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

  • Thank you. It appears that Mr Witness's microphone is not on. I don't see a light. Is it because of the voice distortion? Thank you.

    Mr Bangura, please proceed.

  • Good morning, Mr Witness.

  • Your Honours, I respectfully apply, pursuant to the decision granting protective measures, to have the earlier part of the witness's testimony to be taken in closed session.

  • Closed or private session, Mr Bangura?

  • And that part of it that relates to his personal details that would have the effect, if they were put out in open session, to disclose his identity.

  • I understand the reason for that and obviously we don't object to it. Once we go into private session, I would wish to be heard on the ambit of private session in relation to this witness.

  • I understand, I think. We will therefore go into a private session. This is for reasons of security of the witness and, once we're in private session, we will hear further legal argument. Please put the court in private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 20571 to 20593, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Mr Witness, you have mentioned that you ran the first institution from about 1998. I'm sorry, let me withdraw that. Do you recall that there was a conflict in Sierra Leone at any point in time?

  • To your recollection over what period did this conflict last?

  • To my recollection it started in 1991 and I think it was declared ended in 2002.

  • And during the period that we're talking of did any of the institutions that you ran offer medical services to persons in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes. In 1990 - it started from 1990, we started giving medical services to patients, civilian patients, who were coming from Liberia.

  • What kind of services were you rendering to these people that came from Liberia?

  • They were suffering from severe medical problems, basically that of severe malnutrition and starvation, and unfortunately some of them succumbed to that; some of them died.

  • In which institution were you providing these services?

  • Institution number 1.

  • How long did this continue?

  • I think it continued for the best part of two years.

  • After that period, did any of the institutions that you ran provide medical services to anybody else in Sierra Leone relating to the conflict?

  • Yes, both institutions number 1 and number 2 were involved to some - you know, in varied extents during the conflict period in Sierra Leone.

  • If we just go back in chronological order, which institution first offered services and what kind of services?

  • Well, institution number 1 was the first one. Basically the main reason was that patients who were coming from - who were fleeing the war in Liberia and coming to Sierra Leone were directed to this institution number 1 because of the association. Most of them did not have money to pay and so institution number 1 was able to, you know, deal with their problems and at that time ECHO International Health Services was giving its assistance.

  • Sorry, it may be me, but the witness has referred to "because of the association". I don't know what that means.

  • Your Honour, I believe the witness was still trying to finish up his answer. I was going to go back to the point raised by my learned friend.

  • I really meant in 1990 my first intervention was with - or my first contact with war related patients was Liberian citizens who fled into Sierra Leone who were suffering from medical conditions which basically mainly was nutritional, that is starvation and severe malnutrition. A lot of them were children and a few adults. That was just medical intervention and, you know, we were able to give assistance to them.

  • And you mentioned that the institution 1 was providing these services because of the association, which my learned friend has pointed out is not quite clear.

  • The association I meant was that of course word easily got around in Freetown when the fleeing Liberians came that you could get more sympathy from that institution than by a particular doctor because of his training and where he was trained.

  • Can you describe what further services you rendered as time went on?

  • Yes, even as time went on I think in the late or in the mid-'90s I saw a few - I had cause to treat in institution number 1 a few soldiers who were sent - you know, who couldn't get treatment from the military hospital because of the constraints that they were facing at the military hospital and so I had cause to treat them in institution number 1. In institution number 2 --

  • Just before we go on to institution number 1 [sic], you said --

  • We're dealing with number 1, Mr Bangura.

  • I am sorry:

  • Just before we go on to institution number 2, you talked about dealing with soldiers who were sent to you in the mid-'90s. Who sent them to you?

  • They were sent by their commanders, or superiors, who were probably schoolmates of mine and acquaintances of mine to take care of their - to take care of them.

  • You were going to go on to institution number 2. Please continue.

  • Yes, in 1997 institution number 2 joined institution number 1 in taking care of these war related cases and in '97 it started from 25 May.

  • And when you say that it started from 25 May, what's the significance of that date particularly?

  • It was the day there was a military coup d'├ętat in Sierra Leone and automatically I mean people who were wounded were brought in to both institution number 1 and institution number 2.

  • What sort of victims were brought in, or what sort of people were brought in, to these institutions at the time?

  • These were patients who suffered gunshot wounds and patients who were involved in road traffic accidents where, you know, they were hit by vehicles and - you know, fleeing vehicles in the town, yes.

  • You yourself at this time, what were your observations?

  • Yes, well on the day the military coup - there was a coup in Sierra Leone on 25 May 1997 we were attending a conference at the Bintumani Hotel, that's the Sierra Leone medical and dental mid-year conference, and it was a sleeping conference and so we were held up in the hotel. So we heard - well, we were notified of that activity very early in the morning of 25 May and we later on heard gunshots. Not too long after that, at about 8/9 o'clock in the morning, we were then visited by, you know, about 20 to 30 different groups of men - armed men - who came basically to loot the hotel.

  • Talking about the cases that came to these institutions during this period, what kind of cases were brought to you? Were they civilians, or non-civilians?

  • They were all civilians.

  • How long did you have to provide services to these sorts of cases?

  • Well, it was for a period of about probably three to four weeks.

  • Are you able to give any figure as to how many of these cases you treated over the period?

  • The situation was so chaotic it was more important for us to take care of the wounds than we were able to put records together, but - well, thinking about it, that period 1997 we were so overwhelmed in both institution number 1 and 2. In fact, we were having referrals from even the military hospital. Patients were taken from the military hospital with, you know, high velocity missile wounds and they were brought in for definitive management in institution number 2. So we were so overwhelmed with work that records were very difficult to get and the records that were kept just disappeared.

  • Thank you. The cases that were brought from the military hospital at this time, who were they? Were they civilians, or non-civilians?

  • Well, they were civilians. They were the - well, they were the relatives of soldiers who were hit in the Murray Town Barracks area and were taken to the military hospital with high velocity wounds - missile wounds - and I think it got to the knowledge of the International Red Cross that they were not being properly managed and so they were taken over.

  • Just to note that we should be referring to an institution. Apart from --

  • I'm not clear what you are saying, Mr Bangura.

  • Your Honour, I was --

  • Oh, I do understand now what you're saying. I think you're talking about the NGO, are you?

  • That's right, your Honour.

  • Mr Bangura, really in the context in which this particular paragraphs reads do you really think there's a danger as of now?

  • Not in this context, your Honour. No, not in this context, but I just thought I should give a reminder. However, then I thought giving the reminder would let it out and that is why

  • That is what I think you are doing.

  • Perhaps the least said about it:

  • Apart from - even before you talked about cases that were being brought in from the military hospital, there were already cases being brought to these two institutions.

  • Yes.

  • Where were these other cases coming from?

  • They were coming from all over Freetown and they were brought in by relatives, they were brought in by security people, they were also brought in by the Sierra Leone Red Cross and several others. They were just bringing in patients.

  • What sort of treatment did you have to provide at this time for the conditions that these cases presented?

  • After triage was done, then we decide what kind of intervention needs to be done, you know, for the particular type of injury the patient sustained and so - and we went on and carried on the intervention.

  • Now, you talked about triage. Can you explain what that process entailed?

  • It's just simply dividing, you know, patients coming in into three categories. The first one is those you cannot help medically and they usually succumb, that means they die, in a very short time upon arrival. Then the next group is those who are acute emergencies that you have to intervene immediately and then the third group is those who can wait, you know, a while. So that's the whole essence of a triage.

  • Once you had performed triage could you recall what sort of treatment specifically you had to administer to the cases that you saw at this time?

  • Yes, basically - well, if the patient - I mean, there were lots of bleeding cases coming in, so we had to arrest the bleeding and, you know, clean them up and then repair - and do repairs, surgical repair.

  • And this would be bleeding from what sort of wounds?

  • A lot of the wounds in 19 - around that time was from firearms and both categories of firearms, that is the low velocity missile wounds and high velocity missile wounds, and we also had, you know, cuts and abrasions, deep wounds from fleeing civilians, so, you know, their wounds had to be tended to. But first of all we had arrest - you have to arrest the bleeding or else the patient dies of the acute loss of blood. So the first thing with those emergencies, or those emergency cases, you have to keep them alive. And a few of them were with macerated conditions. You have to clear the airway. It is the nasopharynx, make sure that they're breathing before any intervention can be made.

  • Thank you. Just before we move on you mentioned nasopharynx. Can you just simply help us with a spelling there?

  • It's N-A-S-O-P-H-A-R-Y-N-X.

  • Thank you. Now, how were you able to distinguish - you've mentioned high velocity missile wounds and low velocity missile wounds. How were you able to distinguish between these kinds of wounds?

  • The appearance of the wounds, you know, in both cases are quite different and in the low velocity missile wounds are usually, you know, are usually caused by - could be even, you know, a knife, a knife can cause that and even a bullet fired from, you know, a light arm can cause that so long as it travels less than the speed of sound, that is less than 300 metres per second. You know, the type of damage that it will cause on the body is quite different from the high velocity missile wound that is caused by this propelled ammunition and some of them usually go up to two or three times the speed of sound and it translates its energy through the wound and it blows it out. So you have a bigger - as soon as you see a patient with a high velocity missile wound you know exactly what has happened and you know what sort of intervention you have to make because it does create a cavitation that you have to pay attention to because of its immediate ramifications of blood loss, et cetera, and also its late ramification of trapping debris inside the cavity that will lead to gas gangrene and devastating situation, yeah, you want to prevent all of that and that's - well, with high velocity missile wounds you have to have a good exposure in war surgery to be able to deal properly with that and we were able to do that in collaboration with a few of the guys that were sent in by the international NGO.

  • You talked about cases of road accident during the '97 period. I hope I am correct but you talked about cases of accident.

  • Was it road or car accident, I'm not too clear now. Can you explain what those cases were?

  • Yes. Well, it was either road traffic accident, hit by cars, or people jumping from tall buildings down, they have all sorts of wounds and fractures and head injuries and spinal injuries. You know, as I speak, I just remember all of them.

  • Did you learn about how - what was the connection between those injuries and the events of 25 May? Were you able to learn what the connection was?

  • Well, in medical practice when you are confronted with a patient of course number one you have the acute emergency situation where you just go in to save the life and there are certain interventions that you have to do without, you know, saying anything to anybody. But then afterwards you have to go and get, you know - have to go and get information from the patient starting from the patient's personal details, the name, address and what caused the accident, how this happened. So in our normal course of management we take a history and from that history we learn or we know exactly how the patient, you know, was afflicted or got that injury and where he got the injury and the circumstances surrounding his injury.

  • And in the cases that you have mentioned were you able to learn the circumstances surrounding the affliction or how they incurred these injuries?

  • Yes, to a large extent.

  • Can you describe what you learned from the patients that you dealt with about the circumstances surrounding them incurring these injuries?

  • For a good number of patients they received firearms injury from stray bullets, as they call them. They really did not see anybody directing any weapon towards them or anything. So they will tell you definitely that, you know, "I was hit by a stray bullet." Then you have, you know - and with those injuries you can see from the injury that the range must have been a long range, you know, missile. Well, from a long range, at least a kilometre long range, depending on the type of weapon or bullet.

    But we had some that had, you know, close range encounters. The patients, they were usually so anxious, some of them the anxiety was above the extent of their injuries, so that was another problem, to calm them down, and, you know, to get them to cooperate with treatment modalities.

    Then you had those who were fleeing from the atrocities and, you know, they fell and some people had to jump from high buildings and I remember a young man, he fell - he jumped from a tall building that was - you know, he thought the people were going to enter and that is in institution number 2, that was a young man, a university graduate, and he had all his faculties right and he had this cervical injury and he was dying and he said, "Doctor, what did I do?" And I told had him, "You didn't do anything" and he said, "Why me?" And, you know.

