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

  • Mr Griffiths, please continue with your cross-examination.

  • Could I have a moment to reorganise my files?

  • Do remember to switch on your microphone, please.

  • Last Friday when we adjourned, Mr Sherif, I was asking you about one particular aspect of your testimony which was to the effect that you had seen Sam Bockarie in possession of a jar, a mayonnaise jar, of diamonds. Do you recall that?

  • Do you recall that I directed your attention to a number of passages in that first interview conducted with you when you were asked about diamonds?

  • Yes.

  • Do you remember that the very last passage to which I referred your attention was at page 74 in that interview? Can we go to page 74, please. Do you see, commencing at line 8, this question, "I know that you were not involved in the diamond transactions. I know that you didn't see that personally"? And you say, "I didn't see." Page 74, your Honours. When you say "I didn't see", what did you mean?

  • I meant I didn't see him doing diamond transactions. That was what I meant.

  • It is right, isn't it, that you have never seen a diamond transaction involving President Taylor?

  • Can we now, please, turn to page 78?

  • Mr Griffiths, is that "Yes, I have seen him", or "No, I have never seen him"?

  • I understood him as accepting the proposition, but I will ask him again.

  • Are you saying that you have never seen any diamond transaction involving President Taylor?

  • I did not see him particularly.

  • Can we turn now, please, to page 78. Again you will see on that page at the top you are being asked about diamonds and in particular the name Eddie Kanneh is put to you. Do you see that?

  • Eddie Kanneh, you told my learned friend when she was asking you questions, is a diamond dealer, is he not?

  • And he has some connection with your ex-wife, doesn't he?

  • That is true.

  • What is the connection?

  • They all hail from the same township, the second capital city of Sierra Leone: Bo.

  • What was the nature of Mr Kanneh's involvement in the diamond business?

  • Mr Kanneh introduced himself to me that he was in charge of the diamond transaction between the RUF and the NPFL government. According to him he was also the business manager for the RUF diamonds and that whenever RUF had diamonds he - they would be handed over to him and then he would travel with them out of the RUF territory to other places.

  • So you understood that to be his responsibility and not the responsibility of Sam Bockarie?

  • Sam Bockarie gave the position to Eddie Kanneh. Eddie Kanneh was working under Sam Bockarie. Let me make that clear.

  • His responsibility was diamond dealing, is that right, Eddie Kanneh?

  • He was always given the diamonds with instructions whether to go and sell them, or to whom to carry it - I never knew, but then he introduced himself and told me that that was the position he had in the RUF and the position was given to him by Sam Bockarie and that he has been placed in charge of diamonds.

  • Now, that is the last reference I want to bring to your attention regarding diamonds in this first interview conducted with you on 23 February 2005. Having gone through those references, do you accept that nowhere in that interview did you mention seeing Sam Bockarie in possession of a jar of diamonds at Voinjama? Do you accept that?

  • I told you that I had several interviews. I can't tell whether it is the one that you are referring to, but I know that one - in one of my interviews I said it that I saw diamonds with Sam Bockarie, with my eyes.

  • I know you eventually did, Mr Sherif, I am asking you about this first interview with investigators from the OTP. Do you accept that in this interview at no stage do you mention that?

  • The diamond business that you are referring to, in my first interviews we did not reach that area, that area you are talking about. We did not get to the diamond discussion during my first interview.

  • That is totally incorrect, Mr Sherif. You were asked on no less than seven occasions about diamonds during the course of this 88 page interview and what I am suggesting, and I will be corrected if I am wrong, is at no stage during that lengthy interview did you mention seeing a mayonnaise jar full of diamonds in the possession of Sam Bockarie. Do you accept that, yes or no?

  • I don't know what you are referring to, or about the particular interview. I never had one specific interview with these people and I cannot say that I had all the interviews in a day. It did not happen in a day.

  • I appreciate that, Mr Sherif. Could you please listen carefully to my question. I know that you had several interviews with the Prosecution investigators. I am only asking you about this first lengthy interview. Do you accept that throughout that interview at no stage did you mention seeing a mayonnaise size jar of diamonds in Sam Bockarie's possession? Do you accept that, yes or no?

  • Yes.

  • Do you further accept that nowhere in this interview do you speak of Sam Bockarie executing five Kamajors in Koilahun? Do you accept that, yes or no?

  • I explained that.

  • Do you accept that you do not mention it in this first interview?

  • I made mention of it in the first interview.

  • Well, I will be corrected if I am wrong, but at no stage in that first interview did you do that and we will come in time to when you did, but what I am suggesting is at no stage in this first interview did you do that. The reason why I suggest that you didn't mention either of those two significant incidents is because you never went to fetch Sam Bockarie at the request of President Taylor. Do you understand me?

  • That is not true.

  • I suggest it is a total fabrication on your behalf.

  • I did not fabricate no information here. I have nothing against - to lie on Mr Taylor. I have nothing personal. What I explain here is the truth that I am explaining.

  • I want to ask you about another topic now, moving on. You told us that on that trip, when you arrived in Voinjama you met a senior intelligence officer who had travelled by helicopter from Monrovia, is that right?

  • I did not say so. I said when I arrived in Voinjama the assistant director for intelligence, Robert Bier, had flown through the helicopter and landed in Tenebu. He took the vehicle from there and drove to Voinjama to make sure whether Sam Bockarie was the real Sam Bockarie I brought over. That was the instruction given from Mr Taylor, according from Robert Bier.

  • Do you accept that it would have been much easier to transport Bockarie on that helicopter back to Monrovia?

  • Mr Griffiths, we did cover this exact question last week. I remember you asking and it being answered on a number of - you did repeat that question several times last week.

  • And I have received further instructions from my client, your Honour, which is why I am required to revisit the topic just to deal with one or two additional matters.

  • Let me help you by repeating the answer. I told you the reason that we could not use the helicopter to escort Sam Bockarie. You remember what happened? When a member of the AFRC travelled through the helicopter from Freetown, they landed in Monrovia. What happened was they were intercepted by ECOMOG and I was bringing Sam Bockarie in secret. What would have been a secret would have used the same helicopter again to be intercepted by ECOMOG? No. That is why Benjamin Yeaten and Musa Cissay met me on the highway because they were the most senior officers, the chiefs of security for the Republic of Liberia, nobody searching their vehicle. Their vehicle had no licence plate. He was the director for SSS, that was why they decided to meet me on the highway to take Sam Bockarie and transfer him to the vehicle and they will use Roberts International Airport route to get to Monrovia.

  • The reason I want to revisit this topic is you told us last week that there were no facilities for a helicopter to land at the Executive Mansion, didn't you?

  • Never and ever a helicopter landed at the Executive Mansion. I repeat answering that same question: It has never happened.

  • I just want to ask you about some of the facilities there. Would you agree that the Executive Mansion is built on something like 15-plus acres of land?

  • I know that the area is there. If the helicopter wanted to land, they would land there. I am not saying that the space is not there. I did not say so. Up to the time I was at the Executive Mansion I never saw one day a helicopter landing there. That is what I am saying.

  • But you agree, don't you, that there is a concrete area at the front of the mansion where a helicopter could land?

  • Let me make one thing clear -

  • Yes or no, Mr Sherif?

  • Do you also agree that there is a soccer ground within the grounds of the mansion?

  • Do you also agree that there is a very large lawn at the rear of the mansion?

  • And one final topic on the matter of helicopters, please, could you turn to page 85. Do you see, at line 20 on that page, you are being asked about helicopters and the question is this, "Tell me about the helicopter first though. The first time when they were coming up to Foya in the helicopter, what did the helicopter look like? Did you see the helicopter." You describe it in this way, "With camouflage helicopter", yes? "One with fatigue, one with camouflage." Do you see that?

  • Yes.

  • Turn the page to page 86, please, line 5, "One was fatigue, fatigue green, all green. It was army colour." Yes, do you see that?

  • And the camouflage colour, what colours were they?

  • The camouflage colour I say is green, some black, mixed up colour.

  • Do you ever recall any helicopter being available to the Liberian Government which was not of those colours?

  • Anti-terrorist camouflage the helicopter, the helicopter that Mr Taylor assigned to anti-terrorist.

  • What colour were they?

  • All the two helicopters were controlled by them.

  • What colour were they? What colours were they painted?

  • Fatigue camouflage.

  • Fatigue camouflage?

  • Did you ever see a red and yellow helicopter?

  • That was during the campaign time and I did not know whether it was the same helicopter that was camouflaged about the time when Lofa was attacked, when this helicopter was used by the anti-terrorist to bomb the Lofa area and the surrounding it was camouflaged and fatigued.

  • What colour camouflage, green?

  • Camouflage was a mix of colours. It could be black would be there and green would be there.

  • Now, the next topic that I want to move onto, please, is arms and the RUF. Do you follow me?

  • Would you agree that the vast majority of the arms you know went to the RUF was bought by the RUF from former ULIMO combatants?

  • That is not true. Arms were coming through Roberts International Airport and I saw Sam Bockarie at the international airport. Equally so I saw Zigzag Mazhar, whom I saw publicly, and I asked him and he told me he was taking the arms to Sam Bockarie and that he had some money. He was taking it to Sam Bockarie also. I also visited Foya when I saw Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie together. When my bodyguard came from Sierra Leone, from Buedu, he told me that a truck loaded of arms were with Sam Bockarie and he saw it.

  • Very well. Let us examine that in a bit more detail then, shall we? Do you agree, Mr Sherif, that many commanders, for a number of reasons, be it personal, financial, ethnic, or tribal, did things without the authority of President Taylor?

  • Please repeat that question.

  • Mr Griffiths, commanders of what organisation?

  • Would you agree that commanders of the various militias and factions, following the election of President Taylor, would often do things without his authority?

  • Yes.

  • And that would be for personal, financial, ethnic, or tribal reasons. Would you agree?

  • Except you explain that in detail so that I could understand the question correctly.

  • Very well, let me put it in this way: The combatants from the various factions were not being paid a monthly allowance or salary, were they?

  • After the elections, is that what you mean?

  • Mr Taylor only paid those who were obligated to him.

  • Would you agree that the vast majority of the combatants were not paid any monthly allowance or salary?

  • Who was paying them?

  • Let me ask a more specific question: The former ULIMO combatants, were they being paid following the election of President Taylor?

  • He assisted them with some money: The 20,000 that he gave that we divided amongst the former combatants. That he did and also he used to give rice every month for former ULIMO-K. That happened for one year time.

  • Is it not the case that some commanders of factions and militias would sell arms that were assigned to them by the Liberian Government in order to make some money on the side?

  • I did not understand that correctly.

  • Is it not the case that arms and ammunition distributed to commanders by Mr Taylor's government would often be sold illegally to, for example, the RUF in order to make money on the side?

  • I think those who were assigned in Lofa and Mr Taylor assigned guns to them, they might have done that because I was not there and I did not witness anything like that.

  • Let me ask you about an aspect of it which you might be able to help us with then. Did ULIMO buy arms from ECOMOG officers and soldiers?

  • I don't know. I was not the leader of ULIMO. I was just there to receive instruction as the commander at the battle front and I will receive whatever I needed to fight the war. I think the leader of ULIMO could be the best person to be asked that question. I am not aware.

  • I am asking you because of the senior position you held in ULIMO and what I am suggesting is that you did buy arms illegally from ECOMOG, didn't you?

  • Did ULIMO do deals with Sierra Leonean military officers in the border areas in order to obtain arms, in addition to official help given by the Sierra Leonean Government?

  • We had a base in Sierra Leone when we were fighting inside Liberia and when we were fighting inside Liberia our base in Sierra Leone never dissolved and we still had the battle front at Daru barracks and we still had ULIMO members staying there and they were still getting their supplies. Therefore, we used to receive assistance from them, that is true.

  • Apart from the official assistance you were getting, Sierra Leonean soldiers and commanders in that border area were also doing their private deals with you, weren't they?

  • That is true. Deals were never finished. It would never be ended.

  • And similar deals were being done with Guinean troops on the Guinea border, weren't they?

