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

  • Mr Bangura, please proceed.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Good afternoon, sir.

  • Good afternoon.

  • May I, before we start, just ask that when I ask questions and you give your answers you should try not to speak too fast because what you say is being recorded as well as interpreted.

  • For the record, sir, your name is Stephen Ellis?

  • And Stephen is spelt S-T-E-P-H-E-N?

  • You carry the letters "Dr" preceding your name, correct?

  • And that is an academic title?

  • It is a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.

  • Thank you. You reside in the Netherlands?

  • Could you state your age, please?

  • You are a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in the University of Leiden, correct?

  • Now, the doctorate degree you hold, as you stated, is from Oxford University, correct?

  • Which school at Oxford?

  • Well, it is in history. It is in the subject of history and when I got the degree I was at St Anthony's College.

  • Thank you. Would you like to discuss your academic career with the Court at tertiary level, please?

  • Well, I took an undergraduate degree, that is a BA course, in modern history in Oxford University which I finished in 1975. After that I wanted to do a PhD and I particularly wanted to study African history because I had lived in Africa previously, in the country of Cameroon. So, for reasons that I won't go into unless you require, I fixed on studying the history of Madagascar and I wrote my PhD thesis on the history of Madagascar, which was accepted in 1981 I think it was. It was - I did the examination in 1980 and I think I formally was awarded the degree in 1981.

  • Thank you, Dr Ellis. In addition to your academic studies have you had any further training which prepared you for your role as a researcher as you are at the moment?

  • Since I got my PhD I had a number of jobs in which I was required to do research into African history and also current affairs and, although I didn't do any formal training courses, I felt I acquired skills from all those jobs I have done.

  • Thank you. What do your duties entail as a senior researcher at Leiden University?

  • I would say that on my own, or with others, I help develop and implement research projects relevant to my subject and to the interests of my centre, which is a Centre of African Studies. I also teach an MA course and also I do a lot of general lectures, occasional lectures. I am quite often asked to do consultancies by one body or another and normally within the field of current affairs in Africa.

  • Now, is your interest in research - has your interest in research been focused only on African affairs?

  • Well, I have done some research on international relations and some research on comparative questions of history which take me outside Africa, but Africa is, and has been for some time, my primary research interest.

  • Would you like to specify a case or two of research undertaken outside the scope of - outside Africa?

  • Outside Africa. Well, the centre that I work for is financed by the Dutch government and to a considerable extent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so therefore, for example, I might be asked to give a lecture, or hold a seminar for the ministry on a general subject such as problems with so called "failed states", or problems of that nature which are fairly general. For the purposes for more academic teaching I have done some work on religious history, which has included research on European history.

  • Thank you. Would you like to discuss your employment history with the Court up until this moment, up until the present position?

  • Well, I am going to begin - with your permission I will begin with when I got my doctorate, which, like I said, was in 1981 when I think I was formally awarded it, or do you want me to start before that?

  • Yes, I would rather that you start from after the award of your undergraduate degree.

  • All right. Well, I got my undergraduate degree in 1975, from the University of Oxford, in modern history. I then worked for a year for the British Civil Service in the Ministry of Agriculture for one year. It was not to my taste so I left and went back to university to do my doctorate, which, as I said, was in African history. While I was doing that doctorate I worked for a year in the University of Madagascar as a lecturer, in 1979 and 1980.

    In 1982 I got a job with Amnesty International, working in the international secretariat in London as a desk officer and there I was working on West Africa, mostly the French - since I speak French I was mostly working on the French speaking countries. That was until 1986.

    In 1986 I left Amnesty International and I got a job as editor of a newsletter called "Africa Confidential" and I remained there until 1991. In 1991 I came to the Netherlands and since then I have been employed by the African Studies Centre in Leiden.

    However, for one year, in 2003 and 2004, I had a leave of absence when I was working for an organisation called the International Crisis Group which does research on, and publishes on, current affairs and I was director of the Africa programme at the International Crisis Group during those - during that time, 2003/2004.

  • Now, have you held the same position in your present job since you joined the university?

  • No, I should say when I came to the Netherlands in 1991 I was - at first I was the director of the African Studies Centre, in which I am now a senior researcher, and at a certain point, I think it was in 1994/1995, I decided - because it was overwhelmingly an administrative and managerial job, and my taste was much more for research, I agreed with colleagues that I would change from the director to become a senior researcher and since then we have had two or three other directors, in turn, of the centre and I have remained a researcher.

  • When you were desk officer at Amnesty International you said you had responsibility for a number of African countries, mostly French.

  • Mostly French speaking.

  • Would you like to specify some of these countries?

  • Well, this was from 1982 to 1986. I think I formally was responsible for monitoring events and designing actions, in conformity with the mandate of Amnesty International, in regard to about 10 or 11 countries. The ones I remember working on fairly intensively include Ghana, Sierra Leone, I remember doing some work on Senegal, Madagascar. Madagascar, of course, is rather an odd combination with West Africa, but that was for linguistic reasons, because of my French I got Madagascar as well and because I know Madagascar somewhat.

  • So, in effect, your responsibilities also covered English speaking countries, not just French speaking ones?

  • They covered - at that time they covered Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, but not Liberia and not the Gambia, which are the two other English speaking countries in West Africa.

  • Now, do you hold membership of any professional body?

  • Well, for some years I was a member of the African Studies Association of the United States and I have been a member of the African Studies Association of the Netherlands and also of the UK.

  • Would you like to discuss how you became eligible for membership of at least one of these ones?

  • The qualification for membership is really no more than that you are interested in African affairs and you pay a moderate subscription and it is really a fairly formal - it is a formality really just to participate in the professional life of people with an interest in African affairs, mostly in university circles.

  • Have you testified before in any court, or in any formal proceedings?

  • Yes, I testified briefly in a case in the Netherlands last year in front of a Dutch court as a witness, an expert witness.

  • What case was that?

  • That was the case of Mr Gus Kouwenhoven.

  • Your Honours, I believe that name has been - the spelling is -

  • Would you like me to spell it?

  • Could you, please.

  • The first name is normally spelt G-U-S and the second name is K-O-U-W-E-N-H-O-V-E-N.

  • What is your fluency with languages?

  • English is my mother tongue. I speak very fluent French and also can write in French. I speak fluent Dutch, but my written Dutch is not so good. I speak - when I was in Madagascar I studied the Malagasy language which I can read, but not speak, because as a historian my primary interest was in reading documents. I speak little bits of a couple of other languages, a little bit of Italian and so on.

  • In the course of your professional career you have published widely, correct?

  • Would you like to discuss some of your publications with the Court, especially those relating to African affairs, I think.

  • Yes, well, the first book I published was my PhD thesis which is on the history of Madagascar and that was published by Cambridge University Press, which is a prestigious academic publisher. Since then I have either written, or co-written, or edited, or co-edited, eight other books regarding African history, or politics. I am the author of a number of academic articles, that is to say articles published in learned journals dealing mostly with questions of African history and politics, although to some extent I have gone outside into other questions of - wider questions of - theoretical questions concerning history, which might contain some other elements, European history and so on.

  • Your publications have been both in English and in French, correct?

  • English, French and Dutch, yes.

  • Now, you have attended conferences, symposia, fora to do with your work as a researcher in the course of your profession, correct?

  • Yes, it is very normal for somebody working in an academic environment, such as mine, to attend conferences and seminars very regularly for the purposes of academic debate.

  • Now, is there any particular conference, or seminar that comes to mind that has reference to African affairs of historic interest, which is your area of interest?

  • Well, I attend a great number of seminars, or other academic meetings which would be - many of which, or most of which, would be relevant to African affairs which is my professional field, or African history. Some, of course, are more interesting, or useful, or relevant, for present purposes, than others.

    I should add that in 1997 and 1998 I worked for a while as a researcher, with the permission, of course, of my employer. I worked for a while as a researcher at the - for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, which was a country on which I had done some academic work, and I found that a particularly interesting experience.

  • In the course of your research work you have shown particular interest in affairs relating to Liberia, correct?

  • And to some extent Sierra Leone, is that right?

  • That is correct. I would not regard myself as ever having specialised in the history of Sierra Leone. I did, as I mentioned earlier, follow events in Sierra Leone when I worked for Amnesty International between 1982 and 1986, and I first visited Sierra Leone in that period. Since I became interested in Liberia, in modern Liberian history, in 1994 I have also visited Sierra Leone a number of times and, of course, Sierra Leone's history and Liberia's history have long been, and still are, closely intertwined.

  • Let us leave Sierra Leone for a while and focus on Liberia. Could you say whether there was any particular attraction, any particular interest, that led you into being so focused on Liberian affairs?

  • Yes, I became interested in Liberia for fairly precise reasons in 1994. The situation was as follows: In 1994 I was asked by the Secretary General of Amnesty International if I would be part of a delegation to go to Liberia, which was a country I had never previously visited. I was a former staff member of Amnesty International and, therefore, knew the organisation and its mandate well and for that reason Amnesty International, from time to time, has requested me and still up until quite recently has requested me to take part in a delegation if they think I might be of service to the organisation. So in this particular case I was asked to proceed with one other person to Liberia to - which was, of course, in a state of war at that time in 1994 - research and report back to the organisation on various matters of interest to it.

    Now, of course, since I was vaguely - more than vaguely, I was aware that Liberia was in a troubled condition because that had been widely reported in the press, but I had no first hand knowledge of Liberia. When I went there in 1994 as a delegate of Amnesty International I received very interesting information, which I thought helped me personally to understand a little bit more about what was happening in Liberia. I resolved to - when I went back to Leiden to my research institute I resolved to do further research on the war in Liberia with a view to understanding better some historical questions about it.

  • You have since gone back to Liberia quite a number of times, correct?

  • Once - that is correct. Once I had conceived this research project then I revisited Liberia on a number of occasions and also later when I was working for the International Crisis Group.

  • Are there any particular material that you published relating to Liberia generally?

  • Yes, in 1999 I published a book called "The Mask of Anarchy", which concerns the Liberian war of the 1990s.

  • Now, apart from that book has there been any other publication that you have done on Liberia?

  • I have also published a number of academic articles on Liberia, but I would describe that book as the main publication, the most important publication. I should add that there was a second edition of the book that came out in 2007.

