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

  • Good morning. Mr Koumjian, appearances on your bar this morning?

  • Good morning your Honours. Brenda J Hollis, Nicholas Koumjian and Ruth Mary Hackler.

  • Thank you. Mr Griffiths?

  • Good morning your Honours and counsel opposite. For the Defence today myself Courtenay Griffiths and my learned friend Mr Morris Anyah.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. Unless there are some other matters I will remind the witness of his oath.

  • Your Honour, just to bring this to the attention of the chamber, LiveNote is not working presently so I am broadcasting serial LiveNote on your screens.

  • Thank you, Madam Court Attendant. I note the difference and perhaps when it gets rectified you can inform us.

  • Madam President, before we begin there was a matter which we raised and I wonder if that is best dealt with in the absence of the witness. I don't think he need go far, if he were to be kept just behind that door, because I doubt that this will take very long.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths, for that reminder. Mr Witness, you may recall yesterday I told you we were discussing some legal matters and we are continuing that short discussion this morning. I would ask Madam Court Officer to assist you to leave the Court just for a very short time. It will not take very long.

  • [In the absence of the witness]

    Mr Griffiths, before you commence we will continue as we did yesterday in private session.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Your Honour, can I also indicate that following our discussion, through excess of caution I think it might be wise, whatever formula is adopted, to deal with all the issues concerning this matter in private session in the event that some error occurs.

  • Yes. Please put the Court in private session. Just before you do, for members of the public this is a legal discussion relating to security of witnesses. It will continue for a short time in private session as it did yesterday afternoon. You will of course be able to see the Court, but you will not be able to hear.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 14950 to 14951, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Whilst we are in open session I wish to announce that the next series of questions will be put and replied to in private session for reasons of security of witnesses. Counsel has estimated that this will be about half an hour and the public can see into the Court, but they will not be able to hear. Please put the Court back in private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 14953 to 14961, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honours, we are in open session.

  • Thank you. Please proceed. Just a minute. I will warn the witness. Mr Witness, we are no longer in private session, so I again remind you not to mention names or any other issues that could identify yourself.

  • Okay, sir.

  • Now is it right that in 1992 you went to Kono with Foday Sankoh for about a month?

  • Yes, sir.

  • At that time I was a bodyguard, that was why I went with him. Anywhere he went to I went with him.

  • The name Top 20 came about when our brothers who came from the NPFL to help us during the war, that was the name that was given, Top 20. That means they were the bosses. They were above us. That was what I understood from that name.

  • And what does Top 40 mean?

  • Okay, Top 40, when they had ran the Top 20 it got to a point in time when their boss stopped them and it was after some time that they ran the Top 40 again. There were three stages; Top 20, Top 40 and Top Final.

  • And when you - I am sorry, but I don't understand that. "When their boss stopped them", what does that mean?

  • The bad things that they used to do when they used to kill innocent people, they used to beat up innocent people, they had one of their boss, so the complaint went to Foday Sankoh, but they did not used to listen to him. They did not take orders from him. They said he was not their commander. But he, Foday Sankoh, also had his own boss that he used to take his complaints to, that was Charles Taylor. So Charles Taylor ordered the commander that was the boss of all the NPFL who were with us to stop them and then he stopped them and he called all of them, those bad ones, he called on all of them to go. So those ones who were good and kind, he asked them to stay.

  • Who is "he"?

  • I said the commander who was in charge of the NPFL soldiers who were with us at that time. That is what I mean. He was called upon to move from there, because he did not control the soldiers whilst they were doing those wicked things.

  • It's my fault. We need to go more slowly, perhaps. What is the name of the commander?

  • He was called Pa Jean [phon], but his nickname was Kannah Hill [phon]. He was called Pa Jean.

  • And who withdrew that commander from Sierra Leone?

  • Now, what is Top Final?

  • Top Final, those same fighters, you know, it was on the border, there is no river between Liberia and Sierra Leone on that side, you can even walk across. The soldiers who went at that same area who were doing the wicked things in those areas, who were killing people, and because they had asked them to withdraw they were angry about it. The issue of Charles Taylor asking them to withdraw, they were angry about it. So they just went on doing wicked things. If you were a woman they would rape you. If you were a young boy they would beat you up or sometimes kill you.

    So that was the time the infighting happened between the RUF and the NPFL. That was what they referred to as Top Final and that was to finally flush out the bad ones and that only the good ones were supposed to remain. So that was the time they resorted to that Top Final. All the bad ones were supposed to be flushed out and the good ones remain, so that was the name given to it.

  • And so it was Charles Taylor who had asked them to withdraw from Sierra Leone?

  • Yes. Foday Sankoh at so many times took the complaints to him, so he too at a point in time asked the boss to move from there. But the soldiers who were there with him on the ground, they did not want to withdraw because Charles Taylor himself did not have time to come there and to ask them there to withdraw. So it was violence - it was only violence that would have flushed those bad ones out.

  • And thereafter, if I understand what you're telling us, the RUF was effectively on its own?

  • The RUF was under the command of Foday Sankoh backed by Charles Taylor. We were not on our own. We only resorted to flushing out the bad ones so that they will return to where they came from.

  • So help us with this then: Do you recall that in about April/September 1991 ULIMO was formed in Guinea and Sierra Leone by former Liberian army fighters, Krahns and Mandingo supporters of the late President Doe, do you remember that?

  • Yes, I knew that ULIMO was formed in Sierra Leone by - and it was formed by the remnant Krahn and the other people, the Mandingos. It was formed in Sierra Leone because we used to capture people there and they told us.

  • And ULIMO was also supported by the Sierra Leonean government, wasn't it?

  • Yes, sir, it was the Sierra Leone government that fully supported them.