  • I am not aware of that.

  • That is Guinean soldiers, because they were badly paid, would supplement their income by selling their arms illegally to groups like ULIMO, didn't they?

  • ULIMO never had arms shortage. The reason why ULIMO had strong force was because sometimes we captured areas and we would get arms from there, and sometimes we captured NPFL areas and we captured arms together. At the same time ULIMO was fighting in Sierra Leone and they were supplying their colleagues.

  • Because generally this is right, isn't it: At that point on the map where Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea meet, at the top end of Lofa County, there was a brisk business going on in arms, food, diamonds and looted goods, wasn't there?

  • Of course I will not say no to that. That is the war.

  • In effect, that part of the world where Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia joined, it was like the Wild West for the most part, wasn't it?

  • Now, the final matter I want to ask you about in this interview before we move on, could you turn to page 41, please, 41, bottom right-hand corner, 00036773 at the top. Do you have it?

  • Now, this interview commenced at 10.24. About 45 minutes into the interview, and it begins at line 7, we see this, "We are going to let the Court Reporter catch up a little and then we will talk about something else off the record." Then there was a break from 11.16 until 11.28. What were you talking about off the record for that period?

  • What record is that?

  • Do you know what the phrase "off the record" means?

  • It means that somebody wants to talk to you about something but they don't want it recorded for posterity so that people can see it afterwards, so what I am asking you is: What was so sensitive that you were being talked about, off the record, for 10 or so minutes in the middle of this interview?

  • I cannot remember that right now.

  • Try and help us, please.

  • Is there anything that you would have wanted to talk to the OTP about off the record?

  • I told you these things are taking some time. I cannot remember that I explained something to them off the record. I cannot remember now.

  • Were you being made promises off the record in order to give information?

  • If I was promised or what?

  • If you were made promises that you would get money, or any other benefit, if you were willing to provide certain evidence?

  • Try and help us, please, because you were there and we see that Mr Santora, who sits at the back of the Court, was there, but obviously because he is a lawyer he can't give evidence, so I am asking you. What were you talking about off the record, please?

  • That is why I have explained to you that I cannot remember what I had explained that it was off record. I cannot remember it now.

  • Let us move on then, shall we? That is all I want to ask you about in relation to that interview.

    If we turn to page 90 now, please. Just for completeness, so that we are all following, following that interview a summary of that interview was created and that summary commences at page 90 and it goes through to page 91. I mention that just for completeness, so that when in future anyone looks at this bundle they will understand the significance of that.

    Now, do you remember last week I gave you a document like this, Mr Sherif? Mr Sherif, this document, do you remember it?

  • Yes.

  • Can we have this document now on the screen, please, the first page.

  • For the record, Mr Griffiths, this is a document reflecting your computation of payments made to the witness on each day of the interview.

  • This document shows the correlation between interviews conducted with you and payments received by you, either at the time, or afterwards. Now, what we know is this: Following that interview on 23 February 2005, on 9 March you received 70 US dollars. What was that for?

  • To cover my expenses.

  • The distance they called me from and they did not provide a car. I have to use my own vehicle to come to the area where they wanted to see me.

  • I understand that you were working in Monrovia, weren't you?

  • If I was working, I was not working for the Special Court.

  • In February 2005 you were working in Monrovia, weren't you?

  • I said it: If I am working, I was not working for the Special Court. If you need my time you have to cover my expenses.

  • Mr Sherif, what part of the question I just asked you did you not understand? Let me try it again: Were you at the time of the interview in February 2005 living in Monrovia, yes or no?

  • Yes, I was living in Monrovia.

  • Didn't the interview take place in Monrovia?

  • And so help us, how much travelling expenses did you generate to travel within Monrovia for this interview?

  • The amount was given to cover my expenses out.

  • Now, that interview lasted from 10.24 until 12.37, so about two hours. Were you charging an hourly rate of about 35 US dollars for your time?

  • I was giving - it was given to me to cover my expenses and that was it.

  • If that be right, you were given that 70 US dollars on 9 March, thereafter on 8 September, even though you had no further interview, and again on 9 September, you were given a further 150 - these figures are to be found at page 155, your Honours. You were given a further 155 US dollars. What was that for?

  • They wanted for me to get somebody for them and that person was living in Bong Mines. I had to hire a car to go and get that individual from there.

  • Basically then what we have is this: Following that interview on 23 February you were paid a total of 250 US dollars when, according to this, you attended no further interview. What was all of that money for, Mr Sherif?

  • I told you basically some of the people, some time when they do come they call me and said they want me to help to get somebody and sometimes that individual does not live in Monrovia. Where he lives, they will give me transportation to go and locate that individual. Some of the people were way in Nimba. Some of the people were in Gbarnga, so that was the amount to cover the expenses.

  • So are you saying that you were conducting investigations on behalf of -

  • No, no. I told you that they asked me, "Please to go and locate John Brown for us, or Peter Brown for us." If I do know I can assist and I can get that person I will tell them, "From there this is so so area the person is living, I have to hire a car to go there and come back."

  • Help us, how many witnesses did you manage to locate for the Office of the Prosecutor?

  • I think there were three persons.

  • When did you locate those individuals?

  • Nimba, Gbarnga -

  • I cannot remember the time or the date again.

  • Was it in the period immediately after that interview on 23 February?

  • It happened after my own interview.

  • Was that the first interview?

  • It did not happen once. I can remember - I cannot remember again.

  • Now, I am helpfully assisted by my learned friend Mr Munyard. We need to investigate these payments in a little bit more detail so I wonder if you would turn to page 154, please. Now, we see here, beginning at the bottom of the page, details of the three payments I have asked you about. No, you have not got it, witness. It is page 154, right at the end of the bundle. Now, you will see the first payment that was made to you on Wednesday, 9 March 2005, the reason why you are given that is stated to be, "Payment made to source to assist OPT to locate witnesses." Do you see that?

  • I explain it to you. I said yes.

  • But when we go over the page, the second payment of 100 US dollars, on 8 September 2005, that was for, "Reactivation of source development." What does that mean?

  • I do not know the meaning of that English. The only money that was given to me, the first one was to cover my expenses and the others were given to locate witnesses that were needed, to assist them in locating them for them.

  • We see that the payment made on Friday, 10 September is for locating witnesses, but, help us, what was the previous payment made for: "Reactivation of source development"? Can you help us?

  • I said I do not know the meaning or the terms. The only money that was given to me first was to cover my expenses. The rest were to locate people they wanted for me to - they wanted to assist them to locate for them.

  • We will come back to those payments in a moment. What we do know is this though, going back to our schedule, that you were further interviewed by the investigators attached to the OTP on 8 and 9 July 2006. Now, we find the summary of that interview at page 92 in the bundle. I want to ask you about certain aspects of this, please. We see that this was supposedly, and I am looking at the second line of the first paragraph, a clarification interview conducted in Monrovia, Liberia, and present were two individuals from the Office of the Prosecutor: David Cunningham and Joseph Sesay. Do you recall this meeting?

  • I do not know their names again.

  • But do you recall that following that interview in February 2005, the next time you were interviewed was over a year later in July 2007?

  • That is why I said I cannot remember the people's name. They were changing from one - you will see some people today and after one or two months you see another set of people.

  • Now, what we see here is this, looking at the body of this summary -

  • You see the summary of interview:

    "As highlighted in the previous interview, the witness has knowledge of the fact that Sam Bockarie went to Monrovia to meet Taylor following the fall of the AFRC/RUF government. As stated in the previous interview, so far as the witness is aware Taylor had not met Bockarie prior to this and all previous communications between them had been by telephone."

    Yes?

  • Yes, that is previously, as according to what Sam Bockarie explained to me.

  • Now, if I recall what you told us when you were being examined in chief, after the stopover in Voinjama you drove to Wiesua, did you not, where you were met, Sam Bockarie was taken away and you continued on into Monrovia with his bodyguards?

  • When we look at the second paragraph:

    "Following the communication with Montgomery, Bockarie travelled in a five vehicle convoy through Lofa County to Gbarnga. At Gbarnga Bockarie was met by Yeaten and Musa Cissay and taken to Monrovia."

    So was it at Wiesua, or was it at Gbarnga that you were met?

  • That area is not clear. I said Wiesua.

  • Help us, why is it that here we see that that meeting took place at Gbarnga and not Wiesua?

  • I said I did not say they had a meeting. When we were coming from Monrovia, when Mr Taylor told me, "Do you know the area where you met Sam Bockarie, travelled, when Benjamin Yeaten - when they took Sam Bockarie from your vehicle?" He said, "Go back there. If you don't see them just wait a little bit and you will see them." I got to Wiesua. They were not in Wiesua. To my understanding they were in Gbarnga, maybe having some meeting with Musa and Benjamin Yeaten. That was my understanding.

  • Mr Sherif, what you told us was on the journey back to Monrovia, having met with Sam Bockarie, you parted company with him at Wiesua. Here you are saying it is Gbarnga. Was it Gbarnga, or was it Wiesua?

  • It was in Wiesua.

  • Can you help us as to why it was that in this interview, in July 2006, you were saying it was Gbarnga and not Wiesua?

  • They did not understand that one from me clear. The person who wrote that paragraph did not get it clear.

  • The reason why I am asking you about these details, Mr Sherif, is this: I am suggesting you are lying about this whole trip, which is why your account is constantly changing. Do you understand me? I am not nit picking, but help us, Gbarnga is a different place from Wiesua, isn't it?

  • I have explained the truth. I have no reason to lie. Even if the baby was just 6 years, 7 years, within the entire of Liberia, if you ask them who brought Sam Bockarie to Liberia to meet Taylor they will tell you, "It is Sherif." From the branch, from the end, everywhere they will tell you.

  • Let me try my question: Gbarnga is a different place from Wiesua, isn't it?

  • And I said it clear. I did not say Gbarnga, I said Wiesua.

  • Gbarnga is a different place from Wiesua, isn't it?

  • Can I appeal to the witness and counsel please not to speak over each other's voice. This really messes up the record. Let each of you wait for the other one to finish before you respond, please.

  • Mr Sherif, I am going to repeat my question slowly. Please listen to the question. If you don't understand it, tell me, and then please do me the courtesy of an answer. Gbarnga is a different place from Wiesua, isn't it, yes or no?

  • Can we go to the final paragraph on that page, please:

    "In relation to the purchase of arms by the RUF from ULIMO, the witness states that Taylor's intention has been to, 'Open corridors between Liberia and Sierra Leone so that Sam Bockarie could have free movement back and forth and people from Lofa should have free movement to Sierra Leone.' If the people brought the arms forward for sale to Sam Bockarie, no-one would have anything to fear about trading these arms. This information was spread to the fighters in the Lofa area."

    Who were you quoting there?

  • Please read the passage very slowly so that I will be able to understand.

  • Is the witness looking at the page?

  • I am looking at it.

  • The bottom paragraph.

  • Yes, I am looking at it, but I want him to read it slowly.

  • "In relation to the purchase of arms by the RUF from ULIMO the witness states that Taylor's intention had been to, 'Open corridors between Liberia and Sierra Leone so that SB" - and I guess that stands for Sam Bockarie - "could have free movement back and forth and the people from Lofa should have free movement to Sierra Leone?'"

    Who were you quoting in that passage?

  • An instruction from Mr Taylor, so that Sam Bockarie could have free movement between Lofa area to RUF territory.

  • Thank you, your Honour. Perhaps it will assist this line of questioning and, in fairness to the witness, this is entitled a "Summary of Statement", and in the context of this the Prosecution would suggest that it is not the witness who is quoting, it is the person who is preparing the statement who is quoting the witness.

  • Mr Griffiths, that would appear to make sense to me. Whatever is quoted is trying to verbatimly [sic] quote the interviewer or interviewee.

  • Your Honour, I must make this observation: It is somewhat curious that if the person who summarised this interview was in a position to create this document and quote from what appears to be a contemporaneous note, that we have never been provided with that contemporaneous note, only the summary.

  • What do you mean by a contemporaneous note?

