October 22, 2008
This morning 67th Prosecution witness TF1-023, a category A witness, a victim of sexual violence, was sworn in on the Bible and will testify in Krio. Court went into a short private session to record the personal details of the witness and for reasons of security of the witness. Security measures that apply to this witness: pseudonym, screen and image distortion. Prosecutor Alain Werner will introduce the witness and Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths will cross-examine her.
The witness is Mende and speaks Krio and English. She can read and write in English and is studying at a university. She has testified in the AFRC trial on March 9 and 10, 2005 and on November 7, 2005. The transcripts of these proceedings are marked for identification as MFI-1 and the witness adopted these transcripts as her prior testimony. A document is shown to the witness, exhibit P1 in the AFRC trial where she wrote the name of a rebel who captured her and the document is marked for identification as MFI-2. Another document on which the witness wrote the name of the rebel commander who became her rebel “husband” and which was exhibit P2 in the AFRC trial became MFI-3. A third document is shown to the witness with a name of the rebel captain she was with after her rebel “husband” left, P3 in the AFRC trial and it is marked for identification as MFI-4.
Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths began his cross-examination of the witness and established the following. Between the beginning of the war in March 1991 and May 1997 the witness was living in Freetown. The war affected her, but not to a great extend: schools were closed and on and off there was shooting. She heard gunfire in 1994 and in May 1997. Her father was very critical of the AFRC government in 1997. This government suppressed her family, because her father was active in a political party, the SLPP. In May 1997 she moved from Freetown to Bo, but she and her family were still being harassed so they went back to Freetown. Later she fled to another country, but her father remained in Freetown. During the ECOMOG intervention in February 1998 her father was still living in Freetown. After three months, in May 1998 he thought it safe for her to return, which she did. She was 15 years old at the time. The witness does not know if ECOMOG, a force consisting primarily of Nigerian soldiers, treated civilians badly.
Attack on Freetown
Her first direct contact with soldiers was during the attack on Freetown on January 6, 1999. AFRC soldiers repeatedly came to the house, but did not find her father who had gone into hiding. The AFRC soldiers were looking for her father to kill him. On January 20, 1999 her sister was stabbed in her lower abdomen by a neighbour, a civilian. So there was hatred towards her family not only by the AFRC. On January 22, 1999 the witness was captured by AFRC soldiers. Following her capture she saw the amputation of the hand of a man who was suspected to be a Kamajor. This was a horrible experience for her. Other things happened to her and Griffiths made the witness understand that he did not want to dispute these things that happened to her.
The witness was given a map of Freetown. Griffiths established the route that was taken during her capture. She was captured in Kalaba Town in Freetown, taken to Allen Town, back to Kalaba Town, then Waterloo, Lumpe, Four Mile, Mile 38, Masiaka and Magbeni. From here a lady and the witness were able to escape and go back to Freetown. Her capture lasted almost seven months. She escaped around August 1999. In Waterloo the rebels killed some nuns, she heard it about it, but did not witness it.
Griffiths read from a statement the witness made to the OTP: many civilians and rebels were killed by the Alpha Jets. The witness agreed. At Four Mile the younger children were released by the AFRC to the UN. Griffiths read from another statement: the witness said that the only girls that were not taken for wives by the rebels were the ones under 15. The witness agreed but added that it was a general estimation.
The witness agreed that the AFRC attacked Port Loko for ammunition, because they were in short supply. All the soldiers she directly came in contact with were AFRC. She also contacted rebels from the RUF, in Magbeni, these were a mixed group.
Payments by the OTP
Since the war she has not worked, she is a student. On several occasions the witness was given money by the OTP for lost wages. Griffiths showed the witness a document relating to the disbursements paid to the witness by the OTP and asked how a university student who does not work, can be given money for lost wages. The witness said she was never given money for lost wages and does not understand why it is written down there.
The document with the disbursements of the OTP is marked for identification as MFI-5.
Prosecutor Alain Werner conducted a short re-examination and asked the witness what she meant when she said that the rebels in Magbeni were a mixed group. The witness answered that they were AFRC and RUF soldiers together.
MFI-1, the transcript, became prosecution exhibit P205a (open session) and P205b (closed session), the latter being confidential. The three documents with the names of rebels will be tendered as evidence when the originals arrive from Freetown. MFI-5 became defense exhibit D71.
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty thanked the witness for giving her testimony and the witness is dismissed.
68th Prosecution witness TF1-029
Prosecutor Kathryn Howarth explained that the next witness is a category A witness, a victim of sexual violence and applied for rescission of all protective measures except the use of a pseudonym. This application is not opposed by the Defense and the application is granted. The witness will testify under Rule 92bis, will be introduced by Howarth and will be cross-examined by Defense Counsel Terry Munyard. The witness is sworn in on the Quoran and will testify in Krio, even though in a previous trial she testified in English. The Court goes into a short private session to establish her identity.
The witness was born in 1980 in Freetown, is from the Mende tribe, has college education and speaks Temne, Krio and English. The witness was shown the transcript dated November 2005 and adopted this as her testimony in the AFRC trial.
Defense Counsel Terry Munyard began his cross-examination and established the following. The witness gave her evidence in the AFRC trial entirely in English. Before this trial she spoke with investigators of the Special Court.
At 11.30 Court is adjourned for the mid morning break.