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

  • Good morning, Mr Witness. Can I try and recap a little on the account you have given us of your flight from Sierra Leone once the junta was overthrown in the intervention by ECOMOG in February 1998. You told us that you went to Liberia, that it took you three months to get to Foya. Do you remember telling us that?

  • And then it took you about another three months to get to Monrovia. So a total of six months from February 1998, which brings us to about August of that year. Do you agree?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • You've also mentioned your personal effects. What were you travelling with by way of personal effects?

  • I did not have any personal things like - any personal things as such.

  • Well, what about the clothes that you had with you? Apart from the clothes that you were wearing as you made your way, presumably through the bush, did you have any other clothing with you?

  • Yes, I had a few trousers and shirts and footwears.

  • How were you travelling with those?

  • I had a bag, a backpack, that I always strapped on my back and the other guys with whom I travelled also had bags with them.

  • And just tell us how many clothes you had with you in your backpack?

  • The situation in which I was was not to travel with a lot of things, so I can recall I travelled with five khaki trousers with a waistcoat and about six to seven shirts.

  • And footwear, spare footwear, in addition to what was on your feet?

  • Yes, I had like about two sneakers, two pairs of sneakers.

  • How big was this backpack?

  • Those are usual military bags that you can pack few things in them and you can use for some time and at that time my problem was not more for clothing, I cared about saving my life.

  • Well, I'm only interested at the moment in your clothing, not saving your life. Can we concentrate on your clothing, please. You have these various things in your backpack. What else was in the backpack apart from these shoes, trousers and shirts and waistcoats?

  • I can recall that I had things like my documents, like my military ID cards and my artillery documents.

  • Yes and where were they kept in your backpack?

  • I had some other small bag that had a zipper. It was in that that I put those, put them into a plastic bag because I wanted it to prevent it from rain, then I put it into the backpack.

  • Yes, I was coming on to the rains. You were travelling through Sierra Leone and Liberia for six months before you reached Monrovia. By the time you reach Monrovia it's the middle of the rainy season, isn't it?

  • You told us that you made your journey through both of these countries via back routes, so as to avoid being stopped. That's right, isn't it?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • So you were travelling through the bush, is that correct?

  • It was not through the bush as such. I used the main road, but whenever I would be nearer a road block then I will send one of my men, one or two of them, and they will go further and see whether there was any problem and they will observe the treatment that they were giving to other people, then they will come back and when I get the response we would always come close, then we used a bypass. We would bypass the road blocks for me to avoid embarrassment.

  • During those six months did you ever have to sleep rough?

  • What do you mean by sleeping rough?

  • Did you ever have to sleep in the open, under the trees, under the stars?

  • Not at all.

  • And just tell us how big this backpack is with all of your belongings in it?

  • First of all the training that I underwent I am capable of carrying 50 kilos for any movement that I could undertake, so it was a sizable backpack. It was not a very big one.

  • Yes, tell us, please, how big it is?

  • It was a sizable backpack. I am not going to exaggerate the size. It was not very big. It was sizable. Normally usually when you see military men you see them carrying backpacks.

  • Mr Witness, just give us some dimensions, please, of this backpack?

  • A sizable backpack that had straps that you can always use to strap them on your back. In fact, if you find yourself sleeping elsewhere that there is no pillow you can use that as a pillow.

  • And did you use this as a pillow?

  • Yes, once in a while.

  • Now there came a stage, you told us in your evidence, when you are - you leave to go to Buedu with Sam Bockarie and he told you to leave most of your personal effects behind and that either they'd be delivered later or you could collect them later. Do you remember telling us that?

  • It was not Sam Bockarie who told me that. It was Colonel Marzah who advised me that I should leave my things so when I would get to Buedu I would call him through the radio and he will send them for me. I just took few. I mean I took four pairs of khaki trousers and a T-shirt that I wrapped up and put into the small pack that I had, excluding what I had on.

  • This is a smaller pack than the one you've just been describing, is it?

  • Did you ever get the remainder of your personal effects that you had left behind with Zigzag Marzah?

  • I did not get them again from him.

  • And what did those remaining personal effects include?

  • Well, they were more of the things that I had bought together with him at Carey Street. I was fortunate to pack some of my khaki trousers, including the one that I had which contained the photo. Those were the ones I packed into the handbag that I had at that time, but when I got to Buedu I called Zigzag Marzah on two occasions. He assured me that he will send them, but I never saw them until I left Buedu.

  • So the fact that the khaki trousers with the photograph in it were in the small pack that you took with you to Buedu is just a coincidence, is it?

  • Yes, my Lord. Then - no, it was not a coincidence as such, because at that time the common things that you would wear were khaki trousers, because that you would use for some time, and that one was a very good khaki pair of trousers and it had pockets like side pockets similar to the one that I'm having now on. So that was why I took that, because I knew I was going to fight and so I took that with me. I was going to the bush, not in the city or that I was going to play. That was why I packed that one.

  • And did you fight in those trousers, the ones with the photograph in the pocket?

  • As I told you, when I went to Buedu there was a time when I was taking out my things to clean them. It was at that time that I took out the khaki trousers and when I was shaking it the picture fell off, so I kept the picture for future for remembrance.

  • You kept this gruesome picture for remembrance, is that what you're telling the judges?

  • When I said for remembrance, when I always look at it and know that if it were not for God's blessings I would have ended up the same way. That was why I kept that picture, to be watching it and recall the things that I had gone through.

  • And where did it fall on to when it fell out when you were preparing your trousers for cleaning?

  • It was in the room where I was lodged. I was shaking them for me to give them to a lady who was Major Victor Kemoh's wife for her to launder them for me, so when I had shaken them off so the photo fell off and I took it and put it somewhere where I thought it would be safe for it to be with me.

  • And where is it you put it for it to be safe?

  • I had some books. You know, I liked reading books to pass time. It was in that book that I put the photo.

  • Are you wearing trousers with the same kind of pockets as the pair that you claim you kept this photograph in? Are you wearing the same kind of trousers today?

  • Yes. Although it is not of the same colour, yes.

  • The same kind of pockets that you're saying you kept this photograph in?

  • Just show us, please, the pocket that you say you kept the photograph in?

  • Mr Witness, stay within the curtains when you stand up, please. Please stand up.

  • It's a similar pocket like this. You see this, it's an example of my own picture. This is another example. It's a family picture and it is the same size. It's an example. It's my family picture.

  • I will note for purposes of record that the witness stood wearing what I think are army type coloured trousers.

  • These days they're high fashion, I think, your Honour.

  • It hasn't reached me yet, Mr Munyard, but wearing trousers with two side pockets at thigh level with Velcro from which he produced two photographs, one from each pocket.

  • Yes, I would add closed Velcro.

  • Yes, closed by Velcro. Is that acceptable to - yes.

  • Is it just coincidence that you've come in today wearing these trousers with a photograph in each pocket, or is that something you have been advised to do?

  • I never thought of that. It was this pair of trousers that I wore from Sierra Leone. You can ask those who picked me up from the airport. I wore this particular pair of trousers from Sierra Leone to here and this one is my family photo, you know? I can recall it was when I left the service. It was my wife and three children. This was the pair of trousers that I wore from Sierra Leone to here.

  • And the photographs that you've produced from those side pockets, how long have they been in those pockets?

  • I said it was the one I wore from Sierra Leone.

  • So, they've been in those pockets a couple of weeks?

  • And those photographs are battered and bent and less than perfect, aren't they?

  • Well, let me show you. Maybe you can describe it better.

  • When you shook your trousers so that the lady could look after them, how is it that the photographs fell out of a Velcro closed side pocket, Mr Witness?

  • I told you that I was searching the pockets to make sure that they were empty before ever I could give them to the lady. I was searching them because I didn't want to leave bills, money bills in it or important documents, because she was going to put them into water to launder them. That was why I searched them and I was fortunate to see that photo and I recall that, "Oh, I had put this photo into this pocket." So I took the picture and put it aside, and for it not to destroy I told you I had books in Buedu and so I took one of the books and put the photo into it.

  • What you told us actually, you may have forgotten by now, is that you shook the trousers and the photograph fell out. Do you recall saying that within the last few minutes?

  • Mr Lawyer, I emptied the trousers at my own pace to ensure that nothing was in it, because if anything was in it and it was put into water that thing would destroy. So, I took it out and searched into it and shook it to ensure that nothing was left in the pockets.

  • How long after you secreted this photograph from the floor of the bar when Zigzag Marzah dropped it - how long was it from then until this moment when you shake it out of the pocket in Buedu? How many months or years had passed?

  • As I told you and according to what I have told this Court, you yourself can help me now to calculate. When I told you that I used it in Liberia and when I packed them to return to Buedu, it was around that time. It was when I returned to Buedu that I had time to --

  • Can you give us --

  • No, I cannot, but it was from that time that I had taken off - I took it to Monrovia and I put it in and when I was in Monrovia I told you in my statement that I was fortunate to do some shopping. That's why I put the trousers aside. It was from that time when I thought that that was the appropriate trousers to go with to the jungle --

  • Mr Witness, I think counsel is asking how long between the packing in Monrovia and the shaking out in Buedu.

  • Your Honour, I'm not. I'm asking how long from the moment it first goes into his pocket, at the bar in Monrovia, to Buedu.

  • Your Honour, I just would like to note that at one point during the witness's answer counsel was talking at the same time and his question was not recorded. I believe it's the point where the dash appears on the LiveNote and the witness says, "No, I cannot", but in the future someone reading the transcript would not understand his sudden change, the context of why he's suddenly switching his sentence, but there was a question which was not picked up because both the witness and the counsel were speaking at the same time.

  • Since I've interrupted as well, I was trying to direct the witness to the issue and in the light of Mr Koumjian's remarks please put the question again and let's concentrate --

  • Your Honour was doing exactly what I was trying to do, which was to stop him telling us this story and try and get him back to the question:

  • Just listen to the question, please, Mr Witness. How many months or years had passed from the moment that you secreted this photograph from the floor of the bar, where Zigzag had dropped it, until it fell out of your pocket in Buedu when you were giving your trousers to the lady to take care of?

  • Mr Lawyer, I have told you that according to the statement that I have made, I said from that time to the time that I went to Buedu, you yourself can help me calculate the time, but to say that I can give you now a specific period, I cannot calculate, no.

  • I'm simply going to note your answer, Mr Witness, that you're not willing to give us an estimate of the time and I want to ask you this: Why is it, if you were so careful to preserve this photograph over at the very least seven and a half years, from early 1999, on one version that you've given us, to some time - I said seven and a half years, about seven years, to March of 2006. Why is it that in the two years that have passed since 2006 you have managed to lose it?