  • It would appear from the quotation marks, and I am helpfully assisted now by my learned friend, that the quotation marks refer to a transcript of the interview. I would like to see the transcript of the interview, please, if it is available.

  • Ms Hollis, what is your response to this?

  • Thank you, your Honour. There is no transcript of this interview, unlike the taped transcript that was transcribed. The person taking the interview did, as I understand it, take notes. There was certainly no transcript. Those notes were then put into this typed version of this statement, so the typed version reflects the information received by the person conducting the interview.

  • In any event, it would appear to me, Mr Griffiths, really, that the person being quoted is actually the witness himself.

  • But I need to pursue this a little further, your Honour. I would not like to see, and I make the request publicly, the original notes -

  • Put your microphone on, please.

  • I would like to see, please, the original notes taken by whoever it was who conducted the interview on those two days in July 2006. I ask for this reason, your Honour: Your Honour will see that this summary is three pages long yet the interview lasted two days. I would like to see the original notes and I suggest that I am entitled to it.

  • I am sure if it does exist it will be provided. Ms Hollis?

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • So with that caveat, please continue your cross-examination.

  • Your Honour, can I just lay down this particular marker: There are a number of instances in this bundle where interviews have been summarised in this way and I put the Prosecution on notice that in every instance I would like to see the original notes and not only in relation to this witness, but in relation to any witness the Prosecution intend to call where they have served us disclosure of a summary but not the original notes. In our submission, in law, fairness dictates that we should be provided with all that material.

  • Ms Hollis, is this the case? Are you withholding the original notes from the Defence?

  • The information in the original notes has been provided in the typed form. The Defence counsel has said in law they should be provided the original notes. In many jurisdictions, in law, if the original notes are then put in total into a typed form they need not be provided unless the Defence ask for it. The Defence counsel has asked for it and we will certainly ensure that they receive it.

  • Very well. Let us proceed.

  • We are at the bottom of page 92, Mr Sherif. Mr Sherif, did you have a conversation, in the terms as set out in that paragraph, with President Taylor?

  • I did not understand. I did not get your question correct.

  • I am asking you about the last paragraph on page 92. Do you have it?

  • Do you see you make references to opening corridors between Liberia and Sierra Leone and so on?

  • Yes.

  • Are you there referring to a conversation you say you had with President Taylor?

  • I am referring to the conversation I had with Mr Taylor.

  • Try and be a bit more specific: When?

  • Where did that conversation take place?

  • Who else was present?

  • Osibio Dembi was there and Musa Cissay was there.

  • I suggest that is a lie and you have never had any such conversation with him. That is the truth, isn't it, Mr Sherif?

  • This is not true. I have told you I have no reason to lie here. I have nothing personal against him for which I must lie.

  • Can we turn over the page, please, to page 93. The last three lines of the first paragraph on that page, do you see, "Taylor appointed Christopher Varmoh, Liberian Mosquito, as commander of the NPFL. He was commander of Lofa County and based out of Vahun." Is that true?

  • Yes.

  • Then if we miss the next paragraph and go to the paragraph thereafter which begins, "In the previous interview the witness advised that Taylor arranged for money to be sent with ZZ Mazhar to Mosquito in order that Mosquito could buy arms from the former faction fighters in Lofa. In the clarification interview" - that is this interview - "the witness states that he did not visually see the money transaction." Is that true?

  • I did not see the money transaction with who?

  • With anybody. Is that true?

  • No, I did not understand that question. Please repeat that question.

  • "In the clarification interview the witness states that he did not visually see the money transactions." Is that true?

  • The question is not clear to me. The money transaction with who now? Because there were several transactions: RUF had their money coming, Voinjama area, buying their arms and go, and of course ZZ Mazhar who too had money and he had ammunition and he was taking them to Sam Bockarie. I do not know which of the transactions you are referring to.

  • Were you ever present -

  • Mr Interpreter, I personally do not follow what you are saying. Are you speaking English? Mr Interpreter, are you speaking English, or are you speaking Krio?

  • Then please make yourself understood. We are just not following what you are saying. Please make an effort to make yourself understood. If the problem is that the witness is speaking too fast, let us know that so that he will speak a little slower. We just don't understand some of the words you are saying.

  • Mr Griffiths, I apologise. Let us start again.

  • Not at all. Mr Sherif, did you ever witness a money transaction involving the sale of arms to the RUF?

  • Yes, when Superman came he was buying arms in Voinjama District, taking them over to Sam Bockarie. I witnessed that.

  • Who handed the money over?

  • I told you earlier that Mr Taylor said he was going to provide money for Sam Bockarie, either himself or that he was going to use who he would use to buy arms.

  • I am not interested in that. I am asking you about the transaction you say you witnessed. Who handed money over?

  • Superman had the money and he was buying arms in Voinjama District.

  • Who did he give the money to?

  • Former fighters who were selling arms to him.

  • And which faction were these fighters from?

  • All factions, including NPFL.

  • So the money was going to individual combatants, was it?

  • You have it clear, yes, yes.

  • So when we see in this summary, "did not visually see the money transactions", can you help me as to what you were talking about?

  • I saw that the transaction was going on. The people - the Superman I am referring to, when I took Sam Bockarie to Monrovia Superman went along with Sam Bockarie and when we went to Voinjama they went to our area, Sherrif Quarters, so at any time he came from RUF territories he will always have to stop at Sherrif Quarters, so I knew what he was doing and he used to explain to me what he had in his hands.

  • Let us move on then, shall we, to the next paragraph and I want to ask you a few questions about this. Do you see the paragraph begins:

    "The witness advises that the arms being supplied to the RUF were coming from all warring factions: From ULIMO, NPFL, Liberian Peace Council. Initially Taylor instructed that all the arms that were to be obtained from the ULIMO fighters in Lofa should be brought to Monrovia, but after the recruitment and deployment Taylor ordered that all weapons from Lofa should be diverted to Sierra Leone. At first weapons were taken to Sierra Leone on a weekly" -

  • Your Honours, could counsel go slowly so that the interpretation will go accordingly.

  • I was not aware that I was going so fast, but let me start again:

    "The witness advises that the arms being supplied to the RUF were coming from all warring factions: From ULIMO, NPFL, Liberian Peace Council. Initially Taylor instructed that all the arms that were obtained from the ULIMO fighters in Lofa should be brought to Monrovia, but after the recruitment and deployment Taylor ordered that all weapons from Lofa should be diverted to Sierra Leone. At first weapons were taken to Sierra Leone on a weekly basis, but then Bockarie took control of the entire Lofa area and the fighters carried weapons all the time in bags, or any way they could, into Sierra Leone. The arms being sent to Sierra Leone consisted of RPG and their bombs, AK-47s and the ammunition. According to information given to the witness, fighters were being paid $200-300 per weapon. Further, the witness states that some weapons were exchanged for looted items which had been taken from Freetown during the invasion. The witness states that this all occurred just after the Freetown invasion in 1998 and during the ECOMOG intervention."

    Now, do you agree with all of that?

  • Yes.

  • So the sale of arms that you are describing here was being done on an individual basis by former combatants?

  • They were doing it individually after the instruction because at first I was taking the arms and ammunition. That was a group material, a group of arms and ammunition that we had kept. I took them to Monrovia and after he met Sam Bockarie he later called me and instructed me that no arms must come to Monrovia again. He said, "You should go to Lofa and talk to the former combatants, that they should feel free and that anybody who had arms and that I have given some money to Sam Bockarie, he will send some commanders or he himself will come and buy them from them", or that anybody who wanted to go to RUF territory with his arms to sell it, "Nobody will disturb you, nobody will do anything else to you so, if you want to, you can go there and do your transaction." That was what he said.

  • Mr Witness, who is this "he" you keep referring to?

  • I am referring to the former President Taylor. The instructions were coming from him directly to me.

  • You are aware, witness, aren't you, that the Freetown invasion took place in 1999 and not 1998?

  • When I say Freetown invasion, the first one happened after they had removed the AFRC government in power. That is what I am referring to. After the removal of the AFRC government, that one took place in 1998, the start of the year.

  • Turn over the page, please, to page 94, the first full paragraph on that page, "The witness states -

  • Mr Griffiths, I intend to go on until 10.35 to try and make up for lost time over the next three days if that is okay with you.

  • "The witness states that groups of former combatants in Liberia who were trading looted property, arms, or diamonds were invited into Sierra Leone openly by Bockarie with the guarantee that nothing would happen to them. Many of the people who crossed over were recruited into the RUF and this was one of the ways in which the RUF got more manpower. In relation to the reference to ULIMO, the witness clarifies that the name ULIMO only came up in the area of Lofa County. At this time the RUF were not dealing with a specific warring faction. They were dealing with all those interested in coming over to Sierra Leone."

    And then this:

    "Taylor did not have any specific influence with these people, only to the extent that he was condoning free movement across the border. Many people crossing over to Sierra Leone did not return, such as private people who were going to diamond mining areas like Tongo."

    Pause there. Where you say, "Taylor did not have any specific influence with these people," what did you mean?

  • What I meant, the people were going there by themselves. Their lives were guaranteed by Mr Taylor that nothing will happen to any one of them. That is what I am referring to.

  • Is this a fair description: That because of the lawlessness of that area Mr Taylor really didn't have a great deal of influence over it?

  • This lawlessness started after Sam Bockarie had visited Monrovia. After the elections the former combatants of ULIMO were very, very quiet in their respective areas. Up to the time I was there taking arms to be carried to Monrovia, the area was quite normal, but when the freedom was given to everybody that was the time the lawlessness started in that area.

  • Do you agree that Mr Taylor had very little influence in the area?

  • Later he made a deployment in the area. At the end of 1998 to 1999 he deployed army and police in the entire Lofa area.

  • Can I try the question again, one final time. Do you agree that President Taylor had very little influence in that area?

  • Not 1998, at end of 1998 to 1999.

  • But are you saying that throughout 1998 he did not?

  • Just help me, please, when do you say - just give us a bracket of dates. When do you say his influence was diminished in that area?

  • I did not understand that question.

  • Was there a time, do you say, when Mr Taylor did not have any influence in that area?

  • I said after the election. After the elections Mr Taylor never had control over the other warring factions' territories, but little by little he started deploying men around Bomi Hills, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa County, Bopolu. He started having control over the entire area.

  • Would that be a good place to break?

  • As good as any.

  • Thank you. We will break until 11.00. Thank you.

  • [Break taken at 10.35 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.00 a.m.]

  • Mr Griffiths, please continue.

  • May it please your Honour.

  • Mr Sherif, we were at page 94 --

  • Could counsel put on his microphone, please.

  • We were at page 94 when we adjourned. Could you go back to that page, please. I want to ask you now, please, about that third full paragraph on that page. The paragraph which begins:

    "The witness states that Yeaten went frequently to Foya and would meet Bockarie there on a regular basis. Yeaten was accompanied by Mazhar, Sampson and other bodyguards. While the witness understands that Yeaten took arms and ammunition with him on these trips" - this is the important part that I want to concentrate on - "he has no direct knowledge that they were turned over to Bockarie."

    Is that the truth?

  • I said I did not see Benjamin Yeaten handing over arms and ammunition directly to Sam Bockarie. Only that the bodyguards who came from bodyguard that he assigned, they told me that they saw a truck loaded of ammunition in Buedu given to Sam Bockarie in their presence.

  • Now that is all I wish to ask you about those interviews conducted on 8 and 9 July 2006, but when we go back to this document, our schedule - Madam Court Manager, I wonder if we could put this document up, please - we see that following those interviews on 27 July - on 22 July, I'm sorry, you received 50 US dollars - this is page 155, your Honours - 50 US dollars for transport, meals and communication. Now help us, in July 2006 were you still living in Monrovia?

  • I was in Monrovia.

  • And interviews conducted with you in July 2006, were they too conducted in Monrovia?

  • All the interviews were conducted in Monrovia.

  • Thank you. In any event, the next interview that I want to ask you about took place on 30 July 2006. Can we go, please, to page 94 A in the bundle. I wonder if we could put up on the screen the two photographs A and B which comprise MFI-3.

