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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, your Honours, the Prosecution also has an issue it would wish to address to the Court and indeed Defence counsel before resuming questioning. As your Honours know, yesterday the Prosecution filed a motion for leave to appeal decisions from last week relating to the Prosecution's ability to use certain materials in its cross-examination of the accused. In that motion we indicated that it was likely to be a recurring issue in this cross-examination, if not also in other cross-examinations to be conducted.

    We noticed of course yesterday that there were additional decisions on this topic that we would also seek leave to appeal and the procedural question that arises is this: In the normal course of events, these subsequent decisions would also be the subject of motions for leave to appeal. This would give rise to a rolling submission of motions for leave to appeal on the part of the Prosecution, responses from the Defence and indeed decisions by your Honours all relating to this same issue. The Prosecution is not sure that encumbering the process with this type of rolling motions and decisions would be the most efficient way to proceed on what will basically be an appeal relating to the issue of our ability to use these materials in cross-examination.

    So what the Prosecution would like to raise as a question is if there is a more efficient way to ensure the proceedings will move forward efficiently yet enable the Prosecution to have the right to raise these matters on appeal, including subsequent decisions. We would suggest that perhaps one way to do that would be to rely on the motion filed yesterday but for your Honours to indicate in your decision, should you grant leave to appeal, that it would also cover subsequent decisions that have been handed down between our filing - well, actually between the decisions last week and the decision of this Court. That would enable both parties to address those subsequent decisions in the appeal, so it would not prevent a party from being able to address the issues, but it would make unnecessary all of these subsequent filings.

    So we think this is a significant procedural problem or question and so we raise it with your Honours and with the Defence in the hope that we can find a procedure that everyone would be in agreement on that would both be efficient but also would allow these matters that have been subsequently decided to also be dealt with in any appeal that your Honours would allow.

    So I did want to raise that point. We may very well today have additional decisions of a similar nature and as we move forward we anticipate we will have others and we think it would be very helpful to have a very efficient way to deal with those.

  • Ms Hollis, that sounds to me like a very odd procedure that you are proposing, but I will hear from the Defence on this issue.

  • First of all, the issues raised in the most filed yesterday by the Prosecution are complex and raise very difficult issues of admissibility and evidence which will require some time on our part to research and respond to properly. So our first submission would be that there should be no departure from the normal filing regime in terms of timetabling.

    Secondly, so far as the suggested procedure to be adopted, that in effect there should be one blanket decision which covers all decisions so far made, or to be made, seems somewhat speculative to us and it's difficult to see how such a procedure could properly be adopted. And for that reason we would oppose that and we would submit that it's for the Prosecution, if they take exception to decisions made by this Court, to deal with each such decision on a case-by-case basis because each such decision raises different issues, complex issues, and consequently to lump them all together wouldn't do justice to the considerations which need to be borne in mind necessarily in relation to each. So we would oppose that.

  • I think all I can say at this stage is we have taken note of the submissions on both sides. The matter is sub judice. I would not want to pre-empt any comments that would be interpreted as a decision on a pending motion, but I am sure my colleagues and I will look into the issue and see the most efficient way forward. So now we can proceed with cross-examination, please.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Good morning, Mr Taylor.

  • Mr Taylor, in January of 1999 the President of Sierra Leone, President Kabbah, expressed negative views about the quality and the character of your involvement in Sierra Leone, did he not?

  • In January of 1999. I don't know, really, in January. I know at some point he did state that there was some questions. I am not sure if it was in January. I don't have any direct - it slipped my recollection.

  • Mr Taylor, in a letter that was dated 5 January 1999 from President Kabbah to the Secretary-General, he expressed very negative views about the quality of your conduct toward Sierra Leone. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't recall the date. I know there is - there were concerns raised by the Government of Sierra Leone in I think it was the Secretary-General's report attached to it. I am not - I don't recall the date. If you have such a letter, I wouldn't doubt it.

  • And, Mr Taylor, this letter from the President of Sierra Leone was then forwarded and requested that it would be an annex circulated to the Security Council, and that letter asking that President Kabbah's letter be forwarded was dated 19 January 1999 from the charge d'affaires of the permanent mission of Sierra Leone. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • Did you say the letter was dated 19 January?

  • The letter from the charge d'affaires forwarding President Kabbah's letter was dated 19 January. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • If you have it. I don't know Sierra Leone's business. I don't dispute - if you have a document and it's available I wouldn't dispute it. I don't know what date his charge wrote a letter, I don't know that.

  • And eventually the letter was published in a publication of the Security Council on 25 January 1999. Do you remember seeing that, Mr Taylor? That was S/1999/73?

  • If it's a letter, it exists. I don't remember seeing or the specific dates, but that's a routine matter in the Security Council. Governments write and ask for letters to be published as a Security Council document and it is attached as a thing. So if it's there, I don't question you on that, counsel.

  • And you would have read that?

  • Would you not, Mr Taylor?

  • This is in January 1999, it is a document that was issued from the Security Council attaching the letter from the President of Sierra Leone. You would have read that, would you not, Mr Taylor?

  • I said not necessarily. I have answered you three times. Not necessarily.

  • That would have been important to you, would it not, Mr Taylor?

  • So, as the point President for peace, a letter from the President of Sierra Leone making comments about your conduct towards Sierra Leone, that would have been important to you, would it not, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, not necessarily. Don't forget, from 1998 we have been having conflict with the Security Council president inviting my chief of mission in June 1998. So the ongoing problems between Sierra Leone and Liberia start from 1998, so I would not be surprised by a letter in January of 1999. It's an ongoing discussion, so I don't challenge you on the fact that there is a such a letter.

  • And Mr Taylor, in this letter the President of Sierra Leone indicated, did he not, that the current security developments obliged him to return once again to a matter that had been the subject of his communications in October 1998?

  • Well, I don't know that. I do not know and cannot tell these judges I can sit here and quote verbatim what Kabbah said, but I am saying to you - I am sure you would not mislead this Court - If that document exists in the form you say, I have no problems with it. I don't know verbatim what he said.

  • Perhaps we could look at tab 33 in annex 2B, S/1999/73, 25 January 1999. So, Mr Taylor, we see this document S/1999/73, letter dated 19 January 1999 from the charge de fair AI of the permanent mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations addressed to Secretary-General and you see in the body of that, Mr Taylor, indicating:

    "Upon instruction from my government, I have the honour to forward herewith a letter dated 5 January 1999 from His Excellency President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, concerning the current situation in Sierra Leone (see annex)..."

    and asking if the present letter and its annex would be circulated as a document of the Security Council. And you see that it is signed "Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative Charge d'Affaires"; yes, Mr Taylor?

  • I see the document.

  • And then if we look at the next page, the annex, we see the letter itself from President of Sierra Leone addressed to the Secretary-General. And, Mr Taylor, if we look at the first paragraph, we see:

    "Current security developments oblige me to revert to a matter which was the subject of my communications to you dated 13 October 1998. You may recall that, upon receipt of my letter, you strongly urged that my government adopt a conciliatory approach in dealing with the situation. I immediately acted in accordance with your suggestion, and my spokesman even made a public statement to the effect that President Charles Taylor and I were doing everything possible to ameliorate the situation."

    And then if we look at the next paragraph, the first sentence:

    "Regrettably, it would appear that my conciliatory approach and persistent efforts to maintain friendly and cordial relations with President Charles Taylor are being interpreted by him as a sign of weakness and a lack of resolve on my part."

    So, Mr Taylor, it would have been very important to you to know about these comments by the President of Sierra Leone in January 1999, would it not?

  • Yes, it was very important. I am aware now of these comments, and I responded also with a Security Council document at about the same period. So these are ongoing discussions between states.

  • So you were aware of this and in fact responded?

  • As you have read it I recall, and we responded by January 5, 6. As soon as we got this we responded to the Security Council also, and I think we have published that Security Council document here also. So these are ongoing discussions.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, if we could look at the bottom of the page beginning with the fourth paragraph down, please.

    "My government is gratified that the deepening involvement of the Government of Liberia in the rebel activities in my country is at the present time is being fully appreciated by the wider international community.

    For some time, we have been warning about this, but is only now when the involvement has greatly increased, with greater and destructive damages, that alarm is being expressed by many governments.

    As you are aware, I personally have done everything humanly possible to reach an understanding with President Charles Taylor so that he can leave my country and people in peace. Your own efforts, as Secretary-General at Abuja, and those of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the envoy of the President of the United States of America, are glaring examples. However, we cannot allow ourselves to be swayed, by denials and unworkable proposals about border surveillance and joint patrols, from realising the enormous dangers ahead for all of us. There is grave risk that, should my government respond in kind to President Taylor's continued activities, resulting escalated conflict would certainly destabilise the region. That is why my government urgently expects the Security Council, through you, to take urgent action to arrest this deteriorating security situation. The Security Council has shown determination to deal firmly with the rogue states in other regions of the world. Our sub-region deserves no less.

    Please be informed that my government is prepared to leave no stone unturned to avoid a cataclysmic development in our sub-region. That is why my government has responded most favourably to all initiatives aimed at a speedy resolution of the situation in Sierra Leone. The recently concluded emergency meeting of the Committee of Six of the Economic Community of West African States made further suggestions about contacts between President Charles Taylor and myself.

    Despite my great disappointment over President Charles Taylor's behaviour, I will not hesitate to give serious consideration to suggestions emanating from the Committee of Six of the ECOWAS countries."

    Mr Taylor, in this letter of 5 January 1999, the President of Sierra Leone makes no comment about you being the point President for peace, does he?

  • Did he have to? He doesn't. He didn't have to.

  • Mr Taylor, he doesn't, does he?

  • I have answered. I said he didn't. He didn't have to.

  • And indeed, his comments about your involvement in Sierra Leone are very negative in nature, are they not, Mr Taylor?

  • That is consistent with what has happened between Kabbah and myself. July 1999 Kabbah is my guest in Monrovia.

  • These letters - excuse me, your Honour, let me just address the Bench then. Because these letters are consistent with problems between Liberia and Sierra Leone.

  • Mr Taylor, you have answered the question. It is not necessary for you --

  • -- to make a speech to this panel --

  • -- what part of my question is an answer, counsel. You cannot say that.

  • Can we please maintain some kind of order and not speak over each other.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I believe you did say --

  • -- that the comments in this letter were very negative, correct?

  • Mr Taylor, the question is President Kabbah's comments in this letter were very negative, were they not?

  • That is consistent with what happened between he and myself. They were negative, but that is consistent.

  • Mr Taylor, President Kabbah was certainly not giving an endorsement of your conduct towards Sierra Leone, was he?

  • Mr Taylor, President Kabbah was not giving an endorsement towards your conduct towards Sierra Leone, was he?

  • Mr Taylor, would you please answer the question --

  • Mr Taylor, these comments were certainly not an endorsement towards your conduct in Sierra Leone, were they?

  • I did not need Mr Kabbah's endorsement.

  • So, Mr Taylor, you refuse to answer that question?

  • Well, in fact you have not --

  • Can we move forward, please. Can we move forward. The record does speak for itself.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, again in 2001 we have the Government of Sierra Leone making negative comments about the character of your conduct toward Sierra Leone, isn't that correct?

  • That's correct, Mr Taylor.

  • I am trying to recall. 2001. That's possible. I don't - it's possible. I don't have any recollection, but it's possible.

  • And, Mr Taylor, at that time there was a Government of Sierra Leone statement on UN sanctions against Liberia, and that was dated 24 February 2001. You recall that statement, do you not, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't doubt it, but I don't recall the statement.

  • Now, you recall that statement, don't you, Mr Taylor, because it would be very important for you to know of such a statement emanating from the Government of Sierra Leone in February 2001, would it not?

  • I have just said to you I don't doubt the statement, but I don't recall the statement. It's possible. I don't recall the specific statement.

  • And, Mr Taylor, in this statement the Government of Sierra Leone talks about a private meeting with the council and an ECOWAS ministerial delegation who met privately in New York to consider the question of imposing a series of sanctions against Liberia, and that meaning the Security Council. You remember that, don't you, Mr Taylor?

  • I have answered you. I said I don't doubt it, but I don't recall the specific situation.

  • Ms Hollis, I note the LiveNote record has council as legal counsel. Did you actually mean the Security Council, the body? I am looking here at page 17, line 8.

  • That is correct, your Honour. It should be C-O-U-N-C-I-L.

  • No doubt that will be picked up.

