[10/13/2022] Day 4: the investigation
This fourth day of hearings was devoted to the various judicial proceedings in the Kunti Kamara case.
Hearing of General Jean-Philippe Reiland, Head of the OCLCH, as a witness called by the Public Prosecutor
General Reiland began by introducing the Office central de lutte contre les crimes contre l’humanité et les crimes de haine (OCLCH or the Office) before describing its missions. He described the OCLCH as an administrative structure attached to the General Directorate of the National Police. The OCLCH was created in 2013 by decree of the Prime Minister and has 5 activities: investigation, support and assistance to units, police coordination of action, judicial cooperation with other countries and the establishment of the state of the threat relating to the litigation managed through its expertise in criminal intelligence.
General Reiland specified that the OCLCH had been created in order to respond to the needs arising from France’s international commitments in the fight against international crimes, in particular in connection with the signing of the Rome Statute. He recalled the functioning of the International Criminal Court and explained how the principle of universal jurisdiction has been transposed into French law. He specified that constitutional and legislative changes led to the creation of a “crimes against humanity” unit in 2011, and then of the OCLCHR in 2013.
General Reiland gave the reasons why the missions mentioned above were entrusted to the gendarmes. On the one hand, the gendarmes have accumulated considerable experience within the Paris Research Section, which was notably called upon in the Touvier Barbie, Papon, and Rwanda cases. On the other hand, the gendarmes are the only ones who can investigate as a police force of the army and have developed a capacity to accompany the army in war zones.
General Reiland then presented the three divisions that make up the Office: the Strategy and International Cooperation Division, the Hate Crimes Division and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Division (formerly the Investigation Division). He specified that the latter division has 18 members and that the volume of investigations entrusted to the Office amounts to about 150 cases concerning 32 countries, which implies 8 to 10 trips per year, sometimes for several weeks.
With regard to the modes of action, General Reiland explained that the OCLCH has the tools provided by the code of criminal procedure. He specified that given the distance in time and space of the facts, the more classic acts of judicial police are used (hearing witnesses, access to reports, etc.). He also indicated that all investigators are specialized judicial police officers.
On the subject of the modes of action abroad, General Reiland explained that countries are sovereign and can grant or deny the movement of OCLCHR investigators on their territory. He specified that international judicial cooperation is in principle regulated in bilateral or multilateral agreements, but that no agreement has been concluded with Liberia to his knowledge.
Regarding this case, General Reiland indicated that the framework of the international investigation had been respected. He specified that a request for mutual assistance had been filed and that the Liberian authorities had granted the movement of French magistrates and investigators on their territory. He specified that the latter can only conduct hearings abroad according to the French code of criminal procedure, to the exclusion of other acts, and with the agreement of local authorities. He specified that in the case in question, the local authorities had themselves conducted the hearings requested by the French authorities. The French investigators were present and were able to provide technical support, particularly in terms of taking photographs and GPS readings.
The Court questioned General Reiland:
When questioned about any specificities in the case, General Reiland did not identify any significant particularities, subject to the referral of the case to the French authorities insofar as there had been a complaint filed by an NGO as well as a request for an international investigation from Switzerland.
On questioning by the President, the General underlined certain difficulties encountered on the spot to carry out the investigation. These difficulties were mainly logistical and concerned travel (poor road conditions) and the search for witnesses. Upon questioning, General Reiland indicated that OCLCHR was not working on other cases in Liberia.
When asked about the differences between collecting evidence for crimes committed today and for crimes committed 20 or 30 years ago, General Reiland said the main difference was the risks investigators take and the special vigilance required in collecting testimony from parties to the conflict. He specified that the investigators tried to carry out situational assessments to verify the information that was communicated to them.