    So we had had all sorts of emotional situations surrounding patients and a lot of patients that we have to tell because they were so many with, you know, small firearms injury, with bullets in extremities, et cetera, you know they were so anxious that we intervened immediately because they associated bullet wounds with death, so they felt that they were going to die, so they had to be counselled and say, no. So we had junior medical personnel taking care of them and counselling them and telling them and attending to their minor injuries while we were taking care of the major problems that we were being faced with.

  • Earlier you made a distinction between close range - injury caused by bullet - talking about stray bullets and you talked about injury which was caused by a bullet at close range and one that is caused by a bullet a longer range. How were you able to make the distinction between these two kinds of injuries?

  • A lot of the close range - well, it depends also. The low velocity missile wounds at close range could also be - could also have - I mean an entry and an exit wound at close range. But at long range low velocity, you know, they just lodge in the tissues and again it depends on what end organ is affected or what structure is affected.

    If, for instance, it could be a low velocity bullet, a low velocity bullet can hit the aorta for instance and the patient will succumb in just a few minutes because you have massive loss of blood and not necessarily - you know, it could be internal bleeding, for massive internal bleeding, and it depends on what is hit. It all depends what structure is hit, whether it's a major vessel or, you know, a tissue that - or the bullet can go right through the heart even without causing death, because we even had a patient who had a Kalashnikov rifle bullet right in the midbrain and, I mean, that's our prize patient in West Africa. His name is {Redacted} and we were able to treat him.

  • And this patient that you talk about, when did he incur that injury?

  • Before we go on I rise at this point to raise a question for the witness and the Court as to whether or not what he's just mentioned might go to identify him.

  • I believe that's a pertinent point raised by my learned friend. Your Honour, may I request that the name be redacted from the record:

  • Mr Witness, may I ask if you wish to refer to any of the patients that you --

  • Just exactly which part are you referring to, Mr Bangura, before I confer?

  • Your Honour, it is the --

  • Please refer to it by line. Is it the name of the person, or the prize patient, or the wound?

  • Specifically the name. The whole sentence bearing the name, your Honour, and that on my page is at page 44, line 4. I'm not sure what font size I'm using.

  • Mr Bangura, the evidence as it stands relates to this individual being a prized name in West Africa and I'm just wondering how revealing that is.

  • Your Honour, certain names in West Africa are names which are unique to particular countries in the region.

  • No, I've received some notification from our legal officer that probably would warrant a redaction.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • In the circumstances the name of the patient referred to will be redacted. On my font this is at page 44, line 7, or possibly line 8 as the name is not completed. Please have that redaction made.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Just to be on the safe side, Mr Witness, if you wish to refer to any cases that you dealt with if you could do so without necessarily mentioning the name.

  • Yes, thank you very much.

  • Thank you. Did you actually finish your answer on that?

  • Okay.

  • Also I note that there is at least one member of the public, or a monitor, or a reporter in the court precincts in the public gallery. A name has been mentioned. It is not to be disseminated, or repeated, outside the precincts of this court.

  • Now, you said that the cases - how long, over what period, did these cases keep coming to your institutions?

  • Well, you mean in 1997?

  • That's correct, yes.

  • Yes. In 1997 we decided after some time that, you know, because the two - institution number 1 and 2 were receiving such cases and so we decided that all, you know, war related cases will go to institution number 2 and civilian cases will be treated in institution number 1 subsequently. But then we continued treating the wounded in institution number 2 beyond the time I left the country in 14 June, because I had to leave the country in 14 June but, you know the treatment of the patients continued in the hospital despite my absence.

  • So why did you leave the country on 14 June?

  • In about midday, 14 June, a group of - a group consisting of - I was told a group consisting of a soldier and un-uniformed armed men came to institution number 2 trying to get entry into institution number 2. They were disarmed by the sentry at the gates and the soldier went upstairs to the administrative area and asked for me and he was told that I was not around. Of course, I was not around. I was in institution number 1. I had gone there to get some additional supplies - surgical supplies - to do some work in institution number 2. I was called by telephone and I was told not to come to institution number 2 and that these men were sent to take me back to the - you know, the junta, the people who were running government, that I was against them because of the interventions that I was doing and that I should leave the country as quickly as possible. This soldier was actually one of those who was sent to me that I had done a good will for in the previous years and so he felt it his duty to, you know, inform me to leave. He told me not to carry any form of identification, or any amount of money, or else I would be made suspect. He told me to move as far as the neighbouring country, Guinea, and that I should avoid security checkpoints, all sorts of things, he said because they were looking out for me.

  • Okay, thank you. You eventually left the country, is that correct?

  • And how long were you away from the country?

  • I was away for the entire period the junta was in Freetown. That is about nine months.

  • And during your absence, do you know whether the - did the institutions continue to function?

  • Yes. On the day I was informed, that's 14 June, I took - well, instead of going out of the country I went to the premises of the medical NGO.

  • You don't have to give us all the details of that.

  • That might expose so much about you.

  • You eventually moved out of the country?

  • Yes, to another African country.

  • And the question was whether these institutions kept functioning while you were away?

  • Oh, yes, they kept functioning whilst I was away, both institution number 1 and institution number 2. The institution number 2 I had a special arrangement with the medical - the medical NGO and I got a few of my colleagues to take up the duties that we were doing.

  • And did they continue functioning right through the period you were away?

  • Well, no. They continued up to August of that same year and I asked - I was informed by my administrator in the hospital that, you know, they wanted to bring in combatants for treatment and I turned them down. I said I would prefer the hospital to be closed down rather than treat, because it will bring a conflict between the civilian casualties and the combatants despite the fact that I respected the ideals of that NGO.

  • Were you told who actually wanted to bring in combatants for treatment in the institution?

  • Were you told who wanted to bring in combatants?

  • Yes, it was the medical NGO that wanted to bring in these combatants for treatment.

  • And to which institution were they intending to bring those combatants?

  • Institution number 2.

  • When did you return to Sierra Leone?

  • I returned to Sierra Leone in - I think I returned to Sierra Leone in March of 1998.

  • At that point, what was the state of these institutions that you were running?

  • Institution number 2 was completely vandalised and - but institution number 1 was intact.

  • Did you do anything to rehabilitate the institution number 2, which you said was vandalised?

  • Yes, I had to do a lot of major repairs to rehabilitate institution number 2 to start taking care of war wounded patients who were brought in from different parts of the country.

  • Now, did you learn who vandalised that institution?

  • Well, I was told that unarmed - well armed, sorry, un-uniformed men came into the hospital, they fired a lot of shots and caused a lot of damage and got away with quite a few things from the hospital.

  • And did you learn when this happened?

  • Well information was sent to me whilst I was away in my country of refuge, but I cannot remember exactly when that information was sent to me.

  • So how were you able to put institution number 2 back into use? How did you go about doing it?

  • Well, I used - well, I had to just completely renovate and refurbish the hospital to start it running again.

  • And was this from your own [overlapping speakers]?

  • [Overlapping speakers].

  • Can you describe what were the range of services --

  • Mr Bangura, Mr Witness, can I remind you, Mr Witness, of the use of the word "institution" rather than the other word that you have used.

  • No, it's for your safety.

  • Can you describe the kind of services that you continued to provide in institution number 2 after you had --

  • Please pause, Mr Bangura.

  • I'm sorry to interrupt, but I didn't hear the word that --

  • It was used more than once.

  • No, no, it is not that word. It is a completely different word, your Honour. It says in the question from Mr Bangura, "And was this from your own ...", and the transcribers have got "[overlapping speakers]" and that was my problem also because I just got both Mr Bangura and the witness speaking. I did not get the word and nor did the transcribers. I wonder if we could just have that again.

  • Please put the question again in full. The question starts at page 50, line 3, of my transcript. Mr Witness, if you could please wait until the question is finished as everything that is said is recorded. Please put it again.

  • I had asked you about how you put institution number 2 into use again and the question was whether it was from your own resources?

  • Thank you. I think I asked when you put institution 2 back into use what sort of services did you provide? The question is what sort of services were you providing once you put institution number 2 back into use?

  • Both general medical and surgical services to patients who were brought in.

  • And were they patients from any particular - were they generally patients coming into the hospital, or were they particular kinds of patients from a particular situation?

  • Yes, these were war wounded patients who were brought in by the medical NGO from different parts of the country out of Freetown.

  • And by what means did the medical NGO bring these patients in? Was there any prearranged plan between yourself and the NGO?

  • Yes, we had a prearranged plan.

  • And what did the plan entail actually?

  • Well, first of all we increased the bed capacity from 25 to 60 to accommodate the new influx and the new arrangement that was basically to take care of the amputees and burns patients and the war afflicted patients who were brought in from different parts of the country, mainly the north.

  • Mr Bangura, we've been alerted that the tape has just about run out. We are up to our normal time for the mid-morning break. Mr Witness, this is the time in the morning where we take a half hour break and the tape is replaced. We will be adjourning now and resuming court at 12 o'clock. Please remain where you are so that the blinds may be lowered to permit you to leave the well of the court. Please adjourn court until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Just before you recommence your examination in chief, Mr Bangura, two things. I notice a change of appearance at your Bar. I note the presence of Mr Koumjian.

    Also to inform the parties and the Court that we will rise 30 minutes early this afternoon. This is to enable the judges to have some practice with video link in the light of the Prosecution's motion and the decision thereon. So we will be rising at 4.00 instead of 4.30.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you. Your Honour, just before we continue with the evidence of the witness I would like to make an application for certain redactions to be made.

  • Mr Bangura, before you proceed I would note that there is a 30 minute time limit to these, unless I am mistaken.

  • Your Honour, a 20 minute time limit.

  • A 20 minute time limit and the Court rose at 11.29 or something. That 20 minutes has long since gone.

  • That's correct, your Honour, but just for the sake of what remains permanently on the record we may still wish to have certain redactions made. Your Honours, basically reference to the word --

  • Can you refer us to the line, because we don't want to compound this by --

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Then I will obviously invite a reply and consult on this.

  • The same word has been used in all of these references that I will give. 46, 12. 48, 13 and 15. 49, 17 and 19. 50, 2. 50, 10.

  • That's your application, Mr Bangura?

  • Mr Munyard, your reply, please.

  • Well, your Honours, I'm at the moment trying to find on my font where the corresponding first reference is 46, 12. I have "institution number 2" on 46, 12.

  • If it helps I am on 16 size font.

  • I am afraid I am on 18, so it's probably going to be a bit further down. If it's the same word that we were referring to before throughout, and I have to say I can't see it right now, then it's a matter for the Court. If it is only that one word that reference was alluded to earlier, I think possibly when I rose to make a different point and your Honour, Madam President, thought I was making a point about that word. If it's that word then it's entirely a matter for the Court. I have nothing to say.

  • Mr Bangura, we are just wondering, in addition to the fact the 20 minutes have long elapsed, the description of this institution that you are alluding to, we think is readily discernible from the rest of the evidence because where else would such clientele go for such services except to such an institution? I don't know. The name of the institution has not been disclosed, or the names have not been disclosed, but definitely the characterisation of the institution is readily discernible from the rest of the testimony. From the clientele and the services offered to the clientele. Do you really think that this redaction is taking the protection any further? Or do you really think that the protection has been jeopardised?

  • Your Honour, I would think that it gets close but it may not very well have been completely jeopardised. We are just trying to err on the side of caution, your Honour.