  • As I was telling you, I had a lot of things to do and where I was in Freetown, from that time to where I was, I had changed two addresses. I had changed two addresses and when you change an address you would have to move from one place to the other, so it could happen. I don't know.

  • You changed two countries in the seven years that we're talking about and you fought in battles and you went hither and yon to Burkina Faso by plane, back again to Monrovia, to Buedu, in and out of a dungeon, back to Sierra Leone, into the arms of ECOMOG. You went all over the place for seven years and yet managed to hang on to the photograph, on your account, didn't you?

  • This was a photograph - like in Liberia, it just happened that I saw it in my pocket back when I returned to Buedu, but I did not keep it for this particular purpose that I have given it for now. I hadn't an intention like that.

  • You have already told us this morning the purpose that you kept it for. Now, are you saying that the reason it's gone missing is that you have moved house twice in Freetown?

  • Yes, because I would not lose it deliberately, as I would like to keep it. If you keep a photo it can take a long time. It may get old, but it can stay long.

  • I didn't suggest you'd lost it deliberately. Are you saying that somebody has suggested that you should deliberately lose it?

  • No, it was according to what you said.

  • But do you agree that despite the fact that you were being interviewed by two police officers, that this photograph that you gave to them, they handed back to you? Do you agree with that?

  • Well, that was where I told you that there is some doubt. I am a human being too and for those men to get me it was not easy, because I was engaged doing some other things other than just concentrating on --

  • Mr Witness, answer the question only, please. Do you agree that they handed that photograph back to you, those two police officers who interviewed you, the man from the CID from Sierra Leone and the Canadian police officer?

  • I told you that, you know, I wouldn't want to say things here that I am not sure of because I have taken an oath. There is some doubt there, because I thought the picture was with them, but according to the lawyer he said he had sent a message there and the people said they had given the picture back to me. So I'm a little doubtful. That was what he said here yesterday, but I told him here that the picture should be with them.

  • Your Honour, I'm now going to hand out some documents. I'm going to start at tab 1 and I understand that the tabs are numbered internally at the bottom right-hand corner of each page. So each one will start at page 1, bottom right corner.

  • It's just been pointed out to us, Mr Munyard, by Madam Court Attendant, that the witness's name appears, at least I see on the page 1 of tab 1, so some care will have to be exercised before that can be put on the screen.

  • Yes, I hadn't appreciated that. Well, for the time being we won't put them on the screen and then we've got another hour and a half to go before the next break, but I hope that at some stage during that break we can, in old fashioned terms, Snopake out his name.

  • Your Honour, I believe the solution - and perhaps at the opportunity the court officer can check with the video booth - is they can simply not broadcast the document cam. That's not necessarily on the live feed, so they can make sure that it doesn't go out to the public.

  • That seems a sensible solution. I think Madam Court Officer is just going to check that that can be done.

  • If it's not going to be broadcast there's no point putting it on the overhead, is there? The witness could simply read from his own copy, hard copy.

  • There's no need to broadcast it, to put it on the overhead.

  • Certainly. Those of us in court have all got copies, so there should be no difficulty and I am told, quite rightly, that I think his name appears actually on all of the documents. It's certainly on the first page of each of the tabs, so we will deal with that in due course. But for the time being nothing on the overhead screen, but the witness will obviously need to be assisted to make sure that he understands what I'm reading out:

  • Let me remind you, Mr Witness, that what you have told this Court is that each time you were interviewed the interview was read back to you so that you could correct anything that was wrong, or add to it. Now, in the case of the interview that is dated 24 March 2006 --

  • Mr Munyard, sorry to interrupt, we need to be sure that the witness can actually read and understand English.

  • I'm going to - well, I had partly established that. I can establish it further in a moment by referring to one of the tabs, in fact straightaway.

  • Alternatively you could read and the interpreter interprets for him from the booth.

  • Yes, but let me go, on that point, to tab 2, I think it is. Madam Court Officer, if you could turn up tab 2, which is a prepping session between the witness and attorney Nick Koumjian, using the witness statement dated 23 and 24 March 2006, and this prepping session is dated 6 August 2007. The interview starts at 1235 hours. The interview is in English. First paragraph gives the witness's date of birth, he attended school until the 6th grade and he is able to read and write both English and Krio:

  • Do you remember telling that to Mr Koumjian, the lawyer who was asking you questions for the Prosecution?

  • Is that true what you told him: That you can read and write both English and Krio?

  • Justice Sebutinde, I hope that answers the question satisfactorily for you:

  • We'll go back then to tab 1, please. Starting on page 1 of tab 1, this is an interview which was conducted on both 23 and 24 March 2006 and I understand from what you told us in your evidence that David Cunningham was one of the interviewers and Alfred Sesay was also taking part. Is that correct?

  • No, I spoke about Mr David who was a Canadian police.

  • Yes, you also told us that Alfred Sesay, from the CID, Criminal Investigations Department, of the Sierra Leone police, took part in that interview. Do you remember telling us that?

  • Yes.

  • And indeed we can see his name in the first paragraph of that interview, can't we, as assisting in the interview, yes?

  • Now, the second paragraph gives your history in the Sierra Leone Army and four sentences down in that paragraph it reads as follows, "He and other military personnel were then redeployed to the Liberian ECOMOG unit and served there until 1996." Is that right? Did you tell them that?

  • No, I told them there are some things here that are not correct.

  • I'm asking you did you tell them that you were redeployed to the Liberian ECOMOG unit and served there until 1996? Did you tell them that, or not?

  • This is not correct. I did not tell them that.

  • What's not correct about it?

  • About the time that is written here and I see again some other areas that I am not satisfied with. This one from --

  • Witness, hold on a moment. Just concentrate on the part that I'm asking you about. Do not read on, because it will just take more time. We are going to go through this in due course. What have they recorded wrongly and you appear to have failed to have corrected in that short sentence I just read?

  • It is where it is stated that I served. There is no specific time, because 1996 it does not differentiate the times that I served in ECOMOG.

  • What is wrong with it saying that you served there until 1996?

  • Because I went there in 1996, but if you are saying that I worked there until 1996 that means I worked there even before 1996.

  • Are you saying that you didn't work there before 1996 in the ECOMOG force in Liberia?

  • If you are saying - if you are saying that I worked there until, that means - because it was from there I came - I was in Kenema when the AFRC took over.

  • Mr Witness, the question was are you saying that you did not work in the ECOMOG force in Liberia before '96?

  • No, I worked there. I worked there, but it doesn't specify the time that I went there. It just states that until 1996. That's what I'm saying.

  • Mr Witness, a very simple question. Were you working in the ECOMOG force in Monrovia in Liberia before 1996 or not, yes or no?

  • So, what's wrong with this sentence that says you were then redeployed to the Liberian ECOMOG unit and served there until 1996?

  • Okay, nothing is wrong with it.

  • So, why did you tell us yesterday that you were there between February of 1995 until December of 1995?

  • Can I have a citation on that, because I don't recall the witness giving months?

  • Well, I can give you a citation:

  • But not only do I recall it clearly, you said you were there eight months and February to December by my mathematics is 10 months?

  • Yes, I recall that as well. He said that yesterday.

  • I've got the transcript and so if it needs to be brought out then I will, but for the moment may I continue with my cross-examination? I can very easily find it, but I didn't think it was a matter in dispute.

  • Now, what is it? Were you there in 1995 coming back in December 1995 as you told us yesterday, or were you there until 1996?

  • 1996 I left ECOMOG around December. That's what I was saying. I said around December I had left ECOMOG and I was posted back to Kenema, 18th Battalion.

  • Were you in Liberia at the time - were you in Monrovia at the time of the elections in 1996 in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, it was just after the election that I came to Sierra Leone.

  • And the elections finished in April of 1996. Is that correct?

  • No, I can't recall that now.

  • Well the Court will know because I believe that that is a judicially noticed or agreed fact, but I am not going to recite it as such:

  • So you're saying you were in Liberia until December 1996, or until just after the elections in 1996? Which one is it?

  • Well I was not in Sierra Leone for the elections, so I cannot say anything about that because I was not in Sierra Leone for the elections.

  • Your Honour, given what counsel asked about the judicially noticed fact, the Prosecution would stipulate, if the Defence wishes, as to the dates of the 1996 elections.

  • I addressed the Court on that, not the witness.

  • Yes, well I'm asking the Defence if they want a stipulation so that the Court can have the dates.

  • We'll deal with that in the absence of the witness. We're not feeding this witness dates, please.

  • Now while you were with the ECOMOG force in Monrovia, did you ever work at the mansion?

  • I have told this Court that I did not work in the mansion.

  • Your Honour, then I would like to - sorry, going back to the last question, counsel doesn't want to feed the witness dates, but actually the date he gave in open court was slightly incorrect and so I don't think that is fair either.

  • You did mention a month, Mr Munyard. Counsel for the Prosecution says that - is the month incorrect, Mr Koumjian?

  • Mr Witness, when do you say the elections took place in your home country of Sierra Leone when you were just next door in Liberia and no doubt listening to Focus on Africa?

  • Mr Lawyer, I cannot give you a specific time. I told you this even from yesterday.

  • Tab 2, please. Page 3 of tab 2. It's 3 at the bottom right-hand corner next to some initials. Now, Mr Witness, these are the handwritten notes taken at the time of your interview at Lungi with Mr Koumjian, the attorney, and somebody called Shelley Birston. You told us yesterday there was a lady present. During the course of this interview, it's called a prepping session - during the course of this interview you were taken through your first statement, or the notes of your first interview, line by line, weren't you?

  • Even the lawyer who is sitting here will tell you that he met me on a pressing job, because I was representing the whole unit at the airport. We hadn't enough time for us to discuss for a long time, because I even expected that he would come back the following day.

  • Pause, Mr Witness. Mr Koumjian?

  • I would ask that part of the answer be redacted as to I was representing.

  • The witness was talking about his job and I would like that to be redacted, please.

  • Well, we don't actually know. That is a completely vague expression. It doesn't tell us anything. He could be representing a unit of marching bandsmen who are at the airport, for all we know.

  • I think it's absolutely clear and it's obviously in the interests of the Court's order as to the anonymity to redact that section, otherwise the measures that the Court has imposed become worthless.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • We are of the view that this is sufficiently vague and imprecise as not to convey any real meaning to an outsider. It certainly means nothing to us.

  • Right, back to my question. Can you just stop concentrating on the page for a moment, Mr Witness, and look up from the page. Thank you. Now at --

  • Mr Witness, what could help, or would help is if you sat facing the Bench. Rather than skewing to face the Prosecution, please sit facing the judges. That would really help.