The civil party questioned General Reiland:
When asked about the difficulties related to the collection of evidence and the method used, General Reiland indicated that most of the investigators were trained in the “PROGREAI” method (General Process for the Collection of Interviews, Hearings and Interrogations), developed from Canadian know-how. He specified that the investigators were trained to detect discrepancies in the collection of speech. The work of collecting the word is more complex abroad, insofar as it is necessary to use interpreters. He specified that particular attention was paid to the choice of interpreters in consultation with the French embassy on site.
The Public Prosecutor questions General Reiland:
Again, General Reiland was asked about the main challenges regarding the collection of evidence of old mass crimes. To this question, he replied that the identification of crimes, victims and witnesses was “the most difficult and crucial”. When asked about the value of situational reconstructions, General Reiland stressed the importance of comparing the evidence collected with the reality on the ground, hoping that the ground has not changed too much.
When asked about the mission carried out in the context of this case, General Reiland confirmed that he believed it was the first handover carried out by French justice in Liberia.
The defense questions General Reiland:
When asked about the procedure for investigative acts abroad, General Reiland confirmed that investigations in foreign countries were done at the request of the French authorities, specifically the investigating judge. He reiterated that French investigators could conduct hearings abroad themselves if the host country so authorized. For other investigative acts, it is necessary to go through a request for international criminal assistance.
When questioned by the defense on the reasons for the absence of heavy investigative acts (DNA and fingerprinting, searches, police custody, telephony) that could have been carried out by the French authorities, General Reiland explained that these acts could be carried out by the Liberian authorities at the request of the French magistrate, but that this was not realistic given the length of time that the facts had been in existence. General Reiland stressed that what was relevant in this case was the identification of witnesses.
The defense countered that there were criminal cases in France, even very old ones, for which investigative acts such as DNA analysis of corpses had been carried out. General Reiland replied that in these cases, most of the investigations had been conducted on seals, which are missing here.
General Reiland finally confirmed that it was difficult to conduct a classical investigation in an old case, because of the time that had passed.
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After thanking General Reiland for his testimony, the President presented the Court with photographs from James Faseukoi’s book on the first civil war in Liberia. Various scenes are illustrated such as portraits of the main warlords, troops of the different militias (NPFL, ECOMOG, ULIMO), child soldiers, disarmament, malnutrition and road conditions.
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Hearing of Luther J. Sumo, Lofa County Prosecutor, as a witness called by the prosecution (video conference).
Prior to calling Luther J. Sumo, the Chairman stated that Luther J. Sumo was heard by the Magistrate Judge on January 10, 2020 as a witness.
In his spontaneous statement, Luther J. Sumo explained that at the time of the civil war, he was a refugee in Guinea, where he worked as a volunteer teacher. He said that it was in this capacity that he met MN and spoke with her at length during 1994, as well as with other parents and students. Luther J. Sumo stated that he learned a lot of things that had happened at Foya. He also talked about seeing pictures of killings, decapitated heads, people being cut into pieces and put in wheelbarrows. He said that some rebels had been ordered to take pieces of bodies and that these acts had traumatized many Liberians. He also spoke of the looting of property by the rebels and the transport of machinery to the Guinean border. He said he was traumatized by the acts committed under Charles Taylor’s regime and went to Guinea to seek help where he found other Liberians crying. He said he stopped teaching in 1988 to continue his studies and then worked as a lawyer before becoming a prosecutor.
Court questions Luther J. Sumo:
When asked if there was any political or legal will to prosecute the abuses he mentioned, Luther J. Sumo explained that Liberians were waiting for the government to act on the recommendations issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The president asked Luther J. Sumo if he knew the warlords named in the case. Sumo replied that he knew Alhaji Kromah. When asked about the names Fine Boy and Ugly Boy, Luther J. Sumo said that all the warlords had nicknames and that it was difficult to recognize them today, even for someone who had seen them at the time of the events. When asked about Deku’s name, Luther J. Sumo said that he had heard of him. The President then asked him if he had heard of C.O. Kundi. Luther J. Sumo said that the abbreviation “C.O.” stood for “commanding officer” and that, although he had never seen him, he had heard of him. He also said that people who called themselves C.O. took orders from superiors and sometimes acted on their own, for example by looting villagers’ food.
