3rd Session: 55th and 56th Prosecution Witnesses Conclude their Testimony; Witness and Victims Section of the Special Court Has to Answer to the Court about their Redactions to Transcripts without Court Orders

The Hague

October 13, 2008

55th prosecution witness TF1-074 Sorie Kondeh

Prosecutor Alain Werner showed Sorie Kondeh a transcript of his testimony given in the RUF trial on July 12, 2004 and this transcript was accepted by the witness as his given testimony. The transcript was marked for identification as MFI-1. Next is shown to the witness a transcript of his testimony given in the AFRC trial on July 5, 2004 and also this transcript was accepted by the witness as his given testimony. The transcript, which appeared in public on the SCSL site, was marked for identification as MFI-2a and one page in that transcript, page 18546, which contained a redaction, was marked for identification as MFI-2b, to be later tendered as confidential evidence. Next a photograph is shown, a public AFRC exhibit which showed the shoulder of the witness and it is marked for identification as MFI-3. A photograph of the witness’s face with the scars, which was an exhibit in the RUF trial, is marked for identification as MFI-4. A statement of the witness in the AFRC trial dated November 16, 2002 which was Defense exhibit D8, was marked for identification as MFI-5.


Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths began his cross-examination of Sorie Kondeh and established the following. In 1998 Kondeh was 20 years old and had started mining at age 13, though not full time, as he was also going to school. In May 1998 Kondeh was captured by rebels. Just before being captured he was studying English and Arabic and doing mining for his father. Between 1992 and 1998 the witness was living in his hometown Yomandu, unmolested by rebels. In 1998 he fled to his mother’s hometown Dandayardu and lived in the bush. Between 1992 and 1998 companies and individual civilians carried out mining in the area where the witness lived, but in 1998 mining was done by the rebels. Kondeh is familiar with the ECOMOG force, but has never seen ECOMOG soldiers doing mining in his area.

In 1997 the witness heard about the government of Kabba being overthrown but has not seen soldiers in Yomandu, where he was staying at the time. Between the time of the coup and May 1998 Kondeh has seen soldiers retreating, but life as he knew it in the villages was not affected, only people living in the city were affected by the war.

In February 1998 three vehicles came to Yomandu with soldiers in full combat. In one vehicle was someone dressed like a woman, whom Kondeh later heard identified as Johnny Paul Koroma. These rebels were retreating to Kailahun, the witness heard, but he can not testify to any reason as to why the rebels retreated to that particular town. Later the witness was captured by AFRC and RUF rebels in the bush while he was on his way to Guinea to flee from the war. AFRC and RUF were now a combined force. The one in charge of capturing him was Francis Bangali aka “Kill a man, no blood”. The head of the rebels was Komba Gbundema, the battalion commander. When the witness was scarred Gbundema was not present. Bangali sent an SBU to a hospital to get surgical blades to mark Kondeh and others. Lieutenant Bangali did not have anyone command him to do so, it was his own decision to act this way. After the witness had been marked he stayed with the rebels for a long time. Most of the time he was used for doing domestic work and was not asked to fight. He was a bomb carrier and had to carry looted property. This happened in Kono District where the witness stayed until the end of the war, but he also went along with rebels when they would carry out attacks in the north of Sierra Leone. During that period Kondeh did not witness any organised mining, because he was never sent to a mining area. During the time of his capture the most senior officer he knew of was General Issa, but the witness never met him. Kondeh heard the name Sam Bockarie as being a rebel commander, but never met him personally.

Griffiths established that the witness spoke to investigators of the OTP in November 2002 about his experiences. After disarmament the Kondeh started to work again, though not in mining, but now the witness is working in mining again.

The Defense had no further questions.

Re-examination in chief

Prosecutor Alain Werner conducted a brief re-examination. The five aforementioned documents marked for identification are tendered as evidence by the Prosecution as P190, P191a, P191b (confidential), P192, P193 (confidential) and P194 (confidential).

56th prosecution witness TF1-076

Prosecutor Kathryn Howarth filed an application to rescind most protective measures previously given to category A witness TF1-076, a rape victim, testifying under Rule 92bis. The Defense had no objection. The judges granted the application. The protective measures applicable now included that the address of the witness will not be disclosed and that previously confidential parts of transcripts identifying the witness will remain confidential. Howarth explained to the Bench (= the judges) that those confidential parts were parts that have been redacted by the WVS (Witness and Victims Section) of the SCSL.

Redaction of transcripts by the WVS

The previous statement of Prosecutor Howarth led to a dispute in Court. Howarth explained that she had always been made to understand that the WVS redacted transcripts if the transcript would reveal information that could lead to identifying the name and/or address of a protected witness or any other information that could lead to identifying that witness. Justice Sebutinde argued that a redaction of a transcript can only take place following a court order from the judges and after both parties, i.e. the Prosecution and the Defense have agreed to this. None of the judges were aware that the WVS was making redactions without a court order. After having conferred Presiding Judge Lussick related the decision of the Bench:
– Regarding previous witness TF1-074 and the transcript of his testimony given in the AFRC trial on July 5, 2004, exhibits P191a and P191b: the confidentiality of P191b will be lifted, P191b will become part of P191a and both are integrated to P191;
– Regarding present witness TF1-076 and the transcript of her testimony given in the AFRC trial on June 27, 2005: no pages in this transcript will be considered marked as confidential;
– The head of the WVS of the SCSL will give a report to the Bench at the latest by next Friday (October 17, 2008) 4 p.m. about: a) where the head of the WVS thinks he has received power from to redact transcripts without a court order and b) a list of all witnesses whose testimony the WVS has redacted without such a court order.

Introduction of prosecution witness TF1-076

Prosecutor Howarth introduced prosecution witness TF1-076 who was sworn in on the Bible and who will testify in Kono. The name of the witness is Yei Sundu Maculey, born in 1982 in Tombudu, Kamara Chiefdom, from the Kono tribe, speaks Kono and Krio and does not read or write. Maculey testified in the AFRC trial on June 27, 2005 and this transcript is accepted by the witness as her given testimony and is marked for identification as MFI-1.


Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths began his cross-examination by stating he will not be asking questions about her horrendous experience and that his questions for her will be few. Griffiths established the following from the witness. Maculey lived most of her life in Tombudu and has never seen any soldiers or rebels in this town. She was living in Foendor when she was met with three rebels, two with a gun and one with a machete. They were young men, but not boys anymore. Maculey recognised their accent as Liberian English. When asked she told Griffiths she had never heard of ULIMO, nor STF and the rebels did not identify themselves as such. To the witness the rebels said they were soldiers and they spoke about “No Living Thing”. They did not identify themselves as RUF, the witness concluded they were RUF from their accent, from what the rebels did to her and her relatives and from what she heard from others. After the incident she went to Guinea with some of her relatives and had no further contact with any rebels.

The Defense had no more questions and the Prosecution had no questions for a re-examination in chief. The witness was subsequently dismissed. The transcript from the AFRC trial dated June 27, 2005 was tendered as evidence as exhibit P195.

At 4.30 p.m. Court was adjourned until tomorrow 9.30 a.m. when 57th Prosecution witness TF1-077 will take the stand, testifying in Open Court.