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

  • Welcome back, Mr Witness. There will be some questions for you from counsel for the Defence. I want to remind you of something that was said many times when you were giving your evidence-in-chief and that is to try and speak slowly. You may recall that we had problems when you spoke too quickly and you may recall also my learned colleague, Justice Sebutinde, tried to slow you down by giving you a little hand signal. If you see a hand signal from any of us, it means you should try and speak more slowly. Do you understand?

  • Yes.

  • Very good. Mr Munyard, please proceed.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Sorry, Mr Koumjian is on his feet.

  • I do apologise for the disruption and it may not be necessary, but because we all tend to forget I just wanted to remind everyone, including the witness, that there are certain protective measures in place that names should not be used and because of voice distortion counsel and we all need to turn off our microphones when the witness is testifying. I know I've already discussed this with counsel that I had made a motion to put a lot of evidence into closed session and he's indicated - or private session that when he gets to those areas he would also do that. I appreciate - he would move into private session. I appreciate that, thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian. Yes, Mr Munyard, please proceed.

  • I'm grateful to my learned friend for reminding us, and in my case particularly, of the need to turn off the microphone when the witness is answering. My learned friend did approach me on Monday and asked if I was going to deal with the subjects that he didn't deal with following the Court's ruling that those subjects would be dealt with in open session, rather than in private session. I will be dealing with some of those and I expect to deal with those in open session. If I touch on any of the areas that the Court ruled should be in private session, then I'll indicate that I'm about to and invite the Court to go into private session for those areas.

  • Thank you, your Honour. I didn't understand that from what counsel told me Monday and so let me please ask that before that happens I get an opportunity to address the Court on a couple of bases on whether it's beyond the scope of the direct examination, and secondly I don't - in reviewing the basis I gave for the closed session I see that I did not fully explain the witness's basis for the closed session and there are some additional matters on those issues that were denied that I would like to make the Court aware of when we get to it.

  • Mr Koumjian, if an application is made you will be given an opportunity to fully respond.

  • Mr Witness, have you ever been paid by the Prosecution for giving them information?

  • Are you quite sure about that?

  • You have never been paid money by the Prosecution for giving them information?

  • All right. Now the very first information that you gave the Prosecution, that is to say the name that you gave them and I don't want to know it, but the very first name you gave them was false, wasn't it?

  • You mean the witness's own name?

  • Yes.

  • Without putting it on record.

  • Yes, I'm so sorry. Your Honour, absolutely right:

  • I'm now talking about the name you told the Prosecution was your name.

  • Yes, it was a false name.

  • Why did you give them a false name when you were first interviewed by them?

  • Because the person who went and called me and said that somebody wanted to talk to me, he did not say that Special Court people wanted to talk to me. He said my friend wanted to talk to me.

  • Your Honours, could the witness be advised to slow down again.

  • The interpreter says you're going too quickly, Mr Witness. We again remind you. Mr Interpreter, do you require a repetition of any of that answer?

  • Yes, your Honours, the last bit of it.

  • Please continue your answer, Mr Witness, where you said, "He said my friend wanted to talk to me." Continue from there, please.

  • Somebody went and called me and said that one of our friends came from Ivory Coast. He wanted to talk to us in Roberts Hotel. He said we should go and talk to them, but when I went there I met a series of white people. They said they were from the Special Court. At that time I was afraid, so when they asked me for my name I gave them a false name.

  • The Roberts Hotel is in Monrovia, is it?

  • It's not Roberts Hotel. I did not say Roberts Hotel. Royal Hotel. Royal Hotel.

  • The Royal Hotel. And the Royal Hotel is in Monrovia, isn't it?

  • Yes, in Monrovia, Sinkor.

  • Was it called the Royal Hotel at the time you first spoke to the Prosecution there?

  • At that time and before the hotel was called Hotel Boulevard.

  • Right, so let me understand this. Somebody went and called you and said that one of your friends had come from the Ivory Coast and wanted to speak to you. Who was it who went and called you and told you someone from the Ivory Coast wanted to speak to you?

  • Varmuyan Sherif.

  • Right. You knew Varmuyan Sherif at that time, did you?

  • Did you know him well?

  • I know him very well.

  • Mr Munyard, I've just had a notification that you're not always switching off your microphone.

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • That doesn't preclude you from using it now.

  • This is a good friend of yours, Varmuyan Sherif, and you are telling these judges that when he asked you to go and meet a lot of white people from the Court he didn't tell you in advance that that was what the meeting was going to consist of? Is that what you're telling these judges to believe?

  • Yes.

  • So you felt cheated by Varmuyan Sherif, did you, when you turned up and there was a lot of white people from the Court?

  • Yes, he played on me. Yes.

  • Is any of this true?

  • Which one? I don't understand.

  • That Varmuyan Sherif played on you and didn't tell you that this was what the meeting was all about?

  • No, he did not disclose about any meeting to me.

  • Was he present at the meeting?

  • Yes. At first he entered, but later he left.

  • And did he introduce you to these white people?

  • Yes, he said, "This is [Redacted]".

  • I think that will have to be redacted.

  • Please have that line redacted. Mr Witness, we notice your reaction. We're having that taken off the record. It will not be broadcast. It will not be written. Only we have heard it. To repeat for the purposes of record, Mr Witness, we saw your reaction and we realise what you have done. That record will be changed. It will not be sent out. It will not be broadcast. If there are any monitors in the Court or any members of the public in the public gallery, a pseudonym was mentioned. It is not to be repeated. It is not to be recorded.

  • And who did Varmuyan Sherif introduce you to?

  • I don't recall the name of the man any more.

  • You told us there were white people. How many of them?

  • I think there were three white and a black at that time.

