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

  • Good morning, Father Caballero.

  • Father, when we ended on Friday my last question to you was to tell the Court the ages of the children who had committed atrocities and you testified that they were between 14 and 17 years old. Father, I would like you to be a bit more specific as to at what time period were they this age? Was it when they came to your centre, or was it some time before that?

  • The age I gave you is the age when the children arrive in St Michael's. The children started committing crimes, you want to say so, as soon as they were able to carry weapons, let us say 7, 8 years old.

  • Father, did the children tell you where the training camps were located at the time they were being trained by the RUF?

  • Well, when they arrived in St Michael they mentioned some of the camps where they were trained.

  • Are you able to recall the names of some of the camps?

  • The one I recall now is Camp Lion, Zagoda, where according to the children Foday Sankoh was.

  • If you would spell them as you go along, please.

  • Zagoda should be Z-A-G-O-D-A.

  • And Lion, is that as in the animal?

  • Yes, so Camp Lion, Zagoda. Burkina, like the country.

  • Would you spell Burkina, please?

  • B-U-R-K-I-N-A. Kangari Hills, Kangari is K-A-N-G-A-R-I, Hills. Where Gibril Massaquoi was. It was one of the first camps where many of the children that arrived in St Michael's were trained. Northern jungle, behind Kabala, and then they also talk about Rosor, R-O-S-O-R, but I am on not sure if they were trained there.

  • Father, also if you can give the spelling for Kabala?

  • You told the Court on Friday that you yourself spent a lot of time talking to the children. What language did you yourself communicate with the children in?

  • I always speak in Krio when in Sierra Leone.

  • You testified that one of the techniques used by the St Michael's lodge was to ask the children to draw pictures on certain themes and those pictures were then interpreted. Who interpreted the drawings by the children?

  • Well, the first time was Dr Millares, the Spanish psychologist who came to train the teachers and social workers, and then later on the social workers and the teachers were able to do it.

  • Father, could you just briefly explain the process of this technique?

  • Okay, the children were given a topic, were asked to draw something related to that topic and then the children were asked to explain, in front of the other children, what they had drawn and why, the meaning of the design. The information that the children gave could be used to get information from their background, what happened to them during the time they were with the fighting forces, or the problems they may have at that time.

  • And when the children were explaining their drawings, was it recorded?

  • Yes, normally it was for record keeping.

  • How was it recorded?

  • Normally it was with a tape recorder, sometimes with notes, but normally a tape recorder.

  • And what were the themes, or topics, that the children were asked to draw pictures about?

  • There was a programme drawn by Dr Millares. We asked the children the date they kidnapped them, what they learned and what they did when they were with the fighting forces, the happiest day in their life, what they lost during the time they were with the fighting forces, their future, about their future and these kinds of things.

  • Father, what did you do with the drawings by the children?

  • Well, we kept them. The very first one, the one when Dr Millares was there at St Michael, we published a book with them, Dr Millares and myself, trying to explain what happened to these children and the problems they went through.

  • So is it your testimony that these drawings were published in a book?

  • What is the title of the book?

  • The title is in Krio, "Ano Bin Wan Duam."

  • Could you repeat that again?

  • "Ano Bin Wan Duam", A-N-O B-I-N W-A-N D-U-A-M.

  • Father, what does that mean in English?

  • "I didn't want to do it."

  • Your Honours, can I ask that the witness be shown the document at tab 19, please. Father, could you just look through the pages of the document in front of you. Do you recognise these pages?

  • Yes, these are photocopies from that book.

  • Your Honour, can I ask that this document be marked as MFI-3.

  • The document acknowledged by the witness will be marked MFI-3.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Madam President, can my learned friend give me the last four ERN numbers because we don't have a copy of the bundle that she is referring to.

  • Ms Alagendra, could you please assist?

  • The ERN numbers, your Honour, are 00032807 until 00032818.

  • Mr Cayley, have you traced this document now?

  • Yes, I have. I mean the fact is, your Honour, the exhibits were disclosed to us but we were not provided with a copy of the bundle. It would be helpful in future - we can move ahead now, but we normally provide to the Defence [sic] a copy of the documents that we are using. It just helps matters that is all.

  • Ms Alagendra, perhaps your Court Manager can note that.

  • We will, your Honour, and I apologise for this.

  • Father, in what language is this book published in?

  • Father, at the time the children were explaining their drawings, in what language did they explain their drawings in?

  • Who translated the explanations into Spanish for the purposes of this book?

  • Father, could you turn to the second page of the document in front of you. Underneath the drawings it is written there some --

  • Please switch to document cam witness.

  • There are some numbers written there, father, could you tell the Court what that means?

  • Underneath the drawing?

  • The identification number we have given to the child and the age of the child at the time he did these drawings.

  • And the ages under these drawings, are they the accurate ages of the children who did these drawings?

  • Well, it depends. In some cases we just changed it so that the child cannot be recognised because if you follow all the designs, all the drawings, you can reconstruct the history, or the story, of a child. So to avoid the child to be identified, once in a while we changed the age of the child.

  • If one wanted to know the actual age of the particular child who drew a picture, where could we get this information from?

  • You go back to page 1, the one you gave me, this table identifies the child and the real age of the child.

  • This table on the first page you gave me.

  • Father, can I ask you to look at the table on the first page, please. Could you explain to the court what is stated in each of these columns?

  • Okay, the first column, the identification number we have given - we gave to each child. Second is sex of the child, boy or girl. The third one, the age the child had when he was kidnapped by the RUF. The fourth, the age of the child when he took part in the exercise with Dr Millares and myself, and the last one is how many years the child spent with the RUF.

  • Father, by looking at the table and your explanation of what is in each of the columns, is it the case that the drawings in this book are done by children who were with the RUF?

  • Yes, all of them in this particular book belong to children who were with the RUF.

  • I would ask you to turn the page again, please. Would you look at illustration 2 on that page.

  • I notice there is no explanation underneath this illustration. Are you able to explain what this drawing means?

  • Yes, I recall this drawing. This drawing is - when there is no explanation Dr Millares explained that - explained the drawing to us so we could learn how to do it. According to her, this particular child was with somebody who was in charge of the ammunition room. That is why he draw this ammunition room on there and he is the boy on top of the roof with that maybe RPG, or AK-47, on top of the roof of the ammunition room.

  • Father, by referring to your table on the first page can you tell the Court the actual details of this child who drew this picture?

  • This particular child is a boy. He was 11 years old when he was kidnapped by the RUF and he was 17 when he took part in this exercise and he has spent 3 years with the RUF.

  • Father, could you turn over to the next page, please. Can you look at illustration 2 on that page. By reference to the table on the first page, can you tell the Court the actual details of this child who drew this drawing?

  • Okay, this was a boy. He was 13 years old when he was kidnapped by the RUF. He was 15 when he took part in this exercise and he was 2 years with the RUF.

  • Your Honours, at this stage I want to seek some clarification from the Court. This witness has just testified that it was himself who translated the explanations by the children from Krio into Spanish and these are the explanations which appear in this book, and I was about to ask this witness to translate this explanation into English and I want to know whether there is any objections that this is being done.

  • We don't yet know the witness's expertise in the languages of English and Spanish and until I determine that I don't think I will ask for a reply from the Defence.

  • If I can just solicit that information from the witness, your Honour:

  • Father, are you able to translate what appears in these pages from Spanish into English?

  • Well, I think so. I think I can do it.

  • If that is sufficient for me to proceed?

  • Ms Alagendra, you know that is not sufficient. Mr Cayley, you are on your feet.

  • Madam President, might I assist here. I think that, 1, we would not have an objection and if perhaps my learned friend asked the father whether he had studied at a graduate level in both English and Spanish, the Defence would be satisfied and perhaps also the bench would be satisfied.

  • I am grateful for the indication, Mr Cayley. Ms Alagendra, you have heard counsel for the Defence.

  • Thank you. I will take that as a guide:

  • Father, could you tell the Court at what level have you studied the English language, if at all?

  • Well, I studied - I just learnt English in the school and then when I was in the States, when I worked for my master everything was in English, so I have this master level because I passed my masters in New York and in Spain, for the Spanish, it is the same. I have two BAs in Spain, so I think I can.

  • Mr Cayley, you heard the evidence and you heard the application.

  • No, your Honour, we have no objection to the father translating from Spanish into English. Thank you.

  • Thank you. In the circumstances we also will accept, by consent, that the witness is qualified to interpret and you may proceed on now, Ms Alagendra, please.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Father, could you translate the explanation above illustration 2 into English.