  • Might I add something just before you deliberate and I am really going back to the point I raised right at the beginning of this witness's evidence. He has been talking in open session about treatment of wounds and that sort of material. Unless we are going to be dealing with something that specifically identifies him or his institution then, with great respect, there is absolutely no need for this kind of caution. As Justice Sebutinde herself pointed out: Where else does anyone who listens to this evidence or reads these transcripts think we are talking about?

  • Your Honours, in light of the views expressed the Prosecution takes the point that it may not make much sense to try and redact at this point.

  • Very well, Mr Bangura. We note that. Please proceed with your examination.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, I just try and caution you again about the answers you give in terms of being careful not to say things or words that would disclose something about yourself. Okay. Just be mindful. I will take you back briefly on one point. When you spoke about the cases that were brought following the events of 25 May, you said that after you had done intervention in those cases you sometimes also would find out the history from the cases that were brought. In the cases of gunshot wounds, did you learn from the victims who had inflicted those wounds?

  • Yes, I did. For a good number of them would say of course they were hit by a stray bullet. And for those coming from the Murray Town Barracks and Aberdeen area, they were saying they were hit by shells coming - well, coming from ECOMOG, yes.

  • Thank you. You mentioned that when you had institution number 2 put back in order there was some arrangement between yourself and the international NGO, is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • I think you were dealing with the sort of arrangements you had when our time came up for the break. Can you go back briefly on what sort of understanding you had with them at this point and just be careful not to reveal details that may reveal your identity.

  • That we will resume treating war wounded patients that will be brought from different parts of the country; that the bed capacity will be up to - well, be made up to 60 to accommodate the patients and that a surgical team, which included one surgeon, one operating theatre nurse, one ward nurse, one anaesthetist and one physiotherapist will be included to work along with our own team of medical staff, medical and nursing staff.

  • You said the cases that were being brought down at this time came from outside of Freetown. Is that correct?

  • Yes, they came from outside of Freetown.

  • Can you be more specific about which parts of the country those cases were coming from?

  • Well from interviews of the patients when they arrived they were mainly coming from the north, but we had a few patients from the south and east of the country.

  • Mr Bangura, what time frame are we dealing with here?

  • I will get the witness to say:

  • Mr Witness, what time frame was this?

  • That was - I think it was June 1998.

  • Was this when you actually completed the renovation?

  • The renovation, yes.

  • Is that when you started receiving the cases that we are talking of?

  • Thank you. You have mentioned that cases came from the north and sometimes also from the south and east. Can you be specific, if you can, about which particular towns, or villages, or locations in these areas that these cases were coming from?

  • We had a good number of patients coming from the Makeni area and the Bombali District of Sierra Leone and a few from the east, that is Kono, Koidu, and the Daru Kenema area.

  • What were the conditions of these cases that were being brought down from parts of the provinces?

  • These were patients who had chronic, unattended war wounds. By that I mean they had badly infected, you know, stumps. Some of the stumps were usually bilateral upper limb stumps, that is bilateral upper limb amputees, and a few lower limb amputees, but I mean the stumps were so badly infected. We had a few patients with severe burns at the time brought in, a lot of them badly - I mean in very septicaemic conditions, also malnourished - some of the children were very malnourished. So we were battling with two or three things at the same time with each of these patients, but quite a - most of them were quite stable in terms of they were not dying, so to speak. Their blood pressures and pulse were normal. The only thing is they had badly infected wounds that needed to be tended to.

  • Was there any indication from your observation of the wounds that you saw how recently those wounds had been inflicted?

  • Yes. From our observation we had patients with chronic osteomyelitis, as a result of these injuries, and indicating that their injuries were greater than two weeks onwards. They could be three months or, you know, up to three months or more.

  • Can you help the Court with the spelling of the condition that you mentioned. Osteomyelitis, I believe it was?

  • I am sorry, that is when the bone gets infected, because what happens, as I said earlier, when the limb is amputated you have retraction; that is the soft tissue around the bone contracts. The muscle, you know, it contracts and it exposes the bone and so the bone becomes usually so badly infected. They generally apply some herbal poultice on the wound that in some cases - well we find that probably that is the reason why some of them survive, because some of these poultice have astringent properties that cause the blood vessels to go into spasm and reduce the blood loss, but at the end of the day they come with badly infected wounds.

  • I was just asking that you help the Court with the spelling of osteomyelitis.

  • Osteomyelitis is O-S-T-E-O-M-Y-E-L-I-T-I-S.

  • Now, you described these cases as unattended war wounds. How did you know that they were war wounds?

  • From the history taken from the patients they described how they sustained those injuries and they described the whole scenario, how it was done.

  • And what did you learn from this history about who inflicted the wounds?

  • They all claimed that their wounds were caused by rebels and that most of them would say it was done in the presence of other family members so - and some of them told us that when either a husband will put up a resistance he was shot dead. Then some were so frightened that they - you know, they lose consciousness and a few incidences of shock and sudden death without any injury was also described by some of these patients who came; that some of the onlookers would just go into shock. They described these things very vividly.

  • Did they tell you, or did you learn from them, who these rebels were? You said they said rebels?

  • Well, from dealing with the patients it was clear that they could make the distinction between rebels that they referred to as rebels and they made a distinction between they and the regular soldiers and also the - I think the Civil Defence Forces.

  • In your recollection what was that distinction, or what were those distinctions? You mentioned three different groups.

  • Well, the patients were the ones who identified them as three different groups. Number one was the soldiers would be in military uniform, the CDF will be in their traditional hunter's uniform and so they are easily identified by the patients and, what do you call it, the rebels had, you know, all sorts of different types of regular clothing.

  • Mr Witness, just so that I understand what you are saying, are you saying that these patients that came in for treatment of their wounds described three different types of forces, the rebels, CDF and the army, that variously caused the wounds.

  • No, I was just describing - answering to the question of the Prosecutor. But all the patients who we saw during that period from the north, mainly from the north of Sierra Leone as I said, and some from the east and other parts of the east and south of Sierra Leone, claimed that they were, you know, assaulted by rebels. They said they used - you know, in Sierra Leone we distinguish the two. We will say rebels and they said rebels and some of them will talk about rebels. You know, the intonation is quite significant. They say rebels and rebels. In Sierra Leone we pronounce it rebels.

  • What is the significance of that difference in intonation, as you have pointed out?

  • Well it became clear that they were talking about, you know, this group of ragtag soldiers - I mean, armed men - and maybe mixed with, you know, from different countries, et cetera.

  • How did that become so clear to you? What exactly about the intonation used in calling out the word rebel, which you said some called rebel, indicate the fact or the idea as you have pointed out that some of the members of that group came from other countries?

  • Well I was struck by the change in intonation, because these are Sierra Leoneans and they were calling the assailants rebels and not how we pronounce them in Sierra Leone rebels, you see? And just next door to Sierra Leone, in Liberia, they call them rebels.

  • How did you know that they called them rebels in Liberia?

  • Because I know the - because I lived in Liberia I know the twang.

  • I asked you at the beginning of your evidence what languages you speak and you mentioned English and Krio. Are you suggesting that you understand another language apart from those two?

  • No, but basically there's a twang. It's an English word. The Liberian English is English. It's just, you know, the intonation is quite different and it's easily recognisable by somebody who has been long enough in Liberia, which is somebody like me.

  • When they said rebel, you distinctively recognised that as usage from?

  • From next door Liberia.

  • Mr Bangura, is the difference only in intonation, or also spelling?

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, you have given this pronunciation - this intonation or pronunciation of the word rebel differently, is it in your view spelt also differently from the normal spelling?

  • Well I would want to believe that it's just a matter of intonation, because the patients who were brought down were basically, you know, unlettered and when they give their history it's only a verbal history we take and it was striking that they were using - in fact, some of my staff will have to ask, "What do you mean it's a rebel?" And then they say, "Oh, rebel". So we will - we will accept it as R-E-B-E-L.

  • Thank you. Now, over what period did you --

  • Just before we leave that, can the witness clarify, because I haven't understood what he's saying about these rebels. Is he saying all of the war wounded who he was treating at this time, mainly from the north, some from the east and south, referred to rebels meaning people with Liberian accents? Is that what he is saying, because it's not clear. He has gone on several times about the intonation and I don't know what the gist of this part of his evidence is meant to convey.

  • Your Honour, I am not sure whether there is a point to clarify here and I believe my learned friend could pursue this matter further in cross-examination, but subject to --

  • I think the evidence is that the patients who would come in referred to their assailants using this intonation. The patients themselves were using this intonation.

  • Yes.

  • I don't know by what stretch of the imagination that then links to the perpetrators. I don't know. That's for you, Mr Bangura. But that is how I understand the evidence; that the patients in describing their assailants called them rebels, with that intonation. So perhaps the patients were speaking a language akin to Liberian English.

  • I can pursue this further, but my understanding is more or less in tandem with what your Honour Justice Sebutinde has stated:

  • Can you, perhaps at the risk of repeating yourself - you mentioned that when you heard this intonation, "rebel", which in your view is the same word as "rebel", it brought to you or your view was that it reflected the involvement of people from other countries among the persons who had inflicted the wounds. Is that my understanding of what you said?

  • First of all, you are leading and it's not - I am going to leave it at leading, rather than to say what my view is because that would be also leading.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Can you explain then - you mentioned something about people from other countries being involved?

  • No. The witness referred to the intonation of persons from the north, south and east of Sierra Leone and it was the intonation indicated something other than a Sierra Leonean. It's a word. The intonation and use of the word. So please be careful in how you phrase your question, Mr Bangura.

  • Yes, your Honour. Just also that I understood the point raised by Mr Munyard as also stretching to question the perhaps suggestion that persons speaking a language that was different may have been responsible.

  • Well, in that case, if that is - if you are questioning on that line, please question on that line, but do not lead.

  • Well, in fact I was simply trying to understand because I was at a total loss as to what the witness meant. I wasn't trying to convey any particular meaning. I was trying to get some clarity out of what is, to me at any rate, an extremely unclear piece of evidence.

  • Now, Mr Witness, when these patients used this Liberian intonation for the word "rebel", what did that indicate to you?

  • I felt they were describing - more so describing the identity of the assailants by - because, mind you, these are uneducated people. They don't even know the meaning of the word "rebel", and they will - in fact, some of them told us, "Oh, these are Liberian meh", you know. They say "Liberian meh", you see. So but some of them when you interrogate them further they said some of these were Sierra Leoneans as well. So it appeared to me that it was a mixed group of assailants that caused the injuries of these patients who came down.

  • When you say "Liberian meh", what does "meh" mean?

  • Over what period did you continue getting these cases from the provinces?

  • Up to late - well, up to mid-December 1998.

  • Can you describe the numbers that were being sent down to your institution over the period. You started receiving these cases from about June, you said?

  • Yes. They were brought down in varying numbers but what we - I mean we basically had a full house; that is 60 patients at any given time. And since they were coming from out of town further arrangement was made where the patients, after having had their main surgical interventions done, they were taken to another site, another place - I think down at Lakka, the former Lakka Cotton Club. That's a hotel resort that was taken over by the medical NGO.

    And so what happened was, it was - the Lakka site was used as an extension to do - you know, first of all to continue, because basically after most of these surgeries you need physiotherapy, so it was basically a recovery and the Lakka site was an extension of the hospital and it was used as a physiotherapy unit and the patients stayed there. So and we were able to free up space from the hospital, you know, in the hospital to accommodate probably the weekly influx of patients who were brought in.

  • For purposes of spelling Lakka is L-A-K-K-A.

  • Mr Witness, if we may remind you to keep referring to institution 1 and institution 2, instead of describing the character of the institution.

  • You mentioned that there were different kinds of cases being brought down and they were being brought from different areas, Makeni, Kono, Daru, Kenema. You had cases of amputations, you had burns, malnutrition and so on. Are you able to tell which cases were more prevalent from any particular area?

