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

  • Good afternoon, Mr Witness.

  • Good afternoon.

  • I am going to ask you some questions.

  • Your Honours, can the Court Officer readjust the microphone?

  • Which microphone, Mr Interpreter?

  • The witness's microphone.

  • Proceed on, Mr Werner.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, I am going to ask you some questions and these questions will be interpreted to you. If you do not understand the question, please say so.

  • Mr Witness, can you state your name for this Court?

  • My name is Mr Aruna Gbonda.

  • And for the record, Aruna is A-R-U-N-A, Gbonda G-B-O-N-D-A:

  • And do you know your date of birth, Mr Witness?

  • I was born in 1952.

  • And do you belong to any tribe?

  • I am a Mende by tribe. But I can hear my children giving me that year and I used to hear that from them.

  • You were talking about your year of birth?

  • So you said that you learnt your year of birth through your children. Is that what you said?

  • It is on the documents. That is what they used to tell me, that, "You were born in 1952. If you are asked, just say so." I don't know what is 52, but they used to tell me it is on the document. They read the document to me.

  • Do you know where you were born?

  • Please tell this Court where you were born.

  • I was born in Talia.

  • And Talia would be T-A-L-I-A:

  • And where do you live today?

  • I live in Talia.

  • And do you know in which district in Sierra Leone is Talia?

  • Which district, Mr Witness?

  • It is in the Kailahun District.

  • Do you know the chiefdom in Kailahun District?

  • Please tell this Court in which chiefdom is Talia in Kailahun District?

  • So, Luawa, your Honours, L-U-A-W-A:

  • Mr Witness, do you know how many people live in Talia today, in your village?

  • We are many there. I have not counted us there, but we are many there, we are many.

  • Did you ever go to school?

  • Not a day did I went to school - did I go to school.

  • What are you doing for a living, Mr Witness?

  • Can you describe your work as a farmer in Talia, Kailahun District?

  • I do rice farming.

  • And which kind of rice farming are you doing, Mr Witness?

  • How many kinds of rice farming do we have?

  • Several, as I learnt.

  • Oh, it is a bush work. There is - we can do cocoa farming, and coffee farming, and rice farming, so, in fact, I can say generally it is bush work.

  • You said that you did rice farming; which kind of rice farming are you doing, Mr Witness?

  • During the dry reason, the month of January, that is the month that we start doing the brushing. We start brushing bush. After that month, the following month that we call February, that is when we do the clearing.

  • Now, Mr Interpreter, let us get something clear at the beginning.

  • The expression "brushing" is an expression used in Sierra Leone. Let's have the English expression.

  • Your Honour, "cultivate".

  • Thank you.

  • Mr Witness, can I just stop you there. I didn't ask you to describe the process of the rice farming. I was just asking you - if you don't know, that is fine. I was just asking you how many - if there are different kinds of rice farming you are doing in Talia as a farmer?

  • There is upland farming. That is, again, there is swamp farming and we can feed from the harvest that we get from there.

  • Madam President, on this topic only I am quite content for my learned friend to lead.

  • Thank you.

  • Let us see if it is wet rice, or dry rice.

  • Mr Witness, you talked about rice farming. You talked about cocoa and other kind of bush activities. What else, if anything, do you do in Talia as a farmer?

  • I can do gardening, cocoa farming. That is as well farming. That is as well farming.

  • Can you think of anything else that you do as a farmer in Talia, Mr Witness?

  • That is what I have told you. There could be another one: We have coffee farming. We used to do all of these.

  • Now, Mr Witness, I would like to bring your attention to 1996. Can you remember the year 1996?

  • Where were you, Mr Witness, in 1996?

  • I was in Talia, in the bush.

  • And what, if anything, did you do, Mr Witness, at that time in 1996?

  • I was working for the rebels.

  • When you said "I was working for the rebels", who were the rebels?

  • Those who had guns, fighting the war. They were called the rebels. That was how we called them. That was the name they gave to us.

  • And what, if anything, were you doing at that time in 1996 with the rebels?

  • I used to make farms for them. We used to make farms for them.

  • And when you say "We used to make farms for them", who are the "we"?

  • Those with whom we were in the same village will come together to make a farm. That is why I said "we". In Mende when you say "we" it is all of you who would be together in the same place. That is what you refer to as "we".

  • Who were these people that were together in the same place? Who were they, Mr Witness?

  • Those of us who lived in Talia, we were the ones doing that work for them.

  • At that time in 1996 where were you?

  • I was in Talia in the bush. They used to call the place Talia jorbush.

  • You told us before about Talia, now you are telling us about Talia jorbush. Where exactly is Talia jorbush, if you know, Mr Witness?

  • I said - I said we were Talia in the bush. It was in that bush, where we used to sleep, that they called jorbush. The bush nearby Talia. We left the village. We left the village because the war was intense and so we went into the bush and that was where they used to call jorbush.

  • Could we have some spellings, Mr Werner, please?

  • Well, the only new name he gave is jorbush which I guess, I have no spelling, would be J-O [sic] Bush.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you said that civilians of Talia were in this bush. Who else, if anyone, was in this jorbush with you at that time in 1996?

  • There were rebels there. They were controlling us. They were called the G5s. When we were working they will be there to monitor us.

  • And these rebels, Mr Witness, if any, which name did they have?

  • G5, that was the name they had. Those who were monitoring us, they were called the G5s. That particular G5's name was Morrie Feika.

  • Your Honours, for the record Morrie Feika would be M-O-R-R-I-E, Morrie, and the family name Feika, F-E-I-K-A:

  • You said, Mr Witness, that Morrie Feika was a G5. What do you mean when you say G5?

  • The soldiers - the person who would be in charge of us, the civilians, that was the person they called G5. They called him G5. I didn't know what that meant, but I knew he was our boss. Whatever we were doing, we were in his hands, we the civilians.

  • When you said "they call him G5", who called him G5, Mr Witness?

  • When the rebels came that was when we used to hear those names, those positions.

  • And, if anyone, who else did you know among these rebels?

  • That man - they had a boss who was the head of all of the rebels. He was called Prince Taylor.

  • Your Honours, Prince Taylor, Prince and then Taylor as the family name:

  • When you said, Mr Witness, that Prince Taylor was the head of all of the rebels, what do you mean?

  • From amongst all the rebels, for all of the rebels, he was the head of all the G5s. The junior ones and the senior ones, he was the head of all of them, the G5s.

  • If you know, did Prince Taylor report to anyone?

  • To whom did he report?

  • Amongst them Mosquito was their boss. Issa Sesay deputised him.

  • I think there were no new names, your Honours:

  • When you say he was "their boss", who? Who are you talking about, Mr Witness?

  • The person that I am talking about, the name that we knew, that was how he was called. He was called Mosquito and the other one was called Issa Sesay. That was how they were called.

  • So, you told us about Morrie Feika, you told us about Prince Taylor, you told us about Mosquito and Issa Sesay. If anyone, whose other name did you hear at that time in 1996 when you were in the jorbush?

  • While we were in the bush there was another person with us. He was called Augustine Gbao. He was referred to as IDU Commander. He was a liaison between the G5 and us. He will talk to the G5s and the G5s will talk to us. Morrie Feika and others, he will tell them something and they in turn will tell us.

  • Your Honour, Augustine Gbao, Gbao is G-B-A-O.

  • Mr Werner, I note the time. Would this be a convenient point?

  • Very good. Mr Witness, we are now going to take the lunchtime adjournment. We will adjourn to 2.30. Please adjourn the Court.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Mr Werner, you were just in your examination-in-chief. Please proceed.

  • Thank you, Madam President, your Honours:

  • Good afternoon, Mr Witness.

