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

  • Mr Koker, yesterday when we left off I believe we were going through some of the events in Koidu and I would briefly like to revisit some of the issues we talked about yesterday today. Speaking about Kono District and "Operation No Living Thing", you mentioned yesterday, correct me if I am wrong, that civilians were captured and you included boys and girls. Is that correct?

  • And they were captured to undertake what you called carrying of loads. True?

  • The adults were carrying the loads, not the children. That is how it happened.

  • There were other things you said happened to civilians besides the carrying of loads, but I don't wish to trouble you about that now. What I want to know is this. Was there a command from some of the commanders above to the foot soldiers to capture civilians?

  • What do you mean by commander and ordinary soldier? A soldier is a commander. There are commanders amongst soldiers. Commanders and soldiers as well go to the war front. I would like to tell you that as you asked me yesterday to continue saying the truth, that is what I am saying.

  • It appears there is a misunderstanding in the interpretation. What you are responding to is not what counsel asked. Counsel, would you please redirect your question.

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • And, Mr Interpreter, I am requesting you again interpret accurately so that the witness can understand the question, not misunderstand. Is that clear, Mr Interpreter? Mr Interpreter?

  • Your Honours, the person interpreting into Mende cannot talk to you because the mike is not channeled that way. He cannot talk to you.

  • [Microphone not activated] you can interpret so I can understand if he has understood.

  • Yes, your Honours, but it is not in the same booth and I am not talking to the witness.

  • Please interpret what I have said to the Mende interpreter, if you can.

  • I cannot, your Honours. He is getting you, but I cannot get on to him and he cannot reply, your Honours. That is the way the channels are.

  • Okay. Mr Anyah, please ask your question again and let us see if we can progress.

  • Yes, your Honour:

  • Mr Koker, my question is this.

  • Was there a command from the higher-ups, the top people in the RUF or AFRC in Kono, to the lower soldiers to capture civilians?

  • Are you absolutely sure about that, Mr Koker?

  • Well, your Honours, I will be referring to tab 6, if it please the Court, and this is from the bundle of documents that we tendered yesterday. The ERN number of the page to which I will be referring is 00034391. It is otherwise paginated as page 6 at the bottom right-hand corner and I will be reading from the middle of the page where it starts out saying "Paragraph 2 of 13 04 05":

  • Mr Koker, you spoke - your Honour, may I proceed?

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Koker, you spoke with the Prosecution on May, 21 2007 and they took notes of their conversation with you and I want to read you some of that conversation. It says in the relevant part:

    "The witness said he saw civilians being captured by both the RUF and AFRC soldiers. These civilians include men, women and children. The ages of children were between 12 and 15 years old. The witness states that the capturing of civilians took place in Kono District; these incidents took place in the areas occupied by the RUF and AFRC soldiers. This was the first week of February 1998. The witness said these civilians were captured to be used as labour to transport on their heads looted properties of RUF and AFRC soldiers. The witness states that the capturing of civilians was not an order he heard being given by commanders. But it was a common practice by every fighter, junior and senior commanders to capture civilians".

    Mr Koker, that is what you said on 21 May 2007 to the Prosecution, isn't it?

  • Yes, that is true and that is what happened.

  • Yes, thank you too.

  • Yesterday we spoke about events in Masiaka. Do you remember that?

  • Yes.

  • And in Masiaka as well yesterday you said civilians were forcefully captured, is that true?

  • And you also said in respect of Kailahun District yesterday that civilians were also forcefully captured, true?

  • For the record Masiaka is in Bombali District of Sierra Leone, is it not?

  • Masiaka is not in the Bombali District. It is in the Tokolili District.

  • In which district of Sierra Leone is Makeni?

  • Makeni is Bombali.

  • How far is Masiaka from Bombali? I am sorry, from Makeni?

  • I am not a driver. I cannot give you the distance.

  • So, you do not know the distance. Is that your evidence?

  • Thank you. I put it to you, Mr Koker, that with respect to Kailahun District the capturing of civilians was also not precipitated or caused by any order from any top commander. Do you agree?

  • I will come back to that. Yesterday you spoke of being an overseer of prisoners of war, did you not?

  • And this was when you were in Kailahun District in Buedu, true?

  • And at a particular point in time there came to be some Nigerian soldiers in your custody, correct?

  • Yes, that is true.

  • And this was shortly after the Lome agreement in July of 1999, was it not?

  • I don't know about Lome agreement. I was in the bush.

  • Did you give a statement to the effect that in July of 1999 Foday Sankoh came to Buedu?

  • Yes, Foday Sankoh came to Buedu. He said, "No more war".

  • And you saw him with your own eyes?

  • And that was in July of 1999?

  • At that time I was not using a calendar, but I saw him.

  • Well, in your statement I put it to you that you said Foday Sankoh came in July of 1999. Isn't that true?

  • What statement are we referring to?

  • It was in the rainy season.

  • Your Honour, it is tab 1. I am trying to look for the citation and I will find it in just a minute. The ERN number, your Honour, it is in tab 1, is 00003598, and the paragraph in question is the second full paragraph in the middle of the page:

  • Mr Koker, in your first statement to the Officer of the Prosecutor on 26 March 2003 you made the following comments:

    "Could remember sometimes in July 1999 when Foday Sankoh went to Buedu to address them. Johnny Paul Koroma was also present".

    Do you recall making that statement to the Prosecutor?

  • Yes, in the rainy season. In the rainy season.

  • But as a matter of fact you specifically mentioned July 1999, did you not?

  • I said it is the rainy season.

  • Do you disagree that you did not use the word "July" when you made those references?

  • It was in the rainy season.

  • Okay. If I told you that Foday Sankoh was in jail in July of 1999, would I be mistaken?

  • I know he went there in the rainy season. I don't know when he was released from jail. I only saw him in Buedu.

  • Going back to my original question about the ECOMOG soldiers and Nigerians, there were 20 of them in your custody, were there not?

  • There were 21.

  • And at some point a delegation came from Freetown to Buedu to secure the release of these prisoners, true?

  • And one of the members of that delegation was somebody by the name of S Y B Rogers who is now deceased, a former member of the RUF, correct?

  • I knew Paul Rogers, but I didn't know his initials. I knew he was called Paul Rogers. I saw him.

  • And he came from Freetown with a delegation to secure the release of these Nigerian soldiers, correct?

  • Except when we were told that we should release them, he did not come to me. He came to my Masters. They did the arrangement.

  • Thank you, Mr Koker. I was not asking if he came to you.

  • I was asking about his presence in Buedu. Your answer is, yes, he was present in Buedu?

  • A crowd came to Buedu, but I did not see him. He came, people came, but I did not see him. That is what I want you to know. I will be at the office. I was not at Mosquito's house. They used to go to Mosquito's house and there is a distance between Mosquito and I.

  • Your Honours, can the witness slow down a bit and repeat the last bit of his answer?

  • Mr Witness, I will request you again to please speak slowly because the interpreters are trying to keep up with you. Please repeat your answer.

  • I said people came, but I was at my office. I was not a member of the Council which will receive members of the delegation whenever a delegation would go there. I was not a member of that Council. I just want to clarify that for you that I was just at my office with the prisoners. I would not know what would happen at the other end.

  • Thank you, Mr. Koker, I understand, but yesterday you were close enough to Sam Bockarie to be present when arms were delivered. You said so yesterday, did you not?

  • Yes, for security reasons as an MP.

  • Going back to the Nigerian soldiers, one of them developed tuberculosis whilst in custody, did he not?

  • And I put it to you, Mr Koker, that in respect of this one Nigerian soldier you and your MP commander, Tom Sandy, executed him in the dark of night and buried him. Isn't that true?

  • I am saying to you here and now that when that Nigerian developed tuberculosis, you and your immediate superior, Tom Sandy, took him out at night, killed him and buried him. Isn't that true?

  • Tom Sandy and I? Tom Sandy and I? Are you talking about Tom Sandy, or talking about me? You are saying Tom Sandy and I.

  • The question, Mr Koker, is straightforward. You and Tom Sandy killed a Nigerian POW when he developed tuberculosis. True, or false?

  • For me, I did not do that. Me particularly I did not do that. I don't know if Tom Sandy did, but I did not do it. I did not do that.

  • But you would agree with me, would you not, that one Nigerian soldier died in your custody? True?

