Thursday January 29, 2009
12:00pm: Court resumed and defense counse Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-303. Counsel continued seeking answers to issues in her testimony that contradicted her written statements.
Counsel read from the witnesses written statement obtained by prosecution investigators that she was in Baima for about one month before rebels passed through the town with Johnny Paul Koroma. Counsel further referenced the witness’s oral testimony that she was in the bush when the rebels escorted Johnny Paul Koroma through the town. The witness clarified that her account of her being on the bush when Johnny Paul Koroma was escorted is the true account. Counsel again referenced the witness statement made in October 2008 that together with other vivilians, she spotted the convoy of vehicles that escorted Johnny Paul Koroma. The witness again said that the wrong account was noted as she did not see any vehicles going with Johnny Paul Koroma. She said she also did not say she heard rebels firing weapons in the air when escaping with Johnny Paul Koroma.
Counsel referenced the testimony of a previous prosecution witness Dennis Coker, who said in court that Kamajors were fighting in Koidu when they were trying to escape with Johnny Paul Koroma. The witness responded that while she heard about Kamajors, she did not hear of them fighting in Koidu at this time. Counsel also referenced Dennis Coker’s testimony that the convoy of which he was a party that escorted Johnny Paul Koroma went through a town called Baoma. The witness insisted that the town was Baima.
Counsel referenced another portion of the witness’s statement that she was captured by rebels in Koidu. The witness responded that the wrong account was noted as she was not captured in Koidu but Baima. Counsel refereneced another portion of the statement that she was captured together with three other girls. The witness again said that the account was wrongly noted as the other captives were two girls and she was the third person. She said that the account noted in her July 2007 statement that she was captured together with her father and three other gillrs was wrong. She also said that it was her mother who was hit with a gun butt, not her father. Counsel pointed out that in her 2002 statement, the witness did not say anything about the rebels killing her father. The witness said she did say so.
She agreed with counsel that at the time of her capture, she did not know the difference between the AFRC and RUF. She said that when she was captured, her captor, Pepeh, told her that they were members of the RUF. Counsel pointed out that she only told the prosecution that her captors were RUF rebels sometime last week. Counsel again pointed out that in her statement, she had said that the rebels wore civilian clothes but that in court yesterday, she said they wore military fatigue. The witness explained that her account was that all the other rebels wore military fatigue except Pepeh alone who wore civilian clothes. Counsel also pointed out that it was only last week that she mentioned the name of Wellman as being among her captors and that Pepeh was a small boy. Counsel again said that the witness only mentioned in court yesterday that Sgt. Foday told her about Sam Bockarie having diamonds. Counsel also said that the witness only mentioned last week that a man who tried to escape was captured and his testicles were cut off. The witness said she had mentioned these things but they were probably ommitted or misunderstood because there were language constraints between herself and those who obtained her statement. Counsel pointed out there in all her meetings with investigators, there was always an interpreter present but the witness said that in her first meeting with an investigator, there was no interpreter present. In an effort to clarify how old/young Pepeh was, the witness said that he was older that her(the witness) but younger that Sgt. Foday and her(the witness) own brother Aiah.
The witness agreed with counsel that she spent one week with Sgt. Foday and that he (Sgt. Foday) did not allow her to go out for fear that she would be captured again by Pepeh. Counsel pointed out that Sgt. Foday was a senior commander to Pepeh and so he did not need to fear him as the witness was putting it. The witness explained that the rule was that since it was Pepeh who captured her, he had more right over her than Sgt. Foday.
Counsel asked the witness whether she had told prosecutors that she spent three months at Superman Ground with Mammie. The witness responded that she was young and could not even count months, She said she only told prosecutors that she spent a long time there.
Court adjourned for lunch break.