Thank you, Madam President, your Honours.
May it please the Court, the Prosecution made its opening statement in this case in June of 2007, called its first witness in January of 2008, and closed its case in February of 2009. The Defence opened its case in July of 2009 and closed their case in November of 2010. The case is now before you for your objective, impartial assessment of the evidence and the reasonable conclusions and inferences that may be drawn from that evidence.
The Prosecution relies on all credible evidence of record and on our comprehensive final written submissions. Our oral arguments are meant to highlight or emphasise our written submissions and to touch on major issues before you. Neither time nor efficiency allow us to restate the written submissions in our final brief and we will not do so.
Since the creation of the Special Court, many professionals have directed and continue to direct their efforts to investigating and preparing the Prosecution case that has been presented to your Honours, under the leadership of several Prosecutors of the Special Court. The three of us who will address you today, myself, Mr Mohamed A Bangura and Mr Koumjian make our submissions to you, based on the work of these many dedicated professionals.
But, of course, none of these proceedings would be possible, in this Court or in any of the international courts, were it not for the courage and commitment of the witnesses who have come before you to testify, the maimed, the violated, those who speak for the dead, those who were enslaved, those who came to you from perpetrator groups and have told you of their crimes during the conflict. If not for these individuals, this Court could not function.
The Court, the people of Sierra Leone, and the international community owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have been willing to come forward and tell the Court what they know and of their experiences.
Could I have the first slide shown, please?
Your Honours, this accused is here before you in these proceedings because of a fundamental principle of criminal law, that of individual accountability for one's own wilful, knowing choices, actions and refusals to act, and he is here in accordance with the mandate of the Special Court. It is through the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone that this Court exists to determine criminal liability for the horrors inflicted on that country.
Aware that it is essential for lasting peace in Sierra Leone that there be some measure of accountability for the horrific crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone, and precluded from taking such action at a national level because of the blanket amnesty and pardon bestowed by Article 9 of the Lome Agreement, the President of Sierra Leone reached out to the United Nations to create this Court.
He was able to reach out to the United Nations because the UN Secretary-General had instructed his representative at the Lome peace talks to sign the Lome agreement, with the explicit proviso that the amnesty and pardon provisions in Article 9 do not apply to international crimes, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.
The victims of the crimes charged in this indictment are no doubt most grateful to the United Nations and to the then-Secretary-General, His Excellency Kofi Annan, who refused to allow impunity to prevail.
The mandate of the Court and the Prosecution is very straightforward; to investigate and prosecute those most responsible for the crimes committed in Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996. We are here today in fulfilment of that mandate, giving this accused his right to a fair proceeding before impartial judges who are obliged to do justice. Not justice defined as what is best for the accused, rather to do justice that is delivered in criminal proceedings, the justice that is rendered by impartial, independent judges applying the law to the evidence before them.
This accused, Charles Taylor, has exerted much effort to divert your attention from the credible evidence in this case. A review of that evidence shows you why the accused has tried so diligently to distract you from it, because that evidence proves beyond any reasonable doubt why this accused is before this Trial Chamber.
The reason Mr Taylor is before you? Mr Taylor is before you because, through his wilful, knowing choices, actions and refusals to act, Charles Taylor bears greatest responsibility for the horrific crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone through the campaign of terror inflicted upon them.
The overwhelming weight of the credible evidence in this case leaves no reasonable doubt, this accused is guilty of counts 1 through 11 of the indictment.
The evidence bears out what double amputee Mustapha Mansaray told you in this Court.
"There was a man they used to call Charles Taylor. He said that that war that had come to Liberia, we would taste the bitterness of that one in Sierra Leone. So if indeed the war came to Sierra Leone and I am like this, this is my own portion of the bitterness that I tasted. Both of my hands were amputated. What he said was what came to pass. Those were his children who did that."
And the evidence proves everything that Mustapha Mansaray told you.
Now, Mr Taylor, on the 20th of July, told your Honours that no human being on this planet heard him say these words, that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. Under oath he told you that this is a fabrication. However, not only Prosecution witnesses but Defence witnesses, Issa Sesay and Defence witness DCT-068 told you that indeed they heard Mr Taylor say these words. Issa Sesay told you that he heard it and DCT-068 told you he heard it over the radio.
Infliction of terror. Savage killings on a massive scale. Amputations, some of those leading to death. Being branded like animals, with RUF and AFRC carved into the living bodies of persons captured and enslaved by Taylor's minions. Beatings. Mass rape and enslavement for the sexual use of their masters, the RUF, the AFRC/RUF alliance and Mr Taylor's Liberian subordinates. Children captured and trained as fighters, involved in fighting and in other duties such as guarding slaves who were being forced to mine for diamonds for Mr Taylor's benefit. Homes burned, often with civilians inside them. People's worldly possessions pillaged. People's lives in ruins. Victims left to beg in the streets or shunned by their neighbours.
All of those horrors were the bitterness of war that Charles Taylor inflicted on the people of Sierra Leone through his children, his proxy forces, the RUF and later the AFRC/RUF alliance and through his Liberian subordinates. Charles Taylor, this intelligent, charismatic manipulator had his proxy forces and members of his Liberian forces carry out these crimes against helpless victims in Sierra Leone to achieve the objectives he shared with other members of the joint criminal enterprise in which he participated, to forcibly control the people and territory of Sierra Leone and to pillage its resources, in particular its diamonds. And they would do this through their agreed criminal means, the campaign of terror he waged on the innocent people of Sierra Leone with all its attendant crimes.
All this suffering, all these atrocities to feed the greed and lust for power of Charles Taylor.
In describing a staged incident at the United Nations in New York, this accused told you, "I did not go in the hall but I was in charge of it from the outside."
All the theatrics in the world, all the thumping on the podium, all the resort to name-calling and personal attacks cannot divert attention from the overwhelming weight of the evidence in this case. From outside Sierra Leone, Charles Ghankay Taylor was in charge of, put in place, directed, nurtured and supported the campaign of terror that was carried out by his proxy forces and by his Liberian subordinates, and that, your Honours, is why we are here today.
