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

  • Yes, thank you. Yes, Ms Howarth.

  • So the Prosecution called TF1-062. This is a 92 bis witness and the relevant decision is your Honours' decision of 15 July 2008 and that's a decision on the Prosecution notice under Rule 92 bis related to inter alia Kenema District. I would ask that the Court go into a private session for the initial question.

  • Yes. For the public record this Court will briefly go into a private session now. The purpose of that is to protect the witness's identity while he gives some personal details. It means that members of the public will still be able to watch the proceedings, but won't be able to hear them.

    Madam Court Manager, if you could put the Court into private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, page 23614, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Thank you. Go ahead, Ms Howarth.

  • Can you state your date of birth?

  • Yes, 20 August 1964.

  • What's your place of birth?

  • The village is called Rogbaya.

  • Can you spell that?

  • Rogbaya?

  • I cannot spell it.

  • Perhaps I can assist the witness. The spelling that I have is R-O-G-B-Y-A:

  • And what district is that?

  • It's in the Port Loko District.

  • I've just had an indication from Her Honour that that's an incorrect spelling, so I will make sure that we get that right:

  • Mr Witness, to which tribe do you belong?

  • And what languages do you speak?

  • I can speak Krio and a little bit of English.

  • And what languages do you read?

  • Well, if somebody writes English I can read some of it.

  • And what formal education have you had?

  • I promoted to Form 2 and that's where I stopped.

  • I'm most grateful to those behind me. I've been passed the correct spelling, which is R-O-G-B-A-Y-A:

  • Mr Witness, have you previously testified in the case of Prosecutor v Brima, Kamara and Kanu?

  • I'm going to ask that you be passed a transcript and that's the transcript in that case dated 27 June 2005. For the record, that's CMS pages 14908 to 14984 and that's a total of 76 pages and I'd be grateful if it could be shown to counsel opposite as well. Mr Witness, if you just take a quick look at that transcript. Mr Witness, has that transcript been read to you in a language which you understand?

  • Yes.

  • And do you adopt it as your prior testimony?

  • Could I ask that your Honour, Mr President, mark it for identification.

  • Yes, that transcript just referred to will be marked for identification MFI-51.

  • Your Honour, it would be MFI-39.

  • Your Honour, as this is a 92 bis witness there are no further questions from the Prosecution at this stage.

  • All right, thank you. Yes, Mr Griffiths.

  • In fact you have given evidence in two previous trials, haven't you?

  • Yes.

  • Because you gave evidence against Sam Hinga Norman, Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, didn't you?

  • In fact that was the first occasion on which you gave evidence, wasn't it?

  • That being on 11 February 2005, do you recall that?

  • And then later that same year in June you gave evidence against Brima, Kamara and Kanu, yes?

  • Now in the first trial that you gave evidence you appreciated, didn't you, that you were giving evidence against individuals who had been linked with the CDF, the Kamajors? You knew that, didn't you?

  • The first testimony, yes, it was against the CDF and the Kamajors. The Kamajor fighters.

  • And in the second proceedings that you gave evidence you appreciated, didn't you, that you were giving evidence against members of the AFRC?

  • Yes, the AFRC and the RUF.

  • And tell me, in both those proceedings did you tell the truth?

  • Now when the war started in March 1991, where were you living?

  • I was in Tongo Field. That was where I grew up and there was where I was.

  • And help us, for how long had you been living in Tongo Fields by March 1991?

  • Well, to my knowledge it's over 20 years.

  • And during that period you had been involved in mining, hadn't you?

  • Yes, that was the work I was doing.

  • And in fact you employed about six people in that business, didn't you?

  • Yes.

  • And did you work at a location called Cyborg Pit?

  • How long had you been working at Cyborg Pit?

  • I spent there some months, but I didn't record it. I cannot say it was specifically three months, or so many months or so, but I know I worked there for some months.

  • Now mining at Cyborg Pit was always a dangerous business, wasn't it?

  • Because sometimes the sides of the pit would collapse and bury people and they would die, is that right?

  • That's true, yes.

  • And even before the Kamajors and the CDF and the RUF arrived, mining at Cyborg Pit was very dangerous, wasn't it?

  • No, we were not mining there during the CDF Kamajor time. Civilians were not mining there and so I wouldn't say it was dangerous. No, not at all.

  • Now, help me with this. You appreciate, don't you, that in March 1991 a war began in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes.

  • When was the first time that you experienced fighting in Tongo?

  • Well, we were first dislodged from Tongo in 1994. That was the year that the fighting entered in Tongo and we pulled out, but after the soldiers captured the town we re-entered the town and the place was then safe.

  • Who was it who brought fighting to Tongo in 1994?

  • Well, at that time it was the RUF rebels.