  • Well, I think there were more amputees all over the place. All brought from all the different parts. The numbers of - okay. The main wound type was upper limb amputations. Although we had a few lower limb amputations and other - and some of them were not complete amputations. They were, you know - had a lot of macerated wounds and some of them had to be completely taken off or some of them were saved.

  • Just to be clear again, the question was whether there was any area from which any particular condition was more prevalent. Can you just be clear on what was the situation really?

  • Well, the prevalent condition was machete wounds and the prevalent end result, from what we saw, was amputations. From all over the country, from all the different parts of the country.

  • In the case of burns, did you learn in what circumstances they had incurred or suffered this condition?

  • All the burn cases that were brought down for treatment were those of children and usually accompanied by the mother, usually, and they gave a vivid history of what they went through and how the burn was sustained. And in a few of these incidences children were put into small huts. They were thrown into small huts and the huts were torched. And then when they were satisfied that, you know, everything was over, then they leave. That is, when the rebels are satisfied that everything was over then they leave. But one - in these cases we had a few escapees from these burning huts and that is how some of them sustained and they had some gruesome stories to tell.

  • Is there any particular cases you recall of burning - somebody who survived a burning over this period?

  • Yes, I do.

  • May I refer to names?

  • Be cautioned not to.

  • There was this young girl who was brought in in a very acute - well, I mean in a very bad state with extensive second degree burns to the entire chest wall and the extremities. And the story was that she was - she escaped from one of these burning huts and she was kept by her parents until it was safe to move out of their locality and she was so septicaemic, but she managed to survive after our interventions.

  • Where was this case from?

  • She was from I think the Makeni area or Bombali.

  • Did she say who had inflicted this injury on her?

  • Before we go on, I don't recall, from all of the various different documents that have been supplied to us, anything about this specific case being disclosed. A number of specific cases are disclosed, and I make no complaint about that, it's perfectly reasonable that the witness should give examples. But if we are going to go into the details of one then it should be one of those that has been disclosed to us rather than embarking on I don't know what sort of evidence this witness is going to come out with. He does deal in some of the documentation with some examples. In my submission the Prosecution should restrict themselves to those examples and not to other material that they haven't given us advanced notice of.

  • Did you provide some material or some details of this case that you are referring to the Prosecution at some point?

  • Yes, I provided a photograph --

  • Mr Munyard's objection was to this specific example. Are you saying indirectly that it was disclosed.

  • Your Honour, the facts - the detailed facts - as recounted by this witness were not disclosed, I must say, but as the witness has pointed out he provided photographs and some of those photographs are --

  • So photographs were disclosed?

  • Photographs were disclosed, your Honour, and the witness will in due course be speaking or testifying to details about those photographs.

  • Mr Munyard, you have heard the reply and, if the Defence requires some time to prepare in this particular instance, that will be entertained at the relevant time.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Just so that the Court knows what my learned friend is talking about when he says photographs have been disclosed, photographs were disclosed with pages of indexes to the photographs. As the Court can see, although not clearly at this distance, the indexes consist of one line for the most part, in some cases half a line, and for example just taking one at random "Photograph of an unidentified burn victim taken inside" a certain institution. That doesn't tell us anything. It certainly doesn't tell us what the patient themselves say as to who their assailant was. That's the point at which I interrupted this line of questioning and I think for reasons that will probably be obvious. The witness is giving a lot of material now about the identity of the assailants, some of which is completely new to us, and so that is why I have risen to object at this stage to limit him to what has been disclosed.

    If I am wrong, can I just say this. If I am wrong and I have missed something, I am more than happy for my learned friend to take me to chapter and verse of the disclosed information and point out my error.

  • It would appear from Mr Bangura's reply that (a) this specific example wasn't disclosed and (b) from what you say there has not been a correlation between the photographs and the examples and I reiterate what I have already said.

  • I take the point, your Honour:

  • Apart from this case, is there any other case of burning that you still do recall?

  • Yes, there were several others.

  • Is there one you would like to talk about?

  • There was a young boy, about age 14, and --

  • Can I just pause you there, because it may very well be a case of one similar to what we have dealt with if you start along those lines. Your Honour, I move on from that area. You said that these cases kept coming on until about December of what year are we talking about?

  • 1998.

  • Thank you. And about this time, was anything - did the flow of these cases get affected at all?

  • Mr Bangura, I don't really understand that question and I am not sure therefore if the witness understands it. Please be clearer.

  • I will be clearer, your Honour:

  • You said up until December 1998. What happened in December 1998, as far as these cases were concerned? What happened?

  • Well we realised that at one particular point, mid-December or thereabouts, the international NGO stopped bringing in patients from - the wounded patients as they used to on a weekly basis. We were told that - well, I was informed that we should start to stockpile because they have information as to a possible attack on Freetown. So the number of - well, they just stopped bringing patients in mid-December.

  • And who gave you this information? Who told you this?

  • It was the international NGO.

  • After this period, did anything - did you continue to provide any more treatment to victims affected by the war?

  • Yes, the hospital was still full of war injured patients and we still continued to benefit from the surgical team that was augmenting our own team until late December, towards the end of December, when the surgical team and the administrative people of the medical NGO just disappeared from the scene without notice, or anything. But we continued our own local, you know, team. My staff and myself continued treating these patients.

  • Before you proceed, Mr Bangura, can we clarify what the meaning of "stockpile" is?

  • You talked about stockpiling, in that you were advised to stockpile. What exactly were you to stockpile?

  • We were supposed to - well I was told to buy more food items, because we were feeding the patients, you know, three times a day. We were also asked, or I was also asked, to stockpile - sorry, to buy additional medical supplies.

  • Do you recall 6 January 1999?

  • Where were you on this date?

  • Well, I was home in Freetown.

  • Did anything happen that you recall on this date?

  • Yes, early in the morning of 6 January 1999 I got a telephone call from a family friend who lives in the east end of town. The exact expression was how you say, "Dem bra den don cam", meaning the rebels are in town.

  • Can you help the Court with spelling the words? I take it that you have expressed yourself in a language different from English?

  • Those words are in what language?

  • In Krio. Do you want to help the Court with spelling the words that you have used?

  • It's a whole sentence.

  • What are the words in the sentence?

  • "Dem bra den don cam". I will have to write it.

  • Mr Bangura, I think you are a Krio speaker and so maybe --

  • It's very difficult to write Krio. D-E-M and the next word is B-R-A, D-E-N and then the next word is C-A-M. That's it, "Dem bra den don cam". There is a D-O-N after D-E-N, so it is D-E-M B-R-A D-E-N D-O-N C-A-M. It is all syllables.

  • For the purpose of the record it is D-E-M, which is one word.

  • The witness has already read it into the record.

  • I think it has been - the witness has spelt it into the record. It's recorded.

  • And this statement meant?

  • The rebels are in town.

  • When he said that the rebels are in town, what was your understanding of rebels in this case?

  • We had been having a lot of - well in Freetown, Freetown was, you know, sort of around that time, I think since December, late December, we had been having information that the incursion is going to come into Freetown and that the rebels are going to take over Freetown and so it was actually not a surprise when at 6 o'clock that morning, you know, we got that telephone call. It was very early in the morning, it must have been about 6 or 5.30/6, in the morning, that the rebels, meaning these guys who were causing all these atrocities, have come into town and are causing a lot of mayhem in the east end of town.

  • Well, has the witness actually said in Krio "the rebels"? At the moment - and I am not claiming to be a Krio speaker - we have the message on the telephone "Dem bra den don cam". Mr Bangura then asked him what this man said about the rebels and we have then proceeded on the basis that he was talking about the rebels, but he has only talked about "dem bra" as far as I can see and no rebels. I am not suggesting that they refer to anybody else. It is the use of this word "rebels" that I object to, because the witness hasn't actually used it.

  • Just allow me to check. The evidence, Mr Bangura, is - and I now quote from page 73, line 18, on my font. The evidence is, "I got a telephone call from a family friend who lives in the east end. The exact expression was ... meaning the rebels are in town", and so that was the meaning conveyed to the witness. That is his evidence.

  • Very well. I won't pursue it.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Upon receiving this information, did you do anything?

  • Just pause. I apologise for mis-naming you again, Mr Munyard.

  • I didn't even notice on this occasion.

  • Well, I can rephrase that question. I should rephrase:

  • Did anything happen after you had learned about the rebels coming to Freetown?

  • Yes. From, well, just about 15 or 30 minutes later we started hearing - I mean we started having the sounds of heavy gunfire, there was a lot of shelling and that morning we started seeing smoke from the far distance. We were, well, in the - in an area where we could see, you know, the smoke in the east and central town. The whole place was very - you know, it was full of smoke and dark.

  • Which part of town were you directionally?

  • That is in the west end of town, up in the hills.

  • Thank you. And did you at any point learn in full what was going on around town?

  • Yes, we were very close to our radios at this time and we got information from the radio and from the telephone calls. We kept getting - you know, we kept receiving telephone calls from people and we wanted to know and so we kept calling them back to know how they were doing in the east and central part of Freetown, and it was - in fact, there were some expressions by some of the people that was very interesting because some of them exclaimed that, "Oh, these people - these rebels are human beings." They were shocked to know that they were human beings.

  • Did they say exactly from the calls - the exchange of telephone calls did you learn exactly what was going on or generally what was going on in those parts that these telephone calls were?

  • Yes, you know, after some time through the day, calling people and receiving calls they will tell us exactly what is happening. That people were being taken out of their homes and asked to tie bandanas on their heads and white or red cloth around their heads and they were taken out of their homes and they were supposed to march with the rebels who came into town. And we were told that some selective - they selected some places for burning and they started burning them in the east end of town.

  • Sorry, burning what or who?

  • Burning the homes and we - yes.

  • In your part of town, what was the situation?

  • In my part of town we were all scared and we all remained in our homes because that was the instruction given over the only radio that was on the air. I think it was 98.1, Radio Democracy. So we followed those instructions.

  • Did you at any point leave your home to go to any of these institutions that you ran?

  • Yes, I did. I think two days after the beginning of all of this - sorry, on 8 January there was a call on the Radio Democracy, the same radio, 98.1. We just heard that all wounded should go to institution number 2. So I was very shocked because I was never informed. I was not given any, you know - I was not called by whoever was making the announcement and I knew that the whole place would be overwhelmed and so I had to find a way to get to the hospital and I did.

  • This radio that you have just mentioned, Radio Democracy, 98.1, do you know at the time who controlled that radio?

  • It was the government that controlled the radio. The regular government station was off the air, that is SLBS was off the air.

  • You went to institution number 2, is that correct?

  • And what did you observe when you got to the institution?

  • Well, on the way going I noticed that - I was two or three miles from institution number 2 and I had to use the back roads but despite that I would have to cross the main road sometimes and I noticed that I didn't - there was nobody on the road, absolutely eerie for that time of day and there were not even the usual dogs who would roam the streets. There were no animals on the road. Up until when I got to about 100 yards from the hospital and I saw three young men, properly dressed, coming towards me from the opposite direction. I was scared. So I was the one who first asked them. I said, "You who are you?" They told me they were students, they were going about looking for food. I said, "Okay, go on your way."

    So I braved and I went on my way and I got into the hospital compound and I met my staff. My staff who had been on duty since 5 January, evening of 5 January, were still there and as soon as they saw me, they - there was an outflow of emotions. And then just as we were - just as we were getting over that outburst of emotions, then we saw two men, you know, wanting to come in so they opened the gates and the two men came in holding, you know, top end and bottom, foot end, holding another - a wounded man. And I recognised that those were the three guys, young guys, who just, you know - I just passed on that same road. And one had been hit by, you know, a stray bullet just on the same route that I had passed. So he became my first casualty for that day.