  • The work on that book, "The Mask of Anarchy", is focused on politics, cultural life, particularly on religious beliefs of Liberia and covering a particular period, the war period, correct?

  • Yes, I mean, broadly speaking, the purpose of my book was to try and investigate the historical background which gave rise to certain phenomena that became observable in the circumstances of war in the 1990s. What I am particularly referring to here is some of the atrocities which caused foreign journalists in particular to - which seemed to mystify many foreign journalists and, in my view, had caused them to misunderstand the nature of the war and the nature of Liberia, so the purpose of my book was really to investigate these things in historical context. However, since Liberian history is not widely known, in order to do that I also had to establish some of the key events of the 1990s and, therefore, the first part of the book is really, as far as possible, a straightforward narrative of the war of the 1990s, just trying to tell a story about what had happened, who the principal protagonists were and what some of the factors were in the war, but the real purpose was the second half of the book, which is to go into some of the history of Liberia to try and investigate the antecedents of the war.

  • Did you get any recognition for your work on that text?

  • The book was widely reviewed and discussed and is widely quoted up until today. In 2000, in the year 2000, it was shortlisted by the African Studies Association of the United States for a literary prize known as the Herzkowitz Award and - yes, I think I would leave it there.

  • You mentioned earlier that even though your research interest was in Liberia, but you could not have studied the history or events in Liberia without having also been interested in what was going on in Sierra Leone, correct?

  • Now, as far as Sierra Leone is concerned, how far does your research interest go on issues relating to Sierra Leone?

  • I have done a little original research into Sierra Leone. I have published a number of academic articles about Sierra Leone. I think the first one was in 1988, but in recent years - well, I observe events in Sierra Leone, but I have also been interested in it in connection with Liberia.

  • Have you visited Sierra Leone at all?

  • I first visited Sierra Leone, I think it was in 1984, but - I think that is correct. Then I visited it again as a delegate of Amnesty international, this time in 1998, and I have visited a number of times since then.

  • Have you produced any literature on Sierra Leone?

  • I mentioned already an academic article I wrote in 1988, which was published in a French academic journal and I have written some material on Sierra Leone more recently, or on Sierra Leone and Liberia together.

  • Now, you were asked by the Prosecution to prepare a report for the purposes of this trial, correct?

  • And that report is titled, "Charles Taylor and the war in Sierra Leone", correct?

  • Yes.

  • When did you write this report?

  • I wrote it in December 2006.

  • Now, could the witness be shown document tab 1, please.

  • Madam President, I am assuming this will be MFI-1 for the purposes of this witness?

  • Not unless counsel opposite has actually shown the document to the witness. After the witness recognises it, then it will have - we will mark it for identification.

  • Could we have a copy for the public screen as well? Is that possible, Mr Bangura?

  • I am not sure how much we could be assisted by it.

  • Is a copy available for the Court Manager to put up on the screen?

  • We do have copies, yes, your Honour.

  • Your Honours, the document is in the binder for the second week.

  • If I may, there is a corrigenda filed with this document. I hope all parties can take note of that. It was filed, but we do have extra copies here.

  • The copy on the file under tab 1 does indeed have a corrigenda, so I would expect, Madam Court Manager, that whatever document the lawyer, Mr Bangura, refers to it is appropriately put up on the screen for the public to follow. That is what I meant.

  • Are we referring to the corrigendum, or the report itself?

  • The report itself, including the corrigendum.

  • Madam Court Manager, could we have the first page of this report up on the screen?

  • Dr Ellis, may I direct your attention to the document which is being displayed now. Is that the report which you wrote for the Prosecution?

  • If we turn to - your Honours, the document, I wish to ask that it be marked for identification?

  • I assume the Defence has no objection so the document will be marked for identification as MFI-1.

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Dr Ellis, I would like to refer you to the last three pages.

  • Yes, of MFI-1, and continuing on to the corrigenda. Do they correctly state your credentials as you have told them to the Court this morning?

  • Yes, with two exceptions. One is that I now realise I made a mistake informing the Court of the date of the second edition of my book: "The Mask of Anarchy". I told you 2007 and I see from my own CV that it was, in fact, 2006, so I apologise for that.

    I should also add that I have had another book now accepted for publication, but which has not yet come out, because I said I had written, or co-written, nine books and there is another one which is not on this list yet.

  • Thank you. Let us just understand what you are saying. The second edition of your book came out in?

  • In 2006. I was in error when I said it was 2007. It should have been 2006.

  • That doesn't affect what -

  • What was the mandate of the - or the terms of reference of this report which you wrote? Were you given a specific mandate?

  • I was contacted by officers of the Special Court for Sierra Leone who, as I have mentioned here in the introduction to this document, made a fairly wide request to provide background information concerning the political career of Charles Taylor and particularly to examine his relationship to events in Sierra Leone between 1997 and 2000 and after I had completed a first draft I was subsequently asked to clarify further some questions which are contained in this document, but it was a fairly broad brief I would say.

  • Under what terms did you agree to write this report?

  • Sorry, can you be a bit more -

  • Were there any - did you specify any fees for writing the report as an expert?

  • I can't remember if fees - how exactly the discussions went, but I made it clear that I was prepared to do this without payment.

  • Could you state the reason why you were prepared to do it without any payment?

  • Well, simply because I am employed by an institution which is funded by the Dutch government and it is part of the mandate of the institution that I work for that we are required to perform services, as it were, in the public interest from time to time, sometimes specifically at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sometimes not and I just felt it was appropriate, in those circumstances, that this shouldn't be paid employment.

  • Thank you. Would you like to discuss the sources that you consulted in preparing this report?

  • As I mentioned also - because there is a section in the report where I deal with method - I approached the matter in the way that is in conformity with my training as a historian and that is broadly speaking to say, well, any - all sources of material could be relevant, so to cast one's net very broadly, but to make a distinction between primary sources and secondary sources and I think it is the case, but you will correct me if I am wrong, that the way in which a historian might habitually use the expressions primary and secondary sources might not be identical to how they be used in the legal profession.

    But, broadly speaking, a historian like myself would regard primary documents as those which are created by a person, or an institution, in the course of their normal work, or existence, and which have a bearing on the question under examination. For a historian the normal example of a primary document is an official - or it could be an unofficial, but an archive, so normally as a historian, if you are investigating a question, one of your first moves is to say, "Where can I find an archive of documents that might - that would throw primary - would provide primary evidence for what it is that I am seeking to investigate?"

    Secondary documents are those that are compiled by people who have some distance from the events and are essentially commenting with a greater or lesser degree of knowledge, so I make that broad distinction.

  • Would you like to specify which sort of documents, or which sort of material, you have characterised as primary?

  • Yes, I mean I have worked in the Liberian national archives on a number of occasions and I should say before I ever wrote this report, or was asked to write this report, so some of the material that I have found in the archives was useful in compiling this report, but first of all the Liberian archives, as you can imagine, are in a very poor state of conservation after the troubled years Liberia has been through and, secondly, my study in those archives preceded my being commissioned to write this report, so, therefore, I couldn't necessarily get my hands on the material I would have wanted.

    Other material could also be regarded as primary documents, including, for example, interviews that participants in the events under examination - interviews they may have given with newspapers and also other documents, including UN documents, I would regard for my professional purposes as primary - or certain UN documents I would regard as primary sources. Memoirs also, in the sense that there are a number of published memoirs by Liberians, and some non-Liberians, who lived through the events of the 1990s and have then published a memoir concerning those things. I would regard those as primary sources.

  • As regards secondary sources, could you enlighten this Court as to what sort of materials you consulted?

  • Well, of course, one can never consult it all, but secondary sources includes all the great body of comment and writing on the question under consideration by people who are, as it were, considering it from afar and who are not producing these documents as part of their professional, or personal, interaction, such as academic historians, academic writers, for example.

  • Of course, there has been quite a lot of material, quite a lot of written work on Liberia and you may not have consulted all of them, you may have made a selection. Could you say what guided your choice of material in the large number of material that you got out there?

  • Well, the report covers aspects of both Liberia and Sierra Leone and, as you say, particularly if you consider both countries then there is a very large literature which I am fairly conversant with, so really I was looking for questions of relevance to the matter at hand and, to some extent, originality in the sense that it is better to go to an original source where you can, rather than another one that is developed on the basis of an original.

  • Now, how would you evaluate, or assess, the weight of these different sources that you have dealt with in your report? You talked about secondary sources, you talked about primary sources and you have given examples of them. How would you evaluate, or assess, their weight?

  • Well, that is not an easy one. I did attach, and still do attach, a lot of importance to the various United Nations reports, particularly those by a panel of experts that was established at the request of the United Nations Security Council to investigate - there were several panels really, but originally to investigate violations of sanctions in force in regard to Sierra Leone. I think these panels were, for me, very important documents because of the exceptional access which the researchers were able to have and also, of course, the authority of the United Nations. But other important documents included things like, for example, press interviews which I have seen over the years given by Charles Taylor, President Taylor as he was from 1997 to 2003, and various other first hand accounts which I would regard as being particularly authoritative.

  • Just to move from that, in the course of your visits to Liberia did you at any time meet with the accused who was President of Liberia at the time?

  • Well, my first visit was in 1994 - the answer is I have never met the accused. In my first visit in 1994, when he was not yet President of Liberia, I tried to meet him, but it was a difficult situation in the sense that Liberia was militarily divided. I was in Monrovia and Buchanan, which at that time were both areas under the control, the effective control, of an international intervention force known as ECOMOG and it would have required permission to travel to the place where Mr Taylor was at that time, which was Gbarnga. Permission, I should say, not so much from ECOMOG as from Mr Taylor's own associates. I tried to get such permission. Notably I had a number of contacts with a man called John T Richardson who was an official working for Mr Taylor at that time, in as much as Mr Taylor was the President of a quasi government, often called Greater Liberia. In other words, I tried using the access that I could to get permission at that time and I was unsuccessful. That was the only time I ever tried.

  • Coming back to sources that you referred to, used in preparing your report on Sierra Leone -

  • Would you like to discuss some of the material that you actually referred to?

