The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Good morning. I note a change of counsel at the Prosecution Bar.

  • Morning, Madam President, your Honours. Brenda J Hollis, Mohamed A Bangura, Shyamala Alagendra and Maja Dimitrova appear today for the Prosecution.

  • Thank you. Mr Griffiths?

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Thank you. Well, there is no witness to be reminded of the oath. I notice your appearances, Mr Griffiths, but apparently the machinery didn't. We will have that recorded properly.

  • Courtenay Griffiths, Terry Munyard and Morris Anyah, your Honours.

  • Thank you. Ms Hollis, please proceed.

  • Your Honours, the next order of business for this morning would be to return to the issue of the admission of exhibits that were marked for identification during the testimony of TF1-371. After discussions with Defence counsel it appears that this will be able to be done in open session.

  • That is very good. We will proceed on then.

  • Thank you, Madam President. The Prosecution would deal with the exhibits marked for identification in order, beginning with MFI-16. This was a single sheet with identifying data relating to the witness. However, the witness subsequently gave that information on the record. The Prosecution does not move for the admission of MFI-16.

  • Thank you. I will note that accordingly.

  • MFI-17, the Prosecution moves for the admission of this exhibit. This is a diagram entitled "NPFL command structure circa 1990 to 1991, as indicated by TF1-371".

  • I have no observations to make regarding this document, your Honour.

  • The document is admitted as prosecution exhibit number --

  • P-54, your Honour.

  • Thank you, P-54. Please proceed, Ms Hollis.

  • [Exhibit P-54 admitted]

  • The Prosecution moves for the admission of MFI-18. This is a diagram entitled "RUF command structure after the invasion of Sierra Leone circa March to June 1991, as indicated by TF1-371".

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Document MFI-18 is admitted in evidence as prosecution exhibit P-55.

  • [Exhibit P-55 admitted]

  • Mr Griffiths, if you could remember to activate your microphone because you are not recorded.

  • I am sorry, your Honour. Your Honours, can I indicate that we may be able to short-circuit this process because as far as I am concerned, I am not interested in raising an objection to any of the documents that the Prosecution are seeking to admit. Any issues that we want to deal with can be dealt with at a much later stage.

  • That is very helpful, Mr Griffiths. Ms Hollis, you have heard Mr Griffiths' observation. As I understand it, and Mr Griffiths will correct me, he is neither consenting nor objecting. Is that correct?

  • That is absolutely right, your Honour, which means we can perhaps go through this process a lot more swiftly. If my learned friend has, for example, a copy of the list of items marked for identification, rather than go through the laborious process of mentioning each one, if we just mark the exhibit number in the right-hand column.

  • That seems practical. Have you any objection, or comment on that, Ms Hollis?

  • As I understand it, your Honour, I will simply indicate the MFI number of the exhibits in composite.

  • I suggest we just look at - take the title of each one for purposes of record, yes.

  • Yes. Some exhibits we will not be tendering, but I will deal with those as I come to them.

    Your Honour, MFI-19, "RUF command structure circa February to October 1996, as indicated by TF1-371".

  • That will become prosecution exhibit P-56.

  • [Exhibit P-56 admitted]

  • MFI-20, transcript of the RUF "Speech to the Nation".

  • That document, transcript of the RUF speech, will become prosecution exhibit P-57.

  • [Exhibit P-57 admitted]

  • MFI-21, the Sierra Leone Gazette dated Thursday, 4 September 1997, the first and second page of that document.

  • MFI-21 headed the "Sierra Leone Gazette" will become prosecution exhibit P-58.

  • [Exhibit P-58 admitted]

  • The Prosecution will not offer MFI-22. MFI-23, "AFRC/RUF junta command structure circa May 25 1997 to February 1998".

  • That document, a one page document headed "AFRC/RUF junta command structure" will become prosecution exhibit P-59.

  • [Exhibit P-59 admitted]

  • MFI-24, diagram headed "AFRC/RUF junta military command structure circa May 25 1997 to February 1998".

  • That one page document headed "AFRC/RUF junta military command structure" becomes prosecution exhibit P-60.

  • [Exhibit P-60 admitted]

  • MFI-25, "Minutes of an emergency council meeting of the AFRC held at State House on Monday, 11 August 1997".

  • That document of four pages headed "AFRC - secret minutes of an emergency council meeting" becomes prosecution exhibit P-61.

  • [Exhibit P-61 admitted]

  • MFI-26, a diagram entitled "AFRC/RUF alliance command structure after the fall of the junta circa March 1998, as indicated by TF1-371".

  • A one page document entitled "AFRC/RUF alliance command structure" becomes a prosecution exhibit P-62.