The evidence proves beyond any doubt, based on reason, that this accused, through his wilful knowing choices, actions and refusals to act, is individually responsible and the person most responsible for the crimes charged in counts 1 through 11. Through his continuing participation in the joint criminal enterprise, the accused is individually criminally responsible for these crimes which were intended or were reasonably foreseeable consequences of his participation in this joint criminal enterprise.
Charles Taylor was the critical actor in implementing and sustaining the criminal means by which the overall objectives of the joint criminal enterprise were to be achieved.
In addition to his liability for his participation in this joint criminal enterprise, the evidence clearly proves that this accused instigated, planned, ordered and aided and abetted the crimes charged in the indictment. He is individually criminally responsible for these crimes, not only because he intended them but because he knew the commission of the crimes would be assisted by his actions.
He is individually criminally responsible for the crimes because the accused was aware of the substantial likelihood that his conduct would assist in the commission of these crimes and nevertheless persisted in that conduct.
The evidence also proves that Mr Taylor was aware of the substantial likelihood that one or more of the crimes that are charged would be committed in the implementation of his plans, of his orders, and his instigation to his proxy forces and his Liberian subordinates.
The evidence also proves to the requisite degree of certainty that the accused is responsible for the charged crimes because of his failure to prevent or punish these crimes which were committed by his subordinates, over whom he had effective control, crimes the commission of which he knew or had reason to know were about to be committed or had been committed.
Instead of preventing or punishing these crimes, this accused, in fact, rewarded the most brazen of the perpetrators; Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay were promoted by the accused - Sam Bockarie promoted after the horrific events of January 1999. His own henchmen, like Joseph Mazhar, was rewarded with material wealth for the horrific atrocities he carried out at the behest of this accused. Benjamin Yeaten, one of the most vicious of Mr Taylor's loyal enforcers, was given power next only to Mr Taylor in Liberia because of his actions to support the accused in the commission of crimes.
The evidence makes it clear that throughout the conflict in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor was the father, the godfather, to his proxy forces in Sierra Leone. He was their chief. He created, trained and sustained the RUF, and embedded in its training and its modus operandi, the use of terror as the basic means by which his proxy forces and his own Liberian forces would achieve his objectives in Sierra Leone. Leaders of the AFRC/RUF referred to Mr Taylor as their boss, their senior brother, their chief. Charles Taylor was the key and constant figure in the leadership constellation of the RUF and later the AFRC and RUF alliance throughout the years. He was also the key and constant figure in the joint criminal enterprise.
Foday Sankoh, Mr Taylor's most unequal partner was totally dependent on the beneficence of his brother Charles Taylor. Mr Sankoh was later often in jail and removed from the RUF, and in those situations, in 1996, again in early 1997, and in mid-2000, Mr Sankoh directed Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay to take all orders from Mr Taylor. And they obeyed that directive.
Sam Bockarie was Mr Taylor's favoured son, a man Mr Taylor told you he liked like a son, he loved that boy, a man Mr Taylor said was someone he could talk to about the conflict in Sierra Leone, a man who wanted peace, and a man Mr Taylor told you who was of good moral background. Defence witnesses describe the real Sam Bockarie, however, a ruthless, violent, wicked and evil commander, a bad leader. And it was because of this ruthlessness that Mr Taylor gave Bockarie such favoured status, a man who would carry out all Mr Taylor's instructions with no qualms regardless how horrific the crimes involved.
Mr Taylor was Bockarie's father, his chief. At the time of the savage attack on Freetown in January of 1999, Sam Bockarie told the BBC that he would not retreat unless his father, Charles Taylor, told him to do so. This vicious commander was one of Mr Taylor's most ruthless loyalists, doing whatever Mr Taylor instructed in order to pursue the ultimate objectives of their common plan, design or purpose, through the criminal means that have been charged in this indictment.
Johnny Paul Koroma deferred to Mr Taylor as the one who could give him the assistance that he needed and Mr Taylor did so. Shipments of materiel sent to the junta, and by materiel, I'm speaking of arms and ammunition, including the big Magburaka shipment which arrived shortly after Mr Taylor had returned from a multi-state visit, including a stop in South Africa. One of the main reasons Johnny Paul Koroma brought the RUF into the junta was because he knew that Taylor was their godfather. Mr Koroma consulted with Mr Taylor during the junta on issues that arose during his chairmanship and he followed Mr Taylor's guidance.
For example, Mr Taylor told him to work with his brothers, the RUF, and Mr Koroma did so. Mr Taylor told him, If you have any problems, you just call me about those problems. And when the Iranian embassy incident occurred, that's what Johnny Paul Koroma did. He called Mr Taylor and why did he do that? Because the RUF were involved and Mr Taylor was their godfather, so he had to be called and consulted on that matter. Johnny Paul Koroma followed Mr Taylor's guidance as to how to deal with that matter.
Mr Koroma later accepted Mr Taylor's favourite son, Sam Bockarie, to be the overall leader of the alliance, after the junta was pushed from power in mid-February of 1998. And even later, Mr Koroma accepted Mr Taylor's resolution of differences between Mr Koroma and Foday Sankoh, although according to Johnny Paul Koroma, he did so only because he had no choice.
After Sam Bockarie fled Sierra Leone to take shelter with his father, his chief, Charles Taylor, in Liberia, in mid-December 1999, and after Foday Sankoh was arrested in May of 2000, Issa Sesay became the latest of Taylor's ruthless loyalists and enforcers in the AFRC/RUF constellation. In July of 2000, it was Charles Taylor who called the ECOWAS heads of state to come to Monrovia to choose a new leader of the AFRC/RUF. At that meeting, Issa Sesay was chosen to be the new leader of the alliance, but only after Mr Taylor failed to have his favourite son, Sam Bockarie, restated into the RUF.
Now, Mr Taylor told you that he never asked that Sam Bockarie be taken back by the RUF. However, not only Prosecution witnesses but Defence witness Issa Sesay and Defence witness DCT-292 told you that Mr Taylor did just that.