  • And for how long did they remain in Tongo on that occasion?

  • Well I wouldn't know the exact period now, but I - it was about three to five months that I spent outside of Tongo.

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat and speak slowly.

  • Yes, Mr Witness, you're speaking too fast for the interpreter. Could you please slow down your answers.

  • You're going to have to repeat that answer, because the interpreter was not able to hear it all. Could you perhaps ask the question again, Mr Griffiths?

  • Who was it who brought fighting to Tongo in 1994?

  • Initially it was the RUF who came and attacked the SLA soldiers and the soldiers pulled out.

  • And for how long were the RUF in occupation of Tongo in 1994?

  • It took some period before we returned, we the civilians, to the ground.

  • And help me, during that period when the RUF in 1994 controlled Tongo was there any mining going on in Tongo?

  • Well I wasn't there, because we were in Kenema for over five months and so I cannot tell.

  • Did you not have friends and family who remained in Tongo after you had fled in 1994?

  • No, 1994 all of the civilians pulled out and we came to Kenema from what I can recall.

  • When you returned to Tongo after five months or so, did you see signs that the RUF had engaged in mining whilst you were away?

  • No. The time that I went there the only difference that I saw was that some of the houses that we left were burnt down, but for mining I cannot say anything about that.

  • Now after about five months the RUF were driven out of Tongo in 1994, weren't they?

  • Yes, that was when we the civilians entered. We didn't see any rebels there any more. We only saw soldiers.

  • Now the next time you saw armed individuals come to Tongo, was that the Kamajors, the CDF?

  • I don't understand this question.

  • You've told us about the RUF coming in 1994, staying for about five months until they were driven out by the Sierra Leonean army. Is it right that the next time armed men came to Tongo it was the CDF?

  • When we returned we were there together with the SLA soldiers in the town.

  • Did there come a time when the CDF came to Tongo?

  • Yes. When the RUF had pulled out it was the SLA who were in control together with the Kamajors, that is the CDF Kamajors.

  • Now, when the CDF, the Kamajors, were there in 1994 they remained until 1997, didn't they?

  • Well, in '94 the Kamajors and the SLA soldiers were not working hand in hand. It was in '95 that the Kamajors and the SLA soldiers were working hand in hand in the town.

  • Well, from 1995 the Kamajors remained until the coup - the AFRC coup in '97, didn't they?

  • Yes, the Kamajors were there, but the soldiers - before the coup the soldiers were dislodged, the SLA soldiers.

  • Now whilst the Kamajors were in control of Tongo they were involved in mining, weren't they?

  • I got the information but I did not witness that myself. The CDF Kamajors, I did not see them mining.

  • But during that time you were involved in mining, weren't you?

  • So that you would be able to help us as to whether or not the CDF were also involved in mining, wouldn't you?

  • Yes. I heard about this. Even that Cyborg Pit, people used to say that they were doing underground mining, but because they were not harassing civilians so I didn't have anything to do with them. I only had something to do with my own people that I was mining with, so that's why I didn't know anything.

  • But tell me, didn't you have to send your own people to go and mine for the CDF?

  • Not at all.

  • Mr Griffiths, may I interrupt. I understood that the witness said, "They were not harassing civilians so I didn't have anything to do with them". I note the LiveNote record says they were harassing civilians.

  • Were they harassing civilians or weren't they?

  • No, CDF Kamajors never harassed civilians for mining.

  • Not at all. They never did that to me, nor did I hear it from any other person.

  • Did you never have to send your own workers to go and work for them for free?

  • Not at all. The CDFs, I never came across that. I never sent workers to them.

  • Did they not come to you with guns and machetes and threaten you that you had to go and work for them?

  • The Kamajors, not at all. The CDF Kamajors, they never did that to me.

  • Are you the witness who gave a statement to the Prosecution in October 2002?

  • And when you gave that statement to the Prosecution in October 2002 were you endeavouring to tell the truth?

  • Exactly. It was the truth that I told them.

  • Because of course you're not the kind of person who would have wanted deliberately to lie to the Prosecution. You're not that kind of person, are you?

  • Yes, that's why I always speak the truth. What I hear and what I see is what I say.

  • And you're still telling us, are you, that you never were forced to mine for the CDF?

  • You're still telling me that, are you?

  • Yes. They never forced me to mine, nor did they force my boys to do anything for them.

  • Well, have a look at this, please. I'm only interested in the bottom of the page because there are details at the top of the page which I don't want to be publicised. I'm only interested in the last nine or so lines on that page. Can we put it on the overhead but just the last nine or so lines, please?

  • Mr Griffiths, perhaps for the record you could state what the document is.

  • The document is a record of an interview conducted with this witness by Corinne Dufka on 16 October 2002.

