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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Mr Taylor, on Thursday last when we adjourned we were looking at the testimony of Varmuyan Sherif. Do you recall that?

  • Now, taking up where we left off. On the 10 January 2008 - and I am looking at page 886 of the transcript - the witness was asked this question by Ms Hollis:

    "Q. Mr Witness, when we concluded your testimony

    yesterday, you were talk to get judges about a problem

    between Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay and you testified that

    Charles Taylor invited them to Monrovia to discuss this,

    and you testified that the dispute was discussed and it was

    finalised that Sam Bockarie was now changed and Issa Sesay

    became the new commander. Now, when you testified

    yesterday that it was finalised that Sam Bockarie was now

    changed and Issa Sesay became the new commander, who

    finalised that arrangement?

    A. Mr Taylor supervised into finalising - solving the

    problem between the RUF leadership.

    Q. And what exactly did Mr Taylor do to finalise that

    problem?

    A. The confusion that erupted within the RUF forces, that

    was the reason why he sent for them and then he discussed

    with them, and then now he said that the former leader

    Mosquito was changed and Issa became the leader, Issa

    Sesay. Sam Bockarie was now instructed to move from the

    RUF territory to come back to Liberia. He came back to

    Liberia with all of his soldiers, about 350 men. We used

    some of the SSS men. Some of the SSS went to get the men

    and also the helicopter."

    What do you say about that, Mr Taylor? Did any such thing occur?

  • Well, in direct answer to your question, no. No such situation occurred where I sent for Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay to discuss a conflict between them that would lead to the departure of Sam Bockarie.

    Having said that - but I think the Prosecution knew that. The Prosecution should have known that there was no such discussion between Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay and myself that led to the departure of Sam Bockarie. They must know. They had gone through tons of witnesses and tons of United Nations and other documents about the movement of Sam Bockarie. So to ask Varmuyan Sherif about some departure of Sam Bockarie from la Cote d'Ivoire based on some major discussion I think is misleading, and I think they misled the Court if they said that, because they knew. They had to know that there was no such thing about the departure of Sam Bockarie from Sierra Leone as related to a conflict between he and Issa Sesay. They knew that was between Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh because of the different problems involving Lome, the discussions, the different meetings, the conflict, the announcements, the radio, the television. They had to know. So I think by even asking Varmuyan Sherif that question in fact is sinister, and I think the Prosecution misled the Court by asking such a question. I think it's nonsensical to ask that question, because they knew or had to know.

  • Because, Mr Taylor, was there ever an occasion when you invited both Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay to Monrovia to broker a change in leadership for the RUF?

  • Tell me, what time frame separated Bockarie moving to Monrovia and Issa Sesay being - becoming leader of the RUF? What kind of time frame separated the two?

  • We are talking about several months, beginning with the departure of Sam Bockarie to Liberia which occurred in December 1999, verses Issa Sesay taking over the leadership of the RUF in August 2000. So we are talking about a time frame of about, what? Eight - if I'm doing my math correctly, between January to August. I think that's about eight months. So there is no correlation between the two whatsoever.

  • Now, one detail which Mr Sherif provided was to this effect. He said this at page 887:

    "The helicopter was used, that's to airlift some of Bockarie's men to Foya to Monrovia, and then they were sent to Gbatala base for training."

    Were they airlifted, Mr Taylor?

  • Never. And if the Court believes this story, then that means that all of the other stories they have said that Sam Bockarie came across in trucks - and remember there is testimony given before this Court that there was supposed to be trucks sent with arms and/or ammunition with clothes and food across the border that had to come back across the border. There was no witness, and one of the principal individuals involved in the movement across the border was a Prosecution witness Jabaty Jaward, who never talked about any use of any helicopter. There were no helicopters used at all in the movement of those people. None whatsoever.

  • Now, another detail in relation to helicopters he provided was this. Same page, line 25:

    "When you spoke of a helicopter that was used, what helicopter was this?"

    Now, this is December 1999, Mr Taylor?

  • And the answer is:

    "Anti-terrorist. They had two helicopters, ATUs. The helicopter belonged to Mr Taylor."

    Did the ATU have two helicopters in December 1999?

  • Now, moving to page 891, he was asked this question at line 6:

    "Q. You also testified about performing monitoring duties

    in relation to the movement of arms and ammunition in

    Lofa County and you testified that you travelled once to

    Foya. You testified earlier yesterday that your home where

    you originated from was in Voinjama. Now, during this time

    you were performing these monitoring duties, did you also

    travel to Voinjama?

    A. Yes.

    Q. And could you tell us what, if anything, you observed

    about the movement of arms, ammunition and people when you

    went to Voinjama?

    A. I did observe the former fighters of ULIMO still having

    hidden arms and some of them were taking them to Sam

    Bockarie to the RUF territory in Sierra Leone and also Sam

    Bockarie sent Superman, one of his senior commanders at the

    time, he also travelled to Voinjama and the surrounding

    Voinjama areas to buy arms and ammunition to take it to

    Sierra Leone.

    Q. Now, during this time you were performing these

    monitoring duties how many trips did you make to Voinjama?

    A. I made about more than seven trips or more than two."

    And then he was asked again:

    "Q. How many trips did you make to Voinjama during this

    time?

    A. Three times.

    Q. And did you observe this type of behaviour each time?

    A. The one I explained just now was the only thing I

    observed, that the RUF members were now patrolling the

    whole of Lofa County, buying arms and ammunition and taking

    them to Sierra Leone."

    What do you know about that, Mr Taylor?

  • I am not aware. As I have sat here, I have heard of the trade up there. I doubt very much if Varmuyan was on the monitoring shift up in Lofa.

  • Well, he said that you had ordered him to monitor this situation and ensure, remember, that there was a free trade in arms in Lofa County. He said you had given him that specific instruction?

  • Which is a blatant lie. That's not true. Varmuyan Sherif, as assistant director of the Secret Service responsible for putting my convoy together, would have not been given such an assignment out of town. Let's not forget that there are also some former NPFL individuals that are in the region, but ULIMO are in the majority. But I would not instruct Varmuyan Sherif to leave his duty.

    But I guess this shows this Court generally, and I think it proves the point that there are arms going across the border, they are not official and that there is an illegal trade going on, and it is not with the consent of the government or the acquiescence. If Varmuyan - in fact, on page 891 Varmuyan is not being truthful to this Court when he says that he had observed that former ULIMO soldiers were trading arms. But wait a minute. Varmuyan Sherif was one of the most - I think the second or third in command and most senior general and was based in Voinjama and Foya during that time. He was aware --

  • Which time?

  • During the time of the conflict. He was aware of the fact that during disarmament they had hidden these arms. So for Varmuyan to tell this Court that: Oh, this is something he observed, it's a blatant lie. Because this could have never gone on in that area. He was the commander. He was on the ground. And this trade is what ensued following my election as President with his trade across the border. And I want to believe that Varmuyan was a part of this trade and even in the picture that was shown in this Court with Varmuyan Sherif with a pick-up, in blue overall, with arms, alleging that he is being sent by me is a blatant lie. This is the type of trade that Varmuyan Sherif was involved in. So to say that this was something that he observed, I think was misleading.

  • Yes. But there is some details in there though, Mr Taylor, that I do want to ask you about. Were you aware that such a trade was going on across that border in this unstructured way between former ULIMO combatants and the RUF? Were you aware of that?

  • No, no. I was not aware at all. And if I had gotten even a little bit of information on this matter, what I would have done, one, I would have stopped it and the method I would have used is the government would have bought the arms itself, okay. Where we would trade-in, you bring in your arms and we give you money, okay. Because we were trying to do this very thing in other parts of the country, but we did not know that these people were over there doing their own thing. I would have bought the weapons. We needed the weapons for security. We did not have the weapons. I would have bought them.

  • Now, another aspect of it that I want to ask you about, the picture being described by Mr Sherif is of RUF combatants roaming Lofa County, making these deals with these former ULIMO combatants. Were you aware of RUF combatants having that degree of access to Liberian territory?

  • No, not the combatants. No, I was not aware of that. Let's just clarify that maybe for the Court. The fact that Sierra Leoneans are going and coming across that border I think was a normal thing. After elections we are talking about generally the period around 1998. So people are moving about, but it's got to be secret. It's undercover. I am not aware that ex-combatants are coming in and involving in the movement and trade of arms. No, I am not aware of that.

  • And one final matter that I want to ask you about in that regard, did you ever suspect that Varmuyan Sherif, because of his past links with ULIMO and the rank he held within ULIMO, that he may have been involved in any illegal activities such as arms trading with the RUF? Did it cross your mind?

  • Well, I will put it this way: Not really. But I tell you, when - it was sometimes - it was not until during the war with LURD and Varmuyan got involved as deputy chief of staff of the army and the discovery that weapons that were brought into Liberia in 2001 within hours had entered the hands of the LURD soldiers, really, it started raising a lot of questions. But at the time, no.

  • Can I just pause you for a moment, Mr Taylor. What you say was, line 21, "got involved as deputy chief of staff of the army and the discovery that weapons that were brought into Liberia in 2001", by whom?

  • By the Government of Liberia. We are in a full scale war, and I have discussed this 2001 where we write the Security Council and inform them that the Government of Liberia were bring in arms for legitimacy of defence. And the rapid way in which LURD were able to obtain our weapons, we launched an investigation and that investigation at that time revealed not only that Varmuyan's brother was the most senior general in LURD fighting right - maybe a mile or two from where he was located and then things started coming out, "But, chief, Varmuyan has been doing this for a long time, even before the war he was dealing." But I must admit in 1998, '99 I had no idea that Varmuyan was involved in this shady deal across the border, no.

  • What's his brother's name?

  • He used the name Cobra. The overall commander of LURD forces was Varmuyan Sherif's brother fighting right across from me. And Varmuyan was fighting on the Liberian side and his brother - at least we were led to believe that he was fighting on our side. But we got to know that weapons were being passed across to Cobra and that's how LURD made a lot of their advances, because Varmuyan was giving them spaces, you know, to enter and weapons to fight.

  • When you mentioned you had no idea that Varmuyan was involved in this shady deal, what deal are you talking about?

  • Well, you asked me as to whether I was aware of Varmuyan - or had any knowledge of the fact that Varmuyan was dealing with the RUF and I am saying no. Then I explained the scenario and said I had no idea that he was involved in these shady transactions.

  • Now, on page 892 of the transcript of the 10 January, Mr Sherif also went on to say that - he was asked this question:

    "Q. You also talked yesterday about a shipment to Roberts

    International Airfield. You testified that you saw Sam

    Bockarie and others meeting at a restaurant near Roberts

    International Airfield and that they were discussing how or

    who should receive parts of the arms shipment that was

    coming in. You testified that the arms shipment was taken

    to White Flower and you followed behind the police

    director. Do you know how many vehicles were loaded with

    arms and ammunition from this shipment?

    A. After every one or two months, Paul Mulbah was

    receiving arms and ammunition at the Roberts International

    Airport. That did not happen once. It happened more than

    three to four times. Up to 2003 arms and ammunition were

    still coming down at Robertsfield and Paul Mulbah was there

    receiving them."

    And then he goes on to say that this stopped in 2003 at the time Mr Taylor left power "because the last time that came was blasted in the air at Robertsfield."

    Now, there's a lot there. Firstly this: Do you know of any incident when Sam Bockarie was present at Roberts International Airfield to receive an incoming arms shipment?

  • Not at all, no. And I doubt that it happened. I strongly, strongly dispute that that would have happened, no.

  • Secondly, was it the case that shipments were coming into Roberts International Airfield, shipments of arms that is, every one or two months?

  • No, that is not true. Well, look, Sam Bockarie being at Roberts International Airport to receive arms, I mean, let's just see if we can put some meat on this. Sam Bockarie comes to Liberia in 1999. There is evidence, if it's to be believed, Sam Bockarie leaves Liberia in 2000. What is he going to be - how does he get to Roberts International Airport and for what purpose is he going to Roberts International Airport? In the first instance if it's 2000, he leaves in 2000, so what is he going to be doing at Roberts? Except we are talking - except he is suggesting sometime earlier than the time of --

  • Well, Mr Taylor, I can help you to this extent because, in an effort to seek clarification, Ms Hollis asked Mr Sherif this question:

    "Q. During what year did these shipments begin?

    A. You mean the time when they started bringing them or

    the time they stopped bringing them?

    Q. The time they started bringing them.

    A. I started experiencing it since 2001 and it went up

    to 2003, if my memory serves me well. I realised that arms

    and ammunition were coming to Roberts International

    Airfield and it started in 2001 up to 2003."

    Then he was asked this:

    "Q. Now, yesterday you testified that this meeting where

    Sam Bockarie was at Roberts International Airport and you

    received this arms shipment, you testified that this was

    before the attack on Freetown in January 1999?

    A. Sam Bockarie, I didn't see him receiving the arms. I

    said Sam Bockarie was at the Robertsfield and they were

    discussing which logistics - how much logistics each person

    was supposed to receive. But Paul Mulbah - that all of

    these arms, they would take them first to White Flower and

    everybody will only receive from Mr Taylor himself."

    So there's two things being said there. Firstly, that Sam Bockarie was present at Roberts International Airport when a shipment was expected just prior to January 1999. What do you know about that?

  • None. Nothing. And I don't think that is true because, again, I mean let's - you know, I don't know how maybe the Prosecution - Sam Bockarie is alleged, I mean, which is factual, went to Burkina Faso in December 1998. Is this what Varmuyan Sherif is talking about? Now he is describing an incident where he is present where some materials come and he specifically says Sam Bockarie does not receive it, but Sam Bockarie - and he says that, Sam Bockarie does not receive it, but they are discussing logistics. So what are we talking about? Are we talking about a trip that Sam Bockarie goes to Burkina Faso as some have said and brought arms in? Okay, if he brought it in then he has it so he cannot say he did not receive it. So except we are talking about a different thing.

    As far as the second part this have of 2001 and on, Sam Bockarie was not in Liberia and could not have been at the airport. So unless we can really - you know sometimes these guys mix up these things because they are trying to get things together. It does not make a lot of sense that Sam Bockarie is at the airport, Roberts International Airport, before the January invasion but he does not get the arms and ammunition. That's what he says, he doesn't get, they are only discussing logistics, verses someone who said that he went and he brought in arms and ammunition.

    So I think that this witness is either confused or deliberately misstating the information as he maybe is told to say it, because it is not clear here really what he is saying.

  • But, Mr Taylor, you appreciate the juxtaposition of Bockarie being at Roberts International Airport prior to the 6 January Freetown invasion and also at or about the time when he has just returned from Burkina Faso. And you recall other evidence suggesting an arms shipment arriving in Roberts International Airport from Burkina Faso in or about December 1998. You recall all of that, don't you?

  • So help us. Was Bockarie present at the airport, awaiting an arms shipment as described by Mr Sherif?

  • No, no. Not to my knowledge, no. Because when Bockarie went to Burkina Faso to the best of my knowledge, he did not bring arms and ammunition into that republic that I know of, no. So that's not possible.

  • Another detail I want to ask you about. Well, on that same topic before I move on, did Blaise Compaore advise you or inform you in or about December 1998 that he was sending arms to the RUF via Roberts International Airport?

  • No, he did not. And quite frankly, I can't speak for Blaise, but I doubt very much if he would have done such a thing. I do not think that Blaise in his position at that time, or any other time, would have given them weapons. I can't speak for him, but he never had any such discussions with me.

  • Well, let me ask you another question. Would Blaise Compaore have sent arms via Roberts International Airport without first informing you?

  • Oh, no. He would have at least had the courtesy to say, I "am sending in arms and ammunition", but that never happened.

  • And on that same note, Liberia - there was an arms embargo on Liberia at the time, was there not?

  • Now, would the leader of the African Union send arms to Liberia knowing that the UN had imposed an arms embargo on Liberia?

  • I don't think so, no. I doubt it very much.

  • Another detail, Mr Taylor, and it's this. The witness was asked this on page 898 at line 15:

    "Q. Did the RUF come to assist in the fight against the

    LURD?

    A. Yes.

    Q. And where did they operate? In what area?

    A. They operated in Foya, Kolahun and Voinjama.

    Q. Do you recall the names of any of the RUF commanders?

    A. The only person that I could recall his name, when Abu

    Keita came to Voinjama he sent me a written message that

    he's in good hands and now he has just been sent forth to

    assist the Liberian government to fight against the LURD.

    The RUF at that time when they came into Liberian territory

    to help the government they were reporting directly to

    Benjamin Yeaten.

    Were the RUF assisting in that way, Mr Taylor?

  • But, I mean, counsel, maybe I didn't - that reading, maybe I did not get it properly. Did I understand your question that the RUF was asked by my government to come and assist the Government of Liberia and that --

  • Well, that's implied.

  • Okay. And that one of the RUF commanders that came was Abu Keita; am I understanding that correctly?

  • Well, if we believe that to be true - but don't let's forget now, but who is Abu Keita fighting against? Abu Keita is the individual that is alleged to this Court that I sent to Sierra Leone, okay, to fight. So is he a part of the Liberian government forces, or is he an RUF commander? So now he is an RUF commander. Well, in answer to your question, counsel, I never asked the RUF to come into Liberia to fight at all.

    But, now, you know, that's where in this case, you know, I guess in a hurry to get a conviction to destroy Charles Taylor, anything goes. So Abu Keita cannot be a commander that I sent to Sierra Leone. I am supposed to send him with men to participate in the 6 January invasion of Sierra Leone. Now he comes back as an RUF commander. Well, it can't be - it can't be true.

  • Fighting against LURD.

  • Now, LURD, remind us, Mr Taylor, who were they?

  • LURD were ULIMO - these are the disgruntled ULIMO individual that fled into Sierra Leone and are coming back and attacking - so Abu Keita, in other words, is fighting himself. This is what it amounts to. Because Abu Keita is an ULIMO-K general, and ULIMO-J and K constitute LURD. So how can now Abu Keita - on the one hand, he is a Liberian commander sent in by me; on the other hand, he is an RUF commander sent in by the RUF to fight against his very brothers that are in exile fighting against - so who is he fighting? Himself? Me? Who is he fighting? It's just - that just shows the depth of this lie.

  • And he went on to say, Mr Taylor - and I must ask you about this - that when the RUF came to Lofa to assist in the fight against LURD, you provided Benjamin Yeaten with guns which Yeaten in turn distributed amongst the RUF combatants. Is that true?

  • That is not true. Well, it depends on the picture - it depends on the period in question. Arms are - well, I don't know what period he is talking about.

  • He is talking about fighting against LURD.

  • Okay. But LURD starts in early period. Guns do come to Liberia in 2001, and so if he is talking about any time prior to 2001, we don't have the guns. That's why LURD makes so much progress, because we really can't fight them. We are not equipped.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, was it the case that wounded RUF combatants were taken to Monrovia - to the John F Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia for treatment?

  • Well, you know, again these questions are yes and - depending on the period. Depending on the period I can say yes. The period prior to Lome, that is July 1999, we deliberately - and I say this was my government's decision. Individuals that were coming out of Sierra Leone - critically wounded individuals, whether you were a civilian or what - during that crucial period of negotiations, if a request was made individuals did come, that is, up to Lome.

  • Right. Now help us, Mr Taylor. We know when Lome was: July 1999?

  • But help us, what's the start and the end of this period that you are now talking about?

  • Well, I am talking about between, I would say, the beginning - I would put it to the beginning of - I would say the first quarter of 1998 into July 1999, individuals - not just soldiers. But it was a decision of my government to permit anybody, civilians, that needed assistance came across the border in Liberia for treatment, yes. This was purely humanitarian, from my perspective, in my capacity as mediator in the process, yes.

  • And help us, Mr Taylor, were there any Sierra Leonean doctors at the John F Kennedy Hospital?

  • Wow, I don't know. Quite frankly, I don't know. A lot of the - a lot of doctors in Sierra Leone were trained in Liberia, so they all were trained at the Dogliotti College of Medicine, including one of the protected witnesses that came here who trained in Liberia, Sierra Leonean - I mean, the Prosecution witness that came here that trained in Liberia. So the chances of a Sierra Leonean working not just in JFK, but in other hospitals of Liberia, I would say yes. Sierra Leoneans came to Liberia to look for employment. There was [indiscernible] in Sierra Leone that came to Liberia.

  • The witness you mentioned, the protected witness, is TF1-358.

  • He was trained in Liberia and worked in Liberia before.

  • Now, on that note, Mr Taylor, the treatment of RUF and other civilian wounded in JFK, was there a time when this caused some public concern?

  • Well, there was a time that the issue was raised. I wouldn't call it a public concern. Some - a couple of newspapers at the time did raise it, but, you know, there are about three things I want to mention. Let's go back to the issue of treatment at JFK. It must be stated that the JFK at a particular point in time in question had certain facilities that individuals came from as far as way as Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, for treatment in Liberia. There is nothing unique about Sierra Leoneans coming in, that's number one.

    The second important one about the question that you asked me, I just - would you - I just --

  • The question was: Did the treatment of RUF and other civilian wounded in JFK, was there a time when this caused some public concern?

  • Some newspapers - the newspaper situation in Liberia is very - is unlike - let's forget the west. Newspapers in Liberia are supported by embassies. They are supported by NGOs. They were not that free press, independent, as you see in other countries. So depending on - you may have five, ten newspapers, and depending on who is opposing and what views you want to hear, you will hear them. So it did come up in a couple newspapers, and we explained that for humanitarian purposes we let people come from anywhere into Liberia for treatment.

  • Because Mr Sherif did mention that the press people visited the hospital and some other politicians visited the area, and they said on the radio and in the newspaper that the war in Liberia is not true because they are seeing some citizens from other countries like from Sierra Leone in the hospital.

  • Would you agree with that statement?

  • Yes, I agree. And just to add: Listen, I operated in Liberia and in West Africa very openly. In my position as mediator, there were discussions I took and discussed with individuals. But look, let's very be frank about this. If I, Charles Ghankay Taylor, am trying to hide the fact that individuals from neighbouring countries are taking treatment in the hospital, isn't it simple to close the ward off? You close the ward off and say no one is going to enter. Finish. The fact that the press can go in, it simply means there is nothing sinister about what is going on. It was simple to close the ward off and say absolutely no press, as is done in other countries. You go - right now you go into Washington DC, you go into the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, there are some times they permit the press, and other times they shut it off. I mean, it's simple as that in the most modern of countries. So there's nothing sinister about it. It is right. You permit the press to go in and we tell them. Yes, my position is one of - a very serious one, and I used different methods as mediator at that particular time to encourage - I would say perhaps cajole, if you want to put it that far - I used whatever was necessary to my disposal to get peace in Sierra Leone, as most countries do, whether you are talking about what level of mediation. And I can go through a host of mediating countries in the world; whether we are talking about China, whether we are talking about Egypt, or whatever we are talking about. There are certain things that are not made public, but in my position as President, there are lot of little things that you do to encourage people to move forward. And so, yes, but it was not secret.