  • And did you ever see any of those people again in any of the other 24 occasions when you were interviewed by members of the Prosecution?

  • Yes, I can recall.

  • Can you help us with which ones you met on the first occasion interviewed you on any of the other occasions?

  • I think it was Robert Hotston - Rob Hotston, something like that. I can't recall the white man's name again. I don't know how to pronounce it properly, but I think that is it.

  • And what about the other two white people and the black person, are they all male or were any of them women?

  • There was a woman amongst them.

  • A white woman, or a black woman?

  • White woman.

  • Did she ever interview you again?

  • I don't remember any more.

  • Are you able to remember when this first meeting at the Boulevard, now the Royal, Hotel took place?

  • I can only remember the events that took place at that time and the time. I think it was around 2005 and that was the time we were running the campaign for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

  • We'll come back to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in due course, but try to remember when the campaign was taking place. What part of 2005?

  • I can only remember that it was in August, September and October that we were running campaign. I think so, but I cannot recall the actual month.

  • At that meeting were you interviewed; and by "interviewed" I mean did they ask you a number of questions and did they write down your answers?

  • Yes, they asked me some questions and they wrote it down.

  • Did they read it back to you so that you were able to make sure they had correctly written down what you said?

  • At that first time even if they had read it out to me I did not even pay attention to them, so I was just listening to them. I did not pay any attention to them for the first time.

  • Well did they read it back to you or didn't they, regardless of whether you paid any attention?

  • At the first time they did not read out anything to me. They just asked me questions and they wrote everything down. Then they said they will see me next time, I said, "Okay", and I did not have time for that.

  • When they next saw you did they write down and read back to you what you had told them?

  • The second time, no.

  • But do you know the place where they met with me for the third time? Before I answer the question I would want to know if you know the place where we met for the third time.

  • We'll come back to the place in a moment. I simply want to find out whether you remember the Prosecutors ever reading back to you the notes they had taken of what you told them. Did they ever read back the notes to you so that you could ensure they had made a correct note of what you told them?

  • The reason why I asked the question is because the third time they met me was the time I was arrested by the NSA and they said I - I even said I was not ready to talk much with them and they did not talk much with me in fact and they did not even read out anything to me. They did not say plenty things to me because I said at that time I did not want to talk to them.

  • Right. So we now have three occasions when they interview and take notes of what you've told them but don't read them back to you, is that right?

  • I don't understand the question.

  • You have told us in answer to my questions just now that on the first time they didn't read the notes back to you, on the second time they didn't read the notes back to you and on the third time you've just said, "They did not even read anything out to me." That means that on the first three occasions they interviewed you they didn't read back the notes to you. That's what you're saying, yes?

  • Yes.

  • Did they ever in any of - on any of the 24 separate dates on which they interviewed you, did they ever read back the notes that they took of what you were telling them?

  • And when did they start to do that, on your version of events?

  • That was the time they brought me to Freetown.

  • At what age do you say you were abducted by the RUF?

  • 11 years.

  • Had you been to school up to that time?

  • In what languages were you taught at school?

  • From what age did you attend school up to the time you were abducted at age 11?

  • I don't know the age at which I went to school. I don't know the age.

  • How many years had you been in school by the time you were abducted at age 11?

  • Six years.

  • After you were abducted, at some point you have told us in evidence you had some lessons from the RUF. That's right, isn't it?

  • Were you at some time made to read passages of Colonel Gaddafi's Little Green Book by the RUF?

  • The Green Book. They called it the Revolutionary Green Book. They said it was from Libya, from Mohamed Gaddafi. Yes, I read that one.

  • In what language?

  • In English. Everything was in English.

  • So you speak good English, do you?

  • The English that I can speak is what I am speaking here. I don't have any other English. As you hear me speaking I don't have it above that and I don't have it below that. That is what I am speaking here.

  • When you were in school in Sierra Leone and when you were in the hands of the RUF being taught lessons in English, that was all in Sierra Leone, wasn't it?

  • Objection. The witness has not stated he was taught by the RUF in English.

  • Yes, I was going to make the same observation. He said the book was written in English.

  • He said everything was in English when I asked questions about his lessons and, in particular, Gaddafi's Green Book. "Everything was in English". It's at line 13 on page 12 of my font.

  • I have a record in English, everything was in English as a question, and then I don't have an answer to that on record. What did you say - what did the witness say in answer to that, because the next thing I've got is another question, "So, you speak good English."

  • Yes. I was asking questions generally about lessons, and in particular about the green book, and he said, "The green book was in English. Everything was in English." I'll clarify that with the witness, if I may?

  • I think it would be best, because the record I have here in front of me is ambiguous.

  • All your lessons in the RUF were conducted in English, weren't they, Mr Witness?

  • So what did you mean when you said to me, "English. Everything was in English"?

  • Objection. Counsel is quoting his question, I believe, isn't he?

  • No, I'm quoting his answer.

  • Question: "In English? Everything was in English?", is one question I see. If there's another answer, then I've missed it.

  • Allow me to go back and --

  • That was a question of the witness in my font, page 12. It is the question of Mr Munyard, line 11, page 12, "In English? Everything was in English?" That was not the answer.

  • I accept that. I have to say I thought it was the answer, but if I'm wrong I'm happy to try and clarify it.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard.

  • So, what was taught in English apart from the green book?

  • The green book when they read it they would read it in English and they would interpret it, because there were people who did not understand English and so they would interpret it into Krio to them, but some of us who were able to read a little bit when they spoke the English we would understand. That was why I said everything was in English.

  • But up to the age of 11 from the age of five you had been taught in English at school for six whole years. The years from age five to 11 you'd been taught in English. That's what you told us, yes?