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat that?:

  • He was taken to Mosquito. I was not there. That is why I said for me. I was not talking for Tom Sandy, I was talking about the part that I played, but it was not in my presence. He was taken from my place and I didn't even know where he was taken to. They only said they were taking him to Mosquito's residence.

  • [Microphone not activated] I missed the first part of his response. There was no interpretation.

  • Mr Witness, can you please repeat your full answer. The question was - what was the question again?

  • The question was that he and Tom Sandy executed a Nigerian soldier who developed --

  • I am sorry, Mr Anyah, I should not really correct you, but my record is your last question was, "One Nigerian soldier died in your custody". You had moved away from that point.

  • I don't write them down and so I can't repeat it exactly.

  • Thank you. Mr Koker, I put it to you and you have agreed, correct me if I am wrong, that one Nigerian soldier died while a POW in Buedu, true?

  • That is not true. He did not die in our hands. We handed him over to Mosquito. He did not die whilst he was in prison. He did not die in prison. He did not die in custody. He did not die in detention. That is why when you said the two of us, Tom Sandy and I, no, I said I am talking for myself, not for Tom Sandy. I did not see him die in the jail. Nobody ever died in jail in that MP house and so that question is not correct.

  • Well, let us reduce it to some basic elements. Did one soldier die?

  • Okay.

  • Irrespective of where he died, did one of those 21 POW soldiers die?

  • And he was in the custody of the RUF when he died, correct?

  • Thank you, Mr Koker. Let us move to - actually I would like to go back to Masiaka for a minute from yesterday and you have told us it is in Tokolili District. I believe you said so. Yesterday you told us that Masiaka was one of the places where civilians were mistreated, correct?

  • Now, Mr Koker, we have counted about ten interviews --

  • That you have done about ten interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor since you started testifying before the Special Court and I want to propose to you - indeed, I put it to you - that all the records about all your conversations with the Office of the Prosecutor in all of them at no time did you say that civilians were mistreated in Masiaka except for one time; that time being your last interview this month on January, 5th. Am I mistaken in saying that?

  • From the start of this war up to the end of it, if any civilian says nobody did him any wrong in Masiaka then that means I told a lie.

  • Well, that was not my question. My question was when you spoke with them on nine occasions from 26 May - I am sorry, from 26 March 2003 up until last year, I believe your last interview was on 23 May 2007, in those nine interviews at no time did you mention to them that civilians were mistreated in Masiaka, did you?

  • Let me be honest with you. In my first statement I did not say that, but in the last statement I said so. That is why I said to you in Court that there are many things - many things happened. If I say I want to explain everything, you would write until you can write no more.

  • For the Court's edification, the first ten statements to which I refer are in the firsts ten tabs of the bundle:

  • Now you said you did not make any references to civilians being mistreated in Masiaka in your first statement on 26 March 2003, but after your first statement you had eight other interviews with the Prosecution from 2003 through 2007 and I am putting it to you at no time in the course of those eight interviews did you say civilians were mistreated in Masiaka?

  • The mistreatment started in Freetown. I want you to understand me. It continued up to Buedu even until the end of the war. If I want to explain the mistreatment, you will write a lot. If something happened and after a long time I spoke about it, I don't think that one is bad. A lot of things happened. You cannot talk about it at a single time. We just pick from amongst them. You see things amongst the things that you knew, so I don't think that is supposed to confuse you.

  • Thank you. I am not confused. I simply put it to you that you had nine different opportunities to tell the Prosecution that civilians were mistreated in Masiaka and you failed to do so. That is the case, is it not?

  • In fact, the nine chances you are talking about that was small. As an MP, the nine chances you are talking about for me I told the Court in Freetown twice and I am telling you as well here. For an MP in a war, that is a small number of times. I told you if I want to talk about mistreatments and the things that happened in the war, no, that will be too much.

  • Thank you, Mr Koker. I will take it that you do not wish to --

  • Thank you very much, sir.

  • I take it that you do not wish to answer the question. Let us move on to Buedu, Kailahun District, Sierra Leone. Yesterday you testified to a number of events in Buedu. Now, let me attempt to lay some context here. When you were in Buedu you said you got there in March of 1998, correct?

  • No.

  • It was some time between February and March, wasn't it?

  • I went to Kailahun first before going to Buedu. I was in Kailahun in March.

  • When were you in Buedu?

  • When I left Jokibu.

  • The question is what month was that?

  • I can't recall the month, because it is a long time now.

  • How much time passed from when you were in Kailahun Town until you got to Buedu?

  • It took a long time. A little bit long. I went to Jokibu first before going to Buedu. That is why I said it took a little long.

  • When you were in Buedu, shall we agree it was in 1998?

  • When you were in Buedu there was RUF there, correct?

  • Yes.

  • There was ECOMOG soldiers there, correct?

  • There were other peace keepers, what you would call military observers, were there not?

  • At the time that I was in Buedu, there was no military observer based in there.

  • Were you in Buedu from 1998 until 2000?

  • I was there in 1998 to 1999. 2000 did not meet me there.

  • Your Honours, I would just request that while the witness is not actually being referred to the binder that the binder be shut so it is not open in front of him.

  • In addition to - may I proceed, your Honour?

  • In addition to RUF and ECOMOG, when you were in Buedu Kamajors were in Buedu as well, true?

  • It was a rebel zone, not a Kamajor zone.

  • Then RUF - AFRC members were in Buedu, were they not?

  • Yes, you are correct.

  • Have you ever heard of ULIMO?

  • Yes.

  • And ULIMO stands for United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, does it not?

  • No, I did not care about anything that had to do with Liberia. I only cared about Sierra Leone. Libya is another country. That is another country.

  • Well, we are in agreement that ULIMO - you do know what ULIMO is, correct?

  • I heard the name ULIMO, but I did not know what it meant. It is a Liberian thing, not Sierra Leonean. I don't want you to take me to Liberia. I was not in Liberia. I was in Sierra Leone.

  • Mr Koker, in fact you do not like Liberia, do you?

  • I like the Liberians. We are all West Africans, but he should mind his own business. They should mind their business and we should mind our own business in Sierra Leone too.

  • Mr Koker, I put it to you that the border area between Liberia and Sierra Leone in 1998 was controlled by ULIMO-K. True, or false?

  • I am hearing that from you now, but I didn't care about it.

  • Mr Koker, you are a military man, are you not?

  • In 1998 you were a military man with the RUF, a rebel warring faction, true?

  • Yes.

  • And in that capacity you were aware, were you not, of all of the other warring factions in the area or vicinity of Buedu, were you not?

  • No. The soldiers in Holland here cannot know the soldiers in Sweden, or tell the number of battalions in Sweden.

  • How far is Buedu from the Sierra Leone/Liberian border?

  • From Buedu to Dawa is seven miles.

  • So when I asked you if you were aware of the presence of ULIMO at that border, I am speaking of a distance of seven miles. Were you aware that there were other fighters fighting for ULIMO at that border in 1998?

  • There was no ULIMO there. There were Navy Rangers, Charles Taylor's soldiers.

  • And these are the same Navy Rangers to whom you referred yesterday in relation to off-loading arms from trucks, is that true?

  • Not ULIMO. They were Charles Taylor's people.

  • Mr Interpreter, in English.

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • We tend to lose part of your interpretation. I don't know what is happening technically.

  • The last answer was, "Not ULIMO, but Charles Taylor's people".

  • Yes, but please make sure your sentences are complete. We lose part of what you are saying and then we don't understand the response. We don't hear you fully. Please proceed.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Correct me if I am wrong. Did you say you knew ULIMO to be at the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia in 1998?

  • I did not say so and I did not know them. I used to know the Navy Rangers. At that time it was Charles Taylor's government.

  • The Navy Rangers to whom you are just referring are the same Navy Rangers that you meant yesterday when you said you saw men wearing yellow Polo T-shirts with the words "NPFL" written on them, true?

  • Yes, they are the ones.

  • If I told you, Mr Koker, that the NPFL was no longer in existence in 1998, would I be mistaken?

  • I saw them there. You were not there. I was there. That is why I have said - that is why I am saying that they were the ones I saw. Maybe they bypassed, but they were the ones I saw. It is a war.

  • I take it from your answer that you were a visitor to the area - strike that. I take it from your answer that you did visit the border area between Liberia and Sierra Leone at that time, true?

