10:00am: Court resumed and prosecution counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis continued and concluded the examination of Witness TF1-303. Defense counsel Morris Anyah commenced the cross-examination of the witness.
Examination of the Witness
Prosecution counsel Ms. Hollis continued seeking information from the witness about her experiences during the time she spent with RUF rebels. The witness testified about being raped by rebels and her father killed in the process. According to the witness, when the rebels captured her, her parents tried to plead with the rebels not to take her away. She said that her mother was beaten by the rebels in the process and when her father insisted on pleading for her, he got into an arguement with the rebels which caused the rebels to shoot him and he died. Upon killing her father, the witness said the rebels asked all of them to laugh, rather than cry. She said that out of fear, they had to laugh. She said that the name of the rebel who captured her was Pepeh. She explained that together with two other girls, the rebels took them to Koidu. When she was captured, the witness said that Sgt. Foday wanted to take her away from pepeh because the latter was a small boy. According to the witness, Pepeh threatened to kill her so that Sgt. Foday will not take her. Another rebel, Wellman stepped in and said she should not be killed. She said that Pepeh took her to his house and raped her for one night. In the morning, she said she was bleeding and very weak. Asked whether she had started seeing her menses at that time, the witness said no, she was too young. She said that because of her condition after the rape, Pepeh took her to his sister, Hawa, who was also a rebel. At Hawa’s house, she said she was used as a domestic maid, somethinh which she did without her will. When asked by counsel to state what group Pepeh belonged to, the witness said he belonged to Superman’s group.
Sgt. Foday Camptures the Witness
The witness said that on one occassion, Hawa sent her, together with the other girls at the house, to go and get vegetables. She said that this was when Sgt. Foday saw her and told her that if she did not follow him she would be killed. The witness said she followed Sgt. Foday. At Sgt. Foday’s house, the witness said she was raped by her captor and made to do domestic chores. She said that Sgt. Foday was also part of Superman’s group.
The witness explained that while in Koidu with Sgt. Foday, ECOMOG soldiers attacked the town and they all moved to Superman Ground at Mayor. She mentioned that Sgt. Foday moved with a small boy called Komba, whom he had captured. According to the witness, Sgt. Foday’s wife who was based in Kailahun heard about her and travelled to Kono. Because of the wife’s jealousy and the fights she picked up with the witness, Sgt. Foday sent her to another house, where she stayed with a lady called Mammie. At Mammie’s house, the witness said she did domestic chores without her will. She said that Sgt. Foday also used to visit the house and raped her whenever he went there. When asked about the other commanders she used to see at Superman Ground, the witness said she used to see Superman himself, Rambo, Co. Karmoh, Peleto and others. Counsel also asked the witness to say what language the rebels used to speak. According to the witness, they used to speak Krio, Mende and Libarian language. She said that the rebels used to go on food finding missions and when they did, Sgt. Foday told her they would kill and rape on those missions. She said that when they returned from these missions, they used to bring back looted goods as well as captured civilians. Among those captured, she said were children as well as adults. There were also both males and females.
The witness said that Sgt. Foday also used to tell her about Sam Bockarie, aka Mosquito. She said that Sgt. Foday told her that if he had the money and diamonds that Bockarie had, he would have quit fighting a long time ago. She said Sgt. Foday also told her about Bockarie’s orders that they should start amputating civilians and send them to President Kabbah. Sgt. Foday said they implemented the order.
The witness testified about a man who tried to escape from the rebels and how he was killed. She said that when the man was captured, the rebels cut off his testicles and told the civilians to kill him. She said the civilians beat the man to death.
The witness also said that civilians were sent to Kailahun to the parents of rebels where they did domestic chores. In this regard, she said that Sgt. Foday sent her to Geima to go and work for his mother. While with Sgt. Foday’s mother, the witness said she did domestic chores as well as joining others to work for the RUF government. She said that on one occassion, she was tired and refused to go to work. For that, she said she was locked up in a dungeon for one day.
Witness Moves to Kailahun
The witness said that at some point, she left Giema. She said she had gone out to do some work when she ran into her mother’s close friend. The mother’s friend asked about how she got there and she explaiened that she was captured. She said that the woman decided to talk her captors that the witness was her daighter. She said the woman was also the wife of the RUF G4 Commander and so the commander himself helped to facilitate her release. The witness was taken to Kailahun. The witness said that she spent sometime in Kailahun and when she heard that Koidu was peaceful, she left to go back there. While in Kailahun, she said she heard news that Bockarie wanted to go to Liberia. She said she once went to a village called Jafidu where she saw her grandfather. The grandfather took her to her mother’s village in Kiyor and when the mother heard that she had gone to the village, the mother went and met her there.
Counsel asked the witness whether she still had any effects from her experiences. In response, the witness said that she still feels the shock of what she went through whenever she recalls those experiences.
Counsel ended the examination of the witness on this note and defense counse commenced the cross-examination of the witness.
Defense counsel Morris Anyah commenced the cross-examination of the witness. Counsel sought to highlight certain things mentioned in the witness’s written statement and comparing them to what she had said in open court. Asked about her age, the witness said she does not know how old she is now and cannot say how old she was when she was captured. Counsel referenced the witness’s written statement that she was between 12-13 years old at the time of the capture. The witness responded that she never said so but that it was an estimate made by the investigator who interviewed her. She said she told prosecutors that she was in Class 2 in primary school when she was captured. She said she went to school a little late.
Counsel asked the witness about her account regarding Johnny Paul Koroma’s (JPK) escape through Kono. The witness said that she did not see the scenario personally but was told by her brother who witnessed the scene. Counsel asked the witness why she had not mentioned this account in her first statement obtained in 2002 but only in August 2008. Counsel also referenced the witness’s statement that she was too young to recall how long she took in Baima, that she was too young to know when she was captured, that she was too young to know what happened when President Kabbah was overthrown and was too young to know the year or season that JPK was removed from power.
Counsel referenced the witness’s statement that because Baima was used as an escape route for JPK, that was why the town came under attack. She said that it was her brother who told her that the rebels escaped with JPK through Baima. Counsel also pointed out that the witness said in her statement that one woman were shot by rebels when they said they saw the rebels escape with JPK. In court, she said they killed two women.
Court adjourned for mid-morning break.