When asked about the investigative resources available to prosecutors, Luther J. Sumo said that he did not have the technical means to conduct criminal investigations such as DNA analysis and that this was a major problem. He said that Lofa County has two prosecutors and one judge, as well as three defense attorneys. On questioning, he said there are specialized courts in Monrovia, including a sex crimes court. He added that in other counties such as Lofa, one judge has jurisdiction over all cases, whether civil or criminal.
The civil party questions Luther J. Sumo:
Luther J. Sumo confirmed that he had taken refuge in the village of Guéckédou and that the town of Solomba was a border town between the town of Foya and Guinea, divided by a river.
When asked about the looting of property, he confirmed that he had mentioned the looting of machines, such as electric generators, but also of goods. He also confirmed that these were goods belonging to NGOs or citizens and said that the rebels took everything they found.
On questioning, he confirmed that the population of Foya belonged to the Kissi ethnic group.
Luther J. Sumo was then questioned about his statements to the investigating judge that the population had been enslaved. He confirmed his statements, saying that the people could no longer work in their fields and were no longer free to do what they wanted. If they resisted, they were killed. Luther J. Sumo also stated that girls between the ages of 12 and 14 were raped. When asked what he meant by “slavery,” Luther J. Sumo said that people were dehumanized and subjected to the will of the armed groups. He confirmed that he had heard of Mohamed Jabbateh, a.k.a. Jungle Jabbah, and Alieu Kosiah and that he had seen Agnes Reeves Taylor in 1993. However, he said he had never heard of a dealer named Kake. When asked who was enslaving the population, he stated that it was those who had weapons, including those he had just mentioned.
Prosecution questions Luther J. Sumo:
When asked about the functioning of the administration in Lofa during the ULIMO occupation, Luther J. Sumo indicated that there were still activities and administrators were present. When confronted with his statements that there was no hospital, birth registry, or doctors when ULIMO arrived, he confirmed them.
When asked about the April 2019 mission of French investigators to Foya, which he confirmed he had participated in, Luther J. Sumo said he did not know all the witnesses and that they had gone from village to village to locate them. He also confirmed that he conducted a neighborhood survey and did not conduct a telephone or database search. He said that humanitarian actors had also provided information to guide investigators in the search for witnesses.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office told the court that only seven witnesses could be located and interviewed despite requests from the investigating judge.
When asked about the victims of sexual violence, Luther J. Sumo explained that it was difficult to collect their testimony because the women were traumatized and felt humiliated.
Defense questions Luther J. Sumo:
When asked about the photos of decapitated heads that he referred to earlier, Luther J. Sumo said he did not have them, but only saw them. He also stated that he had been an eyewitness to the sale of some property by ULIMO members, but had not witnessed the looting. However, according to him, it was obvious that the property had been looted by the persons mentioned above. The defense lawyer then insisted without success that Luther J. Sumo name names.
Upon questioning, Luther J. Sumo stated that he had left Gbarnga in 1991 to take refuge in Guinea, in a camp near Foya. He said he fled from the NPFL, which occupied Lofa at the beginning of the civil war.
The defense attorney then questioned him about his statements that no records were kept during the war, so there were no birth or death certificates. Defense counsel asked Luther J. Sumo how he could know that someone had died if there were no records to prove it. Sumo asked if it was necessary to have a certificate to know that someone was dead. The defense attorney then confronted Luther J. Sumo with his statements about Fine Boy. Before the investigating judge, he had stated that according to his information, Fine Boy had been killed. The defense attorney said that Fine Boy was alive and that he was even heard in the trial in Switzerland regarding Alieu Kosiah. Luther J. Sumo justified himself by saying that several rebels had the same name and that some people had told him that a man named Fine Boy had been killed when he crossed the border to join another armed group. The defense lawyer countered that Fine Boy indicated during his hearing in Switzerland that “Fine Boy” was his real name. In addition, the defense attorney noted that Luther J. Sumo stated at his previous hearing that Fine Boy was killed during a robbery.