  • Now, at this prepping session in August of last year your first interview notes were gone through line by line, weren't they?

  • After you had initially given them a bit more information about your history and it's that history that I'm now going to take you to, on page 3. It's in handwriting so I would ask Madam Court Officer's assistance, at the side of the witness, just to make sure he's following. There are small dashes on the left-hand side of the text, commonly known as bullet points, and I want to take you to the sixth one that starts with the words, "In '95 sent to ECOMOG". Do you see that?

  • Yes.

  • Who was your commander in the ECOMOG unit? Just look up and tell us from your memory.

  • Colonel Yapo Sesay.

  • Well, now let us read this sentence, "In '95 sent to ECOMOG unit" - does that symbol mean under or with Yapo? You were under Yapo, yes?

  • I was under Yapo.

  • "Yapo was his commander in Monrovia until '96." That's correct also, isn't it? You don't need to look at the page.

  • Until the entire contingent was withdrawn, he was a commander.

  • No, this is you "in Monrovia until '96." That is correct, isn't it?

  • Yes.

  • "Worked in headquarters and deployed in Monrovia". That is correct, isn't it?

  • The headquarters was in Monrovia.

  • It is correct that you worked in the headquarters and were deployed in Monrovia, isn't it?

  • "Including mansion".

  • Do you see those words, "including mansion", on the page?

  • No, I did not tell them that. I can't recall telling them that. I told this Court that I worked in Monrovia and I named some of the areas where I worked.

  • Right. Go back, please, to tab 1, page 1. Now, when you were reading ahead just a moment ago when we first looked at this page, you started to tell the learned judges that it was wrong what was written here, that you were deployed in Kenema when the AFRC took over. Do you remember saying that and I tried to bring you back --

  • I said I was - I said I had come to Kenema. I was there when the AFRC took over.

  • Mr Munyard, remember to switch on and off, please.

  • You were reading paragraph 2 beyond the point about you being redeployed to the Liberian ECOMOG unit, weren't you? You read the next sentence, didn't you? "Was then posted back to Freetown until the AFRC took over in 1997." You read that, didn't you?

  • Except I read it now, but I wanted to look to read it when Madam President asked me to concentrate on the Bench.

  • Do you not remember, when I was asking you about you being with the Liberian ECOMOG unit, saying, "They've got this wrong, I was in Kenema when the AFRC took over", just within the last half hour? Do you not remember saying that, Mr Witness?

  • I said the AFRC overthrow met me in Kenema.

  • Well, you told these interviewers that you were in Freetown when the AFRC took over, didn't you?

  • No, I never told them that. Maybe they made a mistake.

  • Right. When the AFRC were overthrown in the intervention, the army was disbanded by the democratically elected government, wasn't it?

  • I have told this Court that there were still some soldiers who were loyal to the democratic government. It was not everybody.

  • Do you agree that the army was disbanded, yes or no?

  • I cannot totally agree with that. That was why I - through my explanation I told the Court that there were still some men who were loyal in the army to the then government and even the ADC to President Kabbah at that time was a military officer.

  • Tab 1, page 8, please. It's handwritten again, Mr Witness. At the top we've got the date 23 March 2003 at 1202 hours and the notes open with these words:

    "After when the democratically elected government was established in Sierra Leone, then the army was disbanded. Liberia was the safest place for army personnel to live at that time, 1998."

    That's what you told the investigators right at the beginning of that interview, wasn't it?

  • Well, maybe they did not get me right, they just wrote it that way, but I have told this Court that it was not everybody in the army that was in favour of the AFRC. The army was split over the issue.

  • We understand that, Mr Witness. The question is directed at the actions of the government towards the army. Did the government disband the army, or did it not, regardless of loyalties?

  • Yes, that was the President's statement.

  • Page 1, paragraph 4, please, of tab 1, "Proceeded to Congo Town and stayed with a lady friend, Matilda Johnson." Now, you told them that, didn't you?

  • That is not a detailed account of what I meant, because I did not just go and stay with Matilda.

  • Mr Witness, did you tell them that you proceeded to Congo Town and stayed with a lady friend, or lived with a lady friend, Matilda Johnson, yes or no? Did you tell them that?

  • No, it's not like that.

  • In that case we have to go back to page 8, please, the handwritten notes. If one looks at the printed number, 18210, and go down six lines from there, the next sentence in handwriting reads:

    "I went to live with a lady friend, Matilda Johnson, Congo Town, Monrovia. She was in charge of the security of Roberts International Airport."

    Did you tell them that?

  • Like I told you, that is not a detailed account. I did not just go and live with her. The handwritten note is not a detailed account as I see it now.

  • When you told them about Bamie did you tell them that he still had an office in Kenema and Kono and was dealing diamonds with the Russians?

  • It was in Kono that he still had an office. It was Mohamed Saleh who had a diamond office in Kenema and at a point in time I can recall Mr Sesay and Mr David went there.

  • What, they went to the diamond officer in Kenema of Mohamed Saleh? Did they go with you?

  • Well, did you ever tell those investigators that Bamie had an office in Kono, Kenema and was still dealing diamonds with Russians?

  • As I am speaking here, he is still dealing in diamonds. As I am sitting here talking, he is still dealing in diamonds.

  • So you still know him, do you?

  • Yes, I used to see him.

  • Was he dealing diamonds with Russians?

  • As I am talking here now, he is still dealing in diamonds. He is still doing his diamond business. He has an office on the main Kaikondu Road in Kono.

  • Mr Witness, concentrate on the question. The question was: Was, was, he dealing in diamonds with Russians?

  • That was after the war had come to an end, but as I am speaking now, he is still doing the business.

  • Page 9, please, of the same tab. Five lines from the top we see Bamie was with a civilian, something about mining in Tongo between 1997 to 1998.

  • Probably that is in charge.

  • In charge, thank you. I am looking also at the typed version of page 2 of this bundle. Paragraph 6 is the typed version on page 2:

  • And he fled with SB to Liberia, Sam Bockarie to Liberia, during the ECOMOG intervention (February '98). Today he has an office in Kono - Kenema - still dealing diamonds with Russians."

    This is from page 9 of the handwritten notes. Is that what you told them, that Bamie fled to Liberia with Sam Bockarie and was still dealing diamonds with Russians?

  • That's a compound question. One is asking about what appears to be two different --

  • There are two questions there. Mr Munyard, there are two questions.

  • Yes, I was deliberately putting the phrase together because that ties in who the person is who is still dealing diamonds with Russians, i.e. Bamie who fled to Liberia with Sam Bockarie. There is a reason for putting it in that way. I'll break it up:

  • Did you tell them that Bamie fled to Liberia with Sam Bockarie during the ECOMOG intervention in February 1998?

  • It was Bamie who was in charge of all the government diamonds in Tongo.

  • Witness, answer the question please. Don't give us --

  • And during the intervention he ran away to Liberia, yes. Yes.

  • Did you tell the investigators that he fled to Liberia with Sam Bockarie during the intervention?

  • And did you tell them that he was still dealing diamonds with Russians, the question Madam President asked you some five minutes ago now?

  • No, that was after the war. After the war.

  • Back to page 2, please. Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, it is page 2. It's the same paragraph, paragraph6, but it's the second sentence:

    "Bamie advised ...", this is advised you, "... that he did not trust you because they have intelligence that Sierra Leones had come into Liberia to confirm if Charles Taylor was supporting the RUF and Bamie accused [you] of being a Kamajor spy."

    Did you tell them that?

  • So they've got that wrong, have they? They've got that wrong, have they?

  • It's because it's not a detailed account. I have told you that it was Patricia who called Bamie, so whether they had such a feeling I did not know. It was not until Zigzag Marzah told me that it was because they alleged such a feeling against me that was the reason why he called for me.

  • When did you first learn that Patricia thought that you were a spy?

  • It was when Zigzag Marzah told me during his introduction to me that the Sierra Leoneans that I met at Freeport alleged against me and that that was the intelligence they received.

  • So I was right yesterday, was I, when I put to you that when Zigzag Marzah was talking to you in the back of the pub you knew then that Patricia believed you to be a spy?

  • That was what Marzah told me and that that was the reason why he came from the mansion to meet me.

  • Yes. Yesterday when I put to you that you knew Patricia believed you to be a spy objection was taken and so I restricted myself to Bamie, but in fact when Zigzag was talking to you in the back of the pub he made it plain that both Bamie and Patricia thought you were a spy, didn't he?

  • That was what he told me.

  • Just before we move on, can I go back to paragraph 5 on page 1 of that bundle. Did you tell them this, that you proceeded to pay a visit to the former Sierra Leone contingent of ECOMOG at the headquarter or headquarters in Freeport, Monrovia?

  • Thank you. Now, back to page 2. We continue on with the account and I'm going to ask you about paragraph 9 and four lines up from the bottom of paragraph 9 it says, "Marzah then showed him a photo of a lady." Do you see that?

  • And her name is given there, isn't it, Isha?

  • I told you that Marzah told me that. Marzah told me that. It was Marzah who gave me the name, but I did not know the person.

  • Yes, you told Mr Koumjian when he was asking you questions that you were not given the name of the person. Was that answer that you gave to the Prosecution lawyer wrong?

  • It was Marzah who gave me the name of the lady as Isha, but I did not know the person. Maybe he made a mistake.

  • Who made a mistake?

  • The lawyer.

  • The lawyer asked you if they told you who this person was and you said, "No, they didn't", or, "Marzah didn't". It was you who made the mistake, wasn't it?

  • Well, Marzah told me the name.

  • Continue with that same sentence, please:

    "... a lady Isha who had been murdered and mutilated for allegation of being a spy and photo was left with him, scanned and returned."

    In other words the investigators are saying that they, these two police officers, gave you back the photograph that you had so carefully kept for seven years. Do you agree with that? Did you get it back?

  • Well that is where the doubt is and, like I said, I had so many other things I was engaged with and I normally moved around, so I cannot actually tell whether I collected it from them or I left it with them.

  • Now just pausing there at this point in your story, you are in Monrovia, you're looking for things to do, you've been there for a long time and you really want to go back to Sierra Leone after many months of being in exile, is that right?

  • I was not looking for something to do. I was only searching out for ways and means how I could survive and how I would be able to go back home.

  • And then you meet these people and they threaten you with death for being a spy and you are not a spy, are you?

  • Yes, I was not a spy.

  • And you're not in any way an important person, are you, at this stage in these events?

  • Well, I don't want you to say that because I was a commissioned officer and I know that I was important. It was just because of the kind of problem that was prevalent that I was there floating around.

  • Can you look at paragraph 10, please, on that same page, "They waited for the arrival of Eddie Kanneh but when he didn't arrive Marzah and [yourself] departed and drove to the house in Congo Town where Eddie Kanneh was living."