  • Yes, but in the case of African English when we go to the school compound we speak English, but when we come home we speak either Krio or Mende. So our English that we used to speak was maybe just for three hours because in school we speak English, but when we come back home we speak Mende or Krio. In Africa that is what our English is. So that is what I'm referring to, English in school.

  • All right. Was anything else taught in English by the RUF apart from the green book?

  • RUF was an organisation. We had so many things. I cannot just say this and this except if you specify it and say this is what you want, but I cannot be able to answer that question now.

  • I'll try it again. Were you taught anything other than Gaddafi's green book in English in your lessons with the RUF?

  • Yes, sometimes when we went for class, for normal classes, because some of us wanted to upgrade ourselves at that time and so when we went for classes some people will bring books and read them to us, normal English lesson books, and they would read them out to us.

  • And at what age were you when you went to live in Liberia?

  • The first time I crossed into Liberia to Gbarnga I was 18. I went there and I stayed there in '99 and I was 18 years at that time. My first time was 18 years.

  • And when in '99 did you go and stay there?

  • After the invasion by Mosquito Spray. I don't know the actual month, but the invasion of Mosquito Spray.

  • The invasion of Mosquito Spray into where?

  • Kolahun, Voinjama in Liberia.

  • Right. So until you were 18 you lived in Sierra Leone, you had learned English and you continued to learn English whilst you were in the RUF, yes?

  • Yes, but at that time I never used to speak English the way I speak it presently.

  • From 1999 you were living in Liberia until when?

  • 2005.

  • And what is the language that you most commonly speak in now?

  • Liberian English.

  • Even in Sierra Leone?

  • In Sierra Leone everywhere when I'm speaking people call me I'm a Liberian man, but most times I tell them, "No, I'm a Sierra Leonean", yes.

  • Now, back to the first meeting that you had with the Prosecution. Robert Hotston you say was one of the people there. Did he introduce himself? Did he tell you what his job was?

  • Yes. When I entered there, yes, he introduced himself, yes.

  • And what did he tell you his job was?

  • He told me that he was from the Special Court for Sierra Leone and I said, "Hey", and he said he was there to investigate to know what was going on. He said he was there to investigate, because he just told me that he was there to investigate about the Taylor case and I asked him "What?", and he said, "The Taylor case", and I said, "Okay".

  • So this came as a complete surprise to you, did it?

  • Your friend Varmuyan Sherif hadn't mentioned a word about you being about to meet a group of investigators from the Special Court who wanted to talk to you about the Taylor case?

  • No, the man surprised me. He just told me that somebody from Ivory Coast was there and wanted to talk to me. He said he was one of our bosses. I even thought it was Benjamin Yeaten, but when I went there I saw lots of white people and so I even had a problem with him for that.

  • Had you yourself been to the Ivory Coast?

  • When did you go to the Ivory Coast and for how long; I mean before you met these people in August, September or October of 2005?

  • I just went to the Ivory Coast for a day.

  • When and for what purpose?

  • There was a problem between Sam Bockarie and the Liberian government because of the death of the late brother of Benjamin Yeaten, Busy Boy, so they sent us there to go and do some investigations. The Liberian government sent us. That was the purpose for which I went there.

  • When was that?

  • I think it was 2002.

  • And who was it you were expecting to meet from the Ivory Coast when you went to this hotel and found out that in fact you were meeting with the Prosecution in this case?

  • The first person I expected, like the man told me, he said --

  • Your Honours, could the witness slow down. The name he called is not clear to the interpreter.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter is not hearing the names you're saying clearly enough. Please speak slowly and please repeat. Pick up your answer from where you said, "The first person I expected, like the man told me, he said". Continue from there.

  • The person I was expecting was Gen [phon] Soro, the rebel leader for Ivory Coast, and the second person I was expecting was Benjamin Yeaten.

  • Mr Munyard, do you have a spelling of this gentleman, Gen Soro?

  • Mr Witness, are you able to spell the name Gen Soro that you've just mentioned?

  • No, no, no, no.

  • Mr Witness, could you say the name again.

  • That name is an Ivorian name, Gen Soro, but the name used to be over the BBC. Gen Soro.

  • Now at this time you were actively involved in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's election campaign, weren't you?

  • I don't understand the question.

  • What was it you were doing for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in her campaign?

  • We were running campaign for her.

  • Yes, what precisely was your job in running the campaign?

  • I was one of the youth organisers.

  • And were you being paid for that?

  • Were you earning any sort of money at that time?

  • Yes, when we were ready to go and run campaign they would give us money, because like me they used to send me to Nimba County. I would go there, they would give me transport, or sometimes they give me money to buy gas to put it into the motorbike I was using at that time, yes.

  • Were they paying for your accommodation and your food, the Johnson-Sirleaf campaign?

  • I had a place to sleep for myself. I was paying for myself, but when we were going to for the campaign we would go to the hotel. By the time we were campaigning for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf they used to give me food money and they paid for the hotel.

  • So they were paying for you to live and to eat and to travel at that time, yes?

  • I don't understand what you mean by living it.

  • They were paying for you for a place for you to sleep in the hotel, they were giving you food money, they were giving you gas to put in your motorbike. You were living off the Johnson-Sirleaf campaign then, were you?

  • Living off? I don't understand this question. I'm unable to understand this question. Maybe the interpreter is not interpreting well, but I have not been able to understand the question.

  • Are you saying that you don't understand my English?

  • It might not be you. It might be the interpreter. He might not be interpreting properly, because I had pay off or what off, I have not been able to understand that.

  • Let me put it in another way.

  • It's not really your English, Mr Munyard. He's not hearing that. He's hearing an interpretation.