  • Mr President, I rise only to suggest an abundance of caution that perhaps information which that not be revealed could simply be folded back so there will be no chance it would appear.

  • I'm happy for that to happen. I wonder if we could fold the document like that so that the top details are obscured, please, and then put it on the overhead, please. So can we fold it back and just put the last nine lines on the overhead, please:

  • Now, Mr Witness, I was very careful to ask you on more than one occasion whether or not you'd been forced to mine by the CDF. Let's count up nine lines from the bottom of that page and do you see it reads:

    "From June 1997 the CDF took control of Cyborg and anyone mining had to mine under the control of the CDF. Sometimes they (CDF) would force civilians to mine for them. I had six people who mined for me and between June 1997 and August 1997 had to send them to mine for the CDF over ten times. Each time the CDF commander would come and tell me that day I had to send my people to mine for them. They would come with guns and machetes, so we had no choice. They only worked in the interests of their own power, they never paid us for anything for our work."

    Now, are you the same person who told that to a white lady called Corinne Dufka back in October 2002?

  • Okay, I have seen the document. Even before I testified in the CDF case they took this document to me and I denied the content. I said I was talking about the RUF, the AFRC and the RUF. They were the ones who forced us, myself and my boys, to work for them. But the CDF Kamajors never issue any threat to my boys or myself to work for them, to do any government work for them. That was when - when this statement was read to me, at that time I had not even testified yet, I said I did not say so. So they underlined it. That was what I saw they did in my presence. So whenever I went for interviews they would present this document to me and I would deny the content. I told them that that was not what obtained. I said the CDF Kamajors never issued any threats to me. And even the testimony that I gave in the CDF case, they brought the same document to me and I said no, the CDF never did that to me. So if you yourself are bringing this same document again to me I have nothing to say but to say no, CDF never did that to me and my boys.

  • But help me, please. As I understand it, this was the very first occasion you spoke to investigators, wasn't it?

  • No, no, the date of this document I've shown you is October 2002, and we are led to believe it's a record of the first discussion with you of what you were able to tell. Don't you agree?

  • Do you not recall that the very first time you were asked to recall what had happened in Tongo, it was a white female who spoke to you?

  • Do you recall that her name was Corinne?

  • The woman, I don't recall her name because you know the way they pronounce their names, I cannot recall it.

  • It's often difficult, but she was a white female, wasn't she?

  • And would you agree with me that when you spoke to her that was the first person from the Special Court you had spoken to about what you had seen in Tongo?

  • And, according to what we know, that was in October 2002, so we're talking about seven years ago, aren't we?

  • Yes, because she was the one who recorded, because the time she was talking to me when we initially met, whatever I said she was recording it. I did not record anything. But what I told her, when they went back to me and read the statement to me, the things that I said I told them and those that I did not say and I suspected a mistake I told them because I told them I wouldn't want to go to the Court and tell lies. Things that I knew were correct were the ones that I told them I said. So when they brought this statement to me, those that I knew were not correct I told them no, this one is a mistake, and I told them the right things.

  • When she was speaking to you she was recording what you told her, wasn't she?

  • Yes, because she was writing. To me when she was writing that is recording, even though the conversation that we had there was no interpreter and so maybe we weren't getting each other clearly.

  • But you do appreciate that what she has written down here totally contradicts what you told me, what, ten minutes or so ago, doesn't it?

  • Yes, what is written here I have denied this content. It is not only today that I have done so, even before my testimony. I don't want to tell lies because CDF was taken to the Court, or this. No, I don't want to tell lies. I want to be honest.

  • I do hesitate to interrupt my learned friend, but this precise point was in fact dealt with in the AFRC trial as the witness has indicated and that's at pages 14963 of the transcript and in that case this same point --

  • I'm wondering, Mr President, whether this is an objection, or whether this is an effort to assist the witness with his answer. Which is it?

  • It is an objection.

  • Well, could we know the nature of the objection then please.

  • Perhaps if my learned friend didn't interrupt me while I was trying to make my objection then I would be able to articulate it. I'm objecting because my concern is that the Court is - it's the same concern as articulated by the Prosecutor in the AFRC trial and that's my concern that the Court may be misled, because if it's been --

  • Well just before you go ahead, Ms Howarth, I'd like to know what your objection is on the grounds of admissibility of that question. I wouldn't want you to offer an explanation that the witness can then adopt for himself.

  • My intention is not to go any further than the witness himself has indeed gone, but it's been put to the witness that in one statement a statement was made that the CDF forced civilians to mine. In the later statement, as the witness has alluded to and as he alluded in the page I referred to in the AFRC trial - in fact two later statements - he did indeed make those corrections. So in order that the Court not be misled, I think it's appropriate that if my learned friend is going to put the first matter then he ought also to put the later corrections to the witness as well. As I have said, that is a matter that has been raised previously and that is in the AFRC transcript at 14963. So I'll leave my objection to that.

