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

  • Please proceed, Mr Anyah.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Mr Witness, when we left off yesterday we were engaged in discussions about the Great Commission, the books of Matthew and the books of Mark, and we will leave the scripture for a moment and come back to it some time later perhaps. I want to now ask you questions about events after or around the time of the Lome peace talks, through the period of time when you said you and a delegation from Sierra Leone paid a visit to the President of Liberia, Mr Charles Taylor. What is the West Side Boys, Mr Witness?

  • Well, the West Side Boys comprised the SLA soldiers, the RUF and the small boys that we had that we had trained in that area. So we were called the West Side Boys and we were the only set of people who were very close to Freetown.

  • You said it comprised the SLAs, the RUF, some small boys that you had trained in that area. Are those the three constituent members of the West Side Boys?

  • Well, we had some STF, like I said earlier, who joined us. That is when Gullit had advanced to Makeni and then we had some former NPFL fighters with us there at the base.

  • Well, you just mentioned the name Gullit. I thought Bazzy was head of the West Side Boys?

  • This is very simple. I said when Gullit had left us. He left us and went. I am not saying that Gullit was with us again. And it was after that we went to that area and formed the West Side Boys.

  • The head of the West Side Boys was Bazzy Kamara, yes?

  • Yes.

  • Not Alex Tamba Brima or Gullit, yes?

  • Hassan Papa Bangura, or Bomb Blast, was also a member of the West Side Boys, yes?

  • And you as well, true?

  • The persons who took some UNOMSIL soldiers hostages, the record says UNAMSIL, but you had said UNOMSIL and at the time it was the observer mission in place. Would you agree with that?

  • Yes, it was not UNAMSIL. I am speaking of July now 1999, correct. It was UNOMSIL, observer mission?

  • That was what I said. I said UNOMSIL.

  • Now the people who took some UNOMSIL soldiers, some ECOMOG soldiers, Bishop George Biguzzi, is that the name you said?

  • Yes, Biguzzi, yes.

  • Then the bishop of Makeni, yes?

  • He was the bishop in Makeni. Bishop Biguzzi. He was in Makeni.

  • The people who took all of those people hostage in about July, you said, was the West Side Boys, right?

  • Are you sure the West Side Boys were not exclusively made up of AFRC or SLA members?

  • No, my Lord. We were mixed.

  • We are now speaking of the time around the Lome Peace Agreement. Do you still maintain you were all mixed? Is that your evidence, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord, we were mixed. We were together. There was coordination up to the Lome Peace Accord.

  • And after Lome there was no coordination, right?

  • No, the coordination continued until the arrest of the UNOMSIL and that led us to go to Liberia.

  • Let's talk about what else was happening around this time. Foday Sankoh was initially in custody at Pademba Road before the J6 or 6 January invasion, correct?

  • And when you and your fellow SLA members entered Freetown on 6 January and you went to Pademba Road, Foday Sankoh had been moved, right?

  • Well, it was not just I and my fellow SLA members. Like I said, it was a mixed force. It was a mixed force that went to Freetown, but before we could arrive there we already noticed that Sankoh had been taken out of the prison.

  • Okay, let's adopt your terminology for a moment, mixed force. The point is Sankoh had been taken away, right?

  • Yes, according to the people that we released from the prisons - from the prisons. What they told us was that, they said before we reached there the ECOMOG people had just come there and taken Pa Sankoh away.

  • By April of that year would you agree that Foday Sankoh had been flown to Lome, Togo?

  • Well, maybe if you tell me the year. I want you to state the year so that I will get it very clear, because I am not sure what year you are talking about now.

  • That's fair enough. That's fair enough. I am speaking of the year 1999. By April 1999 would you agree Foday Sankoh had been flown to Lome, Togo?

  • Yes, like I said, he called whilst we were in Newton and he said he was on the preparation to go on the peace accord. That one I know, yes.

  • You have answered the question saying he called when you were in Newton to say he was in preparation. It doesn't say where he was calling from. What I am putting to you is that Foday Sankoh was in Lome, Togo in April 1999. Do you agree?

  • Well, I never knew anything about that. He only called and told us that he was on preparation to go to Lome for the peace.

  • Well, let's start with the first of several BBC reports I will hand out to the Court. We have heard a lot about the BBC in this case. Madam Court Officer, could you put one on the overhead projector, if you don't mind? Thank you.

    Mr Witness, the document in front of you is from the Internet. Its source is given at the bottom of the page. It is a BBC extract from the BBC website. The caption or the title of the article says, "World: Africa, Rebel leader freed for talks". If you look at the top of the page it has a date on it. It says Sunday, April 18, 1999. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • And then you see a picture, right?

  • Soldiers with weapons and in some kind of military fatigue, right?

  • And you see the first paragraph beneath that photograph says:

    "The leader of the Sierra Leonean rebels, Foday Sankoh, has arrived in the Togolese capital, Lome, following his release from jail to consult his commanders on possible peace talks to end Sierra Leone's eight-year civil war."

    Do you see that?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Having seen this, do you agree now that Foday Sankoh was in the capital of Lome, Togo in April 1999?

  • Well, yes, according to this paper, I agree.

  • And if you go down a little bit where it says:

    "The rebel leader is due to hold a week of discussions with his military commanders in the Togolese town of Kara - the home town of Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema, who is helping to broker the peace initiative?"

    Do you see that?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • It is the case, is it not, that as of April already in 1999 the peace process was in motion?

  • Thank you. And this is the same time you testified that you and other West Side Boys were engaged in an attack on Port Loko, right?

  • Yes. We will come back to that. And, by the way, it was in Port Loko you captured the two Malian soldiers, right?