Issa Sesay, who considered Taylor the big revolutionary father, was a good choice to become another of Taylor's loyal and ruthless enforcers. Issa Sesay was described by Defence witnesses Musa Fayia and DCT-292 as more vicious and ruthless than Sam Bockarie. He was described as a blind, heartless loyalist who killed people like a dog, a man who had beaten everyone in the RUF. Defence witness Isatu Kallon told you that Issa Sesay was the man who raped Johnny Paul Koroma's wife. Mr Sesay had established his credentials early on by demonstrating his willingness to engage in the most horrific atrocities to achieve overall goals and objectives. For example, through his participation in the massacre in Luawa Geihun village and by ordering the massacre of innocent civilians along the Liberian-Sierra Leone border. Indeed, Mr Sesay was a worthy successor to Sam Bockarie to continue the campaign of terror in Sierra Leone under the tutelage of Charles Taylor.
The RUF and the AFRC/RUF leadership was fluid, as was the JCE in which the accused and these leaders participated. Other leaders and participants moved in and out of the leadership and in and out of the joint criminal enterprise constellation. However, the evidence shows that this leadership and the JCE constellation continued as these individuals moved in and out.
After the junta was forced from power, the great majority of the commanders and fighters remained loyal to the alliance and subordinated themselves to the senior leadership of that alliance until the end of the conflict.
Both AFRC and RUF fighters were based in Kailahun District and Kono District and in the north with SAJ Musa and Gullit and other joint forces there. In late 1998, SAJ Musa moved out of the alliance with some of his followers but the majority remained loyal members and the alliance moved back into synchronicity when SAJ Musa was mysteriously killed or died in December 1998 before the attack on Freetown. The evidence before you proves that the forces that moved toward Freetown in late 1998 from the north and from Kono were joint forces of AFRC and RUF and other elements as well.
The forces that fought unsuccessfully to take the Kenema axis and move on to Masiaka as part of this nation-wide offensive were also joint AFRC/RUF forces. These AFRC/RUF forces in this operation were reinforced by Liberian fighters sent by Mr Taylor. The forces that entered Freetown in January of 1999 and committed crimes in Freetown were joint forces, AFRC and RUF. That is what the evidence proves to you, and it is consistent with agreed fact number 31. These forces in Freetown were reinforced by the Liberian subordinates sent by Mr Taylor and engaged in crimes in Freetown.
In 2000, when Johnny Paul Koroma moved out of the joint criminal enterprise, the alliance persevered, the majority of the fighters, both AFRC and RUF, subordinated themselves to the senior alliance leadership and remained within the alliance. AFRC commanders such as Akim Turay and others remaining within the alliance.
As these leaders moved in and out of the alliance and the joint criminal enterprise, Charles Taylor remained firmly fixed in the centre, providing critically needed support, direction, instruction, safe haven to his proxy forces so that they could continue their campaign of terror in their quest for the ultimate objectives to be achieved in Sierra Leone: Control over the people and territory, and pillage of the resources.
The evidence in this case proves that this accused provided virtually everything the perpetrators needed to carry out their prolonged campaign of terror in Sierra Leone. Referring to events within the indictment period, the RUF Black Guard report, which was entered into evidence as exhibit P-67, is reflective of the accused's central role throughout the conflict. He called Sam Bockarie to report to him, a summons that Sam Bockarie obeyed, as Foday Sankoh had obeyed Taylor's summonses, as Johnny Paul Koroma and Issa Sesay obeyed Taylor's summonses. This is reflective of the accused's ongoing instructions, direction, guidance and control over his proxy forces.
Mr Taylor gave Sam Bockarie confidence, directing him not to give up the struggle. This is reflective of the accused's ongoing instruction, direction, guidance and control over, and encouragement of, his proxy forces to continue the campaign of terror in Sierra Leone.
Mr Taylor gave Sam Bockarie his full assurance and promise for maximum support. This is simply a statement of the reality of Mr Taylor's ongoing commitment to support his proxy forces.
And according to the report, after Sam Bockarie had dutifully reported as ordered, Mr Taylor thereafter provided huge quantities of ammunition, continuing what he had been able to recommence on a large scale after he became President in 1997. And after that point he was able to recommence virtually steady shipments of arms and ammunition to his proxy forces, some very large shipments interspersed with multiple smaller shipments.
The evidence in this case proves the accused's multi-faceted participation, involvement and concerted action with the RUF and later the AFRC/RUF alliance, and it proves that this participation, involvement and concerted action was critical to the commission of the crimes charged in Counts 1 through 11. His participation contributed significantly to the ability of these perpetrators to commit the charged crimes.
Mr Taylor provided the training that taught terror as the way to ensure control over the population and territory of Sierra Leone. Mr Taylor planned, directed and provisioned the initial attack on Sierra Leone which was led by his commanders and fighters, and he directed and provisioned the subsequent attacks. His fighters, his NPFL, brought to Sierra Leone the tactic of terror and horrific crimes against civilians, a tactic that persevered throughout the conflict.
Mr Taylor's key role did not change after he withdrew most of his NPFL in mid-1992. Multiple witnesses have told you about his continuing vital role in the events in Sierra Leone.
On 15 September 2009, Mr Taylor told you, "Well, if this man says that his people Foday Sankoh or anybody else came to Liberia in late 1992 to early 1993, let's forget about ammunition bringing, just coming into Liberia, then I'm already guilty. Then I may as well just give up this case, I'm guilty."
But a number of witnesses told you just that. For example, after the withdrawal of most of his NPFL, Mr Taylor summoned Foday Sankoh to him in Liberia so they could plot the way forward now that the NPFL fighters were withdrawn.