  • Yes. Of course I have read a variety of books and articles and newspaper articles regarding Sierra Leone, particularly in the 1990s, but I should say I have paid particular attention in this case to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was established in Sierra Leone because it has a lot of relevant information in and because I would regard it as a particularly authoritative document, because unlike many of the other publications concerning the war in Sierra Leone, it had the resources and the possibility to interview people from a wide variety of different backgrounds, or different affiliations, if I can put it that way, and it also had access to documents, so I regarded it - and, of course, being the body it was, it was attempting to steer an objective course, so I regarded that as a very important document for Sierra Leone.

  • Other than that, are there any other published sources that you consulted?

  • There are certainly published sources, including memoirs by a former Sierra Leonean cabinet minister and various other documents of that sort, and secondary works by - mostly by academics, or journalists, concerning Sierra Leone.

  • You mentioned that you have paid a number of visits to Sierra Leone prior to - you did pay a number of visits to Sierra Leone prior to writing this report. They may not have been visits focused on preparing yourself for writing the report, but during those visits did you have cause to meet with and discuss with any persons regarding the situation in Sierra Leone at the time?

  • Yes, I would say the most important visit I made, and the one that sticks in my memory, was in 1998 when I visited Sierra Leone, again as a delegate of Amnesty Internation. This was at a time when the military junta, which had been in power in Sierra Leone for a bit less than a year, had been displaced by, again, the intervention force known as ECOMOG. I went to Sierra Leone in May and June 1998 and was able to meet a number both of political actors and participants, military participants and others, who I thought had interesting and relevant information for the mandate of Amnesty Internation which I was at that point being called upon to investigate.

    I recall meeting, for example, General Maxwell Khobe, who is the Nigerian general who was then the commander of the ECOMOG force in Sierra Leone, although he also had, rather paradoxically, the status of chief of the - Chief of Staff of the Sierra Leonean armed forces at the same time.

  • I am sorry to interrupt, Dr Ellis. Mr Bangura, I am advised that the recording tape is coming to an end and I think we will just have to adjourn here for the lunch break.

    Dr Ellis, we will adjourn for the lunch break from now until 2.30. I am required to request you not to discuss your testimony outside of the Court, please, so court will adjourn for an hour. Thank you.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Good afternoon. Good afternoon, Mr Ellis.

  • We will continue with your testimony. I just wish to remind you that you're still under oath.

  • Yes.

  • Mr Bangura, please continue.

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • Good afternoon, Mr Ellis.

  • We shall continue from where we left off before the break and I believe you were giving the Court an idea of your experience in - during one of your visits in Sierra Leone?

  • This was in May and June 1998 when I was taking part - I was a member of the delegation of two people from Amnesty International and I was saying that I met a number of senior officials. I mentioned General Khobe, the commander of ECOMOG. I met, I think, three or four government ministers including the foreign minister, the attorney general. I remember meeting Hinga Norman who was the head of the Civil Defence Force.

    I met some former fighters from the Revolutionary United Front, the RUF. These were young people. I recall two or three boys and a girl. I think the girl was probably about 14 and the boys were 10, 11, 12 years old. It wasn't possible for me at that time to meet any commanders of the RUF because of the political and military situation.

    I met some people - some victims of amputations who had just recently suffered amputations and interviewed them about their experiences. So I made a lot of very useful contacts at that time.

  • In what year are we talking about [overlapping speakers]?

  • Now how widely have you travelled in Sierra Leone?

  • Well, I've been to most parts of the country in the sense that I've been to Kenema, Bo, Koidu, Kabala, Makeni, those are the main towns. But I don't - you know, I don't have much experience of the rural areas of Sierra Leone.

  • Thank you. Now just before we move on I would like to take you back briefly to some points about your work history. You did mention earlier that you worked with Africa Confidential in London between 1986 and 1991?

  • Correct.

  • Well, I was the editor of the publication. It was only a small staff. So I was the editor.

  • Could you describe some of your responsibilities during this period?

  • Well, it was to commission and sometimes to myself investigate and write stories for this specialised newsletter which appears once every two weeks. It's a subscription only publication which is very well known to, I would say, diplomats, business people, to some extent academics, anybody with a strong professional interest in African Affairs, and it's widely read by people in politics and diplomacy in Africa or concerned with Africa.

    So as editor of course your fundamental obligation is simply to make sure that the paper comes out every two weeks and as far as possible to make sure that you're satisfying your readers who are also your subscribers, which of course means that you're also managing the paper in the sense of financially and so on and that was my responsibility for that time for those five years.

  • In short to keep sufficient interest in the paper to ensure it's continuity?

  • Yes, you have to ensure that - first of all that your readers think that the paper is sufficiently interesting and useful that they continue buying it and, secondly, that irrespective of that, that the finances are such that the paper keeps going and makes a profit. I mean, that's really what the position of editor came down to. But we only had three staff so the managerial side in terms of dealing with personnel and so on was relatively minor.

  • You also earlier mentioned, concerning your experience in testifying in court before, you said that you testified in the Gus Kouwenhoven case?

  • That's correct.

  • What sort of expertise or what sort of expert evidence did you give in that trial?

  • Well, I think it was - it was pretty minor in the sense that I was simply asked by a magistrate what I knew about Mr Kouwenhoven's activities in Liberia during the 1990s and I think up to 2003, the basis on which I knew that, whether I'd visited any of his commercial premises in Liberia at that time and there wasn't really very much more than that. I mean I think I was only giving testimony for something like two or three hours in total. It was really quite short.

  • And your testimony here today is based on your expertise as a researcher on the affairs of Liberia, especially during the conflict years 1997 to 2003 and its wider connection with the events in Sierra Leone. Is that correct?

  • Yes, I mean the subject of my book was what turned out in retrospect to be the first period of what you might call the Liberian civil war. That is to say from 1989 to 1997. And the book, as I mentioned before, was published in 1999. Now as things turned out the war resumed in Liberia and lasted really until 2003. So that's a period I've continued to follow events in Liberia, I visited Liberia in 2003 and 2005, but it's not something I have - that's covered in the book that I wrote because that was published earlier.

  • But your report covers the period 1997 --

  • Sorry, yes. The report which I wrote at the request of the Special Court for Sierra Leone concentrates, at the request of the Court, particularly on the period 1997 to 2000 and particularly looking at the relationship between Liberia and Sierra Leone.

  • May I ask that the witness be shown document MFI-1 again.

  • The first page - I believe the first paragraph of that document spells out the scope of that report. Is that correct?

  • Do you wish to correct yourself in terms of the scope that this study covered?

  • No. I mean, in the sense that in those three paragraphs of introduction that was - those were the terms of reference that I was given and that's as I wrote them down and that was accepted by the Court officials to whom I gave this document.

  • So in effect the scope of your research was from 97 right down to 2003?

  • Well, as I mentioned in the second paragraph here, I was asked specifically to concentrate on the period 1997 to 2000, but there is material in this report covering a wider period including the whole presidency of Mr Taylor.

  • And your testimony here today is based on the expert knowledge which you acquired in the course of your research which focuses on events in Liberia during the period - specifically for the period 1997 to 2000 and its wider connection to events in Sierra Leone?

  • That's correct.

  • I would like to turn attention at this stage to some of the content of the report, specifically the findings that you made in the report. Could the witness be directed to page 3. I'm specifically drawing your attention to the last paragraph and that would read on probably until the next page, page 4. Here you have made a sudden finding and more specifically you have said - I'm reading from that paragraph. I read:

    "It was during this time", that is between 1987 and 1989, "that Charles Taylor became acquainted with Foday Sankoh, future leader of Sierra Leone's RUF. Military training camps organised by the Libyan government hosted people of many different nationalities. By the end of 1989 Charles Taylor had succeeded in organising an NPFL military force of over 100 trained men", I think we now go on to the next page, "including not only Liberians but also people of other West African nationalities. The latter included Gambian veterans of a 1981 coup attempt in Banjul as well as Ghanaian veterans of coup attempts whom Taylor had met during his time in Ghana and this group was sometimes represented as a pan-African revolutionary force."

    Then you go on to say:

    "Charles Taylor's association with armed conflict in Sierra Leone can be traced back to his acquaintance with Sierra Leonean revolutionaries whom he met in Libya or elsewhere."

    Now I am more focused on the latter bit of that text where you say that his association with the armed conflict can be traced to his acquaintanceship with these revolutionaries.

    Now would you say that this idea of a pan-African revolutionary thinking which was hatched in the training camps in Libya continued right through his association with the armed - the people that he met within those camps, in that camp in Libya?

  • I think so, yes.

  • Now would you say that there was at any point in time any shift in focus in their relationship. Of course they had started off on a bond of African revolutionary - in a bond of African revolutionary spirit, but over time you would agree with me that his relationship continued with some of these people that he bonded with. Would you say that it was basically just that bond that tied them together, especially in the case of the RUF leadership?

  • If I may, I would just go back a little bit and say I think there has been an idea among some Africans in general since maybe the 1940s or the 1950s that it might be possible to liberate African from colonialism in those days or neo-colonialism more recently, by a pan-Africanist armed movement and the idea goes back as least as far as President Nkruma who was president of Ghana until 1966. I think that idea - that idea still exists. I sometimes hear it expressed to this day.

    To judge from what I have heard from people who were present in the Libyan training camps or interviews that I've seen done by other people with people who were present in those camps that was very much the idea. That is to say, that this was going to be a place where a pan-Africanist revolutionary force was trained and that it would liberate various African countries from colonial or neo-colonial governments.

    I think it's the case that - if we assume that a war started in Liberia in December 1989 I think it's the case that in the early stages there was a significant number of people in West Africa and elsewhere who might believe that there was - who might have a sympathetic view to the idea that this was the start of a wider West African revolutionary movement.

    In as much as I knew people who were sympathetic to that cause at that time, I think their sympathies dimmed over the years, partly because the war in Liberia lasted such a long time, but in particular I would say because as information became available concerning the tactics adopted in the Liberian war and in particular in the Sierra Leonean war. If I could put it rather sort of basically, as information became known in the wider world about some of the atrocities carried out by the RUF, the Revolutionary United Front, in Sierra Leone, I think that those people who might have been inclined to sympathise with the movement on the grounds of revolutionary ideology became somewhat disenchanted with it and I personally know people who were fairly sympathetic to the RUF as it were from a distance, but who became disenchanted. So I think in general I would say people who may have had some sympathy with the political aspects of the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone became rather disenchanted as time went by.

