The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • Good morning, Mr Witness.

  • Yes, sir. Good morning, sir.

  • We shall continue with your evidence this morning from where we left off yesterday, okay?

  • You will recall yesterday that I asked you - I had asked you, the last question I asked you was whether you knew - whether you had known Rambo before. Do you recall that question?

  • Yes, sir.

  • And you were giving the Court your answer to that question when we broke off, do you recall?

  • I would like you to just say again whether you had known Rambo before the day when he came and stopped the men who had amputated you from doing any further acts?

  • I said from the AFRC time I was at Fourah Bay Road. We met him with his broken - with his car that had broken down. He asked us the civilians to push his car. We pushed his car right up to Cline Town, then the car got started. While we were pushing the car, one of us - one of us told us that, "This is the Rambo who has the name". He said, "Ts is one of the rebel leaders". That was the time I knew him.

  • Did you know at the time which of the two groups that you have been referring to in your evidence this Rambo belonged to?

  • Which group did he belong to?

  • He was a rebel leader.

  • Mr Witness, you said that the - did you ever see the person who amputated your hands at any time after?

  • Where did you see this person?

  • We were at a place where we had gone to play football at a football training at 7th Battalion, Freetown. When I saw him, then I went to him and I greeted him. When I greeted him then I told my guys with whom I had gone there and I said, "This was the guy who amputated my arms". When I told him that, his colleague whom I met at the gate he did not say anything in response. He entered the compound. Then I went and boarded the vehicle and we went, but since then I have not seen him again.

  • Now, you said 7th Battalion was the place where you saw this person. Where is the 7th Battalion?

  • It is in Freetown at the Western Area.

  • Was this - is this a particular place where people lived?

  • Yes, it is a military barracks.

  • Now, do you recall when you saw this person at the 7th Battalion?

  • Well, I cannot remember the day now.

  • Was it very long after this incident had occurred?

  • Yes, it even took nearly up to one year.

  • Now earlier in your evidence, Mr Witness, you said that when Rambo came to the scene where you had been amputated he was - sorry, when he took you to his base he said he was going to punish the people who had amputated your hands. Is that correct?

  • Yes, sir.

  • Do you know whether these people were punished?

  • How would he know?

  • Well, I will allow the question in view of the fact that something could have happened in his presence and he has answered that he didn't know.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, I asked you yesterday if you recalled the date that your hands were amputated and you gave 19 January, but you did not give a year. Do you recall the year?

  • 1999.

  • Your Honour, that will be all for this witness.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura.

    Cross-examination, Mr Munyard?

  • Madam President, we have no questions for this witness.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard.

    Mr Witness, that is the end of your evidence. We are very grateful that you have come to Court to give your evidence today and we thank you. You will now be assisted to leave the Court premises.

    Ms Alagendra, I note that you are in the driving seat there.

  • Will there be another witness coming? There was a matter of Ms Vann's expert evidence --

  • -- that was the subject of discussion between yourself and Defence counsel. I will ask Defence counsel the situation.

  • Indeed it was this morning, Madam President. I spoke to my learned friend and indicated to her that we objected to the four extracts from reports that the Prosecution seek to put before the Court in addition to Ms Vann's report and its summary. My learned friend, Ms Alagendra, was good enough to let me know that the Prosecution no longer rely on the article in the American Medical Association Journal, which is the - I don't know exactly where it is in order of events, but it is an article headed "Prevalence of war related sexual violence and other human rights abuses among internally displaced persons in Sierra Leone", and, Madam President, we can now discard that as it is no longer relied upon by the Prosecution.

    May I address the issue first of all in principle and then in terms of practical effect. We object both in principle and for practical reasons. As the Court is aware, the Prosecution sought to put in - I think that is the most appropriate neutral terminology, sought to put in before the Court the expert report of Beth Vann and a copy of her curriculum vitae on 15 May 2007 in a motion that they filed. The Defence - I should say that that motion didn't just cover the report of Beth Vann. It covered the report also of Stephen Ellis, Corinne Dufka, Ian Smillie and Jessica Alexander.

    The Defence filed a response on 29 May 2007, in which it was said that objection was taken to the reports of Mr Ellis, Ms Dufka and Mr Smillie and we required those witnesses to be brought for cross-examination if the Prosecution sought to rely on their reports and, as you know, that is what has happened.