  • Yes, I used to go there. As long as it borders with my own country, I will go there. That is why I said the Navy Rangers, that was the politician [sic] that they were in. They did not say they were ULIMO. They said they were NPFL. That is why I did not speak about ULIMO. I don't know about ULIMO.

  • My question was, "You went to the border areas?", and you have said, "Yes", correct?

  • Now those borders were not closed at that time meaning people could move back and forth between Liberia and Sierra Leone, isn't that true?

  • And whenever there would be conflicts in Sierra Leone, or major outbreaks of violence, refugees would move from Sierra Leone into Liberia, correct?

  • Yes.

  • And whenever there were problems in Liberia, Liberian refugees would move from Liberia into Sierra Leone, true?

  • All of that side was under the control of Liberia.

  • My question is was it --

  • So, you are saying Liberians did move to Sierra Leone as refugees? That is your statement, correct?

  • You spoke yesterday a little bit when you spoke of your mother and her family history, about the languages in this general area. Do you recall that?

  • And Buedu is in Kissi Tongi Chiefdom, is it not?

  • And the general language in that area is Kissi, am I correct?

  • And adjacent on the Liberian side of the border is Lofa County, correct?

  • And in that general area of Liberia you have the Golas, true?

  • There is not one ethnic group there. There are Loma people there. There are Kissi people there. The Gbandi people are there.

  • Thank you, Mr Koker. In that general border area between the two countries, Liberian English is spoken quite frequently, correct?

  • Yes.

  • And that was the case back in 1998, was it not?

  • That one we were using Liberian currency in Kailahun District. We were not using leones. That is why I said a while ago that that area was under Liberia. They were not under the Sierra Leone constitution. They were under Liberian constitution. They were using the dollar. The Lee own had no value there.

  • Okay, Mr Koker, that is fine and I will agree with you that they were using the Liberian dollar. We are in agreement about that, correct?

  • Mr Interpreter, again we are having problems. Obviously, the question you put to the witness did not relate to the use of language. Could you listen carefully to what the lawyer is saying and make sure that is what you interpret to the witness.

    Mr Anyah, please ask your question again.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Koker, I need a "yes" or "no" answer to this question. Liberian English was spoken frequently in 1998 along the border areas of Liberia and Sierra Leone, yes?

  • Now between the two countries there were several different crossing points, were there not?

  • There was a border crossing point at Dawa, was there not?

  • There was a border crossing point at the place called Baidu, correct?

  • How do you spell that?

  • Yes, your Honour. For the record, it is spelt B-a-i-d-u:

  • There was also a border crossing point at a place called Sapai, correct?

  • I don't know there.

  • For the record, Sapai is spelt S-a-p-a-i. There was also a way to access another country, Guinea, through the Moa River, correct?

  • So, there were different avenues through which people could move back and forth between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Would that be fair to say?

  • It is not like that. There was security there. You don't just go like that. There are many roads that you don't just go through because the routes are many, no. The border was protected.

  • At this time there was no Sierra Leone army, correct?

  • That is true, it is not like that. There were Sierra Leone soldiers there, but it is not on the Kailahun end.

  • The question is was there an organised Sierra Leone army at this time in Buedu?

  • No, we were all rebels now.

  • Mr Koker, there were Sierra Leoneans within the - I am sorry, strike that. There were Liberians within the RUF, were there not?

  • In fact there were quite a number of Liberians in higher up positions within the RUF, correct?

  • And one such person was a Brigade Commander for the RUF, right there in Kailahun, Colonel Martin George, true?

  • Yes.

  • And Martin regular spelling, George regular spelling. At some point your supervisor, Tom Sandy, was actually replaced by a Liberian woman, was he not?

  • Going back briefly to the issue of the border crossing points, aside from official border crossing points there were footpaths and other unofficial border crossing points, true?

  • That is not how it happened. There was no road you would use that is not known by the government. The border was protected. The RUF government protected the border on that side, just so that no enemy would come through it.

  • What you are saying to us is that the government knew every single point of crossing between Sierra Leone and Liberia and had somebody there. Is that your testimony?

  • I want you to break it down for me a little. What government are you talking about? Kabbah's government, or RUF government?

  • Well, let us try with the RUF government. Are you saying that there was no point within the border area of Sierra Leone and Liberia that the RUF was not controlling?

  • RUF used to control it. Security was paramount there.

  • But that particular area in terms of its topography is a forest area, is it not?

  • And we are talking about thick, dense forest, are we not?

  • Forest. It is a forest range.

  • Thank you too.

  • You know somebody by the name of Foday Kallon, do you not?

  • Foday Kallon was a former member of the RUF, was he not?

  • In fact Foday Kallon, according to you, was killed by Issa Sesay in September 1998?

  • Repeat that question so that I can understand properly.

  • In 1998 when you were in Buedu, was one of your RUF colleagues named Foday Kallon executed by Issa Sesay?

  • Yes. Issa Sesay killed him, but I can't remember the month.

  • He was killed by Issa Sesay because he was alleged to have traded arms with ECOMOG, right?

  • They did not say he was selling guns. They said he had conversation with ECOMOG. It was sheer hatred.

  • The question is was he killed for engaging in any kind of transaction, trading, something with ECOMOG?

  • The question you are asking me, the way you ask me that is how I answer it. That is not how it happened. They had no gun business with ECOMOG. They said he had had conversation with ECOMOG, that ECOMOG had left Sierra Leone and gone to Guinea and that he had gone to ECOMOG in Guinea to get conversation with them. There was no gun business with them. Because you have talked about gun, that is what I am saying. There was no gun transaction. They just had conversation. That is what it was.

  • Well, Mr Koker, there is a distinction between using the word "trading" and saying someone had a conversation. I want to put your statement to you.

  • Yes.

  • Your Honours, I will be referring to tab 4 and it is on the second page, page 2, and it is the first paragraph:

  • Mr Koker, you made this remark to the Prosecution on 13 April 2005. You said:

    "In about September 1998 I saw Issa Sesay shoot Foday Kallon. The allegation against Foday Kallon was that he had traded with ECOMOG".

    Did you make that statement?

  • I said that, but when because you said to trade in arms that is why I said no, because there is no arms in the statement. What is in this statement is what I have responded to. That is true. You have added something that is not in that statement that they traded in arms. There is no trade in arms there. That is true.

  • So, your testimony is that Foday Kallon was killed for having conversations with ECOMOG. Is that your testimony?

  • When you told the Prosecution he was killed because he traded with ECOMOG, what you meant by "traded" was a conversation, true?

  • Yes, when he left to go and talk to them that was what I meant and that is what happened. I was not there. I did not hear what they said, but he told me. He said, "I had gone there and spoken to them and they had arrested me and brought me".

  • Do you recall around the time when you were in Buedu that there were rumours that Ukranians were bringing arms into Sierra Leone?

  • I can't recall that. It is a long time now. I can't recall that.

  • Perhaps I could help you recall. Your Honours, I will be going to tab 4, the same tab we just were at but this time it is on the first page. These are the proofing notes between Mr Koker and the Office of the Prosecutor from 13 April 2005. In paragraph 1, the first sentence - and, Mr Koker, I want you to consider this, whether you made this remark to the Prosecution - it says:

    "During the time when the Junta was in power in Sierra Leone I heard rumours that Ukranians were bringing arms to Sierra Leone".

    Did you say that to the Prosecution?

  • Yes, I myself saw a ship in Freetown. A Ukranian ship.

  • So, one source of arms into Sierra Leone was Ukraine. Would that be accurate?

  • Your Honours, can the witness be instructed to kindly take that answer again?

  • Mr Witness, the interpreters did not hear what you said. Please repeat from the beginning your answer.

  • In gun business - in gun business, just like you have put it to me, that is what I want to clarify. A Ukranian would not just bring a gun from Ukraine if somebody - if somebody is not transacting it with him.

  • But you have told us you saw a Ukranian ship in Freetown and is it fair to say that you assumed that that ship was bringing arms to Sierra Leone?

  • At that time I did not see a gun, but I saw a ship. That Ukranian ship, maybe there was an agreement between the Ukraine and the government. At that time it was Johnny Paul's government, because Mosquito and Johnny Paul were in agreement at that time. That is why I said a Ukranian would not take a gun from Ukraine and bring it here. Even I myself would not take a gun from elsewhere and bring it here if there is no argument between myself and that government.