  • Two other matters before I conclude with this witness. On page 925 of the testimony of the 10 January 2008 the witness said this, "On one occasion when" - in order to put it in context, the witness was being asked about the relationship between Benjamin Yeaten and you, okay, and he described the relationship as being like a father and son. And he goes on to say that he himself, Mr Taylor, made it clear to all of us, the SS members, that Benjamin Yeaten is like his son.

    And he went on. The relationship was very cordial between you and Benjamin Yeaten.

    "... because Benjamin Yeaten, he did anything. If he did

    anything, he would not be questioned. Sometimes, in fact,

    he did certain things before taking instruction from

    Mr Taylor, and even when Mr Taylor got to know about it, he

    would just forget about it and nothing went out of it.

    Q. Now, when you say if he did anything he would not

    questioned, what do you mean?"

    And he gives this example:

    "On one occasion when the Special Court wanted to arrest Mr Taylor in Ghana, in less that one hour Benjamin Yeaten executed two of the ministers in Liberia. He arrested the Vice-President and he went and had him in jail, and when Mr Taylor came he explained on the radio publicly that the Liberian people should now consider that it is a mistake and that was all."

    So, pausing, firstly, was Benjamin Yeaten like a son to you?

  • Sherif was like a son to me. Son, I think is - I would say - I would accept. I would say yes, if we are speaking as son in terms of our typical African way where a younger man is like a son to you. Just as I said to this Court that Bockarie was like a son to me. Sherif, as far as I was concerned, was like a son to me. Not in the way that he described it, but I would accept that he was like a son to me with that explanation.

  • Now what about this suggestion: That sometimes Yeaten would act without seeking any instructions from you?

  • Oh well, yes, Benjamin - yes. Most officials of government did not - I mean if a President had to operate - I would say yes. If a President had to operate with everyone calling and getting instructions before he could take certain crucial decisions I don't think the President would have a minute of his own. So most individuals in fact are trained to take decisions, but to take prudent decisions. I would say even Varmuyan Sherif took all the decisions he took by giving arms to his brother Cobra, of course he didn't ask me. People take decisions and sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. And they bear responsibilities for them. But I would say yes.

  • Now, what about this suggestion that on that occasion when you were in Ghana and the Special Court wanted to arrest you, that in less than an hour Benjamin Yeaten executed two ministers in Liberia, is that true?

  • That is not true. And to show it is not true, let's reflect on Moses Blah's testimony. Moses Blah sat here and told this Court that when I returned from la Cote d'Ivoire, one of the ministers that Varmuyan is referring to, Moses Blah alleges that I attacked the minister in a meeting. So how could he be dead and I am attacking him? That's a blatant lie. It did not happen.

    But I think there are two words that he used. One word "cordial". There was nothing cordial between Benjamin Yeaten and myself. Benjamin Yeaten was a general. He performed. And as an army personnel, he knew where his responsibilities stopped. But in terms of what happened during that particular period, it is very important for the first time for the world to get to know what happened. And as we go further and we look at the 2006 testimony by a Lieutenant Colonel David Crane before the Senate - I mean the House Foreign Relations Committee, we will see the intent. The indictment was opened on the day that I went to Ghana.

    But something else happened during that particular time. The war was being fought in Monrovia. LURD was then attacking Monrovia. The United States of America at the time had brought 5,000 Marines from Iraq and they had about a half dozen ships within view off the coast of Monrovia. The then President of the United States George Bush had said that I should step down and leave Liberia. The United States had brought special ops people in Liberia at the embassy and the whole scenario was timed that while I was in Ghana, the unfolding of the indictment - at that particular time Moses Blah was summonsed to the United States embassy and he was asked to take over power because I had been indicted and I would not be returning.

    Moses Blah went and asked the general, General Yeaten at the time - at the time we are talking about General Yeaten is not just director of SSS. He is the deputy chairman of the joints chief of staff and in charge of military operations in the entire republic. General Yeaten, responding as he rightly did as a general, said to the Vice-President, "If you are asking me to - if you are telling me that you want to stage a coup d'etat it's unacceptable." And I was in contact with General Yeaten, the Defence Minister and everybody at the time of this incident in Accra. Moses Blah was never touched. Moses Blah, when I returned to Accra - I mean to Monrovia on the day of the unfolding of this - of the opening of this indictment, on board the presidential plane of the Republic of Ghana, Moses Blah received me at the airport that night. We went to Monrovia and I ordered him placed under house arrest for an attempted coup d'etat when he asked the armed forces to overthrow.

    Immediately the special ops man at the United States embassy left the country that night on my arrival and that ended the issue. Yes, there were two individuals that did get killed during that particular time. They were not ministers of government. There was a John Yormie and another very good friend of mine I understand accidently - he was a pure party member of our party, a gentleman by the name of Vaye that got killed during that process.

  • Could you give us some spellings?

  • The first one is John Yormie. John Yormie was Deputy Minister of National Security and Vaye was also I think an assistant minister at I think public works if I am not mistaken.

  • Spellings?

  • Vaye, V-A-Y-E. Yormie is Y-O-R-M-I-E. But that's the scenario where the Moses Blah and the house arrest and officials getting killed and that is completely, completely further from what he has explained.

  • And the final matter I want to deal with in relation to this witness is this, the witness was asked:

    "Q. How would you characterise Charles Taylor's

    relationship with the RUF?

    A. It is also that he was the father of the RUF for the

    fact that Sam Bockarie made it clear to me that when they

    were going on a mission, and Mr Taylor was sending him, Sam

    Bockarie, on a mission, he was small. So the instruction

    had been between Mr Taylor and Foday Sankoh at the time,

    but now he had come and had seen Mr Taylor so he had talked

    to his father and he was receiving well in his body and

    anything they are supposed to do now to carry on his

    mission, everything will go on successfully."

    Would you describe your relationship in that way?

  • No, I would not. I would not describe my relationship with Sam Bockarie in that way. I don't need to - I think this Court understands the role that I played now and I would not burden the Court with any long explanation. My role was one of a mediator. I did what I had to do. These little fellows like Varmuyan and the rest don't - I don't put it to the fact that they are deliberately lying. They are being asked to explain things that they cannot explain, and this is the best of their explanation.

    There was a very crucial role that I played at this particular time, a very crucial role. ECOWAS encouraged me to play that role. The United Nations encouraged me to play that role. The OAU encouraged me to play that role and I played it to their satisfaction, with their knowledge and with their acquiescence.

    Now if you ask a little fellow like Varmuyan who, for what reason he was brought to this Court to testify as, quote unquote, an insider, of course you would expect him to try to explain to the best of his ability. But I think his explanation is at that level. But my role was crucial and I played it. There was nothing special. Like I said, I never knew Sam Bockarie. And all of the witnesses that have come before this Court - during the time that Sankoh visited me in Liberia between August '91 and May '92 never brought Sam Bockarie to Liberia. He never. I never knew the young man. The only time I got to know Sam Bockarie was after I guess he successfully fought to get to me after maybe Varmuyan had misled him over time that he could have brought him to me, which he did not, was in August 1998 when we get this letter and I invite him over in September 1998.

  • Very well. Now, I did say that was the final question, but I have just spotted one other matter which I want your comment on. Mr Sherif was asked at page 926, going into page 927:

    "Q. Yesterday you testified that as a member of ULIMO you

    fought against the RUF and the NPFL in Sierra Leone.

    During what period of time did you fight against the RUF

    and NPFL in Sierra Leone?

    And this is what I want you to comment on. He said that:

    "A. That is the end of 1991 to 1992."

    So what he is saying is that as a ULIMO combatant, he began operations against the RUF and the NPFL end of 1991 to 1992 and he goes on to say that he fought in the Pujehun District.

    Now, Mr Taylor, would you agree with that time frame for the start of hostilities involving ULIMO, end of 1991?

  • The only thing I can - no, in direct answer to your question. There is a question with the time here. But the only help I can give is that if he is saying the end of 1991, '92 that he is fighting in Pujehun, that he is fighting in Pujehun, which is in Sierra Leone, this only, for me, opens up the whole period that these people, ULIMO and other Liberians, are still being used as mercenaries with - I mean by the Government of Sierra Leone. And so we may very well find out that Varmuyan may have been involved in more than that.

    But the period in question is something that - I think if he's fighting in Pujehun, remember by this time '91/'92 ULIMO is also fighting in Liberia. And if he is fighting in Liberia and fighting in Pujehun, I can see here that he is being - that they are being used maybe in dual roles at the time, you know, as the Government of Sierra Leone did use Liberians as mercenaries. So he is fighting in Liberia and fighting in Sierra Leone because I guess of his Sierra Leonean rank. And I wouldn't put it past the fact that, you know, his involvement even after - even after my election as President. But the period in question, it would be strange that he would be fighting in both places.

  • Very well. We are going to move on and deal with another witness now, Mr Taylor.

    Now, Mr Taylor, we cannot mention - well, I'm assured that I can mention the name of this witness: TF1-597, Samuel Kargbo. Now, Mr Taylor, this witness deals with the period of the AFRC. Do you recall his testimony?

  • Now, I would like us to deal with one or two aspects of his testimony which was provided to this Court in May 2008. Now, the first point that I want to ask you about is at page 10441, where the witness says that Pa Sankoh told the RUF that the RUF should come and join them, he being an AFRC member. So within 72 hours the RUF came and joined them. Did you know about that?

  • Well, I heard about the joining at this particular time. I am not sure of the time, but yes, I heard about it.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, he goes on to say this on the same topic:

    "Q. Sir, you indicated that Johnny Paul Koroma called

    Foday Sankoh. How do you know that?

    A. We are in the office."

    Jumping a few lines, line 27:

    "Q. After Johnny Paul Koroma called Foday Sankoh, did he

    tell you what was discussed with Foday Sankoh?

    A. Yes, after the telephone conversation he told us that

    he had spoken to Foday Sankoh and that Sankoh had said he

    will send somebody who will come to meet us. Then the RUF

    would eventually come and join us. So within 72

    hours - within 48 hours the person whom he said came and

    met us, Gibril Massaquoi. He brought with him telephone

    numbers and the RUF came and joined us."

    Were you aware of such contact between Foday Sankoh and

    Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • No, I was not aware.

  • This is at the time of the AFRC coup in May 1997?

  • I heard that information here and I have read some accounts in documents provided by the Prosecution, but that's the extent of my knowledge. I am not President at the time of this.

  • Now, he goes on:

    "Q. Did Gibril Massaquoi introduce himself as a member of

    any group?

    A. Yes, he said he was a member of the RUF and that he was

    sent - his leader had sent him, Foday Sankoh.

    Q. You mentioned that he came with phone numbers. Did you

    ever see the phone numbers, or the names associated with

    those numbers?

    A. No, we did not ever see the numbers, but he was

    explaining when he had given the numbers to Johnny Paul, he

    said that was the number of Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor, the

    number of Mainassara from Niger, the number of Blaise

    Compaore from Burkina Faso, and the number of Mohamed

    Gaddafi for Libya."

    Now, taking things in stages. Firstly, had you provided a telephone number to Foday Sankoh such that he could send that number via Gibril Massaquoi to Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • No, and I do not even think he had the numbers of any of these people. No, I did not give my number. Well, if Foday Sankoh had my number, why during the entire period he is in Abidjan he never calls me? Why is he going to - he does not have my number. He does not have my number and he did not give it. And I'll tell you, well, even though he did not come before the Court, but when you read Gibril Massaquoi's account of this entire story from his statements that he made to the prosecution that we have, this is a different account that Gibril Massaquoi gives in his documentation. This is a blatant lie. Total lie.

  • Now, just dealing with some of the detail, Mohamed Gaddafi was President of Libya at the time, was he?

  • Well, he was the leader of Libya, yes.

  • And Blaise Compaore, was he the President of Burkina Faso at the time?

  • And who was the President of Niger at the time?

  • Mainasarra Bare. The "Mainasarra" is correct.

  • Now, were you President of Liberia at the time?

  • Yes. I am not President of Liberia at that time.

  • So of the four numbers given allegedly to Foday - to Johnny Paul Koroma, three are for Presidents of African countries, but you are not President at the time?

  • Mr Griffiths, isn't the President of Liberia Muammar Gaddafi?

  • Did you say not say "Mohamed"? Sorry, of Libya. Did you say "Mohamed"?

  • Well, that's how it appears on the transcript.

  • And the witness agrees with you?

  • No, I am saying he was not President. His name is not Mohamed, it's Muammar, but he does not carry the title President.

  • I am concerned about that first name anyway, not the title.

  • Is his name Mohamed Gaddafi?

  • No, it Muammar Gaddafi, and he's not President. He carries the title only as leader. I think it's an error, your Honour.

  • Now, he goes on, the witness does, on the next page, page 10443 he is asked this:

    "Q. Did Johnny Paul Koroma discuss with you and other

    members of the RUF why the RUF was being invited to come to

    Freetown and join you?

    A. Yes, the discussion was we needed their support, their

    manpower and the contacts that they had before."

    And I just need to find another reference for completeness. Later - that was at page 10443, and remember the answer was:

    "The discussion was we needed their support, their manpower and the contacts that they had before."

    On the next day of the witness's testimony at page 10512 that answer is followed up. He is asked this at line 17:

    "Q. Now I would like to turn to page 10443, and at that

    time we were talking about the initial AFRC overthrow. I

    asked you at the beginning of the page: 'Sir, did Johnny

    Paul Koroma discuss with you and other members of the AFRC

    why the RUF was being invited to come to Freetown and join

    you?' You answered, 'Yes, the discussion was we needed

    their support, their manpower and the contacts that they

    had before.'

    Q. What did you mean when you talk about 'the contacts

    they had before'?

    A. Well, the contacts they had through Charles Taylor, who

    was their godfather, and the total peace that we needed

    that the government had abandoned that we, the soldiers,

    were suffering. So we were asking them to come and join

    hands with us and for the contacts that they had.

    Q. Well, what do you mean? Which contacts that they had?

    What contacts - what contacts were you aware of that you

    are referring to?

    A. Well, at that time the international community did not

    recognise us and we said where the RUF was fighting, that

    was along the border of Liberia. We knew they had a

    contact with Charles Taylor, so we needed them to have

    Charles Taylor on our side. That was why we called the

    RUF, and we got them and they brought the number. The

    chairman used to call Charles Taylor and he spoke to him

    and he said, yes, he will support us to be together, so all

    of us will be together."

    You see what's being suggested there, Mr Taylor?

  • That the reason behind the fusion of the RUF and the AFRC was in order to get the RUF's contacts, the major contact being you, and thereafter you are in frequent contact with the chairman, Johnny Paul Koroma, providing support. What do you say?

  • That is totally not true, and he tells several lies here. You chose to move over this. I think on 10443 or 4 he goes further. He says that Liberia recognises the junta.

  • I am coming back to that.

  • And now he amplifies the lie by saying that - this boy is putting me as President. That's how the lie is being - if I remember this witness, this is this traveller, and I am not surprised and I really have to mention this, that he's mentioned all those names. This is - if I remember, this is this witness - this is one that travelled mostly around West Africa. He goes to Guinea. He's travelled almost into every West Africa country. Kargbo. That Kargbo - I remember that Kargbo boy, then you know how he managed to know these names. But there is no such thing of Johnny Paul Koroma calling me and talking to me.

    Quite frankly, your Honours, if Johnny Paul Koroma - even when I became President, I did not speak to him. But if there was an opportunity to have spoken to Johnny Paul Koroma when I was President, I would have. I would have spoken to him because by the time I was elected President and put on the Committee of Four, I had the authorisation to do so. But I never spoke to Johnny Paul Koroma before I became President, even during my presidency, up until the time he is moved out of there in August 1999. So it's a blatant lie about having my number and talking to me and where he states earlier, that you will go back to, as you mentioned --

  • I'm going back to it now.

  • -- that Liberia recognised the junta, which is a blatant lie.

  • Did Liberia recognise the junta?

  • Never. Liberia, along with ECOWAS, never recognised the junta, no.

  • Because when we go back to page 10443, we see at line 10:

    "A. We did not get recognition from the international

    community, but we got from Liberia - we got recognition

    from Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya."

    So you see the correlation. We're given four names: Gaddafi, Blaise Compaore, President of Niger, and you.

  • And they are the four countries, according to the witness, who recognised the junta. Is that true?

  • That's not true. Not one West African country - let's leave the rest of the world out. Not one West African country recognised the AFRC junta. Not one. At this particular time the chairman of the Council of State in Liberia is Ruth Sando Perry. There is no such recognition of the junta by Liberia or any other West African country. It's a blatant lie.

  • Now, in the context of the numbers being provided to Johnny Paul Koroma, the witness was asked this:

    "Were you present when Johnny Paul Koroma made any attempts to contact any one outside of Sierra Leone besides the call to Foday Sankoh that you mentioned?"

    And he goes on:

    "It was within one to two weeks after the coup when the RUF had joined us when Gibril Massaquoi had brought those numbers."

    That's 10444 at line 22. Then he goes on:

    "An officer called Banjah Marrah made the call. He gave the phone to Johnny Paul in the office, and Johnny Paul was explaining, asking for recognition for Mr Ghankay Taylor in Liberia. He was talking to him, but we did not hear where the other side was saying. We only heard him saying, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir. We need a recognition.' He said a lot of things that I cannot recall now. Afterwards the call went off and he said he had spoken to Mr Ghankay Taylor, and he had advised us to work with other brothers who had come to join us. He said in case there were any hiccups we should just give him a call, so that was what he was explaining to us just after the telephone conversation with him."

    Mr Taylor, did you have such a telephone conversation?

  • Never had any telephone conversation, never had the authority to recognise a country or a junta, so how could I have recognised, because he is associating the recognition of the junta with Liberia and Charles Taylor as being the President. I am not, don't recognise, don't have the authority, never had any conversation with Johnny Paul Koroma at the time. Never.

    And by the way, you know, it did not come before this Court, but we have in our possession documents, we have them from the Prosecution. In fact, the individual that brought the instruction or letters from Foday Sankoh has mentioned in statements that he made to the Prosecution that were supplied to this Defence, Gibril Massaquoi even states that he travelled through Guinea to get to Sierra Leone. So I am not sure if - it should have taken him longer. I mean, that's not before the Court so I am sure it's going to be hearsay, but we have the documents and Gibril Massaquoi's account is that he travelled through Guinea with the letters to come to the thing on statements provided by this Prosecution that I have read.

    So I mean - so this young man here, whatever he is saying, is totally, totally untrue. It is not true. And if I was associated with the junta at that time, why would Gibril Massaquoi have to come all through Guinea instead of just coming through Liberia and going on to Freetown? He travels from Nigeria, he says he comes all the way through Ivory Coast, then he borders Mali, enters Guinea and comes into Sierra Leone. If there is this association with me, why don't you just come through? But because he does not know what's talking about, he associates me with being President at the period and granting this thing. That's what he is trying to lie about.

  • Because he says that the call is two weeks after the coup, which we know was 25 May. Now at the beginning of June, were you President of Liberia?

  • No, I was not. But, in fact, that's another lie. Let's call it what it is. Because if that lie is supposed to be believed that it happens some two weeks after, we know from other testimony, except we don't believe them, that within days of this particular situation, the recording is played on the BBC in Sierra Leonean radio that Foday Sankoh had instructed the junta to join. Within days, not two weeks. Within days.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, do you recall seeing a letter addressed to you from Johnny Paul Koroma seeking your assistance? Do you recall that?

  • Here in this Court, yes. I really do not recall seeing it as President. I don't dispute that the letter could have come. I don't recall seeing it. I saw it here in this Court.

  • Now, the point is this: Can you help us as to why it is, you having been in telephone contact with Johnny Paul Koroma some two weeks after the coup, why thereafter he had to write to you? Can you help us?

  • I can't. That's just shows you how terrible their construct is. Why would you have to write me when all you could have done was to call me and say, "Listen, I am sending down - I would like this and that." No, I have no idea how they put together their coat of many colours. I have no idea.

  • And it goes on for completeness, same page 10445:

    "After the telephone conversation, Johnny Paul Koroma told us in the office that he had spoken to Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor. He had explained to him, asking him for recognition and some other things and Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor had encouraged him, asking him to work as a team with the RUF brothers. So he said for that one there was not going to be any problem."

    Did you provide him with any such advice?

  • Because he goes on:

    "Johnny Paul said if there were any problems between us and the RUF, Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor had told him to call him. Johnny Paul Koroma said Charles Taylor said he should call him in case we had a problem with the RUF. That is what he explained to us in the meeting."

    And then he was asked:

    "Q. Do you know if Johnny Paul Koroma made any other calls

    to persons outside of Sierra Leone?

    A. Yes. He made calls to the Niger President, Mainassara.

    He made call to the Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore

    and he made a call to the Libyan President, Ahmed

    Gaddafi - sorry, Mohamed Gaddafi" - I am reading directly from the transcript. "He told us that all of them said they were

    ready to assist us."

    Then he was asked this, line 21:

    "Q. Were all of the calls approximately the same length of

    time or was there any difference in the amount of time

    spent with the different leaders?

    A. The times were different.

    Q. Which was the longest call?

    A. It was the one when he spoke to Mr Taylor, that was

    long."

    A long conversation with Johnny Paul Koroma, Mr Taylor?

  • Never, no, never.

  • Now, do you remember, Mr Taylor, hearing some evidence regarding an incident involving the Iranian embassy in Freetown?

  • Now, in that context, the witness goes on, page 10449, line 1:

    "I heard chairman Johnny Paul Koroma talking over the set, saying that all of those who had gone to the Iranian embassy should be arrested. But I still went round with the vehicle to see what had happened. So when I went I met an officer who explained to me that your colleagues have come and looted here, together with some RUF commanders, so the Pa had ordered their arrest and none of them should enter here any more.

    So I returned, went to the lodge to the chairman, Johnny Paul Koroma at that time, and he said we should arrest Gborie, Issa Sesay, Hassan Bangura alias Papa, Foday Kallay. He said we should arrest them, so we did. I led the team. There was about to bring infighting when his men deployed from Hill Cut Junction to Uphill Station."

    That's when they went to arrest Issa Sesay, by the way? In fact, let me go back.

    "So we sent a team to arrest Issa Sesay and he resisted.

    He resisted arrest. There was about to bring infighting

    when his men deployed from Hill Cut Junction to Uphill

    Station where his residence was. He refused to be

    arrested. At that time all of us went to the office,

    chairman Johnny Paul Koroma's house at Spur Road, and he

    called Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor and he told Control to

    call Banjah Marrah. When he called they were talking,

    'Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.' He was responding after

    he had explained. When the phone went off he said he had

    called Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor. He said they were to set

    up an inquiry who had gone and who did the looting and

    whosoever was involved, action should be taken against that

    person or people.

    Q. In this phone conversation with Charles Ghankay Taylor

    what kind of phone was used?

    A. At that time it was still the landline up at Spur Road,

    Johnny Paul Koroma's house.

    Q. Can you repeat what Johnny Paul Koroma tell you that he

    had discussed with Charles Taylor?