  • Let me put it another way. Were you earning money from any other source at the time that the Johnson-Sirleaf campaign was paying for you to stay in the hotel, giving you food, money and gas for your motorbike? Did you have any other source of income apart from that?

  • Yes.

  • I have a house in Liberia, Ganta. It is under rent for me. I built the house myself in Ganta and I have motorbikes that are running for me in Ganta in Liberia. And from that even at the Sierra Leone Embassy the ambassador at that time, Patrick Foya, he used to give me money because I used to work for him. I was making money in Liberia.

  • And then you were making more money from the Prosecution when you gave them information, weren't you?

  • I don't know what you call more money, because the money that they used to give to me I always tell them that this is just pocket change and you are calling it more money. The money was too small that they used to give to me. Sometimes they would say transport and even sometimes when I spent the whole day with them they just give me small thing. If you compare that to what I make daily by myself by doing my works around it's not up to that.

  • What sort of money were you making daily from your rented house and your motorbikes and the handouts from the Sierra Leonean ambassador?

  • That one is my personal issue. I cannot disclose to you what my budget is or what I make every day, but I was making more money because even in the case of the motorbikes when they run per days sometimes they give me $20 per day which is 1,000 Liberian dollars and they give me USD, so I cannot actually disclose to you what I make per day because it's my personal business.

  • Mr Witness, it doesn't matter whether it's your personal business, I'm asking you the question and I request that you answer it.

  • No, I can't answer that question.

  • Mr Witness, when you say, "I cannot answer the question" do you mean you are refusing to answer the question, or do you mean you do not have adequate figures to give a round sum, because if you are refusing I am now telling you you must answer it.

  • No, I don't have figures to give. I am not refusing to answer the question, but at this stage I cannot calculate everything to a particular figure to say that this is what I make per day. But I used to make more money, but I'm unable to give the actual figure now, but I was making money.

  • Mr Munyard, it may - I obviously am not going to tell you how to run your cross-examination but in the light of what he says we may have to break down these various items of sources of income that he has.

  • Your Honour, with respect, I agree and I have to say I did not understand his first two replies to me to mean, "I can't calculate". I understood "it's a personal matter" to mean, "I'm not prepared to tell you", but I'll move on.

  • I had a slightly different slant on it. I must say I found it quite an ambiguous answer and to me it conveyed something slightly different to what it conveyed to you. However, you are still entitled to an answer and for example - well --

  • If I could just interject an objection on the basis of the relevance. I think the relevance of this whole matter is so tangential as to not justify the questions. And that being these payments - the point is that the witness, whether he received money from a campaign or Johnson-Sirleaf and he's indicated he received some money. The amount of money he was getting outside of that, how that relates to how important - obviously it has some relation to how important it was to him, the money he received from the Johnson-Sirleaf campaign. That has so little relevance, in our opinion, to the testimony of this witness that it should not be admitted.

  • Mr Koumjian, counsel for the Defence has moved off from the income from the Johnson campaign and is referring to the monies received from the OTP and you're aware of the witness's answer and in the light of that I allow the question as put.

  • Did you ever get more than $20 a day from renting out motorbikes?

  • Yes, more than that.

  • How much more than that?

  • I told you that each motorbike gives me 1,000 Liberian dollars each day which is equivalent to $20 USD and I had three motorbikes, three bikes running for me. So it's like I was making $60 per day from the bikes and I had different things to do. I was not riding the bikes and I had some other things to do. I had people who were helping me.

  • Are you saying you made 60 US dollars every day renting out three motorbikes?

  • I'm not making up a story, yes.

  • And then you had to pay the people who were helping you out, as you put it, didn't you?

  • You can only ask what we used to do. They had a day for themselves, Saturday. They run for me for five days, on Saturday it would be their own day and Sundays we'll be there to maintenance the bikes, so I don't used to pay them. They already had a day to run for themselves.

  • And the house in Ganta, how much were you earning by renting the house?

  • The house in Ganta, I rent it for $300 for six months. $300 for six months. $600 for a year.

  • Yes, USD. USD, yes.

  • So you were earning all of this money from these sources and all that the Prosecution were giving you was occasional money for transport costs. Is that right?

  • Yes, Prosecution used to give me money at any time they called me and they would give me a small amount of money. They would tell me that they are not paying me, but this is your transport. And sometimes when we were there they would give me money and say, "This is your breakfast" or, "Go and take lunch" and I accept it.

  • What did you mean when you said, "They would tell me they are not paying me"?

  • They knew what they were talking about. I did not know what they were talking about. They would say, "Oh, we are not paying you, but have this, it's your transport", because I did not ask them for money. They would say come, write here, this is your transport. Sometimes they would give me $50 or $20 just like that.

  • Sorry, $50 or $20. Are we talking US dollars here?

  • Yes, we are talking about US dollars, yes. It's in US dollars.

  • So what transport would cost you 50 US dollars, Mr Witness?

  • From Monrovia - from Monrovia to Ganta, $10 to go, $10 to come back, and from Hotel Boulevard to go to Red Light to take transport maybe you pay 30 Liberian dollars, so they just give me a rough estimated amount. And out of the $50 if you are paying to go to Ganta you would pay maybe $25 to go and come, to and from, and the remaining $25, when I spent a whole day with them I would need to eat.

  • You could eat a lot in Ganta for 25 US dollars, couldn't you?

  • One piece of pizza is more than $25 in Liberia.

  • US dollars for one piece of pizza?

  • US dollars, yes.

  • Yes, yes, pizza, yes.

  • Hang on. Wait for me to finish the question before you start interrupting and laughing. Are you seriously telling this Court that a piece of pizza in Ganta costs more than $25 US?

  • In Monrovia, not in Ganta. Monrovia. Monrovia. Yes, in Monrovia. And I can locate the areas to you for you to make a background investigation.