  • Well I am not asking about agreements between Johnny Paul, or the AFRC and the Ukranians. Are we in agreement, do you agree, that Ukranians were believed to be bringing arms into Sierra Leone at that time?

  • The Ukranians? That is what I am telling you. That is what I told you a while ago that if it is true I will tell you. If I am telling lies I will tell you that I am telling lies. I saw a Ukranian ship. I did not see them off-load guns. At that time I used to see guns and the guns I saw were - did not belong to our soldiers, but I want you to understand me.

  • Let us move on. Let us move on to your evidence yesterday about off-loading guns from trucks in the vicinity of Sam Bockarie's place in Buedu. You told us yesterday that on two occasions, as you recall, you personally assisted in off-loading weapons from Liberia in Buedu, correct?

  • And the period in question was in July 1998, was it not?

  • And you gave us some indicia, or indications, about how you knew these weapons came from Liberia. True?

  • And one way you knew was because the Liberian - or the men who brought the weapons spoke Liberian English. That is what you said, was it not?

  • You also claimed to have known because on some occasions the Liberian men told you the weapons were from Liberia, true?

  • Your Honour, objection on mis-statement. We are talking about the first shipment he observed.

  • I can partition the questions, if necessary.

  • I mean if we are referring to - I was just wondering if he is being asked about the first shipment, because it is my understanding that he was being asked --

  • Well, the witness has not said he has misunderstood.

  • If the witness has not misunderstood, let counsel ask. If the witness misunderstands he will ask for clarification.

    Please continue, Mr Anyah.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Koker, one of the ways you told us yesterday you knew these weapons were from Liberia was because the men who brought the weapons told you that the weapons were from Liberia, correct?

  • That is true, but what I am telling you you have confused me in one area. When you are saying talking about "shipment", I did not say "ship". I want you when you are asking me about the guns that I talked about, don't talk about shipment. I did not see a ship movement. It is the truck that brought them.

  • I am speaking of the trucks. You mentioned yesterday in the first incident or event that you assisted with that there was a truck, a car and a jeep and seven people from Liberia. Isn't that true?

  • And it was this first incident in July that you saw some of the men wearing a yellow Polo T-shirt with the words "NPFL Navy Rangers" printed on them, correct?

  • That is for the first time. It was the uniform. It was not just worn by one person. Many of them on that side. It was uniform.

  • Well was it the first time, or the second time, that you saw men with yellow Polo T-shirts with "NPFL" on them?

  • It was not at that time even. It was just when I went there they were wearing a uniform. That Polo T-shirt is a uniform. I want you to allow me to clarify so that everybody - the whole world - can understand. I don't want to tell lies, because if I tell lies it would be a sin. It is a uniform.

  • So we are in agreement - and I would like you, if you could, to answer this "yes" or "no" - that there were men wearing T-shirts, or as you call them uniforms, that had printed on them "NPFL Navy Rangers"? Yes, or no?

  • Yes, yes.

  • And with respect to the second delivery of materials, as you called them yesterday, you said you saw two big trucks, two mini-vans and a Range Rover jeep, correct?

  • Now, Mr Koker, this might take some time, but I want to go over briefly your previous statements to the Office of the Prosecutor about arms shipments, or deliveries from Liberia, as well as your testimony in the AFRC case in July 2005.

    Your Honours, the first - your Honours, the first tab to which I will be referring is tab 1 and that is the statement from 26 March 2003 and the ERN number ends in 97. It is 00003597. The section of the page would be the third full paragraph, which begins with "Witness", and I will be reading from five lines down where it says, "Witness participated ..." Mr Koker, this is what you told the Prosecution on 26 March. It says:

    "Witness participated about four times in the offloading of arms form [sic] DAF Trucks from Monrovia into a store at Gokodu R at Buedu. He saw AK 47s RPGs, machine guns and other ammunition. Knew the arms were from Liberia because those who brought them were Liberian because they spoke the Liberian English. He was also told by some of them whom he saw dressed in Liberian arm uniforms".

    This is what you said to the Prosecution in March 2003, correct?

  • Yes, it is true.

  • In that statement there is no mention of the name "Charles Taylor", is there?

  • It was Charles Taylor's government.

  • My question is in the statement I have just read you did not mention Charles Taylor, did you?

  • It was Charles Taylor's country. It had come from Charles Taylor's country. In our own country our constitution was not like that.

  • That statement does not mention wearing T-shirts with the NPFL logo on it, does it?

  • They were uniformed people. They were Liberian soldiers. They were wearing Liberian military uniforms and it was Charles Taylor's government. It was not Mosquito's soldiers. They were Charles Taylor's soldiers. I did not see Charles Taylor there, but it was during his government. He extended his power there.

  • Mr Koker, you have in front of you the excerpt from your statement and I ask you again. What I have just read does not mention any Liberian soldiers wearing NPFL T-shirts, does it?

  • Yes, they wore uniforms.

  • You are saying that I just read you a paragraph that said people wore uniforms that said "NPFL"? That is what you are telling this Court?

  • They wore uniform. Some of them underneath the uniform they would wear Polo T-shirts. I am not telling you lies here. In the military, you would wear a jacket and a Polo T-shirt underneath it. The Polo there would be writing on it. Like the one I am wearing, some would have writings on them. The jacket there would be no writing on it. They had the jacket and the Polo T-shirt as well.

  • I will take it that you do not wish to answer the question. That statement I have just read you nowhere does it indicate that some of the vehicles that brought these materials, as you call them, were mini-vans or cars, correct?

  • The guns that came there did not walk on foot. The amount of guns that came there did not walk on foot. If that is what you are telling me, that I did not see a vehicle, then you are telling lies. How could the guns come there? Did they come there by magic?

  • Mr Koker, I am saying yesterday you told us that one of the jeeps was a Toyota Land Cruiser and the second one during the second arms shipment was a Range Rover. You were very, very specific yesterday and I am trying to be specific as well today. When you gave the statement on 26 March, other than saying trucks you did not mention jeeps, mini-vans or cars and you know the difference between them, do you not?

  • There were no guns in the jeeps. Even in the Range Rover there was no gun. They were in the trucks.

  • Your Honours, let the witness repeat. He is talking too fast.

  • Mr Witness, please repeat your answer slowly for the interpreters.

  • Okay. In fact, I am not saying it actually even. I was there. He was not there. I want him to note that. I am not telling a lie. I am talking for my God. The trucks had the guns. The jeeps and the Range Rovers had human beings in them. They were securing the guns to ensure that it got to us. I don't know if you understand me now?

  • Mr Koker, I ask the questions and so I will ask you this next. One of the ways you knew the guns came from Liberia in that statement you said was because the men spoke Liberian English, do you agree?

  • You also said you knew they came from Liberia because the men told you the arms came from Liberia, correct?

  • Yes, they came from Liberia. They did not come from Guinea. It was Liberia, that is true.

  • Shall we go to tab 3, if it please the Court. This is a one sheet summary of an interview of the Prosecutor and Mr Koker on 4 February 2004 and I will be reading from the top part of the document where it says, "I saw arms come to Buedu ..." Mr Koker, this is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor on February, 4th.

  • Yes.

  • Your Honours, in fairness to the witness it should be put the very first line of this statement that this is, "... gave the following additions to his previous statement". In fairness to the witness, that should be put to him.

  • Mr Anyah, that is in order. Put the statement accurately to the witness.

  • Okay, I will do so, your Honour.

  • And this particular document we are looking at is additions to his previous statement.

  • Yes, Madam President:

  • Mr Koker, you were interviewed on 4 February 2004 and you were interviewed for the purposes of making additional remarks to a prior statement, correct?

  • And before 4 February 2004 you had made three or had three prior interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor, correct?

  • On 4 February this is what you told them. You said:

    "I saw arms come to Buedu passing through Dawa Crossing Point at midnight in July 1998, the arms came from Liberia because of the way the motorcar came from, also I was briefed by Tom Sandy that they were expecting arms from Liberia".

    This is what you said to the Office of the Prosecutor in February 2004, true?

  • That is true.

  • So on this occasion the source or basis of your knowledge that these arms were coming from Liberia was the direction from which the vehicles came, correct?

  • The road they used to come and the way I was briefed by my Master, Tom Sandy, and I saw the guns. They did not come from Guinea. They came from Liberia. That is the way I know they came from Liberia.

  • So it was because of what you saw, the direction from which they came and Tom Sandy's information that led you to conclude they came from Liberia, correct?