RUF members continued to be based in Mr Taylor's territory after the withdrawal of most of his NPFL, and they continued to travel into and out of his territories. In addition, after that withdrawal, near the end of 1992, Mr Taylor and Foday Sankoh in Gbarnga, in Liberia, planned to - devised a plan to take diamond-rich Kono. Mr Taylor provided the materiel for that operation and when it succeeded in taking Kono, Mr Taylor was provided diamonds that were brought to him by Foday Sankoh. And in return for those diamonds, Mr Taylor gave Foday Sankoh additional material. In order to implement this plan, Mr Taylor had the RUF, who continued to be based around the area of Kakata, he brought them all together and he himself addressed them toward the end of 1992, telling them that Foday Sankoh was going to take them to Sierra Leone for a big mission. Foday Sankoh also talked with them at this meeting and after that they travelled through Gbarnga, Mr Taylor's headquarters, on their way into Sierra Leone. And in 1993, at the direction of this accused, Foday Sankoh sent fighters into Lofa County to work with Mr Taylor's forces to keep the supply routes open from Gbarnga to the RUF.
Mr Taylor is indeed guilty and this evidence is part of the proof of his guilt.
Mr Taylor continued to provide strategic instruction, direction, guidance and encouragement to his proxy forces after the withdrawal of his NPFL, thus enabling them to use the most effective strategy and tactics. He gave the RUF guidance to take hostages in order to get international attention, and to get money. He gave Mr Sankoh guidance to use the cover of the peace talks in Ivory Coast to try to reprovision the RUF and to rid themselves of the RUF's most formidable foe, Executive Outcomes. At the time of the coup in Sierra Leone, he directed the AFRC/RUF to work together as brothers.
When the junta was forced from power in mid-February of 1998, Mr Taylor, in reality, ensured the continued existence of the AFRC and the RUF as a viable force and he was the prime actor in resurrecting and reorganising that alliance into a force that almost succeeded in retaking control of the country just one year later.
Mr Taylor reorganised the AFRC/RUF after they were forced from power with his favourite son Sam Bockarie being put in overall command, and he emphasised to the leaders the importance of this alliance. And why did he do that? Because he needed these two groups allied to pursue his ultimate objectives in Sierra Leone. They were much stronger for him allied than if they were separate entities.
Mr Taylor also instructed the AFRC/RUF alliance to take control over the diamond-rich Kono District, then instructed hem to hold on to that area, and then after they had been pushed out of Koidu, he instructed them to retake that area. And he gave them the plan to carry out that instruction, beginning with Kono as the starting point of a nation-wide operation which was to use forces from all over the AFRC/RUF territories and move those combined forces all the way to Freetown. The accused sent this plan back to his proxy forces with Sam Bockarie, before the Fitti-Fatta mission in June of 1998. The plan was delayed by the failure of that Fitti-Fatta mission but was finally implemented several months later, in the configuration which Mr Taylor had set out. The plan devised by Mr Taylor was to attack from the north with the alliance forces there, as well as for the alliance forces to attack through the Kono axis and through the Kenema axis. They were all to meet up at Masiaka and then move onward to Waterloo and from there they would have their final push into Freetown. The forces were unable to meet up as it was timed, but not because of the lack of this plan, because of fighting and because of other issues that arose.
Toward the end of 1998, the time was again ripe to try and implement this plan, and this time Mr Taylor determined that the plan would be implemented with materiel that he ensured was provided by Burkina Faso, his long-time ally, materiel that may have been moved from Libya to Burkina Faso, Libya of course being another of Charles Taylor's long-time allies. Mr Taylor gave the direction that this nation-wide operation should be more fearful than any other, that no one should be spared, and that Freetown must be reached by all means.
During this operation, Mr Taylor continued to give instructions to Sam Bockarie on tactics and strategy to be used. Indeed at one point he summoned Mr Bockarie, in the midst of the fighting, to Monrovia to brief Mr Taylor and to receive instruction from Mr Taylor. After this attack was unsuccessful and they were pushed out of Freetown, Mr Taylor ensured that the Lome peace talks brought results that were very favourable to the alliance, talks that also gave the alliance the time to regroup, rest and reprovision and to strengthen its hold over the very important diamond mining areas.
He ensured that the alliance remained strong, resolving differences and reiterating to the leaders of the alliance that they were to work together as one group to take control of Sierra Leone and to remove the Kabbah government.
Mr Taylor instructed Issa Sesay to resist the peace and to resist disarmament, telling him to say outwardly that he would comply, but in reality to work against the peace and disarmament and to delay it, the same type of tactics that Mr Taylor had used to his advantage so many times in Liberia.
These instructions, which Issa Sesay obeyed, prolonged the conflict and prolonged the campaign of terror in Sierra Leone. For example, obedience to Mr Taylor's instruction prolonged the enslavement of Sierra Leoneans for various uses, including enslaving them to force them to mine for diamonds which were then given to Mr Taylor. It also prolonged the killing of civilians, the continued use of child soldiers, and it prolonged the sexual violence against women that was so rampant by Mr Taylor's proxy forces and his Liberian subordinates in Sierra Leone.
In addition to strategic instruction, direction and guidance, Mr Taylor also continued to provide arms and ammunition, perhaps the most critical component to the campaign of terror, the campaign to control the territory and people of Sierra Leone.
And, in particular, critical to the ability to control the diamond mining areas and the slaves who were used to mine in those areas to the benefit of Mr Taylor.
During the time access to the border was severely restricted, so too was Mr Taylor's ability to provide such materiel restricted. However, upon assuming the presidency, the full flow of materiel to his proxy forces again recommenced. Materiel that Mr Taylor sent to Mr Bockarie for the Fitti-Fatta mission, some of that materiel made its way to the north and was used for joint operations in the north.
Some of that materiel was moved with the alliance forces in the north as they fought their way to Freetown and was even used in the attack on Freetown in January of 1999. Defence witness Issa Sesay admitted that the materiel Sam Bockarie brought back from Liberia was critical to the success of the operation toward Freetown.
In addition to instruction, guidance, direction and materiel, Mr Taylor also provided key manpower. He gave Foday Sankoh the ability to create the RUF, to people that movement. He gave him access to prisoners from Mr Taylor's prisons and he gave him access to other individuals in Mr Taylor's areas of control. Most of these individuals became senior commanders in Mr Taylor's proxy forces in Sierra Leone.