  • That is MFI-3 A and MFI-3 B.

  • Your Honour, yes. I wonder if we could arrange the photographs in such a way that we have both on the screen at the same time, please.

  • Now do you recall being asked questions about these two photographs, Mr Sherif?

  • Yes.

  • Now when we go to page 94 A - does the witness have page 94 A before him - we see that on 30 July 2006 at the Urban Renaissance Hotel in Monrovia you were seen by investigators attached to the Office of the Prosecutor and you were asked about these two photographs. Now looking at page 94 A it says that picture number 1 was taken during the dry season of 1998. Now when were these photographs taken, please, Mr Sherif?

  • These photographs, one was taken at the border of Sierra Leone, one was taken in Foya.

  • The one that top, where was that taken?

  • At the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia.

  • And you are the person in that photograph second from the right, you told us?

  • I am the one with the face cap.

  • You're the one as we look at it - just so that we're certain about this I wonder if you can just indicate so that everyone can see. No, indicate on this one, please, so that everyone can see who it is you're referring to?

  • You see it [Indicated].

  • Now we can see that in that photograph you are not wearing a uniform, are you?

  • You mean no, you are not wearing a uniform?

  • At that time I was not wearing uniform.

  • And what precisely can we see in that pick-up?

  • Arms and ammunition.

  • Would you point to a gun or some ammunition for me, please?

  • Inside the pick-up the things that you see, like white, you can see, arms were taken from under, underneath the ground, so you can see them in the pick-up. That is why you see them like this.

  • So what can we actually see on the photographs? What is that?

  • I have told you that inside the vehicle I had I had arms and ammunition in it and I was turning it over to Sam Bockarie.

  • I am just trying to find out, Mr Sherif, as I look at that top photograph whatever is visible in the back of the pick-up, what am I looking at, please?

  • Arms and ammunition.

  • Am I looking at a pile of mud in the back of that pick-up?

  • I said to you I had arms and ammunition in the pick-up.

  • Were the arms and ammunition covered by anything?

  • Some were in bags with mud on it, all over it, and some were not in bags. Some were in rice bags with mud all over it, some were not in bags.

  • Now when we look at the second photograph, when was that taken in relation to the first photograph?

  • When I was getting closer to Foya I was in uniform and when I got to Foya I met Sam Bockarie. I was even expecting Sam Bockarie in Foya. I was going to Buedu, but I met him in Foya, and I wouldn't have been in the uniform in the Liberian territory and then I do the transaction with Sam Bockarie. That was the reason why I changed into civilian clothing at the border. After I had changed into civilian clothing and when we got to the border, that was the time I turned over the arms and ammunition to Sam Bockarie.

    This uniform was the uniform that Taylor brought into Liberia, they were only brought by Taylor himself, and these uniforms were only meant for use during special operations. That was the only time we used these uniforms.

  • Now as I understand it these photographs were taken on the occasion when you personally handed arms and ammunition over to Sam Bockarie. Is that right?

  • The one that you see up, that was the time I was handing the arms and ammunition over to Sam Bockarie. And where you see me in uniform, it was the time I was going to Foya. By then I was in uniform.

  • And help me, the photograph at the top, what was the purpose of taking it?

  • At the top where?

  • At the top when you're in civilian clothing. What was the reason for taking that photograph?

  • Let me tell you. We had several pictures, snapshots, that I had with Sam Bockarie. That was the time when they said Sam Bockarie was a wanted man and Mr Taylor was trying to hide Sam Bockarie. When he sent Sam Bockarie to Burkina Faso, that was the time I destroyed all the pictures. Even some of my family members had so many photographs, snapshots, that I had with Sam Bockarie, but they destroyed every picture that I had with Sam Bockarie together. And even this one that you see Sam Bockarie on it in particular, that was probably the only one that I was left out. But I had so many snapshots with Sam Bockarie. Everywhere, Foya, Voinjama, Kolahun, everywhere I had snapshots with Sam Bockarie. Maybe after some time, we stay after some time, it is possible that I can see some others.

  • Mr Sherif, does Sam Bockarie appear in the photograph at the top?

  • No. In all the photographs in which Sam Bockarie appeared were all destroyed. We destroyed them all.

  • So even though someone went to the trouble of recording this incident you now cannot lay your hand on a single photograph that shows Sam Bockarie present when this transaction took place. Is that the case?

  • That was a reason why I said that when I am given the chance I think I will find them.

  • Well, you've had since February 2005, Mr Sherif. How is it you've been unable to come up with a photograph showing him present at this transaction?

  • The reason, like I told you, when the announcement was made that the United Nations was looking out for Sam Bockarie and when Mr Taylor himself could only keep Sam Bockarie and myself, I was scared and I thought of all the things that myself and Sam Bockarie went through. So we sent this message everywhere to my people in Voinjama and that any photograph on which I appeared with Sam Bockarie together must be destroyed. The person who let me come closer to Sam Bockarie, he also was afraid of the Sam Bockarie issue, then he decided that Sam Bockarie should go to Burkina Faso. Why should I keep photographs on which I appear together with Sam Bockarie.

  • The reason I'm asking you these details, Mr Sherif, just so that you're under no illusion, is that I suggest no such arms transaction took place?

  • The arms transaction took place.

  • I am further suggesting that it may well be that these two photographs were taken on two completely unrelated occasions?

  • All these pictures are related to the arms that I was handing over to Sam Bockarie.

  • And I'm further going to suggest to you that if in the bottom photograph you were involved in arms dealing, that's when you were a commander in ULIMO?

  • Let me make it clear now. If you look at the picture very well you will see the SS badge on my shoulder. If you look at the picture well, the uniform I am using, and this uniform, you can go and find out which one Mr Taylor brought for SODs. These uniforms were bought by Mr Taylor for the SODs special. That was the unit of the police. And part of these uniforms were given to the SSS and in case you were to go on a special operation then you will use it. We never had such a uniform in the Republic of Liberia before. You can go and find out yourself.

  • Do you recall me asking you last week about what uniforms were worn by senior ULIMO commanders. What I'm suggesting is that's the uniform worn by senior ULIMO commanders and, whatever you were involved in on that occasion, you were not delivering arms at Mr Taylor's instruction to the RUF. Do you follow me?

  • You can find it out that during my days of the ULIMO-J, ULIMO, I never had a car belonging to me and this uniform, you can find out which one of the uniforms the SOD was using and who brought them in the country. You can check that out.

  • Now on that day, 30 July, when you were shown these photographs - Madam Court Manager, we can put the photographs away, please, MFI-3 A and B. Can we put the schedule on the screen, please. That document, yes, thank you. So that took place on 30 July.

    What we know when we go to page 115 of the bundle is - so this is some 10 days or so after that meeting. 155 of the bundle. On 9 August you were given 300 United States dollars and that was an emergency payment for temporary relocation of family members. Then on 19 September you were given a further 100 US dollars for transport and assisting in locating witnesses for WMU. Then on 24 September you were given a further $100, US dollars, for transport and lost wages. Then finally on 12 October you were given a further 215 US dollars, payment to assist in the relocation of his family.

  • Mr Griffiths, I don't intend to interrupt your cross-examination, but it appears that my bundle has a completely different 155 and 154 to the others. Perhaps in the break you could arrange to have a proper copy.

  • I apologise for that, your Honour. I will get that sorted out in due course.

  • So that between the beginning of August and the beginning of October you received some 500 US dollars. What was all that money for?

  • 500 US dollars was given to me with - for me to take two persons to Foya to be able to identify Johnny Paul - the area where Johnny Paul was, because there were claims that Johnny Paul died between Sierra Leone and Liberia, behind Foya. That was for a two weeks trip.

  • And that was all the money was for, was it?

  • Yes. I did not hail from that area, it was not my mother land, so if I visited that area I needed a car to be hired to take us to the area and we needed food to eat, we needed water to drink. So that was not my area. It was given to us for those reasons.

  • In fact my calculations were wrong. When one totals up the sums that you were given on those four occasions between 9 August and 12 October it comes to 715 US dollars. That's a lot of money by Liberian standards, isn't it, Mr Sherif?

  • I never signed for $700 anywhere. I never signed for anything like $700 anywhere. Even the 500 that you've spoken about, I don't think it is in fact correct.

  • What I'm saying is that over that two and a bit month period you received a total of 715 US dollars. That's a lot of money by Liberian standards, isn't it, Mr Sherif?

  • Is it a lot of money; yes or no?

  • It was not plenty for the job I was doing.

  • Mr Sherif, let me ask you bluntly: Are you giving evidence for the money?

  • Very well. We'll come back to the payments. But in any event if we go now, please, to page 95 in that bundle. I'm hopeful that we can deal with this interview quite shortly. This was a further interview conducted with you over two days on 10 and 13 November 2006. Present was Alain Werner who appears today for the Prosecution and a Janet Tommy. Now you were asked various details at the commencement of this interview about your involvement with ULIMO and I have asked you about that before and I do not intend to go over that area again, but could we pick up this interview, please, on page 97 in the penultimate paragraph, the second to last paragraph on that page. Do you see:

    "The LURD was a rebel movement active after the election of Taylor as president in 1997. Jomandeh Kamara was the leader of the LURD for two months since its creation in 1999-2000. Then Shekou Conneh", S-H-E-K-U K-O-N-N-E-H, "took over from Jomandeh Kamara and is the leader of the LURD until today. Mosquito Spray was with the LURD until 2003. He was initially the spokesperson of the LURD and then was a senior LURD commander. His real name is Facian Jakateh", F-A-C-I-A-N J-A-K-A-T-E-H, "and he was given this nickname because he wanted to get rid of the two existing Mosquito; RUF Sam Bockarie and former NPFL Christopher Varmoh."

    Over the page, please.

    "There were about 50 per cent of Mandingos in the LURD and both former ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J fighters in its ranks but with a majority of ULIMO-K fighters."

    Pause there. Do you agree with all of that?

  • Yes.

  • "The first base captured by the LURD in Lofa County was in Voinjama. From 2001 the LURD had complete control of Voinjama until 2003. The LURD occupied Kolahun from 2001, including Fassama which was occupied in 2001. The LURD occupied also Zorzor in 2002. Voinjama, Kolahun and Zorzor were the three permanent bases of the LURD in 2001-2003."

    Pause there again, please. Is it the case that LURD effectively during those - that period of time, for that two year period, were in control of that part of Liberia?

  • Yes.

  • So as with that period when ULIMO had control of the Sierra Leonean border, LURD during this period were effectively a buffer between Liberian forces and the RUF, weren't they?

  • No, I did not understand that question.

  • Do you recall that earlier when we were asking about ULIMO's occupation of all of Liberia bordering Sierra Leone - do you remember we talked about that last week?

  • Effectively ULIMO stood between the RUF and Liberian government forces?

  • Liberian government forces?

  • Thank you, yeah.

  • Now during this period you're talking about on this page, LURD was in the same position, weren't they? They were in between the RUF and Liberian government forces, weren't they?

  • LURD further advanced and left some - you left some places out. Before 2003 LURD finally controlled Foya and further advanced Bopolu, they took over Bopolu, they took over Bomi County, Tubmanburg, they overtook Grant Cape Mount and they entered into Monrovia as far as Freeport.

  • Which is why I'm asking the question, you see. So effectively they controlled all of Liberia bordering Sierra Leone?

  • Very well, let's continue, third paragraph on that page:

    "Foya was controlled by Taylor forces, AFL and later pro-Taylor militias from 1997 to 2003. When the announcement was made that Taylor was leaving Liberia in 2003, a message was sent for the Taylor forces in Foya to retreat. It was so important for Taylor to keep control of Foya as it was the border town with Sierra Leone."

    Now can we go on to the next paragraph, please, and I want to ask you some questions about this:

    "When the LURD started its operation in 1999 the Guinean government did not know about the LURD and did not finance it."

    Is that true?

  • That is true.