  • And also the Guinean government?

  • Both governments providing them with arms and ammunition?

  • And the purpose of ULIMO was to overthrow Charles Taylor?

  • Now, in about 1992 do you recall that between January and April of that year ULIMO started gaining control of much of Lofa County?

  • Yes, at the end of '92 to '93 was the time we realised that ULIMO had entered Liberia towards the border.

  • And the effect of that was to cut off the RUF from the NPFL, wasn't it?

  • Yes, from '93 we were cut off around the Lofa area. We were cut off around the Lofa area.

  • And the RUF remained cut off from the NPFL from about then until about 1997/'98, would you agree?

  • No, it did not go up to '98. It was from '93 that we were cut off up to '96 and that was the time ECOMOG came to disarm ULIMO and they opened the road. Since the time ECOMOG based there around Foya up to Voinjama the road was now open. We were no longer tormented in those areas because ECOMOG was present.

  • Now ECOMOG was deployed throughout Lofa County, wasn't it?

  • And ECOMOG set up road blocks on the main routes leading through Lofa County, didn't they?

  • Yes, towards the border areas. It was not on all the main roads. It was towards the borders that they blocked, entering towards the borders.

  • Your Honours, I hesitate to interrupt. It is just a matter of the transcript and in the future I know it may be corrected or likely be corrected on the tape, but in line 34 a couple of answers back the last line is reads, "No longer tormented in those areas because ECOMOG was present" and I believe the interpreter said, "No longer to remain in those areas because ECOMOG was present".

  • Let me check that. I actually heard the word "tormented" in the translation, but as you correctly point out that will be checked. Please proceed, Mr Griffiths.

  • So ECOMOG set up checkpoints on the border?

  • Yes, it was on the main border line, the main entrance from one country to the other that the ECOMOG mounted the checkpoint.

  • Can you give us the names of the locations where those checkpoints were?

  • One was at the Mendekoma Highway which led from Sierra Leone to Liberia. That is Foya, Mendekoma Highway. The areas through which I went is what I am talking about. And the other around the Vahun area. Those were the two areas. But when you entered inside going towards Monrovia around Voinjama areas, all those areas, they did not mount checkpoints there. There were no checkpoints there. When you go along those areas you don't meet any checkpoints on the way up to Voinjama.

  • No, dealing with that period you say from about 1993 to 1996 when ULIMO cut off the road, one consequence of that was that there was contact between the RUF and ULIMO, wasn't there?

  • At the time they were on the border, because we used to fight against them ourselves. It was later when ECOMOG came there and based there that we established peace between us, but when ECOMOG was not present we used to fight against them. They never used to come to us and we too never used to go to them.

  • The reason I ask, you see, is this: You remember there came a time when a group of the RUF led by Superman and Gibril Massaquoi, they had ULIMO soldiers fighting with them, former ULIMO soldiers fighting with them, didn't they?

  • The group you are talking about, I was not in the same area with them. They were around the Western Area and that is very close to Freetown. I don't know whether they had such a group. I was in the Kailahun District and they were very close to the city. There was a very long distance between us.

  • So you have no idea about the composition of that group?

  • Superman's group and Gibril Massaquoi's group, I cannot tell you anything about that group, because I was not with them. I did not fight together with them and I have never lived in the same jungle with them.

  • Very well. Can we go to the cross-examination bundle, please, behind divider 7. Now behind divider 7 you will see pages taken from the [Redacted]

    Can we go to page 50, please, top right-hand corner, line 16.

  • Just pause, Mr Griffiths. Mr Griffiths, the Bench is just noting that this evidence was adduced in

  • [Redacted]

    which related to this witness at that time. There has been rescission of certain protective measures. However, the protective measures and the

    [Redacted] still stand and if you are now going to refer to evidence

  • [Redacted] it may breach that order and we are of a mind that it may be prudent to have this in private session.

  • In order to - from caution, Mr Griffiths, we will adduce this evidence in private session. For members of the public and public record, certain evidence will be referred to that was given pursuant to an order of another

    [Redacted] and in conforming with that order this evidence will be heard in private session. Members of the public can see into court, but they will not hear what is being said. Mr Witness, you have heard what I said. You understood it?

  • Yes, sir.

  • Your Honours, we are just wondering, out of principle, the references to this witness, who is testifying without facial distortion, should be redacted from the transcript that this witness testified in the

  • [Redacted]

  • I don't understand, Mr Koumjian. What is it that you are asking to be redacted?

  • References to

    [Redacted] I don't have a line in front of me. I think we would all have to search the transcript to find it.

  • It is part of the ruling on page 23, line 6 or 7.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 14970 to 14972, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Mr Witness, I would like to draw your attention, please, behind divider 7 in that bundle, page 11, and if you look on that page just below halfway down we see this, "And the group led by Superman and Massaquoi consisted of hundreds of men?" And then you said this, "Yes, yes. They were many, because those ULIMO soldiers who came from Freetown and the SLAs, they were with him". Now do you remember saying that on a previous occasion?

  • This time that you are trying to show to Superman, at that time when we were leaving Freetown, at that time ULIMO and SLA were with him, but at that time that we were in the bush ULIMO and SLA were not with Superman. That was what I was trying to refute. But when we went to town in Freetown ECOMOG dislodged us. It was that at that time that ULIMO and SLA joined them. That was what I meant.

  • Now where did these ULIMO fighters come from to join with Superman and Massaquoi?

  • That is what I meant, in Freetown. When we were there in Freetown.

  • But how had the ULIMO fighters got to Freetown in the first place?

  • We met them there. They were with the SLAs. That was what I meant. Those of us who were in the bush, they were not with us. We met them there. Even SLAs, we met them in town when we went to join Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • And so those ULIMO fighters retreated from Freetown along with the SLA and the RUF, is that right?