    Did you tell them that?

  • We did not drive. We walked. Maybe they made a mistake there too.

  • It goes on, "Eddie Kanneh met with Marzah outside of the residence." That's obviously the place where he was living. Did you tell them that?

  • It was at Marzah's house where Eddie Kanneh was. Yes, I told them that, that we met Eddie Kanneh in a jeep that just arrived.

  • I thought you said you walked a moment ago. Did you walk or - are you saying you walked and didn't go --

  • Didn't go in a vehicle?

  • Yes, Marzah was not with a vehicle at that time and where the pub was it was not too far from Marzah's place.

  • So, the investigators have got that wrong. You didn't go to Eddie Kanneh's residence and you didn't drive?

  • We did not drive to go there. We walked to go there.

  • Now these two men, Eddie Kanneh and Zigzag Marzah, are both powerful people, aren't they? Important people?

  • And you're telling the investigators that they get into a heated argument and draw their weapons on each other all about you. Are you seriously saying that they took out their weapons and threatened to shoot each other all about you?

  • It was not for my sake as such, but it was the order that Eddie gave to Marzah and the question that he asked him. That was the reason why Marzah was angry and that was when he asked him why he brought me to see him and why he had not already executed me.

  • Mr Witness, you are of absolutely no importance to these people at this stage, are you? All that has happened is that they've accused you of possibly being a spy and you say given you a photograph, and the next thing two of them are threatening to shoot each other over you, yes?

  • Well, it was not for my sake as such that they took out their guns against each other. I told you that an argument erupted. A heated argument erupted between Eddie Kanneh and Marzah.

  • Paragraph 11, please, same page, "They then proceeded to BY's residence at White Flower." Are you saying that BY, Benjamin Yeachen, lived at White Flower?

  • I was not taken there by both of them. I said after the argument Marzah did say that he would prove to Eddie Kanneh that here was Liberia.

  • Marzah and I went to BY's residence.

  • Are you saying BY's residence, Benjamin Yeachen, is at White Flower?

  • I said in Congo Town, at the back of Charles Taylor's residence. He was living on the loop street that was down there behind there.

  • Carrying on, two sentences on in that paragraph 11, you were asked many questions by Benjamin Yeachen and - I'm going over the page now - you told Benjamin Yeachen that you had fled to Liberia and you were presently living with Matilda Johnson. Did you tell the investigators that?

  • In fact you've only ever known her as Matilda. That's right, isn't it?

  • That lady you have only ever known by the name Matilda, is that right?

  • Matinda Johnson, yes.

  • Carrying on, on that page --

  • Excuse me, your Honour, since we have resolved previously that the LiveNote should respect the pronunciation, I don't believe that's the pronunciation the witness just used on line 14 of my LiveNote transcript. I thought there was another consonant before the "T".

  • Let's get him to spell it as we did yesterday.

  • He did spell it yesterday. I'm saying that the way he pronounced it today, there was another consonant.

  • I will ask him to repeat the name as he said it just now. Mr Witness, pronounce the name - say the name again. Repeat what you said.

  • I said Matinda Johnson. Matinda.

  • Before that happens I would like the LiveNote to reflect the pronunciation because it's my understanding we were asking the LiveNote of the way the witness pronounces these Liberian names to reflect --

  • Mr Koumjian, as far as my hearing went it is recorded on the LiveNote as the witness pronounced it.

  • I see that we may disagree. I don't know if you want me to say it in open court, I won't, but I heard another consonant before what is recorded as the third consonant.

  • I heard clearly an "R".

  • Well, then you've one better than me, Mr Koumjian, because I heard it as recorded.

  • I heard it as recorded, but actually, to be fair, the witness says it slightly different from the interpreter. The witness has an "R" in there, but the interpreter hasn't an "R" in there. But in any event, it's neither here nor there.

  • You've never known her as Martina, have you?

  • That is the same thing and it's the same individual, but that is my own pronunciation, Matinda Johnson.

  • But you have never known this lady as Martina, have you?

  • That is the same individual.

  • Mr Witness, do you understand the question? The question is did you ever know this lady as Martina?

  • Well, everybody has his or her own way of pronouncing it. I call it Matinda Johnson and she used to answer to the name.

  • Mr Witness, why do you find it so difficult to answer a question put to you and you answer something different? It would really help if you listened carefully to the questions asked and restricted your answer to the question asked. There is a reason why these questions are asked, okay.

  • Next sentence, "Benjamin Yeachen called the police director, Joe Tay, over the VHF radio and asked him to attend at White Flower." Did you tell them that?

  • I told the Court that he was using the VHF set, which I thought all the authorities were monitoring. I did not know whether he called Joe Tay, but an individual came whom they told me was the police director.

  • All I want to know from you, Mr Witness, is did you tell them what is written here. We're not asking you now what happened, just did you tell these investigators what is written down here?

  • So what didn't you tell them that they have invented, or got wrong?

  • That is at the point where you said he called an individual to come.

  • Page 11, please. It's the same tab. It's the handwritten notes and I'm looking at the fourth paragraph down that starts with the sentence, "BY asked many questions". Now, did you tell them this, "BY asked many questions, where did he come from, where living, why did you come, et cetera"? Did you tell them that?

  • "And I told him I came to rescue myself and who I was living with (Matilda)." Did you tell them that?

  • "Then on VHF BY called for the police director", and then the name is given, Joe Tay. Did you tell them that?

  • I said BA was using the radio set, no.

  • So did you tell them the name of the police director, or have they made that up?

  • I said an individual came with a police that --

  • Yes, that Zigzag Marzah --

  • Answer the question. Did you tell them the name of the police director, or not?

  • Yes.

  • So now you're saying you did tell them his name and a moment ago you were saying you didn't.

  • Excuse me. That misrepresents the answer. Which answer did the witness say he did not tell them the name of the police director? I saw one answer where he said, "I said BA was using the radio set" --

  • And then he said "no".

  • He said, "I said BA was using the radio set, no." He did not say, "BA was using the radio set", as I understood the answer.

  • It conveyed the same impression to me as it did to the counsel for the Defence and, Mr Koumjian, that can be brought up in re-examination.

  • I might add that we could be saved all of this confusion if the witness would simply give a straight answer when he is asked a question.

  • Your Honour, it is page 41 on my font, the answer that starts on line 19:

    "I told the Court that he was using the VHF set, which I thought all the authorities were monitoring. I did not know whether he called Joe Tay, but an individual came whom they told me was the police director."

    That was really what I was getting at. Anyway, we will move on from there:

  • "Matilda heard the conversation so she came to the residence of BY. She identified me to BY and that I was not a bad person." Did you tell them that?

  • Yes.

  • "Then BY said that if what she said was true then for us both to leave and come back following day to continue the interrogation. We left. Following day brought back by Matilda at 10 a.m." Did you tell them that?

  • No.

  • Are you saying that they have invented the fact that Matilda took you home and then brought you back the following day to continue the interrogation at 10 a.m.?

  • I did not tell them that.

  • What part of it did you not tell them?

  • Where you said that Matilda, who had identified me, she took me home and brought me the following day, no, it did not happen that way. I was still there with BY and he handed me over to Zigzag Marzah.

  • What part of that did you not tell them?

  • Asked and answered.

  • With respect, he hasn't answered it at all. He's said what happened. He hasn't said what he didn't tell them.

  • He's recited something that is not clear to me whether he's giving me fresh evidence, or he's saying what he told the investigators. I'll allow the question.

  • I'm going to read the phrase again and you tell the learned judges - Mr Witness, I'm sorry if this is boring you, but will you tell the learned judges what part of this phrase they have invented.

  • When you say "they" it might help if you say "the investigators".

  • All right, yes, certainly:

  • "Matilda heard the conversation so she came to the residence of BY. She identified me to BY and that I was not a bad person. Then BY said that if what she said was true then for us both to leave and come back following day to continue the interrogation. We left. Following day brought back by Matilda at 10 a.m."

    What have the investigators invented in what I've just read out to you?

  • She did not go with me. That is what I'm trying to tell you. She did not go with me. Benjamin handed me over to Zigzag Marzah who later allowed me to sleep in the guard room in Benjamin's house.

  • Mr Witness, pause. We are concentrating on what you told the investigators. Now, the question is: Did you tell the investigators these words? We're not asking you for evidence of what happened that day. What did you tell the investigators?

  • Well, the reason why I am saying this, my Lord, maybe they did not get it clear. What I exactly told them is what I am telling you here, that --

  • There is not a single word about Benjamin Yeachen's guard room in this account that you gave to the investigators in March of 2006, is there? It might be easier if you want to look at the typed version on page 3 of the bundle. That's right, isn't it?

  • Mr Witness, what is your answer or comment? Did you hear what counsel asked?

  • No, I did not get what he said.

  • Can you please focus. We are conducting a trial. Focus on the questions being asked and answer, please.

  • There was not a single word from you, when you were telling this story to the investigators in March 2006, about you being taken off to Benjamin Yeachen's guard room and kept there for one night and more, is there?

  • It is not in the script, but I am sure that I told them that.

  • And when they read it back to you why did you not point out this glaring omission on their part?

  • To be frank enough, they did not read this back to me. They did not read this particular line to me the way you have read it. You can look at the lawyer over there.

  • Sorry, what do you mean "look at the lawyer over there"? What is the lawyer over there doing?

  • I explained to him what I exactly went through, so I see no reason why I should say something that I did not go through. What exactly I went through is what I am explaining.

  • We're going to look at what you told the lawyer over there in due course. Just tell me this: Have these investigators invented the fact that Matilda Johnson took you home that night at Benjamin Yeachen's suggestion and brought you back again at 10 o'clock the following morning? Have the investigators invented that?

  • Well, maybe they did not get me clear, but what I have seen written here was not what I told them.

  • Did you tell them that Martina Johnson had overheard the radio communication between them?

  • I said the VHF radio, there were many people monitoring it and many people came, most of whom I did not even know.

  • You have been reminded more than once by the learned judges to answer the question. Answer my question, please, about Martina Johnson - sorry, Matilda Johnson.

  • No.

  • What is written here is not what I meant.

  • Did you tell them that Matilda Johnson overheard their radio communication?

  • I said they were all monitoring the radio.

  • One last time, please, Mr Witness. Did you tell the investigators that Matilda Johnson overheard the radio communication?

  • Yes.