    A. Yes, he said he had spoken together with Charles Taylor

    and Charles Taylor had said they should set up an inquiry

    team to investigate the incident at the Iranian embassy;

    that whosoever was involved, action should be taken against

    that person. That was what he explained to us after the

    telephone conversation.

    Question: Did you have such a conversation with Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • No, never. Never did.

  • Did you provide him with any such advice?

  • The witness then goes on, Mr Taylor, to say this, and I am looking at page 10453. He says this, line 14:

    "When he had asked me question regarding the Iranian

    embassy that was why I went there straightaway. But before

    that he had a telephone conversation that he was to send

    delegates to him, to Charles Taylor in Liberia. He said he

    was to send delegates to Charles Taylor in Liberia, headed

    by SYB Rogers and other high command of the RUF and SLA

    commanders and officers then, one Colonel Charles Conteh

    who is dead now and AK Sesay, all of them were part of

    the delegation to Liberia.

    Q. So I understand from your answer that this phone call

    was before the phone call involving the Iranian embassy?

    A. Exactly."

    So what he is suggesting here: Before this phone call regarding the embassy, you had had a prior conversation with Johnny Paul Koroma where you had discussed the sending of a delegation to Monrovia. Did such a call occur?

  • No, no such call occurred. But I think if we look at this in a more serious term, I don't know when this Iranian situation occurs, but it is apparent here that it occurs before I am elected as President.

  • Well, it's difficult to say from the context, Mr Taylor. I can't assist you with that.

  • Okay. Well, because we are talking about - I know he doesn't say, but when we look at the issue of a delegation coming to Monrovia, it is important and I know - well, Koumjian as usual did not want to go into that, but it would have been very good to set up a timeline because a delegation does come to Monrovia that I do not receive. But it is very strange that the way that he talks about it - and this Court has evidence from a protected witness that that witness went to Monrovia and headed that delegation.

    Now we have him here putting SYB Rogers as head of this delegation and even the make up of this delegation is different from what that protected witness said before this Court, because I know that delegation included - and this witness, if he knows what he is talking about, there was somebody very important on that delegation, Karefa-Smart was on that delegation, and this witness could not have forgotten an important person as Karefa-Smart because he was just not an ordinary person at the time.

    So depending on whatever version that is brought before this Court, here you have an attempt to reveal a realistic situation and mix it up with disinformation. So I am at a loss in knowing what he is talking about because if we zero in on the time of the Iranian situation that Mr Koumjian did not ask him about, it is very difficult to know what he is talking about. But realistically there is a delegation, the leader of the delegation that comes from Monrovia at the time I can't call his name in this Court, I think the Court is aware of whom I am talking about, and he includes Karefa-Smart and not some of the other people that he is talking about.

    So what I can just say about this in comment in direct answer to your question, I did not have such a conversation. I did not give such advice, so all this nonsense about these conversations and different things are not true.

  • Well, let me provide with you a bit more information then, Mr Taylor, on this to see if it assists you. The witness goes on to say that he was not present when the telephone conversation between Johnny Paul Koroma and you regarding this delegation took place, but he continues:

    "A. But he," that being Johnny Paul, "wrote the letter,

    and he said he will call before the delegation would leave.

    Q. Can you tell us in a little more detail whatever you

    can remember now about what Johnny Paul Koroma discussed at

    the Supreme Council meeting regarding the purpose of this

    delegation that you are talking about?

    A. It was a letter that they were supposed to take with

    them for us the AFRC government to be recognised, and some

    other things that he had discussed privately with the

    delegation that was to go, that he did not discuss in the

    meeting, but they discussed that before they left, a letter

    that they were to go and deliver to

    Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor."

    Over the page:

    "Q. Do you know where in Liberia they went?

    A. Yes, they went to Monrovia, the city. At that time I

    don't know whether it was at the house or the office of

    Mr Ghankay Taylor.

    Q. Are you aware whether there were other communications

    between Johnny Paul Koroma and Charles Taylor during the

    period that the AFRC was in Freetown?

    A. Yes, the calls were many, but the other one that I can

    recall was pertaining to the arms shipment, that a

    delegation was supposed to go again headed by Mike Lamin

    and Sam Bockarie recommended one General Ibrahim in a

    meeting for arms and ammunition that he should be able to

    go and facilitate it. General Ibrahim came but he did not

    come to the supreme meeting."

    So two delegations, Mr Taylor; the first delegation headed by SYB Rogers to bring you a letter. Do you recall that?

  • No. As a matter of fact, the letter in question is read - is here. The Court has seen the letter. Nothing about recognition. There was a letter from Johnny Paul Koroma, if I remember, somewhere in September/October. I am not too certain about the dates - it's been given before the Court - where Johnny Paul Koroma states - and I think it's in October, to be - I am not too sure, but it's around there - that they are pleased with statements that had been made by my government at the General Assembly speech at the United Nations and requested weapons. And this Court is also aware that a delegation, as he mentioned headed by Mike Lamin that in his testimony he had came to Monrovia was not received by me.

    Now, why on earth would I receive a telephone call from Johnny Paul Koroma advising me, with my acquiescence, that he is sending a delegation to Liberia to see me. And normal thinking would suggest that I would acquiesce and a delegation would arrive and I would not see them? I mean, how would that be normal? It simply means that there were no such conversation. The delegation comes to Monrovia. I do not see the delegation for several reasons. And mind you, at the time in question, which is after September - because the General Assembly statements are normally around August/September - I had all right to see that delegation if I wanted to. Because as a member of the now Committee of Five, I was under obligation to speak to them. I could have spoken to them if I wanted to.

    The Government of Liberia took a decision at the time - let's not forget, there are serious negotiations going on about the return to power, and the government wants to do nothing that would make the - this junta understand that it was getting any sympathetic ear in any way from Liberia. So I refuse - my government refused to see the delegation and they were returned. This is hardly an indication of a President that just got off the telephone with another leader of another country, being informed that he's sending a delegation, you know, to see him and refusing. It's just not so. That's - but these are the types of lies that they really want this Court to believe; that on the other hand, you call somebody and say, "I am sending somebody," and I say, "Send them", and they get there and you don't see them. I mean, Koumjian should have known better. He knows that.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, what the witness is suggesting is quite clear: That two delegations are sent to you. As best you can recall, how many delegations were sent to Monrovia by the junta regime?

  • One. To the best of my knowledge, one.

  • And can you recall now, just roughly, Mr Taylor, when that delegation arrived?

  • I swear I - I would put it to I would say the last quarter.

  • Of '97. I would put it to the last quarter of '97. I can't remember exactly when, but I would put it to about the last quarter of '97.

  • Now, you understand that the witness is suggesting that there is this second delegation sent to go and facilitate an arms transaction. And he continues:

    "General Ibrahim had been recommended that he will facilitate the arms and ammunition movement. In the evening we came to the lodge and met General Ibrahim. He had come two days before. We met him at the lodge to chairman. That was where I saw him and that was where I knew him."

    Jump to line 26 on the same page".

    "The delegation that went to Liberia - from Liberia they went to other countries, Niger, Libya and Burkina Faso." The same four countries again, Mr Taylor.

  • "That was the delegation headed by SYB Rogers, not the one headed by Mike Lamin. It was the delegation headed by SYB Rogers. From Liberia they went to some other countries."

    Now, do you know about a delegation from Sierra Leone visiting those three countries, including Liberia, Mr Taylor?

  • It continues:

    "Q. I now want to ask you about the delegation where you

    mentioned Mike Lamin.

    A. Well, the delegation that went, there was Fonti Kanu,

    Mike Lamin, General Ibrahim, but after that we went to

    Magburaka airstrip and the ammunition arrived with a

    soldier who had a uniform on in green with a black hat and

    the crown on the hat was a Burkina Faso crown. That was

    the insignia. And Lieutenant Colonel Fonti Kanu came and

    the ammunitions were off-loaded and a soldier also called

    Musa.

    Fonti Kanu was a lieutenant colonel in the Sierra Leonean

    army.

    I said that they went to Liberia with the delegation leaded

    by Mike Lamin. They went to Freetown, Kenema, Kailahun and

    crossed into Liberia by road.

    Q. Can you explain to us, when you discussed sending this

    delegation at the Supreme Council you mentioned, what was

    the purpose of the delegation's trip?

    A. Well, that particular delegation which was headed by

    Mike Lamin that went to Liberia was to go and obtain some

    arms and ammunition. That was why chairman Johnny Paul

    Koroma assigned Fonti Kanu to go and tell them the kinds of

    ammunition we needed at that time.

    Q. Was there any discussion of how the arms and ammunition

    would be paid for, or obtained?

    A. Well we just discussed in the meeting that they will

    give a parcel, but they did not discuss what parcel it

    would be in that meeting.

    Q. The word 'parcel' what does it mean?

    A. It has a meaning. At that time we hadn't money. We

    only had diamonds, so I believe that that was what they

    meant by parcel, that we meant - that Johnny Paul Koroma

    meant.

    Q. Do you know if any arms and ammunition ever arrived?

    A. Yes.

    Q. How long after the delegation left did the arms and

    ammunition arrive, if you recall?

    A. Between one to two weeks the arms and ammunition

    arrived.

    Q. How did the arms and ammunition come to Sierra Leone?

    A. They came on a flight, silver coloured, and it landed

    at night around between 7 and 9. It was dark already. We

    used our vehicles and we parked them far away from the

    flight so that they could provide light. The arms and

    ammunitions were dropped. At that time Lieutenant Colonel

    Fonti Kanu and a soldier who had on the Burkinabe uniform

    came down from the flight.

    Q. Where was it that the plane landed?

    A. Magburaka airstrip."

    Now, that's a lot for us to take in, Mr Taylor, but the point is quite simple. A delegation led by someone called Mike Lamin, including one Ibrahim Bah, is sent to Liberia by road carrying a parcel of diamonds with a view to purchasing arms. A couple weeks later, a flight arrives from Burkina Faso with a Burkinabe soldier on board and arms are off-loaded at Magburaka airstrip. Were you involved in that arms transaction, Mr Taylor?

  • No, not at all. Not at all. But I think it's possible under other circumstances that some references I am sure we will make regarding this particular thing. I am not aware. I do not dispute that arms could have landed in Magburaka. I don't think that's my quarrel. They did not come from Liberia. I was not aware of this transaction. But I cannot speak publicly about it. The comments I want to make I cannot make them public because they will go too far in terms of protecting certain individuals. But there are cross-references that can be made to demonstrate that this witness is lying that I cannot speak about in open court.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, your denial is good enough for me, but on the note of this particular transaction, the witness adds further detail, which I think it important for you to comment on. Later at page 10477, in relation to this transaction, he said this:

    "A. We discussed in the Supreme Council the chairman

    together with other members that it was for arms and

    ammunition that Mosquito had given the recommendation.

    Then the chairman said that we needed to have somebody from

    the army who would know our needs, and that was why he

    recommended Lieutenant Colonel Fonti Kanu to go with the

    delegation that was to go and bring the arms and

    ammunition. They were to give something to the delegation

    that was not discussed to the Supreme Council. The

    chairman only said he would give them a parcel to go with.

    Q. Now, you said Sam Bockarie recommended someone or made

    a recommendation. What was Sam Bockarie's recommendation?

    A. Sam Bockarie recommended General Ibrahim. He said he

    would be able to facilitate the bringing of arms and

    ammunition. At the time he was not in the meeting, but

    when he came back, we all met at the chairman's, Johnny

    Paul Koroma's, house."

    Over the page:

    "Q. Prior to this discussion where Bockarie recommended

    Ibrahim Bah and Johnny Paul Koroma and Fonti Kanu, had any

    delegation travelled related to this shipment?

    A. Yes, that was the delegation that was headed by Mike

    Lamin. They went and crossed into Liberia."

    Now, you see what the implication is, Mr Taylor? Because you recall earlier in the testimony of this witness the suggestion was made that RUF joins AFRC in order that AFRC may take advantage of RUF contacts.

  • Now it's being suggested in that context that Bockarie has recommended this General Ibrahim and the implication clearly is that Bockarie being your boy, so to speak, that this is being done with your hidden hand in the background. Do you follow?

  • What do you say about that?

  • That's not true. But it would just be so off the wall that Sam Bockarie - if we go back into the history of this particular case, we know that Ibrahim Bah is a friend of Foday Sankoh. This Court knows that he is with Foday Sankoh in 1996. He is in Abidjan with him. We know about the letters that Foday Sankoh wrote to Talibi. We know the association goes beyond Bockarie, and so that would just be nonsensical to believe that Sam Bockarie - and like I said, I can't go - because I mean I can dot the i's on this matter but I can't speak about it publicly in this open session because there are cross-references relating to this Magburaka and other things that I am sure that we can tie together to prove that this witness is misleading this Court in what he is saying.

  • Well, this is the second time you have made that suggestion, Mr Taylor. Mr President I wonder if we can go briefly into private session to enable this witness to answer the question in the way in which he chooses?

  • I think I know what the witness is alluding to, but it will need to be in private session. How long do you think that will take?

  • Five minutes, I'm told.

  • Five minutes.

    Well, to members of the public, we are going to have to go into private session to protect the identity of a witness who enjoys the benefit of protective measures orders made by this Court. What that means is for the next five minutes you will still be able to watch the proceedings, but you won't be able to hear anything.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 30831 to 30832, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session.

  • Mr Taylor, what I am going to do now is quickly summarise about half a dozen pages of this witness's testimony in order to set a context for a particular question I want you to deal with. The witness deals with the period at the time of the ECOMOG intervention, okay, in February 1998 and explains how he links up with Johnny Paul Koroma and he is taking Johnny Paul Koroma to safety from Freetown. They travel via Masiaka, Makeni and they get to a place call Magbonkineh. Then this question:

    "Q. What did Johnny Paul Koroma do once he got to

    Magbonkineh?

    A. When I arrived in that village in the early hours he

    told Banjah to call. By then the satellite phone was under

    my seat because Banjah had given it to me to take care of

    it because I was putting it under my seat. Because I

    normally do not alight, I keep it under the seat. So I

    took the satellite phone and gave it to Banjah and then he

    called and he spoke on the BBC and told them that he was up

    in the hills and that we will soon come in again. Then

    afterwards he called Mr Taylor and told him about this

    helicopter shuttle, but then I did not know anything that

    they had been conversing about, that in town until he

    called me. I called him and spoke about the helicopter.

    As they were talking and after they had finished talking,

    Johnny Paul Koroma asked how many of us were there and he

    said because the helicopter would soon arrive because he's

    spoken to Mr Taylor. He has to find out the number of us

    there, because we were going to wait for the helicopter."

    Now, Mr Taylor, the witness goes on to say that effectively, and I am jumping to page 1049:

    "He called afterwards and he said Mr Taylor had told him, because by then we were not hearing what Mr Taylor was saying but we heard what Mr Johnny Paul was saying, he said Mr Taylor told him that it was not possible for the helicopter to come to Magbonkineh to pick us up, he said because of the Alpha Jet raids from the ECOMOG forces."

    So what in summary the witness is saying, Mr Taylor, is during the course of his flight from Freetown at this particular location, Johnny Paul Koroma spoke to you on a satellite phone and you promised to send a helicopter to rescue him. Did you?

  • No. That is not true. Never spoke to him on a telephone. Number two, assuming that I did - let's just for the sake of argument assume that I did. I accept I would have been - I don't know what I would have been sending to him because I didn't have a helicopter to send to him, but there was no contact with Johnny Paul Koroma during that period, no.

  • Now let me explain the context, a further aspect of the context in which this was being said. Because in the same passage of testimony, the witness is asked this:

    "Q. Do you know someone by the name of Victor King?

    A. Yes. Victor King was the flight commander and then he

    was a Supreme Council member. When we had made way for

    Johnny Paul Koroma and he had come, as we were coming along

    the road in the vehicle I heard him grumbling about why

    Victor had taken the helicopter to Liberia without us

    knowing. He said, 'Why is he taking the helicopter to

    Liberia?' And so I heard the chairman grumbling thus about

    Victor King."

    And then he goes on to deal with the fact that a helicopter had been seized in Monrovia at Roberts International Airfield and in that context the witness was referred to a document in which you were quoted as demanding that ECOMOG hand over AFRC officials arrested on Friday when two helicopters that were used to escape Freetown were forced to land in the capital Monrovia by an ECOMOG jet.

    "In a radio broadcast reported by AFP, Taylor said Liberia is a sovereign state and should take charge of the AFRC detainees. Taylor said that a low level flight by an ECOMOG jet over the presidential Executive Mansion on Friday was an act of provocation. Taylor also demanded ECOMOG remove its tanks from parts of Monrovia and Robertsfield International Airport."

    So that's the whole context now, Mr Taylor, yes?

  • Victor King, as we know and you accept, did land at Paynesville in a helicopter, yes?

  • 14 February 1998. I remember that very well.

  • And he was thereafter returned in due course to Sierra Leone where he was executed by Kabbah?

  • Now, putting all of these disparate facts together, the account appears to be this: Because King had taken the helicopter, Koroma had no way of escaping Sierra Leone, hence the satellite telephone call to you and you promising to send a helicopter to pick him up.

  • That's the context?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, in or about February 1998, did you have a helicopter?

  • No, I didn't have a helicopter. No.

  • Did you have any means of airlifting Johnny Paul Koroma from Sierra Leone?

  • No, didn't have any means. But if I actually wanted Johnny Paul to come to Liberia and if there was contact, if there was not a helicopter what was the next best thing to do? To drive him across the border. There was no such thing. In fact there were two Sierra Leonean helicopters.

  • Now, during the course of his flight from Freetown the witness goes on to say that Johnny Paul Koroma gives the witness an order to put some men together and the purpose was he, that being Johnny Paul Koroma, said he had received a call from Mr Taylor that he should go and capture Kono. Do you see that, Mr Taylor?

  • And he continues - that was page 10492 on the same topic. 10494:

    "He, that being Johnny Paul Koroma, said he had called

    Mr Taylor and they had spoken again. He said Mr Taylor

    says he should go and recapture Kono. He said it would be

    better for them to do the pick up there with the

    helicopter. He said we should go back to Kabala. By then

    Superman had met him. I and Akim, and the chief security

    and Rambo, he said we should go. He said where we had left

    them is a safe place. He said we should all come down to

    Makeni and go and capture Kono.

    Q. After Johnny Paul Koroma told you that was there any

    discussion with any other commanders?"

    This is page 10495, line 6:

    "A. Yes, I, Superman, Rambo, Akim, we immediately drove

    off to Kabala on to the villages and we tried to summon all

    the officers who have been hiding in the villages."

    Then he explains that a meeting was held.

    "Q. What exactly was discussed and agreed upon?

    A. Well, it was the things that had been happening, that

    we should put aside all differences to go and capture Kono

    and that it was the chairman who was saying that we should

    come together. That was what was arranged."

    Did you give any such instruction, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I did not. I did not.

  • Now he goes on to describe that there was a first advance towards Kono which was unsuccessful and he is then asked this.

    "Q. After that attempt to enter Kono was there any

    communications by Johnny Paul Koroma that you were aware

    of?

    A. Yes. When we returned he communicated to Mr Taylor and

    he said we should try to capture there 'so that I will be

    able to send a helicopter to pick you up.' So he

    pressurised us and we moved and finally captured there. At

    that time the satellite phone - the credit in the satellite

    phone had finished."

    Mr Taylor, were you giving any such instructions?

  • No, no. And if you - oh, boy. When you look at these different accounts - and just a quick reminder. We are told in this Court by different accounts Johnny Paul Koroma comes from Freetown, he calls a meeting. We are told that in that meeting he does one important thing, he promotes Sam Bockarie. He makes him chief of defence staff. We are also told that Sam Bockarie informs Johnny Paul Koroma that he is now the man in charge and not Johnny Paul Koroma. And so now we have now a different account of Johnny Paul Koroma being in charge and he is supposed to be in contact. But we also have accounts that I am the one instructing Sam Bockarie, okay, to take Kono and to - because it's important for money. These are all not true. These are not true. I am not in touch with Johnny Paul Koroma. I never speak to him. Never speak to Johnny Paul Koroma while he is in power or even out of power.

  • Pause there.

  • Yes, thank you. We will take the morning break now and resume at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Yes, Mr Taylor. So before the short adjournment we were looking at the suggestion made by the witness that you had communicated with Johnny Paul Koroma following the ECOMOG intervention instructing him, among other things, to capture Kono. Do you recall that?

  • And the witness went on to provide this detail at page 10497:

    "After the first attempt to take Kono, and we were unable,

    we came back to Makeni. Then Johnny Paul Koroma called

    Charles Taylor and Charles Taylor told him that he should

    go and capture Kono and when he should have captured Kono,

    the helicopter will come and pick him up together with his

    family."

    Did you have such a conversation?

  • And the witness goes on to describe that Johnny Paul Koroma was also speaking to the President of Niger, this is page 10500, and the President of Burkina Faso on that satellite phone. Now, do you know anything about such communication, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I don't.

  • And then this - the witness goes on to say this: He describes receiving a message from Superman, and then he is asked, page 10501:

    "Q. What did Johnny Paul Koroma do?

    A. Before we left, after the message had come, I can

    cannot recall the actual date, he decided to convene a

    meeting with us, the SLA and the RUF commanders in the high

    command so that we should all receive ourselves together as

    he was now on his way to go to Buedu to Kailahun District.

    So he said anywhere soever SLA would be a commander, the

    RUF would deputise, and anywhere RUF served as commander,

    the SLA would deputise. He said we should hold firm to the

    cause and he was going to meet Charles Taylor and he will

    come back to meet us, but by then he appointed me to go,

    Rambo and his family members."

    He is asked where the meeting took place and he says it was in Koidu. Did Johnny Paul Koroma come to meet you sometime after the ECOMOG intervention, Mr Taylor?

  • Never put his foot in Liberia. Never. In fact, there is sufficient evidence here now that Johnny Paul Koroma was not able to ever leave Sierra Leone. He was incarcerated. In fact, Sam Bockarie took command. That's not true. He never put his foot in Liberia before August 1999. Never.

  • Another specific allegation made by the witness at page 10515:

    "Q. Once you were pushed out of Freetown," so we're

    talking about the ECOMOG intervention, Mr Taylor, "was

    there any way for the SLA, the AFRC, I mean the non-RUF

    component to obtain heavy weapons to replace those that

    were lost.

    A. No, there was no way. The only way that we had was

    when we would fight and we could capture arms. We together

    with the RUF would capture weapons and we used to get ammo

    from Liberia through Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor."

    What do you say about that?

  • Now, remember the earlier suggestion I put to you, Mr Taylor, coming from this witness to the effect that you had agreed to send a helicopter to pick him up along with his family?

  • The witness goes on to say this, page 10523, line 20:

    "A. We got to Buedu. In the morning Sam Bockarie came and

    met Johnny Paul. We were all sitting on the veranda with

    Johnny Paul the chairman. He said Charles Ghankay Taylor

    had said that he will send vehicles to come pick us up.

    Johnny Paul Koroma asked Sam Bockarie and said, 'When?',

    and he said that he did not state any time, but when they

    would be ready he will call for him to meet him. So we

    were there for one or two weeks in the month of March and

    one morning we saw the vehicles, about four to five Land

    Rovers."