    In addition, the Defence said that they accept the reports of and do not wish to cross-examine Alexander and Vann. Accordingly, their presence in Court is not necessary.

    Now, I emphasise that the Defence accepted their reports. As you know, the report of Ms Alexander has gone in before the Court, together with a short summary that was read out into the public record for the benefit of the public who are following the proceedings. The Prosecution did not seek at any stage to add to Ms Alexander's report any additional documents referred to by her, or footnoted in the course of her report.

    It was only on 4 February this year - indeed looking at the e-mail by which we received the indication at 1634 hours, late on the afternoon of 4 February this year - that the Prosecution indicated to us (and no doubt to the Court) that they sought to introduce extracts of the following reports and they referred there to the four reports of which we are now only concerned with three.

    Today being the 15th, we are in a position where it was really only ten days ago at best that we were put on notice for the first time since 15 May 2007 that the Prosecution sought to put in additional material other than Ms Beth Vann's report and her curriculum vitae.

    We accepted on 29 May last year the report and the curriculum vitae. We did not accept any further documents. It behoves the Prosecution in our submission that, if they do seek to rely on material to which reference has been made by a report maker, that that material should be specifically referred to.

    May I by illustration use the report of Stephen Ellis. We objected to him. The Prosecution served his report, together with a number of documents that he referred to in his report. Not all - not all - of those documents were actually sought to be put in by the Prosecution during the course of his evidence.

    To take another example, slightly more controversial, Corinne Dufka was called as a potential expert witness for the Defence. In the Prosecution bundle that was supplied to us and to the --

  • You didn't say "expert for the Defence", did you?

  • If I did I am having another one of those --

  • You mean Prosecution, of course.

  • I do, your Honour. It has been an even longer week than I had realised. I think the Court has the sense of what I am trying to say. Thank you.

    The Prosecution put forward in a bundle together with Ms Dufka's report a whole series of documents only some of which they sought to rely upon. One which comes to mind, to my mind, that your Honours may not have even looked at - it certainly was not put forward, it wasn't proffered and she was not asked to comment on it - was a report from an organisation called No Peace Without Justice. You might have seen it in the bundle. You weren't taken to it. We would have had a great deal to say about a report from that particular organisation.

    But in any event we were ready to deal with the documents, what I will call the supporting documents that were put in with the witnesses to whom we objected because we had taken objection to them wholesale. It was never suggested last May, or June, July, August, at any of the status conferences, it was not suggested until at best ten days ago that the Prosecution now sought to rely on a collection of some of the supporting documents to which Beth Vann referred in her report. It is a report that has many more supporting documents and footnotes.

    Going back to Mr Ellis by way of example, Mr Ellis in his report referred to his own book as a source of authority for some of the propositions that he set out in his report. It was never suggested and it never could be suggested that it would therefore be right for the Prosecution to tender or proffer his book on Liberia just because it was referred to in his report.

    And so in our submission when the Prosecution tender an expert report and a further document interestingly, her curriculum vitae, and I know that that is something that the rules require to be put in, but when they proffer a report and it is accepted by the Defence that in principle that is all that the Defence has accepted and it is therefore for reasons of principle that we say that is all we agreed to.

    On a practical level - and I am now moving to the second limb of our objection. On a practical level, to come along ten days before they propose to read out a short summary and say they now want in for the most part actually a handful of pages of pieces of other documents that she has referred to is far too late in the day. And if one looks --

  • I am sorry, Mr Munyard, I don't intend to interrupt you, but am I to understand the summary, which obviously you have seen and we have not, includes extracts of the documents - the reports or documents that you are now objecting to?

  • I don't believe it does, no, and I see my learned friend agreeing with me.

  • Very well. It is just [microphone not activated].

  • Yes. I am just moving on to the practical, but can I also add as another element of this that we of course are a new Defence team. We accepted a decision of the previous Defence team on its face and on its face it accepted the report and that is all, and I have to say that is the basis on which we have proceeded right until ten days ago when we got this e-mail saying they now wanted to put in these extracts.