  • [Exhibit P-62 admitted]

  • MFI-27, a document with the title "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone defence headquarters, 2 December 1998, forum with the external delegates led by the of defence staff".

  • A five page document with a handwritten title "Battle Field Commander RUF/SL and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone" becomes prosecution exhibit P-63.

  • [Exhibit P-63 admitted]

  • The Prosecution will not offer for admission MFI-28. MFI-29, "Statement on the historic return to Freetown, Sierra Leone, of the leaders of the alliance of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, Freetown, Sunday, October 3 1999".

  • A three page document with the start of a title "Statement of the historic return to Freetown, Sierra Leone" becomes prosecution exhibit P-64.

  • [Exhibit P-64 admitted]

  • MFI-30, at the top "Of the organisation" - handwritten - "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, 5 May 1992, letter to his Excellency CIC Charles Ghankay Taylor".

  • A one page document with some handwriting on the top and then "The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone" becomes a prosecution exhibit P-65.

  • [Exhibit P-65 admitted]

  • MFI-31, a document, at the top "Confidential, Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone brigade headquarter - Buedu, 24 June 1998, to his Excellency the President of the Republic of Liberia, Dr Charles G Taylor".

  • That is a one page document with a heading "Confidential" followed by further heading "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone" becomes prosecution exhibit P-66.

  • [Exhibit P-66 admitted]

  • MFI-32, a handwritten document "To the leader, from the Black Revolutionary Guards, situation report" and the numbers stamped at the top for this document begin 00009672. On the last page of the document the number is 00009681.

  • That is a ten page document with an obscure title "Revolutionary" something "of S/Leone (people's arm) to the leader" becomes prosecution exhibit P-67.

  • [Exhibit P-67 admitted]

  • MFI-33A, which is a - 33, which is a composite exhibit comprised of photographs which are given the letters A through J. Do you wish me to go through each photograph?

  • I think, in the circumstances, since they are separate - counsel for the Defence hasn't indicated he wants them separately. I am just thinking for the purposes of record it would be wise to have them separately.

  • Your Honour, I really don't think we need to go through all of that procedure. I think we can accept these photographs as read if it speeds up the process.

  • Madam President, perhaps speed would give way to accuracy in this point and I would go and simply give the number that is stamped on them so there is a clear unique identifier for each.

  • They each have a number so it is important that we record it properly, so if we can go through each number.

  • Quickly, your Honour. 33A, the number on the photograph 00029867.

  • That becomes prosecution exhibit 68A.

  • [Exhibit P-68A admitted]

  • Becomes prosecution exhibit P-68B.

  • [Exhibit P-68B admitted]

  • Becomes prosecution exhibit 68 - excuse me, P-68C.

  • [Exhibit P-68C admitted]

  • 33D has two numbers. I will not give the number that has been struck through, I will give the number that is not struck through. That is P0000827.

  • I am just looking at the list that has been supplied by our Court Management and it says 865. We are talking about the same one, are we?

  • Madam President, 33D is --

  • Your Honour, we are speaking about 33D not 33C, which ends in 865. 33D ends in 827.

  • I thought we were talking about C.

  • No, Madam President.

  • No, 33D, MFI-33D ends in 827.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Therefore, it is true that on the list supplied it is different.

  • For the purposes of clarity I will record that MFI-33D, which is photograph ending in 827, becomes prosecution exhibit 68D.

  • [Exhibit P-68D admitted]

  • Thank you, Madam President. 33E is the photograph P0000847.

  • That photograph becomes prosecution exhibit 68E.

  • [Exhibit P-68E admitted]

  • 33F is a photograph with the number 00029863 on the left side of the photograph.

  • That document becomes prosecution exhibit 68F.

  • [Exhibit P-68F admitted]

  • 33G, I will not give the number that has been struck through. The number is P0000831.

  • That photograph becomes prosecution exhibit 68G.

  • [Exhibit P-68G admitted]

  • 33H, again I will not give the number that has been struck through. The number is P0000835.

  • That document becomes prosecution exhibit 68H.

  • [Exhibit P-68H admitted]

  • 33I, again I will not give the struck through number. The number is P0000828.

  • That document becomes prosecution exhibit P-68I.

  • [Exhibit P-68I admitted]

  • 33J, with the number P0000618.

  • That becomes a prosecution exhibit P-68J.

  • [Exhibit P-68J admitted]

  • The next prosecution exhibit has been marked for identification as 40, 40, and that is "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1132 (1997) adopted by the Security Council at its 3822nd meeting on 8 October 1997".

  • That is a two page document headed "United Nations" and the sub-heading "Security Council", dated 5 June, becomes prosecution exhibit P-69.