  • How did you know that he had been hit by a stray bullet?

  • Well, by the wound that he had and we were able to - because he had an abdominal entrance wound and we were able to do laparotomy and retrieve the bullet and there were some of the bowels were perforated and we were able to repair them. Sorry, it was the stray bullet, because there was nobody around. There was nobody around. They didn't see anybody who actually shot him. He was just hit.

  • Thank you. Can you help us with spelling there, laparotomy?

  • It's L-A-P-A-R-O-T-O-M-Y.

  • Thank you. Now, you said that there had been an announcement on Radio Democracy. Following this announcement did anybody or any persons affected by what was going on come to your institution?

  • Yes, the late Mr Hinga Norman came to the institution and with a group of, you know, wounded, how you call them, Kamajors, and asked me kindly to take care of them, well knowing that we were only treating, what you call it, civilian cases, so but that he would be very grateful that we treat the Kamajors. And they were suffering from very minor, you know, burn wounds on, you know, their hands and so on, so they were - we treated them.

  • Did you have reason to keep any of them in the hospital, in the institution?

  • Yes. A few of them had extensive wounds so they were kept in.

  • Apart from this, did any other persons come in following this announcement?

  • There was a mass movement of - you know, of the wounded who came in. And - yes, there was a lot of them coming in because the other hospitals were, you know, not functioning. They were behind the so-called rebel lines.

  • Now, you have mentioned a number of cases that were brought by one individual and you said that other people came or other persons with injuries came. Did they come by themselves or were they brought by anybody else?

  • At that particular time the majority of - well, the largest group of patients were brought in by ECOMOG because they had trucks, et cetera, where they just brought them in and we had a triage point right at the entrance of the hospital and, yes, that is it. Can I go on?

  • Yes, please, if you would.

  • So but apart from ECOMOG there were - individuals came in all sorts of vehicles - well, not motorised vehicles. You know, these push carts, they brought them in push carts, they carried people on their backs and the place was quickly - you know, at some point we had over 300 patients to deal with at any one time and the stadium, the national stadium, is just about 400 yards away - sorry.

  • Just be cautious. You can say where locations are, but not be too close as to describing distance.

  • Sorry. Yes, so the national stadium was used as, you know, an extension so to speak so after treating the - well, we filtered the patients. Those who had extremity wounds and wounds that were not very severe were treated at, you know, a point in the shed in the hospital and sent to the national stadium so that they will be in close proximity to the hospital for their daily - either their wound dressing or their injections that they need to take, et cetera; their further treatment.

    And then those who had severe injuries that needed surgical intervention were brought in and, yes, we even had, you know, known cases that were not war related. Like, we had one or two cases with obstructed labour. So we had to do Caesarean section to save the little lives. So it was like - well, the majority, 90 per cent of the patients were suffering from some form of war injury, either high velocity or low velocity missile wounds and we had a few fresh amputations. The first - well, the first one we saw was so remarkable because that was the very first time really we were seeing an amputation just in a very short time after it was inflicted and it healed so quickly. Not surprisingly because there was no infection - well, the infection - we were not dealing with an infected wound that we would have to close up by secondary intention, sort of thing.

  • Apart from the high and low velocity gunshot wounds and the amputations did you have other kinds of cases?

  • Yes. We had cases of people - burns. We had cases of fractures and spinal injury and we had cases of people being impaled by REO Bars jumping over a wall. We had all sorts of cases. We had cases of head injury.

  • I didn't hear clearly and the record is not clear, people being impaled by?

  • By REO Bars. We call them iron rods in Sierra Leone. There was an elderly gentleman who had to jump for his life over a fence and he was impaled by REO Bars and he was either a judge or a magistrate and he was particularly - his home was particularly targeted and he had to run for his life, but subsequently his home was burnt down. But he managed to escape and at the end of the day he came probably about a week or so after the incident and since he was diabetic, et cetera, the foot was about five or six times its size, with a gaping wound, you know, like a penetrating wound, and the first reaction of some of my colleagues who came eventually to help us out was to amputate because he was diabetic and we were able to change that, we were able to save his leg.

  • Now, the cases that came or were brought to the institution, were they civilian or non-civilian?

  • Well, they were all civilian except for the few Kamajors who were treated initially, but after that they were civilians.

  • And did you learn where these cases were coming from?

  • Yes. They were all coming from the Freetown and its immediate environs, yes.

  • You said that ECOMOG, they had the capacity to bring in a large number of cases?

  • Did you learn from which particular locations they brought some of those cases?

  • Yes. Well, indirectly, because we were busy inside, so at the triage point they will tell you oh they have freed Kissy, so the people coming in now are from Kissy area. So you know progressively how things were going by the location where the patients were being taken from. And at one point a medical doctor was brought in with attempted - they attempted to amputate both his hands, but we were able to save him as well.

  • You just mentioned one of the locations as an example of areas that they would tell you they were coming from. Could you think of other areas at all?

  • Yes. As far as, as I said - as far as Wellington and, you know, the outskirts of Freetown, yes. But that took several days. Probably a week or so.

  • Now, in terms of numbers you talked about having at one point about 300 to deal with. Was that a number for just one day or did you have varying numbers on different days?

  • It's like the numbers we were dealing with at any given time, or within the hospital premises, because we were - I mean, we were overwhelmed. Even, you know, the sheds were made into temporary - you know, we put patients' trolleys. We had patients on trolleys, on camp beds, on all sorts of things and people were very, very generous in those days. They will come with mattresses that we will put on the bare floor and all around the compound. Luckily it was the dry season and we had people - you know, the place was completely full.

  • You said the announcement was made without you being consulted for persons affected by the fighting to come to your institution. How prepared were you? You already mentioned you were overwhelmed in terms of resources. How prepared were you for the numbers that turned up at your institution?

  • Well, I would say, number one, the fact that we had stockpiled helped us greatly. That is number one. And number two, by the act of God I had a 40 foot container sent in, in November 1998 from the United States with full, complete medical supplies and that really, really helped us.

  • In terms of personnel how equipped were you to cope with the cases?

  • Yes, the advantage in running the institution number 1 and institution number 2, so the staff from institution number 1 came over, you know, managed to get - managed to find their way to institution number 1, even though most of them were behind the so-called, you know, held areas. So they came and helped. And also a lot of medical personnel, who heard that announcement were so gracious to leave their safe homes to come and give assistance at that time. Those included even dentists, surgeons. And, you know, the dentists will be helping us out at the triage point and I felt - I let out my hat to them because they did a very good job.

  • Now, you again are talking about numbers and you have talked about 300. Over what time did you continue to get numbers in that range of cases that were coming in?

  • Yes. About a period of two to three weeks. Two weeks or so. Two or three weeks, yes. And because after that then the main government hospital, well, started taking a few cases.

  • Now, can you describe some of the procedures that you actually applied in some of the cases that came to the institution during this period? I mean, you had different kind of cases that came. You talked about high and low velocity gunshot wounds. You talked about burning. You've talked about amputations.

  • Mr Bangura, it was missile wounds, not gunshot wounds. High velocity missiles.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Missiles wounds. Can you describe the sort of procedures that you applied in intervening in these cases? Am I not quite clear to you?

  • Yes, you are not clear.

  • I am talking about the kind of treatment you applied in the cases that came.

  • Yes, well, surgical intervention had to be done for a vast majority of the patients to safe their lives and we had to mount additional operating points in the hospital because - you know, because of the sheer numbers and we had additional operating points to accommodate doctors who would come in to help for maybe a period of one or two hours before running back home so that they will not be caught by the curfew, because there was a curfew and there were no cars, there were no vehicles and vehicles were not allowed on the road and they had to walk. So a few - one or two came on their bicycles to come and they will assist for about an hour or two and then they leave. But those periods were very, very precious to us and to the patients.

  • I don't know whether you have quite given us an idea of the sort of treatment that you actually gave. In more general terms if you talk about when you had gunshot - the kind of cases that you had in the case of missile wounds and how you dealt with those?

  • Yes. I think I have to clarify. The missile wound - we say missile wounds, because the bullet is a missile. You can - you even have - you can use a rock to be a missile. So but of course the rock will not - if you mechanically use your own power to throw the rock it's a slow - it's so slow that it will not cause any penetration, so you will definitely just have a non-penetrating wound.

    Of course we had problems with some non-penetrating wounds because of internal injuries as a result of non-penetrating wounds. But we dealt with as much - as many cases as we could and we had limitations at this time. One of the limitations was blood transfusion because so we lost a few patients because we could not transfuse blood. There was no blood transfusion available at the time and, of course, there was no X-ray. So we just used our clinical skills to be able to take care of patients.

  • What was more typical in cases of gunshot wounds? What sort of treatment was much more typical?

  • Depending on the point of entry of the missile, gunshot, the bullet, or the shrapnel in the case of exploding bombs, if it's abdominal we certainly have to go in to retrieve first of all the missile and to examine and also to repair - examine and repair all the damaged internal organs. And not only that, also to clean up the intra-abdominal cavity because it's usually soiled by faecal material. You know, faeces and blood and all sorts of things. And for chest injuries we had to do the same.

    For the extremities - for those with extremity wounds, because of the fact that there were so many we treated some of them conservatively; those that were not life threatening. And first of all we treated their anxiety because most of them were so anxious when they came into hospital because they always associate a gunshot wound with death, they thought they were dying and --

  • And in the case of amputations what was more typical of the kind of treatment that you gave?

  • Well, we had to refashion because we had some one week, two week old amputations who came in late that we had to - but most of the amputations that came in were fresh amputations and we just had to refashion the stump and the patient got better. There was one sad one where, in fact, again you could, from the history given by the patients, there were two young boys; one 14 - two brothers, one 14 and the other one 16. One is presently a left-handed amputee and the other one was a right-handed amputee. So in front of their parents, you know, their hands were put on the mortar that they use to pound rice and the rebel hacked the two limbs off in one blow, well, in several, you know, but the two limbs came off and, you know, one of them was a left-handed. And this was, you know, the father was with the boys and he said that there was nothing he could do or else they would have killed him because they killed other people who resisted.

  • Did he tell you where this incident occurred?

  • The east end of town. Sorry, the east end of town.

  • Now, from the stories you heard, and the accounts you got from your patients, did you learn from them who was inflicting these wounds, these injuries?

  • Well, they referred to them as dem bra den because this is - despite the serious nature of the situation at the time I think the people are so, you know, give a light-hearted expression to the assailants. That is the expression dem bra den because when you say bra you mean a comrade. A bra means brother, you see, so, but, you know sort of softening the word rebel, because people were - you know, I just found out that people were just afraid of the word rebel.

  • At this time what was the situation with institution number one?

  • At this time institution number one had been, well, one of the buildings had been burnt as reprisal because I was told later that the rebels used their mortar, several mortars to - they didn't torch it. They just used - they didn't break in to steal anything. They just - when they were told, oh, the doctor who is running institution number two is the one who has this place, they just used their mortar and did that, and they were using the main building as their base in the area, so, that was left not intact but they completely ransacked.

  • Mr Bangura, I note the time. I think it's now the time for the lunch-time adjournment. I trust this is a convenient point.

    Mr Witness, this is the time when we take our one hour lunch-time adjournment. We will be resuming court at 2.30. Again, I ask that you sit where you are until the blinds are lowered to allow you to leave.

  • Thank you, ma'am.

  • Please adjourn court until 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Mr Bangura, please proceed.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Good afternoon, Mr Witness.