  • Thank you. Yes, Mr Griffiths.

  • Well had I not been interrupted I would in due course have gone on to deal with the additional statement, but I don't think it precludes me from making the point:

  • Mr Witness, this was the first occasion you'd spoken to the investigators, wasn't it?

  • Yes, the first time that I spoke to them when this statement was read to me I denied it.

  • No, no, the very first time - the very first account you gave to investigators was this one, wasn't it?

  • No.

  • Well, according to what we're being told it is and the point is this. Wouldn't you agree that the year 2002 would be much closer in time to what you saw than the year 2003, or indeed the year 2009? You'd agree, wouldn't you?

  • I agree, but this statement I don't accept it. The Kamajors killed people in my presence, so if they had forced me to do mining for them why wouldn't I say it? That's why I'm saying it could be - the mistake could be the writer's, but to my opinion I don't know anything about that. I wouldn't say that the Kamajors forced me to mine. I would not say that. I saw them kill and I said that, so why wouldn't I say this if they had forced me to mine? I'm not here to tell lies. I did not make that statement.

  • Wouldn't you agree that most people's memories tend to fade with time so that the closer to the event you give an account it's more likely to be true, isn't it?

  • Yes. If the one that was not the truth, maybe it was a mistake, I would deny it. That's why whatever I heard I will say that I heard this. The one that I witnessed myself I will say that I witnessed it, because I have taken an oath.

  • I know you have. That's why I'm asking you these questions. So help us, please. Can you explain to us how it was that you, who had never been forced to mine by the CDF - how it is that somebody you were speaking to happened to write down the complete opposite? Can you help us as to how that happened?

  • Well, I don't have much idea. I know that if I'm talking and you are writing, if you read back to me what I had spoken, the things that I had said, if I saw it I would say, "Oh, yes, this what I said", but if I saw something that I did not say I would say, "No, I did not say this". I would deny that statement. That's why this statement, today is not the first time I am denying the contents. Even before my first testimony in both trials, the RUF and the CDF, there were some documents that I had denied the contents, that I did not say so, and even when I was testifying in the CDF case when they brought this statement back to me I denied the content.

  • So do I understand that what happened was this. When you sat down with that white lady she asked you if you'd been forced to mine by the CDF and you said "No" and she wrote down the complete opposite? Is that what happened?

  • Yes, because she asked me and I said that the AFRC and the RUF were the ones who forced me to mine. I don't know whether there was - the place she made the mistake. When I said that some people forced me to mine, that was not the CDF. It was the AFRC and the RUF. They were the ones who forced me and other people together with my workers to work. So maybe I don't know if it was from that statement that she made the mistake, but I know that it was the AFRC and the RUF. Even as I speak people are hearing me and they know that those are the ones who forced people to mine. The CDF never forced people to mine, not at all. I saw them kill, but I never saw them force people to mine.

  • But you do see that the second line from the bottom reads, "When the RUF/AFRC came they had the same system"? Do you see that?

  • I see it clearly.

  • Can you explain why it says that?

  • Well, I cannot explain and the only thing I have to say to this is that I had heard this statement before and I denied it and that's the only thing I'm still going to say. I don't know about this. It was only the AFRC and the RUF who forced me to mine.

  • Tell me then, were the CDF mining at all?

  • I did not witness it, but I told you that I heard it. I got the information that they were doing underground mining. And I even said that in my statement, that the Cyborg Pit they were mining underground, but it was not exposed and they never forced anybody. It was only done from amongst themselves. It is in my statements. When the AFRC and the RUF entered it was they who made it open and that was why we, the civilians, started mining there. That's what I said in my statement and that's what I'm still saying. But this one is not in my statement. They asked me and I said "No". I denied it.

  • Who started mining at Cyborg Pit?

  • The CDF, but it was undercover. At times it was at midnight that they did it, so in the morning you wouldn't see anybody. I would not fear to say that. In the morning when you pass there you will see - because it's an open place. You will see that people had worked there overnight, but you wouldn't see anybody in the morning.

  • Now, in 2003 do you recall you were seen again and interviewed?

  • Yes, because I used to see some teams going there to interview me once in a while, but I did not recall the times that they went there, but they know.

  • Can I have that sheet back, please. Can we put this sheet up on the screen, please.

  • Perhaps for the record you could state what this document is.

  • This document is a further interview conducted with the witness on 7 May 2003:

  • Now do you see, Mr Witness, that in 2003 you did say:

    "According to the witness it was the CDF who started mining at the Cyborg site. They did not force anyone to mine for them"?