When asked about the names of ULIMO commanders or soldiers he could name, Luther J. Sumo mentioned Kunti Kamara and added that he was more concerned about the victims than the perpetrators.
He confirmed that he accompanied the French investigators to Lofa County in his capacity as a prosecutor. He said that in the context of an investigation, the prosecutor has the authority to search for and identify victims. When asked about the collaboration with the French investigators, he said they did not offer to do any excavations, forensics or DNA analysis. He said the Liberian police had interviewed witnesses with the French investigators.
Hearing of Patrick J. Massaly, lawyer and deputy police commissioner in Monrovia (Liberia), called as a witness by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (videoconference)
Before giving the floor to Patrick J. Massaly, the President indicated that he was heard by the investigating judge on January 13, 2020.
Patrick J. Massaly stated that he was the head of the Liberian police group that executed the letters rogatory at the request of the French authorities. He explained that he was mandated to travel to Lofa County to investigate allegations of rape, slavery and sexual abuse. He explained his role and activity in the investigation against Kunti Kamara. While there, he took testimony from the victims and various witnesses, who described a number of crimes, most of which were allegedly committed by Kunti Kamara or under his supervision.
Patrick J. Massaly then briefly reviewed some of the testimony he collected. First, he mentioned that some victims reported being forced to walk carrying heavy objects for distances of 20km between Foya and the border town of Solomba under the supervision of Kunti Kamara. He then referred to testimony that Kunti Kamara went to a house from which he pulled a sick woman and shot her in the head in front of everyone in the village square. Patrick J. Massaly also cited the killing of an interpreter who had been approached by an NGO, to whom he reportedly told that the destruction of the church and hospital [in Borma Mission] had been caused by ULIMO soldiers under the command of Kunti Kamara.
Patrick J. Massaly reported that many of the victims were women and described repeated rapes, including one with a bayonet inserted into the genitals of a young woman. The latter was allegedly raped several times while she was bleeding.
Finally, he stated that the bodies of those executed were cut into pieces and placed in wheelbarrows and that villagers were forced to take or buy human body parts. If they refused, they were severely beaten. One man was also forced to drink blood presented to him in a cup, and died a few days later as a result.
The Court questions Patrick J. Massaly:
Patrick J. Massaly was questioned about the difficulties investigators faced in identifying and locating various witnesses. He indicated that most were identified by the indications given by the villagers, in the absence of identity papers, civil registers and precise addresses. He added that it is common in Liberia for people to write their names as they pronounce them, which further complicated the task of investigators. The rainy season also made it difficult to reach remote areas to meet with victims and witnesses.
He confirmed that during the hearings, some witnesses were able to recognize Kunti Kamara from current photographs, while others had difficulty because of the passage of time (he had a different way of dressing at the time). The accused was described by the victims and witnesses as very arrogant, young and always in charge.
The prosecution questioned Patrick J. Massaly:
When asked about his previous statements before the investigating judge, Patrick J. Massaly said that the mere mention of Kunti Kamara’s name caused fear among some witnesses and victims, who preferred not to testify for fear of reprisals
The Public Prosecutor’s Office questioned Patrick J. Massaly:
Patrick J. Massaly indicated that he himself took statements from witnesses, including those of EN and TT. He said that the victims and witnesses were afraid to talk about what had happened to them, but once reassured by the investigators, they agreed to testify.
The defense questions Patrick J. Massaly:
When questioned about his statements concerning the looting of the religious association “Mission d’Orient”, Patrick J. Massaly stated that he had not conducted any particular investigations in this regard. He said that he had received simple information from the association, which would have been responsible for the rehabilitation of the church and the hospital [of Borma Mission].
