African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Former child soldier in Taylor trial ends testimony, new witness takes the stand

Posted by African Press International on May 8, 2008

Publisher: Korir, source.apa

A former child soldier witness in the ongoing criminal trial of the former Liberian leader Charles Taylor at the special court for Sierra Leone, TF1-143, completed his evidence on Tuesday morning, as the defense finished its cross-examination and the prosecution conducted a brief re-examination, according to a release issued by the court at The Hague.

When the prosecution sought to call its next witness, whom it said was under protective measures, the defense requested that the protective measures be lifted. After lengthy arguments and deliberations, the judges ruled in favor of the defense and ordered that the witness testify in open court. The prosecution however responded by instead calling another witness.

The day began with Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continuing his cross-examination of prosecution witness TF1-143, focusing his effort on pointing out inconsistencies between the witnesss testimony and his prior statements to the prosecution. Munyard also suggested that there had been tensions between the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).

Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura conducted a brief examination of the witness, focusing on underlining that the witness had made corrections to previous inconsistent statements, and re-establishing which accounts were final. The witness stated that he was not present at the explosion that killed Saj Musa. He reiterated that he had only met Adama Cut Hand when the rebel forces entered Freetown.

After the release of witness TF1-143, Prosecutor Julia Bailey called the next witness, TF1-215, and stated that this witness was subject to a protection order of Trial Chamber 1. She said that the witness should testify behind a screen and with use of a pseudonym.

After a long arguments between the prosecution and the defense as to whether the new witness should be granted protection, the court adjourned for lunch, and when the request was rejected, Prosecutor Bailey responded by saying that the prosecution would not call TF1-215.

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra called the next witness, TF1-028, who introduced herself as a 42 year-old Sierra Leonean, uneducated, and of the Mandinka tribe. She narrated how she and her family fled Freetown in 1998 during the ECOMOG invasion to end the rule of the AFRC/RUF junta.

At that point, the proceedings were adjourned to resume the following morning.



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