October 7, 2008
After the lunch break Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths continued his cross-examination of Komba Sumana.
Involvement in military action
Griffiths established that the witness was not only involved in fighting with the RUF during the attacks on Kabala and Koinadugu, but also in other attacks. Sumana stated that during this fighting he did not kill anyone nor amputated anyone. He was at one time involved in burning a house, but did not initiate this. He did not rape or loot. Griffiths put before him that this was so because he had the example of persons like Superman and Wallace who were not involved in this and did not promote this and the witness agreed.
Origin of the rebels
Griffiths put before the witness the following origin of the rebels. ULIMO (United Liberation Movement for Democracy) was a force fighting against the forces of Charles Taylor in Liberia. Members of ULIMO were incorporated into the STF (Special Task Force). The STF was recruited by the SLA (Sierra Leonean Army) to fight the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) in Sierra Leone. At the time of the coup in May 1997 the STF joined the coup and suddenly found themselves at the same side as the RUF, the force they were previously fighting against.
Griffiths established the following with the witness. Sumana did not know that ULIMO was an anti Taylor force, nor did he know what the abbreviation STF stands for. He confirmed that Wallace and Rubber-Rubber were STF. Sumana has never heard the name Abu Keita but has heard the name Senegalese be mentioned by Wallace, Senegalese was a senior commander in ULIMO. He confirmed that after the war Wallace became a lieutenant in the SLA, but that he is now retired. Sumana looked up to Wallace as his protector, has met him several times in Freetown after the war and agreed that nothing happened to him thanks to Wallace until he was reunited with his family.
No streaming over the internet
At this moment there was no streaming over the internet and monitoring discontinued. When streaming continued a new witness was called to the stand so evidently the cross-examination and re-examination in chief had ended and the witness was dismissed.
New witness called to the stand
Lead Prosecutor Brenda Hollis called the next witness to the stand: 52nd prosecution witness TF1-305, a female crime base witness, who will testify in Kono. Protective measures: pseudonym, screen, image distortion and voice distortion.
Hollis applied for a private session for the identification of the witness. Defense Counsel Terry Munyard had no objection and the judges granted the private session. When back in open session Hollis continued her examination in chief.
The witness is from the Kono tribe and speaks Kono and Krio. She did not go to school and does not read or write.
Events in 1998
In 1998 when the New Year had passed, in the town where she lived at a checkpoint called Mambudu Checkpoint, the witness heard people saying that the rebels were coming to take their leader, Johnny Paul Koroma, to Koidu and that they would pass there. Four days later the witness heard gunshots, but she could not see who was shooting. She and three of her relatives ran away into the bush and were hiding in a hut for about two weeks. One day after the two weeks, ten men came with guns and identified themselves as rebels; they said they were now in charge of the government. They were in combat fatigue, mixed brown and green and they wore caps so only their eyes and noses could be seen. One she identified as the commander, as all the others were obeying his orders and the others called him commander. They spoke English and Liberian English. The witness understands a little English and spoke English with the commander. She does not understand Liberian English but when she was asked if she could understand the rebels speaking this language and she denied, the commander told her that this was Liberian English.
Gang rape of the witness
The witness and her relatives were taken into the hut. Two rebels, including the commander, stayed with her relatives. Eight rebels took her to the back of the hut. She was told to strip naked or they would kill her. She pleaded but it was in vain. The rebels said that if she would cry or scream they would kill her. She stripped naked.
At this moment Defense Counsel Terry Munyard rose to say the Defense does not dispute the fact that the witness was raped by all eight rebels and details are not required. Lead Prosecutor Brenda Hollis expressed her gratitude to the Defense.
The witness started to cry and took a few minutes to recover.
The witness continued her testimony. She was raped by all eight rebels, one after the other. While being raped by one, the others would stand by with their guns in their hands, saying that if she would cry or scream, they would kill her. But still she cried. The commander and the other rebel, guarding her relatives, were standing at a distance of about three meters. The commander did not interfere. After the gang rape was over the rebels stole the belongings of the witness and her relatives and while leaving, they warned her relatives not to leave the hut, because if they did and the rebels would find them somewhere else, they would be killed. When the rebels had left, her relatives helped the witness up, because she could not get up herself from lying on the floor. Her relatives put her in warm water because she was bleeding heavily and she continued to bleed for three days.
Events after the rape
The witness and her relatives left the bush and went to Kangama, Goroma Chiefdom, Kono District, where the Kamajors were in charge. They had heard that the Kamajors were protecting civilians, so that is why they went there. The witness stayed there until the ECOMOG forces arrived. Entering the new year 1999 she went to Pewahun, from Pewahun ECOMOG took her and others to Kenema and she stayed there for three years in a Lebanese camp. People in this camp were mostly from the Kailahun District. There was another camp with people mainly from Liberia. The witness would sometimes speak with people from this camp at the market place or while fetching water. She could not understand the language the people from this camp were speaking, so she inquired and was told it was Liberian English. She noticed it was similar to the language she had heard the rebels speaking.
At this moment Lead Prosecutor Hollis applied to go into private session again to be able to discuss matters that could identify the witness.
The Defense had no objection.
The judges granted a private session for security reasons and the well being of the witness.
At 4.15 p.m. Court went into private session and did not come out of private session for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. Court will reconvene.