  • We shall continue with your testimony. Before the break we had discussed some of the cases - the types of cases - that were brought to your institution, that is institution number 2, and you mentioned cases of amputation, you mentioned cases of persons who had suffered injuries from gunshot wounds and you also mentioned cases of burns. Can you describe what the conditions were of the cases of burns that you received at this time?

  • Referring to what period now?

  • We were, just for your recollection, we were discussing events following the 6 January 1999 situation?

  • Okay. Yes, well, with regards the burns patients during this period, they were less infected because of the shorter time frame, you know, between the time of the incidents and the time they were brought into hospital, but quite a few of them had extensive burns and these were adult patients as opposed to the young children in 1998.

  • Now, did you learn about the causes of the cases that you had, the burns that were suffered? What was the cause or what were the causes?

  • The ones that come to mind, or the causes that came to mind, was that they had to flee from their torched homes. Their homes were put on fire and some of the stories was that the younger people were able to escape and the older folks got burnt completely in the flames more especially from the Kissy end of town.

  • Is there any specific case that you recall?

  • Yes, there was a case of a young lady who was at the Kissy end of town whose grandmother was left upstairs and she died in the fire, but the lady had extensive burns to the limbs especially, both lower and upper limbs, trying to escape, you know, the torched building, because they lived you know in the upper flat.

  • In answering to one of the earlier questions that I asked you about burns, you tried to make a distinction between adult cases and cases of children and I think you mentioned 1998?

  • What is the distinction that you were trying to draw between cases of adults who had suffered burns as against those of children?

  • Well, the severity of the condition is probably - was probably much less in the adults than the children because of the proportion of body surface area involved because in burns the - well, by the time those in 1998 came in they had gone through the initial, you know, problems that burns patients do normally go through, but that is severe dehydration because - so we didn't have a problem with that. But with those who came in from, you know, 1999, since they were closer and they were brought in earlier then we had to correct all of those things, or they were less infected than those and they were much older than those of 1998.

  • Did you treat burn cases of children in 1998? This is not 1999 now. I appreciate you were talking of '99, but you have just made mention of '98. Did you treat burn cases of children in '98?

  • Well, they were just about one or two. One was because of the - the story was that a rocket propelled grenade, you know, it was like the back of the child. The child was lying down in bed and the back of the child was completely singed by, you know, a flying rocket propelled grenade. I never hit him, but the child suffered extensive, you know, second degree burns on the back.

  • Now, you talked about amputation of limbs. Did you experience any other form of amputation at all?

  • Yes, we had patients with amputation of tongue, amputation of eyes, but these were very few.

  • Did you have any other cases - can we just talk about those few that you have just mentioned. Where did these happen?

  • The young - there was a young man who was bilaterally amputated - well, initially he said he was bilaterally amputated by his assailants who were rebels who entered Freetown and, you know, he said one of the rebels told him that, "Well, you will be able to" you know, "We will cut your tongue off because if we cut your tongue off you will not even be able to talk to tell people who did this to you." So, they took his tongue, you know, and cut it off. Finally, they found out that he was able to talk because the voice actually comes from the, you know, the larynx, that's the voice box, rather than from the tongue, and he told them - he told them to kill him because he felt that he was useless bilaterally amputated, the anterior part of his tongue cut off, and so they used the machete and slashed across his face, but - sorry, across his head - I think it was the right temple - the right frontal region of the skull and he went - I mean it was a blunt - it must have been a blunt, you know, appliance and he lost consciousness and he was taken as dead. So he was picked up and brought to the hospital, I mean not too long afterwards, and then he gained consciousness and he --

  • When did this incident occur?

  • That was in January 1999.

  • Mr Bangura, I don't know if the witness has explained bilateral amputation, what that is? I don't think he has.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, you have heard the question, have you?

  • Can you explain the expression or the term?

  • Yes, bilateral means on both sides. So for limb injuries, because we have two left and right, it's either bilateral or one-sided. But we had quite a few bilateral, you know, amputations that we had to deal with.

  • You also mentioned amputation of the eyes.

  • Can you explain the case or cases that you had of this condition?

  • Yes, this was in 1999. When the first case of eye amputation was brought in - well, it was partially amputated because this had happened a week - between a week and ten days after the incident so, you know, the eyes - both eyes were plucked out, but they were still, you know, protruding out of the socket and they were badly infected and that is how the young lady who was a suckling mother was brought in and were able to treat her.

  • Did this person explain the circumstances of her sustaining this kind of injury?

  • Yes, she did. She was attacked by a group of armed men who she said - well, she referred to as rebels and that she was out looking for food and she was, you know - I mean accosted by them and gang raped by them and then one of them decided to pluck the eyes off because claiming that if she doesn't see then she will not be able to identify them later if called upon, you know.

  • Now, what was the condition actually for which this person was brought to your institution for? I mean what did those who brought this person say? What was the condition that they wanted treated at that point when they brought her?

  • Yes, well, they wanted us to do something about the - you know, the partially amputated eyes and the infection. She was very, very septicaemic at the time and we noticed that, you know, during - you know, she needed a lot of counselling because she was badly traumatised mentally.

  • Did they initially complain about the rape that she had suffered?

  • No, they didn't complain about the rape. It was during history taking, that is when that came up.

  • Did patients come to the hospital who complained about rape at all?

  • Yes, rape was a secondary issue. The main issue they came in with were very extensive wounds, so when you discussed with these few of the female patients they will narrate how they were raped usually in front of relatives and sometimes their husbands.

  • Was it normal for them to, first of all, talk about or complain about the rape or would they only complain - talk about it afterwards?

  • Yes, that is why I said it is secondary, because I mean it's after they have built up confidence with staff, that's when they open up, because they usually are very protective about that aspect of their, you know, trauma, because society does not look kindly - deal kindly with them afterwards. Usually they lose their, you know, face in their small communities and stuff like that. So in fact they ask the staff not to reveal this to their closest of relatives who were coming.

  • Those who came and complained about other kind of injuries, but who eventually - from whom you eventually learned that they had also been raped, what kind of injuries did some of them complain of?

  • It is quite varied, because the injuries were not associated with the rape, because - but they came in with other, you know, lacerations and stab wounds, you know.

  • Now, regarding cases of amputation, you earlier talked about - you tried to make a distinction between cases depending on the kind of instrument that is used. You talked about - in one case talked about blunt - I think you said blunt, I don't know whether you used the word instrument, but the question is was there a distinction to be made between cases where a blunt instrument had been used to inflict the wound and cases where a sharp instrument was used in terms of the effect that that would have on the victim?

  • Yes, most of the patients who were brought and we saw, we could ascertain from the type of damage done to the stump that, you know, several blows had to be made, you know, for the kind of injury that we saw, because you had multiple fragments of bones at the injured site. Then basically you have - instead of a clean wound, you have crushed, you know, tissues. That also helped in stopping the bleeding, because if you have a clean surgical cut, sharp cut, to any of the extremities there will be such sudden gush and loss of blood it will be difficult to stop, you know, the bleedings if you do not know what you are doing. But when you use a blunt instrument it causes the vessels to go into spasm and so limits the amount of bleeding at the time - you know, after the limb is either totally or partially amputated.

  • Did that also determine the kind of treatment you would give to a patient depending on which kind of instrument has opinion used to cause the injury, or would --

  • In cases where we have multiple fragments and infected bone with multiple fragments, you know, it becomes a more difficult situation for the primary treatment where we are fighting with the infection, so you have - you know, the patient's stay in hospital will be more protracted. But as to the technique of refashioning the stump, it's always the same. But for those who had multiple fragments there, we had to shorten the bone, take a bigger bite of the bone out before we could repair the stump.

  • Of the cases which you treated, what were your observations? I am talking about amputations. Did you have more cases that had been caused by a blunt instrument, or a sharp instrument?

  • I think those who survived the amputations were basically those that, you know, were amputated by more blunt instruments than sharp instruments, because I am sure a lot of people would have died with a sharp instrument - you know, amputations using very sharp instruments.

  • Normally what are the survival chances of victims of amputation from the moment the injury is inflicted? Are you able to discuss the chances of surviving the incident?

  • The chances of survival depends on how quickly they can come for medical - from the time of the incident to the time of medical intervention. And, interestingly, we found out that there was some form of medical intervention for most of these people upcountry, because they used their local way of stopping bleeding, using certain leaves, and they applied that and they tied the whole thing with cloth. So especially those with the crushed injury type with, you know - so we saw quite a lot of those, you know.

  • Are you talking of those in the provinces had a way of stopping bleeding. What time frame was that?

  • Well, they were brought in several weeks or months after the amputation, those from upcountry, that is in 1998.

  • Now, were there cases - did you have to deal with cases where amputation was not complete?

  • There were lots of incomplete amputations, both upper and lower limbs. We were able to save a good percentage of them, but we had to complete the amputation for a few of them.

  • Did you treat children with cases where amputation was not complete?

  • Yes, we did. We treated children with incomplete - you know, with severe macerated wounds and we were able to save quite a few of their limbs.

  • What were the chances - being children, what were the chances as against adults?

  • Well, in experience we found out that children healed better and faster than adults, as to be expected, and they quickly - well, in very short time want to use the saved limb to fight.

  • Of those who came to hospital and had treatment, what was their chances of survival? What were the chances of survival generally of patients who made it to the hospital? You said that you were having cases - at the peak of activity you had about 300 a day?

  • Yes.

  • And you would do triage before you get on to deal with first the most critical cases and then later the less critical. So of those who would actually make it for treatment, what percentage actually survived the trauma that they had suffered?

  • We basically were able to save over 90 per cent of those who were brought in and we lost just about 10 per cent or less.

  • Whose responsibility was it to take care of those that died in care?

  • Well, because of the situation we had to take the responsibility of the burial of those who succumbed within the hospital confines, that meaning those who, you know, came in dead on arrival, because some who were brought in by ECOMOG were brought in dead on arrival. They were picked up alive but by the time they could get them to hospital, the group to hospital, maybe one or two of them would have died by the time they entered the hospital gates, so then those who were about dying, and ECOMOG was not coming with their relatives and a lot of times only - well, only a few, you know, had relatives who will claim the bodies to take for burial, but we had an arrangement with the young men around the area to bury the - you know, the corpses in a cemetery not too far from the hospital.

  • Did you yourself get involved at some stage in helping to dispose of the bodies properly?

  • Yes. Yes, I did. It was brought to my notice by the staff that those that were being paid to bury the bodies were not doing so. They were just, you know, abandoning them in the cemetery and it was not too far from the hospital and so we were scared of getting, you know, gas gangrene developing in the area et cetera, so what we did was, I did not have any volunteers to take the bodies down to the, you know, out of the area, and so I had to do it myself along with a few of my junior staff.

  • When you say you had to do it yourself, exactly what did you do?

  • To move the bodies - yes, I moved the bodies from the hospital down to the front of the Connaught Hospital Mortuary because that was the furthest I could go and the gates were closed and there were quite a few bodies outside and, you know, in different stages of decomposition outside the hospital. That is the main hospital in town. So --

  • Was this a one-time occurrence or did you do it more than one time?

  • Yes, I went down there a few times because we had incidences of two or three cases of gas gangrene in hospital and so I was taking the necessary precaution to reduce the incidence of gas gangrene.

  • On those occasions that you went to the mortuary, did you make any observations around town as you moved along?

  • Yes. Well, one of my assistants took, well, the camera around and we took some pictures of, you know, dead bodies strewn all in the main streets and --

  • Did you observe anything else apart from dead bodies on those few occasions?

  • Yes, we saw a lot of familiar buildings burnt down and so we took pictures of those,

  • Now, you said a lot of familiar buildings; which buildings were these, that you recall?

  • Grocery stores, how do you call them, banks, police stations, yes, etc.