  • Tab 4, please, page 2. Paragraph 14 of page 2. Now, Mr Witness, just so everybody understands what this document is, these are notes, supplied to us on Monday of this week, of your proofing session last Friday with the two lawyers over there, Mr Koumjian and Mr Santora. You told us that it was those two gentlemen who you spent last Friday with going over your statements. Did you tell them what we see in paragraph 14: That paragraph 11 of your statement of 24 March, the one we've just been looking at in typed form, is incorrect in that Martina Johnson did not overhear any radio communication. Did you tell those two lawyers that on Friday, or have they made that up?

  • Mr Munyard, there's two negatives in there. What exactly is he alleged to have said?

  • Your Honour, it's pretty clear to me. The statement is incorrect in that Martina Johnson did not overhear any radio communication. That it's that's how it's incorrect, she didn't overhear what is said in paragraph 11 of the March 2006 statement. Can I go back to the witness and remind him?

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Did you tell the lawyers over there, in your proofing or prepping session on Friday, that Martina Johnson did not overhear any radio communication?

  • So they've invented that, have they?

  • Well, maybe it was a mistake on their own part.

  • Mr Munyard, I need to understand. Mr Witness, did Martina Johnson - Matinda Johnson - overhear the radio communication, or didn't she overhear the radio communication?

  • Now, we've just been looking at the complete absence of any reference to you being taken off to Benjamin Yeachen's guard room in the statement - in the interview, rather, of 2006. You then had a prepping session, tab 2 of the bundle, in August 2007 and you've already agreed that your earlier statement was gone through line by line in the course of that and indeed if one turns to page 4 of tab 2, which is the handwritten notes, it is obvious that that is what was happening because, Mr Witness, in the left-hand margin of page 4 we can see paragraph numbers.

  • Excuse me, is that counsel testifying from the Bar about what happened, or is he asking the witness?

  • Yes, ask the witness, please.

  • I've just got to get the right part:

  • Can you see numbers in the left-hand margin on page 4? Do you see numbers there?

  • You're being taken through each paragraph of the notes of the interview of March 2006 and asked for your comments, aren't you? To assist you, you have already agreed that that's what happened within the last half hour.

  • That was not what happened. What happened exactly is what I am telling you.

  • What you told us when I started asking you questions about this interview a little while ago was that the interview was gone through paragraph by paragraph. Do you not remember giving me that answer?

  • Well, I told you that anything that was doubtful to me - that that was in fact why I told you that I did not go through that.

  • I'm just going to press on:

  • Paragraph 13 of tab 1, on page 3 of tab 1, deals with you going to the Executive Mansion and meeting Charles Taylor. Do you agree? We're going to look at it in more detail in due course, but do you agree that that issue is dealt with in paragraph 13?

  • Go back to page 4 of tab 2. In the left-hand margin the number 13 has next to it this:

    "CT told the witness about himself. Said during this war a lot of people died because of allegations. Witness was lucky he was still alive."

    You were commenting there to Mr Koumjian and Shelley Birston - you were amplifying what you were being shown in paragraph 13 of the original interview, weren't you?

  • Yes.

  • Thank you. Just to illustrate the point further, 14 in the margin on page 4, "Foday Kallon also fled to Monrovia." If you go back to paragraph 14, on page 3 of tab 1, the first person that's mentioned in paragraph 14 in the original interview is Foday Kallon, yes?

  • 15 in the margin on page 4 of tab 2, "General Ibrahim was there, a Gambian." You were referring to the night that Sam Bockarie had arrived and you were taken to BY 's residence by Marzah, weren't you, in paragraph 15 of your original interview?

  • Yes.

  • Why didn't you tell Mr Koumjian, in August of last year, that in paragraph 11 of the original interview they've got that completely wrong, "Matilda did not take me home and I didn't come back the next morning. In fact what happened was I was carted off and imprisoned in Benjamin Yeachen's guard room"?

  • To be frank enough, all of those times that Mr Koumjian met me I did not concentrate that much, but I am able to concentrate now as I see you separate them into paragraphs. But I did not actually concentrate at that time. Like I see you putting them into paragraphs now, I concentrate better now.

  • [Overlapping speakers]

  • It is now that I see you separate them into paragraphs. At that time I only knew that I was explaining my experience, the things that I went through.

  • Paragraph 12 on page 3 of tab 1, please. Did you tell them this, I'll just wait for Madam Court Officer to open it for you, "When they arrived back before BY" - this is the next morning at 10 a.m.:

    "When they arrived back before BY he advised them of a new development, that the troops had captured a 40 barrel missile artillery weapon and two armoured tanks, Panhard, from the Guinean contingent."

    Did you tell them that?

  • I said the Panhard was from the Nigerians and the 40 barrel was from the Guineans. That was what he told me.

  • Are you saying that in March of 2006 when you're giving this account, you told them then that the tanks were from the Nigerians and that they've not managed to put that in?

  • Yes, I told them because that was what he told me.

  • I'm carrying on now, "BY stated they would require ammunition for these weapons. [redacted]" --

  • Please have that name redacted from the record.

  • I will leave that whole section out. I apologise:

  • Did Benjamin Yeachen say they would require ammunition for these weapons?

  • Yes, he said it was because our men captured the tanks without the ammunition and he said that was what he got from Sam Bockarie and that if I had any idea.

  • Were the tanks and the 40 barrel missile in working order, apart from missing ammunition?

  • Are you asking the witness was he told?

  • Were you told that they were in working order but they just needed ammunition?

  • He said Sam Bockarie said they wanted to make use of them, so I knew by then that it was in working order.

  • And just give us, if you would, the time when this conversation is taking place between you and Benjamin Yeachen. Help us, if you can, with the month and the year when you say all this happened?

  • I can't give you a specific month, but when I was arrested I passed the night in the guard room and the following morning, that was now in the presence of Colonel Marzah.

  • Mr Witness, the very next day, on your story, you get taken to the Executive Mansion and introduced to the President of Liberia. That's what you've been telling this Court, isn't it?

  • How long after do you say you were introduced to the President of Liberia?

  • Excuse me, your Honour, I'm a little lost and I'm sorry if it's my fault, but I'm not sure how long after what the counsel is asking about. How long after the day he was arrested, or after when? It's not clear to me.

  • Well, actually they're all a matter of days, one day very much follows the other:

  • Is this the story that you're telling the Court, Mr Witness: You meet Bamie, the next day Bamie comes to your house, the day he comes to your house you're taken to the pub and meet Zigzag and that night you go to Benjamin Yeachen's house where you're detained overnight in his guard room? That is the sequence of events, isn't it, a matter of two to three days from you first meeting Bamie?

  • No, it did not happen the way you are explaining it. They did not take me immediately to see Yeachen, to see the chief. I first of all met with the protocol officer.

  • I'm going to stop you there. I think we're running out of time. I'm not going to go over this because he has already given the evidence about the sequence of events.

  • Mr Witness, we are now going to take the mid-morning break. We will break for half an hour and we will be resuming court at 12 o'clock. Please adjourn court until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Please proceed, Mr Munyard.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, we were just discussing the time when you say all this happened, meeting Bamie, the next day meeting Zigzag, being detained overnight in his guard room, and then is it the following day that you say you go to the Executive Mansion for the first time ever in your life?

  • It was not the following day that Zigzag Marzah arrested me. It took some time. That was after Benjamin and I had discussed about the new development. When Sam Bockarie came and the gems were sorted out, it was during that time that I was taken to the protocol officer in the President's waiting room that I saw with the President for the first time, yes.

  • And you had never been in the mansion before?

  • I think that's a yes that means a no. You are agreeing with the suggestion that I put to you that you say you had never been in the mansion before. Are you agreeing with that suggestion?

  • Yes.

  • Now, during your time working for ECOMOG as peacekeepers, part of ECOMOG troops' duties was to provide security for members of the Council of State who were running Liberia in 1995 until the conclusion of the elections in 1996, weren't they?

  • Objection, vague. Elections where in 1996?

  • You're quite right. Elections in Sierra Leone when he comes back. I will break it up. I will do it again, if I may:

  • You are there until the elections in Sierra Leone in 1996 you have told us, yes?

  • Part of the job of ECOMOG peacekeepers in Liberia in 1995 and the early part of 1996 was to provide security for members of the Council of State in Liberia, wasn't it?

  • Yes, but it was specific.

  • And ECOMOG had an office at the mansion at the time, didn't they?

  • ECOMOG comprised different countries and contingents. It never had a responsibility.

  • Mr Witness, do you know if there was an office for ECOMOG at the mansion at the time you were --

  • No. No, my Lord.

  • That last answer, does the witness mean he doesn't know or there was no office?

    What do you mean by that, Mr Witness? Do you mean to say that you don't know if there was an office there or there was no office there?

  • ECOMOG did not have an office at the mansion.

  • And you are sure of that, are you?

  • Right. Let's carry on with the sequence of events. You have just told us that you don't go to the mansion until after Sam Bockarie has arrived and sorts out the diamonds. Do you remember saying that in the last five minutes?

  • Yes.

  • Tab 1, page 3, paragraphs 12 and 13, please. We have already looked at part of paragraph 12 and I am going to ask you about the second half of it. Did you tell the investigators that you advised Benjamin Yeachen that you had knowledge of what was required for the 40 barrel missile weapon and that you could assist them in relation to that? Did you tell the investigators that's what you told Benjamin Yeachen?

  • Yes, and it was not just the 40 barrel. Even the Panhard I said I had knowledge in them because that was the ammunition.

  • Very well. You told the investigators that. Did you tell them that Benjamin Yeachen then immediately consulted with the commander-in-chief, Charles Taylor, via VHF radio?

  • I told them that Benjamin Yeachen told me that he would consult the commander-in-chief and then he will get back on to me. That was what I told them.

  • Well, let's look at the whole of that last part of paragraph 12:

    "Benjamin Yeachen immediately consulted with the commander-in-chief, Charles Taylor, via VHF. The voice on the other end replied for BY to bring him to him now."

    Did you tell the investigators that?

  • What part did you not tell them that they have invented?

  • Would you agree for me to explain?

  • What part have they invented that you didn't tell them?

  • That BY immediately consulted the CIC commander-in-chief, Charles Taylor, the VHF, the voice on the other end replied by BY to bring him now, no, that was not it. It did not happen that way. Maybe they made a mistake.

  • I see that you are able to read what is written down here because you have just read out most of those two sentences. Just tell us which parts of those two sentences are things that you did not tell them, the investigators?

  • It is from where I read that I told you. It did not happen that way just like that, that he consulted him and he called for me, no. It did not happen that way. He told me that he will consult him and he will get on to me.

  • Do you agree that what they have written down here suggests that you heard a conversation in which Benjamin Yeachen was speaking to Charles Taylor that night?

  • I have told you that maybe it was a mistake that they made. It did not happen that way. If you allow me, I will explain.