  • That's what I mean. Not all of them, but those who agreed to join us, they came with us to the - they went with us to the bush.

  • And after they went with you to the bush did they remain with you, those ULIMO fighters?

  • Yes, but nobody called them ULIMO any longer. Everybody was RUF, be you SLA or this or that, as long as you had gone with us into the bush we considered you - we considered everybody as RUF.

  • Now these ULIMO fighters who retreated with you and then merged into the RUF, they were Liberians, weren't they?

  • Yes, sir, but there were a few Sierra Leoneans among them, but most of them were Liberians.

  • Now, what was the STF?

  • I didn't ask them for that meaning, but that was what we heard when we went to Freetown. They were calling them STF, but I never asked to know what it meant actually. Up to the time we went into the bush that was what we heard them calling them.

  • Those ULIMO fighters who were in Freetown whom we met there, that was the name they used to call them, but I did not ask to know its meaning.

  • And who is General Bropleh?

  • General Bropleh was their commander.

  • And he was a former ULIMO general, wasn't he?

  • Was he from ULIMO-J or ULIMO-K?

  • That is what I didn't know. I knew ULIMO. It was a name ULIMO that he carried and they called them STF, but that distinction I did not know.

  • Do you know the name Abu Keita?

  • He too was among the same people.

  • ULIMO.

  • And was he one of those who retreated from Freetown?

  • No, he came from Liberia.

  • He came to the RUF.

  • He came there as a fighter. He came there - first he came as a friend, but he was a ULIMO fighter and he had been - at first when I saw him - at the first time that I saw him I saw him with Issa.

  • In the RUF territory.

  • Where in particular within RUF territory?

  • I saw him in Kono.

  • What was he doing there?

  • At first he was moving along with Issa. They used to move together. Because he was a ULIMO fighter before, he used to go to the front line.

  • When was this that you saw Abu Keita with Issa?

  • Abu Keita had been in Kailahun, Kono. Those areas from Kailahun up to Kono, I had seen him there, but I didn't --

  • I cannot recall the year, but I used to see him there, but I cannot recall the year.

  • Does the name Senegalese mean anything to you?

  • Senegalese, because he too was a soldier but I did not ask him whether he was ULIMO or NPFL, but he too was coming from Liberia, but I did not know him in Liberia. I only saw him in Buedu once, but I did not ask him because the two of us did not talk.

  • Who was he with when you saw him in Buedu?

  • Senegalese, he was with Sam Bockarie.

  • Can you help us as to when that was?

  • I think from '97 when I went to Buedu I saw him there with Sam Bockarie, but we did not have any conversation because - but I can recall that name. He's a tall guy.

  • Now you told us about a bank robbery, did you not?

  • Now those same ULIMO fighters who retreated from Freetown, they were involved in robbing that bank, weren't they?

  • Yes, sir.

  • And many of them fled with their loot across the border into Guinea, didn't they?

  • Now at the time when they looted that bank, who was their commander?

  • No, at that time they said they didn't go with a commander. It was just a group just like you would come together. That was the information I got. Whenever anything happens everybody went his separate way. They did not choose somebody whom they said was the commander. I did not get that information. I don't know, except those who were arrested and beaten.

  • Mr Griffiths, I am not sure that answers your question.

  • No, I don't think it did:

  • Can you remember now who was the commander of those ULIMO fighters who robbed the bank?

  • I would have forgotten, but I cannot recall any longer except those who were arrested and beaten.

  • Very well. Now the topic I am dealing with is this connection between the RUF and ULIMO. Now in that context you sent as your mining representative to Tongo Fields a man called Mike Nimley, didn't you?

  • Now Mike Nimley was ULIMO in origin, wasn't he?

  • At first he was NPFL, then he was captured by ULIMO and he came into the RUF.

  • And he was also STF, wasn't he?

  • That is the name they changed into. ULIMO was changed to STF, but it was one group.

  • Now, the period of time we are talking about is following the retreat from Freetown. Now, we know that to be February 1998. Now prior to that, in 1997 you had been purchasing arms from former ULIMO combatants in Lofa County, hadn't you?

  • Yes. Not arms, ammunition. Not arms.

  • Would your Honour give me a moment to find a reference?

  • Now, I want to spend a little time asking you about that. Now it was in particular ULIMO-K with whom you were dealing for those ammunition purchases, wasn't it?

  • Yes, Alhaji Kromah's remaining boys.

  • Now at the time that you had these dealings with them, there had been presidential elections in Liberia and Charles Taylor was now President of Liberia. That's right, isn't it?

  • Yes, Charles Taylor was President. That was why I was brave to go there.

  • And what was happening was this. These former ULIMO-K fighters were supposed to hand over their arms and ammunition as part of the disarmament process in Liberia. That's right, isn't it?

  • They were there. I was not there.

  • But, in any event, rather than hand over their arms and ammunition they were burying them in Lofa County, weren't they?

  • Yes, that was what they used to do. I was not with them, but that was what they used to do.

  • And the RUF decided that what they would do is they would purchase that ammunition from these former ULIMO-K combatants.

  • Yes, that was what we decided to do, but that did not take long.

  • And you were sent as the RUF representative to go and negotiate with them in Lofa County?

  • Now you were first given some money from the bank in Kono which you changed into Guinean francs in order to purchase ammunition from these former ULIMO fighters, is that right?

  • Yes, the money that I got from Freetown, that was where it was taken from.

  • And you made several trips to Lofa County to continue this trade, didn't you?

  • Yes, I used to go there.

  • Now amongst the people you dealt with to purchase ammunition from, was one of them Varmuyan Sherif? Varmuyan Sherif?