    Over the page, page 10524:

    "The vehicles were supposed to pick us up from Buedu and

    take us to Monrovia.

    Q. So what happened the day that these vehicles arrived?

    A. When the vehicles arrived Sam Bockarie came and told

    chairman Johnny Paul Koroma while we were all sitting on

    the veranda that same morning that the vehicles had arrived

    because we saw the vehicles but we did not see many people.

    We only saw a few SS and one Colonel Jungle. We saw some

    other men wearing civilian clothes but we could not

    identify them."

    He goes on to describe them being four or five Land Rovers:

    "These SS were the ones who were in uniform but the beret they had had no crown. It was a blue combat uniform. They came to pick us up."

    Mr Taylor, did you send any vehicles to pick up Johnny Paul Koroma or anybody else for that matter in Sierra Leone?

  • No. You know, I don't know what - I haven't read through all the Rules of this Court, but I do not understand how this Prosecutor, Koumjian, could go through with this evidence. I really - these people - Koumjian and the Prosecution know very, very well that Johnny Paul Koroma never left Sierra Leone from the tons of witnesses that they have brought before this Court. So how one witness would come and say he never left and another - this thing is just - it's just a destructive process. So what is - Johnny Paul Koroma, your Honour, never left Sierra Leone. We know from the evidence before this Court that Johnny Paul Koroma came, he was arrested shortly thereafter, after the diamond incident where he is stripped of these diamonds. We've seen it. So when did he leave? And we are told that he was then taken from there and he was carried to a place and placed under house arrest. When did he leave? And all the witnesses have said - so why would the Prosecution bring one witness saying something on the same issue? At least they could have cut all of our time down, okay. What's all of - you want to destroy Charles Taylor so badly that, what, it is a pick and choose?

    Johnny Paul Koroma never left. The Prosecution knows because this is the only witness that I'm hearing here saying that Johnny Paul Koroma - that a convoy of vehicles came from Liberia for him and he left. What is this? He never left. Well, okay, if he left, maybe he went into space. Johnny Paul Koroma never came to Liberia until August 1999 when I arranged for him to come in dealing with the West Side Boys. Other than that, he left never that place and every other Prosecution witness that came before this Court, not one of them confirmed that Johnny Paul Koroma went for a joyride in a convoy of Land Rover vehicles into Liberia. And the Prosecution knows that.

  • Now, the witness goes on to describe various transactions, when vehicles came from Liberia carrying arms, Mr Taylor. Mr Taylor, do you know about any such transfers of arms and ammunition to Liberia?

  • No. To Liberia? To Sierra Leone.

  • Sorry, to Sierra Leone.

  • No, I do not. I do not. But, excuse me, counsel, you see, this whole conspiracy that I talked about in my initial statement, blue combat uniform, who appeared on that border in blue combat uniform? Varmuyan Sherif. We saw in this Court, Varmuyan Sherif with a pick-up with blue uniform. You see, the whole set that these people arranged against me, tying in, tying, blue combat uniform. You know SSS. That's Varmuyan Sherif in blue uniform. And arms, arms come across. Varmuyan says, "Here I am in blue uniform." That's all these constructions. Nothing.

    If we look very carefully at this particular period, what happens after the intervention in February 199? What happens? There is conflict. We see helicopters. There is conflict between ECOMOG and myself in me trying to establish and make sure that the sovereignty of Liberia is respected. There is conflict between ECOMOG and myself, and here I am shipping arms across the border. There is fighting going on between - because the fighting just doesn't stop in February. We have all the evidence here. So here I am in the midst of this with no material, I'm sending ammunition over there, and who is carrying them? Blue uniformed people, alluding to Varmuyan Sherif. What is this? It's all a lie, your Honour. It's a blatant, blatant fabrication. That's what it's all about.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you recall mediating with regard to the situation which had developed at Okra Hills?

  • Now, in that regard this witness provided some testimony, and I pick it up at page 10567. The witness says, "I called the West Side men. Their call sign was Bravo 33 and I started talking to Ibrahim Bazzy."

    Now, Bazzy, does that name ring a bell, Mr Taylor?

  • Bazzy sounds like a - that's one of the AFRC fellows on trial, I think, Bazzy.

  • He goes on over the page at page 10568. So he is on the radio, he comes off the radio and he continues, picking it up at line 14:

    "So straightaway as we were standing there the signaller, one of Issa's radio men, because by then Mosquito was not on the ground, that is Buedu, he said, 'Master, they are calling you on the phone, the satellite phone.' So he went and took the satellite phone. He talked to the person who was calling him on the satellite phone. They spoke. When they spoke I heard, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.' From there Issa told us, he said Charles Ghankay Taylor says they should take the satellite phone and the radio set so that we can go to Johnny Paul in Kangama. So all of us boarded the vehicle and drove off to Kangama. As we got to Kangama the phone rang again. When the phone rang Issa answered, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir,' and he handed over the receiver to Johnny Paul. So Johnny Paul spoke and when he had spoken he continued saying, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. No problem. No problem.' Then Johnny Paul gave the receiver to Issa. Then he said they should call the men, the West Side men."

    I'm going to continue with this account in a moment but I pause to ask you this, Mr Taylor: You accept - or do you accept that in order to resolve this Okra Hills situation, contact was made with Johnny Paul Koroma in Sierra Leone?

  • That is correct.

  • Is it correct, as suggested by this witness, that the initial point of contact was with Issa Sesay and it was through him that contact was made with Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • No. That contact was made with - it was made with Sam Bockarie. Now, I do not know who Sam sent with the telephone, but I did speak to Sam Bockarie and in order to get the assurance I asked him to make sure wherever they were holding Johnny Paul, yes, to take the telephone and I wanted to speak to Johnny Paul. I do not think it was with Sam Bockarie that the contact was made and I'm sure probably Sam sent Issa Sesay with the phone to Johnny Paul, yes.

  • Just to clarify one or two details there, Mr Taylor. Before you made contact with Sam Bockarie were you at that time aware that Johnny Paul Koroma was effectively in RUF custody?

  • Quite frankly not exactly, no. When this West Side thing started there were low level contacts with Sam Bockarie and what Bockarie has said that Johnny Paul Koroma was not under arrest but he was in a different location. But the West Side Boys were insisting that he was under arrest. So I said good. This was the time that I decided that I will call directly, you know. So I asked them to get Sam Bockarie on the phone. They said, "Oh, he is not here, Mr President, but he is at a different location." I said, "Well, fine. To cut the matter, I want to speak to him so make sure you send this telephone to where he is", because the only way the conflict would have been settled is if I spoke to him personally. But I didn't know at the time.

  • He goes on to mention how Johnny Paul Koroma following that call spoke to Bazzy then he says this, page 10569:

    "The satellite phone rang again. Issa took up the satellite phone and handed it over to Johnny Paul Koroma. He spoke on the satellite phone and after he had spoken all of us boarded the vehicle and we came back to Buedu. When we came to Buedu the satellite phone continued ringing and it was handed over to Johnny Paul, so Johnny Paul was saying, 'No problem. We will go. No problem. We will go.' So from there Johnny Paul told us, 'Mr Charles Ghankay Taylor said that we should go to Liberia with the families and you the supreme members.'"

    Now pause again. Firstly, Mr Taylor, do you recall Issa Sesay being involved in any way in this contact with Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • I do not recall, but it would not be unusual. Issa Sesay was the deputy to Sam Bockarie. He could have very well been involved. I do not recall, but I would not fight with his account. It's highly probable that for such an operation Sam Bockarie would have sent his most senior person to get him out. So I don't have a fight with his account of it on that side. I really don't know.

    But I did speak to Sam Bockarie. I did ask him to send the telephone to Johnny Paul Koroma. I did speak to Johnny Paul Koroma. But how they handled it on their side I don't know. And it could have very well been Issa because I did not personally know Issa Sesay personally at the time. I had never met him. Up to this time of the hostage crisis I had never met Issa Sesay. So it's possible that the person that was answering the telephone was Issa Sesay. I don't deny his accounts.

  • In any event, the witness goes on to describe as follows, page 10570, line 7:

    "We drove off to Foya. The helicopter came. The helicopter that landed in Foya had Sam Bockarie who alighted from the helicopter together with Colonel Jungle and other SSS securities who were not even up to five. Sam Bockarie came along with a lot of luggage. He alighted the helicopter. Then Jungle came. He said Mr Taylor said that only four people should go to Monrovia, Johnny Paul and three other people. So the three of us, plus Johnny Paul and Jungle and the SSS securities, we've flown to Monrovia. We landed in Paynesville airfield."

    Now, taking things in stages, when Johnny Paul Koroma came to Monrovia, Mr Taylor, was he transported by helicopter?

  • Yes, by this time - and you know this will tie one important piece of evidence. By this time we have an Mi-2. That's August of 1999. We have an Mi-2 and I guess the reason why they are - I do not know who goes to pick them up. I really don't know, but the number getting on the plane sounds realistic because of the size of the plane. It could not really take everybody. So it's an Mi-2. Yes, we do have an Mi-2 at the time.

  • But note this also, Mr Taylor: The witness is saying that the helicopter which came to Foya to pick up Johnny Paul Koroma arrived with Sam Bockarie on board who had a lot of luggage, so the suggestion clearly is Bockarie is in Monrovia when you are speaking to Johnny Paul Koroma on the phone?

  • So who releases Johnny Paul Koroma? It is Bockarie. Bockarie is on the ground in Sierra Leone. Bockarie releases Johnny Paul Koroma. He is not in Monrovia at the time, no. Bockarie is - but who would I be talking to? Because this whole issue happened over a very, very, very, very - the negotiation to finally bring out Johnny Paul and the decision happened over a couple of days. But the crisis lasts a little longer. We're talking about it, there's confusion about he is not going to go, he may not come and all of that. But Bockarie remains on the ground inside Sierra Leone when Johnny Paul Koroma is brought out. He is not in Liberia at the time. He doesn't come with him either, no.

  • The witness goes on to describe how, having arrived by helicopter in Paynesville, the following day, page 10577, line 10, "They came and picked us up and we went to the mansion. We were driven up to the mansion with the guests." And he is asked who it was that went in the car with you to the mansion. He says this, page 10578:

    "A. I was there. Johnny Paul Koroma was there. Brima

    Kamara too was there. Jumu Jalloh. We were there in our

    car Guest 7, and the driver who was given to us. And

    Bazzy - Bazzy and the others who had gone with the

    delegation together with Hassan Papa Bangura were in the

    other vehicle.

    Q. Okay. And when you talk about the delegation with

    Hassan Papa Bangura, are those the West Side Boys you

    described earlier?

    A. Exactly.

    Q. Do you recall approximately how many of them went to

    that meeting at the mansion?

    A. All of those who came who went, they were in two groups

    and us made it up to three.

    Q. If you could proceed to tell us about what happened at

    the mansion.

    A. We entered the mansion. I could not recognise the

    person but the man was dressed in a black coat. He

    received us downstairs and took us upstairs and placed us

    in a small room. It's a small room with window curtains

    right around. While we were there a man in a green uniform

    with the Liberian crown and badges on him opened one of the

    curtains and met us and greeted us and we too responded.

    We were there for not too long when Mr Charles Ghankay

    Taylor came out from the same direction where the man had

    come from. He took the front seat, sat down and folded his

    legs."

    He is asked to describe the seating arrangements and he says:

    "We were sitting - were sitting on the wall like this. We

    were sitting by the wall like this and Mr Charles Ghankay

    Taylor came and sat in front of us.

    He is asked at line 10 on page 10579:

    "Q. How was Mr Taylor dressed?

    A. He had a black coat, dark eyeglasses and white shirt

    and a blue/black coloured tie, neck tie, with a black pair

    of shoes.

    Q. Tell us what you remember about what happened at the

    meeting?

    A. The commander of the West Side, Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara,

    presented the position statement they had brought to

    Mr Taylor. After the presentation Mr Taylor started

    talking, giving us words of encouragement that we should

    all see each other as one and that the accord was in our

    favour. He said a lot of things. I cannot remember all of

    them now. He folded his legs and put - he crossed his arms

    over his knees, talking to us, giving us words of

    encouragement, telling us that the accord was in our

    favour. He kept on talking about that and Johnny Paul

    himself responded, saying one or two things to him and

    afterwards Mr Taylor ordered the man who was in uniform who

    was standing by him, he took the briefcase, opened it up

    and took out a package, a brown envelope, and gave it to

    chairman Johnny Paul Koroma and took out the other one and

    gave it to Bazzy and he said that was for us. From there

    he shook hands with us and we left. We came out and

    Mr Taylor went to his office.

    Q. You said Mr Taylor took out a package, a brown

    envelope, and gave it to the chairman Johnny Paul Koroma

    and took out the other one. What do you mean by 'the other

    one'?

    A. He took out another envelope of the same type like the

    other and gave it to Bazzy, but when we went to the hotel

    when we had left, accompanied chairman Johnny Paul Koroma

    to his house, we went back to the hotel. We asked Bazzy

    what was in the envelope and Bazzy said - he opened it and

    he said Mr Taylor had given us $5,000 to be shared amongst

    us."

    And he goes on to say that he saw the money and he received $700 and they were United States dollars. Taking things in stages, first of all: Were you giving those assembled words of encouragement, Mr Taylor?

  • No. Never did.

  • Were you telling them that the accord was in our favour?

  • Well, I mean I could have said in that meeting - I would say, yes, that the accord was in their favour in Sierra Leone, yes.

  • Which accord is that?

  • Lome. He is speaking about Lome. He must be. Well, I can't speak for him but he must be speaking about Lome. I say in my exact words to everybody that I met Lome was in everybody's interests, I said, and that to the peace of the Sierra Leonean people.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, what was the purpose of this meeting between Johnny Paul Koroma and the West Side Boys? What was the purpose? What was the whole idea behind it?

  • Well, this witness - first I want to correct something that he said earlier and I do not agree. He said they landed at Paynesville airport. There is no airport in Paynesville. I want to suggest that he may be talking about Spriggs Payne Airport. So I would just call that a slip, but for the sake of the record I want to put that on the record, there's no Paynesville airport. There's a Spriggs Payne. It could be just maybe a casual mistake because he didn't know.

    Now, from listening to the explanation of this witness, one might want to believe that upon Johnny Paul's arrival at Foya and he's flown to Monrovia, there is this giant meeting with everybody. Well, that is not the case. This is where we find out facts mixed up with confusion. But if we look at it, based on your question, one of the things that happened was that upon the arrival of Johnny Paul Koroma in Monrovia, Johnny Paul Koroma said that he wanted to meet the leadership of the West Side Boys that he had had no formal communication with for a very long time, from about February/March of 1998 up until the August situation in 1999. So I got in touch with President Kabbah and the United Nations on the ground and they - the UN, along with Tejan Kabbah - arranged an aircraft for the West Side Boys to be brought to Monrovia to meet with Johnny Paul Koroma.

    So, in direct answer to your question, the purpose was to give Johnny Paul an opportunity, as he said, to speak to the boys that had created the problem in Sierra Leone and he wanted to speak to them to know what led to the problem. And those men were sent by Tejan Kabbah and the United Nations that picked them up, took them to Lungi airport, provided an aircraft from Lungi to Monrovia for the leadership of the West Side to come to meet with Johnny Paul Koroma.

    Now, having said that, let's look at the account at the meeting. I did talk to them and asked them to recognise the Lome agreement. One of the issues - in fact, there were two or three issues that had been raised by them because when Johnny Paul arrived in Monrovia he was in contact with them. Just to remind the Court in helping out here, one of the issues raised was the fact that they were not party. And why were they not party to the Lome agreement? The second issue that was raised was what would be the role of Johnny Paul Koroma. And the third, I would say, issue was what would eventually happen to the SLA. These were the issues that Johnny Paul wanted to discuss with them. That's why he asked us to bring them.

    Now, there's another witness that came before this Court - I think he is an unprotected witness - who said that he was a part of that delegation that came to Monrovia. Sesay Alhassan, I think. Alhassan Bobson Sesay. I may be calling it wrongly. But, now, let's look at the money account, this witness here is alleging - I don't know. I forgot the -

  • TF1-334.

  • Is that the right name? I don't know.

  • Alimamy Bobson Sesay.

  • Bobson Sesay. If we look at his account now of the meeting, he said - now, we don't know this witness's full account and I'm not sure if this witness is a part of the meeting. He speaks as if he is a part of this meeting.

  • His account is he is present in the meeting.

  • Ali Hassan Bobson Sesay told this Court that I had said that I - and told them, say, "Oh, you'll be this and that." I'm just trying to summarise now. And that "even some of your men came and I kept them and armed them and sent them back to you. The Sierra Leoneans that came were armed," and all of that. He speaks of one envelope, if I'm not wrong, with an amount of about $15,000. One envelope. This witness recalls two envelopes, one given to I think Johnny Paul and the other to I think he says Bazzy here. Now, my - the correct version of this is that I did give an envelope to Johnny Paul Koroma for he and his men.

    The second account is I did not - I did encourage them to accept the agreement. I worked very hard with other colleagues of ECOWAS at the time to get the issue of the SLA resolved. It was resolved before they left. And also the issue of the role that Johnny Paul Koroma would play upon their return to Sierra Leone. This is a correct account as I've given it.

  • Mr Taylor, I would like to leave that witness now and move to another witness. And everyone will be pleased to know, there is some light at the end of the tunnel now. There are only another three witnesses to go. Now, this witness is a protected witness, Mr Taylor, so we cannot mention his name. But his reference is TF1-338. Now, swiftly, the witness, at a fairly early stage in his testimony, mentions travelling with Sam Bockarie to Monrovia in order to transport diamonds to you, and he also made such journeys in company with Issa Sesay. One word answer, Mr Taylor: True or false?

  • He also claims that he was assigned in 2001 to Foya and he was at Foya as commander amongst the RUF and the AFRC and the Liberians "and at that time I was there to assist in the shipment of arms, the materials that used to enter Sierra Leone. It used to come from Charles Taylor through Benjamin Yeaten." True or false, Mr Taylor?

  • Totally false. 2001?

  • 2001. Let me give you the specific wording. Page 15089:

    "Q. And where were you assigned in 2001?

    A. I was at Foya.

    Q. And what were your duties there?

    A. I was at Foya as commander amongst the RUF and the AFRC

    and the Liberians and at the same time I was there to

    assist in the shipment of arms, the materials that used to

    enter Sierra Leone. Shipment of arms from whom?

    A. From Liberia.

    Q. And if you know, from whom in Liberia?

    A. It used to come from Charles Taylor through Benjamin

    Yeaten. It will come to me and then I will in return send

    it to Sierra Leone.

    Q. And how long did you hold this position?

    A. I was there for a complete six months.

    Q. On who was it who came and took over Foya?

    A. Junior Vandi. Junior Vandi, a Black Guard."

    Mr Taylor, any truth in this?

  • Totally untrue. But let's remind the Court, 2001, what is going on in Sierra Leone in 2001? To the best of my knowledge, Sierra Leone is being disarmed. So here I am sending weapons to Sierra Leone at the time of disarmament. Sierra Leone is disarmed because if I'm right on dates, in January - January 2002, the President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, announced to the world that the conflict in Sierra Leone is over. He could not have made that announcement in January 2000, unless they had successfully completed the disarmament by 2001. So they are disarming in 2001 and I'm sending weapons? Total nonsense. That's a lie.

  • The witness goes on to describe, Mr Taylor, at page 15096 training in Voinjama. And he is asked, line 18:

    "Q. These people were training for what group?

    A. They told us that he were Charles Taylor's soldiers."

    Line 28:

    "A. We later knew that those of us who were training there

    we were going to fight as RUF."

    Then he describes one of -

    "Q. Who was in charge of the training base at Voinjama

    while you were training there?

    A. They had one commander who was called Bropleh Devil.

    He was a Liberian and a member of the NPFL."

    Now, Mr Taylor, was there a training base at Voinjama?

  • It depends on what year. Never. No. No. But what - what time could he be talking about? Because there was never - except during the very early stages of the NPFL war in 1990, 1991, there was never a training base in Voinjama. What would - maybe if we got the year we'll be able to even destroy that lie even further. But there was no such training base in Voinjama, no.

  • Do you know of any RUF combatants being trained by Liberians in Voinjama?

  • No. No. Impossible. Impossible. No.

  • And the context in which the witness makes this assertion, Mr Taylor, is this: He claims that he and 62 others were captured in the Koindu area in Sierra Leone and brought to Voinjama to be trained to fight in Sierra Leone. Do you know anything about that?

  • No. No, not at all.

  • Captured Sierra Leoneans being brought from Sierra Leone to Voinjama for training?

  • Well, the only comment I can make on that: If RUF are "captured", then though must be captured by what? An enemy force. Now - so maybe he is referring to ULIMO capturing them and bringing them to Voinjama. But if there is this cozy relationship and I mean in control, why would they be "captured"? So, I mean, I don't know the full context of this whole discussion that he is having here, but it seemed to me that if RUF soldiers are captured and brought to Voinjama, they must - capturing for me indicates the action of an enemy. So it's got to be ULIMO then. I don't know. No, but it never happened with the NPFL.

  • Well, it would appear from the overall context of the witness's evidence, Mr Taylor, that this capture and training took place in the early 1990s. '91 or '92, and I say that for this reason: We're now going to come on to another aspect of his evidence. But as far as you're aware - when I'm assisted - in any event, it would appear from page 15092 of the transcript, Mr Taylor, that this narrative regarding training in Voinjama takes place in or about May - commences in or about May 1991. Now, do you know anything about RUF combatants at about that time being taken from Sierra Leone - captured Sierra Leoneans into Liberian territory, Voinjama, for training to fight for the RUF?

  • Never. No. No. No.

  • And then he is asked this question at page 15107:

    "Q. To your knowledge, in 1992, did Foday Sankoh take any

    trips outside of Sierra Leone?

    A. He went to Liberia. He used to go to Gbarnga. He used

    to go for arms and ammunition there from Charles Taylor."

    True?

  • 1992, yes, Foday Sankoh came to Gbarnga and, yes, he did receive ammunition from me up until May 1992, yes.

  • And he continues: "He used to come with AK-47 rounds, G3 rounds and RPG rockets," and that they were usually transported in vehicles. Now, your answer is: Yes, that may well be right up until May 1992?

  • Well, yeah, but I have to add here, I'm saying they used to be transported in vehicles. Vehicles. Foday Sankoh received ammunition - I'm saying ammunition, not arms, I didn't have arms - ammunition in little quantities during that period, yes, up until May 1992, yes.

  • Then he says this at page 15109, line 12:

    "Q. Throughout 1992 to your knowledge who was in charge of

    these fighters in Sierra Leone?

    A. The overall commander was Dopoe Menkarzon.

    Q. And who were the commanders that were next in command

    to him?

    A. He had various commanders. He had Sam Tuah, James

    Caway, Christopher Varmoh who is also known as Liberian

    Mosquito."

    Throughout 1992 was that the position, Mr Taylor?