  • And I saw the guns myself. That is how I knew that it was true. I saw the guns myself - the guns - and I listed them. If I didn't see the guns, I would not have said it was true.

  • Just so we understand, you are not saying that you can look at a gun and know it is from Liberia, correct?

  • I will tell you that - I will tell you that I will see a gun and tell you that it was produced in this country, because I did some training in that as well. It is good for you to know that I came from the military to join them. I know a little about guns. I cannot be stupefied.

  • What you are saying to us then is that you can look at a gun and tell us from which country it was manufactured. Is that your testimony?

  • Yes, because all the companies that make guns are licensed companies. Whenever a gun is in the market it is licensed. Beretta are made by the Italians and they are licensed. Even the German 3 that I was talking about, German 3 is licensed. M16 is licensed. AK Chinese is licensed. The Russians' AK is licensed too. Maybe you don't know, but if we are talking about guns I will tell you that if I see a gun I will tell you that it is manufactured from this country. They will have to sign treaties. They have to go through a lot of arrangements. It is not anything that has to do with grouk [phon].

  • The guns you saw were automatic weapons, were they not?

  • Can you tell us back in July 1998 what automatic weapons Liberia was making?

  • Liberia does not make guns. Let me not even be angry about this. Liberia does not make guns. If Liberia gets guns, they will get it from the Americans. The type of guns that I knew were many in Liberian army was the M16, but the guns that were coming were from Russia, they are Russian guns, and I could not have said that they came from Russia because I was doubtful. How were the guns coming from Russia to Liberia? I cannot see an RPG and say it was made in Liberia. There is no factory in Liberia where they manufacture guns and they are not licensed to manufacture guns.

  • I think --

  • Thank you. Yes, sir.

  • -- that you are saying that the guns you saw were manufactured in Russia, correct?

  • Yes, they were manufactured in Russia, but how did they get to Liberia? That was my surprise.

  • Thank you very much, sir, and how they got to Sierra Leone too.

  • If your Honours would go, if it please the Court, to tab number 4 - we have been here before - and page 1, paragraph 1. I will be reading from the part where it says, "I saw the trucks arrive ...":

  • Mr Koker, on 13 April 2005 you said this to the Office of the Prosecutor:

    "I saw the trucks arrive at Mosquito's house and was asked to send some securities me to assist as the trucks arrive. I was told from my men that Liberian personnel came with the trucks. Arms came from Charles Taylor's men".

    This is what you said to the Office of the Prosecutor, did you not?

  • Yes, what is written here is what I said.

  • So at that time one of the bases for your conclusion that arms came from Liberia was what you were told by your men, correct?

  • Yes, they came from his country to our country, and he was the head of that country and so nothing could come from that country without his knowledge because he had securities too.

  • Reading slightly further along from where I stopped, it says:

    "From the time I was in Beudu [sic], Issa Sesay was deputy to Bockarie and would go back and forth to Liberia to do business and make these arrangements with Taylor's men. I know this because of one incident where Sesay went to Liberia with 18 bags of money from the bank in Kono and came back and said the money was stolen".

    That is what you said to the Office of the Prosecutor in April of 2005, correct?

  • That is true.

  • It is fair to say then, is it not, that another basis for your knowledge or belief that arms were coming from Liberia, and in particular from Mr Taylor, was because of this one incident where you say Issa Sesay went to Liberia with 18 bags of money?

  • I cannot know this. I did not know what business Issa went there to discuss. I only know that he went with money. I don't know whether he went there to do gun business. He came back and said he had been - he just went with the money.

  • Mr Interpreter, what was that you said?

  • He came back and said he just went with the money.

  • Shall we go to tab number 5 and I will be reading from the page with the ERN number that ends in 88, that ERN number being 00034388. These are notes from an interview with Mr Koker on 18 May 2007 and the apparent purpose of this interview was to have Mr Koker review prior statements that he had made to the Office of the Prosecutor on previous occasions. Mr Koker - your Honours, on the page in question I will be reading from the fourth full paragraph that starts, "The witness states that relating to ...":

  • Mr Koker, this is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor on 18 May 2007:

    "The witness states that relating to the arms shipments in 1998, the Liberians told him that the materials (Referring to Arms and Ammunition) were from Charles Taylor's place in Liberia and that the materials were given to them (Liberians) to be transported to Buedu. The witness states that this information about the weapons came from more than one conversation".

    That is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor back in July 2005, is that correct? Sorry, I withdraw that. That is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor back in May 2007, true?

  • That is true, but I have some objection. What they are writing here "arms shipments", it was not a shipment. They were trafficking it. It was not a shipment. They were not doing it in the open. Yes, sir.

  • [Microphone not activated] My mike, okay. Can we agree that when you see "shipment" you should understand it to mean the movement of arms by vehicles and not the sea?

  • Yes, I heard that.

  • Mr Witness, in the English language "shipment", as used in this sense, does not mean carrying things in a ship. It simply means a consignment being carried or ferried from one location to another in a vehicle. That is all it means. It does not in any way relate to the use of a ship. So, this is just to put your mind at ease. Is that clear?

  • Okay.

  • Madam President, I see the time is almost break time. With leave of the Court, may I kindly finish with two or three more questions.

  • Just this section, your Honour.

  • Mow, Mr Koker, when you made this statement to the Prosecution you did not --

  • Yes, this is my statement. I am not telling a lie.

  • Mr Witness, just listen to the question first, okay? Let the lawyer finish what he is asking.

  • There is no mention in this statement, Mr Koker, of you off-loading arms from trucks, correct?

  • Yes, I did not off-load guns. I recorded it.

  • Your Honour, nothing further for now, thank you.

  • Have you closed your cross-examination?

  • No, I have not. I meant before the break.

  • Okay. Mr Witness, we are now going to break for a few minutes. Court will adjourn until --

  • Court will adjourn until 11.30.

  • [Break taken at 11.02 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.30 a.m.]

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

  • Thank you, Madam President.

    Mr Koker, when we broke for the break we were speaking about the issue of arms that you claim came from Liberia and I would like to follow up on that. I would like to refer you to your testimony before this Chamber on 18 July 2005 in the AFRC case.

    Your Honours, this is at tab 17, the last tab in the packet, and I will be referring to page 58 and 59. I will initially read from line 3 through line 10.

  • Mr Koker, when you testified before the AFRC bench you were asked these questions and you gave these responses:

    "Q. These arms, they were coming from where?

    "A. Well this, I didn't disclose the detail in my statement but my own little investigation for this nation, these arms were coming from China.

    "Q. Not from Liberia.

    "A. From China through Liberia.

    "Q. From China through Liberia?

    "A. Yes, sir."

    Mr Koker, do you recall having made these responses to the questions that were posed to you?

  • Yes, I said this that is in front of me. I said this and they wrote it down.

  • Moving down the line, or moving down the page, to line 16, you were asked these series of questions and you gave these responses:

    "Q. How do you know they were coming from Liberia? How do you know? You said a few minutes ago that you had no business with Liberia. How do you know?

    "A. Well, that is true. From my own intelligence as a professional man. I'm not telling lies.

    "Q. We are not saying you are telling lies.

    "A. Yes, this is procedure took a long time, from China to Nigeria, Nigeria to Ghana, Ghana to Liberia, Liberia, we receive our own to Buedu.

    "Q. And who took delivery of the arms that were brought in? Who took delivery?

    "A. Through my own counter-intelligence experience there was a Chinese man" -

  • That was insurgence, counter-insurgence.

  • I am sorry, Madam President.

  • "A. Through my own counter-insurgence experience there was a Chinese man who is a wanted man in Asia by the name of Joseph Wong."

    Mr Koker, those were the answers you gave to the questions that were posed to you on 18 July 2005, before this Chamber, during the AFRC trial, true?

  • Yes, Joseph Wong, it is true.

  • So we know from your testimony, today at least, that Ukrainians were bringing weapons into Sierra Leone, true? Your Honour, to be fair to the witness I can withdraw the question and rephrase it because I believe perhaps I am not being fair to him.

  • Please ask the question.

  • Mr Koker, you said this morning that there were rumours that Ukrainians were bringing arms to Sierra Leone, correct?

  • I said that in my statement that a Ukrainian ship arrived during the AFRC period. I saw guns, new guns, when the ship was off loaded.