  • Okay:

    "I cannot forget. I was captured by Rambo, one famous fighter whose name is very well known in Sierra Leone. He took me to Liberia, together with other people, to be trained and later to fight against our enemies."

  • Could the witness put the microphone on, please.

  • Sorry, let me start again, sorry:

    "I cannot forget. I was captured by Rambo, one famous fighter whose name is very well known in Sierra Leone. He took me to Liberia, together with other people, to be trained and later to fight against our enemies. I took drugs to feel secure. The time of the training was very hard and difficult. Many people died. The 6 June 1999" - may I say something? I think it should say 6 January. Maybe a typo from the book. Anyway, the right translation is:

    "The 6 June 1999 we entered the city with heavy weapons and the commander in charge was Sam Bockarie, Mosquito and Rambo. Because I was not afraid I was promoted to lieutenant. I still remember all these things. I have problems concentrating in my studies."

  • Father, could you turn over to the next page, please. Could you have a look at the second illustration on that page. By reference to the table on the first page, could you give the actual details of this child who drew this picture?

  • Okay. This is a boy who was 12 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 13 when he took part in this exercise and he spent one year with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation next to this drawing?

  • "The name of my boss when I was in Camp Lion was Target. The soldiers of RUF didn't like him because he was very smart. The most traumatising fact of my life was when Target shot and killed a rebel whose name was Tamaboroh, or called Tamaboroh. Tamaboroh had miraculous powers that allow him to appear and disappear at his wish. He was the one who helped us in the attacks" - sorry:

    "He was the one who helped us in the successful attacks launched by the rebels near Koinadugu in the northern province of Sierra Leone. However, my boss saw him fighting, Target shot and killed him. The rebels liked very much Tamaboroh because of his miraculous powers, his special powers, and they organised a rebellion and arrested Target and they killed him summarily on the spot. I loved Target. He was good to me. I was not able to hide my feelings and I started shouting. The people who had against my boss wanted to kill me because I was crying for a monster. This fact comes to me over and over."

  • Father, could you look at the first illustration, please, on that same page.

  • Could you tell the Court the actual details of this child who drew this drawing?

  • Okay, this is a boy who was 9 years old when he was kidnapped by the RUF. He was 17 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 9 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation next to that drawing for the Court?

  • "I will never forget the day when they kidnapped me and took me to a camp called Zagoda. This camp had many deadly weapons because Foday Sankoh, the leader of the RUF, was there. These are incidents and facts that I will never forget: The day in which Zagoda was attacked. They attacked us from four sides, but with the tactics we have learned we repelled attacks. We could do it because they ran out of ammunition and they couldn't turn back. We surrounded them and killed them. I cannot forget these things, but" --

  • Father, could you turn over to the next page, please. Could you translate the chapter heading which appears at the top?

  • Okay, "This is what I learned in the bush."

  • On that same page, that first drawing, could you tell the Court, by referring to your table in the first page, the actual details of the child who drew this picture?

  • It is a boy who was 10 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 12 years when he took part in this exercise and he was - he spent 3 years with the RUF.

  • Madam Court Attendant, could you put the actual picture up, please. Thank you, please continue.

  • Could you translate the explanation next to the drawing?

  • "I learned how to loot and to take things from people by force and threatening. I also learned how to use drugs: Cocaine, blueboat, marijuana."

  • Could you turn to the next page, please. Father, I am referring to the first drawing on that page. By referring to the table on the first page, could you tell the Court the details of the child that drew that picture?

  • This is a boy who was 12 years old when he was kidnapped by the RUF. He was 13 years old when he took part in this exercise and he has spent 3 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation below that drawing?

  • "I was trained. I was learnt how to use weapons. I also smoked and drank."

  • Could you have a look at the second picture and, referring to the table on the first page, provide the actual details of the child who drew this drawing?

  • Okay, it is a boy again. He was 10 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 13 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 3 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation below that drawing?

  • "I learnt to use weapons and I wounded and maltreated people of every age, of all ages. I learnt to steal money and to loot."

  • Could you now look at the third picture on that same page and, referring to the table on the first page, provide the actual details of the child who drew this picture?

  • It is a boy. He was 11 years old when he was captured by the RUF, 17 when he took part in this exercise and he has spent 3 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation for this drawing?

  • "During one week they trained me on how to prepare an ambush. I also fire shot from a helicopter to the city of Lunsar during two hours. I drank, rape and killed everybody I wanted to."

  • Could you turn over to the next page. I am looking at the second drawing on that page. By reference to the table on page 1, could you provide the actual particulars of this child?

  • This is a child who was 13 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 15 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 2 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation below that drawing.

  • "I learnt to use weapons. This is a bazooka." You call it in English "bazooka"? Okay, sorry. "It is very difficult to use. It is very big. Up it fires bullets and down, bombs. There is my commander, the one who learned me. His name is Rambo."

  • Father, could you look at the third illustration on that page at the bottom and, referring to the table on the first page, provide the actual particulars of the child who did this drawing?

  • This boy was 12 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 14 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 2 years with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation next to the drawing?

  • "I learnt many things. I killed a man because I stop him and he didn't want to stop. I did the same with a woman who didn't want to stop, so I ran after her and killed her. One experience at that particular time was what we call 'Operation Spare No Soul'. I came across a girl of 12 years old and I cut off her two hands. Just when we came back, we were coming back from that operation, I killed a man inside his house. We were told not to leave anybody alive in the village."

  • Could you turn over the page, please. Father, I am looking at the first drawing. By referring to the table on page 1, could you provide the actual details of the child that did this drawing?

  • This boy was 9 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 17 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 9 years with the RUF.

  • Can you translate the explanation below that drawing?

  • "I learned how to assemble weapons that is why I draw myself [indiscernible]. I also learned how to use them. I learned to fire weapons."

  • Could you look at the second drawing on that page and, by referring to the table on the first page, provide the actual details of the child that did this drawing?

  • This particular boy was 6 years old when he was captured by the RUF. He was 15 when he took part in this exercise and he spent 8 years, 6 months with the RUF.

  • Could you translate the explanation below that drawing, please?

  • "Before I became a rebel I was obedient and quiet. When they took me to the bush I learned to take drugs, to kill, to loot and to burn houses. This drawing shows how I burn and destroy houses."

  • Thank you, father. You testified on Friday that part of your work at the St Michael's Lodge was a reunification of children with their families, isn't that correct?

  • That was the work, one of the main purposes of the programme: To take children back to their families.

  • Could you explain the reunification process briefly for the Court?

  • Once we got the information when we thought it was true and we could believe, because as I told you on Friday many times we had to interview the children several times until we got the right information from them, we have a particular team of social workers that will go to the place, to the village, or the area where the children came from, trying to find their family. If the family was found then they will talk with them to see if the family was ready to take the child back. If they were ready then they will talk with different authorities in the area, religious leaders, town leaders, women groups, youth groups, just to explain what happened to the child, the process the child went through, how the child, who has been with the RUF, now was a different person and could be trusted and sent back to the community. If everybody agree on taking back the child the social workers will take the child back to their family.

    Sometimes the children are coming from other regions because we cover mostly for reunification Western Area. We send the information to the agency in that area and they would do the tracing for the family and all these processes I just described and if the family was ready to receive the child we send the child to that agency to be unified with his family, or her family.

  • Was there any documentation involved in this process?

  • Well, to get information we had that form, the national tracing form that you showed me the other day, the document, but then once the child was unified with the family we get a certificate, a handover certificate, signed by the family, signed by the agency as well.

  • Your Honours, can I ask that the witness be shown the document at tab 18 which was marked.

  • Madam Court Attendant, if you could assist, please.

  • It was marked MFI-2 previously, your Honour:

  • Father, could you have a look at the last page. Do you recognise this document?

  • Yes, this is the one I was telling you about, the one we filled out once the child was handed over to the family.

  • Who would be given copies of this document?

  • One copy went to the family, the other copy went to the agency, in this case to us, and one copy went to the Minister of Social Welfare, to the database.

  • Once a child is reunified with the family is there any follow up that is undertaken by yourself, or any other organisation?

  • Yes, when the child was unified COOPI, C-O-O-P-I, an international NGO, was in charge of the following up of children who have been already reunified with their families.

  • Was there ever the need for any counseling after children were reunified with their families?

  • Yes, of course, because the children they still needed this follow up, this counseling, so COOPI social workers will follow up with the children, visit the children in their houses, or the schools, or the workshop where they were learning skill trainings, and the family, or the community, will call on these social workers any time something happens with the children.

  • Were there any particular difficulties faced by the families, or the children after reunification?