    Now, two of the extracts that they - or two of the reports from whom they seek to put in elements, or pages, were both reports that the Prosecution sought to have either judicial notice taken of, or to be admitted into evidence in documentary form, that is "Physicians for Human Rights Report: War related violence in Sierra Leone" and the Human Rights Watch Report "'We'll Kill You If You Cry': Sexual violence in Sierra Leone Conflict", and by a decision of this Court the Prosecution application to put in those two documents was rejected at an earlier stage in the proceedings.

    Now let me say straightaway it was rejected because they weren't nearly specific enough in indicating what parts of the reports they sought to rely upon, but nevertheless it is significant I would submit that they are now trying yet another route in for these particular reports.

    And if I can deal with those, first of all "Physicians for Human Rights Report 2002: War related sexual violence in Sierra Leone", they seek --

  • Excuse me, Mr Munyard.

  • Certainly, your Honour.

  • I am just wondering if we can bring this submission down to the basics. Under rule 94 bis A what must be served on you is the full statement of any expert witness report. Now, I take it that you are saying that on the - when this report was originally served on the previous Defence team it was not the full statement and that in fact the full statement has only been served on 4 February of this year?

  • Your Honour, I wish it were as simple as that, but I suspect it is not. I know that a collection of supporting documents have been served in addition to the report. I can't tell you straightaway the date when those other documents were served, but as I understand it they include more than the original four - now three - that the Prosecution seek to put in extracts from.

  • No, but my point is that when the previous Defence team said that they don't object to the expert report, were they referring to the report minus these four additional pieces of documents, or were they referring to everything that we are now confronted with?

  • The only word that you see in the Defence response is that they accept the "report", and on that basis we assumed that that was all that they had agreed to and we have worked on that basis until 4 February this year; that it was the report pure and simple that was being submitted by the Prosecution. Indeed the Prosecution obviously worked on that basis, with respect. Otherwise it would not have taken them until 4 February to suddenly say, "We want to put in these additional extracts".

  • Actually, Mr Munyard, I am looking at a copy of the notice under rule 94 bis B filed by the Defence on 29 May and in paragraph 4 thereof, and I quote, "The Defence accept the reports ..." in plural "... of and does not wish to cross-examine Alexander and Vann".

  • Your Honour is quite right and the reports there refer to the reports plural of Ms Alexander and Ms Vann.

  • I am told now by my learned friend, Mr Anyah, that the supporting materials were not served on the Defence with the report in May. If that is right then that does effectively bring an end to my argument, because what we accepted in May was the report, end of story.

  • And any further documents served since then would vitiate the consent given to the original report going in.

  • They - not only would they vitiate the consent, but any further documents one would expect the Prosecution to have indicated they seek to rely upon in evidence in Court and therefore you would expect them to enquire of the Defence what their position was. To serve them as recently as ten days ago is simply far too late, in our submission.

  • [Microphone not activated] your submission before I invite a reply?

  • Madam President, I was going to go into some of the practical aspects, but I wonder if at this stage it is necessary for me to do that. Would you prefer to hear from the Prosecution and if you still feel it is necessary for me to deal with some of the practical aspects of this then I would invite the Court to say that it is proper for me to have a reply?

  • Yes, I think that sounds an expeditious way of dealing with this.

  • Thank you.

  • Ms Alagendra, you have heard the objection.

  • Yes, your Honour, I have. To my understanding, it appears that the objection of the Defence is firstly on the grounds of the timing on which he was notified that we intended to use these exhibits. Your Honour, in relation to that, your Honour, we wish to inform the Court that two of the supporting materials that we intend to rely on are in fact included in our pre-trial conference materials as potential exhibits, so in terms of the Defence having the opportunity to know the content of those materials we submit --

  • When you say "pre-trial materials", in what way were they brought in?

  • I think we identified them as potential exhibits that the Prosecution will be seeking to admit in the course of the trial.

  • What for judicial notice, or in what way?

  • Your Honour, it was included in an exhibit list that was filed pursuant to rule 73.

  • Ms Alagendra, I am sorry to interrupt the Presiding Judge, but you probably heard what I said to Mr Munyard. It seems to me that that doesn't get around your difficulty of the fact that when you served the expert report on the Defence those documents were not part of the report, and under 94 bis A you are obliged to serve the full statement for their consideration as to whether they have any objection or not.

  • Your Honour, I was going to address that issue on the second ground, your Honour, but I will go to that immediately.

