October 1, 2008
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah continued his cross-examination of Osman Jalloh.
Once again Anyah asked Jalloh if he reached the conclusion that the rebels he saw were from Liberia because he had heard Charles Taylor speak over the radio that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war, which the witness confirmed. The witness also confirmed that last week in a statement to the Prosecution it was the first time he mentioned hearing on the radio Charles Taylor speaking about Sierra Leone tasting the bitterness of war; the first time he mentioned the RUF, the second time he referred to the SLA; the first time he mentioned having seen child combatants at the time of his amputations. These subjects were not mentioned in any of his previous statements to the Prosecution.
Re-examination in chief
Prosecutor Kathryn Howarth conducted a short re-examination in chief. She asked the witness if there were any other reasons, apart from the reason that Charles Taylor had announced on the radio that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war, that Jalloh could identify the rebels as Liberian, but Jalloh continued to repeat that the previous mentioned reason was the main reason.
Question of Presiding Judge Doherty
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty asked the witness what had happened to the sister in law of the witness who had been hiding under the stairs when the witness and the others in the group were told by the rebels to come down the stairs before their arms were amputated. Jalloh explained that she succeeded in hiding herself and her suckling child and was later able to escape to ECOMOG, nothing happened to her.
Subsequently Howarth made the application to mark the three photographs for identification as MFI-1 and they were tendered as evidence as exhibits P184a, b and c.
Presiding Judge Doherty thanked the witness for coming to the Court, wished him a safe journey back and dismissed the witness.
50th prosecution witness TF1-279 Patrick Sheriff takes the stand
Before the witness was called to the stand, Prosecutor Alain Werner formally made an application to rescind his previous protective measures. Defense Counsel Terry Munyard had no objections after which the judges ruled, as they have done before, that the application is redundant as the witness is a category one witness and protective measures do not apply to this category witnesses. The witness will testify in Krio and was sworn in on the Bible.
The name of witness TF1-279 is Patrick Sheriff, he was born on September 6, 1954 and is from Yekessa, Bumpe Chiefdom in the southern province of Sierra Leone. He has one wife and five children and also takes care of three adopted children.
Events in December 1998
In December 1998 the witness was in Lumpe, Waterloo rural district. Lumpe is a village close to Waterloo, separated by a bridge. On December 17, 1998 at about 4 a.m. he heard gunshots. He fled into the bush. Armed men came around, did some shooting and went their way. At that time Sheriff did not know who they were. Some of the civilians, including the witness, returned to Lumpe and heard the rebels left for the hills. At night the rebels came back and they were shouting: “We are the rebels who have come”. They were speaking different languages, most of them using Liberian English. The rebels said they had come to burn houses and this is exactly what they did. Sheriff and a friend, Joseph Kotay fled to the bush again. About five days later Sheriff and Kotay decided to go back to Lumpe to look for food as they were hungry. When they arrived in Lumpe they saw that 150 houses had been burnt. The witness heard from other civilians that in Waterloo houses had been burnt as well, but he did not know how many. The rebels had divided themselves into different groups and undertook simultaneous action: burning houses at the same time in different locations.
Encounter with rebels
Sheriff and Kotay unexpectedly walked into a rebel, who was speaking Liberian English. Sheriff can testify that it was Liberian English as he had heard it spoken before. In Liberian English the word “Man” for example, is pronounced as “Meh” and this he recognised. Sheriff heard Liberian English spoken for the first time before the war in Sierra Leone, when a war was going on in Liberia and many refugees came from Liberia to stay in refugee camps in Sierra Leone.
The rebel had a gun and asked for cigarettes and 5,000 Leones, which Sheriff and Kotay did not have. The rebel slapped them in the face and took them to a group of other rebels in Lumpe. At the command of another rebel who turned out to be the commander of that group of rebels, Sheriff and Kotay were made to lie down on the ground, where three others were already lying down. The commander shot the three others one by one. For Sheriff it was the first time in his life that someone was shot so close to him and described that after each shot the body of the person was lifted up and then fell down again. Sheriff thought he himself and Kotay were going to be shot as well. But the commander told Sheriff and Kotay to get up and ordered them to be lashed with a cane of about two meters long. Kotay got 200 strokes and Sheriff 150. They had wounds all over their body, except their belly. Then the same commander who had given the order to have him lashed, took his gun and hit Sheriff with the gun on his private parts. The witness was unconscious for a while and then started to urinate blood. Then Sheriff and Kotay were told to carry a wounded soldier to a house nearby which they did. The house was used to treat wounded rebels. When they came in, everybody in the house was so much concentrating on the wounded rebel that Sheriff and Kotay were able to escape. They went to Mabureh Bush, about a 25 minutes walk from Bumpeh.
Death of Gibril Sheriff, brother of the witness
After having arrived in Mabureh Bush, a man called Samuel Conteh went to fetch the witness’s brother from Yekessa, so this brother could take him back to Yekessa for treatment. The name of his brother is Gibril Sheriff. Early in the morning when the four of them (the witness, his brother Gibril Sheriff, Joseph Kotay and Samuel Conteh) were on their way, six rebels came with guns. They had a small thing like a tennis ball, but when it is thrown it can explode. One of the rebels said Gibril Sheriff looked like the former President of Liberia, Samuel Doe. This rebel who was leading the group had a Liberian accent and said they were from Gbarnga, Liberia. The rebel said that their boss Peleto had sent them out to bring back human fingers, 10 fingers. He pointed at the brother of the witness. Then the witness said to the rebels it would be better for them to kill him, as he was in pain. All four were made to sit down. The rebel grabbed a short log and took his brothers hand, he cut off the fingers, all 10 of them. After that the rebels said Paleto was going to make a chain of the fingers. Then they shot the witness’s brother on the spot and they left. The remaining three buried Gibril Sheriff there.
At 4.30 p.m. Court is adjourned until Friday October 3, 2008, 9.30 a.m., as tomorrow is Eid ul-Fitr, a holiday observed by the ICC.