October 29, 2008
At 3.10 p.m. Court reconvened, the lunch meeting of Justice Doherty took longer than expected and the judges continued conferring. After about ten minutes Presiding Judge Doherty announced the decision of the Bench. The witness has already accepted the transcript as his testimony and she quoted from two parts of the transcript of that morning to confirm that. Therefore the application from the Prosecution to read the transcript to the witness in a language he understands is denied. The Defense is not prejudiced as the Defense can cross-examine the witness. The transcript is marked for identification as MFI-1.
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah began his cross-examination. The witness recalled the discussion about his testimony. He remembered a reference to Tamba Brima. The witness said the first page was not his. He did recognise some of the pages as his testimony. Today the witness testifies in Krio. His first interview with the Prosecution was on February 20, 2003 in English, according to the record, but the witness maintained he spoke Krio. The witness said that it was also in Krio that he testified in the AFRC case. Anyah stated from the transcript of AFRC in March 2005, where the witness gave his testimony in English and later, when he did not understand a question, an interpreter was brought in and from then on the hearing was conducted in Krio. The witness does not recall anymore now.
Testifying in the AFRC trial and testifying in The Hague
Before coming to The Hague the witness met with the prosecution earlier this month. They told him he was going to travel but he did not review any statements with them in Freetown. On October 2, 2008 the witness received 15,000 Leones for a meeting to go over a statement. The witness said that he spent time there, they told him he was going to travel, they asked if he had a passport, but he hadn’t. They were supposed to go over a statement but they didn’t. When he left Sierra Leone they told him he was going to Holland. He thought he was going to testify against the same people he already testified against, Gullit and others. He did find it a little strange he was going to testify again. Mansaray recalled saying he did not know the name Alex Tamba Brima and maintained he does not know the person. He does not know the real name of Gullit. Since his capture he has not seen Gullit again and even if Gullit came here now he would not recognise him. The witness does not remember the day he went to Court if that was the first day of that trial. He does not recall if he was the first witness that testified. He did not recall seeing Gullit in that room, he did not look around.
Capture by the rebels in 1999
In 1999 the witness went to school in the morning and in the afternoon he worked in a mechanic shop. He was born in 1976, so he was 23 in 1999. He was living with his uncle in Waterloo Street in Freetown. In January 1999 he had 8 brothers and 15 sisters. None of them were living with him and his uncle, all of them lived elsewhere in Freetown. He was captured on January 8, 1999 and five days later he escaped when he was with the rebels in Kalaba Town. Nothing happened to his brothers and sisters as a result of the conflict. In the AFRC trial he said that one of his sisters died, but the witness said now that it was his niece, she was shot and died. The witness himself was captured, did not have anything to eat for five days, had to carry things for the rebels, was beaten up, had all his possessions, even his clothes, stolen, but did not suffer permanent injuries: nobody shot at him, nobody used a cutlass on him, nobody gave him drugs to take. The rebels told the witness the reason for his capture: they had lost a lot of their men and that he should join them. But the witness replied to the rebels that he could not join them. At the state house about 50 captured civilians were there, including the witness. He was at an age when he could have fought if he had wanted to. The rebels said they had lost many men due to ECOMOG. The commander was Gullit, he was desperate for fighters. Some rebels spoke Liberian, according to the witness it was Liberian Krio. It is not quite clear if the witness meant Liberian English or Krio with a Liberian accent. The witness is aware of the first part of the Liberian war that took place from 1989 to 1997. Many Liberian refugees came to Sierra Leone and some were living in Freetown. The witness grew up with some of them, but they were not the rebels he encountered. He has heard of ULIMO during the Liberian war, but has never heard of ULIMO coming to Sierra Leone. He has never heard of the STF, or of General Bropleh. He has never been to Liberia.
At the time of his capture the witness did not know the group to which the rebels belonged. True, it was a mixed group, but he did not know them. The witness was able to escape five days after his capture. He asked the rebels permission to go to the toilet, which was granted and then escaped. At the time he was carrying a bomb for the rebels and it was heavy. The rebels referred to it as a B1 bomb. He recalled saying it took about 45 minutes from State House to Kalabah Town. Anyah pointed out that the distance between State House to Kalabah Town is 12 kilometres. The witness did not know about the distance, he sometimes ran with the bomb but it didn’t go off.
Prosecution Counsel Christopher Santora conducted a short re-examination. The witness had stated that a mixed group captured him and Santora asked Mansaray what he meant with a mixed group. Mansaray answered that he meant rebels and soldiers mixed together.
The witness testified before the Special Court in Freetown and said he did not look for Gullit nor saw him. When asked if anyone asked him to look for Gullit the witness denied.
Questions by the judges
Justice Sebutinde asked Mansaray in what language he received his schooling and the witness answered it was in English, but that he still is not fluent in English even though he took all his exams in English.
The Prosecution applied for MFI-1, the transcript of the evidence the witness gave in the AFRC trial to be tendered as evidence to become a prosecution exhibit. The Defense objected because the Defense was not convinced that the witness adopted the transcript as his testimony. The judges overruled the objection and the transcript is accepted as evidence and became prosecution exhibit P222.
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty thanked the witness for giving his evidence, wished him a safe journey home and dismissed the witness.