  • For the children it was not easy to adapt to the new life, especially they were child soldiers, they were used to slaves they were working for them when they were in the bush, so now a child back to his family he has to go to get the water in the morning, to clean, to do the laundry for himself and those things were not easy for them, so it was difficult for them to adjust to the new life. We have many problems. Many times the social worker has to intervene.

  • Can you tell the Court of any instance where the social workers had to intervene?

  • There were many of them but, for example, I remember now a particular child unified with his family in Freetown. The family sent him to the public tap to get water and the people were lining up, just waiting for their turn to get the water. When he arrived there he just go straight to the tap and wanted to get the water, so people started shouting at him and he just said, "You don't know who you are talking to. If you knew who I am you would not talk to me like that." What happens, the people just beat him up. A COOPI social worker had to go back and to mediate with the community, and the people, and with the family, and with the child so that he would not do the same things again. That is the kind of things we used to face.

  • Were all the children that went through the programme at St Michael's Lodge reunited with their families?

  • No, not all of them. Many of them we couldn't find the families.

  • What happened to those children whose families could not be traced?

  • We have what we call an alternative care programme for those children whose family couldn't be found, or those children the family didn't want to take them back. In severe cases the family was afraid of taking their children. So, this programme have four units. The first one it was foster family for those little children up to 10 years old. They were given foster care to a family. Then we have what we call group homes where a family took care of four or five children, going to a school. We call - we had apprenticeship: Children learning a skill, training, a skill. We will send to a workshop and they stay with the doctor and the family of this doctor while they learn the skill and then finally we had what we called independent living, for the bigger ones. We helped them to rent a room. We gave them some money to start business so that they could support themselves while they were going to a school, or to learn their skill.

  • Father, while the programme was going on do you recall if there were any RUF commanders who visited the St Michael's Lodge?

  • Well, yes, especially the one I recall is Foday Sankoh visiting St Michael's in May 2000.

  • Could you describe what took place when he visited the lodge?

  • It was a Sunday. Children were in the beach with the social workers and the caretakers. I was in my room, room and office, and I heard this noise, all the children coming inside the compound. So I just looked from my window and I saw all the children in the central compound and they were saluting a person I couldn't see, so I came down and when I approached the circle I saw Foday Sankoh was addressing the children. He made them pray. They sang the RUF hymn - anthem, sorry. Then he addressed them saying, "I am your father, you are my children. I have promised you you will have a better life, you will have free education and now you have it." So at that moment, I approached Mr Sankoh and I ask him that - I told him it was a private institution, he didn't have any right to come inside like that and he asked me who I was. I introduced myself and said I was Father Chema, the person in charge of the programme. Then he said he knew the Government of Sierra Leone had given me a lot of money to take care of the children and all the children were there almost naked when they were on the beach that day and I wasn't taking care of the children, so I just told him that the Government of Sierra Leone didn't give me any money for the programme, that all the money was coming through UNICEF and private donors from Spain, so he just got angry at that moment, pointed fingers at me and started threatening me saying he will send a commission to investigate how I was using the money the government was giving me for the children.

    There were some armed people with him when he arrived in the compound, even a vehicle with some weapons and after that they left, the vehicles and Foday Sankoh.

    It happened that when I was there one of the social workers was taking pictures and he took the pictures at the moment when I was talking with Foday Sankoh.

  • Father, you said that one of the social workers took some pictures of this visit. What did you do with the pictures, father?

  • Well, later on when the social worker gave me the picture I took it to Spain, to my house, to my parent's house, sorry. Later on a Spanish journalist wrote a book on child soldiers and the work I was doing with the child soldiers in Sierra Leone. He went to my house and he published that picture in the book.

  • What is the name of the book in which that picture is published?

  • It is in Spanish as well. It is "Salvar a los Ninos Soldados." That in English means "Save the Child Soldiers ."

  • Your Honours, may I ask that this witness be given the document at tab 20.

  • Madam Court Attendant, if you could do that, please.

  • Father, could you look at the first page. Do you recognise what this is?

  • This is the cover of the book.

  • Father, I would like you to turn to the fourth, or last, page in that bundle of documents you have. Could you have a look at the second picture, top right.

  • Can you tell the Court who appears in that picture?

  • Well, at centre is Mr Foday Sankoh the moment he was pointing fingers at me. The other one is myself. There are two boys, two sides of Foday Sankoh, the boys who were at the centre at that particular moment and they were acting as a kind of bodyguard for him. Then you see the children around, behind us, all the children, and some of the social workers and caretakers that were there at that moment.

  • Could you describe to the Court what is happening in that photograph?

  • This is the particular moment when Foday Sankoh got a little angry at me and he was threatening me and saying that I was not using the money given by the government to me for the children and that he will send a commission to investigate how I was using the money.

  • Is this the same incidence you just testified about before when he was pointing his finger at you?

  • Yes, that is the same.

  • Father, could you tell the Court which month this visit took place in 2000, by Foday Sankoh?

  • It was May 2000, beginning of May 2000.

  • Father, could you have a look at that picture again, please, and could you translate what is written at the bottom?

  • "Chema listened to the guerilla leader, Foday Sankoh, in front of dozens of child soldiers, Lakka, Sierra Leone, March 2000."

  • You just testified that his visit was in May 2000. Could you tell the Court which is the correct date then?

  • I remember it was a few weeks before that big demonstration happened in Freetown. That was May 2000 and he had to run away from his place and then later on he was captured, so I think the right date is May. This particular picture I didn't give to the journalist that wrote the book, it was my mother and maybe that is the mistake why he wrote March instead of May.

  • Is there anything you can tell the Court to describe the behavioural patterns of the children that were at St Michael's Lodge?

  • You mean that particular day?

  • I will repeat the question.

  • I am asking you if you are able to tell the Court anything which would describe the behavioural patterns of the children that were in your programme at St Michael's Lodge.

  • When the children arrived in St Michael they were very aggressive and violent. Many of them were on drugs. Little by little they just cooled down, started to collaborate with the social workers and the other staff of the programme, until they could change and start thinking of their future, but the first thing for them was violence and drugs.

  • Father, are you able to say anything from what you know about the present situation of the children and ex-child soldiers that went through your programme?

  • I will say that most of them, 95 per cent of the children, have rehabilitated. Some of them are already married with children. They learn skills, they are working. We have plenty of taxi drivers, or auto mechanics, or carpenters, or tailers working in Freetown and other place of Sierra Leone. We have children in college already, children who passed through St Michael, or still finishing the secondary school, but we have a good group of them in college now. There were very few that never made it. We call them lost causes because they never left the drugs, especially the bigger ones, and so they never rehabilitated. Many of them are in the streets, some of them in Freetown, doing these small crimes, stealing, or something like that. Some of them are in Pademba Prison in Freetown.

  • At the time that your programme was in place, did all the children who came to the lodge remain with the lodge throughout the programme?

  • No, no. Some of them, we have some cases that ran away from the programme and went back to their commanders.

  • Did you have any information about what they did when they went back to their commanders?

  • I know some of them, after January 2002 when peace came to Sierra Leone, together with the commanders they cross over to Liberia, according to the information that the children gave me, and they were fighting in Liberia. Even I know two cases of children that, from Liberia, went to Ivory Coast to fight.

  • Do you know any details about who they were fighting, or why they were fighting in Liberia?

  • No, I don't know the details. I know what the children told me about the other children: They went to Liberia, or Ivory Coast, but I don't know the details.

  • Father, you told the Court that you also received girls who were used as sex slaves. Do you know the present situation of these girls?

  • Girls, it was much difficult to work with them because of that part of abused women it was difficult to bring it up, so many of the girls, once they were unified, they have a lot of problems with their families. They couldn't adapt themselves to their families, to their new life. Many of them ran away from their families and they finished in the beach of Freetown, prostitution. When I go to the beach in Freetown I see many of them, even in Victoria Park in Freetown, working as prostitutes.

  • Your Honours, Victoria Park is - would you spell that?

  • Victoria, Queen Victoria Park.

  • Your Honours, I have no further questions for this witness.

  • Thank you, Ms Alagendra. Mr Cayley, are you --

  • Yes. Thank you, your Honour. If I can just hand out to the Court a bundle which are Father Chema's various statements that he has made to the OTP.

  • Father Chema, good morning to you. My name is Andrew Cayley and along with my colleagues, Mr Courtenay Griffiths and Mr Terry Munyard - I think you understand, you are a trained lawyer - we act on behalf of Mr Taylor. I don't have many questions for you and certainly we, on this side of the Court, appreciate very much the kind of work that you have been doing with these children, but I do need to make some clarifications with you about some of the things you said and also to explore a number of issues with you.