He provided the personnel that enabled the RUF to successfully enter Sierra Leone and extend its hold over the territory and people of Sierra Leone. He provided personnel to conduct training both in Liberia and in areas that had been captured in Sierra Leone, inculcating in these trainees the use of terror as a tool. This training in Liberia and Sierra Leone, unlike some of the other support Mr Taylor gave, such as ammunition, which could be used up and had to be replenished, this training had a lasting impact and made a lasting contribution to the crimes that were committed throughout the conflict in Sierra Leone, including throughout the indictment period.
Mr Taylor also provided other personnel to act as escorts, as liaisons, as persons to take his instructions to his proxy forces in Sierra Leone. He sent reinforcements in late 1998 for this nation-wide attack, fighters who first arrived in Buedu, and then some of them were sent on to the north to join the forces there and become part of the very vicious Red Lion battalion that moved all the way from the north and into Freetown. And his reinforcements were part of that Red Lion battalion that moved from the north to Freetown and engaged in fighting and crimes in Freetown. He also provided personnel who reinforced his proxy forces along the Kenema axis, an axis where the joint forces were unable to prevail. However, Mr Taylor had his reinforcements along that axis as well.
Mr Taylor also provided vitally important communications capabilities to his proxy forces, communications capabilities that were tied into his own communications network and Mr Bangura will address you more about this communications assistance.
The accused provided other support vital to his proxy forces, as well, such as food, medicines, medical support, money, and safe haven in Liberia.
In return for his vital contributions to the commission of the crimes in Sierra Leone, Mr Taylor had, at his call, a surrogate force in place in Sierra Leone to control key areas of Sierra Leone and at times, indeed to control the entire country. And from this control of territory, these proxy forces were able to carry out the campaign of terror against the people of Sierra Leone. Taylor's proxy forces also secured control over the diamond areas and gave those diamonds to Mr Taylor. The cost in human suffering, the bitterness of war, the campaign of terror that he inflicted, all of this was of no account to him or to his partners, those who strove so mightily over the years to achieve their shared objectives. After all, as Mr Taylor replied to Foday Sankoh's complaint that the NPFL were destroying the people of Sierra Leone, the perpetrators were not eating bread and butter, they were carrying out Mr Taylor's guerilla war and guerilla war is destruction. He also have available to him because of his vital contributions, the use of this proxy force to fight for him in Liberia as well as in Guinea, and in relation to Sam Bockarie and his followers, also in Ivory Coast.
Perhaps most importantly, of course, his benefit from this was all of the diamonds that he received throughout the years, and Mr Koumjian will speak to you more about this benefit that Mr Taylor derived.
The evidence establishes that this accused had control over not only his Liberian subordinates but also over his proxy forces in Sierra Leone. He instructed, they complied. He directed, they carried out those directions. As Isaac Mongor, a former NPFL commander who rose to leadership in the RUF and the AFRC/RUF alliance told you, Mr Taylor owned the RUF, as Mr Taylor later owned the AFRC/RUF. And as Joseph Mazhar, one of Mr Taylor's most ruthless enforcers told you, there was no RUF and no NPFL; all instructions came from Charles Taylor.
Mr Mazhar also told you that nobody under Charles Taylor would do things his own way. That if you went against Charles Taylor's orders, you would be considered a collaborator and you would be executed and if you refused to do anything that he told you to do, it would be at the risk of your own security.
And Mr Mazhar also told you that during Mr Taylor's administration, things like diamonds, if you did things on your own you were risking your own life. And that during Mr Taylor's administration he could not recall any man doing things on his own, may the Lord forbid.
Mr Taylor controlled the two main enforcer units he relied on to continue his campaign of terror in Liberia after he became President, his SSS and his ATU, units that also interacted with his proxy forces in Sierra Leone in various capacities, as escorts, as liaisons, as commanders. These two units, the SSS and the ATU reported to the SSS director, and that director, the ruthless and totally loyal Benjamin Yeaten, reported to Mr Taylor.
Mr Taylor exercised his control in many ways, including sending back fighters who had come into Liberia from the war fronts in Sierra Leone. For example, Mr Taylor organised SLAs who had come to Liberia after the Intervention and sent them back to Sierra Leone to reinforce his proxy forces there.
The evidence proves that the accused controlled his proxy forces and also that he intended the charged crimes. His intent manifest in many ways in the evidence before you. As noted before, his reaction to the report of horrible atrocities being committed early in the conflict in Sierra Leone by his NPFL is very instructive of his intent. There was no expression of horror over these atrocities, rather, "Guerilla war is destruction, they are not eating bread and butter." The evidence of the accused's continued participation with the perpetrator groups even in light of his knowledge that they were engaged in these crimes is also instructive of his intent. As the evidence establishes, the accused had knowledge of these notorious crimes being committed through a variety of means, direct knowledge through radio and telephone communications, or face-to-face contact with leaders and their representatives, reports from his eyes and ears whom he sent to Sierra Leone, and after he was President, information from various United Nations and ECOWAS reports to which he was privy, and he also received knowledge of the atrocities through the media.
From all these means, but most importantly from his own vital participation with the perpetrator groups, as Mr Taylor told you on the 14th of July of 2009, there is no one on this planet that would not have heard through international broadcasts or probably discussions about what was going on in Sierra Leone.
Now, he also indicated to you that "actions were a little strange to us, because those things did not occur in Liberia." However, other evidence disputes Mr Taylor's version of that and we suggest that that was an untruthful statement that he made to you.
Mr Taylor's planning, ordering or approving of operations that inflicted terror on the people of Sierra Leone also proves he intended the charged crimes, for example, his approval of the notorious Operation Stop Elections, his planning of the operation that resulted in the January 1999 orgy of violence, with the instruction to make it more fearful than any other operation.
The NPFL training given to these future leaders, incorporating terror as a tool that they should use, all of these things prove Mr Taylor's intent. In addition, Mr Taylor's continued participation in this joint criminal enterprise in the years before the indictment period and his continued participation during the indictment period also proves his intent. If we assume for purposes of argument that at the beginning Mr Taylor did not intend these crimes, by the time of the indictment period, he knew of them and he continued to participate with the perpetrators, thereby establishing his intent that these crimes be committed.