  • [Exhibit P-69 admitted]

  • Your Honour, perhaps I misheard. This, I believe, is a four page document.

  • You are quite right, Ms Hollis, it is a four page document.

  • Thank you, Madam President. The next exhibits in order, your Honours, are the Defence exhibits.

  • For the purposes of record the other security resolution will become P-70. Sorry, was that not being tendered?

  • Yes, that is the next one. That was marked as MFI-41, which was "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1171 (1998) adopted by the Security Council at its 3889th meeting on 5 June 1998".

  • Thank you. Now, this is the two page document headed "United Nations" with a sub-heading "Security Council" and that will become prosecution exhibit 70.

  • [Exhibit P-70 admitted]

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Mr Griffiths, we are now turning to some of your MFIs.

  • Your Honour, yes. Your Honour, can we go back to page 1 and commence with MFI-22 which has been discarded by my learned friend and we would like that exhibited, please. MFI-22 is a letter from Johnny Paul Koroma to Charles Taylor seeking assistance for help in the defence of Sierra Leone against ECOMOG forces, dated 3 October 1997.

  • Ms Hollis, you have heard the application?

  • We have no objection.

  • MFI-22, a three page document with the heading "State House, Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone" becomes Defence exhibit D --

  • D-4, your Honour.

  • [Exhibit D-4 admitted]

  • If we then move, please, to the third page of this schedule and it is MFI-34A, a DVD containing a documentary entitled "The Empire in Africa", 1 hour and 27 minutes in length.

  • Ms Hollis?

  • Your Honours, the Prosecution has no objection to this exhibit. The exhibit, however, does raise a trial practice point and that is that the Prosecution were not given advance notice of this exhibit, nor a copy of the exhibit. In the Prosecution's view this is not a matter of Article 17 rights, or the rules of procedure in evidence. Once the Defence determines to provide an exhibit then the question is, under the rules, does the cross-examining party have to give notice and a copy to the other party? It is a trial practice issue and if the determination of the Court is that no such advance notice or copy need be given, then certainly we will follow that. We expect that should the Defence put on a case, that would be the rule for us as well, so it is simply a trial practice a point that we are raising and we do not see it as anything going to fundamental rights of the accused. We do not object to the exhibit.

  • I note that. Do you have a copy of the DVD now?

  • We asked Court Management and were able to get a copy of it.

  • You have heard Ms Hollis, Mr Griffiths.

  • I have heard Ms Hollis, your Honour, and if the submission being made is made in terrorem, in the sense that it is a threat as to actions which the Prosecution might take during the course of the Defence case, then of course we reject that because it seems to us that, given the nature of this exhibit, which is self-explanatory, the suggestion that the Prosecution have somehow been taken by surprise, which must be the foundation for the objection, seems to us to be totally unfounded and we cannot see what disadvantage the Prosecution have suffered as a consequence of not being given a hard copy of that DVD before it was, in fact, shown to the tribunal.

  • Mr Griffiths, do you have an objection to such a practice in principle, whereby either cross-examining party, out of courtesy, extends a copy of whatever document to the other?

  • I have no difficulty with the practice and to be quite frank I was unaware of the nature of the practice, in particular that in this instance, where we are showing a DVD to the whole courtroom, that the Prosecution really require to have seen it beforehand. I find that difficult to comprehend, but of course in future where we are seeking to put a document before the Court, we will endeavour to ensure that the Prosecution are given notice of that document. I apologise to my learned friend if the Prosecution were offended by our failure in this particular instance.

    Your Honour, can I rise, hopefully helpfully, to mention that I am reminded by my learned friend Mr Anyah that there was a court trial management meeting at which it was agreed that exhibits would be provided to the other side on the morning - perhaps it might be best if Mr Anyah dealt with this because he was present at that meeting.

  • We were not. We know nothing about it.

  • Good morning, your Honours, Madam President. We did indeed have a meeting back in December 2007 and at that time there was a disagreement between the parties regarding the practice of how and when exhibits to be used under cross-examination by the Defence would be tendered to the Prosecution. We took the view - and I represented the Defence at that meeting - that on the morning of a cross-examination we would provide to the Prosecution documents that we would use during the examination. It appears that Mr Griffiths has stated on the record today that we will indeed provide such documents and the only issue that remains is the timing, or the time at which we will provide them and our position remains that we will do so on the morning of the cross-examination. Thank you, Madam President.