    Do you see that? Do you see that?

  • The CDFs, yes.

  • Now, what I want you to help us with is this. Can you help us how it was that your account managed to change so dramatically in the space of less than a year?

  • I did not change my story. What they wrote, if that was not what I told them, I would have to change it. But I did not say so. But if you write what I did not say, then I will tell you that I did not say so. Like here, for example, I have seen the CDF started mining at the Cyborg Pit site, but they never forced anybody to mine for them. So that was clearly indicated that my answer is 50 per cent correct. They said they were mining for themselves and exactly what is written here is what I said. That's what I will give account of. I think we've gone through that now.

  • Could I have that back, please. Now, where were you on 25 May 1997?

  • I was in Tongo Field.

  • What's the importance of that date?

  • Well, on that day I was at a working site called Opin Yay.

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat.

  • Mr Interpreter, what did you want the witness to repeat? His whole answer or a certain portion?

  • All answer. He said that he got an important - whether it was message or something, that was the --

  • Mr Witness, counsel asked you this question, "What's the importance of that date?" Could you please repeat your answer.

  • Well, the importance of that day is what I am talking about now. I got important information from a Mr Gborie from Freetown while I was at my working site, so that made me to be anxious. That was what I got on the 25th. They said they had overthrown the government of Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. 25th, I was at my site, Opin Yay. The working site is called Opin Yay, together with my six boys.

  • Could we have a spelling of that location. From what the interpreter says, it's not very clear what - Mr Interpreter, what did you say again?

  • Your Honour, the interpreter would like to make a comment. The interpretation is actually Open Eye, but then it's the name of the place, so that's why the interpreter did not interpret it. It's the name of a place.

  • Now, it took some months after you heard about the coup before you saw the AFRC soldiers and the RUF soldiers come to Tongo. That's true, isn't it?

  • Yes. It took some months and I wouldn't even know if it was five or six months, but it took some long period.

  • And when they arrived in Tongo was there any fighting between them and the CDF?

  • Not at all. There was no fighting in town. I heard gunshots, gun sounds between - around the Mano Junction area, but when they got to the town I did not see anybody fighting because when the - when people are firing against each other then you will say I have witnessed fighting, but when they came to town I did not witness any fighting.

  • Now, when they arrived there was initially some looting, wasn't there?

  • Yes. When they entered we received them well. For our own safety, we the civilians, we told them safe, safe, safe for them to be happy. But after some time I witnessed looting.

  • And then Sam Bockarie arrived and put a stop to that looting, didn't he?

  • He did it, but it took some time, because the looting continued for three days, day and night, until he convened a meeting.

  • But he put a stop to it, didn't he?

  • He minimised it because he - you know, when a boss says something, when he's around his men will not do it, but when he's not around they will do it undercover. That was what went on.

  • But when he arrived he gathered the civilians together and told the civilians that he was going to put a stop to it, didn't he?

  • It was not on the day that they captured Tongo. It took up to three days before he invited a meeting for us the civilians.

  • Now, when the AFRC/RUF arrived they had a system whereby you had to work two days of the week for them, didn't they?

  • The remainder of the week you would work for yourselves?

  • We were working for ourselves, but there was a condition attached to it. But at that time, you know, we had to live with the situation.

  • Now the RUF/SLA arrived in about August. Then in January 1998 they were driven out of Tongo, weren't they, by the CDF?

  • Yes. The CDF dislodged the AFRC and RUF.

  • And that was in January 1998, wasn't it?

  • Yes, because you know when I - talking of these things, we did not record them, so we just talk about the years. Because whatever I did not get very clearly - you know, not that I don't tell lies but I don't tell many lies.

  • I don't want you to tell any at all. In any event, in January 1998, when the CDF pushed the RUF out of Tongo they massacred a lot of civilians, didn't they?

  • Exactly. The corpses that I saw I cannot recall the number because there were too many people that died.

  • And the RUF/AFRC hadn't massacred civilians like that, had they?

  • Well, I wouldn't deny that because the reason is, at that Cyborg Pit the amount of people who have been put in there when those were shot and put into that pit, at that time the CDF was not there; it was the AFRC and the RUF. All throughout the time that we were working there, the amount of people who were killed and put into that pit, those that I saw, if those people were calculated that is a great number, from what I saw. That's why I said I wouldn't deny it.

  • But when the CDF came you remember they lined up 20 men and four women who were Limba, Temne and Lokos and killed them in cold blood, didn't they?

  • Yes, the women, it was not - the four women that I am sure of, it is not because they were Loko or Limba. They were killed because they were wives of soldiers. The 20 soldiers whom I saw, it was because they were SLA soldiers and, you know, there had been a conflict between those people so - and those that I saw - and there was one person I even knew. He was called Mr Cobra, he was a soldier. But the others, they said they were soldiers as well. And the women they said were their wives. That was the reason the four women were killed. It was not because they were Limba or Loko, no, it was because they were married to soldiers.

