30 p.m. Court is adjourned until Monday 9.30 a.m.