October 27, 2008
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah continued his cross-examination.
The witness indicated with her hands the height of the six year old boy and this distance was measured by the court officer: 112 cm. He told the witness and her mother who the rebels were: a mixed group of RUF and SLA. Before this she did not know to which groups the rebels belonged. He was a child and had a gun strapped to his shoulder, the gun was long enough to drag on the floor.
In a statement Akiatu said that when her cousin Amina returned the next day, Amina said she had been locked up by a 10 year old child soldier who said he had diamonds. Akiatu said in Court she had never seen anyone with diamonds during her capture.
Inconsistencies in statements and testimony in Court
In a previous statement Akiatu said that an uncle and his wife had been killed in her presence. Akiatu stated in Court that she was not present during their killing, but that she heard about these killings from her mother.
In a previous statement the witness said she was in the church when the jets came and everybody fled and hid. Akiatu said in Court that the jets did not come while she was in church, but before that, when they were told to strip naked outside with other civilians and she hid in a house where she met Fatmata, a wife of James, who gave her a dress to cover herself. It was after this that James came and took her to the church where he raped her.
In a statement the witness said the following: When civilians had a complaint they could go to Issa Sesay and tell him. Civilians could also lodge complaints to commander Five-Five. In his absence Captain James would take his place. Issa Sesay had issued the law that the rebels should not rape women and loot property. The witness agreed that this arrangement existed.
During her captivity twice Issa Sesay informed the rebels about radio messages he had received from Foday Sankoh. The first time was when she was on her way from Allen Town to Waterloo, the message was that the rebels should fight until they had what they wanted. The second time was in Masiaka, the message was that the rebels should release the captives and that the jets would stop coming. The jets stopped coming for three days and then came again. She did not know who Foday Sankoh was, but heard he was the rebel who had started the war.
In a previous statement the witness said that she went from Masiaka to Lunsar and went from Lunsar to Makeni with Major James. The statement said she went to Kono to fight. The witness said in Court that she did not go to Makeni and only went to Lunsar after she had escaped to surrender to ECOMOG. She also said in Court she never went to Kono to fight, only to Korobola.
The witness has never seen James again since the time of her surrender to ECOMOG. He was a Liberian in the STF, as he told her. She knew no other name for him.
Lead Defense Counsel Brenda Hollis conducted a short re-examination.
Concerning her testimony in the AFRC trial about her date of birth Hollis established that the witness had said during that trial that she could not remember the year of her birth. The witness confirmed this.
Concerning the impact on her life due to the crimes that had been committed towards her, in a previous statement dated March 22, 2007 the witness said that she has lost her education and is now illiterate. She was impregnated three times in the jungle when she was not mature enough for that. She was forced to eat the heart of a human being. They taught her how to use drugs, drink alcohol and kill people. She had given up all these habits and no longer was doing bad things. The witness agreed to this statement.
Concerning the complaint system, the witness confirmed that there was such a system. In a statement the witness said there were more than 300 abducted women. Some were raped, but not all. The witness said in Court that even in the house she was staying girls were raped, 15 and 14 years old and younger. They did not complain, they were afraid of Major James. Even when women dared complain, Major James told them to put up with it, because these men were their husbands. James was never punished for raping her. The others were never punished for raping the other women. James sent her on her first food finding mission, with the boys. She or any other on that mission was never punished for looting. James was never punished for sending her and the others on that mission.
Concerning the second radio message of Foday Sankoh giving the order that the civilians should be released: the witness said that she was not released nor did she hear or see that other civilians were released.
Questions by the judges
In answer to questions of Justice Sebutinde the witness confirmed the following. In Waterloo the witness described houses on fire, civilians being amputated and killed: it were the rebels who did this. The first time she met commander Gold Teeth was in her house in Wellington on January 6, 1999. The first time she met commander Daramy was when he came to her house in Wellington on January 5, 1999. She does not know exactly the period of time she spent with the rebels.
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty thanked the witness for giving her testimony, wished her a safe journey home and released the witness.
At 1.30 p.m. Court was adjourned for the lunch break.