  • Thank you. Now I would like to refer the witness to page 14. Reading from the paragraph with the rubric "Strategic Command and Tactics." It's basically the first sentence there. You say:

    "Taylor's influence grew throughout the West African region in the 1990s, and in light of the broad strategic vision that he demonstrated."

    Now how much of an influence and control would you say he exercised over armed forces outside his country and territory?

  • Well, I will, if I may, make - start at the same point that I did earlier and say let us assume that a war started in Liberia at December 1989, because it was in that month that a force who had been armed and organised outside the country and which we later learned was called the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, the NPFL, it attacked Liberia and within a few days - it was at Christmas time so there wasn't - you know, it was not a good time for communicating, as it were, you know, but within a few days it became known that there was some sort of civil war that had begun in Liberia as a result of this attack.

    It was known, I later learned, of course I didn't know it at the time - it was known to various people in West Africa, including for example the Nigerian intelligence services, that the group had support from Libya, the government of Burkina Faso, certainly from senior circles in Cote d'Ivoire and that there were people of different nationalities who were part of this force and this caused the government of Nigeria in particular, but also some other governments in the region, to be rather nervous because they were unsure what this would lead to and they had an idea indeed, as was mentioned earlier, that this might be the start of some sort of attempt at a pan-Africanist revolution. So it caused quite lot of nervousness throughout the region.

    Now me at that time, I was in London, I was the editor of a newsletter which we've already discussed. At that stage I'd never been to Liberia, so my interest was of course I had to find people who would write for me about this conflict in Liberia, I had to find people who would analyse it, I didn't know Liberia well myself, but it did become fairly apparent that there was a very serious war taking place, it became more apparent as the months went by, and the fact of external support became pretty apparent. Do you want me to continue?

  • No, that's fine. You mentioned that Foday Sankoh was a very popular person in the early stages of the war in Liberia, in the early 90s in a camp of the NPFL. Correct?

  • No, I don't think I've ever said that he was popular person in Liberia and, as far as I know, nor was he ever popular in Sierra Leone in that sense. I think what I have written is that from the evidence I have available that Mr Taylor and Mr Sankoh appeared to have become acquainted with each other when they were both in Libya before 1990 and that certainly by late 1990 Foday Sankoh was living or spending at least a substantial amount of his time in Liberia and that's the background from which we might understand the opening of the war in Sierra Leone which was in March 1991.

  • Sorry, my mistake. I may have misstated the relationship or the situation in which Foday Sankoh found himself. But then that marked - that was the stage at which Foday Sankoh got himself - launched his war into Sierra Leone. Correct?

  • Well, yes. The Revolutionary United Front - I mean I've subsequently made what inquiries I can and there have been books written which throw light on the origins of the Revolutionary United Front and the role of Foday Sankoh therein and I have learned from that work and I could say something about that if you want.

    But if I understand your question correctly I think what's - I mentioned already that a number of West African governments from December 1989 when the war in Liberia started, they were aware that the invading party included people of different West African nationalities, some of whom had had some form of idealogical as well as military training in Libya or Burkina Faso or both. So that caused a lot of nervousness and the presence, for example, of these Gambians that I mentioned, a number of Gambians that were veterans of a 1981 coup attempt in Gambia which had been quite a bloody affair, this caused nervousness throughout the region because people were worried that if a revolutionary government was established in Liberia it might be used as a basis to destabilise other countries in the region, which in a sense is what happened. And I think it was in that light that we might see the presence of Foday Sankoh in Liberia in 1990 and we might throw light on the opening of the campaign in Sierra Leone in 1991.

  • Now the conflict in Sierra Leone, as has been noted in your report, was notable for the atrocities that were committed by the RUF. Correct?

  • Yes, it is - that is correct. However, if I may, I would just like to add a couple of nuances to that. One is that the atrocity which has most caught the attention of the world and maybe of Sierra Leoneans included is the business of amputations, particularly of hands and arms, which I witnessed myself in 1998 when I interviewed a number of people who'd very recently suffered this particular form of mutilation.

    I have tried as hard as I can to find out when this practice started and who started it and why and I have to say that it's not easy. I do know of cases in Sierra Leone of the amputation of hands from as early as 1991 and 1992, but the tactic doesn't seem to have become widespread until rather later.

  • Okay, go on, please.

  • The people I interviewed in 1998 who'd had their hands amputated, it wasn't altogether clear whether this was the work of the RUF or of another body with whom it was associated, the AFRC, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, and the two were confused to some extent.

    So what I'm saying is that although there's no doubt whatsoever that the RUF did carry out this particular practice of amputating hands and arms, it wasn't the only body in Sierra Leone which did this. The AFRC did also at least and maybe some other movements. Of course other forms of atrocity were carried out by other groups as this Court is well aware. And it's also not clear to me to this day precisely who encouraged this tactic or organised it.

  • Thank you. You referred earlier today - as one of your sources you referred to the TRC report which was produced in Sierra Leone and you have - in your report you have stated some of the findings of that report, although you do not agree with all of the findings that you have stated, but you have actually indicated some of the findings of the report in your - of that report in your report. Correct?

  • That's correct. I wouldn't say that I disagree with the findings of the report of the Sierra Leonean Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Simply I note the fact that at certain points they might differ with other analyses.

  • Of course one of those situations would be with regards to - first of all let me just take you to - may the witness be assisted again, please. First of all let me take you to page 14 of the report again. Reading from the last sentence of that page.

  • You have said that:

    "The TRC suggests that the brutality of the NPFL had a foundational effect on the nature of the war in Sierra Leone."

  • Correct.

  • You go on to say:

    "Before it's intervention in its western neighbour, the NPFL had already gained a reputation for atrocious behaviour, including some major massacres, but also in the form of random killings perpetrated at road blocks and the display of severed limbs, skulls and human body parts as trophies."

  • Now of course you talk about other crimes that are committed. You talk about rape, you talk about abduction of civilians and so on. Now one of the areas where you - as you have indicated you did not quite - I would not say agree, but you found it difficult to agree really with the findings of the TRC which was in the case of amputations. But what about the recruitment of child soldiers?

  • Well, again I don't think I disagree with the findings of the TRC in the respect that you've mentioned. It's just that I note that it - it may differ from other analyses.

    I don't recall that the TRC itself clearly says who or what group of people developed this tactic of amputations and in what circumstances and who organised this and how it was organised. I don't recall reading that in the TRC report. It's clear that it became known as, if I could use that phrase, the signature atrocity, the typical atrocity of the RUF. That's the reputation that the RUF gained. Although, as I've said, I think a lot of amputations were probably carried out by AFRC soldiers, particularly in that period after the overthrow of the AFRC government in February 1998.

    The aspect of the TRC report that most interested and to some extent surprised me was the revelation by the TRC of the extent of Liberian involvement in the first phase of the war which the TRC defines as the period from 1991 to 1994.

    Myself, I was aware that there - indeed that the war in Sierra Leone was launched from Liberia and I was aware that NPFL - that Liberian fighters loyal to the NPFL had taken part in that - in the first campaigns because I'd met such people. But the extent was a considerable surprise to me. I think, if I remember well, the TRC reports as many as 3,000 Liberian fighters being involved, which is a very large number. I'm not sure if I've cited that figure correctly, but it's a very substantial number

  • Now I mentioned earlier the issue - the question of the recruitment of child soldiers. This was the practice which you - from your research you established that it was common among NPFL - within the NPFL and it also was a very common practice within the RUF. What link were you able to draw between the two?

  • The first thing I would say is it's not clear what was the full extent of recruitment of child soldiers in any of the movements that were active in Liberia and Sierra Leone at the time for a variety of reasons, partly just because of the difficulty of getting accurate statistics in general, but partly because people became associated, including children - became associated with the various fighting groups in different capacities.

    I think it's useful to recall that at the beginning of the war in Liberia in 1989/1990, particularly in Nimba County where the heaviest fighting was in the earliest phase of the war, there were a large number of orphans, children whose parents had been killed or who had lost contact with their parents, and they tended to attach themselves to various fighting groups. So I think in the early phase of the war the NPFL to some extent found itself with a lot of children or young adolescents attached to it and things developed from there.

    In terms of the proportions, I can't be precise because of the absence of very reliable statistics, but I would say the number of children who were actually armed and employed as fighters as it were on the front line was probably lower in Liberia than in Sierra Leone. Also because many of these children who became attached to fighting groups, may have been attached, for example, as scouts or as aids, as cooks or something like that rather than as actual fighting forces.

    But from what I've been able to learn about the RUF and from what I saw myself in 1998 when I interviewed some children who'd managed to escape from the RUF, I think there was a high proportion of very young people, of children, in the RUF.

  • Now looking at other crimes, what were your findings with regards to rape as far as this practice was concerned between the NPFL and the RUF?

  • I'm afraid to say I don't think I can really throw much light on this. I have little doubt that rape was very extensive both in Liberia and in Sierra Leone during the wars there. I'm not aware of any really authoritative study of the subjects. It's a difficult matter to get good information on for obvious reasons.

    When I was in Sierra Leone in 1998 my colleague from Amnesty International who was a woman did interview a number of women who had been raped to get testimonies from them, but of course it's not easy to know how typical their stories were.

    So I'm afraid I'm really not able to say very much about the comparative extent of rape in both cases nor the degree to which the use of rape as an instrument of war in Sierra Leone may or may not have been learned from earlier precedents in Liberia. I really don't think I can go into those subjects just through lack of knowledge.

  • You discussed abduction and hostage taking as practices which were common which you identified with the NPFL and as well later on with the RUF?

  • Yes. If I may I would like to make just a slight distinction between abduction and hostage taking in the sense that in both wars it became clear that people might join one or other armed faction, because we must remember that there were a large number of armed factions in existence, not exactly out of their own free will.

    Now what I mean by that is, for example, if a group came to attack a particular area it could be that some people from that area join out of some sort of sympathy. It could also be that they join in order to protect themselves or their community or their town from being attacked or burned or something like that. Or it could be that they're more or less press ganged.

