Draped in a boubou, her hair turbaned, this woman traveled nearly 5,000 kilometers to evoke the murder accompanied by acts of cannibalism of her husband, one of the crimes for which the ex-rebel Kunti Kamara is appearing before the Assize Court from Paris.
The exact date is vague, as is the age of this woman who is thought to be around 57. But the memories she has of that day are intact.
Liberia was then plunged into a bloody civil war for nearly four years and shots were heard in the village of Foya, in the northwest of the country, where the Ndeminin couple and their children reside.
“We went to take refuge in the bush and my husband went to look for food for the children,” says Ms. Ndeminin via an interpreter. She will never see him again.
Worried after several hours of absence, she goes looking for him and meets residents who, as she passes, start “talking to each other”. “I asked them: what happened to my husband?”, she testifies.
According to the indictment, David Ndeminin was simply wrong to respond to “white men”, humanitarian workers who came to the village to find out who was responsible for the destruction of a local hospital.
This teacher and clergyman had designated the troops of Ulimo, the movement of which Mr. Kamara was a commander and which had then taken control of the north-west of Liberia.
Without knowing it, David Ndeminin had signed his death warrant: in retaliation, according to the indictment, Kunti Kamara would have cut his rib cage with an ax in order to extract his heart and eat it.
Impassive in the box, the 47-year-old ex-rebel, who faces life imprisonment, disputes the facts.
“I was told that they had killed him, cut him into pieces and ate him,” recalls Mary Ndeminin at the bar, who then remembers her cry of terror: “Oh my god. ..”
Even today there remains an inconsolable pain. “I can’t see David anymore. Sometimes he stayed in front of me and we gave each other fish. No one could come and put discord between us,” says the one who still doesn’t know exactly where her husband was buried.
This crime, like all those committed during the civil war (1989-2003), has never been tried in Liberia.
After learning of the death of her husband, another tragedy will strike the same day Mary Ndeminin. When she returns to her children, she realizes that her daughter Abigail has disappeared. She will only find her again several years later. “I cried every day,” she says.
Also coming to Paris for this trial, Abigail does not reveal in detail to the court what she endured during these years away from the family home but she does not hide having been raped several times. “I was 10 to 12 years old,” she slips.
At the hearing, she wanted to project a photo of the smiling face of her father, then in his thirties, to the hearing, but she is not entirely convinced of the interest of this unprecedented trial. in France.
“What’s the point of telling my story again? My father died telling the truth and that’s not going to make him alive again,” she blurts out between sobs.
Very quickly, however, she seems to change her mind. “The only thing that can help us is justice” so that, she assures, “nobody else lives my experience”.