    Again, if you can heed what the Presiding Judge said and look at the judges when I ask you questions. I know it is somewhat unnatural, but it will help the interpreters and in essence you are addressing the judges, you are not addressing me.

    Again, if there is any question that I put to you that you don't understand, please stop me and ask me to repeat it. We will go at quite a slow pace because in between us, as you know, there are interpreters interpreting for the purposes of the people in West Africa actually watching the proceedings.

    Now, you stated in your evidence on Friday and today that most of the children that you had at St Michael's had been with the RUF. You recall that, yes?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • I think it is also the case, is it not, that you had children who had been with the AFRC, is that right?

  • I am also right in stating, am I not, that the CDF, or the Kamajors, also used children in their fighting force, is that right?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • And I am also right in saying that I think, at one stage at least, in April of 1992, the Sierra Leonean army itself were making use of children in their fighting force?

  • Yes, that is right as well.

  • So it would be fair to say, would it not, father, that all of the fighting forces within Sierra Leone during the civil war at some stage made use of children in the fighting forces?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • And I think it is probably also fair to say, is it not, that in many other parts of Africa children are unfortunately used, or have been used, as child soldiers, right?

  • That is right, yes.

  • Just to give some examples, and if you can confirm for the Court, child soldiers have been used in Angola, right?

  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, right?

  • And also, unfortunately, in Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army, is that right?

  • That is right, yes.

  • I think also child soldiers have been used in other parts of the world. Just to give you some examples: In Burma, yes?

  • Yes, I think so.

  • I am not sure about that.

  • In Lebanon, do you know about that?

  • Lebanon they were used, yes, that is true, yes.

  • Now, I want to just refer you very briefly to an expert report actually put into evidence by the Prosecution and to read you a passage from that report. This, your Honours, is the Prosecutor's exhibit 31. This is Dr Ellis's report. To be fair to the witness I think if it could be placed in front of him. I will read out the section to him.

    This, Father Chema, is a report by a gentleman called Dr Stephen Ellis who gave evidence last week. He was an expert for the Prosecution. He addressed - one of the issues he addressed in his report was that of the use of child soldiers and I wanted to read you a passage from that report to ask you for your comments.

    Madam Court Manager, the relevant part is actually on page 15, your Honours page 15, of the report, the last four digits of the ERN number, for the purposes of the transcript, are 6618.

    I think you should be able to follow me, Father Chema, if I read it to you. I will just check that we are looking at the right part. If it could be moved down a little, Madam Court Manager. Yes, perfect, thank you. I will read from the last sentence on that page that begins with the word "However":

    "However, although the NPFL made use of various other forms of coercion in order to recruit fighters, porters and forced labourers, it did not rely on the abduction of children and adolescents for use of fighters on anything approaching the scale of the RUF."

    Father, I don't want your comments on that. I am simply reading that to you so you understand the context of this particular comment:

    "On this point it is useful to bear in mind that it is traditional in many rural areas of West Africa, including in Liberia and Sierra Leone, for adolescent boys to assume the character of warriors as part of their initiation into adulthood and that in some places a system of age sets includes the induction of cohorts of young men as fighters. Hence, while there does appear to have been some degree of imitation of the NPFL by the RUF, in regard to the recruitment of children and the organisation of Small Boy Units, it is not clear to what extent the use of child soldiers represents an innovation and to what extent it was simply the continuation of an historically embedded practice."

    Now, father, the question I have for you, without in any way making comment by me implicitly on the rightness or wrongness of using child soldiers, you are aware that there was, as Mr Ellis states here, a historically embedded practice of using children in armies in this part of the world?

  • Yes, that is right, but I think there is a small difference there. I said - I stated that more than 3,000 children passed through St Michael's. Out of those 3,000 children I only found one child who told me he joined voluntarily the fighting forces. All the others were forced to join. What you are talking about is a tradition, where children may join, or may not join, according to their wish.

  • But again, putting aside the issue of voluntariness, you accept that there was an historical practice in the region of using children in armed fighting units?

  • I think so, yes.

  • Now, again and I am not trying to give you a memory test here and you can certainly look at the statements that I have given to you, but am I right in saying that you made five statements to the Office of the Prosecutor over a four year period?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • If you could go to your statement of 11 July 2003, which is the first statement, and that, your Honours, you will find behind tab 1. Father Chema, at the time that you made this statement did you read it over and sign it?

  • I read it later on when the second statement was made, not the first time.

  • So the very first occasion that you were spoken to by the investigators, you did not read or sign the statement?

  • I don't think so. I don't recall doing it. I just answered some questions because they were not interested in what I could say, but I was asked to take some children to the Special Court, to the investigator, so they could talk with them and this was a kind of introduction to the children.

  • So to clarify, the first occasion, on 11 July 2003, they did not take a formal statement from you?

  • No, I don't think so.

  • But they made notes from your meeting with them and with the children, which they subsequently made into a statement. Is that fair?

  • Is that a fair assessment?

  • That is right, yes.

  • If we could go to your next statement of 2 May 2007. There I think you met with Brian Hutchinson and also Ms Alagendra was there and Mr Mohamed Bangura. So, this is essentially four years later. Did you travel to Freetown for this interview?

  • For this particular one?

  • Where did you travel from?

  • From Medina where I am living right now.

  • How did you get there?

  • To Freetown from Medina.

  • With my vehicle.

  • How long did that take you?

  • Depends. If it is rainy season it can be up to ten hours. Dry season, five hours, more or less.

  • I just want to address some of the corrections you made in this statement, to the first statement. In this statement did you read these interview notes through and sign this, or not?

  • You mean the first one?

  • No, this one we are talking about now: This statement of 2 May 2007.

  • I read it later on when I came for the third time.

  • So at the time these notes were taken you didn't read these interview notes back?

  • No, they were taking notes, then later on when I came back to the Special Court they gave me the statement to read and make any corrections if necessary.

  • If we go to the first page of the statement of 2 May 2007 - do you have that in front of you?

  • I just want to go through the changes that you made and you will see in the second sentence it says:

    "The changes are recorded on a photocopied version of his statement. They include in the first paragraph he previously stated that he stayed in Kenema from October 1992 until 1994. It should read he stayed in Kenema from October 1992 until 1993."

    Do you think that that mistake appeared in the first statement because either: 1, your recollection was faulty, or because the investigators may have copied down what you said incorrectly?

  • Well, I don't really know. The difference with the second and the other statements is that when I was called to go to the Special Court and they asked me - I mean they explained to me what they wanted from me. I have some notes I have taken during the years I was in St Michael's and previous. I had all those papers in front of me so it was more accurate, the information I gave. Since the previous one, the first statement, I don't think was a formal interview, we were talking with this investigator, some mistakes - even myself I could have made a mistake talking. I didn't give the right information, maybe I mistook.

  • I will not trouble you with the rest of the corrections, but there are, in fact, six other corrections on that page. It would be fair to say that the explanation you have just given would apply to those corrections too?

  • I think it is the same explanation.

  • Just a question on your preparation for your evidence before the Court, when did you arrive in The Hague?

  • It was last Wednesday morning, 16 January.

  • How much time did you spend with Ms Alagendra preparing for your evidence before the Court?

  • That very same day I think it was almost two hours in the afternoon.

  • That is all the preparation you have had for the hearing, on Friday and Monday today?

  • We also met a couple of times in Freetown before coming here.

  • Is that on the days when these other statements were taken? If you just have a look at them. I can actually give you the dates. 16 May, if you go to tab 3.

  • No, the last time we met in Freetown was 7 January.

  • This year, yes. Yes, it was the 7th.

  • No statement was taken from you?

  • No, it was just to inform me about my coming here to The Hague and I also met that day Mr Nahim for the travel arrangements and I asked to read all the statements so I knew what was there, so I could just refresh my memory.

  • That is perfectly normal. Did you actually talk about the evidence you were going to give before the Court on that occasion on 7 January 2008?

  • Well, I was briefed. Only the thing they told me was everything, every question will come from this statement I have given.

  • If we can move on and I want to talk about an issue that you actually referred to on Friday, but I want to develop it somewhat and I would like you actually to look at your statement of 11 July. That is your first statement. If you could go, please, to - the last four ERN numbers are 2448 - page 3 of the statement. Do you have that in front of you?

  • Yes.

  • I think it begins at the top with, "Approximately 2,000 children." Do you see that?

  • It is the second paragraph that I am interested in and it reads as follows:

    "They had only AFRC/RUF children. They were divided in two groups in the centre. The majority was RUF. They knew it because of the markings. The RUF kids blamed the AFRC that they were the ones who did all the bad things like looting, cutting hands, killings, et cetera. The RUF pretended that they were the real fighters. The AFRC, in return, blamed the RUF to work with the Kamajors."