  • "The first attack was launched from Koindu in Sierra Leone against Foya and Kolahun. The second attack launched by the LURD was against Kolahun and Voinjama. The third attack by the LURD was launched against Voinjama. There were about two weeks between the three attacks. LURD attacked from Guinea but through Sierra Leone by bypassing Koindu. They came through Sierra Leone because they did not want it to be known that they came from Guinea. However, the third attack was launched from Macenta in Guinea straight against Voinjama. After these attacks Taylor's forces in Lofa County started organising themselves. That is the time when they contacted the RUF to come for military assistance in Lofa County."

    Pause there. So you agree, do you, that there was a degree of cooperation between the RUF and Liberian government forces in order to repel the invasion of Liberia by LURD?

  • Yes.

  • Can we jump to the last paragraph on that page, please.

    "The LURD had massive support from" - that should be the Guinean government - "after the attacks in 2000 on the four fronts. After these attacks the Guinean government was massively backing the LURD. Until the four fronts attack the Guinean government was not backing the LURD."

    Is that true in terms of Guinean support?

  • I do not understand that area of your explanation. What I said in that - the first and the second attacks, Guinean government was not supporting LURD. But after the first and second attacks when the Taylor forces - Mr Taylor's forces started mobilising and attacking Gueckedou, attacking Macenta, giving instruction to RUF in Sierra Leone territories to cross from Sierra Leone to attack Guinea the Guinean government then decided to support LURD against the Liberian government.

  • Did not the Guinean government support LURD from the outset?

  • They did not support LURD from the beginning.

  • I hear your answer. Could we turn over the page to page 99, please, 00027837 at the top, the second paragraph on that page. Do you have the page, Mr Sherif?

  • I am having the page.

  • I want to ask you about the second paragraph. "During Taylor's presidency the only active battle field in Liberia and military concern for Taylor in Liberia was in Lofa County." Is that true?

  • Now that interview, as we know, was on 10 and 13 November 2006. Now following that interview if we go back to our schedule, please, we see that - this is at page 156, your Honours - on Sunday November 26 you receive 50 US dollars and it states here that you received that for source development. Page 156. What is source development?

  • That question is not supposed to be for me. The people that had the communications together, they are supposed to answer that question, what do they mean by source development.

  • The reason why I'm asking you is source development sounds suspiciously like money being given to someone to encourage sources, sources of information. Now what I want to ask is were you being given money to effectively bribe people to come forward?

  • That is not true.

  • Because you see you were given 50 US dollars for source development on Sunday November 26. The very next day, on Monday the 27th, you were given a further 300 US dollars for source development. Why did you need 350 US dollars during the course of a couple of days for source development? Can you help us?

  • What happened, I did not give no source development besides the interview they had with me. Besides that if they needed somebody and that person is in Maryland and they wanted me to get that person, if I am able I will say okay, I will hire a taxi or a pick-up and to go to that direction to get that individual and come with that person. What you call source development, it was not me that I heard it in the communication together. The person who wrote it, what the money was given for, they can answer that.

  • Well, the reason I ask, you see, is when we look at page 157 at the top of which reference is made to that 300 US dollars, immediately below that we see that on November 29 you were given 50 US dollars for transport, lost wages and meals. So whoever was compiling this schedule was setting out what the money was being given for. Consequently when we see that on 26 and 27 you had been given 350 US dollars for source development it was certainly not for you to travel to see people. So help us, please, what was that money used for?

  • That money was given to me purposely to go to Nimba County to most - to most of the troubled areas. That place is very dangerous to go and get Zigzag Mazhar to bring Zigzag Mazhar.

  • Mr Interpreter, was that Zigzag Mazhar?

  • Now we come to perhaps the most important set of interviews conducted with you. Can we turn now, please, to page 102. Now what do you we know about this interview? We know that it was conducted over 29, 30 November and 4 December, three days. Do you agree? Page 102, please.

  • Please go on.

  • This is an interview conducted with you in Monrovia, Liberia on 29 and 30 November and 4 December 2006. That's right, isn't it? That's right, isn't it?

  • It's right. It was purposefully for that Nimba trip.

  • And so it was just about the Nimba trip?

  • Yes, to get Zigzag Mazhar, to hire a car and I used the car for three days.

  • Now present was a Chris --

  • Mr Griffiths, I'm not sure what the witness was told, but it doesn't appear to answer what you're asking. He seems to be alluding to a certain sum of money. Perhaps you could ask your question again.

  • Very well.

  • What were you telling us about the purpose of this interview?

  • Which interview?

  • The interview in late November, early December 2006?

  • There were several interviews from 2005 to 2007. I cannot remember some of the dates again, but I will tell you that some of the monies that were given to me, the purposes for which those monies were given to me are just the ones I am telling you about, the trip to Nimba, the trip to Lofa and the interviews for myself and also the trip to Bong Mines. Those were the monies that you can see are located on that paper and that was the reason why those monies were given to me; to hire cars so that I can find ways to assist them to get those people for them.

  • We'll come back to the payments in a moment. All I'm asking you now is about the purpose of this interview. Did it follow your trip to Nimba?

  • Mr Griffiths, what interview? Perhaps you could draw the attention of the witness specifically to the page number.

  • Do you have page 102 in front of you?

  • I am looking at the interview. That was why I said that I had several interviews since 2005 up to 2007.

  • You can see at the top of this page that this is an interview dated 29 and 30 November and 4 December. My question is was that interview after your trip to Nimba?

  • No. What I know, in 2006 from July to December I had trips to Bong Mine, I had a trip to Nimba, I had a trip to Lofa. It was in the same 2006.

  • Very well. I'm not going to delay over that. Do you agree, bearing in mind that this is November 2006, that this would be some 21 months after your first interview?

  • I did not get that question correct.

  • Bearing in mind that your first interview was on 23 February 2005, this interview on 29 and 30 November and 4 December 2006 would be some 21 months after you'd been first interviewed. Would you agree?

  • Now the reason why I want to underline that fact is this: When we now turn to page 106 we see this at the top of the page:

    "When the witness and his three bodyguards drove into Kailahun Town" - I pause to mention you're describing the trip to get Sam Bockarie - "they saw that there was something going on. There was a group of 20 to 30 armed RUF gathering and the witness saw a man in uniform talking to the soldiers. The witness inquired with the RUF soldiers as to where Sam Bockarie was and they pointed out the man talking to the soldiers as being Sam Bockarie. The witness gave to one of the RUF soldiers a message to bring to Sam Bockarie. The message was that SSS people sent by Charles Taylor were there to see him.

    Shortly after that the witness and his bodyguards saw at least 10 people or so with their arms tied behind their back being brought to Sam Bockarie. They were brought in front of a small building that was on the road that leads south from the main junction and is past where the present police station is. The witness saw Sam Bockarie who was talking to the prisoners in Krio. He was dressed in military uniform and had apparently just came from Freetown.

    The witness and his bodyguards could not hear what Sam Bockarie said, but he was shouting at the prisoners. The witness then saw Sam Bockarie shooting them with a pistol in the head one after the other."

    Question now, please, Mr Sherif: Why did it take you 21 months to remember to tell the OTP about that incident?

  • Was this compulsory to me?

  • Well, you see, you had purported to tell them the truth about your visit to collect Sam Bockarie in February 2005, yet you had failed to mention this fact. Now what I want you to help us with is why did it take you so long to remember?

  • I did not forget. The first interview I had with the people I never had trust in the people hundred per cent. That was what I said. This interview, sometimes they would call me and I would just give them short stories and I would leave some out, the reason being that because if I had not done anything about that it was going to be a threat on my life, if I gave all the information. But after which when I came to realise that they needed nothing else, they only needed the truth from me, that was the time I started giving them the entire story. I explained this on Friday, it explained it on Thursday.

  • So are we to understand then that when you first spoke to the OTP you were tailoring your account because of your mistrust of them?

  • Due to the information Roland Duoh was giving to us. We were misled.

  • Were you tailoring your account? Were you changing the facts because you distrusted them?

  • I was not changing the truth. Roland Duoh misled everybody in Monrovia. So others were running away from the city and that they would be arrested and put in jail in Freetown if you appeared in front of these people.

  • But the point is, Mr Sherif, since that first interview in February 2005 when you failed to mention this fact you had been seen by the OTP and interviewed on three further occasions. So help us, why did you wait until November 2006 to mention this important fact?

  • Some of the parts I left out were even more than that you are reporting about. I am saying these things I'm saying, I was not under duress to say them, it was out of my personal volition. If I was pleased to talk to them I talked to them freely, they asked for my willingness, so I can say I was not forced.

  • Very well. In order to test your question - your answer, do you recall telling us last week that it was five people that were executed by Sam Bockarie?

  • I said five people were executed.

  • Why does it say 10 on this page?

  • Ten were brought outside. Ten were brought outside and after that he said, "Okay, the remaining people, before I come back, I don't want to see any of them, they should all die."

  • Just look at the page carefully, second paragraph: "At least 10 people or so with their arms tied behind their back being brought to Sam Bockarie."

    Go to the next paragraph: "The witness then saw Sam Bockarie shooting them with a pistol in the head. He shot all of the people that were there with their hands tied behind their back." That means he shot 10 of them. Was it 10 or was it five?

  • They were five.

  • Why did you tell them 10?

  • I didn't tell them about 10. I said he was shooting at them one after the other. I said he was shooting at them one after the other.

  • Can you help us at all as to where they got that figure from if it wasn't from you, the figure 10?

  • They brought 10 persons from out of the cell and he was shooting at them one after the other and then he gave the instruction that the remaining people, before he came back he wouldn't want to see them, he said they must all die. He said those who were outside and including those who were still inside the cell house.

  • But you accept, don't you, that at page 106 it does say: "He shot all of the people that were there with their hands tied behind their back." You agree it says that, don't you?

  • I stand to be corrected. I have said, what I explained, he shot some of them and he gave instruction that before he came back he wouldn't want to see the rest of them.

  • Very well. I'm not going to delay further on that. Turn to page 107, please, the second paragraph from the bottom of the page. Now you're still talking about the Sam Bockarie trip. Listen to this summary:

    "One of the soldiers who was escorting the witness when they took Sam Bockarie from Buedu through Lofa County told him when they were on the way that Sam Bockarie was in possession of diamonds and that he had seen them with Bockarie. This soldier told the witness that they should kill Sam Bockarie, take the diamonds and run away to Guinea.

    Bockarie had 10 bodyguards with him but it would have been easy to kill all of them as they were in Lofa County in former ULIMO-K territory. The witness did not agree to kill Sam Bockarie as he had his family in Monrovia and knew that Taylor would have killed his family.

    The nickname of the soldier who proposed to kill Bockarie was Master General and he later fought alongside with the LURD. This happened as they were passing through Voinjama. Master General saw the diamonds when Sam Bockarie was taking his clothes off before his hair cut in Sierra Leone. It was a small mayonnaise jar that was full of diamonds. The witness did not see any money or bag containing money with Bockarie as they were travelling."

    Pause there. This is the very first time, 21 months after this first interview, when you mention a mayonnaise jar of diamonds. Do you agree?

  • What I said --

  • Let's not take over long on this. Do you agree this is the first time you ever mentioned a mayonnaise jar of diamonds to the investigators?

  • It was not the first time.

  • Can you help us as to why there is no prior record of you having mentioned this before?

  • I mentioned it several times. People interviewed more than 15 different peoples and they all announce what I have said. When Sam Bockarie arrived at Voinjama he asked to go and take bath --

  • You've told us that, Mr Sherif, and I don't want you to repeat it. My question is very simple: Why did it take you 21 months to mention it?

  • That is why I said the information I was giving to the people was not forced on me.

  • Why did it take you 21 months to mention it?

  • I think I have answered you. I have said it. I was not forced and I was not giving the information all in one day.

  • Very well. Now help us with this as well. Look again at that paragraph, please. Do you notice four lines from the bottom of the paragraph - let me read it carefully so that you understand. Remember earlier in the paragraph you're talking about this man telling you about the diamonds, then four lines from the bottom you say this:

    "Master General saw the diamonds when Sam Bockarie was taking his clothes off before getting his hair cut in Sierra Leone. It was a small mayonnaise jar that was full of diamonds."

