October 13, 2008
This morning Justice Teresa Doherty was not present but no reason was given for her absence. After having taken appearances Presiding Judge Richard Lussick had two new interpreters sworn in. The next Prosecution witness is TF1-087 who previously had protective measures pseudonym and screen but now wished to testify in open Court. The Defense had no objection. As before the judges ruled the application to rescind protective measures for a category one witness redundant. The witness was sworn in on the bible and will testify in Krio. Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura will lead the witness.
The name of the witness is James Kpumgbu, age 33 and has a wife and two children. He has no work or occupation.
Events in January 1999
In January 1999 James Kpumgbu was living in Kissi Town with his parents, sister and child. In this month rebels came to Kissi Town and all over the area. The rebels came on a Thursday and word had gotten out that the rebels had come to cut people’s arms.
The witness fled and was hiding in a friend’s house, Ralph. The next day he went back to his house and found it burnt. He asked the landlord who told him that the rebels had done this. Then the witness and two others, Pa Lansana and Mr. Babah went to the mental home to look for his parents who had been hiding there. At the door of the mental home four rebels called the three of them, the rebels standing close by at St. Patrick’s Church. Three had guns and one had an axe. The three with the gun were dresses in black jeans and T-shirs and had red head bands. The rebels told the three of them to follow the rebels. They were told to sit down on the ground near a mango tree near the church. The rebel with the axe told the witness to put his arm on the root of the mango tree. The witness pleaded not to cut his arm, but the rebels did not listen. The other rebels pointed their gun at him. The rebel with the axe chopped off his right hand with one blow. Blood was oozing from his arm. Then the rebel said to put his left hand on the mango tree root as well. The witness pleaded again but the rebels did not listen. The rebel chopped once, but the hand did not come off, it was hanging. The rebels told the witness to go to Tejan Kabbah and tell him that they were fighting for power. The witness got up and walked to Summertime, a hospital in Kissi. Kpumgbu was treated there and later went to Connaught Hospital where he was treated for three months. The witness met Pa Lansana and Mr. Babah again in Connaught hospital where they too were being treated. Lansana had both his hands amputated. Babah’s both hands were chopped but not amputated. The witness subsequently showed the Court his right hand which is amputated a little higher than the wrist. The witness also showed his left hand and pointed where the rebels made an attempt to chop off his hand, about half way between the elbow and the wrist. The witness is shown photographs and testified the photographs are of himself showing his right arm and left arm. The photographs are marked for identification as MFI-1 and MFI-2. Kpumgbu stated he can not use his left arm well. He has pain and has no feeling in his thumb and index finger.
Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths cross-examined the witness. Griffiths established that when this terrible thing happened to him he was only 24 years old. At the time the witness knew there was a war going on, but stated he has never heard of the RUF, neither the names Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie, Mosquito, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon or Charles Taylor. The witness had only heard about Charles Taylor on the radio, after the time of his amputation. The witness has heard of the Junta and President Kabbah. Griffiths established that until the amputation the war had not affected or changed his life much.
The witness spoke to the Prosecution for the first time on February 26, 2003 with Corinne Dufka about the things the rebels did to him. The witness confirmed that before his actual meeting with the rebels, he had heard for about two days that they had arrived and were burning houses and raping women and he has also seen them doing this. The witness stated that neither he nor anyone close to him had been fighting to kick the rebels out of Freetown.
The witness was not working at the time before the amputation and could not work after the amputation. Griffiths pointed out that the OTP had given payments to the witness for lost wages, while Kpumgbu was not working at the time and has not been able to work since. The witness maintained that he was never paid, only to buy petty items.
The Defense has no further questions, nor do the judges. There is no re-examination in chief. The two photographs marked for identification are tendered as evidence as P187 and P188.
Next witness TF1-072 takes the stand
The next witness TF1-072 is a category one witness and will testify in open Court under Rule 92bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the SCSL. The witness was sworn in on the Bible and will testify in Kono.
The name of the witness is Samuel Komba, age 60, from the Kono Tribe. He is from Tombodu, Kamara Chiefdom, Kono District and has testified before the Special Court in the AFRC trial on July 1, 2005. The witness is shown parts of the transcript of this trial, which he adopted as part of his testimony before this Court and this is marked for identification as MFI-1.
Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths began his cross-examination of Samuel Komba. In 1998 the witness was living in Tombodu, Kono District as he always had. Komba was active in diamond mining, but did not do it on his own. Up until 1998 mining in Tombodu had been done by companies and individuals. The witness did not remember ECOMOG mining there and has not heard of the name ECOMOG before until Griffiths mentioned it to him in this Court. The witness is shown a record of an undated interview with him by an investigator of the OTP, stating about “occupied by ECOMOG”. The witness then stated he had heard the name ECOMOG before, but never said anything about ECOMOG. Griffiths established that Komba was never aware of ECOMOG soldiers mining in Tombodu, nor has he seen or heard RUF soldiers ever mining in Tombodu.
In 1998 the witness was captured by rebels and horrible things happened to him. As a consequence of that he has lost the movement of his right hand, his hand was chopped, he was hit in his face and lost some of his sight, and his legs were injured. This was done by a man called Savage. The witness knew Savage was a commander, but did not know he was an SLA soldier.
At this moment in the testimony Court is adjourned for the mid-morning break at 11.30 a.m.