The trial of the former Liberian leader, Charles Taylor resumed at The Hague on Monday after a three-day Dutch holiday break, with the prosecution putting a former child soldier in the witness stand.
The new prosecution witness, known only as TF1-143, is taking questions from the prosecution and testifying to alleged cruel treatments of civilians by rebel soldiers blamed on Mr Taylor.
The witness alleged that AFRC/RUF rebels used razor blades to mark some 50 boys and girls from among 150 abducted in Koinadugu District.
The former child combatant, now aged 22 years, said children were later assigned to various rebel commanders.
“When they started to mark us, the first person that they marked among us, they carved on his forehead ‘AFRC’ and on his chest ‘RUF’”, he said.
Under cross-examination, he said he was marked himself. He also narrated how he took orders from a rebel commander known as Kabila who had instructed him to rape an old lady, which he refused and for which he was punished.
He continued: “We met an old woman there, so Kabila ordered me to rape [her] and I started crying…Because the old woman could – was able to give birth to my own mother… At that time I had not even started sex. At that time I didn’t even have a girlfriend… So he punished me. He asked me to lie down under the sun and open my eyes for the rest of the day…He took me into a bush and he defecated and asked me to eat it up, because he said I had started disobeying his orders. He said I would never have peace in my life. He said if I did not do that he would kill me and leave me there and if anybody asked him he would tell that person that I had run away.” He said at this point he complied.
The witness said he was given tablets to strengthen his courage to using a machete to cut off limbs and kill civilians
The cross-examination continues.
Courtesy of BBC World Service Trust and Search for Common Ground
By Adolphus Williams in The Hague