  • If we look at the same tab, but at page 12, which is the handwritten note, it actually starts at the foot of the previous page, page 11:

    "BY spoke immediately to the CIC (commander-in-chief Charles Taylor) on VHF. BY called CIC and voice on other end said, 'Bring him to me now'."

    That is what you were telling the investigators, was it, or not?

  • I told you that if you allowed me I would explain. That is not it.

  • Back to tab 1, page 3, paragraph 13 now. Did you tell them that you were taken to the Executive Mansion by Marzah, directly to the security service director's office and then to the protocol office of Musa Cisse?

  • He did not take me directly like that.

  • Did you tell the investigators the words that counsel has read out?

  • What I told them is not in details here because it did not happen just immediately after.

  • You say all this happens after Sam Bockarie appears and we have the business with the diamonds, don't you?

  • Yes, after he had gone.

  • Well, let's just briefly go through the sequence of events as recorded by the investigators. Paragraph 13 deals with your story about going to the Executive Mansion and meeting Charles Taylor, then leaving there with a gift of 1,500 US dollars and going shopping. Paragraph 14 deals with, whilst you were shopping in the market, you meeting Foday Kallon and you advising him to report to ECOMOG, or the American embassy.

    Then at the end of paragraph 14 it says this, "Their meeting and discussion" - that is you and Kallon - "was cut short by Marzah and they departed and left for Sesay's residence where he was dropped off for the night."

  • Yes.

  • Paragraph 15, that night you were awoken and advised that Sam Bockarie had arrived and you were taken to Benjamin Yeachen's residence by Zigzag Marzah, you were greeted by Sam Bockarie and it is not until after that, is it, that the diamonds come into the picture. Do you agree that that is the sequence that the investigators have recorded?

  • That is how they wrote it, but it was after Sam Bockarie had brought the diamonds that I was able to meet with his Excellency through the protocol officer.

  • Did you tell the investigators that that was the correct order of events and have they got it wrong?

  • No, they did not ask me the way you are asking me now.

  • Mr Witness, they did not know the story that you were going to tell them. I am asking it because I have already got the story in the interview notes, so they could only write down the account as you were giving it to them for the first time, couldn't they?

  • Yes.

  • So do you agree that what they have written down is the sequence of events as you told them?

  • They made some mistakes.

  • Let's move back, or on in your case, to your meeting at the Executive Mansion. Now, at this stage you have told us that people in Liberia were concerned that there might be spies trying to discover that - or trying to show that Charles Taylor's government was supporting the RUF, do you agree?

  • Yes.

  • If Charles Taylor's government wanted to support the RUF they had plenty of trained artillery officers to help the RUF, didn't they?

  • I don't know if they had many trained artillery officers. I knew about Matilda. She was an artillery specialist, but she was in charge of the airport at that time.

  • Yes, you knew Matilda was an artillery officer, didn't you?

  • Yes, she told me that.

  • And a very senior one?

  • She was a general.

  • So she could have put the Charles Taylor government in touch with any number of artillery officers, couldn't she?

  • She was never willing to come to Sierra Leone, she always used to tell me that, and this is about Sierra Leone. We were to use this equipment in Sierra Leone.

  • Were you aware that at that time the Armed Forces of Liberia had many artillery officers trained in the United States with more than 20 years of experience? Did you know anything about that?

  • I don't know and at that time the AFL was not - it did not seem that the AFL was operating well. It was the SSS.

  • Well, let's go back to your story. You are someone who has literally come off the street into contact with Bamie and Zigzag Marzah, aren't you? They had no idea about you before you meet Bamie down at Mammy Ellie's food store?

  • I told you that my artillery documents were in my possession. After that Marzah took it from me.

  • Yes. Just to remind you what you said about that on 10 June, page 11412, "I showed him some of these documents, that is Marzah. He read through them and he returned them to me." So it is on the basis of an illiterate man's reading of your artillery documents that they take you to meet the President of Liberia and he then makes you a one star general in the Special Security Service on the strength of that. Is that what you are telling these judges?

  • Marzah never gave me those documents. I told you he went with them. Right up until today, I last saw those documents when Benjamin Yeachen was interrogating me at that veranda. From that point I never saw the documents again. I don't know what they did with them.

  • On your account you are an unknown quantity who turns up in Liberia with an artillery certificate and within a couple of days of meeting Bamie you are being walked into the Executive Mansion, greeted by the President and made a one star general in the Liberian Special Security Service. That is your story, isn't it?

  • Yes.

  • And looking at paragraph 13 on page 3 of tab 1, your account there is that you are taken to the protocol office, the protocol officer then and Benjamin Yeachen then take you to Charles Taylor's office and Charles Taylor tries to motivate you, saying, "You're lucky you're alive", that you were a very useful man, Liberia was a home for revolutionists and offers you a job with his forces and made you a one star general and gave you 1,500 you United States dollars to purchase some attire. That's what paragraph 13 includes, isn't it?

  • There are some things in this sentence that are wrong, because he did not give me the money to me directly. It was Cisse Musa who gave me the brown envelope that contained the money.

  • This alleged meeting with Charles Taylor I suggest is a complete tissue of lies. What do you say about that?

  • It is true and I can tell you that I was not the only Sierra Leonean who was ever promoted, or who was working. There were some other Sierra Leoneans whom I can name now who too had promotions in Mr Charles Taylor's force. I can tell you that.

  • Mr Witness, by this stage you had not even proved that you knew one end of a missile from the other, had you? All you'd done was produced a piece of paper and yet on that basis you're being appointed a one star general in another country's Special Security Service, yes?

  • The way you are putting it, that is - it is because that is the way you want to put it, but I am telling you that I even met some other Sierra Leoneans that I can name to you now. Some of them were even two star generals.

  • Let us move on through paragraph 13. After you had been made a one star general and you were advised to await the return of Sam Bockarie to Monrovia - did you tell them that, that you were then advised to await the return of Sam Bockarie to Monrovia?

  • So Sam Bockarie hadn't come back and done all that business with the mayonnaise jars of diamonds by this stage, had he?

  • Sam Bockarie had come before he went to get ready and hand his headquarters over for him to come back to Liberia. At that time I was with Cisse Musa at his house.

  • Looking five lines from the bottom of paragraph 13, did you tell them that you were then handed over to Sesay, you returned to his office and then you and Zigzag Marzah went down to Broad Street market to shop for uniform, et cetera?

  • It was not for uniform. That's why I told you that there are some aspects of this sentence that are wrong. It was khaki and commando jackets that I went to shop for. They were not uniforms.

  • Again, Mr Witness, you are not concentrating on the question. The question was did you tell the investigators the matters that counsel has read out?

  • I told them that I went on shopping, but now you are writing here that I went to shop for uniforms and that was not it. It was not for uniforms.

  • Well, did you purchase an infantry jacket in your shopping trip that day?

  • I bought a jacket and a boot and khaki trousers, yes.

  • Did you purchase an infantry jacket?

  • I did not say infantry jacket. I said commando jacket with pockets.

  • Well, we will take it in stages. Did you buy an infantry jacket on that shopping trip?

  • It was not an infantry jacket, Mr Lawyer. I said I bought commando jackets.

  • Did you tell the investigators that you bought an infantry jacket?

  • I did not tell them that I bought infantry jackets. I said I bought commando jackets and khaki trousers.

  • Page 12 of tab 1, please. The very last line of page 12, and I'd make it clear that this is dealing with the matters we have been looking at, this page: "Purchased infantry jacket, civilian clothes, boots and toiletries." Did you tell the investigators that you purchased an infantry jacket, civilian clothes, boots and toiletries or have they made that up?

  • Well, this expression "infantry jacket", it is not inclusive. I told you I bought commando jacket and civilian clothing and some toiletries, yes.

  • So they have invented infantry jacket, have they?

  • Well, maybe that was their interpretation of what I said, but that is not what I meant.

  • In your evidence to the Prosecution on Tuesday you told us this: That Sam Bockarie came at 2 in the morning - and I am looking at page 11447, starting at line 25: "Sam Bockarie came at 2 a.m. in the morning and on his arrival Colonel Marzah called me to go with him" and then you explained the business of identifying Sam Bockarie from a distance?

  • Then you are asked at the foot of the following page where it was that you saw Sam Bockarie in Monrovia, at this time you are talking about. Answer: "At Benjamin Yeachen's house, that's what I'm talking about." Over the next page:

    "He came with three Leyland trucks captured from ECOMOG and

    a black Land Cruiser.

    Q. What happened after you saw and identified

    Sam Bockarie?

    A. After going to the veranda with Colonel Marzah, like I

    said, there was a plastic table at the centre of the

    veranda and Sam Bockarie, Benjamin Yeachen, Colonel Marzah,

    they sat in chairs and Colonel Marzah asked a man to bring

    a chair for me and I sat close by them."

    And then you said: "The Lebanese man, Mohamed Saleh, who was a diamond businessman, came together with two Arab nationals that I never knew before" and then you described how the diamonds were brought out. Do you remember telling us all that a couple of days ago?

  • Yes.

  • So all of this takes place at 2 a.m. in the morning and thereafter?

  • Just tell us this: From what were the mayonnaise jars of diamonds produced? Where did they come from?

  • From Sierra Leone. Sam Bockarie brought them. It was in his jeep.

  • When Sam Bockarie first produced something containing the mayonnaise jars of diamonds, what was it that these jars of diamonds were in that night?

  • Sam Bockarie called somebody who was his bodyguard. He was the one who brought his suitcase and it was in that suitcase that he took the bottles, three of them.

  • What sort of suitcase was it?

  • It was a brown suitcase.

  • What kind of suitcase? Was it a flat suitcase? Was it a rigid suitcase?

  • It was not flat. It was a rigid suitcase.

  • And what was it made of, could you tell? Was it just regular suitcase fabric, or something else?

  • I cannot tell you what it was made of, but I know and I saw it when he took it out. It was a brown suitcase with a handle.

  • Paragraph 15 on page 3 of tab 1, please. I am going to read this out and I would like you to tell us if this what you told the investigators. I see you are reading it already, Mr Witness. Will you concentrate, please, on my question. I am asking you at the moment not what happened but simply is this what you told the investigators. Do you follow? It would help if you listened to the question rather than read the document while I am asking the question. Do you follow? I am only asking you at the moment is what I am about to read out what you told the investigators. Do you understand that?

  • Mr Witness, it would help if you would respond.

  • Either with a simple yes or no.

  • Paragraph 15: That night you were awoken and advised that Sam Bockarie had arrived. You were taken to Benjamin Yeachen's residence by Marzah. Upon arrival you were welcomed by Sam Bockarie. Did you tell them that?