    Your Honour, our interpretation of the Defence accepting the report of the expert is that they accept not only the report itself, but they also accept the footnotes in that report and all the references in that report including supporting material. In fact, your Honour, the supporting material that we seek to tender in relation to this report are in fact most - for the most part direct quotations from those reports which we seek to admit.

    I can give your Honours an example in relation to the document, "We'll Kill You If You Cry". We seek to admit, your Honour, extracts from that document which was referred to in the expert report in footnotes 2, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 33.

  • Just let me clarify. Taking footnote 2 as an example, it refers to two pages, pages 2 and 3. Are you only putting in pages 2 and 3, or are you putting in the entire report?

  • No, your Honour, only those pages.

  • May I make a correction here. Footnote 2 refers to "Physicians for Human Rights". It doesn't refer to, "We'll Kill You If You Cry".

  • I beg your pardon, your Honours. That was the exhibit I was referring to, because that is the exhibit that has been referred to in the other footnotes as well. 18 and 21 is the "Physicians for Human Rights" report.

    Then on the second reporting material that we seek to admit, your Honour, which is "We'll Kill You If You Cry", the Human Rights Watch report, it is referred to in footnotes 15, 25 and 31 and what we seek to admit into evidence is only those portions which has been referred to by the expert in the report. For instance, your Honour, at footnote 15 you will see that what is being said in the report - and I will just read that part, your Honour - is in the Human Rights Watch report 2003, "Transcripts of interviews with victims describe rebel forces RUF, AFRC and the West Side Boys". In that relation, your Honour, I refer to the supporting material, and we have highlighted the portion which we intend to admit into evidence by putting a double line on the side of it and I will read the specific part of that.

  • Do you mean you are going to read the extract into the record?

  • No, I just want to give you an example of my submissions that we are just quoting exactly what the expert is referring to and nothing more than that.

  • I don't think that is really necessary. You are saying you have highlighted the bit - the portion?

  • On taking footnote 15 as an example, you have highlighted the portion on page 3?

  • Yes, and that is all we are seeking to do, your Honour. And in fact we submit that all the supporting material in terms of the extracts that we would like to have admitted into evidence are parts which are relevant, and in relation to my learned friend's concerns which he may have for instance to the Human Rights Watch report, which relates to the testimony of Corinne Dufka, we submit that those objections will not apply to this witness and in terms of what we want to do with this witness is relevant.

  • Ms Alagendra, let us not confuse issues. There is a whole series - there is a whole motion, etc. dealing with Ms Dufka. Stick to this one only, please.

  • Yes, your Honour. In that case, your Honour, we just want to submit that the extracts we want to admit into evidence are relevant in terms of this expert's report, it is the supporting materials she has relied on in preparing this report and if there are any issues of the weight to be attached that is a matter which will be decided at the end of the trial when the Court is assessing the evidence in its entirety. So, on that basis, your Honour, we request that these exhibits be admitted together with the expert report.

  • Ms Alagendra, two things appear clear to us. (1) these documents that you now seek to admit as annextures to the report were in fact not served on the Defence with the report initially, were they?

  • They were not, your Honour. We concede that.

  • Secondly, we have been shown photocopies of these annextures this morning. We found them on our desk. The copies that we have don't indicate any highlighted areas as you have just submitted. Are we wrong in assuming that actually there are no highlighted areas?

  • If I can just clarify that with my legal officer, your Honour. Your Honour, could I just clarify with my learned friends whether the copies of supporting materials they have has a highlight by the side of the relevant extracts?

  • No, they don't, but I don't want to at this stage get too drawn into the minutiae. We are still dealing with the objection in principle. If we are going to go into minutiae there is a great deal more I want to say, and I would just refer to footnote 16 for a very good example of why the principle remains true in our submission. Footnote 16 refers to "WHO ...", which I take to be World Health Organisation but it is not spelled out, "... 2002 page 28". Nowhere up to footnote 16 has a WHO report of 2002 previously been referred to. That is a good example of the sort of reason why if we were going to be served with extracts of reports we should have been served with them a very long time ago, together with the body of the main report itself so we knew what we were dealing with and what we were consenting to.

  • There is an objection by the Defence to documents referred to in a report of Ms Vann being tendered as part of that report. The Defence agreed to admit the report on 29 May 2007. At that time the report only was served and the report only was the subject of consent. The Prosecution now seek to add a curriculum vitae and extracts that were not served at the time. It is the view of the Bench that this does not conform to rule 94 bis A and we uphold the objection.