  • No, that was not the position. Two mistakes. Not throughout 1992 and not with Dopoe Menkarzon. Two errors. Completely false.

  • This witness also spoke about your involvement in promoting individuals, Mr Taylor, okay? So let me give you his account so that you can deal with it in turn. Page 15115:

    "The communication was sent to Mosquito by somebody else

    and that person did say that it was Foday Sankoh who sent

    him to do so.

    Q. And who was this other person who sent the

    communication to Sam Bockarie?

    A. We heard one Jungle who is called Daniel. Jungle was

    an SSS in Liberia. He worked for Charles Taylor. Jungle

    passed ranks to Mosquito. The communication was about

    ranks. Well, he promoted Mosquito, Issa and some other

    fighters. Then he said that Charles Taylor had said Papay

    said Mosquito should take direct orders from him.

    Q. Mosquito should take direct orders from whom?

    A. From Charles Taylor.

    Q. Now, you said he said Charles Taylor said Papay said.

    So who is telling Mosquito that Charles Taylor had said

    something from Papay?

    A. Jungle was the one who sent the communication over the

    VHF radio to Mosquito. He said it was from Charles Taylor.

    He said Charles Taylor had told him that he should send the

    message to Mosquito that Papay had promoted him to force

    commander and Issa was his deputy and then he promoted

    other commanders. And Jungle also said that Foday Sankoh

    had said that Mosquito should take instruction and command

    from Charles Taylor until he returned from Nigeria. That

    is until Foday Sankoh returned from Nigeria.

    Q. Did Sam Bockarie obey that instruction?

    A. Yes, he obeyed the instruction."

    Now, Mr Taylor, question: Somewhat confusing, but let's see if we can unpack it. Radio message from Jungle bearing message from you promoting Bockarie, Issa and other RUF commanders and also passing on a message from Foday Sankoh that Bockarie should take instructions from you. What do you say about that?

  • Oh, counsel, I swear. This is so terrible. So terrible. This is just so [indiscernible]. That's not true. That's not true. I think there's sufficient for this Court here on the promotion of Sam Bockarie and many others by Foday Sankoh immediately after the AFRC takes over. There's a promotion. That has been covered widely in this Court. This issue that I'm supposed to be almost Foday Sankoh's boy, passing his messages. I'm not in contact with Foday Sankoh during his arrest in Nigeria at all. Neither am I in contact with Bockarie. So this whole thing about promotions, there are two promotions that have come before this Court and I think it's very clear, one from Sam Bockarie and one from Johnny Paul Koroma that makes him forces commander after Johnny Paul Koroma retreats from Freetown in February 1998. I'm not and I really mean not involved in any promotion or recommendation of any officers of the RUF at all. None.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, we were told by other witnesses that you had promoted Bockarie in Monrovia. So which is it; did you promote him in Monrovia or did you send an instruction via Jungle over the radio? Which of the two is right?

  • Neither of the two.

  • The witness goes on to confirm that he did not see Foday Sankoh again from 1996 to 1999 following his departure to go to the Abidjan Peace Accord and following his arrest in Nigeria. Now moving on.

    The witness goes on to describe, Mr Taylor, being present at a meeting with you at the Executive Mansion in Liberia and during that meeting you thanked Bockarie for maintaining the RUF until Sankoh returned and also for securing Foya and Voinjama from the LURD rebels and you also told Bockarie not to encourage infighting and gave him $15,000 for everyone at the meeting. Did any such meeting take place to your knowledge?

  • No, no such meeting took place. But let's look at - they sure didn't take their coaching properly, whoever did it I mean look at the - he failed. But let's look at the language. I congratulated Bockarie for holding the ground until Foday Sankoh returned. Bockarie, I accept, is in Liberia in September of 1999 with Foday Sankoh. So that means Foday Sankoh must be present in this meeting, okay. I'm just suggesting that. If I'm congratulating Bockarie that means in a meeting with Bockarie in Sankoh, "Oh, thank you very much for holding on until Sankoh came", which is not - and if that is even so, what would this bodyguard be doing in a meeting with Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh and me? What would he be doing there? Because I know this witness, he is a bodyguard. What would he be doing there? He's a bodyguard sitting down in a meeting with Foday Sankoh who is just coming now from Lome. I mean not Lome exactly, but wherever he is told. He is coming in in September, Bockarie is there and he is supposed to be in the meeting, a little bodyguard, with Bockarie, Sankoh and myself.

  • That's the context, Mr Taylor.

  • But that did not happen. It's a blatant lie.

  • Let's pick up the account at page 15117.

  • Line 7:

    "Q. What happened after were you in Monrovia with

    Foday Sankoh?

    A. When I was in Monrovia with Foday Sankoh we saw Charles

    Taylor twice and later he sent me as an advance team to

    come and see if Freetown was safe because he wanted to fly

    directly from Monrovia to Freetown. That is in Sierra

    Leone. The first time we saw Charles Taylor all of us went

    there and we saw him on the sixth floor mansion office in

    Monrovia. When all of us saw him he thanked Mosquito

    because he had maintained the RUF until Foday Sankoh's

    return. He also thanked him for - because he secured Foya

    and Voinjama from the LURD rebels. And he told us not to

    encourage infighting amongst us."

    He is then asked by Ms Hollis:

    "Q. Now you say that he thanked Mosquito. Who is it who

    was thanking Mosquito?

    A. Charles Taylor thanked Mosquito. After he had thanked

    them and advised that we should not encourage infighting

    amongst us, we should love each other, later on he gave us

    $15,000. He gave the money to Mosquito for the guys who

    had come."

    Then he describes a second meeting with Sankoh but he wasn't present at that meeting.

    Now Mr Taylor, firstly this: When Sankoh arrived in Monrovia in the autumn of 1999 following the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement --

  • -- how many times did you meet him?

  • Oh, I could have met Foday Sankoh at least a half dozen times. At least a half dozen times.

  • And was there an occasion during that time when you met with both Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie?

  • No. At no time. All of the meetings that I met Foday Sankoh, he was either alone or with Johnny Paul Koroma. Either Johnny Paul Koroma alone, or with Foday Sankoh. It did not involve any of their under people in these delicate discussions. At some other point a few of the senior people's came - people came in initially, but it did not involve the type of people he is talking about here, no.

    And let me just correct something for the record. There's no - the office of the President of Liberia is not on the sixth floor. I think it's on the fourth floor of the Executive Mansion, but he says the sixth floor. That is totally incorrect and I don't think this is deliberate to lie but it's just an error. It's not on the sixth floor, it's on the fourth floor.

  • But let me ask you another question in this regard, Mr Taylor. During the time that Foday Sankoh was in Liberia, at that time, did Sam Bockarie visit Monrovia?

  • Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Sam Bockarie was in Monrovia when Foday Sankoh arrived, yes.

  • But did you ever meet the two of them together?

  • Well, in the way that he explained, Foday Sankoh brought his senior people in one meeting. I would say, you know, together. I met Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie and I guess a couple of other senior people along with Johnny Paul and his senior people in an initial meeting. So together, yes, I would say together. But not as in just the two of them coming on. No, not in that way. But they were together in a meeting that later on they left and left the leadership. That's what I - I hope I have explained this to clarify. Not like just the two of them coming to see me and I'm talking to them. No, not in that particular way.

  • Was there an occasion at this time when you gave Sam Bockarie $15,000?

  • In effect to thank him --

  • -- for being resolute in preserving the RUF?

  • I guess they were until meeting with Alhassan Bobson Sesay and the $15,000 business came up, and so everybody remembers a 15,000 and they don't know where to place the lie. So there was no money that I gave to Sam Bockarie during that period. Not a dime. And if I had any money to give, I would have given it to his leader, Foday Sankoh, who was already there. But I guess when you're in these whatever and you are hearing these figures you attach them whenever you can. But that's not true. Totally false.

  • Next point I want to deal with, Mr Taylor, is this and in order to locate when this is occurring, let me provide you first of all with this question at line 6 on page 15128:

    "Q. I would like you to think about the year 2000. After

    you had gone to Makeni and then moved on to Lebanon in

    Koidu Town. During this period what trips if any did Issa

    take outside Sierra Leone?

    A. Issa said Charles Taylor had told him that he should go

    with one person from among the people who were in Freetown

    when Pa Sankoh was arrested."

    Now you recall the arrest of Foday Sankoh, Mr Taylor?

  • That is correct.

  • "He should take that person to him in Liberia." So that's the time we're talking about, okay?

  • "Q. Now, you said that Issa said Charles Taylor had told

    him and earlier you said Charles Taylor had spoken with

    him. Did Issa say in what way Charles Taylor communicated

    with him?

    A. Issa used satellite phone and it was through that

    satellite phone that he used to communicate. I was not

    present whether he spoke to him or not, but that was what

    he said.

    Q. Now, after Issa relayed this conversation, what did

    Issa do?

    A. So he made a delegation and they went to see Charles

    Taylor.

    Q. And how did they travel to meet Charles Taylor?

    A. They took a United Nations vehicle from Koidu Town.

    They went through Manowa and crossed in Pendembu, went to

    Kailahun and travelled to Koindu, Foya mand it was from

    Foya that the chopper came and took him to Monrovia. The

    chopper was Weasua."

    He goes on to describe that being an airline company:

    "Q. And what happened when Issa and the delegation arrived

    in Monrovia?

    A. They took them to a guesthouse in Congo Town."

    Now, at or about that time do you recall a visit by Issa Sesay?

  • Oh, yes. This witness, as he's describing it, we're talking about sometime later because in May - on May 8, 2000, to the best of my recollection, I do leave. So it has to be thereafter. I leave Monrovia on May 8. I go to a meeting in Abuja. There's an ECOWAS meeting, okay, and I return. So the time he's talking about that Issa Sesay actually comes to Liberia, this is a little later on. I would think this is going toward the end of May, and this is with regards to releasing the UN hostages, okay. So it's not immediate, because immediately following this situation, I go off. In fact, I leave on the day of the arrest of Foday Sankoh, on the 8th, and I go to - that evening I leave - I leave Liberia for Abuja, where there is a meeting.

    And so later on - if he is talking about later on, Issa Sesay does come to Liberia. This is when I say, the first time I ever meet Issa Sesay is in relations to negotiating for the release of the hostages in late May. To that extent I would say yes. I'm not sure if he accounts so properly, but this is the situation as it stands.

  • Now, the witness describes what happens in - no, before I move to that, Mr Taylor, were the United Nations involved in the transport of Issa Sesay from Sierra Leone to Monrovia?

  • So where the witness makes mention of a United Nations vehicle taking them from Koidu Town to Foya, do you raise any questions with that?

  • No, no, I don't raise any questions. I must admit, you know, based on your question, do I - I don't - I don't know exactly what vehicle, but the UN was involved. Because, like I say, we are dealing with the hostage situation and they are giving whatever assistance they can give to help me resolve the problem.

  • Now, the witness goes on to describe what happens thereafter, page 15130, line 8:

    "Q. What happened after Issa and the delegation went to

    the guesthouse?

    A. From there, at night, around 10 to 11 o'clock, Benjamin

    Yeaten came and drove them to the Mansion Ground to meet

    with Charles Taylor. That's the Executive Mansion Ground

    where Charles Taylor was.

    Q. What happened then?

    A. From there he took them to the sixth floor in one of

    the waiting rooms to meet with Charles Taylor.

    Q. And what happened at that meeting?

    A. From there Charles Taylor came and he sat with them.

    He greeted and they all greeted back. I asked what had

    occurred in Freetown, who was the right person that came

    from there. And the person who had come from there got up

    and he asked him that why had his brother been arrested?

    That was Foday Sankoh. And the person explained to him

    that it was because of - it was because the United Nation

    officials were arrested. That's what made the

    pro-government officials to attack Foday Sankoh's lodge on

    8 May.

    Q. What happened after that exchange?

    A. Thereafter he," that being you, "asked if they knew

    about any British MILOBS that were arrested in some part of

    Sierra Leone and the same person replied, yes, that he knew

    about a British military observer but he had been handed

    over to the Indian UNAMSIL contingent who were in Kailahun.

    Q. So then what happened after Charles Taylor was told

    that this person had been handed over to the Indians?

    A. So he," that being you, "said that, 'You have done a

    great mistake. You have made a great mistake. You would

    have held on to that man and use him as a'" -

    And he goes on:

    "'He would have been used as a bargaining chip, as a

    bargaining chip for Foday Sankoh to be released.' Because

    he saw the way the man was received at in England. He said

    he was received with flowers at the airport. Charles

    Taylor was saying this. It was Charles Taylor who said he

    saw the way the man was received. He said he saw that on

    CNN, the way the man was received with flowers in England.

    And he said, 'Okay, that one is past now. It's gone.' And

    he advised that Issa should take care of the ground. He

    should maintain the ground until Foday Sankoh returned and

    he said Foday Sankoh was too old for him to be arrested

    severally. He was arrested in Sierra Leone, later in

    Nigeria, now again in Sierra Leone, that the man was too

    stubborn. The man was too suborn. Issa said the UNAMSIL

    and other pro-government forces were still attacking him

    but he hadn't any materials so he told him to appoint one

    person to go with Joe Tuah."

    And then he goes on to say, "Well, we'll deal with that in a moment." But, Mr Taylor, you see the contents of what he claims to be that meeting at or about that time with Issa Sesay?

  • That you make an observation that a British military observer who had been captured shouldn't have been handed over to the Indian contingent; rather, the RUF should have kept him as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Foday Sankoh. Did you ever have any such conversation with Issa Sesay?

  • I never had any such conversation with - that is - that is for someone that is a fool to make - so one British person is more important than 500 others that have been held? There are more than 500 Africans and other nationals held. One little British fellow would be so important that I would make such silly statement? I never had any such - any such discussion like that with them. If anybody wanted to logically talk about bargaining chip, you've got 500 United Nations people. I don't say that, "Hold these 500 as a bargaining chip." I would say, "Oh, you should have held one British human being." So his life is more important than the rest of the 500? That is not my way of thinking.

    Even if someone remotely thinks that Taylor would do such a thing, I think he would be considering me a fool if I were to make such a statement. There is no such statement. I meet Issa Sesay and I tell Issa Sesay exactly what all of my colleagues, even the United Nations personnel, have all discussed. And, in fact, in a document presented here written to the Secretary-General by his special representative in Liberia, Downes-Thomas, where I was the first one that said, "There will be no quid pro quo when it comes to the release of Foday Sankoh and the hostages." I'm the first to make such a statement, okay. And it's public on United Nations documents, not written by me but by their own people, that no quid pro quo the hostages must released. That's the position I take from day one. And the documents are here before this Court.

  • Now, in the same context, the witness claims that you having ordered Issa Sesay to take care of the ground, Issa Sesay said the UNAMSIL and other pro-government forces were still attacking him but he hadn't material. And so he told him to appoint one person to go with Joe Tuah and that they were to go - this is page 15133 - to Belle Fasama - B-E-L-L-E, F-A-S-A-M-A - to receive materials so they will be able to take that:

    "Q. You were saying that Issa was to appoint someone to go

    with Joe Tuah and that they were to go to Belle Fasama to

    receive materials.

    A. Belle Fasama was between Gbarnga and Zorzor.

    Q. And what kind of materials are you talking about?

    A. AK-47 rounds, G3 rounds, RPG rockets and some rifles."

    Now, Mr Taylor, that material is then taken by truck to the Mansion Ground, the Executive Mansion, and from there the next morning they were taken from - they were taken from the Weasua airport, they took them to the Weasua aircraft - airport, and they met the materials, had already been loaded in the chopper, and they went to Foya. "And what kind of chopper was this? Weasua. And that material was used to fight against the Kamajors."

    Now, Mr Taylor, so you invite Issa to Monrovia. You meet with him. You congratulate him. You deplore the fact that he has handed over this abducted - the British military observer. He then mentions that he doesn't have materials to protect and maintain the ground as instructed by you, so you send Joe Tuah with an RUF representative to Belle Fasama to collect material which is brought back to Monrovia from an area between Gbarnga and Zorzor loaded on a helicopter for transport to Sierra Leone. Yes?

  • Yes. What the witness does not remember, at this particular time - in fact, other witnesses are covered it. We can go through this again. At Spriggs Payne International Airport, the place is jam packed with UN helicopters, UN military people, international press. Everybody is aware that Issa Sesay is in town. Is there a secret-that Issa Sesay has been brought to town to negotiate the hostages? Everybody is anticipating the hostage release. I mean, there are hundreds, hundreds of United Nations civilian military intelligence personnel at Spriggs Payne International Airport. Here is this dummy, Charles Taylor, terrible Taylor, carrying arms to Spriggs Payne Airport and loading them on a helicopter in the very view of the United Nations and everybody else and sending them off. I'm not such a fool. Even if that were anticipated by me, I'm not such - it never happened. You understand me? Never ever, ever happened. The helicopters are all there standing by. We don't use any Weasua. Nothing. Every step that is being made by Issa Sesay is being covered fully by the press and the UN personnel. This is a very tense time in the international community and there is no such thing going on. It's a blatant, blatant fabrication.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, is there a location called Belle Fasama?

  • Yes, there is a location in Lofa called Belle Fasama.

  • It's in Lofa, is it?

  • Now, according to the witness, a truck - you meet with Issa Sesay in Monrovia. You then send Joe Tuah with someone to Lofa County --

  • To bring weapons to Monrovia.

  • -- back to Monrovia to be transported back to Lofa County in a helicopter. Why did you do that?

  • Because I'm crazy. Lies, lies, lies. It never happened. In fact Belle Fasama is closer to Foya in terms of distance than to Monrovia. Fasama is in Lofa County and it's called Belle Fasama because in - you can travel to - from Belle Fasama you go to Voinjama, from Voinjama you go to Kolahun and Foya. So it would have been shorter to drive it there. But, no, I drive from Lofa, back through Gbarnga all the way to Monrovia to put something on a helicopter in the full view of the United Nations that is at the airport waiting for these hostages, I'm supposed to put arms in a helicopter and send them. That did not happen. It did not happen. It's a lie. That's all it is.

  • The witness speaks of another occasion, Mr Taylor, when Issa Sesay gave you some diamonds and you indicated that you would keep them for safekeeping until Pa Sankoh returns. This is page 15161:

    "From there Issa said they lacked materials and the enemies

    were threatening their position. By the end of it all we

    went and took some materials at Schefflein. They had a

    barracks called Schefflein in Monrovia. It was called Camp

    Schefflein. We met some materials there, boots and

    uniforms in large quantities. We brought AK-47 rounds, RPG

    rockets and G3 rounds.

    Q. When Issa said they were lacking materials, what if

    anything did Charles Taylor say about that?

    A. He said we will talk to Benjamin Yeaten.

    Q. So after this meeting then where did Issa Sesay go?

    A. He drove back to his house, the guesthouse in Congo

    Town.

    Q. Then you said that Issa went and took some materials at

    Camp Schefflein. How did Issa travel from the guesthouse

    to Camp Schefflein?

    A. He used a vehicle together with Benjamin Yeaten in a

    jeep. He met uniforms there and boots and he also met

    AK-47 rounds in large quantities, G3 rounds and RPG

    rockets.

    Q. And what happened after Issa got these materials at

    Camp Schefflein?

    A. Being that the materials were many and they had

    manpower enough to go, so they took some of the materials

    in the ATU chopper that Momo Dgiba was the commander and

    they went there and met him. He was called Bulldog. He

    brought the chopper and the times were loaded in there, but

    not everything and it was taken to Foya. Not everything

    was loaded in the chopper."

    Now do you know anything about such a meeting, Mr Taylor?

  • No. Not at all. This witness is lying again. And you know I hate to do this, but this is about my life so I've just got to keep reminding the Court about some of these lies. You just saw here, counsel, where this witness is telling this Court Issa Sesay gave me diamonds to keep until Sam Bockarie returned. That's what he's saying. But we - yes, he said that earlier, that Issa Sesay gave me some diamonds to keep until Sam Bockarie - until Foday Sankoh returned. Yes, he said that.

  • That's at page 15161, line 18. He is asked this question by Ms Hollis:

    "Q. Now, Mr Witness, what happened then after Issa Sesay

    gave these diamonds to Charles Taylor and Charles Taylor

    indicated that he would keep them for safekeeping until Pa

    Sankoh returned?"

  • That's the point, Mr Taylor said initially Sam Bockarie returned. He has now corrected himself.

  • Okay, no, until Foday Sankoh returns. Now, you know, I don't know what's going to happen after this is all over with these people. Because these lies are deliberate, your Honours. I mean no one can tell me that somebody didn't put these people up. Remember we heard another side of this, that Sam Bockarie was supposed to give me diamonds to keep until Foday Sankoh returned and remember Foday Sankoh was supposed to return and he gets so angry and upset that they give me diamonds.

    Now, somebody probably heard that. Now they have connected it now. They are saying oh, okay, so now this is the second person after now - I'm saying now there's Issa Sesay now giving me diamonds to keep until Foday Sankoh returns for the second time. I raise this because these people just - how did they educate these people with these lies I don't know. It is just God that they are making these errors in connecting their dots and different things. There is no such thing about Sam Bockarie giving me diamonds to keep until Foday Sankoh returns. Neither is there any situation now of Issa Sesay giving me diamonds until Foday Sankoh returns from where? You understand me?

    So I mean - you know, and they just keeping fabricating and fabricating, fabricating. They go where? To Lofa. Close to Foya. Take weapons when they are driving to Monrovia, only to put it on the helicopter. Because when you get the map you look at where Belle Fasama is, only to fly it back. These are all lies.

  • He indicates, Mr Taylor, that this trip that Issa Sesay took to Monrovia occurred at the end of the year 2000?

  • Now look at that. Well, we do know - we do know that Issa returns - I mean comes to Liberia many times in 2000, but now it depends on what he is talking about because Issa comes to Liberia in August 2000.

  • No, he is being specific because he goes on: "That was the last trip he made in 2000, at the end of 2000 going to 2001."

  • Never did. Never, never - Issa Sesay came to Liberia and never, ever, ever, neither then or at any time, gave me any diamonds to keep for nobody, himself or otherwise, never.

  • He then goes on to speak of another trip to Monrovia in early 2001 when Issa took some diamonds with him to Charles Taylor, page 15165, line 1. He describes how he travelled:

    "From Foya, the ATU chopper came and collected him from Foya and took him to Monrovia where he stayed at the Boulevard Hotel. At night from the hotel Benjamin Yeaten collected him, took him to the Executive Mansion Ground to Charles Taylor for him to hand over the diamonds that he took for Charles Taylor. When he met with Charles Taylor he handed over the consignment and Charles Taylor asked him what he had done about the UNAMSIL being that he said whether they were still threatening him. And he said he had managed to get the situation under control but that the Kamajors were still posing a threat, so from there Issa returned to the hotel."

    Do you recall such a meeting in early 2001, Mr Taylor?

  • Let's get this thing straight. No. But what UNAMSIL are we talking about in 2001?

  • Well, I'm only reading what's written down here, Mr Taylor. I can't help you.