  • Thank you, Mr Anyah. We are aware of the rules of procedure and evidence that deal with disclosure of evidence and those, of course, will be applied in any dispute. Any other disputes, or questions about notice, et cetera, prior notice of documents, matters that will be tendered, or could be tendered as exhibits, will be dealt with as they arise from case to case. There has been no objection to this particular exhibit and therefore it will become a Defence exhibit D-5. [Microphone not activated] I am reminded. That is the DVD itself entitled "The Empire in Africa" and the transcript thereof, so they will become --

  • I am tendering the transcript as well, your Honour. I overheard that. So, if they can become D-5A and D-5B I would be grateful.

  • Thank you, so they become exhibits D-5A and D-5B.

  • [Exhibit D-5A admitted]

  • [Exhibit D-5B admitted]

  • Madam President, we have no objection to 5B either.

  • I apologise, Ms Hollis, I didn't ask you that before I declared the exhibit number.

  • The next item, your Honour, is MFI-35 which was a handwritten statement by TF1-371 prepared for submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, dated February 2004.

  • No objection, your Honour.

  • I can't remember how many pages this was. I counted them at the time, but it doesn't matter I am sure. It is a handwritten document and it will become prosecution [sic] exhibit D-6.

  • [Exhibit D-6 admitted]

  • Defence exhibit, your Honour.

  • Excuse me, Defence exhibit D-6. That would appear to deal with all the exhibits.

  • No, it doesn't, your Honour. There is also MFI-36 which is the letter dated 12 August 1998 from the Embassy of Liberia, PO Box 80, Conakry, Guinea, from "The Honourable Christopher Minnicon [phon], acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia". It is a two page document, your Honour.

  • The Prosecution does have an issue with this document. The relevance was not established of the document and the witness was unable to assist because the witness was unaware of the document and the trip made by one of the individuals mentioned in the document, to the witness's knowledge was in the same year but for a different purpose, so we do object to this exhibit.

  • Your Honour will see reference in the second paragraph of that letter to Major Kanneh and it was in connection with the timing of Mr Kanneh's arrival in Liberia why we put this document to the witness TF1-371, so it is relevant to that issue.

  • By majority that will be admitted as Defence exhibit D-7.

  • [Exhibit D-7 admitted]

  • The next document, your Honour, is MFI-37 which is a type written document entitled "Unofficial translation, verbatim report on a recorded discussion between Corporal Foday Sankoh and his cohorts on his return from detention in Nigeria in 1999".

  • Ms Hollis?

  • No objection, your Honour. For the record, should they offer MFI-38 and MFI-39 we would have no objections to those either.

  • Thank you. MFI-37, a 16 page document headed "Unofficial translation, verbatim report on recorded discussions" becomes Defence exhibit D-8.

  • [Exhibit D-8 admitted]

  • We do offer MFI-38, your Honour, which are excerpts from "The salute report to the leader of the revolution from Major General Sam Bockarie".

  • MFI-38, a 14 page document headed "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone RUF S/L defence headquarters" becomes Defence exhibit D-9.

  • [Exhibit D-9 admitted]

  • Finally, your Honours, MFI-39, which is a handwritten transcript of a Sierra Leone police interview conducted with witness TF1-371 on 2 June 2000.

  • Ms Hollis, you have heard the - you did not object to that one. Thank you.

  • That completes the exhibits, your Honour.

  • This is a photocopy of a lengthy document headed "The Sierra Leone police force". MFI-39 becomes exhibit D-10.

  • [Exhibit D-10 admitted]

    Thank you. I note that completes the exhibits for both the Defence and the Prosecution. I am grateful to counsel for their cooperation in this matter. If there are no other matters we will proceed to the next witness, Ms Hollis.

  • Madam President, the next witness will be TF1-026. This witness will testify subject to protective measures including a screen, voice and face distortion and no use of the name of this witness but rather reference by TF number. Also, this witness will be testifying in Krio.

  • For the purposes of record I note that these measures were from a previous - Ms Hollis, for purposes of record only, I am noting that the protective measures you have stipulated, or specified, are as a result of an order.

  • That is correct, Madam President. It is a decision dated 5 July 2004.

  • Madam President, I will be undertaking the examination of the witness for the Defence. I did want to make an observation, if it please the Court, regarding the protective measures. The Court Officer advised me yesterday of how the process would work vis-a-vis the voice distortion measure. I am told that following every question we interpose to the witness we are supposed to turn off our microphones before she responds, or else it increases the likelihood that her real voice will be revealed, or disclosed. I don't know how long the examination of this witness will take, but in future cases, where we are talking about a few days of witness evidence, I wonder if the Court could enquire whether in the future the technicians would be able to correct this problem so that there is some rhythm to the examination, rather than after every question the microphone is turned off and on. That would be one issue.