The Prosecution evidence in this case is consistent, as to the accused's ongoing and multi-faceted participation, involvement and concerted action with the perpetrator groups. It is consistent as to the substantial contribution this accused made to the commission of the crimes in Sierra Leone through his myriad actions and failures to act. The Prosecution evidence is well corroborated including by Defence evidence, as noted throughout the Prosecution final brief. Numerous witnesses told you of the crucial role Mr Taylor played in a variety of ways to create, sustain, direct, support and control his proxy forces in Sierra Leone and the regime of terror that his NPFL exported from Liberia and which became the modus operandi for his proxy forces in Sierra Leone.
For example, some 18 witnesses told you about the instructions, direction and guidance which Mr Taylor gave to his proxy forces, at least 16 of them giving you evidence of such action by Mr Taylor during the indictment period.
Now, Mr Taylor told you on the 28th of October that this is a shut and closed case. "If anyone believes that Liberia had arms and ammunition or Charles Taylor had possession of those arms and ammunition in Liberia, between the time he becomes President up to about 2001, then really I'm already guilty in this case."
Some 30 witnesses gave you consistent and credible evidence of exactly that. Mr Taylor not only had this materiel, he provided it to the RUF and to the AFRC/RUF alliance during the indictment period. Twelve of those witnesses were themselves involved in Mr Taylor's supply of this material in some way, perhaps being escorts, perhaps setting up the logistics, receiving this materiel from Mr Taylor.
The Prosecution evidence is also credible because it has withstood rigorous scrutiny. It was fully tested on cross-examination and this was cross-examination with the benefit of full disclosure of prior statements and Rule 68 information.
During the Defence case, lead Defence counsel and the accused asserted several times that testimony was not a memory test, and to some degree that is true. It certainly is true that memory as to the dates of events or the dates of occurrences is often the victim of the passage of time. This is particularly true when the witnesses are in the jungle, not at the rear areas where staff are available to remind them of dates, of events, and where appointment books and formal visits are also available to remind them of the dates of events.
Another factor that establishes the reliability of the Prosecution evidence is the high foundational requirements to which that evidence was held, in terms of the ability to use documents with witnesses.
And also, the Prosecution evidence shows its reliability and its credence by the fact that very strict rules were applied to eliciting evidence on direct examination so that your Honours, rightfully so, heard what it was these witnesses knew and what their experience were, not what counsel was saying from counsel table.
The Defence evidence has not benefited from such scrutiny or high foundational or procedural requirements; and that reality negatively impacts the weight that should be afforded that evidence. The testimony of Mr Taylor is very important to you, should be considered very carefully of course, and we suggest that when you consider it very carefully, you will determine that it should be given very little weight.
When you review that evidence, you will see that it is rife with internal contradictions and inconsistencies. We certainly do not have the time to go into all of those, but there are a multitude of them throughout his evidence.
For example, just one example is reflective of the other instances of internal inconsistencies. On the 25th of August of 2009, in response to a question if he knew Leonid Minin, Mr Taylor told you, yes, he did.
And when he was asked, "Did you do any arms deals with Mr Minin," he said, "Yes, we tried to get some arms but he failed, he couldn't get them."
On the 27th of January, Mr Taylor was asked, "You did ask Leonid Minin to get you weapons, didn't you?"
And Mr Taylor replied, "I did not ask Leonid Minin to get me any weapons and I think Minin has also discredited this report."
Which part of that evidence will you believe, if any?
Some of Mr Taylor's evidence is inherently incredible. For example, Mr Taylor told you that according to him he was chosen to be the point President for peace. As such, it would be reasonable to conclude that it would be vitally important for him to know all of the pronouncements coming from the leaders of the armed factions and the government in Sierra Leone. Yet amazingly, Mr Taylor would have you believe that he was unaware of Sam Bockarie's many threats forecasting the impending attack on Freetown. He knew nothing about that. He, the point President for peace, that is incredible. He knew about it, of course, because he was intimately involved with Sam Bockarie planning that operation that would result in so many horrific crimes.
He also told you that he had no knowledge that Foday Sankoh was using Camp Naama to train RUF members. Now, we have to remember that Camp Naama is basically in Mr Taylor's backyard and he told you that he had his own NPFL training there, and he also told you that he had security units in all of his training bases. And yet he would have you believe that he had no idea that this training was going on. He also would have you believe he had no idea that Mr Sankoh and Isatu Kallon were travelling freely throughout his territories, taking able-bodied men and taking them to Camp Naama to be trained for a force that would go to Sierra Leone. That is incredible and not worthy of belief.
In an attempt to rationalise his actions, Mr Taylor told you that he had Sorious Samura and others arrested because he got intelligence that they were going to use cancer - a cancer-causing camera in their meeting with him. And he further told you that the intelligence sources gave an example of such a camera being used in the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud. That's a very good story, except that Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated over a year after Mr Taylor had Samura and the others arrested. The truth is he had them arrested because they were going to expose his activities with his proxy forces in Sierra Leone.
Mr Taylor's evidence is also contradicted not just by Prosecution evidence but by other Defence evidence. We do not have the time today to go into all of that but a close review of the Defence evidence and contrasting other witnesses with Mr Taylor's evidence will make it very clear how often he is contradicted by his other evidence.
The Defence documents that were introduced to you in this case also require very close scrutiny. They are of questionable credibility. At least two of them, there is very questionable credibility as to their authenticity and authorship. For example, on the 21st of July, Mr Taylor gave you one version of why he gathered these documents. He said that these documents were for a presidential library. On the 19th of July - excuse me, the 19th of August, he told you that he took most of his personal documents when he left office but that others were subsequently removed while he was incarcerated. In November, he told you that he took documents being aware of this case. On the 25th of November, he apparently forgot what he had told you on the 16th and denied that documents were collected with an awareness of this case. But yet on the 28th of January he agreed and recalled testifying that he asked members of his staff to put together papers for history with an awareness of this case.