When asked about the identification of the victim, Patrick J. Massaly explained that he had identified her thanks to locals who had indicated where she was. He specified that the identification of a person was not done on the basis of identity papers, but thanks to the locals who knew each other and who accompanied the investigators to the wanted person. According to him, there was no reason to question the indications of the villagers.
When asked about the names of people he knew who were responsible for abuses within ULIMO, Patrick J. Massaly cited Alieu Kosiah, whom he named as the first in the hierarchy, Kunti Kamara, who came second, Ugly Boy alias Saah Chuey, who only killed with an axe, and Fine Boy. He said he deduced that Kunti Kamara was second in line because he was very active (“always around”) and very aggressive and was in a position of power.
When asked about the whereabouts of former ULIMO fighters according to his statements to the investigating judge, Patrick J. Massaly said he was unable to identify these former fighters because they use different names depending on where they are. The defense expressed surprise at this answer, since Patrick J. Massaly had indicated that he had identified the presence of former ULIMO soldiers in certain areas of Monrovia (Camp Johnson Road, Caldwell, Chocolate City, Chicken Soup Factory, Jacob Town, Congotown and Paynsville).
When asked about EN who was allegedly raped with a bayonet, he said that no medical examination was conducted on her to examine the aftermath of the rape she suffered. EN told him that she was in great pain and bleeding intermittently, and that she had received herbal treatment.
When asked about the evidentiary value of the testimony, Patrick J. Massaly emphasized the lack of technical and scientific means available to the investigators to conduct further investigations and indicated that the collection of testimony from witnesses and victims had made it possible to draw up a typology of the situation and to make cross-checks. He acknowledged that he did not know the name of the accused until his investigation began in 2019.
At the end of Patrick J Massaly’s statement, the President made a point of recalling the difficulties of identifying witnesses encountered in the organization of this trial. He recalled that most of the witnesses named did not have any official identity documents and praised the work of the French embassies in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, thanks to which the witnesses were able to be transported to testify at the hearing.
Hearing of Romuald Peruggia, Chief Warrant Officer of the OCLCH, summoned as a witness by the Public Prosecutor
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia began by explaining that he was called as a witness to relate the acts of investigation carried out by the OCLCH. He explained that on August 3, 2018, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office had informed the OCLCH of the opening of a preliminary investigation against Kunti Kamara, who was targeted for acts of torture constituting crimes against humanity following the complaint filed by Civitas Maxima. Kundi Kamara was presented as a leader of ULIMO. The facts denounced took place between 1993 and 1997 in Lofa County and concerned atrocities committed against the civilian population, particularly the Kissi ethnic group, during the occupation of Lofa by ULIMO. These atrocities consisted of enslavement, murder and cannibalism. In the complaint, Kunti Kamara was portrayed as a ULIMO official who was personally involved in these events, which were corroborated by the accounts of several witnesses.