    One thing that happened commonly was that all the fighting forces needed porters because of course there was very little mechanised transport and being forced to act as a porter for one of these movements was a very onerous - because it means carrying on your head, you know, large, heavy loads and there may be people who would rather volunteer as a fighter than be forced to act as a porter.

    So when I say abductions I'm talking about people who more or less under coercion found themselves, or with a certain degree of coercion, found themselves becoming part of an armed forces. For present purposes that's what I'm referring to as an abduction.

    The hostage taking that I'm referring to in this report, I mean something rather different. I mean that from an early stage in the Liberian campaign, when it became clear in particular that the Nigerian government was sympathetic to the government of Samuel Doe, President Doe as he then was, and particularly after the intervention of the West African force known as ECOMOG in August 1990 then hundreds of West Africans were deliberately taken as hostages because it was hoped that by these means - by the NPFL because it was hoped that by these means pressure could be put to bear on their governments.

    In other words the governments that had organised the intervention force were being pressured by having their nationals in Liberia taken hostage and in many cases maltreated or even killed. So that hostage taking was a much more, as it were, deliberate and politically oriented act than the abductions which were taking place throughout the country almost as a social phenomenon, if that distinction makes sense.

  • In 2000 there was an abduction of UNAMSIL peacekeepers by the RUF. Correct?

  • Yes, there was. The RUF had also throughout its existence used - abducted people, particularly young people, to come and belong to it and in some cases to become fighters. But the taking of members of an international intervention force as hostages in order to use them as political bargaining chips, that was something that we particularly associate with I think the events of early 2000, April/May 2000.

  • Now coming to the role of the accused in the war in Sierra Leone, you did state in your report that diamonds played a part in fuelling the war in Sierra Leone. Did you not say so?

  • And the extent - could you briefly comment on the extent to which you would say that diamonds influenced or fuelled - diamonds fuelled the war in Sierra Leone. To what extent would you say that?

  • Well, the control and marketing of diamonds came to be a very important factor in the war in Sierra Leone. But one thing that I was at pains to emphasise in the report that I wrote for this Court and which is before you now was that I disagree with an analysis that I think we've all heard very often which is to say that the Sierra Leonean war was about diamonds from beginning to end.

    I've often heard it expressed and read in the newspapers that this was a war about diamonds and I must say I disagree with that because I think it's clear that at the beginning of the war it was not primarily about diamonds, it was about other matters, political and social. However, as in many wars, as the years went by the nature of the war changed and clearly by the late 1990s the control of diamonds was a key factor in the hostilities in Sierra Leone and not least because some of the participants were able to use the profits from diamonds to finance the continuation of the war.

  • Now by talking about using the proceeds of the sale of diamonds to finance the continuation of the war you probably - you probably are referring to the fact that arms were purchased from the proceeds of diamonds. Am I correct?

  • That's correct.

  • How would you characterise this phenomena where diamonds became the main means by which the war was sustained in the sense that diamonds were sold and the proceeds were used to buy arms which then kept the war going?

  • Well, all wars have to be financed one way or another and in the case of the Sierra Leone war at a certain point diamonds became certainly the main means of financing the RUF. It was also recorded that some other groups, including ECOMOG, would occasionally try and control the flow of diamonds in order to profit from it themselves for personal reasons or others and therefore there seemed a risk at a certain point in the late 1990s that the war - the war could continue almost indefinitely because it was about getting control of diamonds.

    Now the point I've made in the report is that it wasn't always that way, that the war changed in nature as the years went by and I've tried to make that point clearly because it seems to me that those analysts who claim that the war was about diamonds from beginning to end are actually not characterising it accurately.

  • Now does your report indicate or make a finding as to what means the diamonds that were extracted from Sierra Leone were traded, how they were traded?

  • There's a long history in Sierra Leone of diamonds being smuggled outside the country by intermediaries and sold on various markets outside Sierra Leone and this goes back at least to the 1950s or in fact even earlier than that. This was clearly going on in the 1990s and into 2000. For me this was one of the main points of interest of the investigations by particularly the United Nations panel of experts which reported in December 2000, because it provides a very detailed and, in my opinion, well researched account of precisely how this was happening.

  • You did in fact make reference to these - to the United Nations Security Council resolution from which a panel of experts was set up to consider the question of the diamonds and arms factor in the war in Sierra Leone. Correct?

  • Yes, there was - in 1997 there was a military coup in Sierra Leone, in May 1997, which led to the installation of a military junta which was regarded by the United Nations as an illegitimate government and therefore the United Nations imposed sanctions on that government. The number of reports reaching the Security Council that the sanctions were being broken through the border with Liberia became so numerous that a pan of inquiry was set up which was - the report of that panel of inquiry is what I referred to in my previous response. I think, if memory serves me well, that was in December 2000. As a result of that investigation then further decisions and resolutions were taken by the Security Council.

  • And you do in your report rely on some of the findings - you have quoted and sourced your report with some of the findings of that panel's report. Is that correct?

  • That's correct because I regard that document as being a very authoritative document because of the - well, the inherent substance of what it reports, but also of course the nature of the authority which published the document and the exceptional degree of access which the researchers were able to achieve which would be far greater than an individual such as myself who - without the backing of the United Nations. But it's also confirmed by various other sources, some of which I cite in the document.

  • Can the witness be assisted at this stage - may I ask that exhibit 18 by shown to the witness. That's the panel report. Your Honours, I believe there is a copy of this document in the binders provided for week one. In any event we are not going into any detail.

  • If I could ask Madam Court Manager to put the relevant page up on the screen for even the judges to follow.

  • Madam President, could I also ask if there is any other way in which this exhibit is identified in the bundle that we put together from Prosecution disclosure. Which tab is it behind, if my learned friend knows what tab we're working from.

  • Sorry. It's in tab 2 of the current list of documents to be used with this witness.

  • My tab 2 deals with a report from the United Nations concerning Liberia. I thought that the witness was referring to the report of the United Nations concerning Sierra Leone.

  • If you look at page 00004436 that would be the document, I think, that we're referring to, isn't it? This is the same document as exhibit P-18.

  • This is the report concerning Liberia. I wonder if the witness could clarify if he's talking about the UN panel report on Liberia or on Sierra Leone. It may be only me that's confused, but I would like clarification.

  • Mr Bangura, I think this is your witness, it's your examination. Let us ask Mr Bangura to proceed.

  • Your Honour, I believe I particularly referred to the document on Liberia - sorry, on Sierra Leone. That's the first one, on Sierra Leone. That's what the witness talked about.

  • For the record you've asked Madam Court Manager to produce Exhibit P-18. Madam Court Manager, is Exhibit P-18 the same document as the document ending 4436 in the bundle?

  • Your Honour, I do not think it is.

  • Mr Bangura, you have both things before you, don't you, both documents?

  • I do, your Honour.

  • Just guide us, are they one and the same, Exhibit P-18 and this document entitled Report of the Panel of Experts Pursuant to Resolution 1343 of 2001?

  • I'm sorry, your Honour.

  • Okay, since we cannot agree I will ask Madam Court Manager to put up Exhibit P-18 on the screen for everyone to follow from their screens.

  • Your Honour, if I may be clear, I am referring to the panel report - the expert panel report on diamonds that was admitted as Exhibit P-18, just in case there is some doubt.

  • That is what I am asking Madam Court Manager to put up on the screen.

  • Dr Ellis --

  • Of course, as you can see, this is the resolution 1306. It's a completely different document. Madam Court Manager, please go to the content of the report, not the note.

    That is not the content of the report. That is a letter. That is correct.

  • Do you recognise that document as the report produced by the panel of experts on the diamonds issue and arms related issue in Sierra Leone?

  • Correct. And that is the document I was referring to before it was actually just presented to us by the Court manager.

  • Thank you. That's the document which you - the findings of which - some of which you have relied on in your report?

  • Now you discuss at page 9 of your report - page 9 through 11 - I am not being very specific on any particular paragraph now, but between pages 9 and 11 you discuss the involvement of foreign persons, that is non-Sierra Leonean and non-Liberians, as associated with the accused in diamonds and arms business. Some of these names I will call out and I'll ask you to comment on their roles as you have indicated in the report.

  • Okay, yes.

  • You mention Colonel Frank Rindel?

  • It should be Fred Rindel.

  • Fred Rindel. You also mention Leonid Minin?

  • You mention Colonel Hennie Blaauw?

  • Also you mention Carl Alberts?

  • Now if you would deal with them in turns starting with Colonel Fred Rindel. What sort of role did he play in this whole affair of diamonds and arms relating to the war in Sierra Leone?

  • Fred Rindel is a former colonel in the South African defence force which of course were the armed forces of South Africa before the elections in South Africa of 1994. In other words, under the old National Party government of South Africa. Colonel Rindel was somebody who had extensive experience of guerilla warfare in southern Africa and at a certain point he received a contract for work in Liberia.

    According to another report of the United Nations, I don't think it's this one, I think if memory serves me well it's a later report, but I would need to just check that, but one of the UN panels did actually interview Colonel Rindel who gave a full account or gave an account, I should say, of his contract in Liberia which dated from late 1998.

    It was also at the time mentioned in some press reports which I cite in my own report, I see on page 9 for example, and I also received personally some confirmation in the sense that I saw some correspondence concerning Colonel Rindel in the Liberian state archives or, to be more exact, in the archives of the Executive Mansion which is the presidential palace in Liberia, and I received some confirmation from a South African general whom I knew who had quite good contacts in some of these military circles and he confirmed to me that South African mercenaries were working in Liberia.

  • And were there any known associations that he had with the accused?

  • In one of these UN documents, I can't remember right now if it's this one or another one, but Colonel Rindel does acknowledge having received a contract - having signed a contract with the Liberian government at the time when Mr Taylor was president.

  • Can we go on to Leonid Minin. What did your research on this issue of diamonds, arms deal indicate about him and his association with the accused?

  • Well, Leonid Minin is a Ukrainian businessman, or I think he has a number of passports of different nationalities but he is of Ukrainian origin, who appears to be primarily an arms trafficker, but clearly has interests in other fields including diamonds and also seems to have some association with narcotics. He had some business in Liberia which is investigated in some detail in this report.