  • Now, Mr President - I should say Mr Former President - as the President of Liberia at this time with all of these accusations that were being directed toward you and your government, you certainly paid very close attention to this statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on 24 February 2001, did you not?

  • I don't recall paying - but all such statements I would pay attention to. I don't recall the exact one, but it would be something of interest to me.

  • And certainly because this statement also addresses that in this private meeting in New York, ECOWAS is said to have felt that such measures, meaning the sanctions, should be delayed for at least two months to allow the Government of Liberia to comply with a number of commitments it had made to ECOWAS to address the problems. You would have been aware of that - first of all, ECOWAS's position that the sanctions should be delayed, correct?

  • Yes, I was aware of - I am not sure if that is the document. I was aware of ECOWAS, which did not have control over this matter, asking the Security Council to, Listen, wait. Delay this thing. Because they were trying to convince the Security Council that ECOWAS could still handle this matter. I don't know if this is the document, but I recall the incident of ECOWAS asking for the delay.

  • Well, perhaps again to assist you, if we could actually look at the document. If we could look at tab 35 in annex 2B. We see here, "Government of Sierra Leone, 24 February 2001. Government of Sierra Leone statement on UN sanctions against Liberia, 24 February 2001." The document begins, talking about the United Nations Security Council discussions of a report and recommendations of a panel of experts.

    Then the second paragraph indicates that Sierra Leone participated in that discussion, concurred with the findings of the panel, and endorsed its recommendation that the Security Council impose sanctions against Liberia for actively supporting the RUF at all levels in providing military training, weapons, logistical support, staging ground for attacks and a safe haven for RUF retreat and recuperation?

    So, Mr Taylor, the Government of Sierra Leone is putting forward in there a very negative view of your involvement in Sierra Leone, is it not?

  • They put in a negative view of my alleged involvement in Sierra Leone.

  • And indeed they say they endorsed - they concurred with the findings of panel and endorsed its recommendations.

    "It is almost two weeks since the council and an ECOWAS ministerial delegation met privately in New York to consider the question of imposing a series of sanctions against Liberia. While there was overwhelming support for sanctions, ECOWAS felt that such measures should be delayed for at least two months to allow the Government of Liberia to comply with a number of commitments it had made to ECOWAS to address the problems."

    And then if we skip the next paragraph.

    "Conscience of the need to muster the widest possible support among members of the UN Security Council for the proposed sanctions, the Government of Sierra Leone was even prepared to consider a compromise. Namely, that should the council decide to adopt a draft resolution on sanctions against Liberia immediately, but to have it take effect two months thereafter, Sierra Leone would go along with such a course of action.

    However, the Government of Sierra Leone has since come to the conclusion that the basis on which ECOWAS had advocated a two-month delay in the imposition of sanctions is gradually being eroded by the Liberian government itself. First of all, the least that the Government of Liberia could have done to strengthen the credibility of ECOWAS, and to justify the proposed two-month delay, was to have taken immediate and verifiable action within these two weeks, to fulfil some of those basic commitments that did not require technical or financial assistance from any international organisation."

    Then it goes on to list your failures in several areas that it says - the Government of Sierra Leone says you could have taken action:

    "It has failed, for instance, to show proof and independent verification of the steps it claims it has taken to disengage itself from the RUF. It continues to harbour senior members of the RUF and their families. It continues to violate the arms embargo imposed by resolution 788 (1992), the provisions concerning the sale or supply of arms and related material imposed by resolution 1171 (1998), as well as it's obligations under the ECOWAS agreement on a moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of small arms and light weapons in West Africa.

    The Government of Liberia is also gradually eroding the credibility of ECOWAS by demonstrating a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation and its implications for peace and stability in the West African sub-region, including Liberia itself.

    Thirdly, the most disturbing aspect of the situation is that the Liberian government continues to demonstrate, through complacency and delaying tactics, its belief that the Security Council is incapable of taking any action against that government without the concurrence of ECOWAS. This belief is at the core of the whole question of whether or not the imposition of sanctions should be delayed."

    And then if we skip the next paragraph.

    "The Sierra Leone government is convinced now, more than ever, that at the end of any two-month delay in the Security Council's consideration of sanctions, Liberia plans to request the council, through ECOWAS, to allow it more time to comply with the ECOWAS commitments. It would also argue that it lacks the financial and technical resources required to comply with those commitments.

    While the Government of Sierra Leone is fully aware of the emerging international consensus that in imposing sanctions the Security Council should ensure, among other things, that such measures do not create unbearable humanitarian consequences for innocent people. It is of the view that this is no longer a convincing argument in terms of the scope of sanctions now under consideration for Liberia."

    And then in the next paragraph the Government of Sierra Leone asks the council to consider various things in deciding on the nature and scope of timing of sanctions and those include that all member states of ECOWAS support the imposition of sanctions against Liberia.

    "As the current chairman of ECOWAS, President Alpha Konare of Mali told the millennium summit meeting of the Security Council, 'Sanctions form part of the means by which the organisation can take action. They must be adapted to their specific goals. The recent sanctions relating to the illicit exploitation of natural resources demonstrate how much more effective targeted sanctions can be.'

    No member of ECOWAS has argued that the proposed sanctions against Liberia would create serious humanitarian consequences for the people of Liberia. On the contrary, the people of Liberia have openly supported the adoption of sanctions resolution on their country. They cite the fact that only a handful of people who had been identified in the UN expert panel's report, and who benefit directly from privileges, would have their privileges suspended if sanctions were imposed on Liberia."

    So, Mr Taylor, in this letter, President Kabbah, the Government of Sierra Leone makes no mention at all of your role as the point President for peace. Isn't that correct?

  • Well, your Honours, let me just say this is the opinion of the Government of Sierra Leone and so I disagree with Kabbah's own opinion and --

  • -- there is no reason why he should mention here that I am the point man and he doesn't, but this is opinion of the Government of Sierra Leone and so I just consider it as their opinion.

  • And, Mr Taylor, this opinion is very negative towards your conduct, is it not?

  • Oh, as alleged it is. It is. It is negative. This is not what is evident of a brother who is visiting me all of the time and calling me every day. It is negative, unfortunately. It doesn't make it right.

  • His contacts with you were at the urging of other parties. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • I can't speak to that. I know Kabbah came voluntarily - came to Liberia at least twice.

  • And his contacts with you were a somewhat desperate effort to get you to change the kind of conduct you were engaged in towards Sierra Leone. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I would disagree. The way that things work, things don't work that way. At the United Nations if these judges see what's going on is that ECOWAS is saying, "Wait." Once the United States and Britain were pushing through a resolution it would just go and ECOWAS couldn't stop is it. They did everything to say, "Look, you've got it wrong. Give us two months." Nobody listened.

  • Mr Taylor, in fact the Government of Sierra Leone was urging that these sanctions go into effect and was explaining that a two month delay would be of no assistance. The Government of Sierra Leone was doing that in this statement, correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That's what appears, but the Government of Sierra Leone is not on the council.

  • So, Mr Taylor, in the letter from President Kabbah and the statement from the Government of Sierra Leone we have an African President and an African country making very negative comments about your conduct towards Sierra Leone. Isn't that right, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, if you put it that way, an African country, the two countries are practically at conflict. So if you put it that way, I have to say he is an African President, yes, Sierra Leone is an African country, but these are two countries that have varying opinions and disagreements on certain issues.

  • Now, Madam President, I would ask that the document at tab 33 in annex 2B which is S/1999/73, dated 25 January 1999, involving the letter of 19 January 1999 from the charge d'affaires of the permanent mission of Sierra Leone to the UN forwarding President Kabbah's letter of 5 January 1999, I would ask that that document be marked for identification.

  • The document mentioned, along with the annex, are marked MFI-343.

  • And the document at tab 35 in annex 2B, the statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on UN sanctions against Liberia, 24 February 2001, I would ask that that document also be marked for identification.

  • The document is marked MFI-344.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you are also aware that in late 2002 the Government of Sierra Leone once again directed very negative comments toward you and your involvement in Sierra Leone, correct?

  • I don't recall, but this is - during this period there is tension between the two countries, so it's possible. I don't recall the specifics.

  • And this once again was incorporated into a United Nations document, S/2002/1304, dated 29 November 2002. You would have seen that United Nations document, would you not, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, not necessarily. Is that a letter from the Government of Sierra Leone?

  • Well, Mr Taylor, you would have been aware of these negative comments, would you not?

  • It depends. There are hundreds of comments. There is conflict between these two countries. I mean I wouldn't be able to recall before the Court every specific negative statement. I am making statements, Kabbah is making statements. There is conflict between these two countries. So if you --

  • Mr Taylor, perhaps you would recall that it was --

  • Sorry, Mr Taylor. Perhaps you would recall that it was a letter dated 22 November 2002 from the Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Solomon Berewa, that was forwarded to the United Nations. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • As I was saying, I would not recall the - what would help, maybe the content of the letter, maybe something in that letter, it may flash back. But the Vice-President of Sierra Leone writing a letter to the Security Council, I wouldn't know the date or the time or when he did it. So I just need to - if the subject matter is important, I will respond and I will be able to recall for the Court, but I don't know the dates.

  • Mr Taylor, you had told this Court previously that you kept yourself aware of Security Council documents. Isn't that right?

  • Yes, important documents. There are thousands of Security Council documents, counsel. I would be lying to this Court if I said I was aware of every one of them. What I'm trying to tell the judges, of course if there's a very important document I would come up to speed with it.

  • And a document emanating from the United Nations Security Council that included a letter that was critical of your conduct in regard to Sierra Leone, that would have been very important for you, would it not, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, it depends. It's good for the Court to know: Letters from governments, your Honours, going to the Security Council are only published for the information of the rest of the people and attached to a Security Council document. It has nothing to do with the acquiescence of the council or a decision of the council; it is only a display of the document --

  • Mr Taylor --

  • -- that wasn't the question.

  • Such a letter emanating in a document from the Security Council which was critical of you, that would have been very important for you to know at this time, would it not, Mr Taylor.

  • It depends. Subjectively it would have been important, yes.

  • Now perhaps we could look at tab 37 in annex 2B, S/2002/1304, 29 November 2002. We see the cover of this document, Mr Taylor, and it says:

    "Letter dated 28 November 2002 from the chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) concerning Liberia addressed to the President of the Security Council.

    On behalf of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) concerning Liberia, I have the honour to transmit herewith a copy of a letter dated 25 November 2002 from the permanent representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations.

    I would appreciate it if this letter were issued as a document of the Security Council."

    And you see, Mr Taylor, an indication that this was signed by the chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343, correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Correct what? What is your question?

  • You see that that was indicated signed by the chairman of the Security Council Committee?

  • I see that it is indicated as signed by the chairman of the committee.

  • Then if we look at the next page, we have a letter from the Ambassador Permanent Representative, Ibrahim M Kamara, indicating that upon instructions from his government, he is transmitting a letter dated 22 November 2002 addressed to the chairman of the Security Council Committee from Solomon Berewa, Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; yes, Mr Taylor?

  • What is your question now, counsel?

  • That is the content of that page, correct, Mr Taylor, this letter being forwarded from Solomon Berewa?

  • I have seen the paragraph that reads thus.

  • Now if we could look at the next page, please, which indicates "enclosure", indicating in the second paragraph that the Government of Sierra Leone has taken note of the report and is making the following observations on the parts of the report that relate directly to the situation in Sierra Leone. And we see the next paragraph, Mr Taylor, begins:

    "As far as Sierra Leone is concerned, the Liberian government has offered no credible and convincing evidence that it has taken action, including legislative action, to expel all Revolutionary United Front members and prohibit all RUF activities on its territory, as demanded by the Security Council in paragraph 2(A) of its resolution 1343 (2001)."

    And, Mr Taylor, you note at the bottom of this page is an indication of the panel report that Sam Bockarie is thought not to be staying in Liberia and that his wife claims she has not seen him for at least six - I believe this is a typo. It should be "months".

    "This in no way implies the Government of Liberia has excelled Sam Bockarie from Liberia or that he no longer has any direct links, including military and financial ones, with the remnants of RUF presently in Liberia and with the Government of Liberia. Furthermore, lack of information on his whereabouts does not imply that Sam Bockarie no longer enjoys the patronage of the Liberian government."

    And then the first sentence of the next paragraph:

    "In this connection, the Government of Sierra Leone notes that the Minister For Foreign Affairs of Liberia was, until recently, reluctant to allow the panel to talk to Mrs Bockarie."

    Now, Mr Taylor, those portions that I have just read, nowhere in those portions does the Government of Sierra Leone note your positive contributions as the point President for peace, does it?