  • Mr Witness, before the break --

  • Yes.

  • Before the break you spoke about rebels in the jorbush near Talia and you told us that Mosquito was their boss and you told us that Issa deputised Mosquito and I asked you before the break but I'm not sure you understood my question so I'm going to ask you again, who were these rebels you were talking about, Mr Witness?

  • Those who came and who were fighting the war in this country, but they weren't wearing any uniform. Just like I am dressed here, so they were also dressed, these rebels.

  • And if you know how were they called?

  • I said rebels. Their name is rebels. They used to call them another name.

  • And when you say they used to call them another name, which other name?

  • When they came they would write on the walls of houses RUF. They used to write on houses.

  • Thank you. Now before the break you told us that Gbao, Augustine Gbao, was the IDU commander. Do you remember that?

  • Yes.

  • What was the IDU, Mr Witness, if you know?

  • IDU, from what they explained to us, the work they do, he would receive the message and pass it on to Prince Taylor and Prince Taylor in turn would pass it on to Morie Fekai and Morie Fekai would in turn pass it on to us, that is what I saw, those with whom we were working.

  • So when you say he would receive the message who are you talking about? Who would receive the message?

  • When I said he is an IDU, he was the middle man between the civilians and the IDU. Whatever was there to pass on to the civilians he would pass it on to Prince Taylor that this is what the civilians are required to do. The civilian commander, that G5, would tell you that this is what you're supposed to do. Our own head was Morie Fekai.

  • Just listen to my question. When you said that you were the middle man between the civilians and the IDU who are you talking about?

  • I am talking about Augustine Gbao. He would talk to Prince Taylor and Prince Taylor was the G5 commander. He was our head. All of us, the civilians, he was our head. But he would not just - things would not just emanate from him. He would get it from Augustine Gbao and he would pass it on to Prince Taylor and he would in turn pass it on to him. That's how it happened.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. And when you say - we understand that you talk about Augustine Gbao and you say he would talk to Prince Taylor and Prince Taylor who was a G5 would talk to Morie Fekai and Morie Fekai would talk to the civilians, why would Morie Fekai talk to the civilians, Mr Witness?

  • Mr Prince Taylor, he was head of all the fighters. Wherever there was fighting the civilians who were there, he would be head of them. Morie Fekai, why I'm talking about Morie Fekai, where we were, that was his own place. Mr Morie Fekai was the representative of Prince Taylor where we were.

  • Mr Witness, we understand very well that you said that Morris Fekai was your head and then Morris Fekai was representing Prince Taylor. That is very clear. The question was you said that Morris Fekai would talk to the civilians. The question is why was Morie Fekai talking to the civilians?

  • If it is time for farming, if they say we should farm, they would not just come and tell us, they would tell him to tell us to farm.

  • And when you say they would tell him, who would tell him?

  • That's what I explained a while ago. That Augustine Gbao would tell Mr Prince Taylor, at the time that they were together he would tell Prince Taylor and Prince Taylor would tell his boys. Morie Fekai was one of them. He was our own master. When we were working he would be supervising us.

  • Thank you for that. We will come back to that in due course. Thank you for this explanation, Mr Witness. Now you told us before that you were in jorbush in 1996 with the RUF. In 1996 how long did you stay in this jorbush near Talia?

  • We were there not just '96. We were there up to '96. That '96 didn't end, then we went to Kailahun. They gave us the position. That's where we went in Kailahun. We left the bush.

  • Mr Interpreter, did you say that '96 didn't end? Is that what you said?

  • Yes, that's what I said.

  • I'm going to try to clarify that, your Honour.

  • Does that mean that the witness moved to Kailahun before the end of 1996? I'm asking Mr Werner.

  • I'm going to try to clarify that:

  • So, Mr Witness, you just told us now about the fact that you moved from the jorbush to Kailahun. If you can remember when did you move to Kailahun?

  • '96 did not end. It was in '96 that we left the bush and went to Kailahun. We were in Kailahun when '96 came to an end.

  • Thank you. Now, Mr Witness, I have the feeling that maybe if you can just slow down when you talk maybe that will help the interpretation and I will try to do the same here. Now when you said that you went to Kailahun what are you talking about?

  • I am talking about those for whom we went there. They told us to go to Kailahun. They told us to come from out of the bushes and go to Kailahun. That's when we went to Kailahun.

  • And are you talking about Kailahun Town?

  • Yes. That's where we went.

  • Thank you. Now you said that they give you position. Which position are you talking about, Mr Witness, at that time at the end of 1996?

  • I was a deputy chiefdom commander.

  • Sorry, your Honours, I hear that he said that. I can try to --

  • I do recall him saying that too. It was two answers or three answers back. Continue, Mr Werner.

  • Yes, I was just trying to see his answer:

  • So you said that you were a deputy chiefdom commander. When did you become a deputy chiefdom commander?

  • In that same '96. That was when I became deputy chiefdom commander.

  • And could you explain to this Court how you became a deputy chiefdom commander?

  • There was one person they called Sellu. He was appointed as chiefdom commander and Morie Fekai appointed me as his assistant to work with him.

  • Your Honours, Sellu would be S-E-L-L-U:

  • Now you talked about a Sellu who you said was chiefdom commander. Do you know his full name?

  • Sellu Ensah.

  • Ensah would be E-N-S-A-H:

  • Now could you explain what a chiefdom commander means and then we will come back to your own appointment, but first what a chiefdom commander means?

  • That position, at this time they will call him paramount chief. They will call him the paramount chief. Before the war they would call that position paramount chief. Those civilians who were with the rebels in Kailahun in that area, we were with them. We led them, so that was the name that was given to us. The person who deputised the paramount chief they called deputy chiefdom commander and I was in that position.

  • And when you said that this position at this time they will call him paramount chief, who would call him paramount chief?

  • Chiefdom councilors would appoint the paramount chief. 19 to 20 people would appoint him. Even if they are up to a hundred --

  • Your Honours, can the witness kindly repeat his last answer.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter would like you to repeat your answer again. He wants to hear it once more.

  • I said before the war when they were going to appoint a paramount chief the house tax that we pay, the 19 people, the 20th one would be appointed and we would bring these people together and up to a point these people would appoint the paramount chief, those people who would make the 20th person.

  • Now, coming back to the appointment of Sellu Ensah to be clear, because when you talked about before the war --

  • Just before you go on, Mr Werner, I find that last answer very confusing. Perhaps if I ask the witness. Mr Witness, could you again explain to us how the paramount chief was appointed before the war?

  • Chiefdom people, the house tax that they paid, 19 people, when it makes up 20 they would appoint one person. For instance in that area that we were, if they have up to 20 people out of every 20 people they would have one person, they would appoint one person. Out of every 20 people they would appoint one person and that would go up to 20 and those 20 people would appoint the paramount chief.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness, I'm clear now.

  • Now coming back to 1996 and the appointment of Sellu Ensah, who appointed Sellu Ensah as a chiefdom commander?

  • Commander. It was Augustine Gbao and others who gave him that position.

  • Thank you. And when you say he was chiefdom commander, chiefdom commander for what, for which part of Kailahun District?

  • The Luawa Chiefdom.

  • Mr Werner, is chiefdom commander the same as a paramount chief?

  • I do not know the answer. I will ask the witness:

  • Mr Witness, have you heard the question? Is a paramount chief the same thing as the chiefdom commander?

  • During the war they would call their own paramount chief chiefdom commander during the war.

  • And who called their own paramount chief chiefdom commander, Mr Witness?

  • Augustine Gbao and others. Augustine Gbao, Mosquito, Prince Taylor, Issa Sesay, that's what they called us.