    Help us with this, Mr Sherif, why does that sentence not read, "I, Sherif, saw the bottle of diamonds"? Why doesn't it say that?

  • That is why I said the people that were writing these information did not write everything down correctly and also most of the information I gave, they did not put all on paper. The minister, the former minister of Tejan Kabbah's government, Sam Bockarie, wanted to execute him in Voinjama. I appealed to him not to kill him. That also is not mentioned. That is why I said everything was not written. Some is there, some are not there. That is why I said what we see is what we're talking about. What happened, happened in Voinjama.

  • Mr Sherif, simple question: Why does it not read, "I saw the mayonnaise jar of diamonds"? Why doesn't it say that?

  • If I stand to be corrected, that is what I am saying. The person who took the information from me - both me and Master General saw the diamond with Sam Bockarie when he was taking his jacket off.

  • But why doesn't it say, "Master General and I saw the diamonds"? Why doesn't it say that?

  • That question should go to the person who was doing the writing.

  • So once again whoever was doing the writing has recorded it wrongly; is that right?

  • No, they did not understand the Liberian local English. Some of them are white people, they came from Canada and elsewhere. When you are talking they were not getting you correctly. Maybe that was the reason why were some were not written down correctly and some of the information I expect to be here, the execution of the former minister in Voinjama, Tejan's Kabbah's government, when I did appeal to Sam Bockarie did not appear here.

  • Wasn't there an interpreter present?

  • They had someone interpreting in Krio. They did not have anyone interpreting in Liberian local English.

  • But in any event what we know is that this is the first occasion when you make reference to diamonds and what I'm going to suggest, Mr Sherif, is in perhaps the off the record conversations you were having you were told what the investigators wanted. They wanted evidence about blood diamonds and you eventually, 21 months down the line, to give them what they wanted, if there was something in it for you. Isn't that the case?

  • That is not true.

  • Because let's see what happens. Having looked at the pattern of payments to you up to this point, let's look what happens the minute you mention diamonds. Can we go back to the schedule, please. This is at page - can we have the schedule up on the screen, please. Yes, let's see what happens.

    Now we know that interview is on 29 November, 30 November and 4 December. I have already mentioned that on 27 November you were given 300 US dollars for source development. On the first day that you were interviewed you were given a further 50 US dollars for transport and lost wages. On the second day of the interview, 30 November 2006, you were given 125 US dollars. Then on 1 December you were given a further 50 US dollars. On the final day of the interview, 4 December, you were given 15 US dollars and then thereafter we see that following 4 December when you finally tell them about diamonds, just turn over to the second page of the schedule, please, from December right through to July constant payments are being made to you and yet you're not being interviewed.

    So we have a payment on 25 January of 50 US dollars. Then on 27 January, 100 US dollars. Then on 21 February, 5 US dollars. Then on 25 February, 100 US dollars. On 7 March, 100 US dollars. On 28 March, 160 US dollars. On 2 April, 90,000 in local currency. Then on the same day, 2 April, 100,000 in local currency. Then on 3 April, 88,000 in local currency. On the same day a further 50 in local currency. Then on 4 April 20 - it doesn't say, but I presume it's US dollars. Then 21 April, 20,000 in local currency. Then on 30 April a further 20,000 in local currency. Then on 29 June a further 146,000 in local currency. Then on 12 July, 30,000 in local currency. And during that whole period not a single interview. You're in it for the money, aren't you, Mr Sherif?

  • I do not have any record about all these.

  • Mr Sherif, what I'm suggesting, and I want you to be quite clear about it, once you mentioned diamonds the money started coming in and that's what you wanted, wasn't it?

  • That is not true.

  • Can you explain then how it was that immediately following the mention of diamonds you're getting all this money and you're not being interviewed once? What's the money for?

  • Some of the days mentioned just now, I left for Monrovia with my family to be relocated when my family was under threat, 1 April 2007. From that time to present my allowance has been given to me at the area I was. So you mentioned all that.

    So what do you expect when I leave from my country where I was working - when I was working with Mr Taylor, the money that he used to give to me, can you compare to that to this when he used to give me 20,000 just to go on a small job I was doing in Lofa, 20,000 United States dollars. He gave it to me and he gave me 10,000, he gave me 5,000, more than threefold. So what is this? This is if I had been paid for hours, not paid - the job I was doing in Monrovia was more satisfactory.

  • Let's have a look in more detail, shall we, as to what you were being given this money for. Can we start again at page 157, please. On 29 November the 50 US dollars given to you was for transport, lost wages and meals. Do you see that?

  • On 30 November you are given 125 US dollars to enable witness to communicate with members of the OTP. What did you spend that money on?

  • That money I went to Bong Mines for four days. I went to Bong Mines to locate someone they had wanted for me to locate for them.

  • Look at what it says. "To communicate with members of the OTP." What did you need the money for?

  • It's to - it was for me to hire a vehicle that was used. To hire a vehicle by day, 50 US dollar or 75 US dollar per day.

  • I may have to ask somebody else about that. The next one, Friday 1 December. The 50 US dollars is for transport and lost wages and meals. Do you see that? Do you see it, Mr Sherif?

  • I know when you say transport I will understand it. When you say transport maybe it was given for me to locate somebody from them and I was looking for somebody for them. If you hire a car from Monrovia by day they would change you 50 dollars or 75. I made it clear to you by day.

  • It sets out what the money is for, so when we go over the page --

  • The money was for transportation.

  • Not all of it wasn't. When we go to page 158 - turn over, please. Mr Sherif, you need to follow this in the bundle or you might get confused. Could you turn, please, to page 158. Monday 4 December, 15 US dollars for lost wages. Then when we look at the next one --

  • I think I am supposed to give you an answer one by one now. That was meant for transportation, to hire transport from Monrovia to locate somebody - if it's from central Monrovia it will cost 50 or 75 dollars.

  • So when we see at number 17 at the top of that page 15 US dollars, that shouldn't say for lost wages, it should say for transport?

  • You meant 15 US dollars, that was for the scratch card that we will buy. Sometimes for the area that you will go to locate the person, you will not find that person. You have to buy a scratch card to have in your phone to make contact with the person, or the people that do know the person, they will start contacting them one by one. That was scratch cards money.

  • Well, I won't delay on that. Because, you see, it would appear from this document that we're looking at that whoever was keeping records was being quite particular to note what the money was being paid out for. Would you agree?

  • No, the way the money was given to me, I am now ready to answer.

  • Look at number 18. January 25 2007. Source locating witness on behalf of investigations, funds to cover transport and communication. You have been given 50 US dollars for that. Then again on 27 January, searching for witnesses, transport, communication and meals. February 21, top up card. But when we go over the page, February 25, a hundred US dollars for family assistance. What's that?

  • I did not ask - I did not ask for no family assistance. When they talked about relocating my family I told them that they do not have travelling document. So if they had it there, family assistance is what's meant for that credential, that document that would be used for Monrovia. They shouldn't have it there as family assistance. It was not meant for family assistance.

  • I'm sorry, but when we go to 23 there's a reference to payment for travel documents. So this is quite separate. Why were they providing you with assistance for your family? Help us, please?

  • That is an error from them. Nobody gave me money as family assistance. I did not ask for any family assistance. I was working and I was working two places at the same time taking pay. I worked at the DDR and was paid $300 a month quite different from the SS job I was doing.

  • So once again the error is down to whoever created the record, not you; is that right?

  • That is - that area - nobody gave me money for family assistance. The purpose of the money given to me was - it has to be spelt out.

  • Because, you see, when we go to the bottom of the page, 24, you see the reason for you being given 90,000 in local currency was firstly for communication, secondly for meals, water. Then when we go over the page to number 25 you are given 100,000 for lunch and dinner provided to family. What was that about?

  • I think I can ask question about that because when my family were relocated from Monrovia it was the sole responsibility of the Special Court to feed them.

  • And at 26 we see 88,000 in local currency for medical and meals. What medical?

  • You see medical there. When someone gets sick --

  • Page 160, number 26?

  • No cash money was ever given to us for medical treatment. When we were sick they sent us to the nearby hospital to go and receive treatment. Nobody gave us cash for medical treatment.

  • Can you explain why at 26 it says 88,000 for medical and meals? Can you help us?

  • What do you call meal?

  • Well, that's normally when somebody sits down and eats something?

  • They were responsible for our feeding and sometimes they would bring some of the food or bring the item by themselves, or sometimes if you are sick and they can take you to the nearby hospital, they can - but nobody gave us money for medical. Nobody gave us physical cash. Nobody put physical cash in our hands for treatment. They usually take us to hospital. All the time they are willing to respond whenever someone gets sick, a member of the family, they would take that person to the hospital. Maybe the money they were spending at the hospital, maybe that's the amount they had on paper.

  • Number 27 on the same page, payment made to witness for food for one week, 50 in local currency. Were they supporting you and your family?

  • They were feeding me and my family.

  • Even though you were still working?

  • I never worked for them. I was not working for them.

  • You were working for the Liberian government, weren't you?

  • No, the Liberian later had my pay stopped and the Special Court asked Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to have my pay stopped because they were taking full responsibility of my feeding. So you can find that out.

  • I see. So there came a time, did there, when effectively the Office of the Prosecutor was supporting you because you weren't being paid by the Johnson-Sirleaf government. Is that right?

  • I do not understand your question clearly.

  • Did there come a time when you were totally dependent on the Office of the Prosecutor to maintain yourself and your family?

  • No, I was not totally dependent on them.

  • Where were you getting an alternative income from?

  • DDRR, I was taking $300 per month.

  • I'm sorry, I missed that. Could you repeat that answer, please?

  • Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Commission. I was working there from 2003 up to now. So I was still getting my pay from there.

  • So you were no longer employed in the SSS?

  • I am employed in the SSS but not taking pay.

  • Then if we look further on that page, because I don't want to delay overlong on this, page 160. We see on 4 April you are given 20 and it doesn't state whether it's US dollars or local currency, but the reason given, "Payment made to witness for the purchase of one Comium SIM card and credit card."

  • They did not give me no cash money. They gave me phone and I asked for phone to communicate with my external family. If I had problem people I would call - that were caused by the Special Court people, if I had problems, so they gave me mobile to communicate. Nobody gave me physical cash money. Maybe that's the amount that they used to buy the phone.

  • Could you go over the page to 161, please, and I just want to select a couple more of these payments made to you in the hope that you can assist us as to what they were for. At the top of page 161, 20,000 in local currency allegedly given to you and the reason is given as, "Source provided with funds in order to obtain information for us." What was that about?

  • The person, the money that was given to me to buy phone or gave me phone to communicate with them, the way they spelt it out is how to understand it. That's how they have it. But what I do know, communication was provided for me.

  • Were you ever given money in order to obtain witnesses for the Office of the Prosecution?

  • Very well. Then one of these payments - go over the page, please, to page 162. On Tuesday 17 July you were given 5,000 in local currency and the reason given is Prosecution prepping. Now in July of 2000 you met with lawyers from the OTP, did you not?

  • I met with them from 2005 up to 2007. I can't recall some of the dates again.

  • Well, let me try and help you, shall I. If we turn to page 115 in the bundle, and this is the date to which that entry in the schedule at the back of the bundle refers, on 16 and 17 July 2007 you were taken to a witness prep - preparation - room. Present was Brenda Hollis who prosecutes in this case and Joseph Saffa. Now we know from the entry on the 27th that you were there to be prepped for trial. Help us, please, Mr Sherif. What did that preparation involve?

  • I don't know what you are referring to, prep. I don't know the meaning of that.

  • Help us. You spent two days being prepared by my learned friend who prosecutes in this case and I want to know what that preparation involved. Help us?

  • I think it could be clear to me if you explain what the preparation is that you are talking about.

  • I don't know what it is. That's why I'm asking. I want to know what was being said to you and what were you saying to Ms Hollis during those two days when you were being prepared. It's a concept I don't understand. That's why I want your help. What was being done?