  • No, Varmuyan Sherif? Not Varmuyan Sherif. I never did business with Varmuyan Sherif. I don't even know him.

  • Was one of them Abu Keita?

  • Who were the people then that you dealt with?

  • I dealt with Kundi. They called him Colonel Kundi. Colonel Kundi. We used to do business together. He used to show me those places where those things were and I will buy them.

  • Now apart from those occasions when you tell us you were given money to go and purchase arms from ULIMO, there was also a trade with ULIMO where agricultural products were bartered for ammunition, wasn't there?

  • Very well. Could you look, please, behind divider 5. Could we turn to page 4 behind that divider, please. Let's start about a third of the way down the page. "Now, during the time that you were in Koindu was anything taking place in Kailahun District?" "Yes". "What was that?" "Because at the time that we were in Koindu we were there in defensive, but the money that we used to buy ammunition, sometimes it was proceeds from the sale of coffee or cocoa or palm oil for us to get money because at that time there was no mining for - there was not much mining for diamonds". "What do you mean when you say it was proceeds from coffee and cocoa?" "What I mean is when it was harvested it will be bagged and we'll send to the riverside, sold and it is the proceeds that we use to buy ammunition from the ULIMO people." Do you remember saying that on a previous occasion?

  • Yes, what I meant was that the provisions that you've talked about we were not exchanging them with ULIMO. It was with the Guineans. We went to the Guineans. The Guineans would give us physical cash and out of that physical cash we would buy those things. That's what I am telling you about. It is not palm oil or coffee that we took to ULIMO. We sell those things to Guineans at the riverside, then from the cash that we will receive we will use to buy arms and ammunition. That's what I mean.

  • So you've told us before, you see, about using the money from the bank robbery, using a further sum of US dollars that you were given to buy arms, but in addition to those two specific sums of money the RUF were trading agricultural produce at the riverside and the money they gained from that they were using that as well to buy arms from ULIMO-K, weren't they?

  • Yes, that is what I mean. When you asked that we took the produce to ULIMO, we were not taking the produce to ULIMO. It was in Guinea.

  • Very well, it's my fault. It is the way I phrased the question. It is totally my fault, Mr Witness. And this trade with ULIMO was going on throughout 1997, wasn't it?

  • Objection. It's a little vague, because three or four - well, three different types of trade were put to the witness and so I don't know if this is the - which one he's referring to.

  • The only trade that you did with ULIMO was to take money over and buy ammunition. That's right, isn't it?

  • Yes, that's what - the only one I did.

  • That's the only trade you've told us about.

  • Excuse me, the witness is not --

  • Yes, physical money. I did not take palm oil to them. I did not take coffee to them. I took physical money to buy. We were taking the produce to the Guineans.

  • And that trade, cash for ammunition, was going on in 1997, wasn't it?

  • Yes, up to the time Johnny Paul called us.

  • Now, do you remember telling us about some arms received by the RUF which was used to attack Koindu?

  • Let me start again. Do you remember a time when the RUF attacked Koindu?

  • I believe counsel is referring to Koidu and that's causing the confusion.

  • Do you remember an occasion when the RUF attacked Koidu?

  • Ah-ha, when you said Koindu, it's Koidu, yes.

  • My fault. My fault entirely. And the arms that were used to carry out that attack, where did they come from?

  • I would just ask that he be a bit more specific because the witness has testified to at least three - well, more than three attacks on Koidu, '92 and '95 and others subsequently.

  • Mr Griffiths, did you say which year?

  • No, I didn't say which year. I think I'm confusing myself, your Honour. Can I begin the point again?

  • Please do so.

  • We have been talking about the purchase of ammunition from ULIMO. Could you be shown, please, exhibit D-9. Now, you will recall having been shown this particular document before and I want to draw your attention to two particular passages in it to see if you can assist me. Look at the second paragraph on the first page:

    "Upon your departure I initiated contact with ULIMO as per your instructions in a bid to buy materials to repel the vicious attacks of the Kamajors at a time when there was a peace document in place and we were not expecting to fight. At first ULIMO arrested me thinking that I had come to them to surrender. Later I was able to convince them to release me and we commenced a mutually beneficial relationship. I used the 7,000 US dollars to purchase vitally needed material that gave us the stance to fight and challenge the SLPP government until they were ousted by the AFRC coup?"

    Pause there. Now those purchases of arms to which the writer is referring, that's what you were engaged on in 1997, wasn't it?

  • Yes, this one on the paper. Yes, I was buying ammunition.

  • Mr Griffiths, there has been a distinction between arms and ammunition and ammunition only and the document says "materials".

  • Help us, please. The learned judge has quite rightly pointed out that in that paragraph it says "materials". Now, can you help us. Were you only purchasing ammunition from ULIMO, or were you also purchasing arms?

  • What I used to do is what I am trying to tell you. What I did not do I won't talk about. We had arms. We used to capture arms and we had arms before that Sankoh himself used to bring from Liberia. I was going to buy ammunition. I was not the only person who did those trade. There were other people who were doing those trades. The one that I was doing was that I was buying ammunition.

  • Now can we turn, please, to page 5 of this document. Now, in the middle of that page you will see - no, let's put it in context. Can we start from line 13 counting from the top of the page. The writer of the document then says this:

    "After our Freetown invasion in January 1999 I was again promoted by JP Koroma to rank of major general, Issa was promoted to brigadier and Mike to the rank of brigadier and other SLA officers were also promoted. Sir, during this period I had been in contact with various diplomats and other international agencies such as the UN, Commonwealth, OAU, ECOWAS and even the Sierra Leone government with a view of effecting your release and a negotiated settlement of the Sierra Leonean crisis. These bodies lent deaf ears to my propositions as they thought that the Kabbah government would be able to achieve military victory."