  • Now you said that Sellu Ensah was the chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom. Now, if you know, what was his job?

  • Sellu Ensah, when it's time for farming they would tell him that we want you to cultivate a farm for us and he would pass it on to me and I in turn, all those civilians, I will go after the civilians, we will come together and cultivate that farm. That was what his job was.

  • And when you say that they would tell him that we want you to cultivate a farm, who would tell Sellu Ensah that?

  • Augustine Gbao and others. I keep saying it Augustine Gbao. Where we were in Kailahun, he was the leader there. He was the representative for Issa Sesay and Mosquito in Kailahun, so he would pass an order to Morrie Fekai and Morrie Fekai would pass it on to Sellu and Sellu would pass it on to me. That's how we worked.

  • Thank you for that. And when you say Kailahun are you talking about Kailahun Town?

  • Not just the town. When I talk about Kailahun it's all Kailahun surrounding, that Luawa Chiefdom. That's our chiefdom. That's the headquarter town, Kailahun.

  • Now you explained that you were the deputy chiefdom commander so for which part of Kailahun District were you the deputy chiefdom commander?

  • Luawa Chiefdom, Kailahun. That chiefdom is what we call Luawa, but the big town is called Kailahun.

  • I cannot remember, your Honours, if I spelt for you Luawa or not. I did, okay:

  • Now can you tell this Court what was your job as a deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom?

  • The first thing is during the dry season we do farming. After that during the period to cultivate cocoa we harvested. When it's time for palm kernel we farm that one as well. After that it is up to us to also transport it to the riverside for them to go and sell it. Those are the jobs that I did and my followers, those are the things we did.

  • So, Mr Witness, you said that you and you used the word "we" were doing farming. Now I'm not talking about the civilians of Luawa Chiefdom for a while, just about you as a deputy chiefdom commander. As a deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom what were your jobs?

  • It was my responsibility when Sellu tells me that all the civilians should do this, it was my responsibility. I too had my representatives in the surrounding villages. I would tell all of them that this is what we are supposed to do. That was my own real job and we would all do it together and I would ensure that that work is done and we hand it over to him.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. How long did you remain a deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom, Mr Witness?

  • I have been in that position up to the time of the disarmament.

  • And can you remember which year was the disarmament in Sierra Leone?

  • I think it was in '92 that they collected all the guns. '91, '92, in between there, that was the time they collected all the guns. That's when my own reign ended.

  • Was it after or before your appointment as a deputy chiefdom commander?

  • I have been in that position up to the time of the end of the disarmament. And when they took the guns from us they took those positions from us. At the moment there are chiefs there.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now you said that your village was Talia and then you went to Kailahun Town, district headquarter of Luawa Chiefdom, when you were appointed deputy chiefdom commander. How long did you stay in Kailahun Town?

  • That's the time I told you about; from '96 up to that year that the disarmament started I was still in Kailahun.

  • And during those years how did you travel from Kailahun Town to Talia, your own village?

  • When I was going sometimes Fekai had his office, I would go there and tell him that I want to go to my village. They would give me a document. They called it a pass. That was what we used to go around.

  • And why did you need a pass at that time to go from Kailahun Town to Talia, Mr Witness?

  • If you didn't obtain that pass and you come across any rebel he would think that it's another civilian who had come to spy on them and they would kill you. That was why we obtained that pass; to show that we were them.

  • And when you say to show that you were with them who are you talking about, with whom?

  • I said the rebels.

  • And, if anyone, who else needed a pass at that time to travel from Kailahun Town to Talia?

  • Every civilian who wanted to go somewhere would have to obtain a pass. Every civilian.

  • And how do you know that, Mr Witness?

  • I was leading them. Wherever I was going I will obtain a pass. That was why they too would have to obtain a pass.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you told us what was your job as a deputy chiefdom commander and you said that part of your job included farming. Could you explain to this Court what you meant when you said that part of your job as a deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom included farming?

  • Farming, when we say farming there is rice farming, there is coffee farming, there is cocoa farming. But at this time we were doing rice farming. I really want to explain how we do this farming. It's a physical job and whoever was physical would do that job.

  • And when was it that you requested civilians to do farming?

  • At that time that I was in Talia they would tell us to farm. The RUF people would tell us to farm, to farm for RUF. We would come together and go and do the clearing, burn the farm, do the farming and harvest the rice and hand it over to them.

  • And from the time you were deputy chiefdom commander how many times did that happen, how many times did you do that?

  • We continued farming I think up to the year 2000. I think so. In between those. Maybe I will forget a little, but I think it went up to 2000. In between those years. That's what I think. We were still farming.

  • And you're talking about farming in Talia?

  • Not just Talia. Whichever village had people farming was done there. Not just Talia.

  • And talking about Talia for one second, how many people were working on this rice farming from '96 to 2000 in Talia?

  • In Talia all those people who were in Talia did that work. All those people who were in Talia did that work. Before the war we were many there, but when the war came so many people ran away, some people died, but those who came there, those who came there, they are up to 50 in that town, some strangers added up to them, doing their own farming in that town.

  • And what if anything - from '96 to 2000 when you were doing this farming in Talia, what, if anything, did you harvest?

  • We would harvest rice but I cannot tell you the quantity of the rice, but we used to harvest the rice and give it to them. They put it in their barns. They would eat the rice.

  • They would keep it in their what?

  • B-A-R-N, your Honour.

  • Barns:

  • And when you said that we give it to them, who are the them, Mr Witness?

  • The rebels. We used to give it to the rebels. We would give it to Morrie Fekai and he would in turn give it to them.

  • Why did you give this rice to Morrie Fekai, Mr Witness?

  • Whatever they would tell us to do, if we did it, they would tell him and he would tell Sellu, Sellu in turn would tell me. So when we did the work we would hand it over to him and he in turn would hand it over to them. We would not go straight to Augustine Gbao.

  • But when Morrie Fekai told you to do that why did the civilians of Talia do it?

  • When the war came we were enslaved. Whatever they would tell us to do, that was what we would do. That was why we were doing the farming. We were in slavery. He was controlling us. He would tell us to do it. We were not - we were not free.

  • And when you say we were in slavery what exactly do you mean, Mr Witness?

  • Before the war when I would be doing my farming I would do it at my own pace. I will harvest the rice and I will eat it and I will be well fed. But when the war came and we were captured the farming that we used to do for them, we would give them all the proceeds. We would go to the bush and look for food to eat. So in that circumstance you are in slavery.

  • And talking about this work that the civilians of Talia did in the rice farms, were the civilians of Talia ever paid for that farming?

  • Never. That never happened. If you did not do it you would be beaten and that would be your pay. In fact if you delayed going to the place you would be beaten seriously and that was your pay.

  • And who, if anyone, did you see being beaten because the rice was not produced?

  • Even myself sitting here, I was beaten many times for works. Whenever they would tell us to do something, if they asked us to go and if you delayed just a bit you would be beaten. Even myself sitting here, I was beaten many times.

  • And who beat you, Mr Witness?

  • I have forgotten the name unless you just give me some time to think. The first person who beat he was called Jerry.

  • And to which group, if any, did Jerry belong, Mr Witness?

  • They were fighting the war. They were the rebels.

  • And why were you beaten the first time?

  • They said they had told me to go with workers to go and work and I was reluctant, that's why they were beating me.

  • And you said that you were beaten many times. Can you remember any other instances when you were beaten up?