    Now, the question I have for you is this: Was there fighting at St Michael's between children who had been in the RUF and the AFRC?

  • Can you repeat it? I was reading something.

  • I am sorry, I should have waited for you. Reading what is said in that first interview, can you confirm for us that there was fighting between children who had been in the RUF and children who had been in the AFRC?

  • Yes, it happened several times, yes.

  • And this was, I think, a reflection of divisions between the adults within the RUF and the AFRC, wasn't it?

  • Well, I don't really know. Maybe it can be because belonging in a group just to oppose the other one. The reality for me, it was that they were divided and they were fighting among themselves from the beginning. The reason, I don't know why.

  • Now, you said - on Friday you referred to two groups who arrived at St Michael's in October 1999. Do you recall that?

  • In October it was one group, in November there were two groups.

  • Sorry, can you repeat that?

  • In October it was one group.

  • In November there were two groups, yes.

  • And the group that arrived in November, they were, I think, both RUF, were they not?

  • And I think one group had been led by Issa Sesay, yes?

  • That is the other group, the one that arrived in October.

  • So let me clarify, a group arrived in October which had been led by Issa Sesay, yes?

  • Some of them Issa Sesay, some of them Superman.

  • Did these two groups arrive in the same month, or one in October and one in November?

  • What I said, Friday is when the Prosecutor asked me when was the very first time we received child soldiers. I said the very first group that was demobilised and therefore recognised officially as child soldiers arrived in November and arrived in two days. The first day there were seven children. The second day there were 67 children, or 64 children.

    Previous to that, in October, arrived this other group that was never demobilised but they had been fighting. That is when I said about this in fight, when one group was in Lunsar with Issa Sesay and the other group moved to Makeni and Magburaka with Superman.

  • It would be fair to say by November you had one group of RUF children who had been with Issa Sesay and one group of RUF children who had been with Superman?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • And these kids, these children, you said on Friday were fighting with each other, yes?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • And that fight was as a result of very vigorous disagreements within the RUF between Superman and Issa Sesay, wasn't it?

  • I think so, yes.

  • I am right in saying that that fight became so serious between these two groups of children that you had to call in UN troops to separate them, is that right?

  • Yes, it was the group that were there nearby, Nigerian troops.

  • Let me ask you next about the account you gave on Friday about children, or a child, stating to you that they had seen a helicopter. Do you recall that evidence?

  • Yes, I said that, yes.

  • Now, I think you said that the children told you that helicopters came to their bases with weapons and drugs. Do you recall saying that?

  • That is right, yes.

  • And I think you also said that the children confirmed to you that they did not know where the helicopters had come from. Do you recall stating that?

  • That is right, yes.

  • Now, you also stated that the children told you that the helicopters were white in colour. Do you recall that?

  • You also note, from your time in Sierra Leone, that the United Nations used white helicopters, didn't they?

  • Yes, I know, but not only United Nations.

  • Who else do you know used white helicopters?

  • Many others international agencies, like Red Cross, or the welfare programme and many others.

  • So international organisations used white helicopters within Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • Just out of interest, father, when you stated to me a moment ago that when you went to Freetown you travelled in your own vehicle and it took you five hours, did the OTP give you any travelling expenses at all? Did you claim them?

  • Yes, in three occasions they paid me for my coming down to Freetown.

  • For your travelling expenses essentially?

  • Yes, the fuel. That is all I asked for.

  • Do you recall how much they paid you?

  • I think it was 120,000 leones at that time, any trip.

  • Father, you said on Friday, and I think it was also covered again today, that on occasions, certainly when the children arrived at St Michael's, that they would not tell you the truth about their background, or about what had happened to them, is that right?

  • I think you also said that you pursued matters with them in order to try and clarify with them what had actually happened to them. Do you recall saying that?

  • That is right, yes.

  • Now, it would be, I think, fair to say that on some occasions you probably concluded that with some children you would never get the entire truth, would you?

  • That is right. It can happen, yes.

  • And I think it would be fair to say that because of those problems with the truth of what the children said to you, that in some respects the statistics that you produced about the children may have some errors in them because of that, right?

  • Could be, yes. Excuse me, in the statistics there is a plus/minus sign near to the figures. It says child soldiers, plus/minus, because sometimes, for example, we received many children, these refugee children, through UNACR and we find out that many of the children had been fighters, child soldiers, that ran away to Guinea and stayed in the refugee camps and when they came back to Sierra Leone they were child soldiers, but because they came through UNACR they were never demobilised and never recognised as child soldiers, for example. Can you see it?

  • I am just reading what you are saying, father. I am sorry, I was also reading my notes. Yes, I understand. But you accept that because of this untruthfulness - I am not in any way criticising your work - there may well be inaccuracies within those statistics that you have presented to the Court?

  • Yes, it can happen. Even in several cases social workers talking with the children discovered that a child that came as a child soldier, after you interviewed him and talked with him, you found out he was not a child soldier. Maybe he was a street child that just tried to come inside the programme to get some benefits, so it can happen.

  • That was not uncommon because it was a poor society and they could see, the children, that St Michael's was giving help to child soldiers, so children might on occasion actually pretend to be child soldiers in order to get food and education that St Michael's was offering, correct?

  • That is correct, but that is why the social workers follow up on the children and they discover most of these cases.

  • Now, you mentioned this morning that Foday Sankoh came to visit you at St Michael's and that was approximately in May 2000 as your memory serves you right.

  • Yes, that is right.

  • And he said that he was going to order a commission to investigate your activities at St Michael's. Do you recall saying that?

  • Yes, that is right.

  • I am right in saying that no commission ever came to investigate you, did it?

  • That is right, yes.

  • Thank you, Madam President. I have now finished with my questions for the witness. Thank you, Father Chema.

  • Thank you, Mr Cayley. Ms Alagendra, I am noticing the time, but do you have any questions in re-examination?

  • No, your Honour. I don't have any re-examination. Just to admit documents.

  • Just pause, we will have questions from the bench first, but I am keeping my eye on the time, Ms Alagendra.

  • Father Chema, I just need a clarification from you. In your evidence, when Ms Alagendra was speaking to you, you took us through some sketches that the children drew and besides each sketch you read out, in English, the English excerpt attached to that sketch. My question is, were you reading out what the children told you, or your interpretation of the picture?

  • No, those pictures that had the comment, it is what the children said at that moment when they explained and they presented the picture, the drawing, in front of the other children that were taking part in the exercise, so actually they were tape recorded at that moment and later on I translated it into Spanish for the purpose of the book.

  • I also have one question. When you were giving some examples of the children in relation to the illustrations, for example the very first one you said the child was captured at age 11, he was 17 when he did the exercise and he was 3 years with the RUF. There seems to be a missing period there.

  • It can happen. It can be some mistakes there typos in the books.

  • Thank you, those were the questions from the bench. Any questions arising, counsel?

  • No, thank you, your Honour.

  • No, thank you, your Honour.

  • Well, we do have a few minutes, Ms Alagendra, please proceed.

  • Your Honour, I just want to check with the Court first whether the last exhibit that was shown to the witness I indicated it to be -

  • I don't have any exhibits in this case yet, Ms Alagendra.

  • Sorry, the documents shown to the witness for identification, whether it was marked MFI-4?

  • No, it was not. You did not seek to mark it, so it was not marked.

  • I apologise. May I request that it be marked as MFI-4.

  • With that, your Honour, I would like to request that the documents at tab 21, which is MFI-1, be admitted as an exhibit.

  • Mr Cayley, you have heard the application.

  • No objection, your Honour.

  • Your Honour, that would be P-39.

  • [Exhibit P-39 admitted]

  • Thank you. Please proceed.

  • Your Honour, I request that the document tab 18, which is marked as MFI-2, be admitted into evidence.

  • No objection, your Honour.

  • That will become P-40.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • [Exhibit P-40 admitted]

  • May I request that the document at tab 19 be admitted into evidence and marked as an exhibit, that is MFI-3.

  • No objection, your Honour.

  • That becomes prosecution exhibit P-41.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • [Exhibit P-41 admitted]

  • The last document, your Honour, is at tab 20, which was MFI-4, I ask for it to be admitted as an exhibit.

  • Thank you. Mr Cayley?

  • No objection, your Honour. If I can just renew my request to the Prosecution, if in future we can be given the bundles. As I say, we have the exhibits, but it is just helpful in following the proceedings that is all, thank you.

  • Indeed, I can see that and I have asked Ms Alagendra to note it with their Court Manager. Thank you. That appears to complete the evidence of this witness.