One of the witnesses, JTC, explained that he had been forced to carry loads on behalf of ULIMO to the Guinean border. He also described the abuse of DN, who was allegedly arrested in the presence of Kunti Kamara, taken to the old airfield and tied up using the tabé technique before being hit on the torso with an axe by a man called Ugly Boy. His heart was allegedly ripped out by Ugly Boy and then consumed by ULIMO leaders on the porch of Ugly Boy’s house to terrorize the population. The last act denounced was the murder of KT. Kunti Kamara allegedly went to the village of Foya Dundu, dragged KT out of her house, accused her of being a witch, and shot her in the head before ordering the civilians present to dig a grave for her and set her body on fire.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia explained that the OCLCH was seized of these facts and that the first investigations carried out were aimed at identifying Kunti Kamara. Searches on databases did not allow to identify him formally. Kunti Kamara was declared as living in Évreux, but was not found at the address indicated. As a result of the request for assistance from the Swiss authorities, who wanted to hear him [in the Alieu Kosiah trial], the OCLCH obtained a photo of Kunti Kamara. It was then decided to proceed with a trip to Evreux on August 27, 2018 to meet with Faliku Donzo. The latter indicated to investigators that he had sheltered Kunti Kamara for some time. According to his statements, Kunti Kamara had then moved. At the address given by Faliku Donzo was the name of Kunti Kamara. Because of his absence, a summons was left in his mailbox. The investigators investigated the telephone number of Kunti Kamara. It appeared that he had left Evreux and was heading to the Paris region. Kunti Kamara’s phone had triggered a relay located in Bobigny. The next day, Kunti Kamara had obtained a new telephone. Among his interlocutors was Layee Bamba, living in Bobigny. A leak from Kunti Kamara was suspected. His phone line was tapped and revealed a communication with a caller in Portugal, during which Kunti Kamara stated his desire to leave France with false papers. It was then decided to set up an arrest system in Bobigny. Kunti Kamara’s phone was located at Layee Bamba’s home and the arrest was initiated. Kunti Kamara tried to escape through the window, without success. He was arrested and placed in custody. A search was conducted at the home of Layee Bamba and discovered a bus ticket to Lisbon scheduled for the next day and an identity and travel document issued by the Guinean embassy in Paris in the name of Moussa Bamba with the photo of Kunti Kamara. The latter made use of his right to remain silent while in police custody.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia then recalled that Kunti Kamara had been heard by the Swiss authorities as a witness in the proceedings against Alieu Kosiah. During his hearing, Kunti Kamara only admitted to having joined the ranks of ULIMO in 1992 in reaction to the acts committed by Charles Taylor’s rebels against the Mandingo people.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia added that several witnesses had been heard in France, but that these hearings had not provided any substantive information. They only allowed to determine that Kunti Kamara would have arrived in France in 2016. He was also described by his neighbors as a calm and kind person, discreet about his past. Layee Bamba was also interviewed and said he knew nothing about Kunti Kamara’s life in Liberia. He stated that he bought the bus ticket to Lisbon on behalf of the latter and that he accompanied him to the Guinean embassy in Paris.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia related the testimonies collected in Liberia, in particular those of FG, SFC, RK. He then specified that the presence of the French investigators on site consisted essentially of technical assistance (taking photographs, GPS geolocation) from the Liberian authorities, who themselves carried out the acts ordered by the French investigating judge. Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia finally returned to the situation, which had allowed him to realize the low level of development of the country in terms of infrastructure and accessibility (absence of paved roads, electricity and running water in Foya).
The Court questions Romuald Peruggia:
When asked about the name Mohamed Soumawolo used to refer to Kunti Kamara, Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia indicated that this name had been mentioned in the Civitas Maxima complaint and in the request for mutual assistance from the Swiss authorities, but he did not know whether any investigations had been conducted in this regard.
He explained that because of the difficulties in identifying Kunti Kamara, the investigators had focused their inquiries on his entourage in Evreux. The arrest of the accused on the run was made possible by the use of significant technical means (telephone tapping, surveillance of his bank card, location of his telephone box). Thanks to the elements seized during the search, it was established that Kunti Kamara was planning to leave the French territory the next day at 10:30 am. It was therefore urgent to locate him. According to the explanations provided by the investigators, Kunti Kamara had also sent a photo to his correspondent in Portugal so that the latter could establish other false documents.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia then returned to the working conditions in Liberia, which he described as very complicated for the reasons mentioned above (almost non-existent road network, no electricity in Foya). The investigation work was also made difficult by the lack of precise addresses to locate the witnesses. In addition, the assistance provided to the Liberian investigators was strictly limited by the international letter rogatory, so that the French investigators were not able to interview the witnesses themselves, but only to attend the interviews and provide the Liberian investigators with a questionnaire and a photographic plate beforehand.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia noted the absence of exaggeration and a spirit of revenge on the part of the victims and witnesses interviewed, who simply reported what they had experienced. When asked about the conspiracy theory put forward by Kunti Kamara, he said that no witness seemed to have testified in the hope of receiving protection in Europe. According to him, France is only a distant country for them.
