October 29, 2008
Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths continued his cross-examination of Kumba Bindi and established the following. The witness has made a previous statement to the Prosecution on September 23, 2003. According to this record Bindi said the rebels spoke Krio with a Liberian accent, they were faking the accent because they wanted the civilians to believe they were Liberian. The witness confirmed that this was so. Another part of the statement said that the rebels spoke Krio and they pretended to be ECOMOG. The witness agreed. Another part of the statement said: the commander slapped the rebel who did that terrible thing to her and the rebel ran away. The witness confirmed. Bindi said she knows Staff Alhaji and has seen him on many occasions. He used to be an amicable man but he changed and became wicked. She did not know why he became wicked, but it was after the time she ran into the bush shortly before the terrible thing happened to her. This happened when ECOMOG went into Koikuima.
Prosecution Counsel Julia Baly conducted a short re-examination. At the time the witness heard rebels speaking Krio with an imitation of a Liberian accent the witness could speak Krio, but not fluent. Bindi can not speak Liberian, but said her mother’s younger brother came from Liberia and she knows how he speaks and the rebels spoke like him. She has never been in Liberia herself. She has heard the rebels say only one sentence in what she thought was fake Liberian.
The documents marked for identification become Prosecution exhibits P218 – P220.
78th Prosecution Witness TF1-024
This witness is a category B witness (child witness), and the Prosecution applied to rescind the protective measures. The application was not opposed by the Defense and the application was granted. He will testify in open Court and pursuant Rule 92bis. The witness was sworn in on the Koran and will testify in Krio. Prosecution Counsel Christopher Santora will introduce the witness.
The name of the witness is Abu Bakarr Mansaray, born in Freetown in 1976. He had formal schooling up to form five in secondary school. He speaks Krio, Susu and a little English. At the moment he lives in Freetown and works as a mechanic.
Mansaray does not adopt prior testimony
A transcript of testimony given in the AFRC trial on March 7 and 8, 2005 is put before the witness. Santora has difficulty making the witness adopt this as his prior testimony. The witness stated that he did not testify against Brima but against Gullit. Mansaray first denied that the transcript had been read back to him, then said that he did not meet with anyone from the Special Court since he came to The Hague, nor had met with Santora himself. Justice Doherty pointed out to Santora that in Krio the word “meet” has a different meaning. Mansaray had neither “spoken” with Santora, but only when Santora asked if Mansaray had “seen” him, Santora, the witness agreed that he had. Mansaray agreed that he had seen a woman who spoke English with him, but that he had not understood everything she had been saying, as she spoke English and he spoke a mixture of Krio and English. He maintained that she only read part of the transcript to him and not all.
Prosecution application to review testimony after being sworn in
Santora applied for the witness to stand down so the prior testimony in the AFRC trial could be read to the witness in a language he understands. Defense Counsel Morris Anyah pointed out that the witness had already been sworn in and is under oath before the judges. To avoid prejudice, if the Prosecution would meet with the witness outside the Court to have his prior testimony read to him in a language he understands, the Defense should be present. In his view the Prosecution failed to fulfil their obligation to read the prior testimony to the witness and should not be given the opportunity now. There is a reason why no one can speak to a witness after he has been sworn in: it is to protect the proceedings.
The judges conferred for some time.
Anyah added that if the transcript should be read to the witness the Defense prefers an independent third party to do this so he can adopt it.
Santora said that the transcript had already been admitted as an exhibit by the Court’s decision of October 20, 2008 and that along with Rule 92bis the witness is available for cross-examination.
Justice Sebutinde replied that the transcript has not been admitted in the afore mentioned decision, but that this is exactly what is supposed to be done now after the witness has adopted this transcript as his prior testimony, which is what he has not done.
Santora added that if this is an issue, the witness can be re-sworn.
The judges conferred again. As it is close to lunch time and Presiding Judge Doherty has a lunch meeting, the judges will confer after this meeting and Court will reconvene at 3 p.m. instead of 2.30 p.m.
Court is adjourned at 1.30 p.m. for the lunch break.