    Now this is the passage I want you to concentrate on:

    "Back at headquarters I renewed my contact with ULIMO and tried to secure materials from them. It was out of these materials that I gave Superman a good quantity to attack and capture Kono. This move I thought would pressure the government into abandoning their mock trial against you and provide us with the ground necessary to move the war and the movement forward."

    Pause there. Do you know anything about that purchase of materials from ULIMO which was used to attack and capture Kono?

  • This attack that you are talking about, this attack on Kono when Superman was given ammunition to capture Kono, that was not the time that Issa Sesay came with that ammunition. Superman attacked Kono, but was not able to capture there. It was at that time that he left and went to Kabala. He was not able to capture there. He was the commander in Kono, but he was not able to capture there. He was unable. Then he left and went to Kabala. It was later that Issa Sesay came with his group with ammunition to capture Kono.

  • What do you understand by the word "materials"?

  • In the military when you talk about material you are talking about ammunition. When you say that materials, materials are finished, that means the ammunition has finished.

  • Doesn't materials also include arms, RPG bombs, grenades, mortars, et cetera?

  • When you talk about RPG bombs, that is material. The bomb is a material. It's just like the rounds.

  • Are arms also referred to as materials?

  • When we talked about - when we say that material is finished we only talk about materials - ammunition. Maybe, but I was not calling it that, but when we talk about material, that material is finished, they only brought ammunition because the arms, we had them. So when we say we have been out of materials, they only brought ammunition. That was what I knew and that is what I am still thinking about.

  • Does the word "materials" also cover arms?

  • Asked and answered. The witness has given his understanding of --

  • I don't know about that. That's what I have told you.

  • Do you know anything, going back to this passage, about a renewal of contact with ULIMO for the purchase of arms? For the purchase of materials, let me be precise.

  • That was the time that we left Freetown when the Liberian route was opened to go to Monrovia. Sam Bockarie himself was going to Monrovia. That was the time that I went to Voinjama. That's the time he is talking about.

  • But what I am trying to clarify with you, Witness, is this. You will note that the writer says on the first passage I referred to you, "Upon your departure I initiated contact with ULIMO". The writer now says, "Back at headquarters I renewed my contact with ULIMO". The point I want you to assist us with, please, if you can, is do you recall a further occasion after 1997 when the RUF were purchasing arms from ULIMO?

  • That is what I have told you. The other time that he is trying to tell you about on this paper when that retreat took place, when ECOMOG dislodged the RUF in Freetown and went back to Kailahun, at that time the Liberian route was now opened. The ECOMOG had deployed there. This is the time that I am telling you about. That was the time that he was going to Monrovia and he was sending me to Voinjama. That is the time he is telling you about, that which I know. Maybe there is something else, but that is what I know.

  • What I am trying to get to the bottom of, you see, is this. You speak of a time before the AFRC - before the AFRC invited the RUF to join them in 1997 when you were purchasing arms from ULIMO - ammunition from ULIMO. What this appears to be suggesting is that some time after January 1999 arms were being purchased from ULIMO again. Now, is that right that there were two such occasions?

  • It is not in 1999. There were two different times. The first time we were not going to Liberia. It was at border line. They will take them and bring them. That is the border line in Foya. The border line, the first one. The second one we went inside when the road had been opened and we went to Voinjama, yes. The first group which we met was Kundi at the border line in Foya.

  • Mr Witness, is this the name of a person, or a place? You have talked about a Colonel Kundi.

  • Colonel Kundi. Kundi. It's a Mandingo name, Kundi. That is how I used to hear them call him.

  • I now want to ask you about another name. Who is Jungle?

  • Jungle was an NPFL.

  • He became a member of the RUF, didn't he?

  • He was not an RUF member, but I can say so because NPFL and RUF were families and so I cannot refute that. They were one family. That was how we took ourselves.

  • Let's explore that a little further then, shall we? There came a time, didn't there, when the RUF was being pressed on the one side by the Sierra Leonean Army and on the other side by ULIMO? Is that right?

  • Yes, you are talking now - you are trying to talk about '93 when the Sierra Leone Army was pressuring us at the Sierra Leone border and ULIMO was pressurising Jungle and them - Jungle and others at the border, if that's what you are asking about.

  • That is precisely what I am asking about. And what happened was that Jungle was forced into Sierra Leone by ULIMO?

  • And Jungle was cornered in Sierra Leone along with the RUF?

  • Repeat that word, colonel? You mean a rank, or what, when you say colonel?

  • No, they were forced into a corner with the RUF.

  • Oh, yes. Yes, they were forced.

  • And Jungle remained with you in the RUF for a little while, didn't he, because of that?

  • Yes, he was with us in the RUF bush where we were, but later he found his way to Guinea, then to Liberia.

  • How long did he stay with you in the bush?

  • I cannot tell the time, because even the bush where we were it was not in a single place where we were based. Those who were NPFL they were based in one area, we were not mixed, and so since then he crossed into Guinea.

  • I wonder if the witness could once again be shown exhibit D-9, please, just for completeness before we leave this document entirely:

  • Before we come to the document, one final matter about Jungle. Jungle was with Foday Sankoh in Abidjan in 1996, wasn't he?

  • No, no, I don't know about that. Jungle? I don't know about that, because I did not go to the Ivory Coast.

  • Very well. In any event, can we turn to page 4 in this document please. On page 4, if we count down 12 lines from the top, let's just pick it up there to put some things in context:

    "This situation led to the heightening of tension in Freetown between the RUF and the AFRC and an ultimate breakdown in its marriage. The AFRC made available 50 million leones to the RUF monthly, though only for a couple of months. This and other monies received were used for providing rations to our troops and assisting all deployment areas. The civilian populace were not forgotten and the special consignments were dispatched by me to Kailahun. All financial reports and returns will be presented by [you] who was in charge of all logistics. You might recall, sir, is one of your senior bodyguards and served as GSO-1 logistics during our stay in Freetown?"