  • No. Among the portions that you read, no, it didn't. Sadly.

  • And in fact you can take a moment, if you wish, to review the entire document, but in the entire document at no point does the Government of Sierra Leone make note of your positive contributions as the point President for peace, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I haven't gone through the entire document. But if you are saying to the Court that through the entire document it does not state that, I will take your word for it.

  • Madam President, we would ask that this document be marked for identification.

  • The Security Council document S/2002/1304, dated 29 November 2002, along with its annex and enclosure, are marked MFI-345.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, in August 2003 President Kabbah expressed a very negative view of your involvement in Sierra Leone in the statement that he made before the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission, isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't - I don't know what Kabbah said.

  • But you were aware of that statement, weren't you, Mr Taylor --

  • -- relating to your involvement in Sierra Leone?

  • No, I am aware that Mr Kabbah appeared before the Sierra Leonean Truth Commission. I don't know the exact details of what he said during his testimony on Liberia.

  • And if we could look at tab 1 in annex 5 - it has also been marked as DCT-127 by the Defence - President Kabbah's testimony before the TRC. Tab 1 in annex 5. DCT-127 should be President Kabbah 's testimony before the Sierra Leone TRC, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  • Testimony or statement? It says "Statement".

  • This is a statement before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Tuesday, 5 August 2003.

  • Ms Hollis, I notice in handwriting on my copy is "exhibit" - it appears to be "066". Would that be a TRC exhibit number rather than an exhibit number of this Court?

  • That would be a number that was put on by the TRC, not this Court. We would note, for your Honours' assistance, that there is an exhibit D-26 that contains part of this testimony, but not these references, and the DCT-127 that was distributed is the full statement.

  • Please proceed, Ms Hollis.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • And we see, Mr Taylor, a statement by His Excellency, the President Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah made before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Tuesday, 5 August 2003. And you recall, Mr Taylor, do you not, that on direct examination your Defence counsel directed your attention to certain portions of this statement?

  • And if we could look at paragraph 6, which is on page 2. It's listed at the top as 2 of 25. If you could move that so we see paragraph 6. Mr Taylor, this indicates the war in neighbouring Liberia commencing in 1989 with the objective of removing President Samuel Doe and talks about you coming to Sierra Leone with the view of using Sierra Leone as a springboard for staging the rebellion against Doe. It indicates that you were first received by the APC and were even encouraged to do this and then indicates that:

    "We are told this initial encouragement for Charles Taylor was as a result of some financial consideration paid by him to the higher echelons by the APC regime."

    Then it talks about the change of heart and after that your being arrested and incarcerated at Pademba Road for awhile and then expelled from the country and then goes on:

    "This conduct by the APC regime is a factor that might have provoked the hostility of Charles Taylor and his active participation in the rebel war in Sierra Leone. He is known to have organised and responded the initial invasion into Sierra Leone by arming and directing the invaders, and his support for them remained active all throughout the rebel war.

    There is no attempt here to justify the attitude of Charles Taylor and the stance he took against the people of this country."

    So very negative comments about your role regarding Sierra Leone; correct, Mr Taylor?

  • And a bunch of lies too.

  • Very negative in nature though, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • They are all lies and negative, but they are blatant, blatant lies that Kabbah told here in that paragraph.

  • And then Mr Taylor, in looking at President Kabbah's statements about your involvement at paragraph 13 where the topic is the prevailing precarious security position in the country at the time President Kabbah first assumed office as President. Subpart A:

    "Before I became President in March 1996, the RUF had already entrenched themselves in the war for close to five years both in combat and in their international contacts. They then continued to have active support principally from Liberia, Burkina Faso, and had haven in Ivory Coast."

    So again, Mr Taylor, President Kabbah is portraying your involvement in a very negative light. Isn't that correct?

  • In a libelous way. But he is telling a lie. It's negative, yes, but it's a lie.

  • We would ask that this document, at least these portions of the document, be marked for identification. That would be, Madam President: The first page of the document, page 1 of 25 showing what the document is; page 2 of 25, containing paragraphs 6; the portion of paragraph 7 which was read; and page 4 of 25 containing the portion of paragraph 13 which was read.

  • The document entitled "A statement by His Excellency Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on 5 August 2003", that is pages 1 of 25, 2 of 25, and 4 of 25 are together marked MFI-346.

  • Thank you:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, just this last year President Kabbah has continued to negatively characterise your conduct towards Sierra Leone. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • No, just last year, 2009.

  • I have not been on - I have been incarcerated since 2006. I don't know, but if I am confronted with a document I would acknowledge if he has. I don't know what Kabbah is doing out there, but I would not be surprised by anything that he has to say negative.

  • And, Mr Taylor, are you aware of a 9 August 2009 article, "Sierra Leone: Kabbah - It's difficult to forgive Charles Taylor", allAfrica.com? You were aware of this article, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't know the date. I am aware of - I think I am not sure if it was a document that said that, "I will find it difficult to forgive Charles Taylor", I am not sure if the date is 9 August, but that brings a recollection to me about Kabbah saying he would find it difficult to forgive me. I don't know if the date is correct. I don't know.

  • If we could look at tab 38 in annex 2B, allAfrica.com, "Sierra Leone: Kabbah - It's difficult to forgive Charles Taylor", 9 August 2009. Mr Taylor, you see that the document is from allAfrica.com, "Sierra Leone: Kabbah - It's difficult to forgive Charles Taylor", 9 August 2009, and we see the first paragraph:

    "Former President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Tejan Kabbah, yesterday said forgiving former Liberian leader, Mr Charles Taylor, over his atrocities against the people of Sierra Leone was a difficult thing for him to do."

    And then if we look at the fourth paragraph, simply reiterating:

    "It would be difficult for President Kabbah to forgive Taylor if he continues to be unrepentant as he exhibited in recent interviews."

    Then the next paragraph:

    "Speaking further at the Oriental Hotel in Lekki-Lagos, Kabbah said, 'It is difficult to ask if I can forgive Charles Taylor because I spoke to him many times. I said what is going on in your name and with your knowledge and connivance is bad, not only for Sierra Leone, but for West Africa and African children.' I spoke to him, then I followed that up with a letter. I sent my Vice-President with a letter to him, pleading with him along those lines.

    Narrating how he engaged the empathy of other African leaders to prevail on Taylor to desist from his alleged plundering of Sierra Leone, Kabbah recalled: 'In fact, there was a meeting with the African Union in Accra and all the others (Presidents) were there - all the leaders - yes, all the West African Presidents were there but then we had Thabo Mbeki with us, somebody from outside the region, I tried hard. I spoke to him. I asked people to prevail on him.'

    According to Kabbah, trying to extract a promise from Taylor was very frustrating. 'He would say this to me and he would be doing something else without my knowing. I will phone him. We got to the stage where I think we had to go to court on this. Well, myself, I decided that perhaps it will be a good idea for us to have the Special Court in Sierra Leone so that if people see and know that even if a President does something which is not right there is some facility for the President to be questioned about that and for him to explain his own side of the story and that's how we went about setting up that court.'

    Kabbah, who was in the company of his wife, also said nemesis has caught up with Taylor. 'It's so interesting when I remember all these things in retrospect. We were attending a meeting - ECOWAS meeting in Ghana and that morning there was an agreement by my government and the UN that we would not interfere in the running of the Special Court. They didn't tell me they were going to make him appear in court and so on; but when I got to Ghana, I was told that this had happened and that they were going to try and see how best they could accelerate the process.'

    Stating the harrowing experience of war that his country went through can be traced to Taylor, the former Sierra Leonean President revealed his last ditch effort to make Taylor stop the war. 'I, in the presence of other Presidents, spoke to Charles Taylor. I said try and do something to end this thing (war) and finish it up. That's how it happened. How my people suffered. Whatever problems we may be having still is borne through Taylor's machination and his supporters. To ask me if I can forgive him, yes, we should try to forgive each other.'"

    So, Mr Taylor, very, very negative comments by the, at this time, former President of Sierra Leone about your conduct toward Sierra Leone, correct?

  • About my alleged conduct, just as he said. About my alleged conduct. And I am very surprised that Kabbah still feels this way. And that's why we are in this Court; that the evidence will be presented.

  • Mr Taylor, in this article no mention at all about your supposed role as the point President for peace, is there?

  • I don't see it in this article. You don't expect for Kabbah to say that in this - in fact this is not - this is a report of what Kabbah said, we don't even know if he said all these things, but I would expect that from Kabbah.

  • Madam President, if we could have this marked for identification.

  • The document entitled, "Sierra Leone: Kabbah - It's Difficult to Forgive Charles Taylor", dated 9 August 2009, is MFI-347.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • And, Mr Taylor, in January 1999 the President of the Security Council issued a statement that was also negative about the involvement of Liberia in the affairs of Sierra Leone. Isn't that correct?

  • The alleged involvement of Liberia.

  • You remember that statement --

  • -- from the Security Council President?

  • I don't remember that statement specifically, no.

  • You would have seen that statement, would you not, Mr Taylor, a statement from the President of the Security Council in January 1999?

  • I could have, but I don't recall seeing that specific statement. We had met with the President before, I don't recall that statement.

  • That would have been important for you to know what the President of the Security Council was saying at that particular time, would it not, Mr Taylor?

  • It would be important, yes.

  • And perhaps to assist your memory, if we could look at tab 39 in annex 2B, United Nations Security Council, S/PRST/1999/1, dated 7 January 1999. Now, Mr Taylor, we see the document as I have just described it, statement by the President of the Security Council, and the context of the statement is indicated in the first paragraph that:

    "At the 3963rd meeting of the Security Council, held 7 January 1999, in connection with consideration of the item entitled 'The situation in Sierra Leone', the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the council."

    The first paragraph deals with its grave concern about attacks by the armed rebels of the former junta and the Revolutionary United Front in the capital. And then the second paragraph:

    "The Security Council strongly condemns all those who have afforded support, including through the supply of arms and mercenaries, to the rebels in Sierra Leone. In this context, it expresses its grave concern at reports that such support to the rebels is being afforded in particular from the territory of Liberia. It reaffirms the obligation on all member states to comply strictly with existing arms embargoes."

    So, Mr Taylor, it's expressing its grave concern about support being afforded the rebels from the territory of Liberia. Correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, no, I would not put it that way, no, because from my understanding of diplomatic notes, as this is, I would disagree with your proposition as you're putting it.

  • Well, let's look at the plain language again, not an interpretation:

    "In this context it expresses its grave concern at reports that such support to the rebels is being afforded in particular from the territory of Liberia."

    Yes, Mr Taylor?

  • No. My understanding of this --

  • Mr Taylor, I am going to interrupt you.

  • That is the exact language contained in this paragraph, is it not, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, my interpretation of this language is --

  • Mr Taylor, I am not asking your interpretation.

  • Ms Hollis, please let the witness answer. We want to hear [overlapping speakers].

  • You are trying to stop me and shut me down.

  • Mr Taylor, please answer as directly as possible.

  • Yes. In this context it expresses its grave concern at reports. In - my understanding is that this is information - he is expressing concern about information that this is going on. This is how I understand it.

  • And the information is that the support to the rebels is being afforded in particular from the territory of Liberia?

  • The information, yes. That's just information. It's not factual. But it's information, yes. That's how I understand it.

  • And then based on that, the Security Council urges the committee created pursuant to resolution 985 (1995) and the committee created pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) to pursue active measures to investigate violations of the embargoes and to report to the council, with recommendations as appropriate.

    Yes, Mr Taylor? That is what the Security Council is urging based on these reports?

  • Urging an investigation, yes.

  • Madam President, I would ask that this be marked for identification.

  • The Security Council document reference S/PRST/1999/1 dated 7 January 1999 is marked MFI-348.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we have looked at statements made about your involvement in Sierra Leone by President Rawlings of Ghana. You recall yesterday we looked at that? Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • I recall us looking at a statement of - an alleged statement by President Rawlings.

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, in October 2000, even your friend President Obasanjo expressed his concern that Liberia was behind the destabilisation of the sub-region; that's true, is it not, Mr Taylor?

  • I am not aware of Obasanjo telling me that. I am not aware of Obasanjo. He could have maybe in a conversation with someone, but this was not official. I am not aware of it.

  • And indeed, Mr Taylor, this was contained in a United Nations document; isn't that correct?