  • They were hacked to death in cold blood by the CDF, weren't they?

  • Exactly. They were hacked with machetes. I did not see them fire a gun. I saw machetes.

  • Were you happy to see the CDF come back?

  • Sorry, you know, I got the question clearly but you know what happened on that day, if you ask me if I was happy I wouldn't feel good because I know what happened, I know the number of people that died on that day. If I recall it, you know, I will feel so bad. That's why, you know, the question - you know, the question brings bad memories to me.

  • Because they killed almost a hundred people that day, didn't they, the CDF?

  • That was what I said, but I even think that it is more than that because the town was really populated. The town is more than two or three miles long. You wouldn't walk even up to two yards without seeing a corpse. But I don't know the exact number of people that died on that day, that's why I just said it could be more than that.

  • That was a terrible day, wasn't it, Mr Witness?

  • Exactly. You know, when you ask me the question I feel really bad, but there is no way I can do, I have to answer the question.

  • And the RUF/AFRC hadn't done anything like that throughout Tongo whilst they were there, had they?

  • Well, I wouldn't say they did not do a thing like that because even when the two people - when the two factions met they would always kill and if they met I wouldn't see corpses and say it was the CDF or it was the AFRC who had killed the people. I would just say when the two forces - when the two forces encountered each other there would always be more than 100 or 200 corpses and I wouldn't say this was responsible or the other faction was responsible. And even when the CDF pulled out when we stayed with the AFRC and the RUF I witnessed a lot of destruction.

  • Did you see any child soldiers amongst the CDF?

  • Were there lots of them?

  • Well, the one I recognised who used to go to my house was called Junior.

  • And he was with the CDF, was he?

  • No, he was AFRC, because I used to see him wear civilian clothes, at times combat clothes. Because they were together, the RUF from the bush and the military who were with us in the town, so the only way we could tell the difference was if you had been in the town before and you had known the soldiers before then you would know that this person is not a soldier, he must have come from the bush, he must be a rebel. That's how we knew.

  • Was Junior the only child soldier that you saw?

  • Yes. Even though there were some others, but he was the one that was close to me. He lived in the same area as I did. I saw some others passing around, but Junior was living around my area.

  • When the RUF came to Tongo did they burn people's houses?

  • Yes. From that 1994 they burnt many houses.

  • When they came in 1997 did they burn any houses?

  • Yes.

  • And did you see that yourself?

  • Clearly. I saw that with my own eyes. Even though whenever they wanted to burn a house they would say this house belongs to a Kamajor, so maybe they wanted to just give a reason to burn that house. That was what they would always say before they would burn a house.

  • I'm thinking that might be an appropriate time, Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr Witness, we're going to take half an hour's break now and we will come back at 12 o'clock, but you just sit there and the screens will be lowered and you will be helped out of the Court. We will adjourn until 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Your Honour, there is a change of appearance for the Prosecution. We are joined by Mr Nicholas Koumjian and joined for the first time by Camielle Green who is our intern and for the record her name is spelt C-A-M-I-E-L-L-E and Green as in the colour.

  • Thank you, Ms Howarth. Welcome to the Court, Ms Green. Mr Griffiths.

  • Just before we broke off I was asking you about the burning of houses in Tongo in 1997. Do you remember that?

  • Now, just so that I get the sequence right, when the AFRC/RUF arrived in Tongo there was three days of trouble, was there?

  • Yes.

  • And then after that things quietened down, didn't they?

  • Well, it was minimised. It lessened a little. It was not that --

  • Mr Interpreter, are you there?

  • No, we are not getting any interpretation.

  • Yes, your Honours, I think we might have touched the wrong button. Can you get me now?

  • Yes, we are hearing you now.

  • Now, during those first three days, are you saying during that time they were burning houses in Tongo?

  • No, I did not say that. I said they burnt houses, but it was not continuous. On that particular day they asked me whether, when they came in I saw people burning houses, I said yes, but it was not continuously three days. When they came, if they wanted to burn down a house, they would always say that, "This is a Kamajor house, it is a CDF house" and they would burn that house down. That was what I saw with my eyes, but it was not the same day that they entered.

  • So was it the second day?

  • It was at the time they had entered in.

  • I don't want to take too much time over this so it might be quicker if I just showed you. It's a copy of an interview conducted with you on 26 November 2004. All I am interested in - and we can deal with this quite swiftly - is the third page of that document?

  • Is there anything that would identify the witness?

  • Not on that page. Not on the third page:

  • Now, let's just see what it says on this page, paragraph 19:

    "Looting: I saw the looting with my own eyes during these three days. I was a victim myself.