  • The only thing, sometimes some of the statements that she had at hand, she was never the one that interviewed me in Liberia, she only met me in Sierra Leone, and sometimes some of the place names that she was confused about that she did not understand she would call my attention and ask me question on that area. That happened, yes.

  • Were you told what you might be asked questions about?

  • No. The only thing she told me was that I should just explain what I knew and what was the truth and nothing but the truth.

  • And help us with this. If we turn, please, to page 119, during this preparation, second to last paragraph on that page:

    "In 1998 at Voinjama, Liberia while escorting Sam Bockarie to Monrovia the witness saw Sam Bockarie take a jar full of diamonds from his jacket pocket. These diamonds were taken to Charles Taylor."

    This is the very first time that you ever mention to anyone that you saw a mayonnaise jar full of diamonds. How did that come about?

  • This was not my first time. Remember you asked me some questions that some of the times that they wanted to ask you, you said they put off record. When I started explaining my stories, when I see them writing I would tell them no, and if they continued writing then I would go out. So I could have explained off record, but I don't want to say that I saw somebody with cameras or somebody was taping or somebody was recording what I was saying. So I was not entrusting - entrusted. So from the start it was difficult to get information from me and there were times that I would explain and nobody would write it.

  • Can you help us as to why it is that on the previous occasion in late November 2006 you speak of Master General seeing the diamonds and then curiously it's not until eight months later when you're being prepared to give evidence that all of a sudden, like on the road to Damascus, you suddenly see the light and mention seeing a jar full of diamonds. How do you explain that, Mr Sherif?

  • This is not true, you are explaining. What I have said to you is that from the start when the Special Court started interviewing me I used to tell them that I would give them some information and I would tell them that they should stop writing and that if they continued writing I will walk out. And they will not take note of such information and for anything I would want them to write, when they put it on paper I will sign. Some of the information I gave to them I will tell them, no, I want this to be off records and if they wrote them on paper I would tell them that I would not continue to give the information. But we started it from the start. I explained so many things but not all of them were on documents.

    At the earliest part when Roland Duoh and NPFL supporters had created fear into everybody in Monrovia and that people were here from the Special Court of Sierra Leone and that all those people who will go there to explain something about Mr Taylor, they will all be arrested and taken to jail in Freetown and that they wanted to see to it that those who were involved let justice be done to everybody.

  • I'm going to move on from that. Can we go to page 121 of that same interview, please. Last paragraph on that page:

    "Taylor went to Guinea in 1998 to meet with the President of Guinea, Conteh and with Kabbah, the President of Sierra Leone. Taylor told Kabbah he was not supporting the RUF. Taylor told President Conteh that he understood the people were organising in Guinea to attack him in Liberia. President Conteh told him this was not true."

    Pause there. LURD were indeed organising in Guinea, weren't they?

  • President Taylor asked that question.

  • LURD were indeed organising in Guinea, weren't they?

  • Thank you.

    "Yet President Conteh told him this was not true. After that trip and unknown to Conteh fighters who became the LURD did organise in Guinea around the Macenta area close to the border with Lofa County. These fighters are attacked the Voinjama area in 1999 and then retreated back to Guinea. Taylor complained to Conteh, but Conteh denied that such attack took place from Guinea.

    In that same year a second attack was launched against Lofa County from Guinea through the area of Koindu, Sierra Leone. Taylor again complained to Conteh. Conteh responded that the attack came from Sierra Leone, not from Guinea. These two attacks and Conteh's denial that they were launched from Guinea led Taylor to attack Guinea in 2000, first against Pamelap and then later against Gueckedou."

    You go on to mention that the RUF participate in those attacks as well. Pause there. Were you present when these conversations took place between President Taylor and President Conteh?

  • I said when they first met a close range bodyguard was there when they were discussing and later Conteh left the meeting with the rest of his bodyguards and Mr Taylor and Kabbah went in to have a closed door meeting. That happened in Guinea.

  • Mr Sherif, I suggest that is a lie, that in meetings between heads of state there are no bodyguards present. That's right, isn't it?

  • Not in all cases.

  • You see, what I'm suggesting is that you're trying to paint a picture of you being so close to President Taylor in order to enhance your evidence. Do you understand what I mean by that?

  • I was close to him. That is the reason why amongst all the fighters he depended on, the most trustful person that he invited to Kalaba was Roland Duoh and myself, the reason being that I was a person that he had confidence in him and defended him whilst he was in Monrovia and that was why in fact when he went to Kalaba he communicated with us. If not he wouldn't have communicated with anybody from Kalaba. But when he went to Kalaba he managed to invite Roland Duoh and myself to Kalaba. If I was not a trustful person to him and if I had not been closer to him would he have done that?

  • Well, I hope you understand my suggestion.

  • I was a close person to him.

  • Then can we put the schedule back up on the screen, please. Following that interview on 16 and 17 July 2007 we know that on both those dates you were provided with money. I'm looking at page 162, your Honours. You were provided with - well, meals were provided during the interview and we see that for the 17th it's noted that the payments were for Prosecution prepping. Do you see that?

  • I am seeing it. I am seeing the document on the screen.

  • Then the final two payments that were made to you were on 2 August and 30 August respectively. In respect of the former date no reason is given as to why you were given 20,000 in local currency?

  • Court manager, the relevant page on the screen should be page 162, and before the witness as well. Mr Griffiths, perhaps you could redirect your question, please.

  • Very well.

  • Page 162, please, Mr Sherif. You will see two further payments made to you of which we have had disclosure. The first on 2 August gives no reason as to why you were paid 20,000 in local currency. Can you assist us as to why you received that money in August of last year?

  • I cannot help because myself, I did not see or what the money was given to me for or its purpose. And nobody gave me a local currencies other than payments that I do receive. Let me make it clear. All the amounts in local currencies, I am just seeing them. Every payment that were made to me was in United States dollars in Liberia. No amounts were given to me in local currencies.

  • Very well. Now there's just a couple more interviews that I want to deal with and I'm hopeful that I can complete at least one of them before the luncheon adjournment. Could you turn, please, to page 124. Now this is, as stated at the top of the page, a clarification interview where you were present at the Great Wall in Monrovia. It took place on 6 August, I take that to be 2007, and present apart from yourself was a David Cunningham and a Joseph Sesay of the OTP.

    Now there is one matter that I want to ask you about in relation to this interview and it's on the following page, page 125, reference at the top 00021925, the second to last paragraph on that page:

    "The conversation regarding the diamonds was clarified to be incorrect. VS had nothing to do with diamonds. CT", I take to be Charles Taylor, "was saying that SB", I take to be Sam Bockarie, "presently had money to buy the arms from the fighters who had not previously turned them in."

    Pause there. Now what part of the conversation regarding the diamonds was clarified to be incorrect?

  • The correct one, as I explained to you, was that this diamond issue to see a diamond with Sam Bockarie took place at Voinjama. And I also said that at no time did Mr Taylor and myself ever discuss on diamond issue, or ever gave instruction on diamond issue, or did I see him and Sam Bockarie discussing on diamond. I said it was when I was taking Sam Bockarie to him that I saw diamond with Sam Bockarie.

  • Now that's all I wanted to ask you about in that interview. Could you turn to page 129, please?

  • Page 129. This was an interview conducted with you over four days in November 2007, on 7, 8, 14 and 19 November. Present during those interviews over those four days was Joseph Saffa, Magnus Lamin and Alain Werner and we can take most of this quite quickly. Firstly you were shown a number of photographs and asked to identify individuals. Do you recall that?

  • Yes.

  • And so we can skip the next three pages and go to page 133. You were then asked about a number of names, last line on page 133. I am not going to go through those names. I just want to remind you of the context.

    Then when we go to page 139, in the middle of that page, having been asked about photographs and individuals the witness then gave the following additional information. Now the part of this additional information I want to ask you about, in light of the testimony you have given us as to how close you were to President Taylor - let's go to page 144, shall we. Paragraph 49:

    "The witness, when he was working in the SSS as assistant director for operations, could attend any meeting he wanted", but this is the important part, "but he noticed that everything was not always said in his presence as he was a former enemy."

    You were not an insider, were you?

  • I was an insider.

  • Why were you telling the OTP then that in effect you were being treated with suspicion because you were a former enemy?

  • We were having a meeting together and later sometimes Mr Taylor will send for Benjamin Yeaten and have a secret meeting or instruction. That is why I am saying that not in his presence, but some of the key areas, anything relating to RUF issue or Sam Bockarie, I am not part of that, because even though I received instruction to get Sam Bockarie and to carry Sam Bockarie later, when I was relieved - I been [indiscernible] Benjamin Yeaten and Zigzag Mazhar started dealing with Sam Bockarie, the reason was because I was not an NPFL member. The reason was that for me to start the job, clear Lofa, at the earlier part they couldn't use Lofa, and since I had done that job my own side was finish and the remaining part was done by Zigzag Mazhar and Benjamin Yeaten.

  • Sorry, I'm not so sure you heard my question.

  • Mr Interpreter, really, make an effort to make yourself understood. I don't know what language you are interpreting into. You are supposed to interpret in English to help us understand what the witness is saying, but sometimes the language you speak I personally don't follow.

  • Do you agree, Mr Sherif, looking at that passage to which I have drawn your attention, that it was quite clear that when certain matters were being discussed you were excluded from that discussion quite deliberately?

  • I could be in the meeting, but for the reason that by virtue of my position nobody would have asked me to move out. But when they knew that I was present in the meeting and there were certain things they never had wanted me to understand about they would forget about that for that moment and later they would meet with Mr Taylor and they would discuss it mouth to ear. And when the directors were in the meeting and certain security discussions in relation to the nation, by virtue of my position, nobody stopped me by virtue of my position as assistant director of operation. Is that clear now?

  • Not really, but I will move on.

  • Mr Griffiths, we have only about two and a half minutes to the end. So you decide a good time to stop.

  • This is as good as any because my next question requires me to refer him to a passage which will take more than two minutes, your Honour.

  • Okay then. We will now break for lunch. Mr Witness, as usual I caution you not to discuss your testimony with anybody. We will resume at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 12.58 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Good afternoon. Mr Griffiths, do continue with your cross-exam of this witness.

  • Your Honour, can I indicate that I had left on Her Honour Judge Doherty's desk some replacement pages for a bundle which I have paginated and punched holes in and so you should be able to replace them.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths. I have just received them. I did pass through the originals for your records. They will come to you in due course.

  • I am grateful, your Honour.

  • Now before we adjourned for lunch, Mr Sherif, we were talking about the series of interviews conducted with you over four days between 7 November culminating on 19 November, and I had drawn your attention - having explained to you that at the beginning you were asked about photographs I had drawn your attention to page 144 and a particular passage there. I now want to move on and refer you to the only further passage that I want to refer you to and that is on page 149, please. It is paragraph 69 on that page. Now, you will see that that paragraph - I will wait until you find it?

  • 294?

  • Page 149, paragraph 69, and there we see this:

    "Concerning the jar of diamonds that the witness saw in Voinjama with Sam Bockarie, the witness confirmed that he saw the jar of diamonds with Bockarie as he explained in a statement dated 16/17 July 2007. The witness explained that it is also correct, as he stated in an earlier statement dated 29/30 November and 4 December 2006, that Master General also saw the jar of diamonds as both the witness and Master General saw Bockarie with the jar at the same time, but the witness did not mention the fact in the November/December 2006 statement that he saw himself the diamonds as he was not sure at that time whether he would be in trouble himself by saying that".

    Pause there. Now up until this point, you have been telling this Court that the reason why you did not mention diamonds in your first interview was (1) because you were mistrustful of the OTP as a result of what had been said to you by somebody else and also that - and you told us this several times - your head is not a computer. Here we see you giving a completely different reason as to why you didn't mention it, because at the time you didn't know whether you would be in trouble by mention - saying it. Help us with this, please. How could you have got in trouble by mentioning it?