  • Perhaps to assist you it, if we could look at tab 33 in annex 4, S/2000/992. We see "United Nations Security Council, S/2000/992, 16 October 2000, report of the Security Council mission to Sierra Leone", and then the introduction. It talks about sending a mission to Sierra Leone from 7 to 14 October, and then paragraph 2 sets out the composition of the mission, countries represented on the mission. And then if we look at page 2 of the document, paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 relate to the itinerary, the meetings - various meetings that were held. Including, at paragraph 6 in Nigeria, the mission met with President Olusegun Obasanjo and senior members of his government and indicates other personnel with whom they met, also indicating that they met in Monrovia with you and received a briefing from the representative of the Secretary-General in Liberia, Felix Downes-Thomas. You remember that meeting with them in Monrovia, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I do.

  • And then if we turn to page 8 at the bottom of the document, it is at the top with the large numbers ending in "2117". We are looking at paragraph 33. Paragraph 33 begins indicating the impact of the conflict in Sierra Leone on the situation in the region was increasing alarmingly. The mission heard from the Presidents. By unanimous message they were deeply disturbed by the deterioration and keenly aware of risk posed by a further spillover of the conflict in Sierra Leone, in particular to Guinea. And then they talk about their meetings with the President and Government of Guinea, and then we go to the sentence:

    "In the view of President Conte, echoed subsequently by President Obasanjo, the destabilisation of the sub-region was being caused by Liberia, with the complicity of others in the region."

    So, Mr Taylor, at this point in time President Obasanjo is attributing the destabilisation in the sub-region to Liberia with the complicity of others in the region. Now, Mr Taylor, nothing in this paragraph indicates that President Obasanjo spoke about your role as the point President for peace, correct, Mr Taylor?

  • There is nothing in that paragraph that states that, that's correct.

  • So in 2000 the President of Nigeria is characterising your role in the sub-region itself in a very negative light, isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, that's what it appears in this document. That's what it appears here. This is very strange to me, really, from Obasanjo.

  • Madam President, I would ask this document be marked for identification.

  • The report of the Security Council mission to Sierra Leone, reference S/2000/992 of 16 October 2000, is marked MFI-349.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, if we also again look back to the time period of the attack on Freetown - the ongoing attack on Freetown. At that time, in 1999, Nigeria also made very negative comments about your conduct, your role in relation to Sierra Leone. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • When you say "Nigeria", are you referring to the Nigerian government?

  • The Government of Liberia through the embassy of Nigeria, Mr Taylor?

  • The Government of Nigeria, you mean?

  • That is correct, through the embassy of Nigeria in Monrovia, Liberia?

  • That's correct, Mr Taylor.

  • I am not sure, but the embassy of Nigeria - late 19 - I think it was late 1998, 19 - that could be in January - there was a statement after the conflict with ECOMOG, yes.

  • And, Mr Taylor, the statement that was issued on the situation in Sierra Leone expressed the serious concern for the military and security situation in Sierra Leone following the renewed rebel activities in the countryside and their infiltration of Freetown on 5 January 1999; do you remember that, Mr Taylor, this statement?

  • Not the details, but if it's in the statement. I remember - like I say, I remember a statement issued by the embassy. I don't know the details.

  • And, Mr Taylor, in that statement, they indicated that it was regrettable that the rebels were receiving active support from a number of countries, some of which were members of ECOWAS and the OAU, and indicated the actions and policies of those countries not only subvert the principles and collective decisions of our organisations, but jeopardise bilateral relations among states. And in that context, Mr Taylor, in that statement, issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria indicated it views with grave concern the nefarious role being played by Liberia and some other countries in and outside the sub-region in Sierra Leone.

    "It cannot be business as usual with countries which provide the bullets that kill and maim our sons and daughters."

    So, Mr Taylor, that is a statement which very negatively characterises the role being played by Liberia in Sierra Leone, isn't that right?

  • The alleged role of Liberia being played in Sierra Leone.

  • Well, let's look at --

  • This is a period of conflict, and that's not unusual. There is a period of conflict between us and Nigeria. I am trying to throw Nigerian troops out the country, so there is a conflict. There's - you know, this is why in these political matters - you know, I am sure in further examination my lawyer will deal with this, but we are - these are conflicts and accusations. There is nothing factual about these things. People speak, but that's it. But that's what he says.

  • Let's look at tab 43 in annex 2B. Madam President, we have a copy which is not marked, but it is a copy that can be compared. And the reason that you may want to look at it is that in our copy it's very easy to see the caption at the very top above "Embassy of Nigeria" that is blurred here, and in ours it makes it clear that that language above there is "The News, Tuesday 19 January 1999, Monrovia, Liberia".

  • Could we have a clean copy at least for Mr Taylor and probably for the public?

  • Yes. Now, this copy is not marked, but it can be compared to the other copy. It is the same article. If we could just show the very top of that. So show it to Mr Taylor so he could look at the document, and perhaps you could show it to the Defence and the Bench.

  • Mr Taylor, if you look at the very top, it's small language but it indicates "The News". Do you see that, Mr Taylor?

  • And the day of the week. I believe it is Tuesday?

  • And 19 January 1999, Monrovia, Liberia. Is that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Right, if we could display that on the overhead, please. Continue, Ms Hollis.

  • Your Honours and Defence counsel, if you look at the copy that was distributed, you would note that it is the second indented paragraph, the third paragraph from the top, that is marked, the paragraph beginning, "It is regrettable that the rebels":

  • Now, Mr Taylor, if we look at the caption we have seen the news, the date, Monrovia, and we see, "Embassy of Nigeria, Monrovia, Liberia, full text of the statement issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the situation in Sierra Leone". Then if we can go down:

    "It is regrettable that the rebels in their misadventure are receiving active support from a number of countries, some of which are members of ECOWAS and the OAU. The actions and policies of these countries not only subvert the principles and collective decisions of our organisations, but also jeopardise bilateral relations among states. In this regard, government views with grave concern the nefarious role being played by Liberia, and some other countries in and outside the sub-region, in Sierra Leone. It cannot be business as usual with countries which provide the bullets that kill and maim our sons and daughters."

    So in the language there, the language does not read "alleged nefarious role", does it, Mr Taylor?

  • The language does not say "alleged nefarious role".

  • Madam President, we would ask that this document be marked for identification.

  • The document entitled "Embassy of Nigeria, statement on the situation in Sierra Leone", dated Tuesday 19 January 1999, is marked for identification MFI-350.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Taylor, in January 1999 had you met the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and I may be mispronouncing this, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, A-N-Y-A-O-K-U?

  • Yes, you pronounced it right. I am trying to reflect. You say in January of 1999?

  • By that time had you met this gentleman?

  • I have no recollection of me meeting. That name - that's the Secretary-General - is that the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth?

  • That's correct, Mr Taylor?

  • I know of him, but I don't remember meeting him in January 1999. I could have, but I don't --

  • But you do know of him, Mr Taylor?

  • And, Mr Taylor, you were aware, were you not, that in January 1999 the Secretary-General himself made negative comments about the role of Liberia in the events in Sierra Leone?

  • I am not aware, but I wouldn't be taken aback. Sierra Leone is a member of the Commonwealth and these accusations, you would expect that. Just as I disagree with the publication of the Nigerian embassy document you just read, I don't agree with it but these documents come out.

  • Mr Taylor, do you know what was the nationality of the Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku?

  • I think he is Nigerian. He is Nigerian if I am not mistaken. I could be wrong about that but I think he's Nigerian.

  • Mr Taylor, actually in an article in the BBC news on 8 January 1999 the Secretary-General indicated and in fact called on international pressure to be put on Liberia to cease supporting the rebels. You recall him making that request on 8 January 1999, do you not, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I don't. I don't. He could have very well done that. Like I said, Sierra Leone is a member of the Commonwealth, so Emeka would say that. I mean, it doesn't make it right but I don't dispute that he said that.

  • So again, Mr Taylor, another leader, and this a Nigerian who was Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, making a comment putting in a negative light your involvement in Sierra Leone, yes?

  • If he said that, that's normal. I mean, when these things are happening everybody is putting in his little bit whether they have the facts or not. It wouldn't be surprising to me.

  • We would ask that you look at tab 27 in annex 2B, BBC News, 8 January 1999.

  • Do we have the correct reference, because my tab 27 in 2B has been referred to already?

  • It is tab 26 which has the BBC article. Tab 26 of annex 2B:

  • We see this is BBC News, Friday, January 8, 1999. Then if we look at the first paragraph under the photograph indicating:

    "The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, says he has met representatives of the rebels in Sierra Leone and encouraged them to support the ceasefire."

    Then on the next page under the caption "Pressure on Liberia": "Mr Anyaoku also called for international pressure to be put on Liberia to cease supporting the rebels."

    So at this point in time, Mr Taylor, he is asking that pressure be put on Liberia so that Liberia would stop supporting the rebels. So a negative comment about Liberia's involvement in Sierra Leone, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • And a very foolish comment for someone like Emeka who did not have the facts. He is just making a political statement.

  • Then in tab 17 at annex 2B, the Sierra Leone News Archive, 8 January 1999, we have that same information echoed. Tab 17 at annex 2B which is Sierra Leone Web - Sierra Leone News - January 1999 for 8 January 1999. If we could first show the top of that first page, Sierra Leone Web, showing January 1999 and then 8 January. Then if we could turn to page 2 at the very bottom of that page giving this statement report, "Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku told the BBC from Nigeria Friday", and then if we move over it talks about his meeting with the RUF representatives and also talks about his hope that the international community will come in support of that as well as in support of shoring up democracy in Sierra Leone. Do you see that, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I see what you are reading there.

  • And reiterating his request or statement that international pressure should be brought to bear on Liberia, while at the same time supporting peace talks?

  • He did not say he met you, Mr Taylor.

  • Okay, but your question started off earlier with my meeting with him and I said I did not meet him.

  • That was to ascertain if indeed you had met him by that time, Mr Taylor.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, do you recall on 10 July 2000 the OAU summit being held in Lome?

  • July 10, 2000? I don't remember. It's possible. I don't quite remember.

  • It was a three-day OAU summit in Lome, Togo?

  • I don't quite remember. It's a long time ago. I don't quite remember. It's possible.

  • Well, would you have sent a representative to that meeting, Mr Taylor?

  • If there was an OAU meeting, definitely. If I didn't go, I would have sent a representative.

  • And it was held at Lome's Hotel Deux Fevrier. Does that strike a chord for you, Mr Taylor?

  • It doesn't strike a chord, but it's possible. I don't dispute that. I mean, I don't quite remember.

  • If you did not attend yourself, Mr Taylor, you would have received a report if you sent a representative, would you not?

  • Definitely. If I sent a representative, they would have brought me a report.

  • And, Mr Taylor, then they would have reported back to you that the OAU Council of Ministers meeting in advance of that summit urged leaders to take appropriate measures to try RUF leaders form crimes against humanity and human rights violations, they would have reported such back to you, would they not?

  • If I sent a delegation there they would have reported to me, yes.

  • Or if you yourself had attended?

  • Yes, I would have known of it. I'm not sure - is this a ministerial meeting or a Heads of State meeting?

  • Well, let's take a look at the report of this meeting and see what it says. Tab 44 in annex 2B?

  • Ms Hollis, do you want any of the earlier documents marked?

  • The 8 January I do not, but thank you for the reminder. The BBC report at tab 26 in annex 2B, the BBC news article, 8 January 1999, I would ask that you mark for identification.

  • Not the Sierra Leone Web article?

  • Right. The BBC report of January 8, 1999, entitled "Commonwealth Supports Ceasefire" is marked MFI-351.

  • Thank you, Madam President, and thank you for calling my attention to that:

  • And if we could look now at tab 44 in annex 2B. If we could look at the top "Sierra Leone Web - Sierra Leone News - July 2000". The date given there is 10 July. Then if we could look at the second paragraph:

    "African leaders opened their three-day OAU summit in Lome, Togo, on Monday, with the conflict in Sierra Leone expected to rank high on the agenda. Organisers said 24 Heads of State and foreign ministers were attending the summit, which is being held at Lome's Hotel Deux Fevrier - the same venue where the Lome Peace Accord was negotiated last year. According to the Pan-African News Agency (PANA), the OAU Council of Ministers, which met in advance of the summit, has urged the leaders to take appropriate measures to try RUF leaders for crimes against humanity and human rights violation. They also expressed support for ECOWAS's appeal to the United Nations Security Council that UNAMSIL's mandate be changed from peacekeeping to peace enforcement."

    And then, Mr Taylor, the article notes that the ministers call on the rebels to immediately stop all atrocities, including summary executions, rapes, and the abduction of civilians and called on them to free all hostages, including those abducted before the signing of the peace agreement.