  • The issue with UNAMSIL is where? In 2000. May of 2000, that's when UNAMSIL situation is watchamacallit. Where does UNAMSIL situation come in now in 2001? There is no situation that I know of that I'm involved in with UNAMSIL in 2001, no. It's the year 2000, okay, that Issa Sesay, the very, very, very arrest of Foday Sankoh on 8 May, following that that's when all the UNAMSIL situation. So it's a lie that there's any connection with anything in 2001 that I'm aware of relating to UNAMSIL. He's lying. The records are there regarding that situation with UNAMSIL.

  • And then he goes on to record that on this trip as well, following a meeting with you, again further arms and ammunition are sent by helicopter back with Issa Sesay to Sierra Leone?

  • Well, that's wrong. That's a lie. But let me just remind the Court for the record. We know that by the end of the year 2000 - in fact, there is the first ceasefire agreement signed between RUF and the forces on the ground by Issa Sesay now as leader of the RUF we know by the end of 2000. Remember after he takes away in August there is a conflict with - even I'm involved in that conflict where I'm pushing for disarmament and the United States said that they needed six months and there is still conflict and finally the initial agreement is signed in late 2000 about the ceasefire. And by 2001 we are really pushing into the period of what? Of really implementing Lome, okay, by 2001. That's when we have the real fruitful part of Lome that occurs in 2000.

    Nobody is moving any weapons. Nobody is doing any anything. Yes, there were skirmishes here and there, but the fruitful part of Lome occurs in 2001 where disarmament is done finally and Tejan Kabbah announces in 2002 that the war is over. So there's no such thing about anybody trying to obtain or get weapons. Not to my knowledge. Not with Issa Sesay. That is not true.

  • The witness went on, Mr Taylor, to describe another trip made by Issa Sesay to Monrovia. On this occasion he says - the question was asked at page 15167:

    "Q. Did Issa Sesay take any other trips outside of Sierra

    Leone in 2001?

    A. Yes, he made another trip, one more trip to Liberia.

    He went to Monrovia.

    Q. Do you recall when it was that he made this other trip

    to Monrovia?

    A. Well, that was in 2000, but I can't recall the month.

    It might be March or May or April, something like that, but

    I cannot recall the exact actual month because I was not

    keeping record of those dates.

    Q. And what year are you talking about?

    A. I'm talking about 2001.

    Q. And why did he take this trip to Monrovia?

    A. He again took diamonds with him to Charles Taylor."

    Now I know what your answer is to that allegation, Mr Taylor, but there is this added detail when we go over the page at page 15168, beginning at line 20:

    "When he went and handed over the diamonds, Charles Taylor

    told him that he shouldn't be coming frequently with

    diamonds to him. He said because the United Nation

    observers and the international community was having eyes

    on him to see whether he had connections with the RUF and

    that they were always bringing diamonds to him. He said

    Issa shouldn't be bringing diamonds to him but that he was

    going to try and get somebody, present somebody to him who

    will be assisting him when he got diamonds from him to get

    certain items for him, so that he said Issa Sesay shouldn't

    be bringing diamonds frequently to him. So that was what

    he said when he received the diamonds from Issa and later

    Issa drove back to the Boulevard Hotel.

    Q. He said Issa shouldn't be bringing diamonds to him but

    that he was going to try and get somebody present, somebody

    who will be assisting him?

    A. Charles Taylor said he will look for somebody to whom

    Issa will be bringing his small small diamonds to him for

    him to be exchanging it for money so he that when Issa gets

    the money he will use it to buy his basic needs that he

    would use on the front line.

    Q. Use on front line where?

    A. In Sierra Leone."

    Did you express such a concern to Issa Sesay, Mr Taylor?

  • No, not at all.

  • And help us. In March or April 2001 what was your assessment of the RUF's need for war materials?

  • I didn't - the RUF was busy trying to disarm and so I don't think they had a need for weapons.

  • I think there is time just for one more question.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, did you ever have a consultation with Issa Sesay regarding the disarmament of child combatants?

  • No. Never had any discussion with Issa Sesay about any specific phase of disarmament. My only discussion was that Lome should be followed.

  • Would that be a convenient point because the next question is slightly longer?

  • We'll adjourn for lunch and resume at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.29 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Mr Taylor, before lunch we were looking at an alleged visit made to you by Issa Sesay to discuss the disarmament of child combatants, and I'm looking at page 15174, transcript for 2 September 2008. The witness continues, line 22:

    "A. He went to consult Charles Taylor regarding the

    disarmament of the child combatants.

    Q. And where did he go to consult with Charles Taylor,

    where in Monrovia?

    A. At the Executive Mansion Ground in Monrovia.

    Q. And what happened during this meeting?

    A. Well, he met with Charles Taylor, he consulted with him

    and he told him that Opande and the United Nations

    Secretary-General's representative Adeniji had told him

    that he should disarm the child combatants. But the first

    question Charles Taylor asked him was whether that was safe

    for him and then later he told him that he shouldn't accept

    to disarm to the UN at all. So he said he advised him that

    he shouldn't disarm at all to the United Nations. He said

    the United Nations were people who would talk nicely to you

    today and tomorrow they would turn around and arrest you,

    so he asked Issa not to disarm to them at all. So Issa

    just answered to him, he left and went home and that was at

    the guesthouse where he was lodged."

    And he confirms, line 20, the same page: "Charles Taylor told Issa that he shouldn't disarm to the United Nations".

    What do you say about, Mr Taylor?

  • [Microphone not activated]. Excuse me, your Honour, the microphone was off. If they do not know my contribution or appreciate it and the only thing they can do is put these lies together about what - now he's suggesting that I was obstructing the peace process? Well, we all have a Maker to account to. I did everything, and my contribution led significantly to this peace that they have in Sierra Leone and now here I am sitting down in a Dutch prison. It's a blatant lie. I never - in fact, I pushed Issa Sesay, I encouraged him. Well, "push", I would say, is the wrong - I encouraged him, and he worked very closely with me, ECOWAS and everybody else in getting this disarmament. I never told Issa Sesay not to disarm to the UN. Never.

  • [Overlapping speakers].

  • But, Mr Taylor, the witness continues that following that meeting where you told Issa not to disarm, Issa travelled back to Foya and in Foya, page 15176, he, Issa, was grumbling to his commanders that he travelled with.

    "He said he is not - he is no longer going to do this. He said he doesn't believe that he will continue taking instructions from Charles Taylor. He said Charles Taylor is now living in peace. Now they held the election and he won and he is now the President, and he was saying that he too is going to allow for the disarmament to take place so that he will be able to give peace to his own people in Sierra Leone. That was what Issa was grumbling."

    So you had given Issa this advice "Don't disarm to the UN", and Issa Sesay was upset, in effect saying: You're all right Jack, Mr Taylor, giving me that advice, because you're now President, but I would like to see peace for my own people in Sierra Leone. Do you follow?

  • Yes, I follow. That's totally false. I guess we'll get to find out soon enough. That's totally false. Totally, totally, totally false.

  • Now the next point that I want to deal with is this: The witness claims that in 2001 - and I'm putting it in a nutshell, and then we'll come to the substance of what he says - that Sesay made another trip to Monrovia in 2001 at the request of Benjamin Yeaten and in a meeting in Monrovia with Benjamin Yeaten, Yeaten was to provide - you instructed Yeaten to provide materials to be used by Sesay to enter Guinea. Did you do that?

  • No, I did not.

  • Now let's look at the actual words. Page 15176, line 23:

    "Q. In 2001 did Issa Sesay take any additional trips

    outside of Sierra Leone?

    A. He made a trip that I recall outside Sierra Leone.

    Q. Where did he go?

    A. He went to Monrovia. He was invited by Benjamin

    Yeaten. Benjamin Yeaten told him that he called on Issa

    and he said Charles Taylor told him that the materials that

    he had given to him, he was to use them to enter Guinea.

    He said that was the reason why he invited him, so that he

    will come for them to discuss. He said that those were the

    materials that he was supposed to use to enter Guinea. He

    said it was that so as to be able to disturb the Guineans

    because the Guineans had been allowing the LURD rebels to

    use their grounds to penetrate Liberia. He said as long as

    the LURD rebels were coming from Guinea to Liberia, he said

    he was also going to set a defensive against Guinea, so he

    asked Issa to go and enter Guinea."

    Did you?

  • No. But here is a witness that just said I told Issa Sesay not to disarm. Issa Sesay gets annoyed and says but look at this guy. He's President. I want to be bring peace to my people. The same Issa Sesay gets called back and given arms, and he goes running. Well, then logic will follow that Issa Sesay must say but - he should say at this point: But this guy is really nuts. I just said that I wanted to bring peace to my people and guess what he does? He calls me back on this matter. He's got to be crazy. I mean, how do these logic - how do they fashion these things like this? It's a lie. It's a total lie that I will call Issa and give him material. Issa is disarming and wanting peace to his people, but he can go off to another war. Wow.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, there's a bit more to it in that regard. Now, after the meeting where you had told him not to disarm, Mr Taylor, as I said to you, he returned to Sierra Leone grumbling. He's asked this by Ms Hollis, page 15188, line 11:

    "Q. Now when Issa Sesay went back to Sierra Leone what did

    he do in regards to disarmament?

    A. He followed the order that Opande gave to him. He

    mobilised the child soldiers to be disarmed.

    Q. Now, after he went back and began this disarmament,

    what did he do with the arms and ammunition?

    A. Some of the arms and ammunition were disarmed, but it

    came to a time when Benjamin Yeaten said to him that

    Charles Taylor had said the weapons and the remaining

    rounds were to be sent back to Liberia because those were

    his weapons, he was the one who supplied them to Issa so

    Issa should not use them to disarm."

    Continuing on the same note, page 15190:

    "Q. When you say 'those arms belong to him', who are you

    referring to, the arms belong to whom?

    A. He was referring to Charles Taylor.

    Q. To whom should the arms be brought back?

    A. He said they should take the arms back to Benjamin

    Yeaten. They should meet Benjamin Yeaten in Vahun. At

    that time Benjamin Yeaten was in Vahun when the instruction

    came to Issa. He said Charles Taylor said the arms and

    ammunition that he had given to him, those that he did not

    use he should assemble them and bring them back - bring to

    Benjamin Yeaten. Because Charles Taylor had said he was

    the one who had the weapons, he had given them the weapons,

    if he did not use them he should bring them back to him.

    Immediately after that Issa called one of his securities

    and sent him to Tongo to bring the remaining arms from

    Gbarnga to Koidu Town. From Gbarnga to Koidu Town. The

    ones he sent, he sent his bodyguard to Gbarnga ..."

    This is page 15190.

    "... he sent his bodyguard to Gbarnga for Banya to collect the heavy weapons that were there and the ammunition that he had in his possession to be brought to Lebanon. And the ones that he had in Lebanon, he put some into the truck and a jeep and they took them to Vahun to Benjamin Yeaten."

    What about that, Mr Taylor? Ask for your arms and ammunition back?

  • Yeah, this boy is so busy that - I don't know whether he means bringing arms from Gbarnga to Koidu.

  • I'm not sure either, but the thrust of what he's saying is --

  • I don't know if there's a Gbarnga in Sierra Leone.

  • Well, neither do I, Mr Taylor. But let's put Gbarnga to one side.

  • Yeah, but if that's just the function of the lie, there is no such movement of no arms. I never told Issa to bring me back any arms, and I guess he is lying so much until he brings in Gbarnga - that arms are coming from Gbarnga to Koidu. But remember I have asked, he says, for the arms to be brought to me, so --

  • To Vahun. So the arms are in Gbarnga. He takes them to Koidu and then brings them back to Vahun. So what are they doing - what would those arms be doing in Gbarnga? Maybe it's just maybe a slip of the tongue, but that's what you do when you're telling these things. I don't understand what he means.

  • Well, at a later stage he does go on to correct --

  • Okay. Okay. Oh, that's what that --

  • -- that he was wasn't referring to Gbarnga; he was talking about Banya in Tongo?

  • So he does correct it.

  • But there's no such thing as me asking Issa to return any arms to me that had been given him because I had supplied them to him. That's not true.

  • Now, another specific matter, and I appreciate, Mr Taylor, in asking you this that I have asked you about diamonds on previous occasions and you have dealt with that topic. But there is a specific aspect to what this witness says about diamonds that I need to ask you about. At page 15192, testimony of the 2 September 2008, he was asked this specific question in relation to diamonds, line 10:

    "Q. Did Issa ever say anything about how many diamonds he

    took to Charles Taylor?

    A. He said something about it some time in 2002.

    Q. And what did he say?

    A. In 2002 when the RUF had been transformed into a

    political party, the man who was appointed to be the

    presidential candidate of the RUF asked Issa what his

    account was and he said he hadn't any account, but that he

    had diamonds with Charles Taylor up to 5,000 carats and he

    had $150,000 that he had given to Charles Taylor for

    safekeeping and Charles Taylor had said any time elections

    would be coming close he would assist the RUF and that was

    why he was keeping the diamonds.

    Q. Now you testified that Charles Taylor had also said

    that he was going to hold on to the diamonds that were

    given to him by Issa and by Sam Bockarie to give to Foday

    Sankoh when Foday Sankoh was released. To your knowledge,

    did Foday Sankoh ever receive those diamonds from

    Charles Taylor?

    A. Well, he did not receive them in my presence and, in

    fact, he did not receive them because Foday Sankoh was not

    released. He died in detention."

    Now, Mr Taylor, first of all, those precise quantities, 5,000 carats worth of diamonds, were you given that quantity of diamonds by Issa Sesay?

  • Or anybody for that matter?

  • No, never given any diamonds by Issa Sesay.

  • Were you given $150,000 by Issa Sesay?

  • No, never given $150,000 by Issa Sesay.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we've heard this morning about you handing out sums of $15,000 to - $5,000 to various people who come to Monrovia, yes?

  • Was that money money which you were safekeeping for the RUF?

  • No, no. Not at all. Giving out little amounts of money, not just to the RUF but to, I mean, different delegations that visit various Heads of State in West Africa is as normal as getting up in the morning. These people came and it's a normal tradition. We put envelopes to together, we give it to them just to help them serve as a way of encouragement, buy them little things for their families. Had nothing to do with diamonds. And, in fact, I'm sure this will be covered because it's also alleged that this $150,000 in another testimony, that it was money that I was supposed to contribute some money to the elections. It's reversed - it's in the reverse order here. Now instead of me giving money, Issa Sesay is giving me money. But I recall, I think it's $80,000 at some hotel, that one of the protected witnesses who testified that he was sent to Boulevard Hotel. So this is all a part of the reverse construct that was brought here before.

    But no. We give money all the time. I'm not the only one - other African Heads of State all the time give out money. Even when Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma were on their way back to Sierra Leone, whatever little I could put together, I did. Obasanjo himself sent $25,000. It's a normal African thing. Normal. It's as normal as getting up in the morning. But it was not a part of any money that anybody, in line to your question, was giving me to keep. This is just a normal thing that African leaders do. It's not a payoff. Like in other western countries, it's not permissible. In Africa, people that come to see you from maybe towns, villages, chiefs or commissioners, or if a little group comes from a different country, except it's a colleague, but anything other than that, there's nothing unusual about giving envelopes to them. It's usual. Not for money they gave me to keep, no.

  • On that same note, Mr Taylor, at a later stage the witness's attention was brought back to what he had said regarding that money. And at page 15226 he was asked this:

    "Q. And you testified that Issa received $300,000 US and

    that he gave half of that, $150,000, to Charles Taylor.

    How did you know about that?

    A. I was present when he collected the money and he called

    me, Augustine Gbao and Lion, and he divided the money into

    two. He said he will not take all of this money back to

    Sierra Leone. He kept one part of it with Charles Taylor.

    At first he wanted to keep it with Benjamin Yeaten, but he

    said Benjamin Yeaten will use it, and so he divided it into

    two parts and gave one part to Charles Taylor for

    safekeeping and he took the remaining to Sierra Leone.

    Q. And how did you know that he actually gave this money

    to Charles Taylor?

    A. He told me. And in early 2002, he dispatched me to go

    there. He told me that in Monrovia, that he had given the

    money to Charles Taylor for safekeeping.

    Q. And tell us again the amount that he gave to

    Charles Taylor for safekeeping.

    A. He said 150,000 United States dollars."

    Now, first of all, Mr Taylor, taking matters slowly, what knowledge do you have as to the source of the $300,000 US received by Issa Sesay in Monrovia?

  • None whatsoever.

  • But, Mr Taylor, you were the one, so it is alleged, who was selling diamonds on behalf of the RUF and making a profit. So help us, where did Issa Sesay get $300,000 US from, not a small sum, in Monrovia, please?

  • I have no idea. I don't even think Issa Sesay had $300,000. It's a lie this boy put together. I'm sure in time to come other Defence witnesses will prove that these are lies.

  • The reason I'm asking, Mr Taylor, is this: If you're supposed to be the holder of the diamonds, logically, if Issa's got $300,000, it's come from you. So why is he giving you back $150,000, half of it? Do you follow?

  • But that's the way how the logic goes with them, the lies go. I'm supposed to give it to him, he gives me back and I've got the diamonds. All lies. And in time to come we will get to know that they are lies, just lies.

  • Now, one other matter we should deal with. We've touched on this before, but there's an added detail that I want you to consider. At page 15203, testimony of 2 September 2008, the witness was asked this question:

    "Q. Now, Mr Witness, you also testified about Foday

    Sankoh's arrest in 1997 and you testified about

    instructions he sent to Sam Bockarie, that Sam Bockarie

    should take over as the commander on the ground and that

    Sam Bockarie should take instructions from Charles Taylor.

    How did you know about these instructions from Foday Sankoh

    to Sam Bockarie?

    A. I told you earlier in my statement that I worked with

    Sam Bockarie from the end of 1996 to 1997 until the AFRC

    overthrow. In 1997 we were in Koindu catering to get arms

    and ammunition through ULIMO. That was where we were when

    Jungle called using the radio from Monrovia and said he had

    an instruction that he wanted to pass on to Sam Bockarie

    that they should get Sam Bockarie on the set and the

    operator ran to Sam Bockarie and called him that somebody

    wanted to talk to him from Monrovia. Sam Bockarie came to

    the set and he spoke with Jungle and Jungle passed the

    instruction to Sam Bockarie. He said that instruction from

    Charles Taylor."

    And he said that he heard that because the radio transmitter was on loud speaker. Now, do you know anything about that, Mr Taylor?

  • No, nothing. And I'm sure it didn't happen that way, the way he's explained it. In 1997? What part of 1997? We know, again, that Sam Bockarie is promoted and given that position by Foday Sankoh himself, and other witnesses have testified, Prosecution witnesses. So I don't know why they led this witness into that line of answer when they knew very well that they had sufficient information that Foday Sankoh himself had passed those instructions, promoted Sam Bockarie and talked to Johnny Paul Koroma, gave the instructions to join, they knew very well that that information was factual. I don't know why they led this other man into this particular direction. No such thing happened, counsel. No such thing happened.

  • Well, very well. Now we've dealt with that. Let's go back to the $150,000 US to complete the picture. The witness goes on to say at page 15227 how after Sesay mentioned the $150,000 in your safekeeping, thereafter he, the witness, made a trip to Roberts International Airport, flying from Lungi:

    "Q. And what happened after you arrived?

    A. When I arrived he told me that on my arrival I should

    meet Benjamin Yeaten so that he will lead me to

    Charles Taylor, but when I arrived there - when I went to

    Benjamin Yeaten at the back of White Flower they told me

    that he was not there, he had travelled to one place in the

    forest and being that I was not able to go there - being

    that I was not able to go there I called" -

    He goes on to say how he called someone, I think it was Issa. And then he continues, page 15234, jumping a couple of pages. He goes on to explain that he met with you and he says this, line 23:

    "A. I was at that time talking to Charles Taylor," so he

    eventually meets with you, you see, Mr Taylor. "I told him

    that it was Issa who sent me to come to him and that he

    said he had kept money with you, which was $150,000, and

    that you had said when the RUF will be going for elections

    he will give some help and he said I should come for that

    help and the money that he kept with you.

    Q. So when you said you had said he would give some

    help, who are you referring to?

    A. Charles Taylor.

    Q. Then you testified that 'he told me later that if Issa

    had worked with instruction.' What do you mean by that?

    A. Charles Taylor asked me whether Issa went according to

    the instruction he gave to him.

    Q. And then you went on to say or I thought you said, 'I

    told him I did not know whether he worked with the

    instruction but he told me that he had said we shouldn't

    disarm.' So who told you he said we shouldn't disarm?

    A. Charles Taylor told me that he had told Issa that we

    shouldn't disarm.

    Q. And what happened after Charles Taylor told you that?

    A. And then he said he's going to send me back to go and

    tell Issa that he does not have any money for him and he

    said if Issa himself had come on that mission he would have

    ordered his arrest and execution. So he asked the woman to

    take us back to the place and wait for Benjamin Yeaten. He

    said if Issa himself had come, because he said he had given

    Issa an instruction that he did not go by and so he said if

    he himself had come he would have ordered his arrest and

    execution."

    Did you have such a conversation with this witness, Mr Taylor?

  • Never. Never had any conversation. I - you know, I just have to do this to remind this Court. Remember this money for elections, if this Court recalls, a witness came before this Court, a very protected witness. Just in case it's necessary, I can write the name down just in case we can't find the TF1 number. That witness said that Issa Sesay came to Liberia to collect money that he had given me for elections. He was supposed to be lodged in the Boulevard Hotel and he sent to me for this money. I sent, I think, 80,000 of the money and Issa refused to receive the money, and they had to prevail upon him to take the money. That's one witness's account about this election money. I don't know the TF1 number. I can write the name down on a piece of paper if the Court requires it. But this witness - now here's another witness that has now come up with his version of this money now that - now Issa does not come. He flies into Roberts - it's all not true. How they do this I don't understand, okay? So I don't know why there was never - in fact, your Honours, I did not get the opportunity. I would have loved to assist the RUFP during the election. I did not have the means to help them because ECOWAS states were - it was suggested to us. We decided that, look, to keep these people in line - but I did not have the means to assist. If I had the means as other countries did, like Nigeria helped the RUFP, Senegal to a great extent assisted, I would have done it. I did not have any money. So this thing about this witness coming to me and the other witness saying no, Issa Sesay was in Monrovia and he was upset because - it's all just falsehood. But I'm sure there are other Defence witnesses that will clear this up, that will corroborate what I'm saying. It is a lie.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, just for reference purposes I wonder if you'd mind writing that name on a piece of paper for us, please, so we know who it is you're talking about.

  • I wonder if this could be shown to the learned judges and to counsel opposite, please:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, just so this reference doesn't get lost, I wonder if you could take back this piece of paper and just write in summary something to the effect "witness who claims to have received money", something like that, so we can identify what we're talking about at a later date.

    I think for completeness, Mr President, we perhaps ought to mark that document for identification, which would make it MFI-271.

    Could you please sign and date that document, please, Mr Taylor.

  • If my date is correct, I've got the 2nd.

  • It's 2 November. Okay?