    That's you, isn't it?

  • Yes.

  • Now, a couple of matters in that regard. Firstly, this. The relationship between the AFRC and the RUF was a very rocky one, wasn't it?

  • When the RUF arrived in Freetown, Johnny Paul Koroma and his fellow SLA officers looked down on the RUF, didn't they?

  • They used to refer to you disparagingly as "bush majors" and "bush colonels", didn't they?

  • But, in any event, we know that you had quite a senior appointment. Do I need to pause, Madam President?

  • No, I was just voicing some concern about this being a public document, but please continue.

  • Now, you will see there reference to your role and that financial reports and returns will be presented by you to Foday Sankoh. Did you ever provide such a report to Foday Sankoh?

  • What I was actually doing from that time that I was given that assignment in Freetown when he came, yes, I explained - I explained to him when he went and met us in Kono. It was at that time that I gave him that report.

  • Your Honours, I think we understand - your Honours were quicker than us - the concern and since we are very close to the hour perhaps we can stop the testimony. I think there is a simple solution that I could propose, or I can propose it in open court, and that would be that this document now becomes confidential, but a document with the name redacted remain public - copy it with the name redacted and that be the public document.

  • It's already an exhibit. It is exhibit D-9.

  • Yes, but I now ask that it be confidential. To my knowledge no one from the public has yet asked to look at it, but they could, but I ask that it be marked confidential and we prepare a copy with the name redacted which would then be the public document.

  • Your Honour, I am just wondering whether there is any foundation to this concern given that I have been anxious at all times not to have this document put upon the screen for the obvious reasons.

  • Yes, but, sorry, I fully accept that you have done that, but I was only looking at the questions which were made in open session which says - in which you referred to specific pages, specific paragraphs and read transcripts and said, "Was that you?" That is what I have in mind and I think counsel for the Prosecution also has in mind. You appreciate the subtlety.

  • I appreciate the subtlety. It was initially lost on me, your Honour, but I am being slow I'm sure.

  • No, no, maybe - in any event, we have heard the application and given we are very close to the time what is your reply to that?

  • I have no objection to that course if it is limited to any public document.

  • I think we are up to our time limit, so we will now take the mid-morning adjournment and I will confer with my learned colleagues on the point. Mr Witness, we are now going to take the mid-morning break. We will resume court at 12 o'clock. Please adjourn court until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Griffiths, I notice Mr Munyard is back with us.

  • Yes, Madam President. The Defence team are now joined by Mr Munyard.

  • I trust he's fully recovered. Just before we took the mid-morning adjournment, we heard the applications and submissions of counsel in relation to document number D-9 and we agree with the proposed procedure and it will be refiled according to the proposals made by you, Mr Griffiths, and Mr Koumjian.

  • Very well, your Honour.

  • I'd like you, please, to have a look at some photographs. First of all --

  • Your Honour, perhaps - no.

  • Can I enquire whether the LiveNote is operational, or not? Does anyone have LiveNote?

  • I do not, Mr Griffiths, and I think Madam Court Attendant is just checking for us.

  • Your Honour, I'm still broadcasting my LiveNote, but Mr Griffiths's appears not to be functioning - the buttons.

  • Does that mean you're getting nothing at all?

  • I'm getting nothing at all.

  • Madam President, can I just mention that on this particular screen there are no buttons. The whole device has been disconnected and so anyone sitting here can't move over and can't use the screen at all.

  • Do your Honours have --

  • We have Madam Court Attendant's record which means at least I can't move it up and down. Do you wish to have a seat whilst it's being checked? Likewise, if you wish to proceed you're at liberty to do so.

  • I think I may be able to proceed without it:

  • Mr Witness, could you turn over the photographs that have been placed just there, please. The person in the top right-hand corner in the multicoloured shirt, who is that?

  • The person in the top left-hand photograph, who is that?

  • It's Issa Sesay.

  • The scene depicted in the bottom photograph, do you recognise that?

  • I cannot remember any longer this one. I can't tell lies. I can't remember this particular part.

  • Could I mark this document for identification, please?

  • Yes. Now I think the last for this witness was MFI-2, but we don't have an MFI-1 any more and so logically I suppose in sequence I will mark it MFI-3.

  • That's fine, your Honour.

  • So that is MFI-3, one sheet with three pictures.

  • I'd like you to have a look at another set of photographs, please. Let's start with the top photograph. Do you recognise anyone in that top photograph?

  • Who do you recognise?

  • I know some by their faces, but I have forgotten their names. This one is called Eagle, the one with the red clothes.

  • I think what might - the one with the red T-shirt is Eagle, yes?

  • Yes, sir, that's what I mean. And this other one is called Chucky.

  • I think what might be easiest, I wonder if the witness could be given a pen, please, and if the witness could mark the names by each individual and then we pass the photograph around so that we can transfer the markings:

  • So, first of all could you write the name or indicate to Madam Court Officer the individual?

  • This is Eagle, this. This number two is Chucky. These others I know, but I have forgotten their names because it's been long since I last saw them. I have forgotten their names.

  • Very well, I don't want to put that on the projector, but can we all now - could we pass it around so that we could transfer the markings, please:

  • Which one is Chucky?

  • Number two, sir.

  • Now help us with this, please, before we move to the next paragraph. The persons that you have identified in that photograph and the others, were they all members of the RUF?

  • And can you help us with this, please. Do you have any idea where this photograph was taken?