  • You also said this morning during testimony that you inspected some of the weapons that arrived in Sierra Leone and, on the basis of your experience as a military man, they were from Russia, correct?

  • I am not sure I mentioned Russia. I said there were Russian models among them, Russian models, Russian made guns.

  • Well, I will let the record speak for itself, but going back to the last few series of questions, you have confirmed for us that at some time in the past you have told the Court that weapons that made its way into Sierra Leone came from China, correct?

  • Yes, they came from China, but they cannot just leave China by themselves to reach that country. There will be somebody who has hands in it.

  • Mr Koker, I want to put it to you bluntly that when you told this Court yesterday that weapons you saw in Sierra Leone came from Liberia, and in particular from Charles Taylor, you were lying.

  • Well, I am telling you that I am not telling lies, just tell the news did say Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. It was over the BBC. At that time I had not joined the military and, indeed, the war reached there.

  • I put it to you, Mr Koker, that the basis for your conclusion that these weapons you saw were coming from Liberia was based on rumour, conjecture and your own personal research. Do you deny that?

  • I disagree because you were not there. I saw it. I saw guns, I saw the movement. That is why I said I disagree with you because I saw it and you were not there. That is why I say I disagree with you. Had I not seen it, I would have agreed with you, but I saw it.

  • I would go a step further, Mr Koker, and I would say to you that this research that led you to this erroneous conclusion was undertaken, or you did it, after the war was over.

  • I am telling you that when the war came to this country - no, I did not wait for the war to be over. When Mosquito was running away he left a lot of things in his house and we went there and took those things. We saw a lot of documents, pictures, a lot of things. He ran away. That is why I am telling you that you were not there. If you were there, maybe you would have agreed with me, but you were not there and all these things that were happening, those that I saw are the ones I am talking about in this Court. I am not saying anything here for you to give me money, or to give me a position. I am doing it for a permanent criminal court of justice, so that nobody would bring any terrorist business in West Africa anymore, and I am telling you that there are people who were harmed by this war. In fact, these people have contact more than Charles Taylor. They can tell you about Charles Taylor more than I will, but only that they do not have the guts to come like I have, but you don't know that. You are just defending him and he has not told you everything.

  • Mr Witness, it would be very helpful if you simply kept your answers short and direct. Let me make this clear, that the lawyer who is standing in front of you, defending Mr Taylor, is merely doing his job and that Mr Taylor has a right to Defence counsel. He is not doing anything wrong by defending the accused. He is simply doing his job. When he asks you a question, please just answer as directly as you can and as truthfully as you can and avoid this acrimony to and fro between yourselves.

  • Mr Koker, yesterday you told us, this Court, that you knew arms came from Liberia and you also knew they came from Charles Taylor because you were there off loading the arms from trucks, hearing the information from Liberians and seeing the clothes, or uniforms, worn by the Liberians. Are you telling us today that the basis for your conclusion that the weapons came from Liberia was because you reviewed Sam Bockarie's set of documents after he left Sierra Leone?

  • It was not just at that time, even during the war, during the war and at that time because the war took many years.

  • Well, let us move on. One last issue about Buedu and that is the issue of forced labour. I believe you testified yesterday that civilians were forced to work in the farms of some of the commanders, including Morris Kallon and Sam Bockarie. We confirmed this morning from you that there was Liberian dollar in use at that time, correct?

  • Yes, that is it, it is true.

  • Would it be fair to say that the people who had access to currency were the commanders and not civilians, true?

  • That money was - everybody had the money. Even civilians were using the money. We stopped using leones. We were using it.

  • I put it to you, Mr Koker, that during the time in question in Buedu, between 1998 and 1999, transactions between civilians were done by trading in goods. They were transactions in barter. Do you agree?

  • It used to happen like that, but money too used to be transacted.

  • I put it to you that the civilians were not paid in money because there effectively was no currency in use in the general area at that time.

  • I used to see money called liberty. I did not put that in my statement.

  • Did people use this money for commercial transactions?

  • Yes, we used to change it and they used the money.

  • And which country was the source of this money, was it Sierra Leonean money?

  • It is not Sierra Leonean money. It is the Liberian dollar called liberty.

  • Now, the civilians in question you said were not paid, but they were fed, were they not?

  • They used to feed them food for work, but they stopped them from doing their own works. They would have to travel, but they wouldn't give them fares.

  • When the civilians fell ill they were also allowed access to hospitals, were they not?

  • No, it was a self-reliant struggle. They did not treat them. You would seek medicine for yourself.

  • Your Honours, I would refer the Chamber to tab 1 in the bundle of documents, to the page with the ERN number ending in 99. I will be reading from the second full paragraph that starts with the words "The captives", and for the record this is Mr Koker's statement, or transcription of it, from 26 March 2003.

    Mr Koker, this is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor on 26 March 2003:

    "The captives or people who were forced to work on Mosquito's farm or works according to" - I am sorry, "or other works according to witness were not paid although they were fed. He knows they did not have enough to eat because the workers told him at times when they returned from work. When they got sick, they were treated at the hospital in Buedu. The medical commander was one Dr Fabai. Witness said the treatments given were just a kind of first aid and not proper treatment."

    Did you make those comments to the Office of the Prosecutor on 26 March 2003?

  • Yes, they were given ordinary first aid. They will dress the place up and they will give them injections. It was just first aid, just to encourage them.

  • Your Honours, I would also refer Mr Koker and the Chamber to tab 14 and this is his testimony before the RUF trial on 28 April 2005 and the page in question is page 100. I will be reading lines 7 through 10 briefly. Mr Koker, you confirmed for the Court -

  • - before the RUF trial that these captives were fed even if not paid. The question was:

    "Q. 'Captives or people who were forced to work on Mosquito's farm or other works according to the witness were not paid although they were fed.' Did you tell the Prosecution that?

    "A. Yes, sir."

    That was your testimony before the RUF trial, correct?

  • It is so.

  • Lastly, your Honours, I would like to refer the Chamber and the witness to tab 17 and the specific page in question is pages 60 through 61. Starting at bottom of page 60, on line 28 the question was posed to you, Mr Koker:

    "Q. So where would the people work?

    "A. These people, they working in farms, farms of commanders."

    Page 61, line 1:

    "Q. You said they were not paid when they worked?

    "A. They were not using money. They used barter system.

    "Q. So there was no currency available?

    "A. Yes, sir."

    Do you recall giving those responses to those questions before the AFRC bench?

  • Yes, I would like to clarify this just so that the Court can understand what I meant. There are some places - there are some things you would not use money, for instance those towns closer to the war front, but those that are close to the market, like close to Dawa, they used money. But close to the war front towards Daru, from the area where the government was they don't use money in those areas. They exchange things. If you went to the war front and got things you would come and exchange it with the next person. If a person went to Dawa he will sell it and obtain money and he would come and buy something, sometimes from the Liberian end. That is what happened. That is why I said when we arrived there I will clarify it, just so you would understand what I meant.

  • You could have if you wanted, Mr Koker, when you testified before the Court previously, you could have mentioned that the Liberian liberty was being used as currency at that time, but you did not, did you?

  • At that time I did not record everything. This war lasted 11 years. I cannot in one day say everything that took 11 years and to think about everything and explain it in one go. Like as we are sitting down here now, we are explaining, there are things I had forgotten that I can recall now. I want you to know that. That is why I said I am not telling lies. I am doing it for permanent criminal justice for everybody, just so that there will be truth among us humans.

  • Mr Koker, it is true, is it not, that sometimes you are referred to by the nickname of Green Snake?

  • No, my name is not Green Snake.

  • Do you deny being known as a person who has the nickname Green Snake?

  • I am refusing that. You have asked me if it is a nickname. If you ask me for my nickname, I will tell you, but you cannot give me a nickname that I have not mentioned in my statement, that I had a nickname. That is surprising to me today, that I had a nickname Green Snake.

  • If I told you, Mr Koker, that witnesses could be brought who would confirm that your nickname is Green Snake, would I be mistaken?

  • If my name is Green Snake then all that you said is true, but if my name is not Green Snake then all that I have said here, it is you who is trying to turn what I have said here into lies.

  • Can I ask you this, Mr Koker: Is there a difference, from your perspective, in your mind, between nickname and fighting name?

  • There is a nickname and there is a war name. My name is Warrior. My traditional name is Kugbe, Kugbe. That is my traditional name, my family traditional name. My grandfather's grandfather was a warrior. He was a Kugbe. That is why I said I am surprised you are calling me Green Snake. There is a difference between a war name and a nickname.