  • Apart from - yes, whereabouts were some of these buildings that you saw?

  • In the centre of town.

  • Of Freetown, sorry.

  • Now, apart from injuries that you treated, did you treat any other conditions that came to the hospital?

  • Do you mean non-war injuries, yes?

  • What did you - which conditions did you treat?

  • We had a few patients with acute - well, with severe malaria. They still came but they were not admitted. They were treated on short stay because, you know, they couldn't stay because of the seriousness of the conditions of the others who were there. Caesarean sections were done on two or three of patients with obstructed labour because these things continued to happen.

  • Now, you have told this Court that patients that you treated told you who inflicted the wounds on them. Did they tell you how they were treated at all by these persons, or by the people that inflicted these wounds on them? Did they talk about any form of treatment that they were subjected to?

  • Yes. Quite a few were quite vivid about how they were treated and that their immediate families were positioned such that they will have - they will be in full view of what they were doing, especially for those who suffered amputations and those who confided in us about rape.

  • Did anyone describe the state of minds of these persons who inflicted the injuries on them?

  • I am sorry, but no-one can describe the state of somebody else's mind.

  • No, a person can only say what they saw and heard in these circumstances, Mr Bangura.

  • I take the point, your Honour:

  • Did they describe the condition in which these people were that caused or inflicted these injuries on them? Did they give any description of how these people acted as they inflicted these injuries?

  • Well, some of them claimed - some of the patients claimed that these were - they looked like people who were on drugs and because they behaved abnormally and, you know, and did very abnormal things, they said.

  • Were you able to investigate these claims?

  • Your Honours, I am sorry, I am going to have to interrupt again. I am letting quite a lot come through now that has not been disclosed and I haven't objected so far this afternoon. Although there is some reference in the various interviews of this witness to the question of drugs, this particular aspect has never been mentioned by him in any of the disclosures we have received and so I am just asking my learned friend to try to keep to what has been disclosed.

  • Mr Bangura, you have heard the objection.

  • Thank you, your Honour. I will keep to the matters that were disclosed:

  • Did you treat any cases for drugs?

  • How do you mean treat cases for drugs?

  • Do you mean use or misuse?

  • Misuse, I am sorry. Thank you, your Honour:

  • Did you treat any cases for misuse of drugs?

  • Well, specifically, there was a patient - yes, there was one particular patient who came in, you know, at the tail end of the interventions and that was in probably November or so. This was a patient that I used to be their primary physician for the company that he worked for and he looked quite like a completely different person, because I realised that he had a packet of cigarettes in his pocket. So I asked him - I said, "What is wrong with you? What has happened?" Then he explained his ordeal. This was a fellow who was working for a company in Sierra Leone and he said he was abducted from his home when the --

  • This is another example that we are getting that is coming completely fresh to me, unless I have missed something in which case my learned friends opposite will be able to draw my attention to it, but this is yet another example. There is material in the documentation about drugs. If my learned friend wants to deal with that then he is obviously perfectly entitled to do so, but we are being taken by surprise with almost all of the examples of individuals that have been referred to this afternoon.

  • Your Honours, the witness - the disclosure we provided the Defence with indicates that the witness dealt with cases of misuse of drugs, and what the Prosecution is seeking to do at this time is to have the witness give examples of those cases that are already mentioned in his statement and disclosed to the Defence.

  • Mr Bangura, there are two questions that come or one question rather; has there been disclosure?

  • Your Honours, not the specific details of the incident that the witness is talking about, but the fact that the witness dealt with and treated cases of misuse of drugs is clearly one that is contained in statements which were disclosed.

  • Well, Mr Munyard, as I said this morning, if you are taken by surprise then the Court will entertain an application, if you are so minded to make one, prior to your cross-examination.

  • I am grateful to your Honours for that. I am simply concerned that something might come out that we have had no advance notice of that shouldn't come out at all. I would imagine that what is coming out this afternoon by way of illustrations and examples, I would certainly hope that these are matters that have been discussed out of court with the witness in the normal way. If they are - and I anticipate that they are - then why haven't the notes of these discussions been disclosed to us?

  • Your Honours, I will keep to more general questions regarding the witness's - the cases that he dealt with that had to do with drug misuse, rather than going into specifics, since the disclosure is only in more general terms as I have described:

  • Can you describe for the Court the general nature of drug misuse cases that you had to deal with, just in more general terms?

  • Yes. These patients came in with other injuries other than that directly and they had, you know, plaster wounds on their forehead and when interrogated they said those injuries were, okay, they were injured by their abductors, that they were abducted basically from the Freetown area and some brown powder was put on the wound and the plaster was applied over the wound and this - subsequently they did not know what they were doing. They started behaving - they were told later that they were, you know, and that is basically it.

  • When did you have these cases coming to the institution?

  • That was in 1999.

  • You mentioned the name of a substance that you say was put into a cup?

  • Well, they referred to the substance as brown brown and this is probably - this we imagine is some kind of that hallucinogenic drug in the poppy group of drugs.

  • Did you yourself at any time have any encounter or met with any of the persons who were described as rebels at any point in time?

  • I am sorry, just before we move on to this new subject, I didn't get what the category of drugs was and there is a word that I don't understand on the screen.

  • I understood the doctor to say hallucinogenic.

  • That, your Honour, Justice Lussick, I did get, but if you look at the end.

  • I heard the word "poppy" used. Could that be it.

  • Well, on the one hand that would make more sense than what the word is there. But there can't surely be a group of plants known to medical science as the poppy group of drugs. If that's what the doctor said then --

  • That is what the doctor said.

  • Well, in that case I will make a note of that and come back to it. Thank you. I am sorry to interrupt, but it was such a peculiar word that has come up on the screen.

  • Can I ask you again. There is an answer you gave which doesn't seem quite clear to the Court. I will give you the question and then the answer that you gave just for clarification. I asked you:

    "Q. You mentioned the name of a substance that was put

    into the cut?

    A. They referred to the substance as brown-brown and this

    we imagine is some kind of hallucinogenic drug in the ..."

    Can you just go over that answer again, please?

  • Yes, I referred to the word "poppy" because that is the plant - it's the poppy plant - and it is the alkaloids in the poppy plant, that is where cocaine and all of these drugs are derived from, so it is --

  • So the word there is "poppy" as to the plant?

  • Thank you. You said that institution number 1 - sorry, let me go back. I was starting a new line. Let me take you up on that line. Did you yourself have a personal encounter or did you meet any of these rebels at any time, any one of them?

  • Yes, I do remember that. It must have been in - yes, it was right in front of the Connaught Hospital. I had gone there for - you know, because I ran out of anaesthetic material in the hospital, so I went down to the main hospital to look for some anaesthetic material from another NGO, medical NGO, that was operating there, that is the MSF, and at the entrance of the hospital I saw these armed, dirty looking, you know, combatants and I immediately recognised from their speech and - first of all I immediately recognised one of them as somebody I had taught in Liberia and from their speech --

  • Just to caution you, don't give out a name. No, you can go on, but don't give out a name.

  • And from their speech. So they looked very, very rough and they were holding on to automatic weapons with a lot of ammunition bound by tape and - well, I was, you know, a few yards away and I quickly made my way into the hospital where I was going and I got my, you know, anaesthetic and then left.

  • You say you recall or you remember this person from Liberia. About what time do you recall that you had dealt with him or had been in some association with him in Liberia?

  • It must have been in 1981 when I was - you know, when I did some part-time teaching at the School of Physicians Assistants.

  • Now you said this person was with other persons. He was not alone.

  • Yes, they were - I mean a good number of these young men armed in front of the hospital. They were very loud in their speech so one could hear them from a long distance and definitely they were using the Liberian twang, that is Liberian English, and they were right in front of the hospital.

  • When was it that you saw these people in front of the Connaught Hospital?

  • What did you say?

  • When did you see these people in front of the Connaught Hospital?

  • I think it was 1997. Yes, it was 1997.

  • About what period in 1997? Was it following any particular event in 1997?

  • Yes, after the coup in '97. Yes.

  • Did you hear anything that they actually said?

  • Well, I did not make out anything. You know, I just moved off not to be recognised.

  • You said that these people were armed and you said they were combatants. How were they dressed?

  • They were dressed in, you know, dark T-shirts and they had heavy boots, but they were very dirty.

  • Now, back to institution number 1 --

  • Mr Bangura, before you leave this particular incident of these dirtily dressed people, this particular student that the witness had taught, can we have an indication as to the nationality of this individual perhaps?

  • As far as you know, this person that you met and that you taught before, what nationality was he?

  • He was Liberian.

  • Thank you. And do you recall the name of the person?

  • No, you warned yourself, Mr Bangura.

  • Your Honour, I was going to ask that we have the name written down and presented:

  • Would you be able to write down that name on a piece of paper for the Court?

  • Please show it to Prosecution counsel and then show it to counsel for the Defence, please. Please proceed, Mr Bangura.

  • Yes, your Honour. I am just wondering if we could have that as part of the record.

  • Are you seeking to have it marked for identification, in which case I would feel a little easier if Mr Witness signed and dated it?

  • Yes, your Honour, and then I will ask that it be kept confidentially.

  • This is a one page document, handwritten by the witness and dated and it is MFI-12. It will be kept confidentially.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • These people that you saw in front of Connaught Hospital, what were they doing when you saw them?

  • Well, they were in groups on either side of the entrance of the hospital and I did not wait to think what they were doing or saying. I just wanted to get past them since I didn't want to be recognised.

  • Now, you talked about institution number 1 and you said it was destroyed by rebels. What became of it after this incident?

  • It is still in the same state as it was after it was torched. It was destroyed.

  • Did it continue to be operational after that incident?

  • No, that building is completely destroyed and so we are only using, you know, the main building.

  • Now, earlier the question of photographs came up and I believe I asked you whether you had provided certain information about somebody you talked about in your evidence to the Prosecution and you did mention you have provided a photograph of that person. Is that correct?

  • Was that the only photograph that you had provided to the Prosecution?

  • No, I provided quite a few photographs.

  • Briefly, who took those photographs?

  • Most of those photographs were taken by myself and my assistants.

  • Do you have any that were not taken by you that you provided to the Prosecution?

  • Again be cautioned not to mention names, but where did you get the others from that were not taken by you?

  • I got them from - you said I should not call names.

  • I would advise that you try and avoid that. You can describe by position somebody without being specific, in more general terms?

  • Yes, I was given by the then Minister of Information of Sierra Leone.

  • What was the purpose for giving you those photographs?

  • Well, to inform - well, I was travelling to the United States with this patient that I was asked to take and so he asked me to take those pictures as additional evidence of what was happening here.

  • And exactly for what purpose did you take them to the United States, for what purpose?

  • With a view that we could make this information available to the Government of the United States and/or its representatives that I may meet in the process of taking care of this patient - taking this patient along to the United States.

  • And what was the ultimate intention behind you taking them and showing them to officials that you were likely to meet? What was the ultimate intention behind doing this?

  • Well, to bring to attention what was really happening and also the situation that certain groups were targeted, like the police and police stations, and things like that.

  • You talk about certain groups that were targeted apart from - you mentioned police and police stations. Do you recall any particular person who or group that became targeted during the events that you have described in 1999?

  • Yes, members of the judiciary and the court system were also targeted.

  • Any persons of a particular nationality or nationalities?

  • Yes. Oh, yes. Particularly, okay, generally Nigerians were targeted, yes.

  • How did you know this?

  • A close acquaintance of mine was killed along Kissy Road when he went to check on his mother-in-law, because he was in the west end of town and the mother-in-law was in the east end of town and the reason he was killed was because he had a facial scar which he received as a matter of a childhood injury and he was mistaken to be a Nigerian because of the scarification Nigerians carry and he was not given a chance. He was killed right in front of his mother-in-law's house.