  • This particular house is in the RUF territory, but I wouldn't know when exactly they took this. I can't understand this house.

  • Very well. Let's move then, please, to the middle photograph. Do you recognise anyone in that middle photograph?

  • Their faces - that they are wearing these military camouflages, I cannot understand their faces.

  • So you don't recognise any of them?

  • Yes, sir, the camouflage that they're wearing.

  • But do you recognise the faces of any of them?

  • Yes, something similar to that, but I don't want to tell lies that I know this when I can't identify him. The one that is up that I have recognised clearly, I have said so.

  • Well I'm not asking you to guess, witness, so we'll move on to the bottom photograph, shall we? You can surely identify Foday Sankoh in that photograph, can't you?

  • He is the gentleman who appears to be kissing a female on the cheek, is that right?

  • Do you have any idea what the occasion was that's depicted in that photograph?

  • I was not present and so I can't tell you anything about this, because where they took this photograph I was not there. I have only seen it in your hands now.

  • Okay, very well. Again, your Honours, can we mark this one for identification, please?

  • This is one sheet with three pictures and it's MFI-4.

  • I have another photograph I'd like you to have a look at, please. Who's that in the top photograph?

  • It is Sam Bockarie.

  • Which one is Sam Bockarie?

  • The one standing before with the paper in his hands with the red cap.

  • And with the microphone?

  • And seated next to him is who?

  • The one sitting under him?

  • It's Foday Sankoh.

  • Do you recognise any of the people in the background of that photograph?

  • Now, because there are a number of people in the background what I'd like you to do, please, is to write a number next to each of the persons you recognise and then we'll go through each number individually and you can give us a name. Do you follow me?

  • Yes, sir.

  • So if you could take up the pen, please, and write a number next to the face of each of the ones you recognise.

  • I have done that.

  • All right. Can we transfer the numbers now to our photographs and then we'll go through the names:

  • Can I just confirm that you've identified - marked three numbers on that photograph?

  • Madam President, 3 is marked on the face of the gentleman there if you look closely.

  • Yes, indeed. Can you proceed, Mr Griffiths? Do you need the document back with the witness?

  • I would like the witness to have the document back.

  • Yes, that's quite understandable.

  • Now you've identified for us helpfully number 1 as being Sam Bockarie, yes?

  • Yes, that's him, Sam Bockarie is number 1.

  • Number 2 is Foday Sankoh?

  • Yes, sir, he's Foday Sankoh.

  • Number 3 is Sam Kolleh.

  • Could you spell that name for us, please?

  • It's the Kolleh name, its spelling. Sam is the same as Sam Bockarie, S-A-M, Sam. It's the Kolleh spelling that --

  • Perhaps the interpreter could assist us with the spelling, please. Mr Interpreter, can you?

  • Yes, your Honour. That name is not a familiar name to me. I can only spell it phonetically.

  • And who was Sam Kolleh?

  • Sam Kolleh too was a senior officer in the RUF, but he was in Kailahun.

  • Now help us, can you identify the occasion where this photograph was taken?

  • At the time that this picture was taken that I've seen here I was not with them, they were in Kailahun, but it was at the time that they had released Foday Sankoh from Nigeria to Liberia and to Sierra Leone. The first - I think the first trip that he made to Kailahun, it was at this time, from what I'm seeing here, at the time that he went to Kailahun. It was at that time, because the reason I'm saying so is this cap, the red cap that they are wearing, it was from Freetown, we got them from Freetown. That's why I'm saying so, but I was not there when this picture was taken.

  • Thank you, that's very helpful. Now the bottom photograph, do you recognise anyone in that photograph? Take your time.

  • No, down here, I cannot remember them. I cannot remember them.

  • Very well. Can I ask that this be marked as well for identification, your Honours.

  • This is a one page document with two pictures, one of which has been marked with numbers by the witness. It is MFI-5.

  • Your Honour, the AV booth informs us that they're experiencing some technical problems with the video feed to the courtroom and are asking for a minute to restart their machines.

  • Well, in that case there's no - if it's only one minute there's no point in retiring so we will remain and wait.

  • Your Honour, the first attempt to restart did not work and the booth is trying again. This has affected some of the monitors and especially the one next to the witness which is not functional at the moment.

  • What are the implications of that, Madam Court Attendant? Is LiveNote recording?

  • Your Honour, LiveNote is recording.

  • If it's not interfering with the trial and it's not interfering with LiveNote we should proceed, Mr Griffiths, please.

  • Your Honours, the AV booth states that this is not interfering with the recordings or the transmission to Freetown. It is within the courtroom and this has also affected Defence counsel's computer, I believe.

  • Mr Griffiths, I would prefer to be able to proceed with the trial. The one minute has now become four and a half. Are you able to continue if you do not have LiveNote?

  • I think I can continue, your Honour, dealing with this particular topic. But, your Honour, before I proceed during the hiatus I was informed by my learned friend, Mr Anyah, that there is an oral application which he will be making at close of play today at 1.30 in relation to a motion filed by the OTP this morning. It will be a short application.

  • Madam President, may it please the Chamber, we just received notice that the Prosecution filed a motion while we've been in court pursuant to Rule 92 bis and I wanted to make an application in respect of the time within which we must respond. I also wanted to advise your legal officers that I will be transmitting an email to them with a copy of the motion so that they can print it out for your Honours before I make the application.

  • Thank you for that indication, Mr Anyah.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Mr Griffiths, I'm about to invite you to proceed, but LiveNote on my screen at least has died and I note my learned colleagues on each side don't have it.

  • Your Honours, we've lost it also just for your information.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian.

  • No-one on this side of the Court has it.