  • Yes. They told me to take people, 300 people to Gbaiama to clear the swamp, to go with the civilians. When I was going I went with about 50 people, but where they were we could not reach there, civilians could not reach there. There was a town called Sandialu and we stopped there and we sent for them. I said I had brought people and they asked for the number and I gave them the number and they sent for me, [indiscernible], and they took me to them. They said we asked you to bring all the civilians, 300 people, and you would just bring 40 people or 50 people and they started beating me up. They beat me up and everybody in that whole area, that whole chiefdom heard about that beating that they gave to me.

  • So, your Honours, two locations, Gbaiama, G-B-A-I-A-M-A. I believe the second one to be Sandialu but I may be wrong, but my understanding is Sandialu which would be S-A-N-D-I-A-L-U:

  • Now you said that they asked you to bring all the civilians and you just bring 40 of them so they started to beat you up. Who are you talking about, Mr Witness? Who are the they?

  • The person who was there whom I met that I knew his name, there were people from many other areas but he was a Mende, he was called Tom Sandi.

  • Tom Sandi, Tom like the name and Sandi would be S-A-N-D-I:

  • And did he belong to any organisation, Tom Sandi?

  • Yes, he was a soldier. He was the one that I met there, my fellow Mende person. He was standing there while I was being beaten.

  • And to whom, if anyone - to whom did he report, Tom Sandi?

  • I did not report, never. I did not report. You could not even think about reporting because there was nowhere to report. A civilian if you were beaten, you could not even think about reporting.

  • It's my mistake, Mr Witness. I apologise for that. My question was Tom Sandi at the time, when you knew him, to whom did he report, himself Tom Sandi?

  • When I went there I met Tom Sandi at that base. I knew him. He gave me his name, but I didn't know his boss. He was a soldier. I didn't know their boss. I was a civilian. A soldier would tell you that this was Tom Sandi's boss, but I was civilian, I couldn't tell that.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. And you said that you were beaten up by Tom Sandi. What were you beaten up with, if you can remember?

  • They used to slice up tyres and they refer to it as cobra. That was what they used to beat us up with.

  • You gave us two instances when you were beaten up and you told us that there were many other instances. How many other times were you beaten up, Mr Witness?

  • That was the one that I actually felt - they used to beat me, but that one I actually felt it much more than any other one else. That one I really felt it.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you told us about civilians in Talia doing rice farming for the RUF and then you said that you talked about other locations, you said it was not only in Talia. Where else, if anywhere, were civilians working on farms?

  • Let me explain because when I came here I took an oath to say the truth and when I will be explaining I want those in Kailahun to know that I'm speaking the truth. What I was at Gbaiama, they used to call the place targets. We were divided into groups. Wherever there was - there was a target in Sembehun, in Talia. And Borbu Highway, there was a target as well. And Bandajuma as well. They called it Bandajuma target. And Giema too. There were six targets. The work that we did, all the others in the other targets were doing it as well. If it is this time now, if it is normal times like now they will refer to as sections, but during the war they refer to it as targets.

  • So Giema would be G-I-E-M-A. Bandajuma would be B-A-N-D-A-J-U-M-A. Borbu Highway would be B-O-R-B-U. Gbaiama, G-B-A-I-A-M-A:

  • Now, Mr Witness, talking about Giema, what if anything did you see happening in Giema when you were deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom?

  • We the civilians, whatever we will get, if it was time of harvesting palm oil, if we got the palm oil we would take it to Giema. If it was time for cocoa, if we harvest it we would take it to Giema and from Giema we would take it to the riverside.

  • Sorry, let me - probably my question was very confusing. I'm going to rephrase it. When you were deputy chiefdom commander what, if anything, did you see happening in Giema?

  • We made a big farm at Giema from - there is a placed called Kambama [phon], going towards Talia, there was a big farm that we made there for the rebels. Apart from that the commanders who were at Giema, I don't know their names now, many of them, but most of them we used to cultivate farms for them. Even Issa Sesay we used to cultivate a swamp for him at that same Giema.

  • So you talk about a big farm --

  • There is a name of a village, the big farm.

  • I'm coming to it in one second. If you just give me one second. I'm not familiar with that name. I am going to ask the witness:

  • Mr Witness, you said that there was a big farm in Giema and there was a place - did you say Kambama?

  • Giema, the place was called Kambama, going towards Talia. It is just - it's just an adjoining of Giema. Kambama is a place where they had a cemetery. That's why called the place Kambama, because it was where the cemetery for Giema was.

  • I have no spelling, your Honours. I can try, but I have no spelling:

  • Now, Mr Witness, you told us about a big farm in Giema. What did you talk about when you said there was a big farm? Can you explain further what you meant when you said there was a big farm in Giema?

  • We cultivated a farm. Issa Sesay and others told us to cultivate a very big farm for them, those who were fighting, and they said they would use the rice to send it to support the war. The farm was really big at that same Kambama, towards the end of the village.

  • And who worked on this big farm, Mr Witness?

  • All of this work that I have been telling you, we were doing it, we the civilians. That was the work we did.

  • And if you can remember for this big farm in Giema when did that happen, when did civilians work on that farm?

  • That Giema farm I think it was in '97, that big farm. But besides that we used to cultivate other farms, besides that big one, because every village people would have to cultivate a farm for rebels. But that particular big one I think it was in '97 that we cultivated it. We were in Kailahun when we came to do the work.

  • And how many civilians worked on that big farm in Giema, if you can remember?

  • Some days we will go there up to 150 sometimes.

  • Now you told us as well about a swamp farm and you mentioned the fact that some commanders had farms and you mentioned the names of Issa Sesay. Now what, if anything, can you say about a swamp farm in Giema?

  • If you leave Giema town there is a swamp that you will reach, from the swamp you get to a school, but it was that swamp that we cultivated, that very big swamp that we did for Issa Sesay. It was on the main road.

  • And why did you cultivate a swamp farm for Issa Sesay outside Giema?

  • That was the food he used to eat at home.

  • And when you say he who are you talking about?

  • Issa Sesay and the people who were with him would eat that rice. The people with whom he stayed.

  • And how did you know that?

  • I saw people with him at his house.

  • Now, Mr Witness, how many civilians worked on this swamp farm in Giema?

  • It was not every day but many of us used to go there to work, but it was not on a daily basis. If you are saying on a daily basis, no. But we used to go there in large numbers and we did it until the end of the work.

  • And can you remember the year when you civilians went to work on this swamp farm in Giema for Issa Sesay?

  • Starting from '96 right until 2000 we cultivated that swamp.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now you told us that there was harvesting of cacao. Can you remember saying that?

  • Yes.

  • What if anything do you know about this harvesting of cacao at the time you were deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa Chiefdom?

  • In '97 when they asked us to give them cacao in Talia, my village, the cacao they got was 35 bags. In '98 we submitted up to 37 bags of cacao and after that the other year we gave 40 bags. That was the end.

  • And to whom did you give those bags to, Mr Witness, '97, '98 and '99?

  • When we would bring the cacao together I will hand it over to Chief Sellu and Chief Sellu would hand it over to Morrie Fekai and Morrie Fekai in turn would hand it over to Augustine Gbao. He would hand it over to Augustine Gbao.

  • And where did you hand over this cacao to Chief Sellu? Where did that happen?

  • Initially we would gather it at Giema after we completed the gathering of the cacao, but in '98 we used to gather it at Kailahun.

  • And how was the cacao transported from Talia to Kailahun Town?

  • We would take the cacao from Giema, we would not stop at Kailahun, we would take it to the riverside. That was where they used to transact business.

  • Now let me - I should have asked you that before. How many people in '97, '98 and '99, how many people in Talia worked on this cacao production?

  • We were many doing that work. We were many doing that work. But to say that whenever we went there I would do a head count, no, I did not do that, but we were many doing that work.

  • And how many people transported this cacao to the riverbank?

