October 3, 2008
After the mid-morning break Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continued his cross-examination of Patrick Sheriff and took him through the interview notes of his statements to the Prosecution and noticed minor inconsistencies. The witness did not agree that his memory in 2008 about the events of ten years earlier is not as good as his memory in 2003, a date so much closer to the described events.
Munyard established concerning the event of the rebel named Joseph demanding cigarettes and 5,000 Leones from Sheriff and Kotay, the 5,000 Leones were not mentioned in any of the statements, this fact was mentioned for the first time here in Court.
In a statement the witness said it was Joseph who ordered Sheriff and Kotay lashed while in Court Sheriff stated it was the commander who ordered them to be lashed. In the statement Sheriff said each were to be given 150 lashes while in Court Sheriff stated that he was to get 150 lashed but Kotay to be given 200 lashes. The witness continued to stand by his evidence given in Court.
In his statements about the first attack of the rebels there is no reference to them “speaking various languages, mostly Liberian”, this fact did not surface until here in the Courtroom. The witness then stated that the rebels spoke “purely Liberian”, which Munyard pointed out to be very different from “mostly Liberian”. To Sheriff there was no difference between the two expressions. Munyard asked if anyone put Sheriff up to say the rebels were Liberian, to which the witness answered that this was not so, he identified the rebels as Liberian by listening to the language they spoke, by seeing the tattoo “RUF” on a rebel’s arm and by being told by some rebels themselves they were from Gbarnga, Liberia. This made him conclude the rebels were Liberian RUF. Sheriff agreed with Munyard that he had expected to give his testimony in a trial about the rebels and what they did and said that he first heard about giving testimony in the trial against the ex Liberian president Charles Taylor this year, 2008, after which Munyard emphasised that the first time the witness spoke about the rebels speaking Liberian English was in an interview with the OTP this year.
Munyard brought up that in one of his statements the witness said that Peleto was a slim, tall man, while this morning Sheriff described him as of average height.
Concerning the Friday killings by Peleto Sheriff said in a statement that he heard about the killings of Mr. Kai and the Limba man and that they took place after the old lady had been shot to death, while this morning Sheriff stated that he had actually seen the two killings and that they took place before the killing of the old lady. Munyard therefore suggested to the witness that, due to the passing of time, the witness may have mixed up the sequence of the events. Sheriff continued to stand by his evidence given in Court this morning.
In a previous statement Sheriff said that Kotay and he were released, not that Alpha Jets came and they escaped, but Sheriff maintained that anyone who knows the rebels, knows that they do not release those they have captured. Sheriff stood by is evidence given in Court this morning.
In a statement Sheriff said that the event of the forced labour processing the palm oil took place before the death of his brother; Sheriff maintained that the correct sequence of events was: first the flogging, then the death of his brother and last the forced labour, just as he testified in Court.
Munyard again tried to establish that the witness had the sequence of events mixed up but Sheriff denied this. Munyard had no further questions.
Re-examination in chief
Prosecutor Alain Werner took the witness back to the Friday killings at Manor Corner. He read from another statement of Sheriff to Shyamala Alegendra from the Prosecution that corresponded exactly with the testimony Sheriff gave in Court today. The witness agreed with this statement.
Questions of Justice Julia Sebutinde
Justice Sebutinde took the witness back to the burial of the 60 corpses in Lumpe. The corpses of whom? Civilians killed by the rebels. Sheriff said he knew they were killed by the rebels because at the time they were the only people present in Lumpe and the rebels were the only force in the area. The ECOMOG forces did not come until later. The corpses were from men and boys, not women. Women were not so often killed, the rebels used women for their own selfish needs. Who burnt the houses? The rebels who captured the town. The rebels who killed the 60 people, how were they dressed? Sheriff saw the corpses, not those who killed them, but the rebels were in charge of the town and they were responsible.
Questions of the Defense in relation to the questions of Justice Sebutinde
Defense Counsel Munyard asked the witness when the Alpha Jets came to Mabureh Town, did they do anything else but flying? Sheriff answered that the Jets did not destroy anything, not in Mabureh Town, nor did they hit Lumpe or Waterloo. When asked if the ECOMOG soldiers could not have killed the 60 persons in Lumpe, the witness answered that everything happened in a span of three days, when Sheriff and the others in the group arrived to bury the corpses, the bodies had already swollen, so they had to be dead for at least three days and that was before ECOMOG forces reached that area.
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty thanked the witness for giving his evidence in Court, wished him a safe journey back and dismissed the witness.
Court is adjourned at 1.30 p.m. until next Monday 9.30 a.m.