October 16, 2008
Justice Teresa Doherty has returned to the Court and as Presiding Judge invited Prosecutor Kathryn Howarth to continue her examination in chief.
After his hand had been amputated the fighters told the witness to leave and he left. He went on the road to Yadu. He saw a lot of AFRC/RUF fighters on his way and passed about eight checkpoints. Some rebels saw him and said it would not be good for their reputation if others saw an amputee and they wanted to kill Bindi. Bindi ran away from them into a bush. At one moment he fell and lost consciousness. When he woke up he was bleeding and held up his wrist so he would lose less blood. Bindi went on his way again. He reached Koikuima the same day on April 18, 1998. ECOMOG soldiers had told him the date, it was a Thursday. His arm was treated, he was given medicine and food and a place to sleep. He met other amputation victims there. The next day Binda and other amputation victims were taken by vehicle to Freetown to the Connaught hospital for further treatment. His wound was stitched.
Life after the amputation
Sahr Bindi explained that the wound to his head often troubles him. It gives him headaches and sometimes causes his nose to bleed. His amputation caused him not to be able to work anymore. Now he is a beggar. His survival depends on the discretion of people who give him money. To feed his children is a problem. It has stripped him of his dignity.
Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths began his cross-examination and established the following.
Since his amputation Bindi has not worked. Before his amputation Bindi was a trader in the Kono area for about two years. Prior to the rebels coming to that area life in Kono was good, there were no problems. Kono is famous for diamond mining. The witness has engaged in diamond mining. Until April 1998 many Marakas and Lebanese were involved in diamond trading. After the rebels arrived many people left including the witness. This was the first time the witness came in touch with rebels. The witness is familiar with the names of the rebel leaders Superman, Savage and Staf Alhaji and stated they are three different persons. The ones who captured the witness were AFRC and not RUF. Bindi fled to Guinea and when he thought it was safe he returned to Koidu. That is where he encountered Staf Alhaji for the second time. Alhaji had a boss based in Tombudu but the witness did not know his name. The witness does not know the name of the man who ordered his hand to be cut off, but he knows he is from the RUF, they were rebels in mixed clothing, while AFRC soldiers were always dressed in full combat.
The witness has heard that Samuel Komba is in The Hague but did not travel together with him nor stays with him in the same house. Samuel Komba told the witness, when at the time Bindi helped him bind his arm, that the men who amputated his hand were AFRC/RUF, but Komba did not tell the witness a specific name, neither that it was Savage who cut the hand of Komba.
Since April 1998 Binda has not been able to work for a salary. In January 2005 Binda was paid by the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) money for lost wages. Binda said that this was for transportation and meals, but it was not a salary.
Re-examination in chief
Prosecutor Howarth did a brief re-examination in chief, pointing out that payments by the OTP were always combined amounts not for lost wages alone, but for lost wages, transportation and meals.
The document relating to the OTP disbursements is marked for identification as MFI-1 and is tendered by the Defense as evidence and becomes exhibit D64.
Sahr Bindi asked the Court to say a few words, which was granted. He thanked everyone for bringing this Court into existence. He asked the members of this Court to be sympathetic to the amputation victims who can no longer work to support their families and would like the Court to use some of their money to help the victims provide for their children’s education. Justice Doherty answered with saying that this Court does not have the power to do what the witness is asking, but she will ask the WVS (Witness and Victims Section) of this Court to help Bindi find organisations who can help him look for that. She thanked Binda for giving his testimony and the witness was dismissed.
64th prosecution witness TF1-097
The next witness is a category one witness and will testify in open session without protective measures. Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura will examine the witness. The witness is sworn in on the Quoran and will testify in Krio.
The name of the witness is Ibrahim Wai, age 47, from the Mende tribe. Wai used to be a fisherman, now he is a beggar. He is married and has four children. He has education up to form 6. He speaks Mende and Krio.
Events in December 1998
In December 1998 Wai was working as a fisherman in Tombu in the Western area where he had been living for 17 years. On December 23, 1998 rebels entered Tombu at about 3 o’clock in the night. They burnt houses. They were AFRC/RUF soldiers who came from Waterloo. Wai woke up and saw the house of the neighbours on fire. Two rebels came into his house. One of them was a man called Mohamed who was known to the witness. Mohamed was dressed in full combat, the other was dressed in half combat. Mohamed told Wai to gather all his possessions including money. The witness had to follow the rebels up to the hospital junction. There he saw many more rebels. He had to put down the bag with possessions and was told to leave and not look back. He fled into the bush. Many others were fleeing. Wai spent the night in the bush and went back to town the next morning. Houses had been burnt, people had been killed. Three children of a man called Pa Prat were lying dead by their family’s house. In total the witness saw six corpses. He saw six houses that had been burnt. After having seen what had happened he left to go to Freetown, the part that is called Kissi Town. It took him four days to reach there.
Events on January 6, 1999
Around 3 o’clock in the night he saw fire outside. Wai and his younger brother left the house and went to Ferry Junction. Many people were there, civilians and ECOMOG soldiers. Wai and his brother went to the Academy compound and stayed there for about five days. After that he left to return to Kissi Town, but on the way he met an RUF rebel who asked the witness for money. The rebel took his watch and his ID card, gave him a dozen lashes on his hand and let him go. The witness later reached Kissi Town.
At this moment the witness is distressed and Court is adjourned a little earlier than usual at 4.20 p.m. until tomorrow 9.30 a.m.