Authenticity of documents. Mr Taylor gave you a great deal of detail regarding his receipt of what became exhibit D-243 and this was a letter, an unsigned letter, dated 11 May 2000. Mr Taylor swore to you that this letter was from Issa Sesay and he said it was total nonsense that this letter was written by his staff. Now, it's interesting that that letter spelled Issa Sesay's name as Essa, E-S-S-A, and his last name as S-E-A-S-A-Y. It's also interesting that the supposed writer of that letter, Issa Sesay told you that he did not write the letter and he told you that he never spelled his name as it appeared in the document and that no one in the RUF would have spelled his name with an I -- that everyone knew his name, Issa, was spelled with an I. The same scenario prevailed in relation to exhibit D-258 which was a handwritten letter, an unsigned letter, that Mr Taylor again told you was from Issa Sesay to Foday Sankoh. Again Issa Sesay told you he knew nothing about that letter.
Exhibit D-9, on which the accused placed great reliance becomes much easier to understand when you realise, as Mr Taylor admitted, that this salute report from Sam Bockarie was written in Monrovia. And it was written in Monrovia at a time when Foday Sankoh was coming from Lome to Monrovia. It was no doubt written either by Mr Taylor or his subordinates or under their watchful eye, and that is the reason that there is no mention of all of this support and direction Mr Taylor gave to the RUF. That and also because Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie were there with Mr Taylor, and that sort of information could be passed on securely in oral conversations.
Now, you were also given a great many United Nations code cables, through -- most of those if not all of those came into evidence through Mr Taylor. Those code cables should also be viewed very cautiously. It appears from the evidence that Mr Taylor co-opted the representative of the Secretary-General very early on and that the RSG in effect became Mr Taylor's agent and his mouthpiece to the United Nations. Because of this relationship, RSG Downes-Thomas gave Mr Taylor these code cables, which were internal cables for the United Nations. On none of these code cables is Mr Taylor or the Government of Liberia listed as a recipient. They are not listed or cc'd in any way on any of these cables, nonetheless Mr Downes-Thomas gave those cables to Mr Taylor. And many of those cables appear to be internal exchanges of views between United Nations officials, views of others which, if Mr Taylor were aware of them, he could use to fashion responses and positions to best advance and protect his interest. He could more effectively engage in what he termed deceit as a tool of diplomacy. The cables also contain the views of the RSG, Mr Downes-Thomas, who was at this time Mr Taylor's de facto agent, views that defend Mr Taylor and try to dispel concerns about his connection to his proxy forces and his conduct inside Liberia. This is biased reporting that should be given little or no weight.
The RSG's biased and close association with Charles Taylor seems to have raised sufficient concern that another UN official was sent into Liberia in early March of 1999, apparently to give another assessment of the situation there as it impacted Sierra Leone. And this mission and Mr Downes-Thomas's reaction to it is reflected in exhibit D-192, which is another internal United Nations code cable stamped "Immediate and Only". And it contains a summary of the mission by this other official, and also the RSG's complaint about the fact the trip and the observations were made, and it gives Mr Downes-Thomas's views about certain issues before the United Nations. All of this handed over to Mr Taylor.
This close association was also the cause for comment and concern in a United Nations report from a team that was sent out to do a review of post-conflict peace-building support offices in various countries. And the report, which is P-488, noted that only in Liberia were accusations that the UN office was too closely associated with the government a matter of legitimate concern.
Other materials, other documents, that were introduced through Mr Taylor also require very close scrutiny and are deserving of little weight. Draft letters were provided to you with no signatures and with "draft" on them. Documents that had been redacted and Mr Taylor had no explanation for the redactions, were also provided to you.
Defence witnesses also, overall, lacked credibility. Now, it is true that human beings remember the truth differently in some minor ways and so there are minor contradictions between witnesses. You certainly have contradictions between these Defence witnesses, but you also have feigned ignorance of matters that even Mr Taylor acknowledged, and you have refusals to acknowledge Mr Taylor's cooperation, for example, with the RUF, even when Mr Taylor himself had admitted it. We suggest that many of these witnesses came here with a bias, with an agenda, and that their evidence needs to be reviewed very, very carefully.
One example would be Isatu Kallon who came to you and gave very lengthy evidence before you. We suggest that her evidence is a result of a partnership between she and Mr Taylor based on compatible goals and that that partnership explains her testimony. Her goals were to maintain and strengthen her positions of authority, influence and affluence as a trader and market association leader in Mr Taylor's controlled territory and to support the RUF.
Mr Taylor's goals were to use her as one means of support for his NPFL, as one means of support for the trainees at Camp Naama and for the RUF in Sierra Leone and as one means of information collection for himself, one of his many eyes and ears. And we suggest to you this is why when Mr Taylor learned of her position of authority in the market women's association, he ensured that she and her family were never again arrested or detained. This is why he allowed her to move throughout his territories trading and also, we suggest, bringing back information for him and bringing recruits to Camp Naama, the training base he had established for his proxy force, the RUF. We suggest to you that is also why it was she who was singled out by Dr Sebo to go with him into Sierra Leone to arrange for the transfer of the hostages, whose taking Mr Taylor had been so instrumental in.
And we also suggest to you that it was this partnership that put her in the midst of bringing the external delegation from Sierra Leone to Mr Taylor's long-time confidant and subordinate, Musa Cisse, in Danane, a long-time NPFL stronghold.
Now, if we could turn to the crimes.
The evidence in this case demonstrates that to Mr Taylor the commission of the charged crimes was an effective way to achieve his objectives. We see that in many different iterations in the evidence. His response, which I have earlier alluded to, when he was confronted with the crimes of his NPFL in Sierra Leone, "Guerilla war is destruction."
The attitude of his NPFL that was exported to his proxy forces in Sierra Leone that civilians have no blood, that is to say, they can be used as you wish, was a very key part of this campaign of terror against the civilians there.
This was an expression that had widespread use in Liberia and also in Sierra Leone. The use of terror as a tactic against civilians was also exported by his NPFL to his proxy forces in Sierra Leone.