    I just note P-42 was the last exhibit, Madam Court Manager?

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • [Exhibit P-42 admitted]

  • Very well, that appears to complete now the evidence of this witness. Father, we thank you for coming from Freetown, or from Makeni, to give evidence in the case and we are grateful for your assistance with the Court. You are now free to leave, thank you.

    I also note that it is the usual time to adjourn for the mid-morning break, so we will adjourn to 11.30, please.

  • [Break taken at 11.02 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.30 a.m.]

  • Good morning. Ms Alagendra, you are taking carriage of the next witness, are you?

  • Your Honour, before the next witness comes, the Prosecution would like to apply to admit the report of an expert - a Prosecution expert witness. This is the expert report by Jessica Alexander.

  • Has Defence had notice of this?

  • Your Honour, the Defence have had notice of this particular expert and, indeed, I think the previous legal team for Mr Taylor accepted this report and we take no difference stance on that.

    While I am on my feet, I should indicate a change in the representation. At this stage Mr Cayley is no longer with us.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard. I was actually also going to note that Mr Bangura was present in Court on the Prosecution side.

    So, we will note first of all the appearances and we will then deal with your application. The Defence have indicated that (a) they have had notice and (b) they will not rescind on the previous indication that they consent. What is the nature of this report?

  • Your Honour, the title of this report is "Children Associated with Fighting Forces in the Conflict in Sierra Leone" and it is dated 4 May 2007.

  • And what is your application, Ms Alagendra?

  • The application, your Honour, is that for this report to be admitted into evidence and marked as an exhibit.

  • Into evidence and marked as an exhibit. Mr Munyard, you have heard the formal application now.

  • We do not oppose the admission into evidence of this document.

  • Thank you. The document entitled "Children Associated with Fighting Forces in the Conflict in Sierra Leone", dated 4 May 2007 by Jessica Alexander, is admitted into evidence by consent of the parties and becomes exhibit Prosecution P-43. Is that correct?

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Thank you.

  • Your Honour, the second request in relation to this report, your Honour, is that the Prosecution be allowed to read an executive summary of the report for the benefit of the public. It is a one page summary, your Honour, and it comes out of page 5 of the report.

  • Again, I will ask if that has been given - if Defence have had notice of that and the content?

  • I haven't had notice of the desire to read an executive summary. In our submission, it is not necessary. This report is going into evidence now and that should suffice.

  • First of all I would say, Ms Alagendra, that I would not be very happy about a synopsis being read out that has not been agreed by the Defence. Are you referring to - when you said it is page 5, are you going to read ad verbatim the content on page 5?

  • Yes, that is correct, your Honour. And also, your Honour, if I am not mistaken I was under the impression that this was a matter which the Defence had agreed.

  • I only rely on the submissions before me, Ms Alagendra, but I have noted what was said. I will just - please pause while I --

  • Your Honour, I think there may have been some misunderstanding as between Prosecution and Defence, but certainly there has been no discussion at all with me and I simply restate the position I made a moment ago.

  • I am quite clear on what you are saying, Mr Munyard. It is correct that the document is now an exhibit and therefore available to the public. However, for purposes of public record and because this trial is being heard in Sierra Leone and Liberia, for the public we will have the Prosecution counsel read the relevant executive summary for purposes of record and public consumption only. Please proceed, Ms Alagendra.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Your Honour, I will be reading the executive summary which appears at page 5 of the report by Jessica Alexander, which is entitled "Children Associated with Fighting Forces in the Conflict in Sierra Leone" and the report is dated 4 May 2007:

    "In 1996 the Child Welfare Secretariat of Sierra Leone's Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs -- began a Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) program for all children separated during the conflict in Sierra Leone. In conjunction with UNICEF and other relevant stakeholders, the MSWGCA developed and administered forms in order to trace children and reunite them with their families. The forms, known as 'Documentation and Registration Forms for Separated and Unaccompanied Children', gathered information on children's families, home villages, and the circumstances of their separations.

    Using these forms housed at the MSWGCA in Freetown, the research team sought to:

    (1) create an electronic database of the information on the forms for children who were abducted under the age of 15 years old (the Court's cut-off age to be considered a child).

    (2) analyze the data and draw conclusions on the nature of the exploitation of children abducted during the civil conflict.

    The research team entered into the database a total of 2,235 children who were abducted under the age of 15. The team also interviewed 36 social workers and stakeholders involved in the FTR and DDR process to further understand how information on the forms was collected, reported and verified.

    The database provides evidence of the abduction and use of children, both boys and girls, under the age of 15 during Sierra Leone's conflict. Key findings include:

    Abduction: All warring factions were responsible for the abduction of children under 15. The RUF accounted for the most abductions/captures.

    Age at Abduction: The median age at the time of abduction was 11 years old - 4 years below the Court's cut-off age to be considered a child.

    Military Training: Children were taken to a number of combat camps where they received various methods of military training.

    Active Combat: Children as young as 5 years old at the time of their abduction were armed and took part in active combat. Twenty-five percent of children either took part in active combat or were intended to do so. The RUF and AFRC/RUF were the two groups most frequently cited for using children in active combat.

    Sexual violence: Sexual violence and slavery took place, even to girls who were as young as 8 years old at the time of their capture/abduction.

    Forced Labor: Outside of active fighting, children were subjected to forced labor and played a number of roles in assisting the operations of the armed groups.

    Geography and Time Horizon: Children were abducted across a variety of districts and over a number of years.

    Social workers who carried out interviews and were closely involved in the FTR process collected and recorded data from children as diligently as possible as accurate information was vital to the task of FTR. They used various methods to mitigate errors on the forms and had various ways of eliciting correct information from the children".

    Your Honour, that is the executive summary of the report.

  • Thank you, Ms Alagendra. For the purposes of the record, I note that the initials FTR and DDR are in the abbreviations. FTR is Family Tracing and Reunification. DDR is Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Your next witness, Ms Alagendra. I say that because, as Mr Munyard has indicated, it was - the previous Defence team had consented to this report and had not made any application under 94 bis (B) to cross-examine. Is my memory correct?

  • Madam President, are we talking about the document that has just been read?

  • Yes.

  • Yes, not the next witness.

  • I am talking - I am trying to complete this one before we go on to the next.

  • Yes, quite. You mentioned next witness. That is why I was slightly confused.

  • Oh, I apologise. I am sorry.

  • Madam, I have nothing to add to what you have said.

  • Thank you. Ms Alagendra, please proceed.

  • Your Honour, I will proceed to introduce the next witness, which will be Corinne Dufka, and she will testify in the English language and she will be led in evidence by Mr Mohamed Bangura, your Honour.

  • Madam President, I have indicated this morning to the Prosecution that the Defence object to this witness. We have a substantial objection and I would ask the Court to hear me before the witness is called so that the Court appreciates the basis of our objection. I can do it either in summary form, or I can do the whole of the basis of the objection.

  • I think in the circumstances we will have a brief summary, Mr Munyard. As you know, the jurisprudence of the Court is concerning expert witnesses. I gather this is an expert witness?

  • Yes, she is an expert - well, that is the nub of our objection.

  • That is the nub, I see.

  • When her report was tendered to us we objected to her and I can now outline the basis of the objection and, as your Honour has indicated, I will do it in summary form initially so that you know the heads under which we object to this particular witness.

    Madam President, your Honours, technology is getting the better of me at moment I am afraid, or the wires actually. We object to the evidence, or we object to this witness, Corinne Dufka, being called on the following bases.

    First of all, it is our submission that she is not an expert in the sense usually understood in the jurisprudence of this tribunal, other international tribunals and indeed a whole range certainly of common law domestic tribunals.

    Secondly, we say that her report and the annexes to it, the exhibits attached to it, violate the accused's fundamental right under article 17 of the Court's statute and in particular article 17 (4) (c), that is to examine or have examined witnesses against him. In that connection, I note in passing that the Prosecution have already sought to have some of this witness's evidence either taken judicial notice of, or in the alternative admitted under rule 92 bis I think I am right in saying, and the Court has already refused those motions in relation to this witness.

    Thirdly, we submit that much of her evidence goes to the ultimate issues for this Court to determine and, fourthly, we submit that the scope of many of the documents, including her report and many of the annexes appended to it, go beyond both the territorial and the temporal scope of the indictment. They deal, in other words, with matters not concerning the civil war in Sierra Leone and they deal with matters either before or beyond the time period encompassed by the indictment. To give you but one example, there is a whole section in her report and annexes to it concerning Guinea.