    "The ministers also welcomed a decision by ECOWAS to conduct an investigation into the illicit trade in Sierra Leone diamonds, and expressed support for the Security Council's decision to impose a global embargo on the sale of diamonds originating in Sierra Leone."

    So, Mr Taylor, the Council of Ministers in fact expressed support for the Security Council's decision on this global embargo. Do you remember that, Mr Taylor?

  • As I am seeing it, I don't quite remember. But this is - it looks factual to me. It looks factual.

  • Mr Taylor, are you able to remember at this time if you yourself attended this summit?

  • Quite frankly, I can't recall. July 2000. I really can't recall, but I am almost sure that we had a representative there. I am not sure if I personally attended, I can't recall. But I am sure we had a representative if I was not there.

  • And that representative would have reported back to you?

  • Thank you, Mr Taylor.

    We would ask that this be marked for identification, and I believe this is part of the cumulative MFI for 334.

  • That's correct, the Sierra Leone Web - Sierra Leone News of 10 July 2000 is marked MFI-334L, as Lome.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • So, Mr Taylor, numerous act African governments and African leaders were commenting on your role in Sierra Leone in a negative way from early on in your presidency, isn't that correct?

  • No, that's - I don't know what you - are you referring to the document we just went through? Because that's not what that document says, so --

  • I am referring to all of the documents we've talked about, Mr Taylor.

  • Well then if you are referring to all of them, I would have problems with the way you put the proposition. I would agree that Sierra Leone did from time to time make negative statements. But if you globalise it as you did, then I would have some problems with it.

  • And African leaders throughout the time 1998, 1999, onward, in fact were condemnatory of your conduct toward the situation in Sierra Leone; isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • I would disagree with your proposition as it's put.

  • And ECOMOG commanders were also condemnatory of your conduct towards Sierra Leone; isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, two generals in ECOMOG made some negative statements about me on allegations that were not true.

  • And in these pronouncements that we have gone through, there has been no reference to your supposed role as the point President for peace or the point guard for peace in Sierra Leone, has there, Mr Taylor?

  • I haven't seen, and I don't see the necessity for them to point it out.

  • And, Mr Taylor, in relation to this supposed role as point President for peace, you tell this Court that you were unaware of many pronouncements by Sam Bockarie about intended and impending attacks that his group was going to carry out in Sierra Leone?

  • That's exactly what I said to this Court, that so many statements that Sam Bockarie made that I was not aware of, yes, that's exactly what --

  • And you indicated that apparently your briefers would not have considered such statements important to brief you on?

  • Well, that's not the way I have put it. That's not the way I have put it. Based on the conversation and questions from you, I have responded from time to time as to the decision on the part of the National Security Council of Liberia to decide what was important. That's the way I put it.

  • And you had said that they decided not to brief you on those various pronouncements?

  • No. Well, that's not exactly what the content of my answer has been. That presupposes that they knew and did not decide to brief me. I don't know if they knew or had reason to know. I am just saying, I get briefings from the council and there's so many of the things that you mentioned that I was not aware of because I was not briefed on it.

  • And yet, Mr Taylor, those matters would have been critical to your role as point President for peace, isn't that correct?

  • Well, I mean, that's - again, that's another subjective whatchamacallit. Some of the issues that have been raised, if they - if I had been briefed about some of the bellicose remarks, that would have been critical for peace. And I regret that I did not know about those, but they would have been important.

  • But the truth of it is, Mr Taylor, that you were well aware of those remarks because of your support for the rebels in Sierra Leone, isn't that correct?

  • Totally incorrect.

  • And the truth of it, Mr Taylor, is that when you joined the committee that was dealing with Sierra Leone, that was so publicly you would appear to be promoting peace, isn't that right?

  • The rest of the West African leaders were all silly people. They didn't know what they were doing. That is totally incorrect. They were stupid. Just put me on and didn't know what they were doing. That's not correct.

  • But in fact, Mr Taylor, you were using that committee as the ability to advance your interest and the interest of the rebels in Sierra Leone; isn't that correct?

  • That's twisted, twisted logic. Incorrect.

  • And your public denials about involvement in Sierra Leone were simply to protect yourself from the consequences of such involvement, isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That is incorrect. That's why I am in this Court now, for you to prove all of these accusations. That's why we are here.

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, you were not a point President for peace. You were the man behind the ongoing criminal conduct in Sierra Leone. That's the truth of it, isn't it, Mr Taylor?

  • I was the President for peace. I was very helpful with Lome. When Sam Bockarie gave trouble, he was removed to Liberia. I was helpful in getting Issa Sesay to bring peace. I convened meetings in Monrovia with African heads of state on Sierra Leone. I was the point man for peace.

  • You were actually asked two questions, Mr Taylor. The second question was, "You were the man behind the ongoing criminal conduct in Sierra Leone." I think you should answer that as well.

  • Totally, totally, no. I was never, never ever behind any criminal contact in Sierra Leone and would have never supported it, acquiesced in any way. Never.

  • Mr Taylor, do you remember on 2 December 2009 being asked questions about how you got the title Dankpannah?

  • And you indicated that you had received that title after you became President; isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. The official title, yes. But sometime before, but I got the official title after I became President.

  • And if we look --

  • I don't understand that answer. He says, "But sometime before, but I received the official title after I became President."

  • So which is it? Was it after or before you became President?

  • Well, I would say both. I would say both, your Honour. There is a traditional programme that you go through and get the title. When you win and become President, it becomes official.

  • And if you don't win?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, let's look at what you said about that on 2 December 2009 at page 32927. Mr Taylor, if we look at this page starting with the question at line 23. Let's start with this:

    "Q. How did you get the title Dankpannah?

    A. Okay. I was granted that title in 1997 after I took

    over the leadership of all traditional brotherhoods an

    sisterhoods within the Republic. That is a title that is

    given to the President, but not just the President, but the

    man who takes over that chieftaincy. It was given to me."

    And then if we could look at the next page, please. The question then continues:

    "Q. Are you saying that you obtained this after you became

    President of Liberia?

    A. That is correct.

    Q. So sometime after August 1997?

    A. That is correct.

    Q. Do you recall when, what month?

    A. It would be immediately because I had to get it - I

    would put it to August. Because that particular position,

    you must take it because it comes with - the control of

    country is something like a kingship, so you have to - it's

    given to you almost immediately. So August."

    So on 2 December you said that you had received that title almost immediately after becoming President?

  • Because it is a - that particular position comes with control of the country. It is something like a kingship, so you have to - it's given to you almost immediately.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, now this morning you have said something slightly different. You have said that you had it before the presidency, but then it became official after you became President. Is that what you are telling the Court now?

  • There is no difference.

  • Now, when did you first get this title, Mr Taylor?

  • I am not sure if we have time, your Honour. I will start.

  • If your answer is going to take longer than a minute, then we will have to adjourn.

  • Okay. In that case, we will adjourn now for the mid-morning break and resume at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Ms Hollis, please proceed.

  • Mr Taylor, before the break we were talking about the title of Dankpannah and you had indicated that you received the official title after you became President, but that sometime before you had received the title but it was not yet official. Do you remember telling the judges that?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, my question to you is this: When did you first receive this title Dankpannah, not the official title, but when did you first receive the title Dankpannah?

  • Thinking back, I would put it to - the elections were scheduled for April. I would put it to probably January or February of 1997. The elections were originally planned for April. Somewhere between January and February of 1997.

  • Mr Taylor, you're qualifying your answer about when you became Dankpannah because you've had the opportunity to review material disclosed by the Prosecution. Isn't that correct?

  • That is not correct. In fact --

  • Including, Mr Taylor, an Inquirer article in January 1997 that says you added a new name on your wedding day.

  • No, that is not the correct. And I haven't even answered the question posed by the President of the Court, but we can continue because I think that would be important.

  • Actually, Mr Taylor, it was the question I had posed that said when and you were going to give a long answer, but I think you had not understood my question. My question was when, not how or why.

  • But that is incorrectly stated. You don't know what I was about to say.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you have reviewed the article that is contained at tab 17, annex 2A of the materials that were provided to your Defence and subsequently given to you, haven't you, Mr Taylor?

  • There is an Inquirer article dated Friday, 31 January 1997, "Taylor adds new name on wedding day".

  • You have reviewed that article, haven't you, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I have not reviewed that article. I have the whole bundle of documents. I haven't reviewed that specific article.

  • Mr Taylor, that article has been discussed before in this courtroom and you're telling the Court that even though it has been discussed you haven't reviewed it?

  • No. The way you've made your proposition - your proposition was that I'm trying to channel my answers only because I have seen a document, so I'm trying to say to you that - and your question came up, did I review it, and I'm saying that, no, I cannot recall the specific review because I have no way of determining what your questions are going to be. But I think if I had answered the question posed by the President of the Court of what did I mean by I had before but it did not become official, maybe some of these questions would not suffice.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, perhaps we can look at this article at tab 17 of annex 2A. If we could bring that all the way down so we can see the date at the top, please. We see volume 6, number 7, Friday, January 31, 1997. On the side we see The Inquirer. Then if we could bring that down, please, so that we can see the bottom of the page. "Taylor adds new name on wedding day. Promises no more war." Then if we see the first paragraph:

    "Councilman Charles Ghankay Taylor brought laughter into the St John Methodist Church when during the exchange of marital vows Tuesday he added a new traditional name Jakpama to his name. He is now Charles Jakpama Ghankay Taylor."

    Mr Taylor, it is after your review of this article that you have now indicated to the Court that in fact you had this title before you became President in 1997. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not correct. In fact, the newspaper is wrong. It is not Jakpama. It is Dankpannah.

  • They're talking about the same position, aren't they, Mr Taylor?

  • No. I don't know what they mean by Jakpama. I have no idea what they mean by Jakpama.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, on your wedding day did you add this new title, Dankpannah, to your name?

  • I had been conferred - it had been conferred upon me as owner of the land. It's a whole traditional process.

  • Mr Taylor, that is not the question asked.

  • Yes, it was - I did make that announcement, but it was out before then. But I did say that at my wedding, Dankpannah.

  • So now you're saying that even before January or February of 1997 you had this title. Is that right?

  • I did not say before. I never said before January. I did not say that.

  • Mr Taylor, you are taking the opportunity afforded you of reviewing the documents disclosed by the Prosecution to fashion your evidence to meet the questions of the Prosecution, aren't you, Mr Taylor?

  • That's twisted logic because I have no way of knowing what your questions are going to be, except now your logic is that I have access to your questions. I have no access to your questions, so it is wild to even suggest that someone would fashion an answer as though I have access. Maybe I'm spying on your records, which is not the case.

  • In fact, Mr Taylor, you had notice because that issue was raised specifically concerning that article earlier in this Court. Isn't that right?

  • That is not correct. And at some point I'm sure, maybe through re-examination, the Court will get to understand what happened in this traditional setting that I wanted to explain and why I had it and why I still have it, but I will wait for re-examination. But I disagree with your proposition. That's totally wrong.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, while you were in Nigeria it was a fact, was it not, that you were receiving large sums of money?

  • And, in fact, Mr Taylor, while you were in Nigeria you were receiving millions of dollars from individuals, were you not?

  • That's total fallacy. Totally. I received funds in Nigeria from the Government of Nigeria and that's accounted for. No one sent me any money from outside.

  • Mr Taylor, among those who were sending you these large sums of money was the leader of Libya, Gaddafi. Isn't that correct?

  • Gaddafi, on my oath, never sent me a dime in Libya. Not one dime. All monies I received in Nigeria came from the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Gaddafi never - if he had done it, I would be proud to say he did, and it would be not even your business.

  • If we could please look at tab 15 in annex 2A. We see the New York Times. We have a heading and then in lighter print we have a date, published Thursday, September, and I can't make out if it's 18 or 13. I believe it's 18, 2003. Now, let's look at the last page of this article, please. Remember, Mr Taylor, we talked about Cyril Allen and his association with you. You remember we have talked about him?

  • Yes, we have talked about him.

  • And if we could look at the bottom of that page, please. About midway down, the fifth full paragraph on that page:

    "Though in exile, Mr Taylor is in daily telephone contact with his allies in Monrovia.

    Recently, Cyril Allen, chairman of Mr Taylor's national patriotic party, sat on his balcony, overlooking his swimming pool and tennis court, next to his living room, decorated with leopard skins and a portrait of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

    He said Mr Taylor would make out fine.