    He was subsequently arrested in Italy and charged with a number of offences. I believe that the trial was never completed. But as a result of that there was quite a lot of information in the press about Leonid Minin and his work in Liberia.

  • And any association with the accused specifically?

  • Yes, he was - it was documented by the UN panel that he was transporting weapons to Liberia in contravention of a UN embargo.

  • And should we move on to Colonel Hennie Blaauw?

  • Colonel Blaauw is another former officer of the South African defence force who was working as a mercenary in Liberia and I came across some information about him in a book by a South African journalist specialising in military matters called Al Venter.

  • And any links with the accused as far as you know?

  • Well, he appears to have had a contract to work in Liberia with Fred Rindel and others.

  • So these last three --

  • Carl Alberts I think was later arrested in Ivory Coast, in Cote d'Ivoire, where he was also working as a mercenary at a later date.

  • Now you mentioned at page 9, and I will read from paragraph 1, and that starts right at the middle - can the witness be assisted, please?

  • Could counsel please repeat the page number.

  • Page 9, the paragraph starting in the middle of that page.

  • Are you referring to the UN report?

  • No, I'm referring to your report. It's MFI-1.

  • Yes.

  • I will just read the first sentence there. It says:

    "In addition to their commercial relationship, a political and military relationship between the Liberian government and the RUF also continued into 2000."

    Now this was actually a finding of the report of the panel of experts. Correct?

  • Did you find any evidence in support of this in your - from other sources in your report?

  • Yes. As I said, I saw this in the report of the UN panel which has just been referred to, this document S/2000/1195, but it's also mentioned by some other sources including the book by Al Venter that I mentioned and some other sources which I've cited here, press sources and so on.

  • Now at page 11 you make reference to another UN panel of experts report and that's the report which came out pursuant to resolution 1343 of 2001 and you have relied on that report as well?

  • That's correct.

  • Your Honours, I refer to the document in tab 2 of the bundle of documents. Could the witness be provided with this document, please? Just the first page of it will be enough for now.

  • That is the document, the report, which you referred to at page 11, paragraph 1 of your report. Is that correct?

  • And you refer to it as a source to support the view that there was continuing connection between the accused and the RUF in the deals in diamonds and arms. Is that correct?

  • Through to 2001, yes.

  • Your Honour, that document is identified as MFI-2.

  • Do you have any objections, Mr Munyard?

  • Your Honour, at the moment I do object, but can we leave it again until the end of the evidence overall and deal with it in the way that we dealt with it last week?

  • Not for admission, just marked for identification.

  • I have no problem with marking anything for identification.

  • Okay. Then I will mark - the document entitled "Report of the Panel of Experts Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1343 of 2001" is marked as MFI-2.

  • That's correct, your Honour.

  • Could you show the witness page 11 of his report, second paragraph.

  • Now one of your findings in your report based on the various sources that you considered states as follows, you say:

    "The weight of the evidence suggests that President Taylor paid close personal interest in relations with the RUF and that he supervised the trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone to Liberia notwithstanding his statements to the contrary. He also had a contractual relationship with military operatives from South Africa and elsewhere who were acting in support of the RUF. He facilitated the import of weapons, some of which appear to have been transmitted to the RUF to aid the latter's war effort."

    Is that correct?

  • That's correct.

  • Now the sources which you have cited in support of this finding are numerous. How authoritative would you say that this conclusion is based on these sources?

  • I would say that in my view this is an overwhelming conclusion. In other words I really have no serious doubts about it. There's one other source that we haven't yet mentioned but which I do mention in my report and that is a book by a man called Lester S Hyman. I'm going to refer you to the page just in one moment where I first cite that. Sorry, if I can just find it. Page 8, thank you very much whoever said that. Yes, I first cite it at page 8.

    Now the reason I attach some importance to this is that Lester Hyman is a lawyer and he's also an influential member of the Democratic Party in the United States and he was employed by the Liberian government as a representative in the United States. As he says in his own memoir, and as I discovered also from various - from correspondence that I saw in the Executive Mansion archives in Liberia - and Mr Hyman himself wrote, which I cite on page 8:

    "Despite his", and he makes it clear from the context he means President Taylor's, "protestations to the contrary evidence suggests that President Taylor took diamonds smuggled out of Sierra Leone by the RUF, sold those diamonds on the international market and used a portion of the proceeds to purchase weapons, which he then supplied to the RUF."

    In view of Lester Hyman's position I regard that also as an authoritative source because he was clearly a very trusted confidant of Mr Taylor and an employee at that time of the Liberian government.

  • Thank you. If I take you back to the question of - the issue of atrocities that were committed by the RUF in the war, your report, on page 17 of your report, I believe - can you show the witness page 17. Here you specifically deal with the invasion of Freetown in January of 1999 and about knowledge of the scale of atrocities that were committed in Freetown at the time, knowledge of these atrocities by the accused.

    This is what you had to say, and I'm reading --

  • Madam President, if my learned friend is about to refer the witness to the first paragraph on page 17 of his report then I object to that going into evidence because what he does in that paragraph is he, the witness, addresses the issue that is at the heart of the case against the accused and it's a matter for this Court to resolve that question, not for the expert.

  • Mr Bangura, what is your response?

  • Your Honours, the witness is basically presenting to the Court as a researcher. He's presenting to the Court material based on his research which he has put together in a report. At the end of the day it is the question of - the Bench will have to decide on whether or not to attach any amount of weight to this material that is presented to the Court. The witness is not and has not been presented to this Court as a witness of fact and he is not at this stage giving an opinion and he has sourced his report with a lot of material that he has consulted in preparing it.

    My view at this stage, your Honour, and my submission is that the witness can properly present to the Court matters which he has - findings that he's made based on his research.

  • Mr Munyard, really is there anything further that you necessarily have to say or would you let us confer?

  • I would certainly let you confer, Madam President.

  • It is the unanimous view of the Bench, Mr Bangura, that your witness is presented as an expert witness and, as you know full well, under the juris prudence of this Chamber his testimony should not go to the ultimate issues or to the guilt or innocence of the accused.

    Now without us telling you how to examine your witness we just wish to let you know that if or when - if at all this report is ever admitted in evidence we would be looking for the opinions of the witness that do not go to the ultimate issue. So when you are examining your witness you should be mindful to avoid asking questions whose answers go to the ultimate issue; that is indeed the guilt or innocence of the accused. So I do sustain the objection.

  • Mr Witness, regarding the events in Freetown, the January events in Freetown, there is material which you have --

  • Mr Bangura, January of which year?

  • Of 1999, your Honour.

  • There is material which you have sourced in your report which points to knowledge. Is that correct?

  • Devoid of any findings of yours, there is material which you have sourced in your report which suggests knowledge by the accused of events that occurred in Freetown. Is that correct?

  • Yes, if I might just elaborate very slightly. The main reason I've referred explicitly to the events of January 1999 is because this was an attack by elements of the RUF and the AFRC, that is to say the old military junta which had been displaced by power, on Freetown. There was an attack on Freetown in January 1999 and it resulted in a great number of deaths and widespread atrocities and I think it was the most, as it were, atrocious event of the entire war in Sierra Leone and therefore it caused particular reverberations in the country and indeed throughout the word.

    What I wanted to say at this point of my report was that I find that the - those people who've reported or investigated the organisation of that attack in January 1999 seemed to come to some slightly differing conclusions. What I particularly noted was some paragraphs in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone which suggested that the attack might not have been very well organised. Now that somewhat surprised me because it went contrary to certain other evidence and all I wanted to point out was that there were these differing interpretations.

    Now of course - well, one can go further in interpreting that, but that was my main intention, was to point out what the leading sources say about this matter.

  • In addition to the Truth and Reconciliation report you did also - you have referred to some interview that the accused gave in the press and I believe that - your Honours, I'm referring here to documents in tabs 15 and 16. Could the witness be shown. Dr Ellis, those two documents shown to you --

  • 15 and 16?

  • Madam Court Manager, we have nothing on the screen.

  • They are news articles from the newspaper Le Monde. Correct?

  • Dated 15 November 2000?

  • Yes, and one of them is an interview --

  • That's correct, yes, and the other one is more of an analysis by two journalists.

  • Now in 15, document tab 15, the one that the contains the excerpt of the interview --

  • If I just refer you to the third paragraph there and here the accused as president was responding to questions by a journalist and the question was: "What do you think of" --

  • Mr Bangura, we're just wondering for the purpose of following there is an English translation, if you could maybe refer to that. There's an English translation at page - that follows immediately at page 43984.

  • There's a French version of it and an English version of the same article.

  • There's a French version and an English version of the same article.

  • You wish to examine on the French version?

  • No, the English, your Honour.

  • That's what I'm saying. That's what I'm saying. This is an English speaking court and we need to follow the gist of the witness's evidence. Perhaps you could correlate - you could correlate the two documents, the original version and the interpretation for our understanding, okay, as you're examining.

  • Dr Ellis, if I'm right there are two versions of the same interview?

  • There's a French version and a translation into English, yes.

  • And I am referring you now to the English version and I think the page there is - that's the ERN number I am referring to. That's 00043984. Correct?

  • And I'm looking at the second paragraph where the journalist poses a question and to the response given in the first paragraph?

  • This is the question, "What do you think of the peace efforts in Sierra Leone?"

  • And the question goes on:

    "Sometimes it seems you are treated as if you were to restore peace, other times as if you were nothing more than diamond traffickers"?

  • And then the response:

    "It's unfortunate that by trying to demonise President Taylor the war in Sierra Leone is reduced to a conflict which Liberia is trying to get something out of. Does the fact that young British soldiers go off to fight in the forests of Sierra Leone and are doing so to stop Sierra Leoneans from killing one another make any sense? No, it doesn't hold up. Yes, I think the war in Sierra Leone is a war for diamonds. But not because Liberia wants those diamonds. We already have diamonds."

  • Your Honours, I apologise. I should be referring to another portion of this interview, not that portion.

  • Let's go to page 00043985.

  • I think the question there is:

    "Do you think the Revolutionary United Front must be part of the peace process in Sierra Leone?"

    His answer is:

    "Only belligerents can resolve conflict. There is no way peace can be made in Sierra Leone while excluding a party from the peace process. As the African saying goes, you can't catch anything with one finger, you need two fingers. The RUF committed terrible atrocities. People will have to answer for that. But the same people who are the cause of the problem have to be part of the solution."