  • Thank you, your Honours.

  • Well it seems to me now, Ms Alagendra, that in light of that decision the Prosecution has two choices. It can tender the report as was consented to by the Defence, or it can call the expert to be cross-examined by the Defence.

  • Your Honour, we will opt to tender the report as it was submitted, your Honour.

  • Thank you. There is now a tender, Mr Munyard, of the original report which you did not object to in May 2007 and I gather by implication continue not to object to.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • The report of Beth Vann headed, "Report to the Office of the Prosecutor, the Special Court for Sierra Leone Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone", dated 14 May 2007, becomes Prosecution exhibit 70 --

  • P-73, your Honour.

  • [Exhibit P-73 admitted]

  • We now move to a related but different subject, which is the summary. Has that been resolved? I understood from yesterday it was.

  • We resolved it yesterday and indeed I informed the Court of that.

  • Well, that may now be read into the record.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Your Honour, this is a report of the Prosecution expert, Beth Vann MSW, and the report is entitled, "Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone":

    "This report is written at the request of the Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and contains a summary about war-related sexual violence that occurred in Sierra Leone during the conflict from November 1996 to January 2002.

    Sources

    The sources of information and conclusions come from first hand experiences working with Sierra Leonean women refugees in neighbouring Guinea, internally displaced persons ... and returnees in Sierra Leone; building the capacity of aid organisations to address sexual violence in Sierra Leone; quantitative and qualitative field research; and desk research. Research reports published before, during, and after these first hand experiences validated [Ms Vann's] information, understanding, and conclusions.

    It is estimated that approximately 64,000 internally displaced women in Sierra Leone may have been victimised by sexual violence committed by armed combatants. The majority of these incidents occurred between 1997 and 1999 and perpetrated by the RUF. This figure only accounts for IDP women; if one figures in the hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leonean refugee women, the numbers are much higher. Based on [Ms Vann's] direct experience and confirmed by the results of the studies described in this report, war-related sexual violence in the Sierra Leone conflict occurred throughout the country, targeted civilians of all ages and left in its wake many thousands of women and children either dead or living with severe physical injuries and psychological trauma.

    Over a three-and-a-half year period from 1998 to 2002 [Ms Vann] spent a total of approximately 16 months in Sierra Leone and neighbouring Guinea working directly with Sierra Leonean victims of war-related sexual violence, researching war-related sexual violence and working with NGOs and other organisations seeking to assist victims of sexual violence. This section provides an overview of these experiences.

    Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea from 1998-1999

    In 1998, the Republic of Guinea was host to an estimated 500,000 refugees who fled violent conflict in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone ... These newly arrived refugees - including many victims of war-related sexual violence - fled from RUF and AFRC" --

  • Your Honours, the interpreters are asking counsel to go slowly.

  • Would the interpreters like a copy? I think we have two and I am quite happy to hand ours in.

  • Your Honour, they have a copy.

  • I will go slower, your Honour:

    "These newly arriving refugees - including many victims of war-related sexual violence - fled from RUF and AFRC forces in Sierra Leone from approximately March to April 1998, primarily from the Kono and Kailahun Districts. Later, another group of Sierra Leoneans sought refuge in Guinea from the January 1999 joint AFRC/RUF invasion of Freetown.

    After the arrival of these massive numbers of people in 1998, many of whom needed extensive medical care, stories began to surface of mutilations, amputations, sexual violence, abductions, torture and other atrocities committed by armed groups in (Kono and Kailahun) Sierra Leone, primarily the RUF and AFRC. [Ms Vann] heard many of these stories firsthand from 1998 to 1999 when [she] lived and worked in Guinea.

    Physicians for Human Rights population-based assessment, 2001

    The most comprehensive population-based assessment of war-related sexual violence and other abuses in Sierra Leone was conducted over a four week period in January to February 2001 by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR, an American human rights organisation) with support from UNAMSIL.

    Individual interviews were conducted with female IDP heads of household who could most accurately provide information about the experiences of the entire household during the ten year period 1991 to 2001. A total of 991 females of heads of household were interviewed and described the experiences of a total of 9,166 people, which included themselves and those who lived with them prior to their first displacement ...

