October 30, 2008
Events subsequent to the amputation
Prosecution Counsel Nicholas Koumjian continued his examination in chief of Mustapha Mansaray and established the following. When the young mother had covered the witness with her wrap he told her not to go to Tombodu as this was the place where he was amputated. He asked the lady what she was going to wear now, as she was in her underwear, but the lady told him not to worry about that. The two of them decided to continue their way together. They met two women who were crying. Their husbands also had had their hands amputated and went down from the hill to drink water from a stream, fell in the water and drowned. The witness could see their dead bodies in the water. The witness and the woman who had given him the wrap went their separate ways. Mansaray joined other civilians who were heading for Lebanon, which is part of Koidu Town in Kono District. When he reached Lebanon the witness met ECOMOG soldiers who took him to their headquarters, where the witness met other amputees like himself, including Mohamed S. Kamara. There was no medicine there. The next day the witness and other amputees, about five, were taken to Makeni to the government hospital. There the doctors had run short of medication. Mansaray spent about four days in Makeni and then was transported to the Connaught Hospital in Freetown. The witness spent a week there and received treatment. The doctors took out the broken bones from his right arm. The witness can not raise his left arm, because he is suffering from stroke. Both arms are amputated between the elbow and the wrist, close to the wrist.
Invasion of Freetown
After leaving the hospital Mansaray was taken to Waterloo to a camp for displaced persons. MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) was there together with the NGO ADRA (Note monitor: Adventist Development and Relief Association). He was in Waterloo from April 1998 until 1999. He spent Christmas 1998 in Waterloo in the camp for displaced persons. The war reached again in Waterloo. The place was attacked by soldiers and rebels. MSF took him from Waterloo to the old wharf in Wellington where he stayed for three days. Then MSF took him to Ferry Junction where ECOMOG was. On his way he saw corpses and houses on fire. The witness reached Ferry Junction where he stayed for about four days at the Bishop Johnson Secondary School, which was the headquarters of ECOMOG.
Effects on his life
Mansaray testified that the events of the war have affected his life to a great extend. He and his wife lost three children as an indirect result of the war, they fell ill while the family was fleeing from one place to another and there was no medication in the country. He was separated from his wife and children but was reunited with them in 2000. After the amputation he had tetanus and suffered from a stroke in September 2000, which is the reason why he is now in a wheelchair. Before the amputation he could work, now he can not do anything as he no longer has his hands. This year he could not afford to pay the school fees for his children who are in secondary school. When asked why he was willing to testify in this trial, Mansaray answered that it was for one reason: There was a war in Liberia. Charles Taylor said over the radio that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war and that is what happened. Losing his hands is his own portion of the bitterness that he has tasted and it was Charles Taylor’s children who did this.
Adjournment for the Defense to receive instructions by the accused
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah asked for a brief adjournment of the Court to receive instructions from his client concerning a possible adjournment of cross-examination for further examination of this witness’s testimony. The adjournment is granted and Court is adjourned for about 15 minutes.
When Court reconvened Anyah said to be grateful for the time given to consult with his client. He is instructed to proceed. Other matters as well have not been disclosed: the information about the checkpoints and the information about Sam Bockarie. Charles Taylor wished him to convey that Pujehun District is not included in the indictment. Maola is in the Pujehun District. This is fundamental to the accused and the Defense seeks remedy from the Chamber. However, considering the witness’s physical impairment and the logistical issues involved, Mr. Taylor has instructed not to seek an adjournment and proceed with the cross-examination.
The judges conferred and decided that it is a marker and not an application so there is no ruling.
Prosecution Counsel Koumjian rose to say it is the position of the Prosecution that they have complied with their disclosure obligation and will answer appropriately to any application the Defense may make.
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah began his cross-examination by saying that it is obvious to all that the witness has sustained injuries during the war of Sierra Leone and his asking questions this does not deny that in any way. Anyah established the following from the witness.
Before the short break Mansaray told the Court that Charles Taylor had said that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. The witness himself heard Taylor say this over the radio while he was in Zimmi Makpele Chiefdom just after the war started. Since 1998 life for Mansaray and others like him such as Ibrahim Fofana has been very difficult. The witness travelled to The Hague in the same plane as Fofana but has not spoken to him about the trial. Mansaray knew he was coming to The Hague to testify against Charles Taylor in connection with the war in Sierra Leone. When Charles Taylor was arrested the witness heard that this was so in connection with the war in Sierra Leone. He would like to see the person responsible for the war in Sierra Leone face justice and feels Taylor is responsible because of this radio broadcast.
Is Charles Taylor responsible for the war in Sierra Leone?
Anyah asked Mansaray if he heard about Charles Taylor during all the time that he spent in Pujehun District, Kenema District, Tonkolili District and Kono District. Anyah put before the witness that this radio broadcast was only at the beginning of the war in 1991. The soldiers were AFRC under Johnny Paul Koroma. Mansaray’s hands were amputated but not by Liberians. Staff Alhaji was there, but there were no Liberians. The ones in company of Foday Sankoh during his speech in Zimmi in 1993 were speaking in Gio, Gola and Vai but his hands were amputated in 1998.
Places in Sierra Leone and Liberia
The witness is not aware that the war in Liberia had started in 1989. Mansaray is familiar with the following geographical places: Zimmi is not far from the Mano river that borders Liberia and Sierra Leone. Zimmi, Gorahun, Kongo and Sulima are places along the border between the two countries. Ro-Nyortor is close to Matotoka in the Tonkolili District. Worodu is near Koidu Sefadu in the Kono District.
At this moment in the testimony Court is adjourned at 1.30 for the lunch break.