    Now I am particularly interested in referring you to that response where the accused says that the RUF committed terrible atrocities. Would that be one of the - would that be one of the sources to which you - which you consulted in coming to the view that he had some knowledge of what was going on in Freetown in 1998?

  • Well, if I may, I could - I would put it slightly differently. The reason I cited this was simply that I think after the attack - particularly after the attack on Freetown in January 1999 anybody in the world who pays any attention to public events was aware that there was a particularly atrocious conflict taking place in Sierra Leone because it was on all the world's television screens and newspapers and my - the reason I cited this interview was simply that President Taylor was acknowledging that he too was aware of the terrible atrocities that were taking place in the war in Sierra Leone.

  • Your Honours, may I move that the documents be marked as MFI-3.

  • This particular document, Le Monde?

  • It is so ordered. This will be MFI-3.

  • Your Honours, just to make the point, the original version of this article came out in French. As you realise, it's a French newspaper.

  • It is the original French version that we are marking for identification. If you like we can mark the translation also.

  • I would like to ask that the translation be marked as --

  • In which case the French version will be MFI-3 A and the translation will be MFI-3 B.

  • Yes, your Honour. I'm grateful.

  • Now at page 13 of your report, Dr Ellis, you mention - I'm trying to refer to the portion where you mention that the RUF became split into two rival factions. Sorry, your Honour, I marked a different document from the one I'm using now.

  • Would you be referring to page 13 and that second paragraph from the top, more or less in the middle of it?

  • You say:

    "As the RUF became split into rival factions, President Taylor's most important ally was increasingly the RUF field commander Sam 'Moskita' Bockarie, who relocated to Liberia with his fighters in December 1999."

    Correct?

  • That's correct.

  • Are there any indications from your findings here as to the level of trust that governed the relationship between the accused and Sam Bockarie as far as your findings - as far as your research goes?

  • I don't think I can say an awful lot about this except it became clear to judge from the evidence I've been able to find. Which includes a series of UN reports plus some news reports plus some interviews I've made with Liberians who were members of the government or close to the government at that time, that Sam Bockarie became probably the most important commander of the RUF having a direct relationship with President Taylor.

  • And did your researches go to indicate what the relationship was before this split and before he moved over to Liberia?

  • Well, I think it's plain from a variety of sources, and here I would again rely heavily on the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone, that the war in Sierra Leone changed in nature over time and also the RUF changed in nature over time and I think a particularly important moment was after the arrest of Foday Sankoh, the acknowledged - the historic leader of the RUF, because he was arrested in Nigeria in 1996, if memory serves me well, and he didn't - he was later transferred to Sierra Leone and he was not released until 1999.

    Now during his absence there were rivalries between different factions and different commanders within the RUF and it was an outcome of that that the faction - that Sam Bockarie personally and the faction led by him became particularly close to the government of Liberia.

  • Now as you noted in your report Bockarie appears to have - the accused appears to have benefitted somewhat from the fact that Bockarie moved over to Liberia after the split within the RUF. Is that correct?

  • That's correct. Sorry, I think I must have misspoken. I think the arrest of Foday Sankoh was 1997, not 1996.

  • Thank you. I was saying the accused somewhat benefitted from the presence of Mosquito in Liberia after the split within the RUF. Is that correct?

  • In what ways, according to your findings, did he benefit from Mosquito's presence in Liberia?

  • Well, Sam Bockarie appears to have been integrated more closely than before into the command structures under the direct control of President Taylor and that was associated with the marketing of diamonds as well.

  • Now at various parts in your report you have mentioned, and even from your testimony here today you have mentioned ECOMOG. May I ask what did ECOMOG the name stand for?

  • That's the - well, there's a body called the Economic Community of West African States which, as the name suggests, is a regional cooperation body for economic matters and under pressure of circumstances this body known as ECOWAS organised a military force which became known as the economic - the ECOWAS military observer group, so in short ECOMOG.

  • Now could the witness be shown the document at tab 4. Just the front page will be okay.

  • Sorry, I see here that - sorry, just to correct myself, I see here on page 6 that ECOWAS is described - sorry, ECOMOG is described as the ECOWAS ceasefire monitoring group. That's different to what I said, sorry. But it's universally known as ECOMOG, sorry.

  • I think you probably pre-empted the question, but ECOMOG was a body set up by ECOWAS; is that correct?

  • A difficult question, because, yes, but there are a lot of people including some senior officials of ECOWAS who would say that the procedure was rather abusive. So it was called the Economic Community of West African States Group, ECOMOG, but the decision to form ECOMOG was very much taken at the behest of one member state, namely Nigeria.

  • The document you have before you is a profile of ECOWAS itself as an economic group of West African states. Is that correct?

  • Your Honours, I would move that this document be marked for identification as MFI-4.

  • The document entitled "Profile: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)" is marked for identification as MFI-4.

  • When was ECOMOG set out from your research?

  • In 1990. Really in August of 1990.

  • What was the background to the setting up of this group?

  • As I've mentioned previously the war in Liberia started at December 1989 and within quite a short time it was apparent that this was a very serious conflict, that it was - in terms of the numbers of people involved, and also that it was proving rather divisive in West Africa as a whole, partly because governments were aware that the invading force in 1989, namely the NPFL, contained members and trained military operators of different nationalities, Gambian, Ghanaian and so on, and partly because that force had received backing from at least two West African states, namely Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire, and partly I would say because of the previous close relationship between the then military ruler of Nigeria, General Babangida, and the President of Liberia, President Samuel Doe. So all these factors meant that the Liberian war was not just a civil war among Liberians, but was also causing shock waves throughout the region.

    At a certain point the Nigerian government decided that it wished to intervene directly and it believed that the most appropriate way of doing so was to try and organise a multinational intervention force and that was ECOMOG.

    I was told by a very senior American source who I interviewed some years later who told me that he thought the expectation by everybody in the region was that the United States government would intervene in some way or other to stop the Liberian war, because Liberia had always been regarded as a very close ally of the United States. However, the United States government decided not to intervene and it was really when it became clear that that was the case that the Nigerian government took the initiative in organising ECOMOG and that was in August 1990.

  • Are you aware of what the mandate of ECOMOG was when it was set up originally?

  • Yes, I don't have the wording in my head, but it was set up to try and enforce a ceasefire in Liberia which was a bit ironic because really there was no effective ceasefire in Liberia.

  • And what was the composition of this force at this time given the complexities behind it's [overlapping speakers]?

  • It was overwhelming - it was put together very rapidly. It was overwhelmingly composed of Nigerian soldiers but there were elements from some other countries, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

  • And this force was initially based in Freetown. Correct?

  • Yes, it was assembled in Freetown and it went from there to Monrovia by sea.

  • Now did your research indicate at all what was the kind of reception that ECOMOG got at that stage from the NPFL?

  • Mr Taylor, who by that time was pretty much the acknowledged leader of the NPFL, made it very clear that he was hostile to the intervention of ECOMOG and he'd been hostile to the Nigerian government in particular because it was known to be close to President Doe, which was of course the president he was trying to overthrow, and somewhat earlier in the year there were reports which I believe to be correct, but I can't say with absolute certainty, but they were pretty well founded reports, I think, that the Nigerian government had been supplied President Doe with weapons. So in other words Mr Taylor had really, I suppose, good grounds for thinking that the Nigerian government was opposed to him.

  • Now the resentment towards ECOMOG was not only limited to ECOMOG as a force but there was some feeling of hostility, if you like, against Sierra Leone at that time by the accused. Is that correct?

  • Sorry, you said feeling of what?

  • Yes, I think that's correct. There was an episode before the war when Mr Taylor I think in company with, if I'm correct, three other people had gone to Sierra Leone to try and get permission from the government there to launch the war in Liberia from Sierra Leonean territory and that also is referred to by various sources including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone and other sources which I quote in my report. And that was refused.

    Now some people have suggested that Mr Taylor may have borne a personal grudge against the government of Sierra Leone for refusing to work with him in his enterprise to overthrow the government of Liberia, but it's also the case that the ECOMOG force which, as I've already said, he opposed was based originally in Freetown and even when it became operational in Monrovia which was in August 1990 the Nigerian air force operating under the mantle of ECOMOG was able to use airfields in Sierra Leone. So in other words the Sierra Leonean government was giving active support to the ECOMOG force.

  • And did that spark any reaction from the accused at the time, to your knowledge?

  • It did. I mean I recall myself, and I've also read some citations in various literature including I think the TRC report, he made it very clear, including in radio broadcasts, that he was very opposed to ECOMOG, he was very opposed to the government of Nigeria in particular and to of course - to the various governments, including the Sierra Leonean government, which were lending their support to ECOMOG and he expressed this very vociferously and it meant that when the ECOMOG force actually landed in Monrovia it was from the beginning opposed militarily by the NPFL.

  • I believe somewhere in your report the statement made by the accused to BBC warning of the circumstances against Sierra Leone for allowing ECOMOG to use the country of Sierra Leone as a base was made. Is that correct?

  • That's correct. There was a broadcast which, if memory serves me well, was on 4 November 1990, a radio broadcast where Mr Taylor threatened Sierra Leoneans that they would, as he put, taste the bitterness of war and that phrase, I must say, is recalled to this day by many Sierra Leoneans, I've often heard people say that to me and it's referred to explicitly in the TRC report.

    But before that date the NPFL was already taking hundreds of hostages, these were people of the various nationalities associated with the ECOMOG force, particularly Nigerians, and people - Nigerians in particular were being held hostage and being abused by the NPFL even before the ECOMOG landing because the Nigerian government was known to be hostile, but particularly after the arrival of ECOMOG there were large numbers of hostages taken and some of whom have written memoirs of their traumatic experiences being maltreated and quite a few were killed I think.

  • How would you characterise the relationship between the accused and ECOMOG over the period that ECOMOG served in Liberia. You could break this into various phases as it suits you?

  • Well, ECOMOG was in Liberia all together from 1990 to 1998 so that's a long time and, as maybe your question implies, the relationship I'm sure changed over time. Mr Taylor - and that was partly a reflection of the political and military situation, it was partly a reflection of the personality and policies of the individual ECOMOG commanders and it was partly a reflection of who was in power in Nigeria, which of course changed over time.