  • Mr Koker, can you spell Kugbe for us if you please?

  • Thank you, Mr Koker. Have you ever heard the acronym, or the initials, LURD, L-U-R-D?

  • I used to hear that name.

  • In what context did you used to hear that name LURD?

  • I used to hear it when I was in Buedu.

  • We now know the place where you heard LURD mentioned and I want to know in what context. Did you understand LURD to be a military group, for example?

  • Well, that one I did not have the idea.

  • So what did you understand LURD to mean when you heard others refer to it?

  • I am still telling you the time we were there we were listening to Sierra Leone not Liberia. I did not care about Liberia. I used to hear the word LURD, but I did not investigate because I didn't care about Liberia. I only cared about Sierra Leone because I wanted to know what was happening in Sierra Leone, not in Liberia, because I came from Freetown to Buedu, so I cared about Freetown.

  • The question is what did you understand LURD to mean, yes? I am sorry, strike that. The question is: What did you understand LURD to mean? Please tell us.

  • That is what I am telling you. I cannot tell you what I don't understand because even in English if somebody says LURD, in the Bible we can say Lord, you see? That is what I am telling you. The time that I was hearing names like those I was not listening about that. I only cared about Freetown because I had come from Freetown. I was not in a good condition. That was my concern. I cannot say much about that, please.

  • Mr Koker, you have told us you were in Buedu and we know you are a military man, so if I told you that in 1999 through 2000 there was a military organisation called LURD, I would be mistaken, would I not?

  • As you said it, but I am not saying that. You are saying it. I am not saying it because I did not care about that.

  • Do you know somebody by the name of Sekou Damate Conneh?

  • I have never heard that name except when you said it now.

  • I believe we had the spellings yesterday, but for the record Sekou is S-E-K-O-U, and there is an umlaut above the 'e', and Damate is D-A-M-A-T-E. Conneh I believe yesterday was spelt with a 'K', I propose the spelling of a 'C', C-O-N-N-E-H.

    Mr Koker, do you know, or have you ever heard, the name Mohammed Jumandy?

  • For the record Mohammed is M-O-H-A-M-M-E-D and Jumandy is J-U-M-A-N-D-Y.

    Mr Koker, I say to you here and now that you, Dennis Koker, were a member of LURD. True or false?

  • Just a moment, Mr Anyah, did I hear an answer to the question, "Do you know Mohammed Jumandy?"

  • I believe he said no. I will repeat my question. I am saying to you, Mr Koker, in the presence of everybody here, that you, Dennis Koker, were a member of LURD, yes or no?

  • That is not correct.

  • I put it to you, Mr Koker, that your nickname in LURD was Green Snake. True or false?

  • That is not correct.

  • I further submit to you, Mr Koker, that you were, in fact, a mercenary for LURD. True or false?

  • That is not true.

  • If any witnesses come before this Court in the future and testify that you were a member of LURD they would be lying. Is that your testimony?

  • This witness is just some bagging. They make up, make up. They make up story.

  • Can you repeat the whole sentence, Mr Interpreter. We didn't catch any of it.

  • Yes, it is just a make up story.

  • So your testimony is if somebody comes later on and tells this Court that you are a member of LURD, they would be lying, yes?

  • Yes.

  • I want to change topics quickly and go back to when you first started having interactions with the members of the Special Court in 2004 and I want to ask you a series of questions concerning payments you have received from the Special Court.

    Your Honours, I will be referring to documents contained in tabs 12 and 13. For the record, these are disbursement records. At least starting with tab 12, those are disbursement records from the Office of the Prosecutor to this witness, Dennis Koker. In the section where you have the name P Sannoh on page 1 it indicates that 10,000 leones were paid to Dennis Koker on 17 November 2004. That is the case, Mr Koker, is it not?

  • Yes, Special Court interview. When they interviewed me, at the end of it they will give me a receipt to sign. Special Court of Sierra Leone.

  • And in the next section, section 4, it says on 1 July 2005 you were paid the amount of 10,000 leones again, correct?

  • On page 2, section 5, it indicates, Mr Koker, that you received the sum of 35,000 leones, true?

  • And in section 6 it indicates that on 2 March 2007 you received the sum of 15,000 leones, true?

  • Section 7 involves payments made on 26 April 2007 and it says you received the sum of 55,000 leones, correct?

  • And the next one, section 8, says on 13 June 2007 you received the sum of 25,000 leones, correct?

  • Yes, in Freetown.

  • And if you go to the next page, page 3, section 9, it shows that on 17 July 2007 you received the sum of 5,000 leones.

  • Yes, Wilberforce barracks.

  • Lastly, section 10, dated 19 July 2007, shows that you received the sum of 20,000 leones, correct?

  • Now, I have just read eight different payment entries. You would agree with me, Mr Koker, that six of those entries all date from February 2008 - sorry, February 2007 through July 2007. Can we agree on that?

  • All the amounts that I see in front of me are correct. I received that respectfully, not during war.

  • And it is correct, is it not, that in all of 2007 you never testified in any proceedings before the Special Court?

  • [Indiscernible]

  • It is not clear, your Honours. The answer is not clear. It can be yes or no. Can the witness repeat?

  • Mr Witness, what was your answer, yes or no?

  • By no you mean you did not testify before the Special Court in the year 2007?

  • Yes, 2007 I did not testify.

  • And it is also true that in the entire year of 2006, not once did you testify before the Special Court, correct?

  • That is true. You are correct.

  • I would move to tab 13. These are records from the Deputy Chief of the witness and victims section of the Special Court delineating payments made to Mr Koker. Mr Koker, separate -

  • Separate and apart from the money you received from the Office of the Prosecutor, you also received money from another unit in the Special Court, correct?

  • They gave you money for medical issues, true?

  • Yes.

  • And the amount we see here is 91,000 leones. Does that sound about right, Mr Koker?

  • Yes, they are right.

  • You were also given money for transportation, correct?

  • And the amount we see here is 435,000 leones, correct?

  • That sounds about right to you, does it not?

  • Yes, these are correct.

  • And also correct is the listing for other expenses of 877,000 leones, true?

  • Is the witness looking at the page that everybody else is looking at? Please can you ensure that that is happening.

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • Because he is looking at the screen. Okay, then, witness, please answer.

  • I have seen here written "other expenses". I don't understand that. This one that I have accounted, the money I have seen, I don't understand the occasion I was given that other expenses, 877,000.

  • Mr Koker --

  • -- these figures are the total amounts you have been paid by the Special Court victims and witnesses, or witnesses and victims, section since 1 April 2005. So I ask you to look at the figure that says "other expenses" of 877,000 and confirm, or deny, that since 1 April 2005 you have received that total sum.

  • I did not receive this sort of amount in 2005, no, no, 2005. This sort of amount in bulk, no. I am talking for my God. No, I did not receive that.

  • If you add the amounts you received in 2005 with the amount you received in 2006, with the amount you received in 2007, would it add up to the 877,000 leones?

  • I want to know if you are asking me for the total of all the money that I received because I did not receive the money on one occasion and I did not record it. I will come and they give it to me. Some other time they will meet me in Kailahun. Are you asking me for grand total of everything that I received, this 877,000? I want the Court to enlighten me about it.

  • I think really, to be fair to the witness, this total that is shown as other expenses, the witness has already said he doesn't know what you mean by other expenses. If you are asking him to do a mathematical sum, I think that also is not very fair unless you want him to sit with a pen and pencil, or calculator, and start to add.

  • 800? No, not a day did I ever receive 600,000 as a lump sum. Yes, sir.

  • Perhaps you can find a way to redirect this question.

  • Yes, Madam President, I will.

  • Mr Koker, let me ask you this: The total amount, for any purpose, that you have received from the witnesses and victims section since 1 April 2005, if I told you it was 2,459,000 leones would that sound about right?

  • I don't believe it would be correct, I don't believe so. I don't believe this at all, I don't. This part of the document, I am confused about it. I don't want to tell lies on people so - but if you can check my receipts and give me the total, maybe I will know, but this one, other expenses 800, I don't know the occasion that I received this other expenses: 800,000. I am confused.

  • Have you ever, Mr Koker, in the last ten years received any kind of psychiatric treatment?

