Morning session: 70th Prosecution Witness Mohamed Bah Continues his Testimony and Concludes with Emotional Appeal to the Court

The Hague

October 23, 2008

This morning Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continued his cross-examination of 70th Prosecution Witness TF1-084 Mohamed Bah.

Payments by the OTP and the WVS of the Special Court

Munyard established that in total Bah received 1,814,000 Leones from the OTP and the WVS (Witness and Victims Section) for transport, meals, lost wages, medical expenses and miscellaneous. Bah agreed and said some of the money he received he used as support for his family, but added that he was not paid to come to Court and testify.

Liberian speaking rebels

Munyard established that the first time there is mention of a white jeep with Liberian speaking rebels, is in Bah’s statement to the Prosecution of May 23, 2008. In all his previous statements and in the transcript of Bah’s testimony in the AFRC trial there is mention of these events. Munyard asked Bah what led him to give this part of his evidence: “Did anyone ask you, what more can you tell us? Or did anyone say, did you hear rebels speak Liberian?” The witness maintained that he told the investigators about this from the beginning that he spoke with them.

The white jeep and the two rebels

While answering Munyard’s questions, the witness testified to the following.
The jeep was parked near the petrol station on the new road to Kisi. From one side other rebels with guns were coming. Bah was between the new rebels and the jeep. He wanted to flee and has to pass the jeep. Bah is by himself but many other civilians are running around too, also trying to get away from the rebels. He ran past the petrol station and was about 6 meters or 20 feet away from the jeep. The two rebels were standing in the jeep and shouting, at each other and at the other rebels who are coming. Bah knew they were speaking Liberian English. Liberian refugees used to stay in Freetown during the war in Liberia and he has heard them speak among themselves. This way he could recognise their language, Liberian is similar to broken English. Munyard established a few minor inconsistencies: In the statement of May 23, 2008 Bah said the two rebels were conversing among themselves while in Court he said they were shouting. In the statement Bah said the rebels were patrolling while in Court he said the jeep was parked there. In the statement Bah said the rebels were 20 yards away (note monitor: a yard = 0,914 meter) while in Court he stated they were 20 feet (and a foot is 30 cm) away.
Munyard concluded: “Was it made clear to you that it would be of assistance to the Prosecution if you would throw in an account of Liberian English?” Bah: “No! What I saw is what I told them.” Munyard: “There is no earlier record of rebels shouting in Liberian English, so it must be right that this (May 23, 2008) is he first time you mentioned it?” Bah: “No, I said this before”.

Re-examination in chief

Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura conducted a brief re-examination and asked Bah how many times, before these experiences, he had heard people speak Liberian English. Bah answered that it was on two occasions, not too long before these events happened.

Questioning by the judges

Justice Sebutinde established that the event with the two rebels in the jeep happened a few days before Bah was amputated. She also asked Bah why he thought the jeep was patrolling along the new road to Kisi. Bah explained it was the way the vehicle was parked. It was parked alongside the main road, which meant they were about to move. Otherwise, if the rebels had wanted to park for a longer period of time, they would have parked the jeep off the main road. Bah did not know to which group or warring faction the two rebels belonged.

In reaction to this Munyard put before the witness that he spoke to Justice Sebutinde about the jeep being parked, while in his earlier statement he spoke about the jeep patrolling. Munyard asked if Bah did not tell the investigators that, or if he did not remember telling them. Bah answered it was a mistake either by the investigator or by him.

Documents tendered as evidence

MFI-1, the transcript of the testimony in the AFRC trial is tendered as evidence and became P207. MFI-5, the statement that was P3 in the AFRC trial became P208. MFI-6, the statement became P209a (public) and the accompanying ID forms became P209b (confidential).

Statement of witness Mohamed Bah

“I would like to remind the Court of everything I have come to do in the Court and all the problems I had to go through. I would like the Court to protect me and my family. If anything happens to me, it is the responsibility of the Court. Thank you, the judges, the lawyers and everybody in the Court. All of us who have been amputated, we are not useful anymore. We ask the Court to guide us that such a thing will not be repeated anymore. Going over those terrible experiences, is not anything simple. My family’s security is in your hands.”

Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty thanked the witness for reminding the Court and said she will ask the Court Officer to talk to the WVS about this.