  • How was he killed?

  • Well, we were told by rebels.

  • Why were Nigerians targeted as a group.

  • They were the main core of the peacekeeping force that was in Sierra Leone and that was the reason.

  • Now, which kind of Nigerians were targeted? You have talked about them being the main core of the peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone. Were the ones targeted members of the military forces?

  • No, these were ordinary civilian Nigerians. As soon as they know they killed - we had, you know, as soon as they know that that person is a Nigerian, he is gone. They killed them.

  • And distinctly, was there a distinct way of identifying them, Nigerians?

  • Well, for quite a few Nigerians they carry scarification on their faces that usually identifies the tribe that they come from and so that is what basically they used.

  • Thank you. Your Honours, at this point I would respectfully ask that the witness be shown documents, photographs actually, in a document binder which has been provided to the Court.

    Your Honour, there are several photographs in the binders and we are going to be dealing with them individually. Just before we start this exercise, I just need to caution that some photographs may not need to be shown on the overhead because they may have the effect of revealing the witness's identity. I think before any one of them are put on the overhead we just need to be sure that they need to go up.

  • Also, Mr Bangura, could you let us know whether the originals are in court or are we just dealing with copies?

  • Your Honours, we are dealing with copies. These photographs were provided to the Prosecution in an electronic form and the Prosecution never actually had original copies of them.

  • Your Honours, the Chamber and the parties are also asked to be wary of the way they display the photographs, because the cameras overhead may pick them up.

  • Mr Witness, just before we go on, you have told the Court that some of these photographs were taken by yourself and some were provided to you by somebody else. We are going to go through those photographs, and if you would let the Court know which ones were taken by yourself and which ones you received from this person, okay?

  • Uh-huh.

  • Your Honours, the photographs are numbered serially 1 through to --

  • Your Honour, before we embark on this process, and in the light of an answer given by my learned friend to Justice Sebutinde, Mr Bangura said that we are dealing with copies. These photographs were provided to the Prosecution in electronic form and the Prosecution never actually had original copies of them.

    That came as a surprise to me for two reasons: One, because of the general principle that where an exhibit is produced the original should be produced if at all possible, or should be available at any rate, but secondly, because in the disclosure - one of the disclosures that we have had - and I am just taking one example - it says on the back of the photo is written and then there is a description of what is in the photograph.

    If they were provided in electronic form, how is it that the back of the photograph - the writing on the back of the photograph is described? There must presumably be an original that has been at some point in the hands of the Prosecution and, if that is the case, why isn't it at the very least within some department of the Prosecution now?

    The impression I got from what Mr Bangura just said was they had only ever had these in electronic form, that is to say via a computer, and I wonder if he could cast any light on how we are told that things are written on the back of these photographs if they have only ever come in that form?

  • Your Honours, one possibility could be - and I am not very sure about this, but I am only saying that one possibility could be - that they might have been scanned and copied on both sides, but I need to be fully informed about this. I am at this moment not able to throw more light on it than what I have said. The information and the position, as I understand it right now, is that they were provided to the Prosecution in electronic form.

  • Are you telling me, Mr Bangura, at this stage you don't know how they were provided?

  • Your Honours, that is the - as I know it that is how they were provided.

  • In an electronic form?

  • That is right, your Honour. That is what I am saying.

  • Can I help the court to this extent: That the example I have given, I can now hold up the photograph in question and there is clearly nothing written on the back of that and so whoever has scanned them and made a note of what was written on the back clearly hasn't scanned the back of the photograph.

  • Your Honour, I don't wish to have an argument about the point my learned friend is making, but when you scan you only scan one face of it on a page, so if you were scanning the back the back comes on a separate page and the front also comes on a separate page as I understand it and so they may not necessarily --

  • We haven't got a separate page. We have only ever had the photos scanned.

  • The long and short of it, you don't know where the originals are and the originals may have something on the back of them?

  • That may very well be the case, your Honour, but I can ask the witness exactly how he provided these photographs to the Prosecution because he is right here.

  • Mr Witness, can you help the Court: How did you provide these photographs to the Court? In what form were they when you provided them to the Court?

  • They were in the original hard form and I presented it to the investigators, or interrogators, and it was given back to me after they had taken the - yes.

  • So the originals were handed back to you?

  • The originals were handed back to me.

  • Do you still have those originals with you?

  • They are not with me here. They are in Freetown.

  • Your Honours, that is the position.

  • You know, Mr Bangura, I do recall this issue being raised before where it was said that if - there was a question why the Prosecution handed back an original before the trial even opened. Very well. Mr Munyard, you have heard the explanation.

  • Your Honour, I have, and I can only express weary concern about this process. It is even worse in the case of this witness because this witness is a man who, according to his CV, spent a number of years giving evidence before courts, including criminal courts, evidence which had to have been based on documents, and therefore this witness would understand the importance that when you come to the Court to give evidence, if any of your evidence is going to take documentary form you bring the originals with you.

    I am not particularly criticising the witness but he, of all witnesses, would be alert to that himself. He is not like an ordinary civilian who just turns up in Freetown with one piece of paper and gives it to the Prosecution and then is given it back and may lose it, but it is amazing that since we raised this issue many months ago now, that when the Prosecution knew they were calling this particular witness, that they did not make efforts to secure the originals of these photographs, bearing in mind it is their own disclosure that tells us that there is writing on the back of the originals.

    Frankly, it is just shambolic and I put on record our disapproval of this very amateur approach to the producing of evidence in a trial as serious as this.

  • Your Honours, I take exception to the views expressed by my learned friend about the manner in which this matter has been dealt with.

    Your Honour, the Prosecution received these photographs from this witness quite a few years back and sometimes for various reasons witnesses who provide material of this nature may request them and the Prosecution in those circumstances is constrained to have to hand them back. But notwithstanding that, your Honours, there are instances in this Court where the Defence themselves, I have just been reminded, have used photographs in this Court without producing an original.

  • Mr Bangura, let us not confuse cross-examination with evidence-in-chief. That's the first point. Secondly, this issue has been raised before, the Prosecution is on notice that this has been raised before and that we look for an original. This gentleman has made it clear that he had them and there is nothing that indicates to us that he hasn't been given the opportunity to reproduce them again if the Prosecution so wanted them produced for his evidence today.

  • Your Honours, I am not particularly clear about the point regarding cross-examination but, your Honours, the Defence in the particular instance that I just mentioned sought to introduce evidence in the trial and this was a photograph. Your Honours, my submission is that it's basically the same standards that should apply. If they had to introduce a photograph and they did not produce an original, I am not saying that we should not necessarily always produce an original, but, your Honours, this would indicate different standards.

  • Mr Bangura, when the Defence produce a photograph it is to test the credibility of your witnesses in whatever respect. When you produce a witness it is to prove your case. Basically that is the difference. You have the burden to prove your case beyond reasonable doubt. The burden is not replicated with the Defence.

  • The point is taken, your Honour. Your Honour, the witness has given an explanation as to where the originals are at the moment and they very well are not before the Court, but it is up to the Court to accept the position that those photographs do exist and what we have are the copies of the originals that he continues to have in his possession.

    Your Honours, I would respectfully apply that the photographs as they are be - it's not in this case asked that they be admitted, but that we are able to work with them on the basis that they are relevant to the proceedings.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Mr Bangura, please proceed and put these photographs to your witness.

  • Thank you, your Honour. I misinformed the Court earlier by stating that the photographs are numbered serially. They are actually not, your Honour. The Prosecution disclosed about 60 or so photographs to the Defence that we were going to deal with in this witness's testimony, but has only selected a number of them and the numbers actually are not in any serial order. I will call the numbers marked on the photographs.

  • Yes.

  • Can the witness be shown the photograph marked number 1:

  • Mr Witness, are you comfortable?

  • Thank you. Do you recognise that photograph?

  • Can you just tell us whether it's one of those that you took or one of those that was given to you by the government official?

  • This is one I took myself.

  • When did you take this photograph?

  • This was in January 1999.

  • And where was this photograph taken?

  • That is in hospital number 2 outside in a shed - in a cow shed outside hospital number 2.

  • And we see here - what do we see here in the photograph?

  • We see patients on trolleys and one on - okay, all four of them are on trolleys, yes.

  • And why are these patients outside in this area of the institution?

  • Because of the over - the hospital was completely overcrowded and this was part of the area that we treated them.

  • If you just quickly tell us the cases that you have - that these patients have. Just take it in one word or two what the case is in each situation?

  • For the first patient I cannot - you know, I cannot say. I do not - you know, I cannot say much about it, because I cannot see any bandage or anything around him. But the patient number 2 had a chest injury. It was a gunshot injury to the chest. Patient number 1 is the patient with the eyes amputated.

  • Hold on, you have already talked about the first and you talked about number 2.

  • Okay, the third patient.

  • Yes, with the bandage all around the face is the one who lost both eyes. And patient number - the fourth patient is the one who had a gunshot injury through the leg.

  • Now when you say one - counting 1, 2, 3, 4, from which direction are you counting?

  • From the one - from the lower.

  • And lower means in front of you?

  • Immediately in front of you in the lower frame.

  • Your Honours, I would ask that this photograph be marked for identification.

  • This is a one page document, a photograph taken by the witness with four patients. It is MFI-13.

  • Can the witness be shown the next one marked number 6:

  • Can you tell the Court who took this photograph?

  • Where did you take this photograph?

  • In front of the hospital number 2.

  • Institution number 2, Mr Witness. Institution number 2.

  • Institution number 2. That's in January 1999.

  • And what does the photograph depict?

  • Patients on the floor and one on the trolley and some empty trolleys.

  • Now, normally the trolleys that are shown here, would they be used for patients who were admitted?

  • They were all previously occupied by patients.

  • I am saying normally.

  • And what kind of injuries are shown in this photograph?

  • The patient on the trolley definitely had a back slab and he must have had injuries to his leg and the one lying on the mattress on the floor, the adult, had injuries to his thigh and the young man has a right forearm stump.

  • Now when you said the patient lying on the trolley has a back slab, what do you mean?

  • Well, a black slab is a supportive mechanism we used to support, you know, a fractured long bone and so the - there are two long bones in the leg, that is the tibia and fibula, and both were fractured from gunshot wounds or machete wound. So we were trying to save the leg, so we leave the anterior aspect open so that we can gain access to cleaning and dressing and treating, so we support - you know, we put a POP back slab to support the --

  • Thank you. Your Honours, I would respectfully ask that this photograph be marked for identification.

  • Could the witness just define what he means by anterior for the benefit of anyone who isn't familiar with common medical terminology.

  • Mr Witness, I hope you heard the question asked by counsel opposite. Can you explain what you mean by anterior?

  • Anterior means the front part.

  • This is a one page document, a photograph taken and identified by the witness showing three persons who he has identified as being treated for various injuries. It will become MFI-14.

  • Can the witness be shown the photograph marked number 7.

  • Mr Bangura, just curiously, why do these photographs not have ERN numbers?

  • Your Honours, they originally did have, but the position is, as I understand it, that they would be identified under the tab that they have - can I be much more clearer on this point, your Honour, but I know that they were originally ERN'd but let me be clearer on the way we have prepared them this time.

    Your Honours, my understanding is that it might have been to enhance the quality they were scanned again and that may have done away with the - affected the ERN, but I am able to refer the Court to ERNs that they originally had - each one of these photographs that I am dealing with.

  • Mr Bangura, those ERNs are not for nothing. Many months henceforth we don't want to mix up these documents. We need to be on the same page to know exactly which document was admitted as which exhibit.