Mid-Morning Session: Prosecution Completes Examination of Witness TF1-358; Defense Begins Cross-Examination of Witness

12:00pm: Prosecution counsel Mohamed Bangura completed the examination of Expert Witness TF1-358 and defense counsel Terry Munyard commenced cross-examination of the witness.

Examination Continues

Witness TF1-358 continued the identification of various photographs and prosecution counsel Mohamed Bangura asked that said photographs be admitted into evidence.

Counsel first asked that the witness be shown photograph No. 54. The witness said that the photograph was given to him by the former minister of information and it showed injured people being carried manually and some in push carts. The witness said that some of the injured people brought to his institution were carried in like manner.

The next photograph that was shown was taken by the witness himself in January 1999. The photo showed the interior of a burnt building which the witness said was institution No. 1. He said that the building was destroyed when an announcement was made that all injured persons should go to institution No. 2 for medical treatment.

The witness identified photograph No. 68. He said the photograph was taken by himself showing the exterior of burnt institution No. 1.

Prosecution counsel stated that those were all the photographs he had for identification. Cousel then drew the witness’s attention to a previous photograph which he said was an 8 months old baby whose hand was amputated and was treated by the witness. The witness said that he treated other babies of the same age as the one in the photo. He recalled the story of a baby that was brought to him in 1998 whose right eye was permanently opened due to injuries sustained.  He said that according to what he was told, the baby was the only survivor of a massacre in a house. He said the baby was rescued by two gentlement who said they discovered the baby sucking the breast of a dead young woman. The baby, they said was lying in dried blood.

The witness said that in his entire career as a medical practitioner, he never saw or envisaged seeing such influx of patients with such gruesome medical conditions. He said that since he treated those patients, he has never been confronted with same circumstance.

Prosecution counsel informed the court that that was the conclusion of his examination of the witness.

Cross Examination by Mr. Terry Munyard

At the commencement of the cross-examination, defense counsel for Charles Taylor Mr. Terry Munyard informed the witness that he had several questions and he did not want the witness to misconstrue them as being a disregard for his career and experience or for the humanitarian work he did during the conflict in Sierra Leone.

Counsel said that he had several questions about the photographs that had been identified by the witness.  Counsel referenced the photographs that were given to the witness by the former minister of information to be used on his trip to the USA in 1999. He asked the witness whether he returned them to the minister when he went back to Sierra Leone. The witness said that he did not give them back to the minister but kept them for himself.  He said that he kept the photographs in his office and that they are still in his possession in Sierra Leone.  He said that the photographs had writings at the back.

The witness said that he first made a statement to the Office of the Prosecution (OTP) in 2004. The witness said that he cannot say whether the prosecution investigators made an index of the photos but he said that they noted what he told them about the photographs.  He said that the investigators were Sierra Leoneans and they could identify certain areas in the photographs. Counsel called the names of two persons from the OTP who the witness agreed were not Sierra Leoneans. Counsel asked the witness whether he told the prosecution investigators that the photographs given to him by the minister were taken by the minister himself. The witness responded that they might have misquoted him but that he did not tell them that the photographs were taken by the minister himself.

Counsel referenced a lady from Germany who appears in two of the photographs identified by the witness. Counsel asked whether the lady worked with the witness. The witness responded that she was an auxialliary dentist who was in Sierra Leone on a humanitarian mission. He said that the lady did not render any medical assistance to victims.

Counsel referenced Photograph No. 27 which the witness said was a photograph of victims from the northern part of Sierra Leone and who the witness said he was told were amputated in early 1998. Counsel asked the witness whether it is possible that those injuries took place in late 1997. The witness responded that based on his assessment of the injuries, it was possible for those injuries to have taken place in late 1997. On the issue of writings on the back of photographs given to him by the minister, counsel asked the witness whether the writings were “rebels burnt by civilians.” The witness responded that he cannot remember. He said that during the first three weeks of the January invasion of Freetown, there were large chunks of cases to be treated but they reduced as time went on.  He said that when the case loads reduced, he had time to take photographs of patients and buildings in order to keep records. Counsel presented two photographs to the witness which seemed to be the same but taken from different angles. The witness responded that the photographs were different from each other. Counsel asked the witness whether because of mind tricks, it is possible that he now sees more dead bodies in his mind than he saw ten years ago. The witness said that no mind tricks have affected him over these years. He said that he visited the mortuary site on different days and as those days went by, people took away the dead bodies and so they kept reducing.

Christmas Visit to the Amputee Camp

The witness earlier said that he visited the amputee camp with gifts for his patients in 1998. Counsel asked the witness whether it is possible the visit was made in 1999. The witness disagreed with counsel. He said that there were different situations in 1998 and 1999 because those patients from the provinces were treated in 1998 and that in 1999, there were completely different circumstances.  The witness said he has doubts whether the same children he visited in 1998 were still at the amputee camp in late 1999. He said that the amputee camp was closed down three years ago. Counsel also referenced notes that photographs 44, 45 and 46 were taken in 1999. The witness responded that it could have been an error.

Reference photograph 44, which showed an 8 months old toddler, counsel asked the witness whether he had said the unidentified man in the same photo was his patient instead of the todller. The witness said he had not said so. Counsel asked whether if it is true that the lady whose eyes were plucked out was treated and handed back to her relatives. The witness agreed with counsel. On the baby who was discovered sucking the breast of a dead woman, counsel asked whether the witness had said that the baby was accompanied by her father or that some people came and said they were related to the child’s parents. The witness responded that the relatives were all killed when the father was away and that he was later discovered. He said he did not say that the baby was accompanied by his father.

Meetings with the Prosecution

Counsel asked the witness abour various meetings that he has had with the OTP. The witness said that he has had several meetings with them but cant say the sequence in which the meetings took place.  Counsel asked the witness about his last meeting with OTP on Tuesday of this week. The witness said that he did meet with OTP and that he made some clarifications and amplifications to his statements. The witness said that he cant recall if any notes were taken on Tuesday because he was so tired after the long flight to The Hague.  He said that in the Tuesday meeting, he made clarificatiosn to dates and some other issues in the statements.  Counsel asked the witness whether he told prosecutors anything that was not disclosed in previous statements. The witness said no. Counsel asked him to tell the court the things that he said he had clarified or amplified.  The witness responded that he cannot remember but that any clarifications made were very minor.  When asked whether he was given a copy of his statement, the witness said yes he did. Counsel asked about the originals of photographs and the witness said that no one told him to bring the originals to The Hague. He said that he, however, thought of bringing them but that he forgot.

Court adjourned for lunch break.