    But as we've discussed, at the beginning Mr Taylor was extremely hostile to ECOMOG and I think the relationship was mutual. There was quite heavy fighting between ECOMOG forces and the NPFL in the latter part of 1990. There was then a period of much better relations and some real contact between the two sides and a period almost of - well, of a ceasefire really. There was a flare up in 1992 with the campaign known as Operation Octopus which was an attempt by the NPFL to conquer Monrovia militarily.

    It became extremely complicated because not only was ECOMOG a force with components coming from different West African countries, but also ECOMOG from a relatively early stage was in fact, although it was never officially said, sponsoring various militias in Liberia and in Sierra Leone and each of these militias of course had its own history and it's own modus operandi. So the situation became extremely complex.

    One of the complexities which I would just like to point out was it meant that the very countries which composed ECOMOG and were sending their troops to Liberia as part of ECOMOG, those same governments were very often supporting or patronising various of the armed militias in Liberia and to some extent in Sierra Leone. So it became extremely complex.

  • How long was ECOMOG deployed in Liberia?

  • If we can focus on the last two years of ECOMOG deployment in Liberia. There was a coup in Sierra Leone in 1997, correct?

  • And there was some involvement of ECOMOG in Sierra Leone to try and put down the coup and to try and restore - not to put down the coup, but to try and restore legitimate government. Is that correct?

  • Well, it is correct, but once again I would like to just underline the confusion between the Nigerian government and ECOMOG, because I think I'm correct in saying that there was never a formal decision by ECOMOG, or ECOWAS I should say, which was the political authority, there was never an official decision by ECOWAS to deploy its troops in Sierra Leone for internal purposes.

    As we've already discussed, ECOMOG forces were deployed in Sierra Leone in order to support their campaign in Liberia. In addition, there was a bilateral understanding between the government of Nigeria and the government of Sierra Leone from a rather earlier date so that there were some Nigerian troops there acting in a bilateral capacity. When the coup happened in 1997, ECOMOG - the ECOWAS leadership, the political leadership, was indeed - it didn't accept the change of regime in Sierra Leone and to that extent was opposed to it. So, it meant that de facto ECOMOG was now involved in a political and military conflict in Sierra Leone.

    But the point I'm getting at here is that - and this was confirmed to me by a previous executive secretary of ECOWAS, who said to me really that as far as he was concerned this was really a Nigerian deployment in Sierra Leone and not an ECOWAS deployment. So there was I would say a real confusion about whether it was Nigerian forces operating under the banner of ECOWAS - ECOMOG, or whether this was or the extent to which this was a genuinely collective decision by the member states.

  • So, in effect, following this coup there was an ECOMOG deployment in Sierra Leone as well as in Liberia at the same time?

  • And in 1998 the junta was removed from power, is that correct?

  • And ECOMOG played a role in the removal of the junta?

  • Yes, it did. I mean Nigerian forces, ECOMOG forces, overwhelmingly if not entirely Nigerian, forcibly removed the military junta from power in Freetown in February 1998.

  • Now in the wake of that intervention, which removed the junta from power, many junta officials were in flight from Freetown. Correct?

  • Yes, I mean the leading figures from the AFRC junta and some people associated with it of course left Monrovia. Some of them fled inland and some of them tried to escape by air to abroad.

  • Now, did your research indicate any particular situation where some of those escaping junta officials tried to land in Liberia?

  • That's correct. I remember - I remember the situation fairly well. Some AFRC officials indeed tried to land in - at an airport in Monrovia and there they were detained by ECOMOG personnel who at that stage were still physically present in Liberia.

  • And do you know whether that sparked any reaction from the accused, or his government, at the time?

  • Yes, because at that stage, we're referring now to February 1998, Mr Taylor was the duly elected president of Liberia. He therefore claimed sovereign - control of the whole sovereign territory, whereas ECOMOG was an international force dominated by Nigeria which still had some components on Liberian territory. I've really tried to find out what the agreement was and it's not altogether clear to me. I think it was probably not altogether clear to many of the protagonists, because there was a disagreement as to the exact rights or obligations of the various parties. So to cut a long story short, what we had was AFRC officials escaping from an attack by Nigerian forces in Freetown, escaping to Monrovia and then being arrested by Nigerian forces on Liberian territory.

  • Madam President, could the witness help us by directing us to where he deals with this particular matter in his report?

  • Mr Bangura, what is your response?

  • Your Honour, the witness makes various references in his report to the role of ECOMOG. He has not specifically dealt with the facts of this incident, but he has at various points in his report made mention of the role of ECOMOG in Liberia as well as in Sierra Leone. To the extent that some of these incidents which have to do with the - that role that ECOMOG played, to the extent that these incidents concern the role of ECOMOG I think --

  • In other words this particular aspect is not in the report per se, but it's part of the witness's --

  • Not specifically, but the incident - not the incident.

  • The incident, yes, but is part of the witness's testimony nonetheless?

  • Is that what your saying?

  • That is correct, your Honour.

  • Then we can't ask the witness to refer to it. Please proceed.

  • After the removal of the junta in Sierra Leone, was there any - there was further fighting in Sierra Leone as far as you recall from your research?

  • Yes. The junta was removed in February 1998. I visited Sierra Leone in May and June 1998. At that stage the main towns were under the control of ECOMOG, or the restored democratic government of Sierra Leone, but there was still violence occurring in some areas of the country, particularly in the north. And I remember very well interviewing the ECOMOG commander, General Khobe, and asking him about this, and he dismissed the matter as being of very little consequence, as being just a few elements of the junta, or the RUF who were their allies, who were still at large.

    I found this rather disturbing, because I was meeting people coming into Freetown every single day whose hands had been amputated and so clearly this - these rebels, or remnants of the AFRC joined with the RUF, whatever else they were doing they were still able to perpetrate violence in this way and I was told that they had an operation in course called "Operation No Living Thing".

    My interpretation at the time of course was very partial, because I was not able to have access to RUF leaders or various other sources, but it seemed to me that this was an effort by the RUF and the AFRC - and I wasn't clear what the relationship precisely was between them - that this was an effort to show that they were still in existence and they still had the capacity to inflict violence of this nature.

    And this is, I think, still to some extent my personal interpretation of why this campaign of amputating hands became so major after that point. I have to say that there had previously been cases of amputations of hands, but it seemed to me that it accelerated at this point because the AFRC and RUF were trying to make the point that they still existed, whereas General Khobe was telling me and the general message from the Sierra Leonean government and ECOMOG was to say, "The problem has been solved". Clearly it hadn't been solved.

  • And earlier in your testimony today [microphone not activated] of weapons which was then used to fuel the war again in Sierra Leone. Is that correct?

  • Mr Bangura, you will have to repeat that. I'm not quite sure what you said. Something had gone wrong with your microphone.

  • Earlier in your testimony today we did discuss the issue of diamonds being sold from Sierra Leone which were - the proceeds of which were then used to purchase arms to fuel the war again. Is that correct?

  • Yes, we discussed that. Yes.

  • Now, I want to refer you - and about what time - I think based on the reports, panel of experts reports which we examined, or which we identified, we did not go into the details, this period, the peak period - what would you say was the peak period of this activity of diamonds arms trade according to your findings?

  • Well, it was clear that there was a diamond trade of sorts in existence from the very beginning of the war. I said earlier today that diamonds have been smuggled from Sierra Leone to Liberia for many decades, so long before the war. I've also found press reports of diamonds being smuggled by RUF rebels from Sierra Leone into Liberia as early as 1991, so right from the beginning of the war in Sierra Leone. From - there were phases in the war in Sierra Leone. The TRC identifies three key phases which it names as 1991 to 1994, 1994 to 1997 and then the period after 1997.

  • I would refer you to the period after 1997.

  • Well, that periodisation which is made by the TRC is of course based on changing political and military situation. After 1997 the situation was such that clearly that was the period when the diamond trade between Sierra Leone and Liberia was really able to expand for a variety of reasons.

  • And at this time - and we are talking about the period in the wake of the removal of the junta from power in Freetown. At this time there was increased capacity of the RUF to attack government troops and ECOMOG in Sierra Leone. Is that correct?

  • Well, after - in February 1998 ECOMOG troops took control in Monrovia - I'm sorry, let me - I misspoke. ECOMOG troops took control in Freetown and took control certainly of the main centres in Sierra Leone. They - RUF and AFRC forces were in some relatively remote areas and they appear to have had fairly free access to the border with Liberia, and of course by this stage pretty much - well, all Liberian territory was under control of the government of Liberia which by this stage was led by President Taylor.

  • Could the witness be assisted and be shown the document marked MFI-1, his report? Page 10 of that.

  • As the report is being shown, Mr Bangura, I'm advised there are less than three minutes to the end of the tape.

  • I am conscious of the time, your Honour. I will probably ask a couple of questions and then wrap it up for today:

  • Dr Ellis, you refer to some statement or rather an accusation made by an ECOMOG commander in Liberia. I'm referring to the first paragraph. It depends on how you read paragraph, but I will read the first paragraph as that starting about a quarter of the page up. About six lines down, five or six lines down, do you see the name "General Felix Mujakperuo"?

  • And I think the sentence actually starts a line before that. It says:

    "The ECOMOG commander in Sierra Leone, General Felix Mujakperuo, publicly accused President Taylor of supplying arms to the RUF by means of Ukrainian-registered aircraft and crews."

    Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Now at this time the capacity of the RUF to mount attacks against ECOMOG had significantly increased, is that not so?

  • Yes. As I've indicated, throughout 1998 ECOMOG - I mean, the Sierra Leonean army had effectively ceased to exist at that stage. What we had was ECOMOG forces, which were largely Nigerian, and then the militia known as the Civil Defence Force.

  • Mr Ellis, I will have to intervene here. Mr Bangura, the tape has come to an end. We are going to adjourn now until tomorrow afternoon. We will not sit in the morning, but we will reconvene at 2.30 tomorrow. In the meantime, Mr Ellis, I would ask you not to discuss your testimony.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30pm to be reconvened on Thursday 17 January 2008 at 2.30 p.m.]