The evidence that these proxy forces, as well as his NPFL, were not paid but instead were to pay themselves at the expense of the civilian population. We have heard evidence about Mr Taylor taking action against his subordinates for various reasons. We suggest to you that a review of the evidence shows that Mr Taylor took action against his subordinates not because they were responsible for crimes against civilians but for three main reasons: Firstly, because he viewed them as a threat to his power, and in that regard we can put such people as General Mekunagbe, Oliver Varney and others. Secondly, because his subordinates failed him in battle or in other taskings that he had given them, and we suggest that an example of that was a the execution of Cassius Jacobs after he allowed Gbarnga to be overtaken in 1994. And finally he punished his subordinates because they dared to punish his NPFL who had committed crimes. That was why he wanted Prince Johnson arrested, because Prince Johnson had punished NPFL fighters who had committed crimes. Crimes were what was intended by Mr Taylor, and he did not want his subordinates punishing those who were carrying out his intention.
The evidence not only proves that Mr Taylor viewed the charged crimes as the means by which to achieve his objectives in Sierra Leone, it also proves the commission of the charged crimes.
As Defence witness Charles Ngebe told you on the 12th of April of 2010: "Capturing, raping, killing, all the atrocities that occurred in that country that has led the warlords to be in prison and the Sierra Leoneans are aware of that, all the atrocities that you are talking about, the RUF, that is what has caused these men to be in jail. It's right. It's true."
Terror was the means by which the ultimate objectives in Sierra Leone were to be achieved, and there can be no reasonable doubt that Mr Taylor intended that acts be committed to spread fear, because this was going to be the way he would achieve his goals, his objectives.
The evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, through his proxy forces and his Liberian subordinates, used terror as a tool to subdue and subjugate a larger population in Sierra Leone. Throughout the indictment period, indeed throughout the conflict, the reality for the people of Sierra Leone was as described by witnesses who came before you, including TF1-215 who testified before you on the 14th of October. And he testified to you about a scene of public mass amputations at which one of the rebels carrying out a written order told the horrified victims, who were waiting their turn to be mutilated, "There is no God here today. I am the god here today."
Mr Taylor and his proxy forces were the gods. They decided life, they decided death. They decided the conditions of life throughout the conflict. And it was Mr Taylor who exported this campaign of terror from Liberia to Sierra Leone. In Liberia, his NPFL inflicted a campaign of terror on those in the population he did not believe supported him. Mr Taylor's NPFL and the other factions carried out horrendous atrocities against civilians in the Liberian civil war. Mr Taylor created the conditions for terror and the atrocities against civilians. He told you he selected NPFL trainees who wanted to go back and avenge the death of their people. He said he intentionally entered through Nimba County where most of the atrocities against Gios and Manos had taken place. He told you that the great majority of his fighters from Libya were from them Nimba County and they included those who wanted revenge. He said that he accepted a lot of Gio and Mano into the NPFL. They wanted revenge. And he told you that he knew that many members of his group were likely to commit crimes against the Krahn and the Mandingo. He said that he knew the Gios were bitter against the Krahns and joined the NPFL for revenge.
Mr Taylor harnessed his fighters' thirst for revenge and then unleashed them on Liberia, intending that they use that thirst for revenge to spread terror so he could control the much larger population in that country. And similarly, he unleashed his NPFL on the civilian population of Sierra Leone.
Mr Taylor got just what he intended in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. His NPFL committed crimes of extreme brutality, perpetrated by fighters with such names as "Maximum Death" and "Destruction", the names themselves showing the intent of their acts.
The acts of terror were remarked on in exhibit D-118 an article that was written by a journalist who was sympathetic to Mr Taylor, but that article detailed acts of terror against the population in Liberia.
His NPFL displayed body parts, heads and intestines at checkpoints to create fear. Mr Taylor was aware of this; he passed through those checkpoints.
Indeed, Mr Taylor told you that there were checkpoints in Liberia with skulls, not human heads, that skulls were used as symbols of death, that he saw them, he drove by them. They were used as symbols and he saw nothing wrong with using them. And when he was talking about these symbols he said they were designed to give a lesson: "Look, here is a situation, if you don't do this, then this happens. Okay? This is the result of not following orders, okay? That is why these skulls, not at every gate, but there were certain areas that skulls were there." Clear indication of Mr Taylor's willing and very able use of terror to further his goals.
The RUF was created by Mr Taylor in the image of his own NPFL, again an organisation that was infamous for its use of terror. Terror was the common denominator between Liberia and Sierra Leone. Indeed, the accused used terror tactics to populate the RUF, threatening people with death if they did not join the RUF. His NPFL continued its campaign of terror in Sierra Leone. Just as his NPFL displayed body parts at checkpoints to frighten people, so did the RUF and the AFRC/RUF display body parts to frighten people, leaving bodies unburied, putting heads on stakes, all to spread terror throughout the population of Sierra Leone.
And indeed the victims suffered grave consequences as a result of these acts of terror and that evidence has been before you throughout this trial. The public nature of the crimes also prove that terror was the intended result. People having to stand in line and await their turn to be mutilated, seeing others maimed before them, hearing the cries of their friends, their family, other victims, rapes in the sight and sound of others, including family members, people burned alive in their homes within the sight and sound of other civilians, victims being forced to carry decapitated heads, including the heads of their children, civilians being forced to watch as a child is buried alive and the mother is forced to laugh. These are the consequences of the campaign of terror that Mr Taylor exported to Sierra Leone. The campaign of terror which the accused directed, sustained, supported and encouraged against the population of Sierra Leone, the campaign of terror which was the means by which Mr Taylor and the other members of the joint criminal enterprise sought to achieve their ultimate objectives in Sierra Leone, the campaign of terror for which this accused rightly stands in judgment before you today.
If your Honours have no questions, at this time I will turn the podium over to Mr Bangura who will address you in regard to the relationship between Mr Taylor and some of his key subordinates, radio communications between Mr Taylor and the AFRC/RUF, the recruitment and use of child soldiers and the evidence relating to the enslavement of civilians in Sierra Leone. Thank you, your Honours.