  • Yes, but I did not say it to them this way now that is written here.

  • So what have they got wrong here?

  • Because Marzah and others wanted me to identify Sam Bockarie first and that was what I did first and that is not here. They wanted to know whether I knew him indeed.

  • Did you tell the investigators on 23 and 24 March 2006 all this business about you being made to identify Sam Bockarie from a distance? Did you tell them that in that interview?

  • Yes, I can recall telling them, because that was what happened.

  • Can you think of any reason why not only have they not written it down, but you haven't corrected them and made them add it in when they read it back to you?

  • Well, they did not ask me anything about this. I just thought that what I explained to them was what they wrote exactly.

  • Let's move on:

    "Upon arrival welcomed by Sam Bockarie who also said words to the effect, 'You are welcome', but the cause that Sam Bockarie was fighting for, if even his mother was against the cause that even she would not live to tell the story."

    Did you tell them that?

  • No, Sam Bockarie did not tell me that. He just told me that even if his mother was against the cause that he was fighting, she would not live to tell the story, end.

  • So you did tell them that? They have recorded that correctly, have they?

  • I told them this that I have just told you.

  • "Sam Bockarie further stated that the President of Sierra Leone would not sit down and discuss peace with the rebels, then Sam Bockarie would force the President to do so."

    Did you tell the investigators that Sam Bockarie told you that on this particular night?

  • Well, the way he told me is not the same way it is written here. If you can allow me, I will tell you what I told them.

  • What did you tell them?

  • After he had told me about the cause, he told me that the Sierra Leone President said he will not sit together with rebels and talk peace talk, but he will force him to do so. That was what he told me.

  • In fact, in evidence you told us that Sam Bockarie used that expression at a later meeting. Was this something that he was regularly saying?

  • That was what he told me when we met.

  • You then list the people present at this meeting.

  • That was those they had already - those who had already given me their names and I knew their names and I told them that there were some of them whom I did not know and I did not care to ask.

  • These are the paragraphs that Mr Koumjian and Ms Birston were taking you through, when they met you the following year in August, that we looked at earlier when we looked at tab 2 and I have lost the page number now. It was the handwritten notes. It will be tab 2, page 4, I believe, when we saw in paragraph 15 you added in that, "General Ibrahim was there, a Gambian."

    While we are looking at that page, you didn't change anything in paragraph 16 of the original interview, but you did add to paragraph 17 of the original interview. Now, let's go back to paragraph 17 of the original interview because it says - well, to be fair to you I will complete 16 as well, just to deal with the sequence of events. You list the people present at this meeting. Do you then tell them, paragraph 16, that Sam Bockarie was aware of the fact that you were able to identify the necessary ammunition that he required and that Sam Bockarie asked you to the assist their cause and you agreed? Did you tell the investigators that?

  • Yes, that was when Sam Bockarie and I were discussing and, as I told you, he used to come to the fence and he knew I was dealing with weapons and I gave him the confidence that I would be in place to assist.

  • So they have got that right. Then it says, "The others departed later and went out drinking", and Marzah drove you too and dropped you off at Sesay's residence. Did you tell them that?

  • Yes.

  • Paragraph 17, "The following morning he was again taken to the residence of Benjamin Yeachen and after his arrival", you were joined by a Lebanese, Mohamed Saleh. Did you tell them that?

  • Yes, together with two Arabs and I told them that some of the men who were at Benjamin Yeachen's house had asked them why the two Arabs had weapons with them and he said those men were wanted men.

  • But this is where you talk about the diamonds the following morning, not in the middle of --

  • Your Honour, can counsel reactivate his mic.

  • It is only the following morning, you told the investigators in 2006, that Sam Bockarie produces the diamonds?

  • No, I think it was this time when Mohamed Saleh brought those men that they took out the diamonds. That was the time I told them.

  • You told us that this all happened in the middle of the night, at 2 a.m. and thereafter. Which one is it, Mr Witness?

  • I am sorry, is the question whether it was the morning, or 2 a.m.? The choice is not clear. Is it whether he said the morning, or 2 a.m.?

  • The question is recorded as it all happened in the middle of night at 2 a.m. and thereafter. What is your precise objection?

  • I withdraw the objection.

  • Thank you, Mr Koumjian.

  • Which one is it, Mr Witness, if any of these accounts are true?

  • It was 2 a.m. in the morning, not midnight. The place was dark, but it was 2 o'clock in the morning.

  • The diamond business happens at 2 in the morning, does it?

  • Page 14 of tab 1, please. At the top of that page:

    "We drank together and then Marzah dropped me home and the others went out to drink at a club. The next morning Marzah came and got me. We went to BY residence where SB had" - I can't read the next bit - "got that night. We were having breakfast together when the Lebanese Mohamed Saleh and another Lebanese with two Arab guys (Saudi Arabian) arrived."

    Sorry, they were named on a CIA list and living in Monrovia and buying diamonds, yes? Do you see that?

  • No.

  • Did you tell the investigators all that I have just read out?

  • My friend, you are now talking about two different things. You seem to be complicating everything. You are talking about two different things at the same time.

  • Did you tell the investigators all that I have just read out from that page, or didn't you?

  • Now you are talking about two different things.

  • Mr Witness, what counsel has read is recorded on this page and appears as a record of interview with you. What counsel is asking you is did you tell the investigators all of those things he has read out? He is not making something up.

  • It is not correct. That is why I am objecting.

  • You are not answering the question, Mr Witness. The question is not whether it is correct. Is it what you told the investigators?

  • No, it was not that way, my Lord. The lawyers asked me questions regarding two different things.

  • The witness is answering your Honour's question now.

  • Let me clarify. When you say "it was not that way", do you mean that the matter that is recorded and has been read to you were not the words you used, or are you saying that is not what happened? Which of those do you mean?

  • It happened that way, like I said, but he has now read out two different statements to me and at the time that Sam Bockarie and I were all present when this transaction took place between they and the Lebanese, now he has said that I had taken drinks with them - my Lord.

  • You did not say those words to the investigators, is that what you are telling me?

  • I said these words, but it was not at the time that he is now talking about here.

  • You can't remember the story correctly, can you?

  • I recall and if you allow me, I will explain.

  • Let us look through the rest of this account on page 12. We have just dealt with the arrival of Mohamed Saleh, another Lebanese and two Saudi Arabian diamond buyers during the course of your breakfast and it carries on like this:

    "Sam Bockarie went and picked up a leather bag. He pulled three parcels, cardboard boxes wrapped in tape. They were all the same size, but inside the boxes were diamonds which had been separated by three different sizes. Sam Bockarie opened the boxes. He removed the tape and lifted the tops off and all three boxes were full of diamonds. This was the first time I had ever seen diamonds of such a large quantity and quality. Jalloh, the other Lebanese, and the two Arabs started evaluating the diamonds. They used loops, electronic diamond scales, and they started evaluating the diamonds individually. It was during this evaluation that I was told by Benjamin Yeachen to go and prepare for my travel to Burkina Faso. Marzah left with me and took me to Sesay's to get my effects. We were gone about two to three hours and then back to Benjamin Yeachen."

    Now I am going to take it in stages. First of all, where are the mayonnaise jars?

  • The script that you have read to me is not recorded as I explained to the people who wrote - who wrote down these things. But like the mayonnaise jars you are asking about, they were in Sam Bockarie's suitcase. They were - and it was in a vehicle. He sent one of his securities to go and collect the suitcase from the vehicle where the mayonnaise bottles were.

  • Did you tell the investigators that these diamonds were in mayonnaise bottles?

  • Did you point out that they had recorded something completely different when they read back the interview to you?

  • They did not ever read this out to me. The one that is in front of me, they did not ever read it out to me. This is the first time that you are reading it to me. That is the reason why I am not in place to answer yes to some of the things that you are talking about. The things that I explained to me - that I explained to them, if you permit me I will be able to explain that again for the Court to understand clearly.

  • What was read back to you, because you told us when I first started questioning you very carefully - you told us that every interview was read back to you, you had an opportunity to correct or add to it and indeed when Shyamala read back her interview at your suggestion she scratched out some of the things that she had recorded. What was read back to you of this first interview in March 2006?

  • Mr Lawyer, as I am telling you, this was not read out to me, this particular one that I see here. That is why I am saying if you permit me I will explain exactly what happened.

  • Tab 1, page 4, please, and I am looking at paragraph 17. This, Mr Witness, is the typed up version of the notes that I have just read out to you and it reads as follows:

    "The following morning he was taken again to the residence of Benjamin Yeachen and after his arrival they were joined by a Lebanese Mohamed Saleh and another Lebanese with two Saudi Arabian men who [you] advised were named in a CIA wanted list and living in Monrovia and that this group were diamond buyers. Sam Bockarie retrieved three cardboard boxes that were filled with diamonds and sorted by size. The two Lebanese and the two Arabs started to evaluate the diamonds individually. At this time Sam Bockarie told him to go and prepare for a trip to Burkina Faso. He departed with Marzah and when they returned" - and you deal with what happened on your return.

    Now, you told us that these interviews were read back to you after they happened. Was it the full account that I read out to you a little while ago in the handwritten notes, or was it this slightly shorter, more condensed version, the typed version, that was read back to you?

  • It did not happen like that immediately as it is here.

  • When did it happen?

  • This was in the morning hours when Sam Bockarie had come and when I identified him.

  • That was the time when Mohamed Saleh, the other Lebanese --

  • Stop. We are not asking you about what happened. I am asking you about when it was read back to you.

  • No, they did not read this particular paragraph back to me, because if they had read it back to me I would have explained to them exactly the way I explained it in the Court. Shyamala did not read it back to me.

  • No, but Mr Nick read it back to you in August of the following year, 2007, didn't he? Tab 2, please. Page 4 of tab 2, left-hand margin, halfway down the page, paragraph number 17 in the margin.

  • Your Honour, I really don't know how to deal with this and perhaps in retrospect I don't want to speak in front of the witness. The problem I have is when things are represented by counsel that I did and I don't know how to deal with that.

  • The witness can say if this wasn't read back to him. It's a simple question that I put. The witness is more than capable of dealing with the question as simple as that. He has already told us that none of this big passage I read was ever read back to him by anyone the first time around. He is quite capable of saying no, by whatever title he knows Mr Koumjian --

  • I note, Mr Munyard, that at the beginning of tab 4, page 1, I don't see a name of the interviewing personnel.

  • Tab 2, your Honour. We are dealing with tab 2. Page 4 of tab 2, not tab 4.

  • Two names, that of the investigator Shelley Birston and attorney Nick Koumjian.

  • Yes, I see what you are referring to now. Mr Koumjian?

