Mid-Morning Session: Cross-Examination of Expert Witness TF1-358 Continues

12:00pm: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of Expert Witness TF1-358. Counsel asked some questions relating to the witness’s description of the rebels, the chances of patients being injured by other fighting forces and the January 1999 invasion of Freetown.

Description of Rebels and Gun Shots

Defense counsel referenced the witness’s statement made in May 2007 that some of the attackers could have been soldiers who were dressed in civilian clothes. He asked the witness whether his patients could have told him the same thing. The witness responded that his patients’ descriptions of rebels were not limited to the kinds of attires they wore but also based on the way they behaved and what they said. He agreed with counsel that he also said victims referred to their attackers as soldiers during the junta period in 1997. He, however, said that only minority of patients could have said some attackers were soldiers.  In his earlier statements, the witness referred to rebels as insurgents and members of the RUF. Defense counsel put it to witness that only recently, he said rebels were members of RUF and NPFL. Counsel asked the witness whether he thought the NPFL was still in existence in 1997. The witness said that to the best of his knowlege, that was the case. Counsel asked the witness to describe the situation in Liberia in 1997. The witness said that there was a civil war there but cant say when the war came to an end.

Counsel also referenced the witness’s statement that patients who came from the Aberdeen and Murray Town areas told him that they were injured by ECOMOG shells. Counsel asked the witnsss how many patients approximately could have told him so. The witness responded that he cannot say the exact amount of patients. He said that he had his doubts as to whether it was true that patients were victims of ECOMOG shells. He said that is why he used the phrase that “patients claimed.” Counsel disagreed with the witness. He said that he does not think that the patients were hit by ECOMOG shells.

Counsel referenced the witness’s statement when he said that after treating the patients, he would know the history of their cases and that while some were hit by strong bullets, some were victims of ECOMOG shells. The witness responded that he wanted to make a distinction between high and low velocity weapons. He said that for some of the patients, based on the kinds of injuries that they had, he could tell they were victims of low velocity bullets and that their wounds could not have been as a result of ECOMOG shellings from a long distance.

January 1999 Attacks on Freetown

The witness said that sometime in late 1998, the international medical NGO he worked with stopped bringing patients from up country and told him to stop piling stocks as rebels were planning to enter Freetown. He said that when rebels eventually entered the capital on January 6, 1999, he received a phone call and after about 2 to 3 hours, he heard shellings and saw smoke in the air. Counsel asked him what he was doing during the intervening 2 to 3 hours when he received the phone call and heard shellings and saw smoke in the air. He said he was busy making phone calls to various people.  He said that he later started seeing rebels in black attires advancing on the capital. Counsel asked him whether he saw any rebels in military fatigue but the witness said no.  Counsel asked him whether he heard of SAJ Musa and in what capacity. The witness said he heard of him and that he was part of the NPRC which took over power in 1992. Counsel asked him whether he had heard of the STF but he said no.

Counsel referenced the witness statement made in May 2007 that after the military coup in 1992, things improved for soldiers in the country. The witness agreed with counsel saying that since he was working with an institution providing medical care for wounded soldiers, he saw less of them being brought for medical attention after the the coup in 1992. Counsel asked the witness whether he had said that from 1991 to 1996, he had only provided medical care for soldiers and not civilians. The witness said that he was misquoted because he also catered for civilians but not for war related injuries. Counsel asked the witness why he did not correct that portion of the statement as well when he made his clarifications. The witness said that it was also an oversight.

Recent Meeting with Special Court Staff

Counsel asked the witness where he was about two weeks ago and the witness said that he was in Sierra Leone. He said that he was seen by SCSL staff and had a clarification session with them. Counsel put it to the witness that he also did not use that session to correct portions of his statement where he was misquoted. Counsel put it to the witness that all the oversights he claims were in his statement when he made clarifications were things that he had said and knew of them when he made his clarifications.

Court adjourned 30 minutes ahead of normal time as the judges had administrative matters to attend to.

Court adjourned for the day.