As the trial of the former president of Liberia Charles Taylor continues at the Special Court in The Hague, the prosecution in its bid to establish its claims of perpetration of crimes against humanity which is part of the indictment witness TF1-028 Tuesday told the court about his ordeal in Karina in the Bombali district.
According to lead prosecutor Brenda Hollis the reason for the evidence of the witness is to establish that there were campaigns of terror and that the evidence was also vital to prove various forms of liability especially ‘Joint Criminal Enterprises.’
Defence counsel Morris Anyah had objected to the evidence on the grounds that Karina was not in the indictment and that Karina is mentioned in the indictment only for looting.
In her evidence the witness TF1-028 said that during the time of the intervention, in the morning the junta went to her village, left and came back around 9:00, stating that they were soldiers with some wearing combat fatigues while the others wore civilian clothes.
She added that when the juntas were there they went on capturing people, beating up people including her elder brother, after which they melted plastic and sprinkled it on them. Small girls in the town she went on were raped by the juntas and she knew this when the girls were crying out loud and some were bleeding.
“Among the girls raped were my elder sister’s daughter, and another, my brother’s daughter they were around 7 and 8 years old and they were young girls. All the girls were stripped naked. When we heard people screaming, you just rushed and saw what happened to your family members. I saw blood and they were naked. A total of three girls were raped in my area and three people in other areas” the witness disclosed.
She continued that the juntas returned again around 9:00 at night that same day and that time, they had all entered their houses to sleep – they all came out again and the junta broke into about 117 houses and took all their properties and even put the witness at gunpoint. They also went to other people’s houses, and took the property and vehicles, and left.
“When they took our properties and ransacked our houses they said it was ‘Operation Pay Yourself,’” as they said Tejan-Kabbah could not pay them, so they are going to pay themselves.”
TF1-028 further told the court that after that set of juntas left another set came to the town, along with the RUF, and soldiers. The RUF were speaking in Liberian dialect and some spoke the Sierra Leonean language. This set stayed in Karina for two weeks.
She added that when they arrived they asked the town chief to provide lodging for them. “The town chief said he had no place to lodge them and they said they would lodge themselves. They had an upstairs building where Dr. Sheriff had his clinic. They broke in there and stayed there. They went and took people’s properties, then took property from other villages.”
Again this set started raping young girls including “my sister’s girl and my girl – my girl was around 13 years – she was raped. My sister’s daughter, about 12 years old was also raped. And this raping was done by both the RUF and junta as they were mixed. When the girls were captured, they were placed under gunpoint and raped. They were damaged in their vaginas and they were bleeding. I myself checked them.”
The witness a mother of four also revealed to the court how her daughter called her to go and watch through the window as her aunty was bleeding and was naked and she was among other women and an amputated man who was crying.
“The people were many. Some were carrying guns, others cutlasses. I told my children, these are bad people. Let us run away. We ran away. We got to the last house and my sister’s child was lying down, sleeping. When I and my child ran away, I decided I should not leave my sister’s child behind. So I returned and strapped the child to my back woke the other one and we ran to the bush.”
She maintained that she was caught and put at gun point. And they took a knife and placed it on her chest and she was stripped naked.
Trial continues today.