  • So it would cost more than the rent of one of your motorbikes for a whole day just to eat a piece of pizza?

  • When you bring me to Monrovia I would have to eat, eat good food, yes, but from the money I get from my motorbikes I cannot take that to go and buy pizza, but in Ganta I eat what I eat, but at any time I come to Monrovia when - I eat what I want to eat because like I'm here, they brought me here, when you bring me here you have to feed me. What I want to eat is what I ask for, it's what I eat.

  • Did they give you money that first time they saw you when the investigator, Mr Hotston, and the other people met you?

  • Where had you come from to meet them?

  • From a very short place. It was Aisha Conneh's house right around Sinkor, 14th Street. I just crossed over the street. I did not even take transport to meet them.

  • Mr Witness, could you please repeat the name, Aisha somebody.

  • Aisha Conneh. Sekou Damate Conneh's wife.

  • And you were paid 50 US dollars for crossing the road to go and meet them?

  • They did not tell me it was a pay, but it was because they delayed me there and I told them I was to go to somewhere. It was not a payment.

  • All you were doing at that time was campaigning for Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf, wasn't it?

  • I don't understand the question.

  • What don't you understand about it?

  • What I was doing, if it was just to campaign for Johnson-Sirleaf, I don't understand what you mean about that.

  • Well, in Ganta you had somebody else renting out your motorbikes, you had your house rented. You were in Monrovia and you've told us that what you were occupied with at that time was campaigning for Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf who was putting you up in a hotel, giving you money for food and giving you money for your motorbike gas. So you weren't doing anything else apart from that, were you, to earn money when the Prosecution gave you 50 US dollars for crossing the road to meet them?

  • I'm unable to answer that question. I was there running the campaigns but at the same time there were activities going on. It was campaign time, so everybody was running campaign. All of us were campaigning, but that does not mean that the business I was doing was blocked because of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's campaign, no. And at that time when campaign is going on, Africa, in our politics, when campaign is going on, people like us, we make more money because people meet us so we make more money at that time. And I think at that time I was making money.

  • And nevertheless you gave a false name to the people who gave you 50 US dollars for coming to talk to them, yes?

  • How were they able to confirm that the information you were giving them was correct if they couldn't find out who you really were?

  • Ask that question again, please.

  • How would the Prosecution who interviewed you on that occasion be able to check the accuracy of what you were telling them if they couldn't even know who you really were?

  • I only understand - what I understand from that is that when Varmuyan Sherif went and told them that this was the person that you were looking for, and at that time after I had given them the false name I thought they were going to forget about me, but they confirmed after I was arrested by the NSA, they later knew that this was the actual person that they were looking for. I think that was the time they were confused. I don't know why they were confused, but they were professional people, they knew how to do their things.

  • Did Varmuyan Sherif tell them who the real person was that he was --

  • Your Honours, the interpreter would want to make a correction.

  • Yes, Mr interpreter?

  • That was the time they were convinced that this was the actual person, instead of the word "confused".

  • I see. Thank you, Mr Interpreter.

  • Did your friend Varmuyan Sherif tell the investigators the real name of the person who he was bringing to meet them in the Boulevard Hotel?

  • Objection, calls for speculation, what Varmuyan Sherif said to someone else.

  • Well, the witness can answer what he knows.

  • He can only answer what he knows, if he knows. On the basis that it's a question if he knows, I will allow it. Maybe rephrase it, Mr Munyard, in view of the --

  • I'll ask the question again in a different way:

  • When Varmuyan Sherif brought you in to the Boulevard Hotel, did he introduce you by name to these Prosecution investigators?

  • By my nickname. Nobody knew my real name. It was by my nickname. And even amongst my friends they would ask me what my name was and I would tell them this or that. Everybody knew my nickname, but they did not know my real name.

  • I don't want you to give the nickname, but is the nickname that he introduced you by the name that you mentioned to us earlier?

  • So the Prosecution knew from that first meeting who you were at least by your nickname, yes?

  • Yes, because I later confirmed it from them. I asked them how they managed to get on to me. They said through investigations people used to call my name to them. So, that was what I asked them myself. I said, "How did you manage to get to me? How did you manage to know my name?", and then they explained to me that it was through other people that they were able to get on to me and I said, "Okay, well it's fine."

  • How did they come to see you a second time?

  • I can't remember again really. I can't remember.

  • Did you meet them at the same place?

  • I don't actually remember where I met them for the second time because they used to change the hotels.

  • How did they get in touch with you the second time? Was it by telephone, or did they come and see you where you were staying as part of - where you were staying in Monrovia?

  • The second time somebody told me that white people went around my area where I was staying in Monrovia, but they did not see me. The following day they used one of my friend - I think I don't want to call his name. They used him to get on to me, yes, and they called me over phone. By then I was in Ganta and, when I came to my house, they told me that some white people came around here. I told them that next time if they want to get on to me they should call me on my telephone number and so I gave them my telephone number, but I told them not to go to my house.

  • So after the second interview you were expecting them to interview you again, is that right?

  • The efforts they made to look for me for the second time, I expected that they would look for me the third time. Yes, I was expecting that, but I did not actually have much confidence in them at that time.

  • What do you mean you didn't have much confidence in them?

  • They told me that I should give a statement to come and testify against President Taylor, but that was not even in my mind. I was not thinking about that. I did not even think I was going to do that. I was just talking to them for some reasons, but I was not thinking about that and I was not willing to come and testify at that time.

  • Is that because you were busy trying to recruit mercenaries to go and fight in the Ivory Coast at the time of the second interview?

  • Witness, just before you answer that, I think it's important now to record this, that the witness broke out into laughter when that question was asked and that he has broken out into laughter several times during his cross-examination. Now, that is an important feature when one comes to consider his demeanour.