    Fifthly and lastly, it is our submission that this witness is not an expert in the sense that that phrase is understood to mean an impartial independent witness who gives testimony to the Court without in any way seeking to promote the agenda of one side - one party, or another. In other words, that the expertise is there independently of whoever might call the witness. It is for those five reasons that we object to this witness.

    Can I say as far as expertise is concerned, the first objection, that her testimony as an expert would be to enlighten the Court on specific issues of a technical nature requiring specialist knowledge in a specific field, and the obvious examples that come to mind are matters of scientific knowledge with which the Court itself would not be familiar, or matters of a medical nature. Again these are matters of specialist, not general, knowledge.

    Plus, the individual has to be an expert in this area of special knowledge, and fundamentally a witness who is claiming to be put forward as an expert witness does not deal with basic facts; that is to say evidence that you would expect to be called from what I will call for these purposes ordinary witnesses. In this particular trial they are divided up into two broad groups, but they are all giving evidence as to fact rather than expertise.

    Furthermore, when considering the report of an expert, the Court has to consider whether material in that report is reliable, whether it is relevant and of probative value and whether its substance falls within the area of specialist expertise without which the Court would not be able to understand the evidence presented, or determine a fact in issue.

    Now in our submission Ms Dufka's report, which consists - both her report and the annexes to it consist of accounts of atrocities. That is the bulk of what she is seeking to be called to present to the Court. She is in that sense doing no more than putting forward in summary form factual evidence. There is no expertise involved.

    In doing that - and I am now moving on to the second head of our objection, violating the accused's fundamental right to a fair trial. In doing that she is putting forward evidence which this Court is unable to determine the reliability of, because it is not hearing the testimony of those who are actually giving the factual accounts. And, as I have said, although this Court has the power to admit hearsay evidence, in particular in relation to two aspects of Ms Dufka's material the Court has already been invited to adopt it as hearsay evidence and has refused to do that.

    This in our submission is a substantive issue in the case, and to allow this material in - factual material in - via an expert who is doing no more than summarising factual material undermines completely the concept of an expert giving opinion evidence.

    In many cases the documents that she attaches to her report are not even written by her and there is no information at all in some of them as to the provenance of the statements contained in those reports.

    Madam President, I can take you through examples of where her report goes to the ultimate issues for this Court to decide and indeed so do the annexes to her report, but this Court has already reminded one witness in the first week of the trial that Prosecution experts are called to give expertise and are not called to comment on the matters that are ultimately for the Court to determine. In other words, they are not here to usurp the function of the Court.

    I am in the Court's hands now as to whether or not you wish me to take you through specific examples in her report?

  • I think we will adopt - I don't think that is necessary at this point. As a point of clarification, the procedure for expert witnesses is at - and I read now from rule 94 bis (B):

    "Within fourteen days of filing the statement of the expert witness, the opposing party shall file a notice in the Trial chamber indicating whether it accepts the expert's statement".

    You have indicated you are not - you are not accepting this statement and you are also challenging the witness as an expert. There is two parts to this, Mr Munyard, isn't there?

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • I don't think it is quite necessary. We will call upon you if we feel it is necessary to give examples, but your next subheading 4 is the ultimate issue, Mr Munyard?

  • Yes, again that is an area on which I can give examples.

  • I think until we actually have the document in front of us it would be more appropriate to deal with it at that time.

  • Right. Under the heading 5, that she is not an expert in the sense that she is not an impartial witness, I summarise that very baldly. I can put it in three ways and give you three specific bases on which we make that objection.

    First of all, she works as an advocate of human rights issues. In a number of cases Courts both international and domestic have taken the view that advocacy is different from impartial expertise. Campaigning is different from expertise. Human Rights Watch is essentially - and indeed claims to be essentially - an advocacy organisation, and it is in her capacity as a Human Rights Watch researcher and author that a number of these reports are put forward.

    Secondly, and very importantly, this particular witness worked for the Office of the Prosecutor in this case for a year between October 2002 and October 2003 doing a very wide range of things, including finding witnesses and interviewing witnesses, and we are aware from having looked at the statements that we have received from the Prosecution that she interviewed at least 18 witnesses who are going to be called before this Court to give evidence in this case. I say at least 18 for this reason. We know from the witness statements that something like 23 of those statements don't indicate who they were interviewed by, 23 statements that were taken during the year when Ms Dufka was working in that capacity for the Office of the Prosecutor, and so it is perfectly possible that she is the interviewer of more than 18 on whose name - I am sorry, on whose statements her name appears. That again adds to her lack of impartiality, in our submission.

    And, thirdly, Ms Dufka has given a number of - a very large number of interviews and made public comments over the last number of years about the matters that this Court is considering. We submit that in some of the comments that she has made, no matter how discreet she has been, the message is very clear that she is putting forward and that is that this accused is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused.

    In our submission, for those three reasons she is not to be regarded as an impartial witness.

  • Thank you. Mr Bangura, you have heard the objection.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Your Honours, if I understand my learned friend correctly, the first basis of his objection is that the witness about to be called has no qualifications to be an expert based on the understanding of that definition within the jurisprudence of this tribunal.

    Your Honours, my response firstly to that is it would be at this stage premature for the Chamber to make any determination as to the qualification of the witness when this Chamber has not heard any evidence from that witness as to how she is qualified, or what makes her qualified to be an expert and to speak on this subject. Your Honours, I believe if the witness is called upon and is heard on what we say gives her the qualifications to be an expert, then at that stage this Chamber is or will be able to make a determination as to her qualifications. So, I submit that that limb of the objection is premature.

    Your Honours, I also understand my learned friend is saying - and there are several limbs to that particular line of objection. One of them is that the material, the substance of the evidence which the witness is going to be giving to this Court, is one which comes largely from not her own personal knowledge and she is merely presenting evidence on facts which are not within her knowledge.

    Your Honours, again it goes - it boils down to the idea of what sort of evidence the witness is giving. We characterise the witness as an expert witness and, of course, my learned friend has pointed to the fact that the Court can hear hearsay evidence.

    We say that the witness's expertise comes from being in the line of work where she is - she meets with victims and persons who have witnessed atrocities and she interviews them and takes these notes from the interviews. Her line of work is such that all of this material which is collected is presented in reports and, your Honours, implicit in that sort of work are certain skills which the witness will demonstrate she possesses and which she applied in the collection of the information, or the material, or the evidence which she put in those reports.

    So, your Honours, I believe again it boils down to the question of having to hear the witness to be able to make a determination as to whether she is as characterised a qualified person as an expert to present that sort of evidence before the Court.

    Your Honours, my learned friend again as a further extension of the first limb of his argument he mentions that some of the material which is contained in the reports which the witness is about to tender goes outside the scope of the - or rather outside the temporal jurisdiction of this Court.

    Your Honours, we will - the Court can admit evidence which is contextual to the evidence that relates specifically within the time frame of the indictment, I submit, and we submit further that to the extent that much of that evidence gives context and background to the events which led to the crimes that are described in her report, that evidence is relevant and should be admitted if the witness does get to testify.

    Your Honours, my learned friend again pointed to further issues about reliability of the material and their probative value. Again I make the point that these are matters which are secondary, in the sense that this Chamber can only get to consider those issues at the end of the day when the Court comes to consider the weight of the evidence that has been adduced. At this stage, this Chamber will not be in a position to make any determination as to the weight of the evidence.

    As to the reliability of it, your Honours, we - the witness when she gets to be heard will demonstrate the methods that have been applied in the collection of the material, or the evidence, that has been incorporated in her report, and that would demonstrate methods which are very objective, which are fair, which are standards that are free from any perceptions of impartiality - of partiality, I am sorry.

    Your Honours, my learned friend also made the point, the second limb of his objection which seems to be thrust of his objection, that the witness has been associated with the Prosecution, also that she works for an organisation which is basically a human rights advocacy institution and I understand him to be putting a lot of weight on the fact that as an employee of the Special Court, of the Prosecutor's Office within the Court, she had taken interviews from witnesses who may very well testify before this Court.

    Your Honours, my submission in that regard is that the jurisprudence of these tribunals is clear that by a witness having worked with the Prosecution, or being associated with the Prosecution, alone does not by itself exclude that witness's testimony, or her report, or his or her report as an expert witness.

    Your Honours, that is the submission I am making and there is authority to support that. There is authorities to support that, your Honours. I am sorry, I do have a few copies of the jurisprudence from the ICTY which I can cite now and make copies available to the Bench and to my colleague. Your Honours, I cite the case of Prosecutor versus Boskoski and Tarculovski.

  • Can we have spellings, please?