    Burning: No burning took place during these three days."

    Is that right?

  • Yes. I said the day they entered they did not do burning. The day they entered I did not see killing take place. Even in my statement that was what I said, but burning took place. That was why I said that at any time they wanted to do that they will say that, "This is a Kamajor house" and then they will burn that house down. That was what I saw.

  • Where it says in this record of interview, "No burning took place during these three days", is that true or false?

  • Well, what does that answer mean, Mr Witness?

  • During the three days, I mean the day they entered no burning took place. I did not see burning taking place, it was looting that went on. But whilst they were inside already burning took place but it was not within the three days. That was why I said yes. It was not within that three days.

  • Then on the same page, "Killings: I saw three dead bodies." Is that right?

  • Under "Sexual violence: I heard that people were raped, so in the night I would stay with my two wives." Did you yourself see anyone being raped?

  • Not at all. They entered my room, they took my property outside, my foam - my wives were there, my mattress, they took that one outside, my wives were there, but I did not see. I heard it.

  • And it is right that you saw no amputations?

  • Not at all. I have never given such a statement to say that I saw them amputating people. Not at all.

  • In fact on the next page of that record of interview you say precisely that at the top of the page, "I saw no amputations" and that is the truth, isn't it? That is the truth, isn't it?

  • I said I did not see anyone do that kind of thing in my presence.

  • That is all I ask, Mr President, thank you.

  • Yes, thank you, Mr Griffiths. Any re-exanimation, Ms Howarth?

  • There are a few matters in re-examination.

  • First of all, it is at my page 29 of the transcript. Mr Witness, you were asked about mining at Cyborg Pit and at my page 29, I have it at lines 14 and 17, you say, "No, we were not mining there during the CDF Kamajor time. Civilians were not mining there."

  • Not at all. No civilians worked under the CDF. I did say it was only the AFRC and the RUF who did that government work. Normally we did two days' work for them and they would allow us work for ourselves for two days. That was how it happened, but in the case of the Kamajors, I did not work for them.

  • Mr Witness, if I could just ask you to wait for the question and the question is: When did civilians mine at Cyborg Pit?

  • Since the time the AFRC and the RUF entered Tongo; that was immediately after the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah's government had been overthrown. That was the time they went and captured Tongo. They flushed the CDF out of there and that was the time they started their mining and it was throughout that period.

  • And the next reference is page 30, and around that point you are asked about the time that the RUF came to Tongo in 1994, and at my page 31, I have lines 4 and 5, you were asked:

    "Q. Did you not have friends and family who remained in

    Tongo after you fled in 1994?

    A. No, 1994, all of the civilians pulled out and we came

    to Kenema from what I recall."

    Why did all the civilians pull out and go to Kenema in 1994?

  • It was because the rebels came and attacked us, the civilians, in Tongo. That was the reason why all of us, the civilians, we pulled out of Tongo and we went. We were in Tongo, but it was as a result of that attack that we all left, and I did say that we pulled out for some months, so by then the soldiers and the RUF fought against one another and later we, the civilians, were recalled to return.

  • The next reference is around page 40. It is at that point that my learned friend refers to the additional statement with which he later deals and that statement that you were referred to was one dated 7 May 2003. Do you recall that?

  • Mr Witness, do you also recall being interviewed in about January 2005?

  • Now, Mr Witness, I am going to ask that the first page of an interview dated 31 January 2005 be passed to you, and I am going to fold down the top part to protect the identity of the witness. Mr Witness, can you see that statement in front of you?

  • At the top it says, "The witness made the following alterations". Do you read that?

  • Yes.

  • And then I am just going to refer you to one sentence and that is about three lines down and it says, "The witness sent people to work for the RUF/SLA and not the CDF as recorded in his statement". Mr Witness, do you recall saying that in January 2005?

  • Yes, and that was something I denied. I said it was the SLA and the RUF who threatened me, me and my people, to go and work for them, to do government work for them, but the CDF Kamajors I denied. I denied since the time I had not testified.

  • I would be grateful if the statement could be removed from the witness now, thank you:

  • So the final reference is page 40, my page 47, line 11: And if you will just listen to this part of today's testimony, Mr Witness, line 11, the question is:

    "Q. Now, when the AFRC/RUF arrived they had a system

    whereby you had to work two days of the week for them,

    didn't they?

    A. Yes.

    Q. The remainder of the week you would work for

    yourselves?

    A. We were working for ourselves, but there was a

    condition attached to it, but at that time, you know, we

    had to live with the situation."

    When you said there was a condition attached to it, what did you mean?