    'Charles Taylor has good friends who will give him four or five million dollars, good friends like Colonel Gaddafi,' Mr Allen said. 'He's living in style in Calabar. His state of mind is all right' - with one exception. 'He likes power, he is missing it.'"

    So, Mr Taylor, indeed you were receiving large sums of money while you were in Nigeria from individuals, isn't that right.

  • In fact that's not right, and that's not even what this statement - I don't know - we went to different schools. But Mr Allen doesn't even say here in this paragraph that Gaddafi has given me money while I'm in exile. That's not what this paragraph says. So you would be mis - you would be misleading this Court if you were to even assert that, but I will answer your question. I did - listen, what under this sun would stop me from being happy if Gaddafi had given me money in exile? I would - I needed money, I was broke, and the Nigerian government was helping me, then I would lie to this Court that I received money? I would be happy. In fact, I'm upset he didn't.

  • Well, in fact he did, Mr Taylor. That's the truth, isn't it?

  • That's a blatant, blatant lie and I have no reason to whatchamacallit.

  • If we could have this marked for identification, Madam President.

  • Do you want the whole article?

  • Ms Hollis, just so I know where we're going on this, the Prosecution has alleged that Mr Taylor has millions salted away somewhere in an unknown account or accounts. Is it the Prosecution case that this money came from Gaddafi?

  • It's our Prosecution case that while he was in Nigeria, he was receiving large sums of money from - including other - including - from several individuals, including Colonel Gaddafi, according to Cyril Allen. The large sums of money that the Prosecution and the UN in its asset freeze is dealing with are large sums of money that this accused received as a result of his conduct in Liberia and also in Sierra Leone. So those large sums of money that are the subject of the freeze and the United Nations's efforts to locate those monies are the result of his conduct in those two countries.

    This is based on the questions about what assets he had after he left the presidency and went to Nigeria, and he indicated at that time that basically he had no assets except for the support he was getting from the Nigerian government. I hope that answers your question, your Honour.

  • The New York Times article of 18 September 2003 entitled "Ex-leader stole $100 million from Liberia, records show" is marked for identification MFI-352.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Mr Taylor, you recall on 19 November we talked about the incident involving the looting of the property of Mobil Oil, the 1996 incident. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I recall us talking about Mobil Oil. The date that the transcript reveals I don't know. I have to rely on you for the date.

  • And Mr Taylor, do you recall when we were talking about that saying it was totally, totally wrong that it was your good friend Cyril Allen who looted Mobil Oil. Do you recall saying that, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I recall saying that he did not.

  • And that you had no knowledge that he had looted 600,000 gallons of fuel from the Mobil facility during the 1996 fighting?

  • And you certainly had no knowledge that he was acting on your behalf?

  • At that time you said that you had no knowledge that he had looted 600,000 gallons of fuel from the Mobil facility during the 1996 fighting or that indeed he was acting on your behalf. Do you remember saying that, Mr Taylor?

  • On the two I had no knowledge, neither was he acting on my behalf.

  • Now if we could turn to tab number 81 in annex 1.

  • Ms Hollis, if you could give us a moment to get a hold of our own files, please.

  • That is binder 2 of 3 for that annex.

  • What is the tab number?

  • It is tab 81 and it should be an article, 28 September 1998.

  • Yes, I think we all have that reference, thank you.

  • Before we look at this document, I note from the title page that it states that this was posted on 28 September 1998. What does that mean? Does it mean that this is written by some anonymous author and posted on a website, for example? If so, then it's opinion evidence, and how is this admissible in any shape or form in the cross-examination of Mr Taylor?

    And it also says this a commentary; that is, it's an opinion. So in effect, the Prosecution is seeking to bring in expert evidence - because our understanding is only experts are allowed to provide opinion evidence - through the back door, and we submit that it shouldn't be allowed.

  • Ms Hollis, what in fact is this document?

  • Madam President, this is a commentary "In Taylor's Liberia, thieves are thriving and so is corruption" by the Liberian Democratic Future, The Perspective, and it gives a date posted 28 September 1998. And if we look at the second page at the bottom you see, "The Liberian Democratic Future, LDF, publisher of The Perspective, is a think tank and research organisation", and then you have subscription information for The Perspective.

  • So then what is your response to the objection by the Defence?

  • The response is very simple: That first of all, we are not in any way trying to advance the opinions of experts. Even when people who have been offered and accepted as experts testify, not all of their testimony need be expert opinion or conclusions. Indeed, statements - factual statements may be contained therein, and if your Honours look at the second page which is marked, the first full paragraph on the second page, then that is the reference we are going to make for this document. In particular:

    "Other observers say they're not surprised as it was Allen, acting on behalf of warlord Charles Taylor, who commandeered 600,000 gallons of fuel from Mobil Corporation during the last round of fighting in Monrovia in 1996."

    One may agree or disagree with that, but it is a statement of purported fact, not a statement purporting to be an opinion, and that is the portion that we intend to refer to.

  • I can see that this is a like a quotation - in quotation marks - but that's as far as it goes. The question is it's a quotation by who exactly?

  • Well, it says "observers".

  • Well, that isn't identified. In there they talk about observers in the - observers watching events in Liberia, observers there. And again, this objection goes to the weight to be given to the information; it does not go to whether it can be used. We're not offering this as expert opinion. It is not expert opinion. It is a statement of purported fact, and that is what we're offering it for. So there is no preliminary objection that would preclude our use of it, in our submission, and that any issues about who it is making these statements is really in the form of a hearsay issue, and that goes to the weight to be given its ultimate consideration should your Honours allow us to use it and then admit it into evidence.

  • Please pause while I consult.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • We would uphold the Defence objection to this extent, Ms Hollis: That you may ask Mr Taylor's opinion as to what he thinks of this quotation, but you cannot put it to him as though it were an established fact, because it's not an established fact by virtue of this document.

  • Madam President --

  • You can put the question to him relating to the information highlighted in the margin and solicit his evidence thereon, but you cannot put it to him as though it were an established fact, which is what you're saying; that you think that this is a purported fact. It's not a purported fact. Not by virtue of this document.

  • We accept, of course, your Honours' ruling. We would point out that very often purported facts are not established because they're open to disagreement; nonetheless, that doesn't deprive them of being factual in nature. But we will follow --

  • Ms Hollis, I don't know what is the difficulty with the ruling I have given.

  • We are simply noting it for the record, Madam President.

  • It's not necessary. It's not necessary. We've made an observation unanimously, and we're looking at a particular passage that you want to address to the witness. Now we've said you may address this passage to the witness within the limited context that I've ruled upon. Put the passage to the witness, but not as though it were an established fact.

  • Mr Taylor, it is correct, is it not, that it was Cyril Allen, acting on behalf of yourself, who took the 600,000 gallons of fuel from the Mobil Corporation during the last round of fighting in Monrovia in 1996?

  • And, Mr Taylor, do you see in this article:

    "Observers say they're not surprised, as it was Allen, acting on behalf of warlord Charles Taylor, commandeered 600,000 gallons of fuel from Mobil Corporation during the last round of fighting in Monrovia in 1996."

    That is correct, is it not, Mr Taylor?

  • "... as it was Allen, acting on behalf of warlord Charles Taylor, commandeered 600,000 gallons of fuel from Mobil Corporation during the last round of fighting in Monrovia in 1996."

  • That is incorrect.

  • Mr Taylor, when that is alleged in this article it is correctly alleged, is it not?

  • And, Mr Taylor, in actuality, rather than, as you have told the Court, dismissing Varmuyan Sherif for his supposed involvement in this looting, you should have taken action against Cyril Allen, shouldn't you?

  • So which question do you want me to answer now? I don't understand your question, counsel.

  • You should not have, as you have told the Court, dismissed Varmuyan Sherif because of his alleged involvement in this looting, should you, Mr Taylor?

  • It was an incorrect action on your part, was it not, Mr Taylor?

  • I should have a right to question my decision at that particular time, but I took those actions because it was Varmuyan Sherif that was involved in that and so I took the action.

  • And, in fact, Mr Taylor, that is simply a fabrication to try to discredit the evidence of Varmuyan Sherif. Isn't that right?

  • And the person against whom you should have taken action at that time was Cyril Allen who was actually the one who took this fuel from Mobil Oil. Isn't that correct?

  • That is incorrect. I would have taken action against an innocent man, just as you are trying to take action against me, then I'm innocent.

  • And, Mr Taylor, you took no action against Cyril Allen as a result of his actions during the April '96 incidents in Monrovia, did you?

  • Well, I was not in the habit of punishing innocent people, so I didn't take any action against him because he was innocent.

  • And, indeed, the action you say you took against Varmuyan Sherif was not in 1996, was it?

  • I'm trying to say that the issue of the dismissal of --

  • Mr Taylor, the action you say you took against Varmuyan Sherif was not in 1996, was it?

  • I did not take action against Varmuyan Sherif in - I was not President at the time. So your question --

  • In fact, it was sometime afterward that Varmuyan Sherif was moved to a new assignment based on the reason you now tell the Court of his supposed involvement in this looting?

  • You see, that is totally - what you've done, and it's regrettable, Ms Hollis, you've carefully mislead everybody here. Your question was to the effect of the dismissal of Varmuyan Sherif versus Cyril Allen based on a particular issue, and I answered.

  • Well, Varmuyan Sherif, the incident I'm talking about involving Sherif is in 1998, which is a different time.

  • So two years later?

  • Your question was as to me - my punishment of Mr Allen, I say I don't punish innocent people.

  • Mr Taylor, perhaps you should listen to each question as you're given it.

  • So it was two years later that you took this action against Mr Sherif for what you tell the Court was his involvement in this looting?

  • No. There was also looting in 1998. There was a war.

  • So, Mr Taylor, it's not the Mobil Oil looting you're talking about?

  • Mobil was - again, Mobil was destroyed in 1998 also.

  • Actually, Mr Taylor, it was destroyed in 1996.

  • And they were still trying to recover the money from you for that destruction in later years. Isn't that right?

  • That is totally incorrect, because Mobil could have never asked me, who was not the President of Liberia, to account for something that I was not the President for. In 1998, after the fracas with Roosevelt Johnson, there was looting at Mobil and that's the Mobil issue that I dealt with.

  • Mr Taylor, the Mobil issue you dealt with was the looting in 1996. That's correct, is it not?

  • Well, I dealt with Mobil - in 1996, that issue came up. I also dealt with Mobil in 1998.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you have told this Court on many different occasions that there is a conspiracy against you by major western countries. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • Specifically, yes, the United States and Great Britain I said.

  • And you have told this Court that one manifestation of this conspiracy was the failure of the international community to provide financial support to your government. Isn't that right, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, the truth is, Mr Taylor, that there were several reasons you were not directly entrusted with international funds. Nothing to do with conspiracy. That's the truth of it, isn't it, Mr Taylor?

  • That is definitely not the truth. No, that's not the truth.

  • In fact, Mr Taylor, one of the reasons that your government was not directly entrusted with international funds was your failure to protect fundamental human rights of Liberians. Isn't that correct?

  • Totally incorrect. That's real nonsense. No.

  • And that was one of the many governance issues that was a basis for not providing your government directly with international funds. Isn't that correct?

  • Totally, totally crazy. Incorrect.

  • And the corruption of yourself and the persons in your government was another reason that your government was not directly provided with international funds. Isn't that correct?

  • Twisted, twisted, twisted logic. Totally incorrect, because I never received any money from day one. If it was a matter that you suggest in your proposition that it was because of corruption, then the international community would have said, "But, listen, we gave you X, Y and Z over this period and there's corruption and we're going to stop it." I took the oath of office in August 1997. They never gave me any money from that day until I left office. So your proposition is incorrect and twisted.

  • Mr Taylor, when you took over, your reputation, your practice of corruption and bad governance was already well known. Isn't that right?

  • By the international community.

  • Mr Taylor, I'm asking you the questions.

  • No, but I don't know what you mean --

  • The international community was well aware of that by then. Isn't that correct?

  • I do not know what you mean by "international community". Please, would you help me?

  • Mr Taylor, it was already well known, was it not, that your conduct of affairs as the leader of the NPFL and as the head of the NPRAG was corrupt and involved bad governance. Isn't that correct?

  • That is totally, totally incorrect. If that was the case, it was never revealed to me.

  • Well, it didn't have to be --

  • I saw it as a way of trying to destroy my presidency from day one. Incorrect.