  • I told you my head was not a computer and that was true. And besides that even up to where I am sitting now there is - there are some other informations coming into my head now that are not on the documents and if you want me to explain them I can explain, but my head is not a computer to recall all of the things that happened since 1991 to 2007. I cannot get altogether.

  • My question is very simple. How could you have got yourself in trouble by telling the OTP about the diamonds?

  • Because I saw the diamonds with Sam Bockarie.

  • Yes. How could you have got yourself in trouble by telling that simple story?

  • I said I saw the diamonds with Sam Bockarie. What kind of trouble are you referring to?

  • Precisely. That is why I am asking the question, you see? Because when we look at this paragraph the reason you give for not having mentioned it is that you thought you would get yourself in trouble, so I am trying to find out what trouble did you think you could have got yourself into?

  • The misleading information the NPFL former senior officer was giving to us. They misled us. They made the whole Monrovia go into panic, because the former combatants who were there and who - all other former combatants who were still in Monrovia that people were coming from Freetown, the Special Court, and that they wanted to ask them to find out what happened and if they did they were going to be arrested and put to jail.

  • I will ask my question once more and, if you don't answer it, I will in due course suggest that that is because you have no answer. How could you have got yourself in trouble by simply saying to the OTP, "I saw a jar of mayonnaise taken from Sam Bockarie's pocket"? How could telling that get you in trouble?

  • It is a jar of diamonds.

  • A jar of diamonds, I am sorry. Did I say a jar of mayonnaise? I am sorry. A mayonnaise jar of diamonds.

  • How could that have got you in trouble?

  • Because Roland Duoh told us that anybody who was going to be involved in giving information was going to be in trouble. That was what I had at the back of my mind.

  • Very well. Very well. I am not asking the same question again. Now what we do know, in order to complete the picture, is that when we turn to page 150 in this bundle there was a further interview conducted with you on 5 December 2007 at which was present Pete Maclaren and Chris Santora. I am not going to ask anything about that, because it is right as we can see that what happened during the course of that interview is that you were shown a number of photographs and asked to identify people.

  • What number of functions?

  • I am just asking you about number - I think you misunderstand me. I have directed your attention to page 150 and, as you can see from that page and from the second page, you were shown a number of photographs and you were asked to identify people. Do you agree?

  • Yes.

  • Thank you. Now, what we know is that thereafter on the 3, 4 and 5 January you had a further proofing meeting with Prosecution lawyers, didn't you?

  • Was that here in The Hague?

  • I did not understand that question correctly.

  • Those three days, 3 January, 4 January and 5 January, were you in The Hague?

  • Yes.

  • Apart from yourself, who was present during those proofing meetings?

  • It was not a meeting. I was called that I needed to appear, but somebody was ahead of me and so I have been coming around and I am going back, coming round, shopping in-between, so until Wednesday.

  • You see, we understand - and there is documentation to support this at pages 152 and 153 of the bundle - that further proofing of you, that preparation, took place on 3, 4 and 5 of January of this year; the week before the trial started. Now, all I am asking first of all is who was present during those sessions?

  • I said to you I cannot recall all the names of the lawyers that have been meeting me all this while, but different, different people met me at different times. The person I meet today they will be that I will meet another different person the next time.

  • On each of those days, how long did you spend with lawyers from the Prosecution?

  • Sometimes we come for two hours and then they will say, "Go back. Tomorrow you will appear", and I will go back and I will come the following day. Sometimes three hours they will say, "Go back until Wednesday", when I appeared.

  • Were you told what you might be asked in cross-examination?

  • I did not even know about what you are talking about, cross-examination, except in the Court here.

  • Tell me, Mr Sherif, did you in effect rehearse your evidence during those three days?

  • What I knew was that I was going to be asked questions, but that the cross-examination it is only in here that I have got to know what you are referring to as cross-examination.

  • Now I am about to conclude my questioning of you, Mr Sherif, but in concluding I want to put a number of propositions to you. I suggest that because of your personal and family experience you have always deep in your heart hated Charles Taylor. That is right, isn't it?

  • That is not true.

  • Even when the NPFL allegedly murdered your father's wives?

  • If that was so, I would not have agreed to join the government of Mr Taylor.

  • You see, I suggest that even when you were working in his government you were plotting against him, no doubt in part because of serious family pressure. That is right, is it not?

  • The assistance that I gave to him nobody could have done that, the things that I did in Lofa.

  • So the answer to my question is no?

  • It is no, that is not true.

  • Indeed, Mr Sherif, we suggest that you have always worked against President Taylor. That is right, is it not?

  • No.

  • And I further suggest that you may have gone to Sierra Leone in 1998, but firstly you were not sent there to collect Sam Bockarie by Charles Taylor. That is the truth, is it not?

  • He sent me to go and collect Charles Taylor[sic] - Charles Taylor.

  • It is right, is it not, that you have family in Liberia?

  • I have a large family in Liberia.

  • You also have family in Sierra Leone?

  • Your family in Sierra Leone live near Buedu?

  • Don't they? Because, you see, what I suggest is that if you did go to Sierra Leone in 1998, you went for your own purposes and it was nothing to do with President Taylor. Do you follow me?

  • That is not true.

  • You may have gone, for example, to meet with members of LURD, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with Charles Taylor. That is the truth, isn't it?

  • Do you mean that LURD was busy in Sierra Leone? That is not true.

  • Well you had former ULIMO colleagues who were members of LURD, didn't you?

  • That is not true.

  • Did you have former comrades from ULIMO who had gone on to join LURD, yes, or no?

  • And did you go to Sierra Leone to meet up with some of those to give them information?

  • I never stepped in Sierra Leone except when I got the instruction, because I was the SSS director. I would never leave the capital city except I get instruction from the President. The SSS director from the 50 to 58, no director had the right to leave the town and go to somewhere if he was not directly instructed by the leader. Not just in fact the SSS director would just give you instruction to leave the country and go anywhere, because if you are moving from the country the President has to be aware of that.

  • Which leads me to the next suggestion, which is that your duties within the SSS did not permit you to spend as much time in Lofa County as you are telling this Court?

  • Of course.

  • You were for the most part based in Monrovia?

  • But I had a special assignment in Lofa.

  • Because your primary responsibility was to organise the motorcade and other matters particular to the President which meant that you were for the most part in Monrovia, weren't you?

  • I was not alone working. I had my boss, I had my deputy, who we are also fully responsible. They had full responsibility if I was not around.

  • My next suggestion is this. You were never instructed by President Taylor to give arms to the RUF. That is the truth, isn't it?

  • That is not true.

  • Furthermore, your suggestion that you were privy - that you sat in on - conversations between the President of Guinea and President Taylor I suggest that is totally false?

  • I did not tell you that I sat down in meeting with them, but the security would always be at the door, standing on their feet, in where they were discussing, and they will get for the most part most of the things that they discussed. There is nowhere that the security who goes around with the leader, when the leader enters a conference then you also enter there with him. If I am a bodyguard, I have to stand outside on my feet.

  • Inside and outside.

  • Because, you see, what I am suggesting is that you in your role as a humble director in the SSS would never have been made privy to such conversations. That is the truth, isn't it?

  • I did not understand that English.

  • You in your role as assistant director in the SSS, your rank was such that you would never have been present in such high-powered meetings?

  • I did not tell you that I was part of the meeting. I did say that we were standing in there and we heard what they were discussing. I was not part of the meeting, but I was security and my ears were there whilst they were discussing.

  • I also suggest that you have never taken arms and ammunition to any personal residence associated with President Taylor?

  • Please repeat that.

  • That you have never taken arms and ammunition either to White Flower, or to the President's previous address by the German embassy? That just never happened?

  • I also suggest that the photographs you say were taken at Foya when arms were handed over to the RUF, that was never done at the instigation of President Taylor?

  • It happened. You can visit Foya and ask the civilians.

  • I also suggest, Mr Sherif, because you agree, don't you, that following the LURD invasion you were imprisoned for six months? You were, weren't you?

  • And that was because you were suspected to be a traitor, isn't that right?

  • It is not correct. After that I was promoted and given the highest assignment ever.

  • I am not interested in what happened afterwards. I am talking about at the point when you were put in prison. At that point you were considered a traitor, weren't you?

  • That was intelligence report, but after that I was promoted and given higher assignments.

  • So, you agree with me that at that point you were regarded as a traitor? That is right, isn't it?

  • If they have concluded regarding me as traitor, they would not have taken me out of the jail and given me a higher position again. The men realised - the man realised later that the information he had from people was not true and I continued to defend him and I was the only person who stood fast to continue to defend him. And after every two or three hours he will call on me. At night, during the day, he will call on me and he will tell me that, "Please try and defend the position where you are".

  • I further suggest that the main reason why you were suspected of being a traitor is because you had strong family and friendship links with LURD?

  • That is true.

  • So, you agree that you had strong family and friendship links with LURD?

  • And was Abu Keita your conduit to pass information on to LURD?

  • Abu Keita never worked for LURD. Abu Keita was one of the senior commanders under Sam Bockarie - Mosquito. He was fighting against LURD when he was instructed from Sierra Leone to enter Liberia to assist and attack Guinea.

  • Also, I suggest that you did not have the level of contact with President Taylor that you would like this Court to believe?

  • I had contact with him and even up to the time he left the leadership he proved it to me, because by then Benjamin Yeaten was under house arrest in Togo and the only people he trusted in was myself and Roland Duoh when he invited us to visit him in Kalaba. If he never had trust in me, he wouldn't have asked me to visit him.

  • On that note, Mr Sherif, you were asked to find photographs and other independent proof of the account you were giving, weren't you?

  • I did not understand what you said.

  • You were asked to find photographic evidence to support the account you were giving, weren't you?

  • No, nobody asked me. I thought it necessary to locate some of my pictures at the time myself and Sam Bockarie were doing the transaction.

  • Tell me, so did you search through your photograph albums for photographs?

  • All of my photos were in Voinjama, but the information what they told me is they said that when they got the information that Sam Bockarie was a wanted man and they knew very well that myself and Sam Bockarie were involved in some transactions and that Mr Taylor instructed me to go and get Sam Bockarie, my family thought it necessary that all the pictures wherein myself and Sam Bockarie appeared they decided to destroy all.

  • Help me with this, because this was the purpose of my question because you will remember I was asking you about how close you were to the President. Did you find a single photograph of yourself in company with President Taylor?

  • There are plenty. There are plenty. There are plenty.

  • In Monrovia.

  • Were you not asked to provide them to the OTP?

  • Nobody asked me for such a picture. Even the picture that I brought, I did it all by myself. Nobody asked me for a picture.

  • Can we take it then that you did not provide a single photograph to the OTP showing you close to President Taylor?

  • If they were going to ask me --

  • A single photograph, yes or no?

  • Please don't speak over each other again.

  • Thank you, witness. Because what I am suggesting is, you see, Mr Sherif, and this is my last suggestion, that I am suggesting that you have inflated your role in order to lend a false credibility to your evidence. Do you understand me?

  • That is not true.

  • I have nothing further to ask, your Honours.

  • Thank you. Ms Hollis, do you wish to re-examine the witness?

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Mr Witness, I would like to ask a series of questions relating to issues or matters that have been the subject of questions to you by the Defence counsel. The first question I would like to ask relates to page 98 of the Defence bundle, and that is 00027836 if that could be placed on the overhead, please.

    Mr Witness, your attention was directed to paragraphs on this page that related to LURD control in Lofa County and, as you noted in the first paragraph - the second paragraph, excuse me, on this page, there were three locations which you said the LURD took control of and that was Voinjama, Kolahun and Zorzor. Do you see that paragraph?

  • Yes.

  • The paragraph following that was also read to you and that is the paragraph in which you state that Foya was controlled by Taylor forces from 1997 to 2003. Do you see that paragraph, yes?

  • If at this time, please, MFI-1 could be brought forward and placed on the screen. Now if you recall, witness, when these paragraphs were shown to you it was in the context of questions about LURD control of the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone. Now, would you please point out to the Judges where Voinjama is located?

  • This is Voinjama City.

  • And would you please point out to the Judges where Kolahun is located?

  • This is Kolahun.