    Then the second issue would be I would indicate to the Prosecution that I will be mindful of this procedure, but perhaps the witness might be instructed also, in the event an objection is interposed, or in the event somebody seeks to correct the transcript, that she perhaps hold off responding, if she were in the course of giving a response, until the Court addresses the issues.

  • Normally there is only one microphone on at a time, or should be only one microphone on at a time, isn't that - that is the way it should be, so that should, in theory, not be a problem, Mr Anyah.

  • I understand the Court's position. I see Justice Sebutinde wishes to - I will hold on.

  • Court Management, will we have these technical problems?

  • Your Honour, this is the standard practice in all tribunals for voice distortion measures. The fact that all the microphones are in one room raises the chance of the witness's voice leaking over one of the microphones, so for voice distortion to be effective in all tribunals the microphones of the counsel and the Chamber have to be switched off if the witness is to respond so that voice distortion can take effect.

  • Mr Anyah, and I am not sure who is leading this witness for the Prosecution, we will have to ensure these microphones are off despite the problems that - or the practical problems that may arise.

    Is the witness here and we had better get this screen opened, closed, or - before the witness is brought in can you please ensure that the screen and the other protective measures are in place. Is the Krio interpreter in place?

  • Yes, your Honours.

  • Your Honour, in addition we would request that the people sitting on the extreme end should not, under any circumstances, go to the witness cam because that could reflect the face of the witness. So, that means Mr Munyard's computer, Ms Hollis and Ms Maja should have their screens off so that the witness's face does not leak to the public gallery.

  • Madam President, may I say something about that because I was one of the parties who took part in the experiment about these screens. I can't remember now who it was from the Prosecution, but there was Court Officer Mr Romans, I should say Legal Officer, Senior Legal Officer Mr Romans, myself and one of the Prosecution advocates and we went through into the public gallery mainly to see if there could be any reflection in the screen behind the Bench and we were all satisfied that there could be no reflection of a face there to anyone in the public gallery, but we also were concerned about these two extreme end computer screens and we were assured by security, by the Head of Security, who was with us in the course of this experiment that it would only be if somebody in the public gallery came and stood over here, in other words beyond the seating, that they would be able to peer in. They would have to be literally behind where I am sitting and behind where Ms Hollis is sitting. Now, nobody is allowed to go there. Members of the public are not allowed to go there and they have to sit down when they are in the public gallery. I will undertake - let me put it this way: I will avoid using the witness camera. I very rarely do use the witness camera, in fact. One of the benefits of sitting here, even with this curtain up, is that you can see sufficiently and I have to say today, as I am not involved in this particular cross-examination, I will not be having - there will be no need for me to be looking at the witness, but as far as the danger that Madam Court Officer has adverted to, it is highly unlikely and indeed it should not be possible that anybody would be in a position to look in there. It would only be if a serious error was made on the part of the security staff having conduct of the security of the public gallery. I am telling you all of that for your information. I am not saying we should or should not have our screens on or off on the witness camera, but we did take quite some time to test these potential problems in the public gallery and certainly, on the face of it, there should not be the danger that Madam Court Officer has quite rightly raised as a matter of concern. I don't think, in practical terms, it does pose the danger that was suggested.

  • Thank you for that.

  • May I add to that, please. The Prosecution's recollection of that particular point is somewhat different, in that if you were to stand there you could see, but also persons seated on the edges in the front can also see, so certainly we will be very mindful of that and not do that.

  • I am sorry --

  • You were speaking on the position of the Defence, were you, Mr Munyard, not on behalf of the Prosecution?

  • Your Honour, we went to - well, I went to both ends to look. Certainly, from what I could see, it was extremely unlikely and the only really position that would give you a view of the screen was if you came and stood by the window. Nobody is allowed to stand by the window. Can I say I am not going to put my witness camera on and so I will not be looking at any image of the witness, but I just wanted the Court to know that the danger that has been adverted to is minimal, in our view, in the light of the experiment we conducted and if the security in the public gallery - well, one thing they could do is they could just make sure that everybody in the public gallery, of whom there are very few and usually are very few when there is a protected witness giving evidence, are seated in the middle of the public gallery.

  • I understand this witness has face distortion in any event.

  • I have nothing further to add because I just wanted you to know that from my experience the danger is minimal. I am obviously not suggesting that we should be lax in any way, but I do feel that the danger of such exposure is minimal in the extreme and there is a very simple step that can be taken with the very small number of people that come to the public gallery for these sort of sessions: If they are kept in the middle the danger is completely obviated.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard, Ms Hollis for those observations and if it is necessary we will have the - ask that the public do not sit at the edge. Please have the witness sworn.