  • And, in fact, it was revealed to you on many occasions, was it not, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, that is not true, but if you suggest that, I would like to see where the suggestion is coming from. That is totally - no country told me, "We're not going to give you money because you're corrupt." That's a lie.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, would you agree that a key factor in good governance is protecting the human rights of your citizens?

  • And, Mr Taylor, you failed to protect those human rights when you were President. Isn't that correct?

  • And, indeed, you actively undermined and violated those human rights, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, you will recall in July of last year your Defence counsel reading from a 1997 interview in the New African magazine and that was an interview you gave to the journalist Baffour Ankomah and that was read on 23 July 2009. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?

  • Not the date. I recall the document in question. I don't recall the date. It was read to me.

  • That document became MFI-13. It was DCT-171. "Charles Taylor, Liberians always knew who they wanted" from the New African magazine and it was the December 1997 issue. You recall that document, do you not, Mr Taylor?

  • And then, Mr Taylor, you indicated to the Court on 23 July that you immediately passed an Act of the legislature establishing a National Human Rights Commission. Do you recall telling the judges that on 23 July?

  • And you said you passed an Act of the legislature, correct?

  • My government. I'm not in the legislature. By that I mean my government sought an Act, yeah.

  • And you said the commission was established because you wanted to make sure that those who abused the rights of the people were held accountable. Do you remember telling the judges that on 5 August, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, that wasn't truthful testimony to these judges, was it?

  • Very truthful. It was truthful to these judges.

  • You were projecting one image to these judges while in fact your actions had been very different. Isn't that correct?

  • Now, on 5 August you told the judges that a retired judge who sat on the Supreme Court had headed this commission, correct? I believe that was Hall Badio.

  • Mr Taylor, when you were talking to the judges about passing or moving rapidly through the national legislature to make human rights the bedrock of our overall economic and political policy, it was pointed out to you by your counsel, page 25180:

    "Q. But, Mr Taylor, you are said to be a tyrant, a

    dictator, and that you were abusing the rights of people

    like Hassan Bility. So were you lying to this journalist

    in this interview when you were claiming to be a respecter

    of human rights?

    A. Well, no, I was not lying to him and, you know, the

    proof is really in the pudding."

    Do you remember telling the judges that, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, in reality, almost two years after you were elected President your Human Rights Commission had done nothing at all. That's correct, isn't it?

  • Well, ask them. I was President. They had - they were - they were not attached to my administration. As far as I'm concerned, they were doing their work.

  • Mr Taylor, you kept abreast of what this very important commission was doing or not doing, didn't you?

  • Listen, I was President of Liberia. I was not a director. I mean, the Human Rights Commission was passed under the law and given all mandates to carry out their work. And as far as I'm concerned, they were doing their work.

  • And, indeed, Mr Taylor, it was such a nonentity that it's very existent was in doubt some two years after you became President. Isn't that correct?

  • I think that's your opinion. That's incorrect.

  • In fact, near the end of April 1999, the legal counsel of the Catholic Church of Liberia was questioning the very existence of the Human Rights Commission. Isn't that correct?

  • I don't know. When you say legal counsel, I don't know who you're referring to as the legal counsel, but I don't recall anything of that sort coming from there. It would not be a surprise if it was - I recall - I'm not sure if it was the counsel or the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission under a lady called Morris who was a strong critic of the government, but that's the extent of my recollection. I'm not sure if she's the one.

  • And, in fact, the legal counsel of the Catholic Church of Liberia was questioning the existence of the Human Rights Commission because it hadn't done anything. That's the reason the existence was being questioned. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • I'm not sure as a lawyer she - that particular person as legal counsel had to be a lawyer - to question the existence of something that is law I think is silly, then that person is not a lawyer. I mean, you may question as to whether they are working according to your own objective belief of what they should be doing. But to question the existence of a law I think was a very stupid thing for a lawyer.

  • And if we could please look at tab 58 in annex 3. This would be binder 2 of 3.

  • Would you please let Mr Taylor see the article.

  • You see, Mr Taylor, volume 8, number 66, Wednesday, April 28, 1999. "Human rights" - this is abbreviated, but I believe it's "commission's existence questioned. Counsellor Korkpor addresses JPC workshop", and, Mr Taylor --

  • Sorry, Ms Hollis, this is volume 8 of what?

  • This is an article from The Inquirer magazine - newspaper:

  • Mr Taylor, Counsellor Korkpor, you knew him, did you not?

  • He was the legal counsel of the Catholic Church of Liberia?

  • You didn't know him, Mr Taylor?

  • "... has queried the existence of the National Human Rights Commission. Counsellor Korkpor says nothing substantive has been heard of the commission since its establishment by the Government of Liberia about a year ago."

    Indeed, Mr Taylor, it's true that this commission was not established until sometime in 1998. That's correct, isn't it, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, the commission was established - I'm not sure, I can't tell. I'm sure that it was done immediately following my presidency. It could have been done late 1997 or early 1998. I don't have any recollection of the time, but I did move quickly to get it into place.

  • "The Catholic Church's legal counsel observed that the commission, since its establishment, is yet to investigate a single case of human rights violation, report findings and/or take" - and if we'll look at the second page where it says "Human Rights C'ssion's", continued from the front page - "appropriate action in the premises."

    And the legal counsel is giving this statement when he is addressing the ongoing paralegal training workshop organised by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission at the St Theresa's Retreat Centre on Randall Street. Now, Mr Taylor, by this time, late April 1998, indeed your Human Rights Commission had not yet investigated a single case. That is correct, is it not?

  • That is totally incorrect. This opinion on the part of Korkpor, which I would only call it his opinion - I do not even know the circumstances. This is a paper being presented; this is his opinion that he's giving. I disagree 1,000 per cent with his opinion and Korkpor, you know - as a lawyer, it is his right to question the work of the commission or whatnot. But I disagree with this own proposition that he's giving here that they've done nothing, they are receiving taxpayers' money to work, and they haven't done anything. I don't think he's aware of the laws. Because when he suggests here they have not done anything in the premise, the Human Rights Commission in Liberia did not have judicial powers. So I do not know what he expected from them, so as a lawyer - I really don't know Korkpor but --

  • Mr Taylor, in fact that was one of the great weaknesses of the commission. Isn't that correct?

  • It was a human rights commission like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. They did not have judicial functions.

  • In fact, Mr Taylor, you ensured it did not even have the administrative ability to summon people before it. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That's total nonsense. That's total nonsense. That's incorrect.

  • Indeed, it is correct that as of late April 1999 the commission had not reported any findings or taken any appropriate action. That is correct, isn't it, Mr Taylor?

  • That's incorrect. I cannot say that as a fact, and you are misleading this Court as regards the function of that commission. The commission did not have powers of subpoena. The powers of subpoena under the constitution of Liberia rests with the Court and the legislature. The executive branch of government and commissions do not have subpoena power, but they can go to a judge and obtain a subpoena. That's what they did not have.

  • Mr Taylor, you ensured that you would be able to publicly state that you had this National Human Rights Commission, but that in effect it would have no ability to truly function. Isn't that right, Mr Taylor?

  • I tell you, that - you know, you're - that is incorrect. It is so twisted that - you know, I don't know where these twisted ideas are coming from. We put a Human Rights Commission into place for the protection of our people coming from a devastating seven-year national war. We did it in good faith, and they were given not all, but means to operate.

  • And indeed, Mr Taylor, as Counsellor Korkpor points out on the second page, the third paragraph from the bottom of the second column from the right, it is marked on your copy: "The National Human Rights Commission has not been made to function effectively." And that was a correct statement of the condition of that Human Rights Commission even at this late date in 1999. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Incorrect, Ms Hollis. That's a blatant, blatant fabrication and a lie. That's Korkpor's opinion, and I didn't even know the Catholic Church had a lawyer. That's my - I didn't even know they had a lawyer. I would even have to work - I don't know that the church had a lawyer. I didn't even know if Korkpor --

  • Mr Taylor, you were well aware it had a lawyer, isn't that right?

  • No, no, no, Ms Hollis. Churches in Liberia that I know of don't hire lawyers.

  • That's just another of your inaccurate statements to this Court, isn't that correct?

  • Well, if you find any church in Liberia with a lawyer hired, then I would be lying to this Court.

  • Well, we've got one right here, Mr Taylor?

  • But he's not. I'm trying to say. This is strange to me, that he is claiming to be the lawyer - if he is the lawyer for the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, I would say yes. Because what I can see are CJ - this document is coming from the archives of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. He may be a lawyer for that commission. But a lawyer for the Catholic Church, I have total disagreement with that. That's my evidence to this Court.

  • So you were aware of the staff of the Catholic Church of Liberia?

  • I'm not aware of all of the staff, but I'm saying - if you read the text, I'm saying it is strange to me that a church in Liberia would hire a lawyer. It's very strange. I've never heard of that before. So I said if you can find one, then that means that I would be learning something.

  • Madam President, can I ask that this be marked for identification.

  • The article in The Inquirer of Wednesday, 28 April 1999 entitled "Human Rights Commission's existence questioned" is marked for identification MFI-353.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, it was not until late 1999 that the five commissioners were actually approved by the Parliament. Isn't that correct?

  • I cannot recall. Late 1999? I cannot recall, really, the time that they were approved by the legislature. I cannot really recall.

  • Indeed, it was not until late 1999, more than two years after you took office. That's correct, is it not?

  • Well, I don't - no, no. I don't - I don't really recall when they took office. I know - it depends on the legislative programme. They were interviewing people for many months, just like right now. Just for the benefit of the Court, even two-thirds of President Obama's people have not even been seen by Congress. It takes a long time. I don't know their schedule. Because when they were approved has nothing to do with when they were nominated. So I don't recall.

  • We're talking about two years, not some months?

  • That's why I'm saying I don't recall. It could have happened --

  • If we could please look at tab 16 in annex 1.

  • If you could give us a moment while we try to locate our files, please.

  • It would be in binder 1 for that annex. That is tab number 16.

  • Ms Hollis, please continue.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • If we look at the first page we see this is Amnesty International report 2000, Liberia. Publication date 1 June 2000. Then below that we see "Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2000, Republic of Liberia". If we could turn to the second page giving background, and then if we could look at the third page, please. If we look at the paragraph just above the caption "Treason trial":

    "The National Human Rights Commission, set up by law in 1998, remained inactive. Its five commissioners were not approved by Parliament until late 1999 and its powers were limited. The commission could not order witnesses to appear nor initiate investigations."

    So, Mr Taylor, the five commissioners were not approved by Parliament until late 1999. That is correct, is it not, Mr Taylor?

  • Where are we reading from?

  • I'm sorry, Mr Taylor. If you would look at the paragraph just above "Treason trial".

  • And look at the second line. "Its five commissioners were not approved by Parliament until late 1999"?

  • I can't be certain about this report. I cannot be certain that this is - it's accurate, because I say the Human Rights Commission set up the law in 1998, so there's a law in 1998. Then it goes on to say that the commissioners were not approved. I have no recollection of when they were. This is a mighty long time before the commissioners are approved if this is accurate, I agree. But the law is passed in 1998, as I've said.

  • And, Mr Taylor, not only could the commission not order witnesses to appear. The commission could not even initiate investigations on its own, could it?

  • That's a lie. That's incorrect. The first part that it says it could not order witnesses, like I say, it did not have subpoena power, but it could obtain that from a judge. This whole nonsense about it could not initiate an investigation, well, if a commission under the law cannot initiate an investigation, then it's not a commission, then it is not functional, then there is nothing about it. But the national human rights laws of Liberia gave it the right to investigate. So Amnesty International is wrong about this.

    Now, the right to the subpoena under our constitution --

  • Mr Taylor, I'm not asking you to give a speech. I asked you a question.

  • The question is related to initiate investigations. You have answered that question.

    Madam President, if I could ask this be marked for identification.

  • The Amnesty International report 2000 of Liberia, published on 1 January 2000, is marked MFI-354.

  • May I solicit some assistance from the Bench? I'm not sure if this - it's in a way of a question for assistance to me. Over the past several days documents have been read to me, I have been asked questions like "do I see the document" or "do I agree with the correct reading of it" and I have not been asked to comment whether I agree or disagree. Now, I'm the accused and my rights - I mean, I do not know where I'm running afoul here because a lot of documents are being read. I'm not being asked whether I agree or disagree. "Do you see this? Yes, I see it." And it passes. So are there some obligations that maybe I'm neglecting because it's about my life. So I don't know if I can be advised by the Court or it just stays this way.

  • Mr Taylor, I think you should rest assured, if there was anything amiss, the Bench would intervene.