  • Just a minute. While Mr Taylor has that document, I think we should add the TF1 number as well.

  • It's TF1-375.

  • 375. Should that be a confidential document?

  • I think it should be, Mr President, because it refers to the name of a protected witness. So I think it should be.

  • All right. You will recall, Mr Griffiths, that we have had several incidents in the past where a confidential name has been written on a piece of paper and it's been admitted straight into evidence rather than marking it for identification. Really there is not much point marking it for identification, is there?

  • Well, I was just trying to be overcautious, I guess. But I don't have a problem if it's not marked for identification if we all now understand who the witness is talking about.

  • Yes. You'll tender it in evidence at this stage, is that correct?

  • Any objection to that?

  • None, your Honour.

  • All right. That document will be admitted as a Defence exhibit. I don't have the current number at the moment.

  • Your Honour, it would be D-91.

  • Yes. That's admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit D-91 and it shall be marked "confidential".

  • [Exhibit D-91 admitted]

  • All right, Mr Taylor, let's move on.

  • Just before you do, I omitted to show the Prosecution what Mr Taylor had written on this piece of paper. Mr Griffiths, did you get a chance to see what was written on it?

  • I'll have it shown to you and the Prosecution.

  • Excuse me, your Honour, counsel, it's important - I just wanted - I don't know the - it's important. This particular evidence is not going to mean anything to us unless it relates to the transcript, because this is giving a contrasting view to an incident that a witness is stating here that I'm giving an opposite view. So there's got to be, in my opinion, some connection to the incident on the record now. Because taken at face value it really means nothing, unless it is contrasted with what this witness is saying in his evidence that led to me giving a contrasting view. So I'm not sure how it ties in unless the whole picture is - well, I'm sure the Court will handle that.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, the exhibit D-91 will be considered by the Court in the context of the oral evidence in which it was tendered.

  • Yes, Mr Taylor, I don't think there is any need to be concerned about that, because I think it will be fairly obvious at a later stage, if one examines the transcript of this exchange, the context in which that particular document came into existence, so the juxtaposition will be clear.

    Now, although the witness goes on to make further allegations about diamonds, Mr Taylor, I'm not going to trouble you with those because your position on that is quite clear.

  • So what I'm going to do now is to move on to another witness.

    Now, the witness I want to move on to, Mr Taylor - and hopefully we can conclude this witness fairly swiftly - TF1-114, one Dennis Koker, who gave evidence in open session in January 2008. Now, the first suggestion made by the witness beginning at page 1249 is to this effect: He speaks of travelling from Koidu with, amongst others, his aunt and one Eldred Collins and his family, and he said that he was escorting some money and they went to a place called Baome, B-A-O-M-E, and then he said this, page 1250, line 12:

    "A. It would reach Kailahun, go to Buedu and not stop

    there and go to Liberia.

    Q. How did you learn that?

    A. We met our colleagues in this thing and they were

    saying that whatever good, whatever beneficial they had in

    the war on that end they would take to Charles Taylor. But

    God wants the truth. I did not see them discuss the

    business with Charles Taylor, but I used to see them take

    them to Liberia."

    So money was being taken to you from Sierra Leone. So not just diamonds, Mr Taylor. Money as well. What do you say?

  • A lie. Was that leones? I mean, it's a lie.

  • Was there such a force in Liberia, Mr Taylor, as the NPFL Navy Rangers?

  • We had a navy division, not Navy Rangers. We had a navy.

  • Because the witness speaks of soldiers speaking a Liberian dialect wearing military fatigue, they had on camouflage and a black cap, some of them had on a polo T-shirt on which it was written "Navy Rangers". "NPFL Navy Rangers". This is page 1281, by the way, testimony of 15 January 2008. And that these individuals had brought arms - war materials for the RUF. Know anything about that, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, this was said to occur in 1998, July 1998, in fact. Now, in July 1998, Mr Taylor, was the NPFL still in existence?

  • Did any of your soldiers, Mr Taylor, wear this distinctive T-shirt bearing the logo "NPFL Navy Rangers"?

  • In 1998, no. There were different T-shirts that had the unit, navy, army, marines, but I'm not aware of any Navy Ranger. We didn't have any attack boats or anything for them, so that's not - no, not to my knowledge.

  • A couple of other matters before we conclude with this witness. Now, the witness accepted as truth that a portion of his statement which was read to him in which he said, "From the time I was in Buedu, Issa Sesay was deputy to Bockarie and would go back and forth to Liberia to do business and make these arrangements with Taylor's men. I know this because of one incident when Sesay went to Liberia with 18 bags of money from the bank in Kono and came back and said the money was stolen."

    Now, Mr Taylor, do you know anything about 18 bags of money being stolen from Issa Sesay in Liberia?

  • No. The only stolen things we've heard about here concerning Issa Sesay is that Issa Sesay is allegedly taking diamonds to Monrovia that should have - one group said should have been brought to me, another group said he should have carried to Burkina Faso that got stolen. But money, no, I never heard of that.

  • Do you recall evidence regarding the robbery of a bank in Kono?

  • Do you recall that?

  • Now, do you recall what the evidence was as to what happened to that money stolen from the bank in Kono?

  • Well, to the best of my recollection - you know, from what I recall, the first thing is that the bank had been broken into and it had not been approved by Sam Bockarie and someone said that there was supposed to be a large diamond along - a large diamond along with cash taken from that bank and that it was mostly done by a group I think under the command of who? If I'm not mistaken, Superman or somebody. That's the best of my recollection.

  • Very well. Now, that's all I want to ask you about that witness, Mr Taylor, and you'll be pleased to know we've got two to go. The penultimate witness I want to deal with is Hassan Bility. Now, in general terms, Mr Taylor, first of all, when did you first come across Hassan Bility?

  • When you say "come across", when did I first meet him?

  • My fault. It was an imprecise question. When did you first hear of Hassan Bility?

  • I would put it back to about '96. About 1996. I would put it to about '96.

  • And how was it that you came to learn about this chap?

  • Hassan Bility worked with Alhaji Kromah.

  • As one of his, I think his principal press officer and ran the - a paper for ULIMO then and then ALCOP, the political party. That's how I heard of him.

  • Can you recall now, Mr Taylor, what the paper was called?

  • I know the paper that he ran in Monrovia for the party was - had some connection with I think, what do you call it - The Analyst was the paper that he ran as the political arm of ALCOP, the political party, The Analyst.

  • And that political party had grown out of which particular faction?

  • Now, what was Hassan Bility - to your knowledge, what is Hassan Bility's ethnic origin?

  • He's Mandingo. He's Jula. He's Mandingo.

  • And as far as you're aware, Mr Taylor, what are this political affiliations?

  • Hassan was a member of ALCOP and a very, very die hard ULIMO-K personnel. That's as much as I know about him.

  • What do you say that?

  • He worked - Hassan is - he worked with Alhaji all the years of the war. I cannot give any testimony to the fact that he actually held a rifle in war, but he worked so closely, and what they say, the pen is mightier than the sword. But he's a very, very, very, very - he was a very die hard ULIMO personnel that stuck with the movement throughout the elections.

  • Now, I want to ask you something else in general terms about him before we get to the specifics. As far as you're aware, Mr Taylor, what's Hassan Bility's attitude towards you?

  • Well, my own interpretation, as far as I see his attitude - you know, Hassan reminds me of a story that we heard a few months ago. This Japanese soldier that, I think he was found, I don't remember his name, a few months ago that was still resisting from World War II. Hassan just never - until now he hasn't stopped the war. Hassan is a very, in my opinion, vindictive person. He never stopped the war.

  • Which war?

  • The original - the war that ended in 1997, he never stopped. And even as LURD came in, he rejoined the war. Throughout my presidency, he wrote extensively. I mean, he wrote a lot of lies and disinformation. So he's just one of those individuals that just never - just didn't want the war to end. As far as he's concerned, this conflict for him is still not over. This is my whole attitude.

    So for me is he - there are about two of these boys that have just made me their target. In fact, Tom Kamara, with the New Democrat in Monrovia, writes about he - he's written about me every day for the past 10 years. Every day for 10 years or more he's written about me. They just don't want the war to end. Today, if you look at the New Democrat, yesterday, last week, last Monday in Monrovia, it's about Charles Taylor. Every day. They just never let - they haven't given up.

    So for me, his attitude has been one that - he just doesn't like me, which is his right. I don't have any problems with that. Where he has gone wrong, I have done what I felt necessary, but that's about the end of it.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, Mr Bility, as you will recall, gave extensive evidence regarding a number of occasions when he was arrested and on occasions beaten by your security services. Now, tell us, Mr Taylor, in general terms, did Hassan Bility tell these judges the truth as you saw it?

  • Well, there are a couple of cases where I would say he told the truth. Some of the explanations - quite frankly, I don't even know why the Prosecution brought Hassan Bility here.

  • Why do you say that?

  • Well, let's look at Hassan's Bility's evidence. Let's look at the indictment. I don't see - but maybe they saw it. I don't see what the bearings on Hassan's own testimony on this indictment. It doesn't cover anything. It covers his activities in Liberia and what he did. I don't see how personally he contributed, but maybe that's not for me to say. So I think that Hassan has another purpose for coming here.

    But going back to your question, there is an arrest of Hassan Bility that I can account for, that's about 2002, that he mentioned about. His explanation that he was brought to me is true in 2002. His explanation that upon his arrest he was visited by senior officers of the United States embassy is correct. And all of those, I was very aware of. And, in fact, the visit of the United States embassy officials to him and bringing him to a press conference that I held subsequently are true. Also his testimony, he mentions that he visits my home at my birthday party, that's true, which I don't know if anybody thinks I'm crazy, If I considered a little Hassan Bility, a journalist, as an enemy to my - to come to my residence at my birthday party, he wouldn't step foot to the gate. So I don't know how he figures so.

    For me, I never looked at him at a level that I would have some animosity against him. I never looked at - he's not an equal, so I don't look at people that are not my equals. I don't have confusion with people that I do not have respect for. I mean, if you bring yourself to a level that we can have, you know, a quarrel, then I will quarrel, but if I figure that you're not at that level, there's no point to quarrel with you.

    So he visited my house at my birthday party, that is true, and then I'm sure at the appropriate time we'll get into the circumstances. But, generally, I don't see his - I mean, why he came here, but I guess we'll get into it. You are the lawyers. I don't know.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, what he tells us is this - or what he told the Court was this in January of this year. He told them that the first time he was arrested was in August 1997, okay? Now, his account of what happened following his - his account of what led to his arrest goes in this way: That he had published an article called "Who Was the Judas in ECOWAS?" Now pause. First of all, do you recall such an article appearing in a newspaper in Monrovia in or about the summer of --

  • I thinks there - is there an objection, Mr Bangura?

  • Not an objection. It's just for a page reference, your Honour.

  • A page reference. I'm looking at page 22302 :

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I was asking do you recall such an article appearing?

  • Quite frankly, I don't recall it. But I saw it here, and I have no reason to doubt that it did appear, but I don't recall it. August of 1997, I don't dispute that it came out. I'm sure it did. I don't personally recall it.

  • Well, let me pose the question differently. Do you recall the newspaper The Analyst, Mr Taylor?

  • Did Mr Bility used to work for The Analyst?

  • And was The Analyst - did The Analyst have any particular political affiliation?

  • And what was that?

  • They were the voice of ALCOP, the party of ULIMO-K.

  • Now did you - were you a regular reader of The Analyst?

  • No. No, I was not a regular reader of The Analyst.

  • Was there a reason for that?

  • No. The Analyst is a political paper. In fact, most times for papers, the way how things were done in my government, there would be a summary by my press - by the press department in the presidency of important issues. If I wanted to follow through on it, I would call for that particular paper. They didn't bring me all the papers in the city and say, "Here are the papers." It doesn't work that way. They would do a summary of the important issues in the paper and if it's something that interested me, I would say bring me this paper or bring me that paper. But, I mean, like I say, I don't doubt it. I think he did, but that was not a regular thing for me.

  • Well, you see, Mr Taylor, Mr Bility's testimony would suggest that you must have seen the article. And the reason why I make that suggestion is this. What he told this Court on 12 January 2009 was this at line 10:

    "I was arrested and taken to the headquarters of the

    National Patriotic Party?

    Q. Where is the headquarters of the National Patriotic

    Party?

    A. It's located in Sinkor, Monrovia. It's called the

    Vamoma Building."

    And he claims at this time the National Patriotic Front was headed by President Charles Taylor. And he says that when he got there -

    "Q. So what happened when you arrived that headquarters of

    the NPP?

    A. I met with the late Director of Police, Mr Joseph

    B Tate and I'm taking to President Charles Taylor.

    President Taylor was in the building there at the office at

    the headquarters.

    Q. What happened after you were taken to President Taylor?

    A. Well, President Taylor came forward and spoke with me

    and warned me to desist from writing what he thought were

    publications or articles designed to undermine his

    government and expose it to ridicule. And he also said

    that he was averse to me against continuing to publish

    stories, you know, of that nature and he said whatever was,

    you know, going on between him and the - between Mr Taylor

    and the Revolutionary United Front was nobody's business.

    He also did mention that he didn't pick on anybody, it was

    the government - with the government then in Sierra Leone,

    then headed by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, collaborating

    with ECOMOG that attacked him, that picked on him. So he

    didn't think that anybody could twist the hands of the RUF

    and in his opinion the RUF was fighting - that's the

    Revolutionary United Front was fighting a just war. I

    mean, the conversation lasted a long time and he said a

    wide range - he talked about a wide range of issues and

    then warned that I was too young, too young a man, you

    know, to lose my life pursuing such a course."

    Did you have such a meeting with Mr Bility, Mr Taylor?

  • No. No, and in fact the - you know, Hassan Bility is a diabolical liar in this. Look, let's look at the facts. August 1997, now let me be clear, I don't dispute that Hassan Bility wrote in the paper. I don't dispute that, you understand me? I did not see this particular thing, and if I had seen it, it was not sufficient to send for Hassan Bility. August 1997, what am I going to be doing at the party headquarters at this particular time in August 1997? What am I going to be doing there? And in fact, is Tejan Kabbah President of Sierra Leone in August 1997? Tejan Kabbah is not in Sierra Leone in August 1997, so why would I be saying to him about Tejan Kabbah, who is not President in Sierra Leone. August 1997, what's going on? Tejan Kabbah is in exile in Guinea. And this is the same man who says he met Sam Bockarie at this headquarters. He's lying. I know this Hassan Bility boy. He likes to be as though he's into things. This is a basic Hassan Bility lie. If Hassan Bility was brought to the NPP headquarters in 1997, it was not when I was there. I did not know he was brought there. At the time that Hassan Bility was arrested, that I am very aware of - I say it's 2002; not before then - Tejan Kabbah is not even in Sierra Leone in August of 1997 for me to be referring to him as a President in Sierra Leone.

  • Did the NPP have its officers in Sinkor, Mr Taylor?

  • Was it called the Vamoma Building?

  • No, I think we may be accused of misstating the evidence. He doesn't say that it is the Vamoma Building. He says it's the near the Vamoma Building.

  • After the Vamoma Building. Sorry, my fault.

  • But it is not far from the Vamoma House. Yes, that is correct.

  • Now, Mr Bility went on to say, Mr Taylor, that he was arrested again on 14 October 1997. Do you know about that arrest?

  • I am not aware of that arrest, no. It could have happened. I'm not aware of it. I'm not aware of it. At least I would have been told or intervened, but I'm not aware that he was arrested.

  • Now, thereafter he mentions that on his arrest he was told this - I'm looking at page 22377 - by you, Mr Taylor:

    "He said many things generally about Sierra Leone. Among the things he said that I recall about Sierra Leone were, he did say that - it was basically a recap of most of the things he'd said to me in the past regarding Sierra Leone. One, he didn't even care who thought about - you know, who thought if he were involved with the RUF or not, he didn't care about that. As far as he was concerned his forces - he had the best ground force, I'm not sure what he meant by that, but my opinion was military. He said he had the best ground force and he was willing even to move into Sierra Leone again if necessary. He also said that he wanted to say something - he said, 'Let me tell you something. As far as the Tejan Kabbah situation is concerned, and the RUF is concerned, the RUF is fighting a just war and I'm not going to let anybody arm twist the RUF. I was never going to' - he said he was never going to let that happen. 'And I still stand firm, ready to do whatever it takes if necessary to move into Sierra Leone. You know I'm not afraid of anything'. It was a very wide ranging conversation, you know, and it lasted a long time. I was sitting there scared, actually scared, because I had been accused by President Taylor whom I know of plotting to overthrow him. I thought I was dead instantly. And once I will not say what he wanted me to say - by this time when he asked the question he asked, he did like this. He told the cameraman roll the - I'm sorry, but that's what he did, he snapped his finger. 'Roll the camera.' And then the camera is focused on me. My assumption at that point was that whatever I said would be aired on the radio and on television to make people convinced that indeed this was true, and that I had been involved in clandestine activities or been paid by Tejan Kabbah."

    Now, Mr Taylor, do you recall such a conversation with Hassan Bility?

  • It just never happened. No. Here the President on two occasions - all I have to do is sit down with Hassan Bility and lecture him for a long time. This is very - this is Bility at his best. This is his style. Bility wants to - is a big show-off, he wants to show - I have nothing to do. But somebody arrested, and I'm supposed to call them and hold these long conversations with Hassan Bility. I know who Hassan Bility - we - look, we watch Hassan Bility, we've been hearing, I saw his activities with Alhaji Kromah. He's a very prolific writer and writes a lot of nonsense, and this is somebody that I will down now on the second occasion and talk to? There was no such conversation with Hassan Bility, no. I listened to him here in disgust. No such conversation.

  • Mr Taylor, you recall of course, do you not, what was the situation in Sierra Leone in October 1997? Who was in power?

  • October 1997 it's still Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Because you note that, among other things, the witness claims that you said, this is in October '97:

    "As far as the Tejan Kabbah situation is concerned, the RUF is fighting a just war and I'm not going to let anybody arm twist the RUF."

    Where was Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in October 1997?

  • Tejan Kabbah was in exile out of Sierra Leone in Guinea in October 1997.

  • So help me, why were you bringing Tejan Kabbah into this conversation with Hassan Bility?

  • That's Bility's - there was no such conversation with Bility. His assertion that I'm talking about President Kabbah, and Kabbah has been out of power since the AFRC overthrow him. The junta and they are working together by this time. So, I mean, I would be stupid. Maybe he should have corrected me and said, "Have you forgotten that Kabbah is not in the country?" There's no such conversation with Bility.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, of course we need to recall that the allegation is that you were controlling not merely the RUF, but also the AFRC. So help us, why in October 1997 were you boasting that you had the best ground force and you were willing to move into Sierra Leone if necessary? Were you contemplating invading Sierra Leone in October 1997?

  • No, no. But that's the whole irony of the whole thing, that Mr Bility is going along and he has forgotten - if I say I'm not going to twist anybody's arm or let anybody twist the RUF's arm, why would I be threatening to go in because I have the, quote unquote, best ground force? Hassan Bility and I never had this conversation. Never.

  • Let's go on to discuss the third arrest as alleged by him. Now, he tells us at page 22335, line 2, that this arrest occurred on 22 January 1998 and it followed the publication in The National newspaper in Monrovia of an article called "S-t-o-p". Now, do you recall such an article, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I do recall.

  • Now, what's your recollection of that article, please?

  • That "S-t-o-p" thing I think had to do with stop helping the rebels in Sierra Leone and all that kind of stuff as alleged by Bility in that particular stuff. That's as much as I remember about his "S-t-o-p".

  • Well, this recollection was to this effect: That the article, line 23 on page 22335, was, in effect, trying to explain that the media was being muzzled and that journalists were under attack by you and your government. That's his explanation for his arrest.

  • Well, you know, when you get to these - a boy like Hassan - all of the journalists in Monrovia - there is a Press Union in Liberia. Does he claim here that he's the spokesman for the Press Union of Liberia? No one in Liberia now is have problems. There is one Hassan Bility that is being arrested and kicked around by the government because he is the only man willing to stand up? Look, what did I do when I took over the presidency? What did I do? The first executive order that I issued was the repeal of decree 88A in 2A granting press freedom in Liberia. I could have let those decrees stay on the books.

    In fact, my whole background, in talking about civil liberties and free speech, started from my days in America. That's what brought me to Liberia in 1990 as chairman of the union in the United States when I was talking about free speech, free press and the rule of law. Hassan Bility missed the boat here. There is no way - if somebody - look, if somebody stopped him or if the police called him in at that particular time, quite frankly, there are two things, and I would be totally, totally earnest about it. Look, 1997/1998, if any radio station - I will tell these judges - any radio station, any newspaper or any one had engaged in any activity to renew the war in Liberia, I would have taken action against that person. I don't care whether it's Bility or whether it's what. That is a normal course. It's happening now all over the place. It just happened in Sierra Leone where somebody got on the radio talking some nonsense, the government had to take action. It is the responsibility of government to take action.

    This Hassan Bility, I didn't - look, if I had arrested Hassan Bility or ordered his arrest, I would tell this Court, "I ordered Hassan Bility's arrest." I would say so. Finished. And I wouldn't - what would be there to be afraid of to say that I ordered - who is Hassan Bility that if I arrested him I would come here and lie? I was not aware that Hassan Bility was arrested. If he had been arrested with my knowledge - the time that Hassan Bility got arrested that I ordered, I ordered it, it was in 2000 at the height of the war when we realised that he was working as an intelligence officer for the United States government. We intercepted his emails and his arrest was ordered. I take full responsibility for this.

    All this other nonsense about, oh, he's coming in and sitting with me for - I didn't have Hassan Bility on my mind. He was the least of my problems. I do not dispute that maybe the police called him in or the justice ministry or the minister of information. It was not with my knowledge, acquiescence or orders whatsoever.

  • Now, he goes on to say, Mr Taylor, that on the occasion of this third arrest in January 1998, following the publication of that editorial "S-t-o-p", page 22338, line 17:

    "I was arrested and beaten. I was at the offices of The National newspaper. I was arrested by the police and some Special Security Service personnel who took me to the police headquarters, to the office of the late police director Joseph B Tate who in turn asked one of President Taylor's security personnel, Montgomery, I'm not sure what his first name is, to take me to the Executive Mansion. I was beaten in the offices of The Analyst newspaper in a vehicle as we headed for the police station, that's where I was beaten. They were throwing punches at me. I was hit with batons, using the butts of their guns, their arms, their AK-47 assault rifles to hit my shoulders, head, stuff like that. I was taken to the Executive Mansion," page 22339, line 22, "by Montgomery," line 26.

    And then he goes on. He was asked:

    "Q. Was anybody else present in the transport of you to

    the Executive Mansion?

    A. No. There were other security personnel, you know, low

    ranking officers. I don't know - I didn't know them. So

    Montgomery is the person that I recognised because he is a

    little famous.

    Q. What happened after that? Did you eventually arrive at

    the Executive Mansion?

    A. Yes, I did.

    Q. What happened then?

    A. I was taken to a small waiting room, after which I was

    brought to President Taylor. This was on the sixth floor."