  • They have not treated me for that. They gave me a treatment. My throat was swollen. They gave me the treatment for that, 2007. That was when I reported sick. Ever since I have been with this Court I was never sick. I have never been sick. It was only in 2007. It was when Miss Wendy was - and others were preparing for me to come here in the rainy season, 2007, when they were making preparations for me to come. At that time they said they had adjourned the Court. I had a boil on my throat. That was the time the Special Court treated me, but never before then did I ever tell the Special Court. I was bitten by a dog and I reported and they gave me an injection.

  • Thank you, Mr Koker.

  • Going back before 2007, let us actually go back as far as when you left Kailahun in 1991. Between 1991 -

  • Just it may be a misstatement of the year, your Honours. Did you mean 1991, or 1999?

  • Well, I believe the witness testified that, to be corrected, it was in 1992 he left Mao barracks for Freetown and that is the period to which I am referring.

  • I withdraw the objection. I understand now.

  • Mr Koker, going back to the time you left military training in Kailahun District and moved to Freetown, and coming up until today, have you ever received treatment, medical treatment, for mental health issues?

  • Can you go over that again?

  • Are you asking me to repeat the question?

  • Yes, that would be it.

  • Have you ever, Mr Koker, been treated for psychiatric conditions since the time you joined the Sierra Leonean army?

  • No, I have never been treated for a psychiatric condition.

  • Have you ever been a patient at a military hospital in Freetown, in a unit called block 34?

  • I have never been sick and admitted there ever since I was part of the military. I would go there for treatment, but at that time I had a problem with my ears. My ears were aching, but I have not been treated for any psychiatric condition.

  • Just to be clear, you do understand what I mean by psychiatric conditions, do you?

  • Yes. If I do - for example, I do something like someone who - if I do things out of the way and as if I don't have my senses with me, but I have never been treated for that.

  • Do you know a doctor by the name of Dr Nahim?

  • You deny knowing a Dr Nahim who is a psychiatrist, do you?

  • No, I don't know him. In fact, that Nahim name that you are calling, I only know Nahim at Special Court. I do not know who you are referring to. I am speaking for my God, I don't know any Nahim.

  • Have you ever been court martialled before, Mr Koker?

  • Was there a time, when you were in Buedu, when you were court martialled at the order of PM Kaisamba?

  • Not a day in my life have I ever been court martialled, not even when I was in the military.

  • I put it to you, Mr Koker, that while you were in Buedu you were court martialled for raping a woman prisoner. Do you deny that?

  • Yes, I deny that. I will proudly say before this Court that for all the time that the war was on I had nothing to do with women.

  • I put it to you, Mr Koker, that because you were found guilty of that offence PM Kaisamba administered 150 lashes to you. Do you deny that?

  • Your Honours, may I have a moment?

  • Mr Koker, at any time during your service in Buedu were you ever administered lashes at the orders of any commander?

  • Yes.

  • Can you tell us when that was?

  • There was a time when Tom Sandy said he spoke and I spoke too, so they beat me and sent me to an ambush around the Guinea border. It was just because he said he had spoken and I spoke too. He beat me up and I even cried. They sent me to that ambush and they called me again to write on the vehicle "MP" because they said I was useful, so they recalled me from the ambush point and apologised to me.

  • Would that be the only occasion on which you were beaten up, or lashed, while you were in Buedu?

  • No, that other time again when Eldred Collins made me to be lashed. Those were the two times.

  • So if somebody came before the Chamber and said there was a third occasion on which you were disciplined and lashed, that person would be lying, true?

  • I can't remember it was three times. The third one was in Kailahun when we got there, Eldred Collins story, the thing between myself and Eldred Collins. I can remember three times. Nobody ever reported me there. Three times, only three times. If any other person comes and says something else - I had a wife that was given to me by UN. I even have her picture here with me.

  • Your testimony is that the UN gave you a wife? Is that what you are telling the Court?

  • Yes, they asked me to marry.

  • Your Honour, I have nothing further for this witness. I tender the witness.

  • Mr Santora, do you wish to re-examine?

  • I do, your Honour. Just give me a few seconds to change microphones.

  • Mr Witness, I just want to ask you a few questions so please just listen to the question.

  • Yes, sir.

  • Now, yesterday, when Defence counsel was questioning you, you stated - he was asking you about why you did not mention the towns of Tombo and Fogbo in your statement, in your first statement, when you travelled from Freetown to Masiaka. Is Tombo between Freetown and Masiaka? If you are travelling from Freetown to Masiaka, is Tombo between them?

  • And I meant to say is Tombo between them. Is Tombo between Freetown and Masiaka?

  • Yes, sir.

  • Is Fogbo between Freetown and Masiaka?

  • Now, Defence counsel was just asking you about payments that you received and he was specifically talking about payments from the Office of the Prosecutor that you received in 2007 and he asked you if you ever testified in 2007, and you stated you did not testify in 2007. Did you ever give statements to the Office of the Prosecutor in 2007?

  • I did not give a statement. They just tried to review my statement to me. They read it back to me. I did prepping with Miss Wendy.

  • Did you have the occasion then to meet with somebody from the Office of the Prosecutor in 2007?

  • Yes.

  • And do you remember how many times you met with them in 2007, with the Office of the Prosecutor?

  • Three days, three days. I came there on two occasions.

  • Now, yesterday during cross-examination Defence counsel was asking you about your position, your job and its responsibilities in Buedu, in the MP's office. If Defence counsel wishes I have handed out a reference, but - okay. I am going to read you back what you said to Defence counsel when he asked you about certain responsibilities:

    "Q. But notwithstanding all these people ahead of you, you had some significant responsibilities, would you agree?

    "A. Yes.

    "Q. Indeed, nobody could - no civilian could come in or leave Buedu, or that area, without you giving them a pass, correct?

    "A. Yes.

    "Q. And you also issued" -

  • Your Honours, can learned counsel kindly --

  • Then the question was, "And you also issued passes to the warring factions, to the military soldiers who were fighting, did you not?" You answered, "Yes"?

  • Then, "And besides issuing passes you were also responsible for prisoners of war, were you not?" And you said, "Yes."

  • Yes, sir.

  • And finally, finally, you said - the question was, "And in addition to being responsible for prisoners of war, when people who you referred to as manpower would come and go you would have to count their number and verify the accuracy of their number, true?" You said, "Yes, for security reasons, for security reason even themselves, or their lives, just so that somebody may not intimidate them, somebody may not bring mischief to them. We were to protect them."

    Mr Koker, my question is this: When you were describing these responsibilities that you had, were you referring to you, yourself only, or were you referring to the MP office at which you worked?

  • I was referring to the MP office's work.

  • Thank you. Now, the next question I have for you: In response to Defence counsel, when he was cross-examining you, he asked you about an individual named Martin George. Do you know who Martin George is?

  • What was his position?

  • He was a colonel. He was a commander for the entire Kailahun, the Kailahun area. He was the RUF commander based in Kailahun Town.

  • Yesterday during cross-examination you testified that Liberian English was used frequently at the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia. Who spoke Liberian English?

  • The Liberians and some of our brothers. They had been changed. Even Martin George spoke Liberian in Kailahun in our presence.

  • Now, during this morning's cross-examination from Defence counsel you were being asked about how you knew arms came from Liberia and you were being asked about your prior statements and the testimony you gave in this Court. You have listed - the reasons you have said you knew were: The language that was being spoken by those that were bringing the materials; you said yesterday in court that because of the dress of the particular individuals and the word "NPFL navy rangers" on yellow polo shirts; you said in this Court, and in prior statements, because of conversations and talking to the Liberians that came to Buedu; you said in this Court, and also in prior statements, from the direction which the vehicles came into Buedu; you said, in a prior statement, from a conversation you had with Tom Sandy; and you said, in a prior trial in Freetown, from your intelligence. Are these all the reasons you know that these arms came from Liberia?

  • Yes.

  • I have no further questions, your Honour.

  • Mr Witness, I want to thank you for your testimony. You are now free to leave. This is the end of your testimony.

  • Okay. I will also want to thank you just for you to help us in West Africa to end terrorism. I will pray for you, so whosoever plans anything negative for you cannot be successful. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness.

  • Mr Santora, are you still - are you going to call another witness just now?

  • Yes, your Honour, and the next witness will be led by my colleague: Mr Mohamed Bangura.

  • Your Honours, the next witness for the Prosecution is Steven Ellis. He is characterised as an expert witness.