  • As it is, counsel for the Prosecution has the prerogative to conduct her cross-examination in the best way she sees fit. Your own Defence counsel is sitting by and if he thinks anything is remiss, he stands up in a timely manner, raises the objections when he needs to and we rule upon them. So I think you can rest assured that there is nothing for you to worry about in the manner in which these proceedings are taking place.

  • Ms Hollis, please continue.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Taylor, when you signed the bill creating the Human Rights Commission you gave assurances that the Human Rights Commission would be unfettered from any interference by any administration, didn't you, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't understand what you mean it would be unfettered by any administration.

  • Well, that's actually the language you used, isn't that right, Mr Taylor, that it would be unfettered from any interference from any administration?

  • I can't recall, but it sounds a little incomplete to say - maybe it's a mistake where I would say from my administration. When I say for any administration, it's a --

  • Well, I wonder --

  • No, I'm not disputing you, counsel. Trust me. I'm not. I believe you, but I'm just saying that that would have been a misspeaking at the time to say from any administration. It would have been better to say by my administration. But I believe what you say. I don't think you are misleading the Court.

  • And, indeed, that statement was found in MFI-28 of the presidential papers at page 210. Mr Taylor, you also indicated at that time that it would serve as a free and independent watchdog. Isn't that right?

  • That's what the Bill says, yes.

  • And, indeed, perhaps it would be helpful to look at MFI-28, the presidential papers, page 210. We will put this in context in a moment, Mr Taylor, but you see here:

    "We can assure you that the National Commission on Human Rights will remain unfettered from any interference from any administration. It will serve as a free and independent watchdog."

    Now, if we could look at page 208 to indicate the context in which these statements were made. If we could slide that down, please:

    "Statements delivered by His Excellency Dankpannah Dr Charles Ghankay Taylor, President of the Republic of Liberia, on the occasion of the signing of the Bill establishing the National Human Rights Commission and the declaration on the rights and security of Liberia returnees at the parlours of the Executive Mansion, Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, October 27, 1998."

    So that was the occasion that you made these remarks. Do you recall that now, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. But I'm just trying to say that either it's a typographical mistake by saying "any" or just bad English, but it should have been "my administration", really. I think there's an error in the typing.

  • You were talking about interference from your administration?

  • From "my" I mean, I'm sure. There's a typographical error.

  • And if we look at page 208 we see that the Human Rights Commission, the Bill establishing the Human Rights Commission was not signed until 27 October 1998, well over a year after you became President. Correct, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, these assurances that you gave about this commission being unfettered from any interference by your administration, those were empty assurances, weren't they?

  • Because, in fact, the commission had to get the approval from your branch of government before it could conduct any investigation. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • What do you mean by "your branch of government"?

  • Mr Taylor, you were the President, correct?

  • And your branch of government was the Executive. Isn't that right?

  • And the commission had to get approval from your branch of government before it could conduct any investigation. That's correct, is it not?

  • Totally, totally incorrect. Totally incorrect.

  • And, Mr Taylor, this limitation on the power of the Human Rights Commission was intentional on your part. Isn't that correct?

  • That's not correct. Maybe it would be of some help if we - you know, you are talking about a Bill that was passed and you're quoting from this Bill incorrectly. If the Bill probably was before these judges we would know what the powers were under the laws of Liberia. So what you're saying is totally incorrect.

  • Mr Taylor, something can be written and yet if it is not given practical enforcement then it doesn't matter what's written. That's correct, isn't it, Mr Taylor?

  • If you have experience in that, that's incorrect for me. Maybe it's your experience.

  • And perhaps we could look at tab 12 in annex 3.

  • Do your Honours have the document?

  • We see this is a New York Times article dated 4 February 1998 by Howard W French. And if we look at page 2, the second full paragraph from the bottom:

    "Mr Taylor announced the creation of a Human Rights Commission with great fanfare after his inauguration last August, but the body still has no offices or budget. More important, its statutes do not provide for subpoena power, and allow investigations only when they are approved by the Government."

    So, Mr Taylor, only with government approval could investigations by allowed. Isn't that right?

  • That is totally incorrect. And if you look at that paragraph, French - it mixes up the whole thing. Here's French putting me to August 1997 when you just showed documents here to say that the Bill was formed in 1998, so French doesn't know what he's talking about here. Howard French, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

  • Mr Taylor, he's talking about your announcement of the creation of a Human Rights Commission. Your announcement was very different than the time it actually came into being. Mr Taylor --

  • He's talking about my inaugural address, right? He said "after his inauguration". And there is no such thing at that particular time. So French doesn't know what he's talking about here.

  • Mr Taylor, the Human Rights Commission could only undertake investigations after it got approval from the government. That's the truth of it, isn't it?

  • That's not the truth of it, Ms Hollis.

  • We would ask that this article be marked for identification.

  • The New York Times article dated 4 February 1998 entitled "Liberian slayings begun brutal trend in Africa" is marked MFI-355.

  • So, Mr Taylor, the reality in Liberia after you became President was that persons who were the victims of human rights abuses could not look to your Human Rights Commission for any type of relief. Isn't that correct?

  • Ms Hollis, you shock me. That is incorrect. That is totally, totally incorrect.

  • And the other recourse that these victims of abuse might have had was also not available, that is, the judicial system. That was not available for them either, was it, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't understand your question. You are saying that the Liberian judiciary did not exist at this time?

  • It did not exist independently of you, did it, Mr Taylor?

  • Total nonsense. Total nonsense. It existed independent of me.

  • In fact, the Liberian judiciary during your presidency was very much under your control. Isn't that right?

  • That is totally, totally incorrect.

  • Certainly subject to your interference. Isn't that correct?

  • Total nonsense. Totally incorrect. Officials of government that served in my government went to jail for different acts. That's total nonsense.

  • Mr Taylor, in fact, the budgets that you ensured were passed provided very little funds for the judiciary. Isn't that correct?

  • Ms Hollis, I don't know what - it depends on what was available for - in the country the Republic of Liberia. But, I mean, these questions are really, really off the wall, but that's incorrect. It depends on what was available.

  • Mr Taylor, your budgets gave the great majority of the money to your Executive branch. Isn't that correct?

  • That is not correct. That is not correct. With the United States arming rebels, most of the budget of Liberia unfortunately went to fighting the war with your country.

  • Mr Taylor, the judiciary, during your time as president, suffered from a serious problem of influence of your Executive branch on its decision making. Isn't that correct?

  • Totally incorrect.

  • Indeed, even the Chief Justice complained about interference in the judiciary by your Executive. Isn't that correct?

  • Well, I don't know what she's talking about. By "my Executive" do you mean me or members of my Executive branch? I don't know what she said precisely. There were some difficulties maybe with security agencies, officials coming out of that chaos, and the Chief Justice did complain that there were some problems, not from the President. I think she was probably referring to the Executive branch of government. That would be right, because we looked into that too. So she did not tell a lie.

  • The people in the Executive worked for you, didn't they, Mr Taylor?

  • I cannot account for every lunatic in my government, no. I mean, I take account - but when we found out, we acted against them. And my objective as President was to make the judiciary - we had very good judges. I supported that process. And when the Chief Justice raised an issue, we moved quickly to bring it under control and that's the [indiscernible]. But I can't account here for every lunatic that understood the law in a different way coming out of a seven-year civil war. No.

  • In fact, Mr Taylor, she also complained about interference in the judiciary by the Legislative branch. Correct?

  • Well, for the Chief Justice to complain about the Legislative branch, I'll leave that to her own - to the Chief Justice's own - because I don't know what the issues were. But sometimes in government you do have these infractions, and the fact that the Chief Justice is speaking out so strongly I think is an indication that it's an independent and co-equal branch of government.

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, you had appointed the majority of the members of the Legislative branch. Isn't that correct?

  • Well, I would not agree with the proposition as it is put.

  • Indeed, Mr Taylor, even members of the Liberian legal profession spoke out about the problems in the judiciary, isn't that correct, in 1998?

  • Oh, by 1998 - it's possible. I don't - I wouldn't deny. That shows how free people are to speak about it. Liberia has a National Bar Association and they are free to speak, and in fact I'm glad that they did speak out.

  • And, Mr Taylor, they also complained about the strong influence of your Executive on the judiciary, isn't that correct?

  • I don't know what is quoted; my influence, or again the Executive branch of government?

  • Mr Taylor, the people in the Executive branch worked for you, didn't they?

  • Well, I don't accept the proposition as it - yes, the people in the Executive branch worked for me. We're talking about the largest branch in government. Every little person down there I cannot account for.

  • Now, if we could please look at tab number 59 in annex 3. Mr Taylor, you see on the screen - may I proceed, Madam President? This should be tab number 59 in annex 3.

  • Mr Taylor, this is allAfrica.com, Pan-African News Agency, Liberia: "Attorney rates Liberian judiciary as rotten", dated 31 July 1998.

  • "Monrovia, Liberia. A prominent Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman, has described the judiciary and the criminal justice and legal system in the country as rotten.

    'The judiciary is rotten and ineffective, my people, and no one trusts us - lawyers and judges', he told delegates attending the ongoing national conference on the future of Liberia Thursday night."

    Then if we move down a few paragraphs:

    "Blaming the government for doing nothing to strengthen the judiciary, Sherman said, 'The Courts lack logistics. No stationery. You get frustrated seeing an outdated typewriter.'

    Another lawyer, Taiwon Gongloe, said the crucial and major problem of the judiciary is the strong influence of the Executive on the judiciary.

    Chief Justice Gloria Scott, in an earlier address to delegates, complained about interferences in judiciary matters by the Executive and Legislative branches of the government.

    She also said little support was given to the judicial branch of government, although it was one of the three equal branches of the State.

    Scott cited that only 7 per cent of the 1998 fiscal budget was allocated to the judiciary, while the Executive carries the lion's share of 89 per cent."

    So, Mr Taylor, you set up a Human Rights Commission that would have to go to the judiciary for subpoena power, and then you controlled the judiciary to ensure whether subpoenas were issued or not. Isn't that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That is totally incorrect, and your characterisation of this entire document is ludicrous. I mean, if the Court looks at the date of this document, July 1998 - and this is at a national conference - what I'm trying to do coming out of a seven-year civil war is bring the country up to where it ought to be, and I appreciate the fact that her honour the Chief Justice made these remarks. She addressed that conference. And what we're trying to do is - I agree with Varney Sherman that the judiciary is rotten, but I meet this judiciary in place. I did not destroy the judiciary. What I met in place was what I kept in place, so I cannot be held responsible. I agree with the comments. It is rotten, and my job is to try to fix it.

  • Mr Taylor, in July 1998 it was your Executive that was interfering with the judiciary?

  • No, I think - this is at a conference, and I think you are being unfair to me in this Court. This is a conference where Liberians are trying to solve historical problems. There's a historical problem, I agree, with all influence on the part of the Executive because of the way that things are, and in most western countries most executives have a lot of influence.

  • Mr Taylor, have you finished with your speech?

  • Mr Taylor, you've looked at --

  • -- except you are my audience, so stop referring to my statement - my evidence as a speech, please.

  • Mr Taylor, you have looked at what we've read. It says nothing about history. It says, "The crucial and major problem of the judiciary is the strong influence of the Executive on the judiciary", and in July of 1998 that's your Executive, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I would disagree with your proposition and your suggestion.

  • And, Mr Taylor, Chief Justice Gloria Scott does not mention history. She talks about interference in judiciary matters by the Executive and Legislative branches of the government, and she's speaking in July 1998. And she indicates little support was given to the judicial branch, and she indicated the 1998 fiscal budget gave only 7 per cent to the judiciary, while your Executive carried 89 per cent. So, Mr Taylor, these comments are directed to your Executive as of July 1998. That is correct, is it not, Mr Taylor?

  • You've asked me ten different - you've made ten propositions in there. Now, I don't know which one you want me to respond to. I have no - I mean, you may as well break them down for me, please.

  • Ms Hollis, what would be helpful is if the comments were not compounded to include several questions. Because this cross-examination should be in the form of a question and answer, so I think the witness is correct. If you could break that down for him, please.

  • Yes, Madam President. We had previously gone over each of these with questions to this witness:

  • Mr Taylor, you do agree that this article is dated 31 July 1998, do you not?

  • And you do agree that in the first paragraph Varney Sherman has described the criminal justice and legal system in the country as rotten. You agree with that, do you not, Mr Taylor?

  • I agree with Varney's assessment yes.

  • And Mr Taylor, in that sentence there is nothing that says "historically rotten" is there?

  • Mr Taylor?