    Go ahead, Mr Munyard. Would you mind asking that question again, please.

  • Not at all, your Honour:

  • Were you not willing to come and testify at that time and not thinking about it because you were busy trying to recruit mercenaries to go and fight in the Ivory Coast?

  • I was not recruiting mercenaries. I knew that the people who said that were accusing me falsely, but I was not recruiting mercenaries. They only decided to go and detain me for the same President Taylor business. That was all. I was not recruiting mercenaries. It was not because of that, anyway. I was not just willing at that time. I was not convinced to testify against him, President Taylor.

  • What was the reason why you were arrested by the National Security Agency?

  • Up to the present moment, I don't have any good reason. I don't know about any good reason. For me they just abused my rights, they held me, they went and detained me, because they said the constitution said in Liberia when you arrest somebody for three days he should be taken to court. I demanded that I be taken to court, but they just held me there.

    Whilst I was there I later understood that it was because of President Taylor's business, and they said we were strong people there for him and they decided to arrest me and if we were outside we would serve as threat to them, so they decided to go and keep me inside. And after that, after they had arrested him at the Cameroon border - after they had arrested him at the Cameroon border that was the day they released me and when they released me they took me to the Ministry of Justice.

    So when they said they had arrested President Taylor they said there was no reason for me to be outside. They took me back to the jail. But after they had brought him to Freetown they decided to release me, but I knew within myself that it was because of his own business that I was arrested and so I did not see any reason for which I was detained. They did not tell me anything. I was detained.

  • Were you released after President Taylor was sent to Freetown on the understanding that you would now cooperate fully with the Office of the Prosecution in their prosecution of him?

  • I do not understand that question.

  • Were you released as part of a deal that you would now cooperate fully with the Prosecution and give them more information against President Taylor?

  • No, no, no, no, no, no.

  • Because you had not been fully cooperative in the previous two interviews, had you?

  • What is not so? I do not understand that question.

  • Do you agree that you had answered - sorry, do you maintain that you had answered all questions in full in the two previous interviews that you'd had with the Prosecution?

  • They asked me questions and I answered them, but within myself I knew that I was not giving them the right answers. Most of the answers I was giving them were not right.

  • Had you refused to give them answers to any of their questions in either of the two previous interviews?

  • So you were not cooperating in the two previous interviews and you only started cooperating fully after you were released following President Taylor's transfer to Freetown, yes?

  • Let us just try and understand the time scale of these events. You told us in your evidence a long time back now, some eight weeks ago, that you were arrested by the National Security Agency in 2005. Were you arrested by them in 2005?

  • I think a mistake has been made there. I am sure I was arrested on 2 February 2006. February 2, 2006. Yes, February 2nd. February, March, April, 6 April I was released. I think there has been a mistake.

  • When was Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf elected President of Liberia?

  • What time? I do not understand that question.

  • Mr Witness, you were one of her campaign activists you told us. When was she actually elected as President?

  • I think it was - if I have not forgotten it was November. I can't remember the month any more, but I think November.

  • Five. Five. November.

  • So why did you tell us that it was because of Mr Taylor's business that you were arrested in February of 2006 by the National Security Agency of Liberia under the presidency of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf?

  • Okay. You see, this thing that we're on, it's just a stigma on us. Wherever we went, people point finger at us. At present we even have problems with that. During Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's campaign we were running the campaign well. I was using the satellite phone, the Thuraya phone. When she took power, all of us that they knew that had links with President Taylor they sent some people to Ghana for training and they left us out. After that they just left us out. They took up with the SSS and they said we should not be part of that, and I know that it was for that crime that was over my head that they decided to jail me - President Taylor's. I was having a newspaper - I think Special Court should have some of those newspapers. I saw it in the newspaper that so and so general for President Taylor has been arrested for so and so reason and the newspaper carried different news. They accused me of different things, so I knew that it was because of his business that they arrested me.

  • But you were not arrested under the name - your proper name, were you?

  • I was arrested under my proper name. It was the newspaper that gave me the other name that you are having, the newspaper, because they knew my nickname but they did not know my real name, majority of them. So the boy that wrote that news, I knew him and I was having problems with him. He wrote about me to the news. They gave me that name, but they arrested me under my real name.

  • Were you charged following your arrest? Charged with an offence?

  • They did not charge me because if they had charged me they would have sent me to court. They just dumped me in jail. NSA, they said I should be there.

  • And so it's your case, is it, that any documentation relating to your arrest would have your real name, that's the name that you wrote down for this Court on a piece of paper at the beginning of your evidence?

  • Yes, if they have a document from the NSA they would have my real name on paper. If they have any document from NSA in Liberia it would carry my real name.

  • And it's also your case, do we assume from your earlier answer, that because you had been in some way associated with President Taylor you were being discriminated against under the new government of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf?

  • Yes, yes. Everybody had the way they were thinking. That was the way I thought, but at the time campaign was running we were close to the woman, but after the campaign, like me, Varmuyan Sherif and another man Toto Boon [phon] --

  • Your Honours, can he repeat this last name.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter did not hear the last name you mentioned properly. Please repeat it and continue your answer.

  • I said yes, I know because - because of President Taylor's business they pushed us far away from Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

  • Can you please repeat the name of that last person, Toto Boon or something like that.

  • Tortoise Bone. Tortoise Bone. Varmuyan Sherif, myself and Tortoise Bone.

  • You said Tortoise like the animal?

  • Yes, the animal.

  • But they didn't just push you away from Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, they pushed you all the way into prison, didn't they?

  • Yes, I can say yes. They pushed me all the way into prison, yes.

  • And they only let you out on the basis that you would talk to the Prosecution, yes?