    And then he qualifies that:

    "A. Once we got there, my thinking was it was on the sixth

    floor. I don't specifically because we went with an

    elevator, so I don't know. I was beaten, I was bruised

    and, you know, I wasn't really observing in terms of what

    floor that was.

    Q. How long did you wait before you were brought to see

    Mr Taylor?

    A. Less than hour.

    Q. What happened after that, specifically?

    A. President Taylor called me my name. He says, 'Are you

    Hassan again?' And he says in Liberian English, 'So you,

    boy, you will now forget this thing. I mean hey kid,

    aren't you going to forget this?' And he says - as he

    spoke, his comments - as he progressed with his comments he

    became more and more furious and he says, 'Well, I have

    warned you before.'"

    And then he goes on to clarify, this is page 22341:

    "A. His first comment, 'Are you not going to forget this

    reporting?' So once he said that I didn't respond and he

    began to talk, to say, he asked if I were a spy, if I

    worked for Tejan Kabbah, President Tejan Kabbah. And he

    said, well, the whole ECOMOG/RUF, whatever business I was

    reporting on, that in fact he didn't care about ECOMOG or

    what-MOG. And he says if I wasn't careful I would lose my

    life for reporting on those issues and that his involvement

    with Sierra Leone - his business in Sierra Leone was nobody

    else's or was nobody else's business and he thought that

    the RUF was fighting a just war and that there is nothing

    that anybody could do about it. He wouldn't allow any

    arm-twisting tactics and that basically many things, but

    there were some key points, key things that I picked up

    from what he said.

    Q. Who else was present?

    A. Well, Joseph what he call Montgomery actually went out.

    And once we started a conversation, what is his name, the

    police director Joseph Tate came in and he was also there."

    He was asked if he responded to you, Mr Taylor, and he said:

    "No, I just listened. I sat there and listened because I was scared. And he said that I was paid by Tejan Kabbah or I worked for Tejan Kabbah. I said, no, I don't know him. I don't work for him. And he specifically mentioned that Kabbah was an enemy, you know, by associating with ECOMOG in the first place, so I was trying to prove one point, that I didn't work for President Tejan Kabbah and I was not a spy. So those were the answers I gave that, you know, I wasn't."

    He said that he was shut - he would ordered to shut down by newspaper, The National newspaper, which he followed through with.

    After my arrest and subsequent release I didn't go to work that day. I went to hospital, to a small clinic on Jamaica Road, Bushrod Island."

    And he went because, as he says, "I was wounded. I was injured, you know, if you like. I went to seek medical treatment."

    So, Mr Taylor, third arrest, third time brought in front of you. Third time you're saying bad things about Tejan Kabbah and ECOMOG, and that you won't allow the RUF to have its arms twisted. Sounds a bit like a stuck record, Mr Taylor, so help me.

  • That's January 1998, you see.

  • That's January 1998.

  • Tejan Kabbah is still not in Sierra Leone.

  • So just to remind ourselves of the full picture, Mr Taylor, arrest August '97, the month of your inauguration, brought before you. Arrested again on 14 October 1997, brought before you. Arrested now on 22 January 1998, brought before you for the third time in succession. Is that true?

  • That is not true. Hassan Bility was never brought to me in my presence. Liberians that know me - Hassan Bility would be brought to me injured by the police and I would do nothing about it? You tell that one to a million Liberians, they will say, no, that's not President Taylor. Hassan Bility was not brought to me. He was never brought to me. Never. Never.

  • So that's arrest number three, Mr Taylor. Now, let's move on to arrest number four. You recall that according to him that arrest in January took place when he was editor of the newspaper called The National, which eventually you closed down. Now, he says thereafter, page 22348, line 7:

    "A. I started at The Analyst as news editor and rose to

    become the editor in chief.

    Q. During your time at The Analyst, did anything happen to

    you in particular?

    A. Several.

    Q. What happened to you during your time at The Analyst?

    A. During my time at The Analyst, I reported on a story on

    which - in which I had published pictures of Libyans who

    were supposed to be training Liberian security and RUF

    security forces. The article - actually, it was a news

    story. The article discussed - says that 500 people - 500

    Liberian security personnel - were going to be trained in

    Libya. The government, based on my personal investigation,

    was trying to hide this training because there had begun to

    be more and more voices in Liberia calling for the Liberian

    government to behave itself properly so that it will be

    able to cultivate a good friendship diplomatically of the

    west in the national community. And then people thought it

    was badly timed if the government went ahead to send people

    to Libya at this time for training. We didn't need that.

    So in the details of the article, the article will reveal

    that the government was actually sending RUF soldiers -

    some RUF soldiers former who were in Liberia, some RUF

    soldiers and Liberian government personnel, security

    personnel - well, let me not say soldier, but security

    personnel - to Libya to be trained and I had published

    through a Liberian who had returned from Libya."

    Now let's just pause and take stock of where he is going with this, Mr Taylor. Now, this is an article published after September 2000, okay?

  • Now, you see what he's saying, he's talking about security personnel being sent to Libya for training. Question: Did such a thing take place?

  • Did you ever send any security personnel from Liberia to Libya for training?

  • Specifically, did you send some RUF soldiers to Libya for training?

  • Did you, Mr Taylor?

  • No, no, no. I said no. Never sent any Liberian or RUF. But, I mean, I can put a face on this. Based on the explanation he's given with - you said September 2000. This could be earlier. Did he specifically --

  • No. What he says was this, Mr Taylor, when we go a little further on in the page where I paused, page 22349:

    "Q. When approximately was this article published?

    A. This was in 2000."

    Have you found the spot?

  • "Q. Can you recall when in 2000?

    A. The month I'm not sure. It was in 2000. It was the

    latter part. I can approximate that it was after

    September."

    Yes?

  • I see what he's talking about. That's not true. What again - the only thing I can put on this is Hassan Bility is referring to the training of the RUF personnel that come into Liberia with Sam Bockarie that are to be trained at Gbatala. When he talks about the training of - that's the best I can put on it. Because this training begins in - by early 2000 - not early. I would say about the second quarter of 2000 when the RUF - the former RUF personnel that come in with Sam Bockarie in 1999 are put into training. But they are not trained in Libya. We've talked about this here. They are trained by a South African team that the government hires. They are not sent anywhere --

  • [Overlapping speakers] yes. We do no training at all outside of - during my presidency we did train in two places: We trained in Israel and we trained in Egypt, police officers. But other than that, we never trained in Libya. None whatsoever. Secret Service personnel in Libya and police officers in - I mean, Secret Service personnel in Israel and police officers in Egypt. But we never did trained any - all of our training was done inside Liberia.

  • Now, the witness goes on to say this, that his - in relation to his arrest in September 2000 - sorry, I've missed something out. He says that - prior to that he says at page 22349 that following the publication of that article, Mr Taylor, he was once again arrested and beaten. Do you know about that arrest, which would be his fourth arrest, and his alleged beating?

  • No. That's one too many beatings. I'm not aware that Hassan Bility - but Hassan Bility came to my residence because the party that Hassan Bility attended had to be January of 1999. By this time he had already been beaten for the second time.

  • Because he was beaten - he was arrested in August '97.

  • October '97, January of 1998 he had been arrested, he says, for the third time. So by 1999 January he's at my place and - I mean, quite frankly now, this is a damnable situation. Here is a man that has been arrested three times, beaten mercilessly, and there's an invitation going out for people - the press, and he shows up at my house. I mean, you would think that man would be scared straight. I'm not even going close to this man. This man - they beat me up and brought me before this man and then I'm going to - I'm not - he didn't have to go to this place. I mean, this is hardly an indication of a man that is at serious odds with the President that you would take the occasion from - to - couldn't you send another journalist to cover this thing? You have to be present there? I mean, are you somebody that I even give a fig about? No. I mean, this is - no. I mean, four times you're beaten, you never go to court, you never file any - nothing? I don't know. You know, he's a journalist. He writes very well and maybe he's doing his book too, so it's good to put out these kind of lies. And I don't care where I am, if I'm alive if he produces that book I will sue him for libel because he will be lying in that book. But there's no such thing. Four beatings? You do not go to court, nothing? The Press Union of Liberia, that will go to any length to protest a journalist, nobody protests? No.

  • Now, let's go on and deal with arrest number five, Mr Taylor. This occurs, as we are told at page 22349 - no, sorry, 22355, line 17 he's asked this:

    "Q. Now, after this arrest and detention in September 2000

    did you return to The Analyst newspaper?

    A. Yes, sir. I did, sir.

    Q. Did anything happen thereafter while you were working

    at The Analyst?

    A. Yes, sir. Something happened in 2001. May 1st, 2001.

    May Day. May 1st, 2001. Yes, something happened.

    Q. What happened to you?

    A. I had been working on - I had been investigating some

    alleged abuses, human rights abuses that included rape and

    gang rape of women. I had been working on the involvement -

    the intention of the Liberian government to destabilise

    Sierra Leone further."

    Remember, Mr Taylor, this is May 2001.

    "... the intention of the Liberian government to destabilise Sierra Leone further. I had been investigating murder - well, executing civilians in Lofa County and in other places by Liberian government officials, and even across the border into Sierra Leone, and I had been working on the involvement of the Liberian government in the diamond-for-gun trade."

    Now, this is an important distinction:

    "For Amnesty it was not the diamonds and guns trade. For Amnesty it was the human rights abuses, so that was their area of interest. So I emailed - I chronicled the information, spoke with the witnesses, agreed to conceal their identities. Because I could not publish that in The Analyst. Other guys wouldn't let me because, you know, there was a serious of arrests and stuff like that, harassment. I decided to have them emailed to Amnesty International because I thought that these women needed to have their voices heard, and some of these included Sierra Leonean women and girls that were on refugee camps in Liberia around the coffee farm area, that is coffee farm, around what is called Caldwell towards Dixville. So based on those persons that - those investigations - I thought it was necessary if someone told the story. I knew certainly then that I couldn't tell that story. They were going to come after me and they were going to come hard. So I sent the information to Amnesty which in turn verified them, and then on May 1st Amnesty's researcher on Liberia, Tania Bernath, was on the BBC Focus on Africa accusing the Liberian government of a wide range of issues, human rights abuses, rapes, gang rapes, murder, execution, you know, harassment of Sierra Leonean refugees, murder all sorts of things. This was 5 o'clock, 5 past 5."

    Now, first of all, Mr Taylor, help us. Do you recall in or about May 2001 your - government officials being involved in the kind of activities described by Mr Bility as taking place in Lofa County and, indeed, across the border in Sierra Leone; that is, rape, murder, execution of - gang rape, execution of civilians. Was it going on?

  • 2001, there's a war being fought in Lofa. Remember, LURD is fighting us. Hassan Bility is a full - oh, my God. This man fought. He did his share with the pen. He really did his share with the pen. Hassan Bility is writing in Monrovia, writing to Amnesty International. His combatants are fighting in Lofa. If there's anyone carrying out atrocities in Lofa, we are complaining about what LURD is doing in Lofa. Here is Hassan Bility sending information to Amnesty International that is not checked. But in 2001 let's not forget that disarmament and demobilisation is going on in Sierra Leone. They are disarming and demobilising. What would Liberians be doing over there raping - you know, rape is something that I dealt with. I mean, the records are very clear now before this Court. I dealt with rapes during the NPFL time. I don't tolerate that. I don't. But what would we be doing in Sierra Leone in 2001 in May when the people are just about a quarter of their disarmament process? With all of the UN and other forces in Sierra Leone they are dealing with what? Disarmament in 2001.

    So these people, just the same time of disinformation that is sent. Hassan Bility, good with the pen and he worked it until he caught up with him later on. This is when he really gets arrested, when he begins to plan to attack in Monrovia. Hassan Bility is a combatant covered by the journalist's cloak. That's what Hassan Bility is. And he is the only - there are other human rights groups in Liberia. Hassan Bility, the one-man human rights machine. You have the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, you have - all of the NGOs are in Monrovia, and Hassan Bility is the only one that is sending all this information out. And these people account for the type of information that went out that Taylor has stolen billions of dollars. This is where it's coming from. And you will search from now until Judgment Day and you will not find it. This is it. There was no such thing going on that I knew of. I do not disclaim that there were some - during the war in Lofa there were some things that we heard of that LURD had done. Some of our soldiers did commit some wrongful killing in Lofa, and those people were removed. But to the fact that the Armed Forces of Liberia people in 2001 are fighting and raping - gang rape in Monrovia and he's secretly sending things off to Amnesty International, that is - that's typical Hassan Bility.

  • Now he says, Mr Taylor, that following this fifth arrest - no, following the publication - following the broadcast on the BBC of details of his investigation by Tania Bernath, he heard on KISS FM that the Government of Liberia had issued an arrest warrant for him for funneling sensitive anti-government information to the government's enemies in the west.

  • And he went on that thereafter, he was investigated for that by the National Security Agency, in particular by its director Freddy Taylor, page 22366:

    "An investigation - after the investigation - the investigation was ended and it was deemed that I did not do anything harmful. They did, however, question me about the Amnesty International report, if I was aware of its content. I said yes, I was aware of the contents. The agents assigned to investigate this, the case, and I said my belief in it wasn't going to make any difference. So on 4 June the Government of Liberia issued a press release and asked - take it to the various newspapers and radio stations that says, amongst other things, the government - after a one month - after a one-month's investigation the government security agency found that Hassan Bility was not involved in any clandestine activity and that he is, quote unquote, one of the finest Liberian journalists whose footsteps are worth emulation." And he goes on to say, "He was now a free man and I resumed my work," and that the report, in effect, exonerating him was signed by the director of the National Security Agency, Freddy Taylor. Do you recall such an investigation, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't recall. I think it could have gone on. I don't recall it. These are things that - well, at least, if he's telling the truth here, he does attempt to give some credit to a government agency that investigates him and releases him.

    And let me just clear for the Court, Freddy Taylor is not related to Charles Taylor in any way. As a matter of fact, it's a different Taylor. Freddy Taylor has both a son and a daughter by my sister. My sister, one mother, one father. And that's not what you call that thing they used to do with these royal families, that's not that. There's no relationship between Freddy Taylor and Charles Taylor. And so the fact that - but, you know, look - oh, God.

    I'm glad they investigated him because, let's be clear for today and tomorrow, reports that go out to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and different human rights groups in the world, in fact, nowadays do affect foreign policy of countries. And so no government now, especially from a third world country, should take for granted any report going to Amnesty International. And, in fact, this was done, like I say, without my knowledge and he was cleared. But probably if this had been serious enough to have been brought to my attention, I would have asked the justice department to look into it, because let's not - right now human rights reports that go out to these agencies affect every aspect of foreign policy to small countries. Whether it has to do with foreign aid, whether it has to do with diplomatic relations, the reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch affect countries. And so I would not let him get away so easily with sending something out to Amnesty International that is false, because governments, especially Europe, governments make their decision based on human rights activities.

    And so, of course - of course it, shouldn't go unchallenged and I'm glad that they did. But this is not something that would necessarily reach to me. I mean, not all these things - so I'm glad he experienced this way, but I did not know that this went on and I do not think that the National Security Agency went this far to say that - to publish a note, no, I don't think so. But the fact that he was investigated and released, I think it simply shows that at least he didn't lie that he was beaten up this time and that he probably, you know - but I think the actions were right. And, in fact, they should have gone further by maybe investigating it and sending it to the justice department because, like I say, these agencies do affect how countries govern themselves.

  • Now, let's move on, Mr Taylor, to the next arrest. Okay?

  • So we move now to 24 June 2002. This is arrest number six.

  • He says he was taken to the national police station. By the way, Mr Taylor, where is that, the national police station?

  • It's right in Monrovia near - well, in an area called Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

  • Is it near to the Executive Mansion?

  • Now, he said what happened then when he got to the national police station, page 22371:

    "I was brought into a holding cell, a holding room, and I stayed there up to the time of focus - Focus on Africa." And he explains that it's broadcast about 5am. "And I'm sitting in this guy's office, chief of counterintelligence, at least that's how he described, you know, his title to me, chief of counterintelligence. I was sitting in his office and his office back is turned to the outside of the front part of the Liberian National Police headquarters and the windows are very big, large sliding windows," which he describes. And he recalls there being a vendor outside selling kernels, chicklets, cigarettes and stuff like that. And then he goes on to say how he heard this BBC radio announcement from a radio being kept by the vendor. And then he goes on.

    He then says, "It's dark in the room," page 22372, line 11. "They came in, blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back, took my watch, took my money, took my shoes and take me into the basement of the Liberian National Police headquarters and then I'm blindfolded. But when I reached there I clearly recognise the voice of the police director, Paul Mulbah. They talked to one another and then Paul Mulbah, police director, says, 'Well, put him in a jeep. Put him in the back.' And I'm brought - I'm forced to the back of this jeep and driven to the home - to the residence - of at this time President Charles Taylor and the jeep stops across the street. We're coming from Monrovia, we're going to Congo Town. The jeep stops on the other side of the road and President Taylor's home is on the other side, which was commonly referred to as White Flower. We get down, get off and then the blindfold is removed."

    And then he goes on. He is asked:

    "Q. How did you know where you were if you were

    blindfolded?

    A. I lived almost all of my life in Monrovia and I know

    White Flower, I know Congo Town, I know the President's

    official residence. I've been there before. I've been

    there for a Christmas party that the President held for

    reporters, journalists and other people. So I know the

    place. As I get off and as we cross the road the blindfold

    is removed and I look at the fence and I'm ushered into the

    building. President Taylor's son Chucky and one of his

    bodyguards Momo Dgiba and Benjamin Yeaten are in the same

    room.

    Q. In what room?

    A. The sitting room, waiting room, living room, or

    whatever you call it.

    Q. Okay.

    A. With other people. Then there is another whom, which I

    think - that was the President's private office and/or

    meeting room, small in size, and the door is opened. I

    mean, one of the guys who was taking me opens the door and

    they send me in there."

    So they're in your office, now, Mr Taylor, yes?

  • "I'm referring to the room where President Taylor with some of his government officials were sitting in. I think it's either his private office or his private meeting room at White Flower. When I enter, I see of a lot government officials, security chiefs including Musa Cisse, late now, who was an uncle of mine. I see many of them, Kadiatu Jarra, Emmanuel Shaw. I'm sorry, this is a little bit hard for me. And as I entered, the President says - he points at me and tells his ministers, security chiefs, 'This is the guy who wants to overthrow my government.' And I quickly remarked, 'Mr President, that's inaccurate.' So I observed that most of the guys in the room, though there were chairs and couches, were sitting on the floor and the President asked me to have a seat. 'Please take a seat.' And I go and I sit not on the floor as many other people were but in a chair and crossed my legs and the chief of - Musa Cisse, who was popularly known as the President chief of protocol, says, 'Why are you sitting in the chair? The President is sitting in this chair. You sit in the chair? Everybody else, I mean people were sitting on the floor. Well, okay, sit.' President Taylor said, 'No, never mind, leave him, I'll talk to him.' And then the President authorises a video recording team from his television station to come and record what I will say."

    Before we continue, Mr Taylor, and before we lose sight of them, first of all, do you recall such an incident when Bility is taken to your home address?

  • At night?

  • No, not at night. That's broad open day. But I recall the incident where he's brought to me, yes.

  • Well, this is in June 2002. We've yet to come to the seventh and final arrest. No, this is June 2000 --

  • This is 2002. What he is explaining here, I recall it in 2002. All of the fact are not right because when he talks about people sitting - so my ministers are sitting on the floor? That's, you know - they mix a little bit up. He said all the people in the room are sitting on the floor. My ministers would not be sitting on the floor. Total nonsense. But he is brought to me, and another fact: This is not immediately following his arrest. This is after he's been visited by the officials of the American embassy. He explains it like it's just following through, but this is after he's been visited. He's arrested, he's been held, he's been visited, and after that I do send for him, yes.

  • Visited by whom?

  • Two senior officials from the United States embassy.

  • While he's being held at the NBI. He's been - he's arrested --

  • Yeah, the National Bureau of Investigation. We do have an NBI. Remember his first investigation, he says, was done by the NSA, that's National Security Agency, but he's being hold by the NBI now because this is a more a legal matter. After we capture these - we take these emails and have the physical evidence this is when he's being held. So this is not something that's just happening within days, but I accept most of the explanation.

  • So, Mr Taylor, you accept, do you, that on this occasion he was brought to your home address?

  • Why did you have him brought to your home address?

  • Well, this is on a day I'm at my place. I used that house both for home and work. I worked out of there also. This is a time when - and you see the quantity of people here. Because of the allegations out there, Hassan Bility has been killed, in fact he's been buried, his body cannot be found, this is the explanation around. Even though the Americans have visited him, but because this is their employee, they are pumping them up.

  • What do you mean, "this is their employee"?

  • Hassan Bility worked for the United States embassy in Monrovia. He was their boy. They financed the newspaper. We knew it. We confronted them about it. Hassan Bility we accused of also being an agent. This is why he could do all of these little crazy things, and in fact the whole attitude - how many people in Liberia got arrested that the United States embassy sent their most senior person, just - I think the charge and other two to visit, and we let them visit them, okay? So this is the situation. So we called the press. We call - in fact, he missed it. There were visiting diplomats. There were diplomats there. So what I sought to do was to invite them into my huge living room - there were some diplomats, there was the press and ministers - and say, "Here is Hassan Bility that everyone is saying he has been killed and buried some place." That's how he got there. So I invited him to come.

  • Now, just so we can put this in context, Mr Taylor, do I understand what you're telling us is this: Your security services have had in their possession some emails?

  • As a consequence of that, Bility is detained?

  • As an enemy combatant?

  • Following his detention there is public furore with the suggestion that he's been killed whilst in custody. Is that right?

  • Not exactly. I wouldn't say "public". There are questions from most - from the United States government specifically. They are there - the ambassador that calls, the United States government; not the public. The United States government is formally saying that Hassan Bility now - since they last met him, their information is that he's killed. I guess this was an attempt to push us to present the bod - you know, to present him, and they succeeded. But this is not the public. This is the United States government raising these concerns and threats and that if Hassan Bility is killed, this will lead to a serious diplomatic problem with the United States, and so we sought to let them go on and go on and build up their case; then we produced him.

    Let me just - I know the time, but if we have to stop - because I don't want to - let's look at the time in 2002. We are looking at a time when there is total chaos in Liberia; there's fighting in the city of Monrovia; all ministries and agencies are closed; There is hardly anyone - there is fighting go on in the streets of Monrovia almost, and this is the time that this particular incident - so we are in a state of emergency, I may call it.

  • Mr President, I'm going to a rather lengthy passage, and I don't think I can complete it, dealing with the exchange which is alleged to have taken place at this meeting.

  • Yes, I think that would be better off commenced tomorrow morning, Mr Griffiths.

  • We'll adjourn now, Mr Taylor, and I'll remind you of the order not to discuss your evidence. We will adjourn court until 9.30 tomorrow morning.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.29 p.m. to be reconvened on Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 9.30 a.m.]