  • Thank you, Madam. A condition was that we had pressure on us because whilst we were working the combatants, the RUF and the AFRC, would go with their guns to the site. For instance, if they said we were doing the government job on a particular day those of them who were in the swamp at other times we would also work for them. Those of them who were working their own swamp, they will move from their own area and come and disturb us. They will ask us to pile the gravels for them. We will pile for them and pile for ourselves, because at that time we had no option but to do it. We will not refuse to do it. If we refused to do it it will be a problem for us, so they would always say it is government work, and when we did it we had nothing else to rely on, and when we get anything from there we will hand it over to them, and whilst we were doing the job our men will go and wash their gravels for them and after doing it for them they will move, they will go. So that was the reason why I brought that point up.

  • And finally, this same reference, you said, "We had to live with the situation." What did you mean by that?

  • Well, what I meant by saying that we will live with that situation was that the situation on the ground was what I was referring to because by then, even if we decided to go to Freetown or to Kenema, those same people were in charge of the government and that was our own place where we could manage our lives with our children and our wives, so for us to get our living, so for that reason, whatsoever situation came our way we will have to live by it and we paid to them and then we get our own living. So that was the reason why.

  • I don't have any further questions. I don't know if there are any questions from your Honour?

  • Thank you, Ms Howarth. No, there are no questions from the Bench. Yes, Ms Howarth?

  • I just ask that the transcript be moved into evidence.

  • Thank you. Is there any objection to that, Mr Griffiths?

  • Thank you. That transcript identified as MFI-39, to be more specific, it is a transcript from the case of the Prosecutor against Alex Tamba Brima and others, dated 27 June 2005, pages 14908 to 14984, will be admitted into evidence as Prosecution exhibit 278.

  • [Exhibit P-278 admitted]

    Yes. Well, Madam Court Attendant, if you could get the blinds lowered the witness will be able to leave the courtroom. Mr Witness, that completes your evidence. Thank you for coming to court and you may now leave the Court. It is safe to do so. All the blinds are down. You will now be escorted from the Court. Thank you once again.

  • Okay, thank you.

  • Are you taking the next witness, Ms Howarth?

  • It is Mr Koumjian who has carriage of the next witness.

  • Your Honour, may I address you from the back row momentarily?

  • Certainly, yes.

  • The next witness is a witness who has been granted closed session. I wish to address the Court about a possible change in those protective measures. This is witness TF1-174. We have had discussions with the witness about whether he would be willing to give at least a good part of his evidence in open session and he is agreeable, provided certain protective measures are granted. That would be pseudonym, screening, voice distortion.

    Also this is a witness who worked with children and others and he would like, for the safety of those individuals and privacy, that if those names need to be given that he be able to give those other in private session or writing on a confidential document.

    There is one other matter I would like to mention, but I have to do that in private session very briefly.

  • I see. Thank you, Mr Koumjian. The existing protective measures, what were the circumstances of those being granted?

  • May I address that in the private session? That's part of what I have to address in private session, but I have a decision to hand up to your Honours.

  • I see. If we could have that decision, please.

  • Your Honours, just so I'm clear, the circumstances of the granting of that order are part of what I need to address in private session in order to protect the identity of this witness.

  • I see I have been given four extra copies of that order. Is that for the Defence?

  • Yes. Well, actually one was for me, but I think I can live without it.

  • Madam Court Officer, are you processing the private session requested by counsel?

  • Your Honour, I was waiting for the Presiding Judge to indicate.

  • No, we are in public session. That's understood, isn't it, Mr Koumjian?

  • But I am requesting a private session to address this issue.

  • On the issue of protective measures?

  • Yes, I will just read the order that has been made. Without going into details, I take it that that order made by Trial Chamber I has not yet been altered or changed in any way?

  • Well, I think this would be an appropriate time to go into private session. Is that correct?

  • To members of the public, we are briefly going into private session. What that will mean is that you will still be able to see the proceedings, but you won't be able to hear them. That precaution is being taken because some arguments will be put to the Court that may disclose the identity of the witness which could prove prejudicial to his security. So for a brief time we will now go into private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 23648 to 23649, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • This witness that is about to be called will be giving evidence in open court with some protective measures. He will be using a pseudonym, he will be screened from the public, his voice will be distorted and private sessions will be declared if and when necessary. These measures are required to protect the witness's identity and his security.

    Now, Madam Court Manager, I just wanted to ask you about that voice distortion. Does that take some time to put in place?

  • Your Honour, the AV booth would require 30 minutes to set up voice distortion.

  • All right. Well, I don't see any way around that. We are going to have to adjourn the Court. We will adjourn until 1 p.m. and see whether the measures have been put in place by then.

  • [Break taken at 12.35 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 1.00 p.m.]

  • Your Honours, the language the witness will be testifying in has not been made mention of.