    Participants were selected using systematic random sampling to ensure respondents represented 91 per cent of the registered IDP population.

    As a research team member and field supervisor for the Physicians For Human Rights/UNAMSIL prevalence study, [Ms Vann] participated in the advance planning for the field research and the design and field testing of the study questionnaire. [She] trained local researchers, supervised and organised their work throughout the field research. [She] also participated in the report writing and summary of findings ...

    In 2002 [Ms Vann] returned to Sierra Leone for a total of six weeks (February to March and returned for two weeks in April) to provide technical assistance and training with several organisations serving victims of sexual violence ...

    In 2003 Human Rights Watch published a detailed report about war-related sexual violence entitled 'We'll Kill You If You Cry: Sexual violence in the Sierra Leone context' ... This qualitative research report describes widespread, brutal and severe sexual violence during the Sierra Leone conflict that is similar to the sexual violence described in the PHR study and the stories of sexual violence [Ms Vann] encountered in [her] work with Sierra Leoneans ...

    There is evidence that sexual violence against civilian women and girls was used as a strategy for attacking and/or sending a message to the 'enemy' by the RUF, AFRC, West Side Boys and ex-SLA during the conflict in Sierra Leone ...

    Sexual slavery is a common practice of combatants in some conflicts, as was the case in Sierra Leone, especially among the 'rebel' groups (mainly RUF and AFRC) described in the PHR study and Human Rights Watch report (2003). In this context 'sexual slavery' involves the abduction of females - whether young girls or old women - who are then forced to serve as de facto wives to officers and troops. Serving as a 'wife' includes finding food, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, complying with forced sexual relations, bearing and caring for children.

    [Ms Vann] interviewed approximately 60 survivors/victims of sexual violence during the course of [her] work in Guinea in 1998 to 1999 ... Girls as young as 13 and women up to age 55 described being abducted while fleeing fighting or gathering food or firewood, and then raped, often repeatedly, and often by several men. Some were held for only a day, others were held for months before they were able to escape. All described seeing many other captives who were also raped, forced to serve as 'wives' (cooking, cleaning and used for sex). Many described scenes where family and community members were forced to watch and/or engage in sexual abuse of their wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, neighbours ...

    As a result of the invasion of Freetown, there was a new influx of Sierra Leonean refugees into Guinea in early 1999. [Ms Vann] met with women leaders from among these refugees and heard many stories of abductions and rapes, very similar to those described above and also described in the Human Rights Watch (2003) report and PHR reports ... All of these newly arriving refugees [she] spoke with during this period clearly identified the perpetrators of these attacks as RUF and AFRC; again, the most commonly used term was 'rebels' ...

    In the 2001 PHR prevalence study involving IDP women, 9 per cent (94) of the 991 respondents reported one or more war-related sexual violence experience ...

    The majority of the incidents of sexual violence reported by PHR study participants [which were 68 per cent] occurred between 1997 and 1999.

    Rape was reported by 84 of the 94 women reporting sexual violence in the PHR study. Approximately one third of these women reported experiencing gang rape, abduction, stripped of clothing, forced to undress. Respondents also reported sexual slavery, molestation, forced marriage and insertion of foreign objects into the genital opening or anus. Of these acts, 40 per cent were perpetrated by the RUF, 16 per cent unspecified 'rebels', 2 per cent AFRC, 2 per cent West Side Boys and 4 per cent ex-SLA."

  • 0.4 per cent.

  • Your Honour, I think it is a typo.

    "By extrapolating the number of war-related sexual violence incidents reported by participants in the study sample, PHR estimates that approximately 64,000 Sierra Leone IDP women may have suffered war-related sexual violence ...

    [Ms Vann] is certain that war-related sexual violence among the refugee population in Guinea was underreported due to fears of stigma and rejection and the lack of assistance services. Only a small proportion of victims actually came forward and reported their experiences ... Victims had well-founded fears of social stigma and rejection by husbands, potential husbands and families ...

    Perpetrators

    Of the respondents who reported sexual violence of the PHR study, 84 per cent were able to identify their attacker ...

    Clearly the RUF was the perpetrator in the majority of sexual violence incidents reported, and committed sexual violence in over a half of their 'face-to-face' contacts with the female civilians. Other armed groups were also identified by a small percentage of respondents and female household members reporting sexual violence ...

