12:00pm: Court resumed and defense counsel Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of former RUF signal commander Dauda Fornia, aka DAF.
Counsel asked several questions about the witness’s training as radio operator for the RUF, inconsistencies in his previous statements to the prosecution as they relate to his capture by Kamajors in 1996 and he escape to join the AFRC in 1997.
Training as Radio Operator
Counsel asked the witness about his training in British Voice Procedure. The witness said that he was trained in this procedure by the RUF leader himself Foday Sankoh. He agreed with counsel that this training was different from the NPFL procedure that he underwent at Bomi Hills in Liberia. Asked whether there was a difference in substance, the witness explained that the difference lay mainly in the use of languages used by the person sending the message and the one receiving it. He said that in 1992, he moved from the role of monitoring messages to transmitting messages. He said he was trained in decoding messages at Bomi Hills in Liberia. In 1998, he said he also monitored ECOMOG radio sets. He also started decoding messages while at Bomi Hills.
Inconsistencies and Corrections in Statements
Defense counsel presented bundles of statements to the witness for clarification. The bundles contianed statements earlier made by the witness to prosecution investigators. Counsel referenced the witness’s statement and the witness agreed that he was captured in November 1991 on his way to school in the Bo District. Counsel referenced witness’s statement that he was taken to Zimmi training base but the witness said he had said he was taken to Kuwait training base and then later went to Zimmi. He said he made the correction in one of his previous statements. Referencing the witness’s statement that he was taken to Kailahun by one CO Paul, the witness said he had made no such claim in his statements. Counsel asked the witness why he had failed to correct that portion of his statement and he said he cannot remember that he picked it up as a mistake. In his previous statement, the witness was quoted that he moved to Zogoda in 1995. The witness responded that the time was wrongly stated as he went to Zogoda in late 1993 to early 1994. When asked why he had not corrected that as well, the witness said he did not pick up the mistake. The witness said that when Sankoh went for the Abidjan Peace talks, he was at Blama Highway. He said the commander then was Zino. The witness said in his previous statements and reaffirmed in court that they used to loot food, diamonds and drugs. He said the diamonds and drugs were handed to Zino who in turn kept them to be handed to Sankoh.
Counsel asked the witness whether he was ever involved in fighting and the witness said he did so as a radio operator. Counsel clarified that he meant to ask whether the witness was involved in combat. The witness said that apart from his days as a member of the Small Boys Unit, he was never involved in active combat.
Witness’s Capture by Kamajors in 1996
The witness said that after the attack on Zogoda in 1996, he was captured by Kamajors. He was set free in 1997. Counsel referenced inconsistencies in the months during which he said he was freed but the witness said he could not remember the exact month. He also cannot remember the month that he was captured by the Kamajors but that it was during the rainy season. He was only released after the AFRC coup in May 1997. The witness spoke about one Lt. Jusu who was present in Ngolahun Tunkia, the village in which he was held captive by Kamajors. He said Lt. Jusu told him that the RUF and the AFRC were likely to form a merger as one government. He cannot say how long after this he left for Kenema. He said that he was able to escape from the Kamajors and Lt. Jusu took him to Kenema. When asked whether he was used for force labour by the Kamajors during his captivity, the witness said that he used to work for them on their farms as well as writing letters and doing domestic chores for them. He said he also worked for civilians in the village with whom he had built a good relationship. These civilians, he said gave him small tokens for work done but the Kamajors did not pay him.
Counsel asked the witness whether he knew that one reason for the AFRC coup was because they were agrieved that the government gave preference to the Kamajors at their expense and the witness agreed with counsel. He said that despite this, the soldiers and the Kamajors had a cordial relationship in Ngolahun Tunkia and he saw them holding meetings together. Counsel asked the witness whether he was ever threatened with death while in captivity. The witness responded that they threatened him with death on several occassions. In response to a question from Justice Sebuntinde as to how he was held captive, whether tied or he moved freely, the witness said that he was free to move around but had to return to the Kamajor office at night where he slept together with another captive. Counsel referenced witness’s statement that he was constantly threatened with death and that he failed to tell prosecutors that the threats stopped at some point and that he got small contracts from civilians to do work for them. The witness responded that he did not say anything about those because they did not ask him. Counsel further referenced the witness’s statement that he escaped after three to four months in captivity but the witness said those months were wrongly recorded.
The witness said that after his release, he went to Kenema and then to Tongo where he worked as radio operator while also doing private mining. Counsel told the witness that he did not tell prosecutors that he had worked as radio operator in Tongo. The witness responded that he did not say everything as he did not want to give a full disclosure of his identity and the things he did. Counsel put it to the witness that he had already identified himself as a radio operator so there was no point hiding that he was radio operator in Tongo. The witness responded that while making these statements, he could not have recalled everything.
Court adjourned for lunch-break.