  • I can spell it. Your Honours, it is B-O-S-K-O-S-K-I, and there is some funny character over the "s". I don't know how to describe that, and then Tarculovski is T-A-R-C-U-L-O-V-S-K-I. Your Honours, this is a decision by the Trial Chamber II of the ICTY, dated 17 May 2007, and the title of that decision is, "Decision on motion to exclude the Prosecution's proposed evidence of expert Burgess and his report".

    Your Honours, I believe that position, the decision in this - the position taken in this case I have cited was that, just as I have said before, the association which an employee has with the Prosecution and that employee who later becomes or is later called to give evidence as an expert witness does not affect the evidence that that witness gives as an expert and should not exclude - should not make that evidence by itself be excluded simply because of their association with the Prosecution.

    Your Honours, that position is further supported by another decision and that is - or rather this decision came earlier, the case of Brganin. This decision came earlier. It is the case of Brganin, Prosecutor versus Brganin, decision on 3 June 2003, Trial Chamber II of the ICTR - the ICTY, I am sorry. The title of that decision is, "Decision on Prosecution's submission of statement of expert witness, Ewan Brown". E-W-A-N B-R-O-W-N. Your Honours, Brganin is B-R-G-A-N-I-N.

    I have copies of - could Madam Court Manager assist? I have copies of the first decision I cited but not of the second, but I shall endeavour at the break to make copies of the second decision available, your Honour.

    Your Honours, if I may continue, matters which have been raised by my learned friend on the question of - further matters raised by my learned friend on the question of the witness having made public statements in the course of her duties, or responsibilities, within Human Rights Watch.

    Your Honours, I would submit that those statements made to the extent that they may affect her testimony go to at the end of the day what weight your Honours might attach to it and to what extent your Honours might consider that it undermines her objectivity, or impartiality.

    Your Honours, my submission is that the witness's association with the Special Court, in the capacity of an investigator as it were at the time, does not in any way undermine her objectivity in the report which she has prepared and on which she is about to testify.

    Your Honours, furthermore if as stated by my learned friend the witness's objectivity has been undermined by some of the statements that she made in her official capacity, your Honours, my submission is that the witness could be tested as to how objective she has been in the preparation of this report in cross-examination which is open to counsel when the witness testifies.

    So, your Honours, in all, by all indications and based on the submissions I have made, my bottom - my main position is that the witness is a proper witness to be called as an expert and that the determination to be made as to whether or not she qualifies as an expert is one to be determined when she states her qualifications before the Court. Your Honours, that is my submissions.

  • Mr Munyard also raised the issue of that the evidence, or proposed evidence, goes to the ultimate issue?

  • Your Honours, I will first of all submit that the evidence contained, or the material contained, in the report of this witness do not go to the ultimate issue. Your Honours, these are - as already stated, these are based on statements and interviews conducted by the witness and not in every situation would - and largely these are not words, or statements, or conclusions made by the witness herself in this situation and they would amount to basically the same amount - the same - they would amount to witnesses coming before this Court and making statements to the effect that the accused in a particular situation did a particular act, which in any event may not ultimately be - may not ultimately be a point upon which the culpability of the accused is determined at that point.

    Your Honours, what I am saying is that to determine ultimately - talking about ultimate issues, we are saying here that what is contained in the report leads to a conclusion that the accused is culpable of the acts that we allege. Your Honours, there is a certain level at which this Bench makes that determination and the level is that there has to be evidence beyond all reasonable doubt. What we have in some of the statements that have been incorporated in the report may not amount to that standard at this stage in the first place and, in any event, your Honours, this material that has been collected from witnesses is in many cases eyewitness accounts; eyewitness accounts from witnesses who were victims or who witnessed some of the atrocities that were committed. To the best of my recollections, your Honours, they are basically accounts from witnesses who have witnessed these events themselves, your Honours.

  • Thank you, Mr Bangura. I will confer.

  • Madam President, before the Court reaches a final conclusion, I wonder if I could be heard in reply because in my submission Mr Bangura has mischaracterised some of our objections to this witness and fundamentally the first and last of our objections?

    Firstly, she is not giving expert evidence. The way in which Mr Bangura has characterised her expertise is that of an expert in gathering evidence. That misses the point. The point is that the evidence that she has gathered is ordinary evidence that this Court is quite capable of understanding without the need of it being put forward in some way as expert evidence. It is a mischaracterisation of our argument and it is a misunderstanding of what expert evidence is about. It is not about collecting straightforward factual evidence and putting it before the Court in the form of a report.

    That is the first way in which he is --

  • Just a moment, Mr Munyard. You asked me if I could give you leave to reply.

  • I was going to say only on points of law.

  • Well, I have a point of law.

  • With great respect, I think that first submission was a point of law, the law being the law of expert evidence. What is expertise?

    Secondly, we are provided with an authority which Mr Bangura referred to when discussing the jurisprudence of these international tribunals on whether or not the fact that somebody worked for the Office of the Prosecutor excludes them from being put forward as an expert. I have only read it very briefly, but I can't see in the decision in the case of Boskoski and Tarculovski where Mr Terry Burgess is said to have previously worked for the Prosecution.

    Furthermore, it is obvious from paragraphs 7 and 8 of that decision that Mr Burgess is a fully qualified police officer, police instructor, he has been through American Criminal Justice Academy Basic Police School and indeed the FBI National Academy where he studied subjects related to the management of police functions. That is an area of expertise and he was being put forward by the Prosecution as an expert in the question of the management of police functions. It is very different from Corinne Dufka, who is a report writer on a whole range of subjects, being put forward to this Court to present the factual material - the factual evidence - that she seeks to put forward.

    May I myself in response on this point of law distribute to the Court and the parties a decision in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Trial Chamber III, Prosecutor versus Edwar Karemera, spelt K-AR-E-M-E-R-A, and if it is convenient to the Court I will simply say "and others", and that is case number ICTR-98-44-T and it is a decision handed down on 25 October 2007.

    Madam President, I will hand up four copies to the Court and a copy to my learned friend. It is a rather more substantial document than the Boskoski decision, but this goes to the whole question of a researcher gathering evidence together of factual witnesses and then seeking to have that evidence put forward through her as expert evidence. I will say no more than that at the moment. I will give the Court time to read the decision.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard.

  • Your Honours, if I may be heard?

  • There is no reply to a reply. There is no reply and no reply to a reply.

  • This is not a reply, your Honour. It is just a clarification I wish to make as regards the decision that I handed out.

    Your Honours, I am still trying to establish the correct position, but it would appear to me as though what was handed out is slightly different from the version that actually has the jurisprudence that I have relied upon. I am just trying to establish that. It may be that I may have to withdraw the copies that I handed out and replace them with the correct copies.

  • Very well.

  • Your Honours, just to further make the point that we have discovered that in fact the decision which I meant to rely on is not the one which was circulated. I think there a series of decisions in this title, but then they differ in the witnesses that are dealt with as experts. If your Honours wish, I may give the correct reference and I would then endeavour to provide copies?

  • Perhaps you can hand it to our Senior Legal Officer so it will be available to us in due course.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • And to us, I would ask.

  • Indeed, and of course to the Defence.

    This is a ruling on a preliminary objection to the calling of the witness, Corinne Dufka. The Bench has considered the submissions and have considered, albeit not in-depth, the references to other international jurisprudence.

    We note the five heads of objections, but without hearing the witness or having the tender of the report in issue we consider each of the matters raised to be premature.

    The Defence has a right to cross-examine the witness, and at this stage we would therefore permit the witness to appear to give evidence and defer the decision on the admission of the report and the documents, if any attached thereto, until the time of the testimony of Ms Dufka.

  • Madam President, can I ask for one matter of clarification? I understand now we will proceed to hear the evidence of this witness and she will be heard no doubt in full. It appears to us that this is a matter of some considerable weight and I note, looking at some of the jurisprudence that I haven't put before the Court, that it is quite common in these international tribunals on an issue such as this for written submissions to be made to the Court once - on these objections once the evidence is concluded and I wonder if that is a course that you want to indicate would be appropriate? You may not want to indicate it now, but if you did then it would certainly be helpful for all of us if that is something that you would wish to receive in due course.

  • Mr Munyard, we will hear the witness and if as the testimony proceeds and the submissions proceed we feel it would be helpful to have something in writing, we will indicate that giving you both parties of course as much notice as is reasonable.

  • Thank you.

  • Mr Bangura, you have heard the ruling of the Court.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Your Honour, the Prosecution calls the next witness, Corinne Dufka. Your Honours, this witness is characterised as an expert and will be testifying in English.

  • We are well aware that that is an issue and so I am not going to record that.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Mr Bangura, I presume the witness will give evidence in English?

  • [Microphone not activated] yes, your Honour.