  • When they would ask us to take for example 20 bags 40 people would go with the cacao. One person - two people to a bag.

  • And what was the age group of these people transporting the cacao, Mr Witness?

  • We were adults. There were no children. Children couldn't have carried that cacao. Like people of my age or some people were not up to my age, but they were all adults.

  • And what was the gender of these people transporting the cacao?

  • We the men were carrying the cacao. I never saw them give it to women to carry.

  • And talking about harvesting of the cacao in Talia, did the children work on the farms?

  • At that time there were not small children, because there was no food. Those who had children, most of them had run away. Where we were, if those who had children, we couldn't have taken them to the cacao farm. We couldn't take them there. We used to leave them behind and we would go, we the adults, we would go there to do the cacao harvesting.

    But like this time when there is food all over the place, if you are going there, if you are going to do cacao harvesting you would take your children with you because there is food and whilst you are plucking it they would be gathering it for you.

  • And when you say this time when there was food when are you talking about?

  • Like now where I'm here, I am free, I am not in anybody's custody, I am for myself. But at that time we were in the custody of the rebels, we hadn't any option. That was the year I am talking about. We were not free.

  • And about this cacao farm in Talia, did women work on this cacao production, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, the harvest, we would do it together with the women.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now you told us before as well about a palm oil production or harvesting. What did you mean when you spoke about a palm oil harvesting, Mr Witness?

  • Like the dry season, this month in Mende we would call it March. If you want to harvest palm oil this is the month you go and cut the palm fruit, then you start the process. They would ask us to contribute palm oil. They would distribute it amongst targets. Talia target would give three drums and we gave that.

  • And when you say they would us to contribute palm oil, who would ask you to contribute palm oil, Mr Witness?

  • Augustine Gbao would tell Morrie Fekai and Morrie Fekai would tell Sellu and Sellu in turn would tell me and I would as well go and tell me representatives and we would gather the palm oil.

  • And how many times did that happen in Talia when you were deputy chiefdom commander?

  • Can you remember those times?

  • Please tell this Court?

  • In '98 we contributed four drums of palm oil. In '99 we contributed one drum.

  • And what about in '97, did you contribute any palm oil?

  • We contributed three drums.

  • And how many people worked in Talia on producing this palm oil?

  • When they would say we should do the palm oil harvesting, except children that would not be with us, but every adult was involved in that work. When once you were a civilian that was your work.

  • And how was this palm oil given to Augustine Gbao?

  • I will not take it straight to Augustine Gbao. If I did that they would use an English word they called bypass and I would not do that. I would not want to bypass the authority. If I did the harvesting I would give it to Sellu Ensah and Sellu Ensah would present it to Morrie Fekai and Morrie Fekai in turn would present it to Augustine Gbao. That was how it happened.

  • So where did you give that palm oil to Sellu Ensah, Mr Witness, in '97, '98 and '99?

  • In '97 we gathered the palm oil in Giema. In '98, '99 it was in Kailahun.

  • And how did you transport this palm oil from Talia to Giema?

  • I explained it once. If we got it from Giema, from there straightaway we would take it to the riverside. We would not take it Kailahun. From there straight we would go to the riverside.

  • Who transported this palm oil to the riverside?

  • We the civilians, we would take it to the riverside.

  • And how many civilians in 1997 did you need to transport this palm oil to the riverside?

  • If they will say for example it was going to be one drum each drum contained 12 - 10 jerry cans.

  • So how were these jerry cans transported?

  • We would cut leaves and we would make them as a kind of pad to use that. We would not just put the palm oil on our bare heads. We would use some leaves and use them as pads.

  • And you said that this palm oil was brought to the riverside. If you know, what was this palm oil used for?

  • Do you know what this palm oil was used for when you brought it to the riverside?

  • When they got it to the riverside, they would sell it and they would buy salt, Maggi and bags of rice. Cigarettes too.

  • And who would sell it, Mr Witness?

  • The rebels would sell it. Our own work was just to carry it. We would not even be close. We would go a little far from there and they would sell it. I would not tell you that this person was particularly the one responsible for selling it. We would just carry it to the place and we would push away and they would do the transaction.

  • I wonder if the word Maggi is correctly written on the screen. I wonder if we could find out what it is because I'm mystified by that.

  • Perhaps I shouldn't give evidence from the Bench, but it's a little --

  • If there's still a mystery after this I will right it for you.

  • I agree:

  • Mr Witness, you said that the rebels would sell this palm oil and then they would buy salt, bags of rice, cigarettes and Maggi. Could you explain what Maggi is, if you know?

  • Yes. Maggi cube, even now they put it in packets. It's part of the ingredients of cooking. It's part of the condiments. If you want to cook a sauce, for example, you would put Maggi in it to make it a little more delicious.

  • I'm very grateful. I didn't realise they had it in Sierra Leone as well as in England.

  • It's an extremely popular market item, Mr Munyard.

  • I'll make a note of that, your Honour.

  • Mr Witness, so we understand now very well that the palm oil would be sold and then the rebels would buy salt, Maggi, rice and cigarettes. If you know, what did happen to these products that were bought in the riverside?

  • We would carry it on our heads and bring it to Kailahun and they had a store there and we would pack it in that store and we would leave them.

  • And when you say they had a store who are you talking about?

  • The rebels had the store. Let me make it clear.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now you explained what happened in 1997 with this palm oil. What happened in 1998?

  • In '98 too we did farming. We cultivated farms. In those years we cultivated farms.

  • Sorry, Mr Witness, probably my question was not clear. I was just trying to finish off with the palm oil and you explained that you produced in Talia palm oil in - civilians produced in Talia palm oil in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and I asked a question about the transport of palm oil for 1997. So the question is what happened with the palm oil produced in Talia in 1998, if you can remember?

  • When we would gather the palm oil, we would take it to the riverside and they would buy those items that I had just mentioned.

  • And what about 1999?

  • Just as I explained, that is it.

  • Now, Mr Witness, do you know in Kailahun District and in your chiefdom, do you know a place called Keyah River? Sorry, let me repeat the question. Do you know a river, Mr Witness, in Luawa Chiefdom called Keyah River?

  • Yes.

  • Your Honours, Keyah, K-E-Y-A-H.

  • Did you go to Keyah River when you were deputy chiefdom commander from 1996 to 2000?

  • And what, if anything, did you see in Keyah River during those years?

  • Keyah is shorter to my home town where I am. It is shorter to my home town. Before they came we used to fish during the dry season. We would start the fishing in February, right up to March, we would do fishing there and we used to eat the fish that we caught.

  • Mr Interpreter, what do you mean Keyah is shorter to my home?

  • It's a shorter distance.

  • That is what the witness said.

  • What is the correct interpretation of--

  • It's supposed to be a short distance but the witness said shorter. It's supposed to be a short distance but the witness, your Honour, used shorter to my home so I don't know what he was comparing it to.

  • Mr Witness, what did you mean when you said that it was a shorter distance to your home?

  • I said it is not far from my home town. From my home town to that river it's one and a half miles.

  • Now you explained that the fishing would start in February up to March. Who would do the fishing, Mr Witness?

  • Before the war we were free doing things on our own, but during the war the women used to fish for the RUF.

  • And when did that happen?

  • They did it for many years. Right up to 2000 the women used to fish, that is their work.

  • And can you just explain - help us with that. You say they did it for many years right up to 2000. Which years are you talking about?

  • Starting from '94 when they started fishing for them right up to that year that I have mentioned they used to do fishing for them.

  • When you say for them who are them, Mr Witness?

  • I said for the RUF.

  • And you said that the women were fishing. Who, if anyone, did you know among the women going fishing to the Keyah River for the RUF?