  • Your Honour, Defence counsel's computer has been experiencing problems for some time now. I'm unable to restore it. The technician came in and he was unable too.

  • May it please your Honours, your Honours should be aware of the fact that the terminal to the right of Mr Griffiths since the recess has not had the buttons next to it functioning. That is why counsel for the Defence have been relegated to sitting at the back and being unable to assist counsel at the Bench in front of the lectern and so this has been a problem, and to compound that of course are the problems we're experiencing today and none of us have LiveNote functioning at the moment.

  • Well, Mr Griffiths, we're in your hands. Can you proceed?

  • Your Honour, I've got one more photograph which we possibly could deal with, but thereafter I think it would be difficult for me to continue the cross-examination without access to at least some record of what's going on.

  • Yes, we can appreciate that. Madam Court Attendant, obviously over the course of this afternoon this has got to be very urgently dealt with and rectified. Please put --

  • Your Honour, a technician is on his way from the ICC to try and see if they can rectify the problem.

  • Well please go as far as you can, Mr Griffiths --

  • If we can deal with just one other photograph:

  • Mr Witness, can we start at the top photograph again. Do you recognise anyone in that photograph?

  • The first picture I do not recognise these people. They are civilians, no.

  • What about the photograph in the middle, do you recognise anyone in that photograph?

  • I believe that's asked and answered. That's the same - unless counsel can correct me, the same photograph in MFI-3.

  • Actually I did notice that, but this seems to be - the next two in fact, but they are bigger and clearer versions so on that basis alone I was going to allow the witness another chance.

  • Have a look at the other two photographs on that page. Can you help us with either of them as to who is depicted?

  • These three pictures, they did not take them from our own area. That's why I do not understand these people. This is in the Kailahun area and I was not there when these pictures were taken. That's why it is difficult for me to recognise these people.

  • Very well. I'm not going to ask then for this to be marked for identification, your Honour. Your Honour, I fear that that is as far as I can take matters now.

  • Madam President, before the Court rises can I just ensure that as a matter also of extreme urgency the missing control box be restored to this computer terminal. At the moment this computer terminal is operating only as a terminal. It doesn't have any of the facilities to view any documents or move between screens and so on that everybody else has.

  • Madam Court Attendant, you have heard that problem as well and I include it in with the comment about rectifying the Defence team's machines.

  • Your Honour, that will be attended to.

  • Thank you. Would it be appropriate to interpose Mr Anyah's application at this time?

  • Your Honour, yes.

  • Thank you, your Honours, may it please the Chamber, counsel opposite. Madam President, I am just about to send an email to your legal officers and I will endeavour to also send one to the CMS officer in court so that copies could be printed out of this motion.

    The motion I believe was filed this morning by the Prosecution while we've been in court. It is essentially a motion under Rule 92 bis seeking to have certain evidence relating to inter alia Kono District admitted under the provisions of that rule. The CMS number of the motion is CMS 571 and the proper title is "Prosecution notice under Rule 92 bis for the admission of evidence related to inter alia Kono District."

    Your Honours will be familiar with the rules that require us to respond to such a motion within five days. Indeed the rule is stated in the nature of us filing an objection to a notice, if you will, within five days. I am told by our legal assistants through email that the amount of pages we would need to review in order to adequately respond to the motion is in excess of 250 pages. Considering that five days from today would fall somewhere about Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, we would be grateful to the Chamber if we could be afforded some additional time to respond to this motion given the totality of the pages that we have to review.

    In this regard I would propose that your Honours grant us at least ten days from the otherwise due date, which I think is Tuesday next week, to submit our response. I wish to pull up a calendar which will assist me in specifying more particularly the date that would be most appropriate to us. Today being 29 August, we would respectfully request your Honours until Friday 12 September at close of business with CMS to file our response. We apologise for not giving the Prosecution advanced notice that this oral application would be made and we would also invite them perhaps to consider consenting to the application before your Honours deliberate. Thank you, your Honours.

  • Ms Hollis, would it be appropriate to ask you to reply, or would another member of your team --

  • Thank you, Madam President. I will reply. The matter is of course solely in your hands. We would simply provide some information to assist you. This motion was in fact filed yesterday, although when physical service was made on the Defence I do not know. The motion involves four witnesses, it involves approximately six days of testimony and three exhibits. These are crime based witnesses. So, of course it is for you to determine the time that would be needed. I would note simply that the unredacted evidence of all of these four witnesses was provided to the Defence in early July.

  • Thank you, Ms Hollis.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

    We've considered the application and the reply. We think the application is quite reasonable and we grant the extra time to close of business on 12 September 2008 for - I think as you correctly pointed out it's an objection, rather than a response.

  • Thank you, Madam President. We are most grateful.

  • Now in the interim - intervening time I notice there's a gentleman here fiddling with the machines. Are we likely to get them fixed?

  • Your Honours, I've been liaising with the AV booth and they're trying to reach a resolution, but at the moment they don't seem to be getting anywhere.

  • Thank you. We fully accept the burden on Mr Griffiths to try and cross-examine without a proper LiveNote, or a proper recording, and in the circumstances we feel we have got no choice but to adjourn the Court to allow the technicians to fix both his immediate problem and the other problems that have been referred to with these machines.

    This is regrettable. The Court has been disrupted several times this morning and we have lost valuable time due to these technical difficulties. However, in the circumstances we feel there is little choice. We will therefore adjourn court until Monday at 9.30.

    Mr Witness, we are adjourning early today because of technical problems with the machinery within the court. I wish to remind you, as I've done on other occasions, that you are under oath and you must not discuss your testimony or your evidence with any other person. Do you understand?

  • Yes, sir.

  • Please adjourn court until 9.30 on Monday.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.41 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday, 1 September 2008 at 9.30 a.m.]