  • I am just worried that - my concern frankly, your Honours, is that witnesses don't usually - probably don't realise the limitations I am under in court as to what I can say and that's why I don't want them to take - to be misled by my silence. That's the situation I'm in.

  • We appreciate the problem, or the point you're making, and I think counsel for the Defence is entitled to put these questions.

  • Mr Witness, in the course of your being interviewed by Shelley Birston and Nick Koumjian in August of last year, they went through each paragraph of the notes of your interview from March of 2006, didn't they?

  • Mr Lawyer, as I have told you, it is through your cross-examination that I have been able to know that some of these things you have said are put down here happened this way, but with my common sense, if they were going to allow me I would have - if they had asked me about some of these mistakes I would have been able to explain to them exactly how things happened so that they will be able to sort out the mistakes.

  • Tab 2, page 1:

    "The following information was obtained during a prepping session between the witness and attorney Nick Koumjian using witness statement of 23/24 March 2006."

    In other words, you were taken through the witness statement - the typed witness statement - that we have just been looking at, weren't you?

  • Like I told you, at the time the lawyer met me he met me busy with a pressing job. I was only able to spend a few times with him and it was - even during the interview I was called on later to continue with my job and I did not want the people for whom I was working know exactly what was going on.

  • How long do you say that interview lasted?

  • We did not stay there too long, because by then I was working.

  • Mr Witness, please don't tell any more about your work.

  • And please answer the question. How long do you say this interview lasted?

  • It was not up to two hours, actually.

  • If I suggested it lasted one and three-quarter hours, would you agree with that?

  • Did you hear the question, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I can't tell because I did not keep time of what was happening.

  • Look again, please, at page 4. We will start with paragraph 15 in the left-hand margin which is referring back to paragraph 15 on page 3 of tab 1. What is written down in the handwriting that we're looking at, page 4 of tab 2, against 15 is written, "General Ibrahim was there, a Gambian." Do you see that?

  • Go back to paragraph 15 on page 3 of tab 1 which I have already read and I am not going to read out again, but in the course of that paragraph a number of people are mentioned as having been present at a meeting and you have added - sorry, hang on. Just listen to the question.

  • No, no.

  • You have added a further person to the group who attended the meeting. Do you agree?

  • No, General Ibrahim was not there and I did not make mention with him with regards that meeting, because at that time I had not yet met with him and I had not even seen him at that time. And now I see it in the sentence here. By then I had not met with General Ibrahim. I only met with General Ibrahim when we were about to take the trip to Burkina Faso.

  • Let me see if I understand the import of what you're saying; that where Ms Birston and Mr Koumjian have recorded you telling them in August 2007, last August, that General Ibrahim was there at that meeting, they have invented that? Is that what you're saying?

  • Objection, because the counsel has not read anything that says that they were there at that meeting.

  • I don't understand the objection.

  • Mr Koumjian, could you elaborate on your objection? Counsel for the Defence and my learned colleague are not clear exactly what you're saying.

  • I see in the notes of the investigator that it says General Ibrahim was there. It's not clear to me when that relates to.

  • What about the 15 listed beside, what does that refer to? I was mentally relating it to paragraph 15 because the preface to this is, "Using witness statement dated 2006-03- 23/24".

  • I understand the logic of what you are saying, thank you. I have nothing else to add. I withdraw.

  • Oh, you are withdrawing it. I see. Please put the question.

  • I have long forgotten it. Let me go back, if I may, to the LiveNote:

  • Are you saying that when Ms Birston and Mr Koumjian have recorded you telling them, when they met you in August last year, that General Ibrahim was there at that meeting, referred to in paragraph 15, that they, Ms Birston and Mr Koumjian, have invented that, that you never told them and so they must have made it up? Is that what you are saying?

  • The area I made mention of General Ibrahim was after he had been introduced to me before we took the trip to Burkina Faso and I will also tell you, if you permit me, the people who were present during the first meeting at the time Sam Bockarie brought the diamonds.

  • Could you have a try at answering the question that I asked you?

  • I wouldn't want to answer to the wrong thing. Things that happened are the ones that I would like to answer to.

  • I will try one last time. We can see, clear as day, that against what logically must be a reference to paragraph 15 of your previous interview, Ms Birston and Mr Koumjian have recorded you as saying General Ibrahim was there at the meeting described in paragraph 15.

  • I believe the record that the counsel has before him indicates who the interview was completed by and it does not have my name and so it don't think it is correct to tell the witness that Mr Koumjian has recorded this.

  • I am quite happy to have identification of the handwriting, but as it says all over the face of both the handwritten one and the typed one that the information was obtained during a prepping session between the witness and attorney Nick Koumjian, then I am assuming that Nick Koumjian is the person who elicited the answer that Ms Birston has written down.

  • That is fine, but that is not what was stated earlier. I have stated just now I have no problem with it. It was the earlier statement. On page 2 of tab 2 indicates, "Statement completed by", and has a name.

  • Let me be clear on your objection, Mr Koumjian. Your name is recorded at --

  • I am recorded correctly as being present and participating in the interview and the statement indicates on page 2 who it was completed by.

  • Now, are you saying that counsel for the Defence is putting the record of interview of 24 March 2006 and you are not there, or what are you putting? What are you objecting to?

  • I just objected to the phrasing of the question: The information recorded by Ms Birston and Mr Koumjian. It was the part where I was listed as the person who recorded the information that I am objecting to.

  • I see. That was a subtlety that I missed there, Mr Koumjian. Mr Munyard, please take care in the phraseology.

  • Madam President, what concerns me far more than hair-splitting about who elicited the answer as opposed to who wrote it down, is this process of prepping sessions whereby counsel in the case effectively puts himself in the position of a witness, which is incompatible with the role of trial counsel. That, I would suggest - and I am not going to pursue it now, but I am putting down a marker - is far more to the point than arguing the toss over who elicited the answer as opposed to who wrote it down. I will withdraw the suggestion that Mr Koumjian wrote it down, but it is plain as a pike staff that it was him who elicited the answer, I would suggest. Can I move on? This is really wasting an enormous amount of time:

  • You told the investigator and Mr Koumjian in August last year that the Gambian, General Ibrahim, was present at the meeting referred to in paragraph 15 of your first interview, didn't you?

  • So they have made that up, have they?

  • I told you that I can explain exactly the time I met General Ibrahim and I told the Court.

  • Mr Witness, there is writing here attributed to you as having said it and the counsel is asking where did that come from?

  • Well, maybe they made a mistake there.

  • Very well. But they were clearly asking you who was present at the meeting that has been referred to in that paragraph of your first interview, weren't they? Do you agree with that?

  • No.

  • Very well. 17 on page 4 of tab 2. 17, "Witness saw diamond men two to three times. Arabs were on a CIA list for assisting" - something spelt Al-Qeeda, presumably Al-Qaeda - "SB had a Liberian passport, General Ibrahim, Cisse Musa, Eddie Kanneh", and so on. Now, "Witness saw diamond men two to three times. Arabs were on a CIA list", against paragraph 17, that clearly refers back to paragraph 17 on page 4 of tab 1, doesn't it?

  • It was at one time that I saw the diamond men like I told you. It was one time.

  • Why did you not tell Mr Koumjian, in this prepping session in August of last year, that the previous investigators had got the diamond story completely wrong, that they came out of three mayonnaise jars rather than three cardboard boxes? Why didn't you correct that error when he was asking you more questions about paragraph 17?

  • I recall that even during this prepping session I told Mr Koumjian that there was a card box in the suitcase that Sam Bockarie called for from the vehicle. It was in that card box in the suitcase that the mayonnaise bottles were, the three mayonnaise bottles. I told them that.

  • Right. Well, I will be corrected if I am wrong, but I haven't seen any record of that in the notes of that interview. Just help us with this, please. You can read English perfectly well. We have seen you read it out this morning. During the course of this prepping session when you being asked questions about notes of a previous interview, were you given a copy of the interview as well, to follow as you were being asked questions about it?

  • No.

  • But you told him, Mr Koumjian, that in the cardboard box were mayonnaise bottles. That is what you have just told us, Mr Witness.

  • And so there should be some record from August of last year of you saying mayonnaise bottles, do you agree?

  • That I said the mayonnaise bottle was what?

  • If you told Mr Koumjian that in the cardboard boxes there were mayonnaise bottles, you would expect him, or his colleague, to have made a note of that, wouldn't you?

  • I told Mr Koumjian that in the box that Sam Bockarie sent for there were three sized mayonnaise bottles, all filled with diamonds.

  • Tab 3, please. Now, this is another prepping session, this time just last month, in Freetown presumably, where you were interviewed by a lady you called Shyamala, yes? Do you remember?

  • Although at the top of the document that we are looking at on page 1 says the date 16 May 2008, in fact if you look below the immediate personal details, it says, "Witness made the following corrections and clarifications to his previous statements on 16, 19 and 21 May 2008." Do you remember being prepped over three different dates just about three weeks ago?

  • Yes, and for you to know that like I was saying, it was only the ones that they showed me that I was able to correct.

  • So they showed you the interviews on this occasion, did they, for you to read and correct?

  • Well, for some except that I am seeing them here. That was why I said some and the ones that they showed me, I will be able to identify them.

  • You told us, when I first started asking you questions, that when Shyamala got something wrong, when she was reading back her notes of the interview, she scratched out what she had got wrong. Do you remember telling us that?

  • Yes and, as I said, that is the reason why as you are going through it, the one that did not happen I will tell you that I did not come across this one.

  • We are going to deal with it in a moment. I just want to know was Shyamala writing things down with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper? When you said she scratched out, what do you mean by she scratched out?

  • Well, when she started reading, the ones that she read to me and if there were problems I will tell her that this did not happen this way and this did not happen this way. But, like I told, you even the time Shyamala used to call me I did not have much time at that time. I did not have much free time and there are times when I was working she will call me and I will come and work with her later and later she will call me again.

  • Mr Witness, stop. Stop, please. When she scratched out a mistake, how did she scratch out a mistake?

  • With pencil. She drew a line across.

  • Right. Somebody else was present at that interview called Idriss Sesay. Do you remember that person being present?

  • Yes, he was translating.

  • Right. He was translating. She was asking questions and writing down your answers. Is that right?

  • Yes.

  • And she is writing with a pencil on sheets of paper, is she?

  • Well, I put the Prosecution on notice now that we have never had a single handwritten note from any prepping session. I have raised it before. We have been told very baldly before, "Oh, there aren't any such notes", but if this witness is telling the truth about this then clearly there are handwritten notes that we should have had disclosed to us. Indeed I would add it would be very surprising if there aren't handwritten notes from some of these prepping sessions.