  • Yes, the women, when they would be leaving, the person they would appoint to lead them, that leader was called Hawa Jusu.

  • Your Honours, H-A-W-A J-U-S-U:

  • And who was that Hawa Jusu, Mr Witness?

  • She's a woman. She's still in Talia as I'm talking.

  • And during the time you were deputy chiefdom commander what, if anything, happened to Hawa Jusu?

  • When they would ask them to go for fishing if she would delay to bring the women together they would beat her. In my presence they beat her up twice.

  • And who did that, Mr Witness?

  • The rebels beat her up. But the rebels who were commanded to beat her up, I don't know their names, but they beat her up in my presence.

  • And when did that happen?

  • This month, like in this month, in March.

  • In which year was she beaten up, if you know?

  • '97, '98 they beat her up in my presence.

  • And I asked you who did that and you said that the rebels beat her up, the rebels who were commanded to beat her up. How do you know that rebels were commanded to beat her up?

  • When they will say that they will - the women should go to this town and go and do the fishing, the soldiers who would be going, they needed to go - they needed to go and tell the G5 that the women should go and do the fishing.

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat that answer.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter would like you to repeat your answer again so he can hear it clearly. Please repeat your answer.

  • I said with regards fishing the rebels would come together and say let's go to this town so the women would do fishing for us and they will just go to the town. If they got there they would just tell Hawa to get some women to go and do the fishing. That was how it happened. But if anybody refused then they would ask one of them to beat that person up.

  • And how do you know that, Mr Witness?

  • It happened in my presence.

  • Thank you. Now you told us as well about coffee harvesting. What, if anything, do you know about coffee harvesting during the time you were deputy chiefdom commander for Luawa?

  • Where I am living we have coffee there, but not much of it. But going towards Sandialu they have a lot of coffee there. Whilst we would be contributing cacao they would be contributing coffee.

  • And when you say they would be contributing coffee who are you talking about?

  • The civilians at their end, they will be contributing coffee because they had a lot of coffee at that end.

  • And when you say at their end, which end? Are you able to assist where in Luawa Chiefdom?

  • Your Honours, can counsel repeat the question.

  • The witness said that they contributed coffee at that end and I was asking where was that end, which location is he talking about?

  • I said that town is called Sandialu

  • Can we have a spelling for that?

  • I think I gave it to you, but I'm very happy to do it again. It would be S-A-N-D-I-A-L-U, Sandialu:

  • Now, Mr Witness, you said that they were contributing coffee. To who, if anyone, were they contributing coffee, the civilians at Sandialu?

  • When they would harvest the coffee, they too had a G5 but the G5, the overall G5 would have his representative there, so they would present it to that representative and he in turn would give it to his boss. He would present it to the G5 and the G5 in turn would present it to Augustine Gbao. But the G5 who was at Sandialu, I didn't know his name. But wherever there were civilians they had their agents there.

  • And when you say they have their agent there, who are the they, who had their agents there?

  • The G5s. They would have their representatives there. That is what I'm referring to as agent. That is how they called it. But actually it is their representative.

  • Mr Werner, I notice the word "adjutant" and the word "agent" have both been on record.

  • Thank you for that, I didn't notice.

  • I understood the witness to say agent.

  • Apparently in my question it was translated like adjutant. So let me ask the question again:

  • I asked you, Mr Witness, I understood you to say that they had agents and I was asking who were these agents?

  • They were they representatives. Wherever they had their representatives they would call it their agents, but for us we knew it was their representative, but they called it their agents.

  • And whose representatives were they, Mr Witness?

  • I said the G5s. They had their representatives.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you told us about civilians in Talia harvesting palm oil, cacao, working on rice farms and going to fish for the RUF. Now what else if anything did the civilians of Talia do for the RUF during the time you were a deputy chiefdom commander?

  • This month that I've mentioned, at the end of this - at the end of that month, the following one you cannot fish. During that time we would do hunting for - we would do game hunting.

  • Who would do game hunting?

  • Even in Talia they used to do it and in Giema they did it. Just as I mentioned the targets, they did it in all the targets.

  • And what did they hunt in the bush around Talia?

  • We would go into a bush and we search for animals. We will search for cutting grass, because those are the animals that would destroy our farms, because if we don't kill them they would destroy our rice, so that's why they would be the first set of animals that we would search for. After that we would search from some others now, but our main target was cutting grasses.

  • Mr Werner, again I'm going to avoid giving evidence from the bar table but could have a better description of what a cutting grass is.

  • Mr Witness, could you describe for this Court what is a cutting grass?

  • There is an animal in the bush that has a big head but does not have pines on it. That is what we call cutting grass.

  • I think that the way it is transcribed --

  • It looks like a big rat, doesn't it?

  • It is. It's a big rat.

  • Mr Interpreter, is this called a grass cutter? Is it a cutting grass or a grass cutter? Mr Interpreter, is it the same animal as a grass cutter?

  • Mr Witness, during the time you were deputy chiefdom commander what would happen with these animals caught in the bush by the civilians of Talia?

  • I myself sitting down here, sometimes when we caught them we put them together and I and Fatoma took them to Mosquito. We used to give it to them to eat.

  • Who is Fatoma, Mr Witness?

  • Fatoma Aruna. He is in Giema. I and Fatoma Aruna took that meat there. He had one and I had one and we took them there.

  • Your Honour, Fatoma would be F-A-T-O-M-A and Aruna A-R-U-N-A.

  • Is this a he or a she?

  • I'm going to clarify".

  • So what is the gender of Fatoma Aruna, Mr Witness, if you know?

  • So you said that you and Fatoma Aruna would take them and bring them to Mosquito in Buedu. Why did you do that?

  • We took his own meat. After the game hunting they told us that this one that you get you would have to take for Mosquito. After we had caught them we dragged them up and took them to Mosquito.

  • And who told you that?

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now you told this Court that you lived in Kailahun Town as a deputy chiefdom commander from '96 to 2000. What, if anything, did you see happening in Kailahun Town when you were there?

  • I thank you, those questions that you're asking me, you are leaving some behind. If you ask me why did you do this then I'll explain, but you just asking me and I'm ending up the explanation. You're asking me why did this happen. If you're asking me this way I will explain for the Court people to know why this was happening. This one that you've asked me now I'll answer.

    When we were in Kailahun Morrie Fekai - they would tell Morrie Fekai to tell us to weed. When they tell him that he would tell Chief Sellu and Sellu would tell me. I also had my own representatives in the villages. I would send people there and I would tell them that they've asked us to weed the village and we would weed Kailahun. We used to weed even on the roads.

  • Mr Interpreter, we seem to have a few words. Is the word weed?

  • Weed, W-E-E-D, yes, your Honour.

  • I note the transcript has wait, weed and weave but the word is weed, W-E-E-D. So we'll have that corrected.

  • And I will try to get some clarification, your Honours:

  • What to you mean when you say that the civilians had to weed? Could you explain what you meant?

  • The grass - the grass that grows in the town, you can't walk easily on them. That's the grass we used a hoe to weed. We would weed that. It would be like the street that has this black tarmac.

  • And when did that happen that Morrie Fekai told the civilians to come to Kailahun Town and weed? When did that happen?

  • I said Morrie Fekai will tell Sellu and Sellu would tell me. It was I who would tell my own representatives and all of us would come to Kailahun and weed the grass from there. Up to that time we were in Kailahun we continued do that. Up to the time the Pakistanis came there, the white people. When they were going there they took machines along and that was what the - the machines that were used to weed the grass. It was during that time that they arrived there that we stopped weeding grass, but we continued doing it up to 1996.