Finally, Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia stated that the war in Liberia, by the cruelty of the acts committed, had similarities with the Rwandan genocide on which he had the opportunity to work.
The civil party questions Romuald Peruggia:
When questioned about the investigative acts carried out in Rwanda, where he went 27 times, Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia confirmed that the investigations of old facts consisted mainly of cross-checking, hearing witnesses and putting them back into the situation, in the absence of scientific investigations. He also confirmed that the difficulties linked to the age of the crimes committed had not prevented him from carrying out his investigation properly, whether in Rwanda or Liberia.
When asked about the reaction of the villagers during the presentation of the facts committed against DN, he indicated that he had felt curiosity on their part and no aggressiveness.
Finally, the prosecutor referred to the incident in Liberia with the defence lawyer and her driver, who were caught taking photos and videos of the rehearsals. Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia clarified that the driver was clearly a LIMAF member, but that the OLCH had no jurisdiction to investigate him. The General Counsel then explained the procedure to the Court, which was submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rouen. No further action was taken as the person concerned was not domiciled in France.
The Public Ministry questions Romuald Peruggia:
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia emphasized the important documentation work that must be done upstream by OCLCH investigators to understand the context in which the crimes were committed. He re-explained the difficulties faced by investigators who conduct investigations abroad, insisting in particular on the very limited technical means and on the framework imposed by the international rogatory commission.
Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia confirmed that in cases of old crimes, the evidence is only testimonial. He therefore stressed the importance of obtaining testimony from witnesses not named by the parties in order to sort out the truth from the falsehood. According to him, the situational rehearsals also make it possible to verify the veracity of the statements collected.
When asked about the hearings of witnesses and civil parties carried out in France, he indicated that each person interviewed reacted differently and that he had not noticed any exaggeration in their speech. He did not feel that the stories had been memorized and pointed out that there could be some discrepancies between the statements, which is explained by the fact that the facts date back more than 30 years. He also confirmed that the trauma of war can have an impact on memory.
When asked about the re-settings in Liberia, he indicated that they confirmed the testimonies collected and that certain findings had to be made in places that were not the same as 30 years ago, which has an influence on the witnesses’ relationship with time and space.
When asked about the witness and civil party hearings in Liberia, he said that they were conducted by the local authorities and that each person was heard separately. Finally, he briefly commented on a photographic plate showing the weapons used by ULIMO.
The defense questions Romuald Peruggia:
When questioned about the lack of wallpapering during witness hearings, Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia initially admitted that it was a mistake. He said that he had demanded that the photo board be presented to EN during his hearing. However, this was not required of all witnesses, including a witness who was ten years old at the time of the incident and who said he could not identify Kunti Kamara.
When asked about the probative value of the testimony, Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia reiterated that the discrepancies between the statements and the lack of exaggeration by the witnesses showed that the stories were not being told from a distance. He said that the testimony was used to enlighten the judge and that it was difficult to gather evidence other than testimonial evidence in this case.
The defense then questioned Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia about the rendition and investigation in Liberia. The defense noted that no investigation was conducted to determine when the generator went missing, knowing that the “pay yourself” rule also prevailed during the NPFL occupation. The place where DN’s remains were found, according to witness statements, was not searched either, even though the discovery of the body could have helped the investigation. Given the seriousness of the charges against Kunti Kamara, the defense was vehemently surprised at the manner in which the investigation was conducted by the French authorities. Chief Warrant Officer Peruggia justified himself by stating that such investigative acts had not been requested by the investigating judge in the context of the international letter rogatory and that it was therefore not in his power to carry them out.