  • Perhaps it could be clarified which prosecution, there's many in the world, that counsel is talking about.

  • They only let you out on the understanding that you would now fully cooperate with the Prosecutors prosecuting President Taylor, yes?

  • No, no. At the time, even when the Prosecution went there I started shouting at them. I said I didn't want to talk to them. "I would be in jail and you start asking me about somebody else. I don't know anything about his business". They should move from my presence. They gave me drinks. I said I should not - I don't want. They sent it, I said I don't want, yes.

  • So is it just a coincidence that you only started to cooperate fully with the Prosecution once you were released from prison and President Taylor had been brought to Freetown?

  • Yes. After he went to Freetown I sat down and looked into my own situation and I said this: This is not life. For one person's business, for President Taylor's business, for his business they've jailed me. I have not seen any benefit and I start thinking within myself.

    I contacted one or two persons from my family and friends, I contacted them and I told them and they said oh. Even the church that I was attending, I contacted my pastor and he said, "Oh, you should take your time for your security, you know that you are well known within the country, so take your time, but we do not think it would be bad, just go and clarify your own area, what you know", and that's what I'm doing here today. What I know is what I'm clarifying, but for one person's business I wouldn't go around hiding wherever I go, after our futures had all been spoilt.

    So I thought within myself. I thought within myself and I became willing to come and testify. For me to walk from Freetown to come here to come and testify I was willing. I, I was willing willingly. If I say they should pay me they wouldn't be able to pay me, but I'm willing to testify.

  • But they did carry on paying you, didn't they?

  • I do not understand. Make it straight for me.

  • What don't you understand about the words "they did carry on paying you"?

  • I'm not working, why should they pay me? I'm not working for the Special Court. Why should they pay me? I don't understand what you mean by pay.

  • Give you money.

  • Yes, they gave me money. Yes, they give me money. A big man like me, I have children. If the people say, "Come and sit down here until the time reaches to go and testify" and they did not give me something, how would I maintain myself? How do you think I'll eat? And they were the ones who brought me to Freetown. I didn't know Freetown. I was born a Sierra Leonean but I didn't know Freetown. I know Kenema and Moyamba, but they were the ones who brought me to Freetown. How did you - how do you think I would go to Freetown without them giving me money?

    Because one thing, it's quick for me to go over the BBC and say, "Special Court brought me and they did not give me money". They give me money. They gave me food money. But it was very small. I always grumbled that it's very small.

  • You and your family lived off them, and by "lived off them" I mean the Prosecution in this case and the Court, once you moved to Freetown, didn't you?

  • I only specified the family.

  • Your Honours, can he repeat this last answer slowly.

  • Please repeat your last answer slowly. Just pause. Mr Koumjian.

  • Can I just caution the witness and of course the other parties that the current whereabouts of the witness or his family should not be discussed in open session, where the witness or any of his family members currently live.

  • Now, Mr Witness, you have heard that warning and also I ask you to repeat your last answer as the interpreter needs to hear it more slowly.

  • You said, "I only specified the family".

  • He was talking about the family and I have concern about my family. That's why I said he should specify the family he's talking about, because I have my mother and other people. They are out of Sierra Leone. I have another family there. I don't know which of the families he's talking about.

  • Well, let me remind you of part of the answer that you gave a moment ago. You said to me:

    "How did you - how do you think I would go to Freetown without them giving me money? They gave me money. They gave me food money, but it was very small. I always grumbled that it was very small."

    Is that right, that you always grumbled about the amount of money that the Prosecution and the Court were giving you?

  • Yes, yes. I told them that the money was small. I was in Liberia. I ate more than 10, 15 dollars. When I come to Sierra Leone you gave me $3.25 cents every day, 10,000 leones. So I told them that the money was small. You can't bring me here for that. I told them.

  • What month did you move to Freetown? What month and what year?

  • August 2006. I think so, August, yes.

  • Your Honours, I'm now going to move to an area that was discussed towards the end of this witness's evidence-in-chief. I think it was on 25 June. It was one of the areas that your Honours ruled could be dealt with in open session but, out of courtesy to my learned friend, it's one of the areas that he didn't then cross-examine on because of the Court's ruling and he indicated this morning that he wanted to raise other matters that he hadn't raised on the previous occasion and so I'm effectively inviting my learned friend to deal with any matters that he omitted to deal with when the Court ruled previously if he wants to.

    I see there's some consternation on the part of at least one of your colleagues. Mr Koumjian this morning raised with the Court that there were areas of evidence that he didn't deal with in chief after the Court ruled on 25 June that those areas would have to be dealt with in open session. I now propose to go into one of those areas with this witness. I would seek to do so in the light of the Court's ruling in open session, but out of courtesy to my learned friend, since he's already mentioned to me that he wants to raise other matters with the Court about those issues that you ruled could be heard in open session, I think it's only right that the Court should hear from him before I embark upon them.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Mr Munyard, we are in open session, are we not? We are in open session and you want to continue that way.

  • So what is the problem? Why aren't you continuing that way?

  • I was about to, but Mr Koumjian addressed the Court first thing this morning and said that following his conversation with me on Monday he wished, in effect, to re-open the Court's ruling, if I've understood him correctly, and it's only right, in my view, that I should give him the opportunity to address the Court on this before I continue. Now, if the Court says to me, "No, just carry on, we've made our ruling" then obviously I will, but I'm simply trying to be courteous to my learned friend opposite.

  • We don't even know what questions you're going to ask.

  • The subject matter I can tell you.

  • Your Honour, the problem is the subject matter needs to be stated in private session. That is the problem. I'd made my application for closed session or private session and --

  • Did the Court rule that this particular subject matter would be dealt with in open court on 25 June?