  • And when, if you know, did the Pakistanis came to Kailahun Town?

  • I think they went in '91. They were in Kailahun. They were there up to the time of disarmament. That's what I think. The year 2001.

  • When you said that you used to go there and you said up to that time we were in Kailahun we continued to do that, which time were you talking about?

  • Starting from '96 I said up to 2000 - up to the year 2001. When these people went they were the people who assisted us. They had machines that were used. They had the machines. Before that we were the ones who weeded the grass from Kailahun.

  • And from '96 up to 2000 how many civilians did weeding in Kailahun Town, did this job in Kailahun Town?

  • I do not do a head count. To say that all of them I did a head count and I can remember, no. But we were many. There were civilians and those civilians who were there, it could be between 400 and 800. There were others who did some other jobs. For instance, the farming that I was telling you about. We would have some people who would go to do that farming. That was how it happened.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. In Luawa Chiefdom do you know a town called Yandohun?

  • What do you want to ask? That's not the name of the town. Yandohun. I know a town called Yandohun, but you said Yandohun, I heard Yandohun.

  • Sorry for my accent, Mr Witness. Yandohun would be Y-A-N-D-O-H-U-N. And where is Yandohun?

  • Yandohun is in the Luawa Chiefdom.

  • And when you were a deputy chiefdom commander what, if anything, happened in Yandohun?

  • There was a man called Patrick Bangula, he knew about diamonds. Those of us who were there didn't know about diamonds. The only thing we knew cause cacao, coffee and palm oil. But he said there was something that is under the earth called diamonds. So he knew about that. So Mosquito and others, Issa Sesay, they appointed him to suggest wherever diamonds are and that was the time we started looking out for a place to mine.

  • Can you tell this Court the name again of that person appointed by Issa and Mosquito to look for diamonds. Can you give that name again?

  • Patrick Bangula.

  • I think he said Bangura.

  • Patrick Bangula.

  • So Patrick is P-A-T-R-I-C-K. I'm hearing Patrick Bangura, but the interpretation we are getting is Patrick Bangula:

  • Could you tell the last name again once more, Mr Witness?

  • He's a civilian but he's Mende. He used to speak Mende and I heard that. Kailahun is not his birthplace. I don't know the town where he came from but he came from up there. I don't know where.

  • Mr Witness, you were asked to repeat the second name of the witness, please - the second name of this person.

  • Patrick Bangula. That's how we called him. That's the name we knew. Patrick Bangula.

  • That's the record, Mr Werner.

  • Yes and I will then spell it B-A-N-G-U-L-A.

  • So, Mr Witness, what happened when Patrick Bangula was appointed by Issa Sesay and Mosquito to look for diamonds? What, if anything, happened after that?

  • He brought civilians together and they were doing the job. It was civilians who were doing the job.

  • And who brought civilians together, Mr Witness?

  • In that town where he was. It was in Yandohun when they said they were going to mine for diamonds, he brought the civilians together and they were the ones who were doing the mining.

  • And when did that happen?

  • It looks like it was in '97 or '98, in between. That was the time that happened. I think so.

  • And how many civilians worked there at that time?

  • I was not there but they were many. The civilians who were in Yandohun were the ones who did that work. I did not actually go there, but I know that they did that job. But they didn't find any diamonds there.

  • So how did you know about that if you didn't go there?

  • Those who were there who were doing that work, they would come and tell us. At that time I was in Kailahun. They were saying that they were mining for diamonds, that Patrick Bangula had asked them to mine for diamonds, they were the ones who were telling me.

  • Now, Mr Witness, do you know a placed called Monfidor in Luawa Chiefdom?

  • Your Honours, Monfidor would be M-O-N-F-I-D-O-R:

  • What, if anything, happened in Monfidor in Luawa Chiefdom?

  • They were mining for diamonds between Monfidor.

  • Your Honours, the witness has called a name of a town that I didn't get clearly. Can he kindly be asked to repeat.

  • Mr Witness, can you pause a moment, please. The interpreter wants you to repeat the name of a town you said or a place you said and the rest of your answer. He did not hear you properly.

  • Okay. I'm going to explain slowly. That town that they called Monfidor, from Monfidor there's another town you'll meet, they called that town, Sahbahun, it's by the river, the river is called Moa.

  • Your Honours, Sahbahun would be S-A-H-B-A-H-U-N and Moa, M-O-A.

  • Please, continue, Mr Witness. So what happened, Mr Witness, in Monfidor?

  • In between Monfidor and Sahbahun they used to mine for diamonds there.

  • Who mined for diamonds there?

  • I said from Monfidor going to Sahbahun, in between there they were mining for diamonds there.

  • Mr Witness, just listen to my question. Who between Monfidor and Sahbahun, who was mining for diamonds?

  • The civilians were mining for diamonds. The person who was head of the civilians there who knew about diamonds was Monia Lahai, even as I'm talking now he's in Talia.

  • The family name would be L-A-H-A-I. I'm not sure about the first name, but Monia would be M-O-N-I-A:

  • And did Monia Lahai report to anyone?

  • To whom did he report?

  • That person, that person was called Stanley Jusu. That was how they called him. For instance, just like Patrick Bangula was, that was what he was there. His name was Stanley Jusu.

  • Your Honours, Stanley Jusu would be S-T-A-N-L-E-Y and J-U-S-U:

  • Now, it isn't very clear to me, Mr Witness. Stanley Jusu, to whom did he report?

  • At that time all of them in Kailahun, the boss of all bosses was Augustine Gbao. He was the one in Kailahun. Mosquito, Issa Sesay, he was their representative there.

  • Thank you for that clarification, Mr Witness. Now you told us about Yandohun and some civilians mining there and you told us about a place between Monfidor and Sahbahun where civilians were as well mining there. Now did the civilians find diamonds in Kailahun District?

  • I did not see with my own eyes.

  • And what, if anything, did you hear about diamonds?

  • They were mining. They said they were mining, but I do not even know diamonds. But they used to mine and that was not the only place they were doing the mining. In fact wherever there was a large crowd where they used to do the mining, you did not even ask me about those towns.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you said that Yandohun and a place between Monfidor and Sahbahun were not the only places where they were doing mining. So where else were they doing mining?

  • Giema. Where Mr Patrick Bangula was, that was the very place in Giema that they were doing the mining. On the main road. That was where they were doing the mining. I went there myself and I saw it.

  • And Giema was already spelt, your Honours:

  • Now you said that they were doing the mining. Who was doing the mining there in Giema, Mr Witness?

  • The civilians, the civilians who were in Giema, they were the very ones that Mr Patrick Bangula brought together to do the mining.

  • And how many people were mining in Giema. How many civilians were mining in Giema?

  • They were many. I do not - I did not do a head count but they were many. I myself went there where the mining was being done and I saw a diamond.

  • What else did you see when you went there, Mr Witness, if anything?

  • Your Honours, before the witness answers that question the interpreter would like to make a correction.

  • Just pause, Mr Witness, please. Mr Interpreter, is this a correction to the last answer or to the question?

  • Yes, it is a correction to the last answer.

  • Very well. Let's have the correction then.

  • The interpreter had said, "And I saw a diamond". The answer should be, "And I did not see a diamond".

  • Mr Werner, does that affect your question?

  • I will ask again, your Honour:

  • So, Mr Witness, you said that you went to Giema and you didn't see any diamonds. What else, if anything, did you see when you went to Giema?

  • I saw them digging a pit and they were doing the mining itself. They would excavate the gravel and they would wash it. I saw that one happen.

  • And who were digging the pit, Mr Witness?

  • And where was Mr Patrick Bangula when you went there?

  • That diamond business was in his hands in that area.