    The Human Rights Watch report summarises testimony about perpetrators of these abuses. Findings are similar to PHR report, indicating that the RUF was identified as perpetrator in the majority of reported cases and that commanders knew what was happening. Other perpetrators identified include the CDR and international peacekeepers ...

    The Human Rights Watch and PHR reports, again, confirm [Ms Vann's] direct experiences with Sierra Leoneans. The majority of survivors/victims [she] spoke with indicated their attacker was 'rebel' and many specifically identified the RUF or 'junta'. A relatively much smaller number of survivors/victims identified the perpetrators as ex-SLA, West Side Boys, CDF, as well as peacekeepers ...

    A majority of the victims' stories included in the PHR study, the Human Rights Watch report, and [Ms Vann's] own experience described being specifically selected for a commander, being raped in front of commanders, or of being abducted by a number of 'soldiers' and taken to a commander.

    Over one third of the PHR study respondents reporting sexual violence believed their commander was aware of the attack. One case example in the PHR report is a 16 year old girl from the Eastern area abducted by the RUF in 1999 with her sister and forced to marry her captor. She believes the commander was aware of the attack: 'In the bush he was called Lt. Papay ... He said they were Mosquito's group. That he was pure rebel and would marry me and carry me into the bush and live with me there because they are bad people and want to destroy me and even the country' ...

    There are serious and potentially life threatening consequences to sexual violence in any context ... Health consequences can include death, injury, disability, disease, unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, as well as chronic and debilitating reproductive health problems ... The most significant social outcome is stigma due to all societies' tendency to blame the victim for rape and other sexual violence. This stigma and blame results in even greater psychological and emotional suffering to the survivor/victim ...

    In this report [Ms Vann] described research studies and direct experiences indicating that war-related rape and other forms of sexual violence were committed on a widespread basis in Sierra Leone ...

    It is [her] opinion that the sexual violence could be considered systematic in that a striking 53 per cent of respondents in the PHR study reporting 'face to face' contact specifically with RUF forces reported experiencing sexual violence, compared to less than 6 per cent for any other combatant group. This PHR finding confirms [her] experiences and impressions from discussions with Sierra Leonean women.

    The frequency of sexual violence and other human rights abuses, especially those committed by the RUF, leads [her] to also conclude that most persons including rebel commanders are likely to have been aware of the crimes perpetrated by the forces under their command".

  • Thank you, Ms Alagendra.

  • Madam President, I am grateful to you for drawing attention to what appears to be an error in one of the paragraphs of the summary that has been read out. It was relating to statistics concerning sexual violence. I have been looking, since you drew attention to what appears there to be 0.4 per cent perpetrated by former Sierra Leonean Army soldiers. Looking at the document, ironically one of the ones that we objected to, looking at the document from which these figures are taken there appear to be two principal omissions here: One of which is the fact that the document also refers to at least some incidents of sexual violence by ECOMOG forces, that is the peacekeeping forces, and the statistics either in the summary that has been read out, or indeed in the source document don't appear to me to add up. So, I will simply ask the Prosecution and we will, of course, co-operate with them to work out the correct figures and put in an amendment in due course.

  • Thank you for that, Mr Munyard. The arithmetic didn't work out in my mind either.

    Ms Alagendra, Mr Bangura, you have another witness.

  • Yes, your Honour, my learned friend Ms Alagendra will continue. She will be leading the next witness.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura. If you can call that witness. What language will the witness speak?

  • The witness will testify in the Krio language, your Honour.

  • Madam Court Attendant, if you could bring in the next witness, please, and the Krio interpreters are in place?

  • Your Honour, earlier we had been informed there were protective measures for this witness. I don't know.

  • Your Honour, this witness, TF1-192, was subject to a protective measures order by Trial Chamber I dated 5 July 2004 and he fell under category 1 witness, your Honour, and when he testified previously he testified with the category 1 protective measures, which was a screen and by using a pseudonym. Your Honour, in this trial, after discussions with the witness, he would like to testify in open and we would like to request from the Court to rescind the previous protective measures that was given to this witness by Trial Chamber I.

  • Thank you, Ms Alagendra. Mr Munyard?

  • We have no objection to that.

  • By consent we note and accept that the witness is rescinding the protective measures granted and the matter can proceed in open session, in this case only I stress.