  • The Court ruled that if I dealt with it it would be in open session. As I indicated this morning, perhaps not very articulately, I have two objections before we go into it. One, since it was not dealt with in the direct examination I can say this in open session, my objection is it's beyond the scope of direct examination.

    The second is, as I indicated this morning, in reviewing my application I dealt with several areas two months ago on the closed session. When I articulated the reasons that the witness had security concerns in this area I did not articulate all of those reasons, and I would like the chance to give the Court additional information about the reasons that this witness indicated to us before he testified that this is an area that if covered publicly will put him in danger and his family in danger and he was not willing to do that. I can explain that to the Court more fully what those reasons are, but because of the Court's ruling that it couldn't be dealt with except in open session based on my other application we did not cover it and so it is not part of his direct examination.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • The cross-examination will continue in open session. If there are questions that in the view - that the Prosecution wish to not object to but to have heard in closed session for reasons that they want to put to the Court, then they can be put on a case by case basis.

  • Your Honours, the Prosecution respectfully asks that - I understand the Court has overruled my objection that it's beyond the scope of the direct examination.

  • Sorry, I would like to clarify that one particular point, Mr Koumjian. I noted you said it twice. If you are suggesting or implying that only matters that have arisen in direct examination can be cross-examined on, that is not the rules of this Court. I know it's the rule of a different international tribunal, but not of this Court. I just wish to ensure that if that is what you mean. Is that what you mean?

  • That was part of it, but then if I could complete the rest of it?

  • And please understand the reasons I'm doing this. Your Honours, this is an issue that we would seek immediate leave to appeal upon because the harm that it would cause is irreparable. The harm if this is broadcast to the security of the witness and to his family is irreparable and the witness himself has indicated that to us. It's not just the person - as I indicated before we started, the witness had indicated he did not even - he wanted - his own preference was closed session for all his testimony, so I would like to put on record in closed session the reasons the witness has given that I failed to articulate as to why this would put himself and his family in danger. I would like then to ask the Court, if the Court does not agree with me, to give us immediate right to appeal that. The danger - the result, your Honour, is this witness in my honest opinion is --

  • Mr Koumjian, you're jumping - you're doing two things. You're first of all going behind a ruling that's been made and, secondly, you're presuming a ruling on an objection that you yourself have not made. We've given you liberty to ask or object to certain questions being in open session. Those questions have not been asked, therefore you have not exercised that right and therefore you have not - there's no ruling. Let the questions be asked and, if there's a question that causes you concern, you may then raise your points and allow us to rule then.

  • Well if the questions are asked, of course, the information is out there. I understand I can then make a motion to redact, but the question will contain the compromising security information. That's why I asked and my colleague from the Defence understood and allowed me to make the objection before he asked the question. I appreciate that.

  • Mr Munyard, just continue, please.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, one of the matters that you laughed at when you were giving your evidence-in-chief, when you were being questioned by my learned friend Mr Koumjian over there, was when he asked you about Vice-President, as he then was, Moses Blah. Do you remember laughing at the mention of the name of Vice-President Moses Blah?

  • Yes.

  • Why did you laugh when you were asked about him?

  • Because when you give the title Vice-President Moses Blah, Vice-President Moses Blah he just had the name. He was just the Vice-President, but he was not acting like a Vice-President. That was why I laughed.

  • Did you see Moses Blah at around the time that Sam Bockarie was killed?

  • I have problem with this Sam Bockarie business really in open session.

  • Well, I see there's an objection looming and so I will sit down.

  • There is an objection, your Honour, and I'd ask for the right to put my reasons on record. The Court hasn't heard them. Even if this was my fault for not raising it before, in addition to the Prosecution the Court has a duty to protect the witness of course and the witness has indicated his concern and obviously the Court needs to know that information to know whether or not these questions will put --

  • Mr Koumjian, there is one question that we're looking at that we would like you to address. The question is, "Did you see Moses Blah at around the time that Sam Bockarie was killed?", and the witness says, "I have a problem with this Sam Bockarie business", and you stood up. Please address that question.

  • I am, your Honour. I object to the question as beyond the scope of the direct examination which your Honours have already ruled on I believe, but to be specific --

  • What do you mean by direct examination? This is examination-in-chief.

  • No, this is the cross-examination, your Honour.

  • I am sorry, cross-examination.

  • So, what do you mean by direct examination?

  • The direct examination is the Prosecution's examination of the witness that occurred two months ago.

  • And so? Is that the point why you've risen to object?

  • I've indicated that there are two reasons, but I haven't been allowed to articulate the second reason other than to say it's a security reason and I need to do that in private session.

  • Would your Honours give me a moment to reply before you confer?

  • Just a moment. We want to confer on another issue.

  • In the light of what you may or may not say, Mr Koumjian, and in the light of possible responses from the Defence, I think we'll have the witness taken out of the Court. Please ask the witness to leave. Mr Witness, there's matters to be dealt with in your absence.

  • [In the absence of the witness]

  • In the light of the issues that may arise in the course of these submissions, we will have these arguments in private session. This is for the security of the witness. Madam Court Attendant, please put the Court into private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 14354 to 14371, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Thank you. First, Mr Witness, you made certain remarks prior to being asked to - my asking that you be taken out of court. You can hear what I am going to say now. This is addressed to members of the public. Certain evidence will be adduced and it will be adduced in private session for reasons of security of the witness, and this means that whilst the public can look into the court they will not hear what is being said. Mr Witness, did you hear what I said to the members of the public and also to you?

  • Yes.

  • Did you understand it?

  • We will now go back into private session and, Mr Munyard, I will ask you to proceed. Let me go first into private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 14373 to 14392, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.30 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday, 25 August 2008 at 9.30 a.m.]