  • Did you see him when you went to Giema?

  • I do not understand the question.

  • Did you see Mr Patrick Bangula at the time you went to Giema and you saw the civilians digging the diamonds - sorry, digging the gravels?

  • Yes. I saw him in person at that workplace.

  • And when you said the diamond business was in his hands in that area what did you mean?

  • I said he was head of that diamond business. He was head of that diamond business. When the people would be working he would be there to supervise them.

  • Thank you. Now, Mr Witness, many times you told us about rebels and once you said that they were RUF rebels. Now when you were a deputy chiefdom commander from '96 to 2000 what were the age groups of these RUF rebels that you saw?

  • There were children, some who were eight carrying guns. There were some nine years old. There were others 10 years. I used to see them carrying guns.

  • And where did you used to see them carrying guns?

  • All these commanders that I have mentioned, they were - these children were with them. They were with Issa Sesay, they were with Mosquito, they were with Augustine Gbao.

  • And what were they doing with them?

  • They were carrying guns. They too were rebels.

  • And can you remember the years that you saw these young rebels?

  • These children, these little children, when the war came, when they captured them they trained them and they were with them. Because in every year a child would grow and they were with them up to the time of the disarmament, those children. Up to now they are there and they call them ex-combatants.

  • And when you say these little children, when the war came when they captured them, who captured these little children, Mr Witness?

  • The rebels captured them. Those leaders who were training people, they were the ones who captured people and trained them. The rebels. They were the ones who captured them. Those children didn't know anything about guns. They were the ones who captured them and trained them to use guns.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now, Mr Witness, today in this Court you said that civilians in Talia and other villages were forced to work. You said that you could not move without a pass from Kailahun Town to your village. You said that you were beaten up many times. So let me ask you this: Why did you stay in Luawa Chiefdom from '96 to 2000?

  • The reason that I did not leave there, when the war came it came in Sierra Leone in that our area, it came there, the war came there in 1991, in March 1991. When the war - and when the war came and they captured Kailahun they said the war would only last for three months. That was why they said that nobody should go anywhere. They said they wanted to capture all of us so that we would not go anywhere. At that time after the war had gone past three months they were scattered all over the place, nobody could go anywhere. That was the reason I couldn't go. When they said three months we thought that it would end in three months, so we decided not to go, we would stay there and do our jobs. That was why I didn't go.

  • And you talk about 1991 when the war came. Now what about after 1996, why did you stay in Luawa Chiefdom after 1996?

  • I couldn't. They were scattered all over. Even at the border. If they saw me with a load they would kill me. That was why I did not go anywhere. I just looked up to God. I just looked to God's might. Whatever they asked me to do I will do.

  • Mr Interpreter, did the witness say I wouldn't or I couldn't?

  • Now, Mr Witness, during the same period from '96 to 2000 when you were deputy chiefdom commander how was your health?

  • The jobs that we were doing starting from up to '96, in between then I had an illness called hernia and that was caused by the fact that we were carrying heavy loads. That hernia was a result of that job that we were doing. Like I am now in your presence here, you people sitting there, I cried out to them that, oh, I have this illness now and this is as a result of the war and that hernia was treated two years ago. That's why I am sitting here today talking to you. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to sit here to talk to you.

  • Now, Mr Witness, what, if anything, did you learn about the health of other people living in your village Talia?

  • The hernia was many. The hernia illness was many. Before the war it was not there, because those people who were working, but at the time --

  • Your Honours, can the witness kindly repeat his answer and repeat it slowly.

  • Mr Witness, just pause, please. You're going to a little bit too quickly for the interpreter. Could you repeat what you said and say it slowly, please.

  • Okay, I agree. Before the war hernia was not common. The reason that hernia became common, for instance that cacao that I have spoken about, there was nobody who could take a bag to carry it to Njala. But during the war, because we were carrying it, these bags of cacao, hernia became very, very common. But I talked about mine. Some people were hiding theirs, but I talked about mine and I was treated.

  • And the witness gave a name of maybe a place. I'm not familiar with it, Njala. I'm going to ask the witness if he can help us with that:

  • Mr Witness, you said that there was nobody who could take a bag to carry it to Njala. Where is Njala?

  • I said what led to hernia to be common, if for example you carry a lot of loads you would strain your nerves and your [indiscernible] would be swollen and that was caused by the load that we carried. But some people were ashamed to say it, but I did not shy to say mine, so I said mine and it was treated.

  • I will try again. I don't think he answered the question about the place. I'm not sure it's a translation --

  • Mr Witness, did you say you went to some place with the cocoa?

  • I said from Giema we would carry the load from Giema to riverside. It could go up to 10 miles or even beyond that.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Now, Mr Witness, before you said that - upon giving your evidence today you said that there was no food for the civilians. During that time you were a deputy chiefdom commander. What did you mean when you said there was no food?

  • That was what I explained, that the question as you're asking me, you're leaving some behind. You're leaving some questions out. You would have asked me how would you get the food to eat. That time we hadn't any food so we were going to the bush and get yams and even that was finished. So what we fed on was palm cabbage.

  • And for how long did you feed yourself on palm cabbage?

  • We were feeding on that right until the time those white people came and we were getting assistance from them, when they would cook we would go there and they would give some to us.

  • And so my understanding is that you said that you used to eat palm cabbage until the white people came. Now what about your children, what did they normally eat during the period of time you were deputy chiefdom commander?

  • That same palm cabbage. We used to eat that together with them. But in '99, there are times if they would ask us to get that government palm oil, if you get an extra one for yourself then you'll go and get some rice. But the rice that we got from there could not even feed us for up to two months. So when the rice would finish we would start eating palm cabbage.

  • And what, if anything, happened to your children as a result of eating palm cabbage?

  • They had an illness. Their legs and cheeks were swollen and they refer to it as oedema. That's what we heard. They had swollen feet and legs and they died. Five children died for me. Five of my children died. Even now their graves are there in Talia jorbush.

  • And do you know when did they die, Mr Witness, your children?

  • It was in '96 that all of them died. When they got that illness one would die and say the next two - the other two days another would die, because there was not much protein in the food that we had.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. Now where if anywhere did the civilians from Talia go when they were sick?

  • If somebody got sick there is a herb we referred to as Gbangbei and we would cut that herb, it's a root, and that is what we would use to drink as medication. If you are lucky you will not die, but if you are not lucky then you will die.

  • Mr Witness, can you give us the name of that herb again, please?

  • There is a tree called Gbangbei. It's the root of that tree that we would cut and we would wash it. When we washed it we would cut it in pieces and we put it say in a container like this mug that I'm having in front of me and when - it took some time, then the root would have drained into the water then we would drink it.

    Then there was some other thing that we would rub on, it's like a clay. Then that is what we used to rub on our bodies when we were sick. When we would drink that one, that one that had water on it and we would rub the other one on our bodies. That was our own form of medication.

  • I believe the name to be Gbangbei. The spelling I have would be G-B-A-N-G-B-E-I. Can I ask just one more question?

  • Yes, you have a couple of minutes, Mr Werner.

  • Thank you.

  • Mr Witness, you said that the civilians from Luawa Chiefdom would use this herb when they got sick. Now talking about the rebels that you talked about in your evidence, where if anywhere would these rebels go when they were sick?

  • They had their medical people with them who would treat them. They had their medical people. Wherever they were they would have medical team.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Mr Witness, we finish court at this time now and we start again tomorrow morning. I want to explain to you that between now and the time all your evidence is finished you must not discuss your evidence with anyone else. Do you understand this?

  • Very well. We will adjourn now and resume court tomorrow at 9.30.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m. to be reconvened on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 at 9.30 a.m.]