  • What was the fate of those two Malian soldiers, Mr Witness?

  • Well, like I said, we captured them in Port Loko and then we handed them over to Bazzy who was the commander and then he informed Gullit - I mean he informed Mosquito in Kailahun and it was only after the peace accord, when they had signed the peace accord that Bazzy went and handed them over to the Government of Sierra Leone.

  • They were captured about 7 May, right?

  • Yes, within that time. Yes.

  • Now the President of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, not the current Eyadema who is President of Togo. Gnassingbe Eyadema, the father, he was chairman of ECOWAS at that time, right?

  • Well, since I was in the jungle save that you are explaining it to me now, because we were in the bush.

  • Have you heard of ECOWAS before, Mr Witness?

  • You have also heard of the United Nations of course, right?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • When you folks took those hostages including the bishop, both ECOWAS and the UN were involved in trying to secure their release, right?

  • All what I knew was that, like I said, we got in touch with the government in Freetown and, like I said, that was the time Abdulai Mustapha communicated with us and said they were coming to come and receive us. And like I said also, Johnny Paul also called and said he was now on preparation to go to Liberia and that we should go and join him there.

  • Are you aware that the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone was closed from December 1998 until October of 1999 by President Charles Taylor?

  • Well, I was not around that area, the borderline, save that you are informing me today.

  • You are saying you are not aware of that fact?

  • I know, yes, my Lord.

  • This Court has determined it to be a fact that the Lome Peace Agreement was signed on 7 July 1999. Your Honours, I want to cite to the judicial notice decision. I am referring to CMS-370 and this is fact number W. It says:

    "On 7 July 1999 the Government of Sierra Leone signed a peace agreement with the RUF in Lome, Togo (Lome Peace Agreement)."

    Mr Witness, 7 July is when this Court concludes Lome was signed. At that time, 7 July, what was the status of the RUF/SLA relationship? Can you tell us, please?

  • Well, it was good. It was good.

  • You told us yesterday that when you arrived at this plan as to how to abduct the hostages - and this abduction took place is it in Magbeni, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord. It was in Magbeni that we captured the UNOMSIL and the ECOMOG officers and then Bishop Biguzzi and others.

  • You and your fellow fighters came up with a plan for Hassan Papa Bangura to lure them into a meeting and upon him removing his hat, you said, you would then arrest the hostages. Is that fair to say, Mr Witness?

  • Well, you have misinterpreted me. I said Bazzy called a meeting and it was during that meeting that this plan was designed. He said we should go to the meeting and he explained what Hassan Papa Bangura was supposed to do and after doing that we will arrest the hostages.

  • Yes, Bazzy called the meeting, but a part of the meeting called for a certain cue sign by Bomb Blast to the rest of you as you went to move in, correct?

  • And the act which was to signify that it was time for you to move in was him taking off his hat, correct?

  • A minor point, but you told the Prosecution before that it was him having to take off his glasses and not his hat. Do you recall telling the Prosecution that before?

  • Well, that might have been a mistake, but, like I said, it was the hat and that was what I told the Prosecution - the investigators. I said no sooner he took off his hat then the troops will enter.

  • But it is possible you said glasses before, right?

  • Well, my Lord, like I said, what I saw is what I have said in the Court. I said he took off his hat.

  • Okay, I will come back to that. At this time you and your fellow fighters thought Johnny Paul Koroma was under arrest in Kailahun by the RUF, right?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • You also knew that the AFRC was not mentioned in the Lome peace agreement, true?

  • Yes, the SLA - he spoke about the SLA, that they did not include the SLA in the Lome Peace Accord.

  • When you say he spoke about the SLA, are you referring to Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Well, yes, he included Johnny Paul Koroma because he too was an SLA.

  • When you say "he", that is what I want to know. Who included Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma was an SLA.

  • Let's leave Koroma for a second and focus on what you and your fellow fighters at Magbeni knew at the time, or thought at the time. You and the people in Magbeni felt that Johnny Paul Koroma was being held under arrest by Sam Bockarie in Kailahun, correct?

  • Yes, according to Bazzy he said he was considering that very much, because it had taken a long time that Johnny Paul had not communicated with them, it seems he was under house arrest.

  • And eventually when you did speak with Johnny Paul Koroma and you said there were two conversations, and I am not saying you in particular spoke with him, on one of those occasions you felt that he was speaking under duress, or stress. Is that fair to say, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, indeed, because that was what we told him, because of the response that he made to us.

  • Would it be fair to say that there were about three reasons why you and other fighters in Magbeni decided to take these UNOMSIL, ECOMOG and media and religious people hostages, the first one being you wanted the release of Johnny Paul Koroma? Would that be fair to say, Mr Witness?

  • Well, we did say we wanted to talk with him wherever he was.

  • Was securing his release one of the objectives behind taking these hostages, Mr Witness?

  • Well, the question you are asking is - you see the point was clear. He said that it had taken a long time that Johnny Paul had not spoken to us and we now want to talk to Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • The lack of communication between you, Bazzy and the rest and Johnny Paul Koroma was a source of concern for you, right?

  • Yes, my Lord, it was a concern.

  • The lack of recognition of the SLAs or AFRC in the Lome Peace Agreement was a source of concern for you and other fighters in Magbeni, correct?

  • When you put it that way, Mr Anyah, are you putting that as the second of your three reasons that you are putting to the witness?

  • Yes, Madam President:

  • You might want to go back to the question because I did not get it clear.

  • I will. The lack of recognition of the SLAs, what I call the AFRC and you call the SLAs, was a source of concern - well, I will take that again. I will withdraw that and rephrase it. The lack of recognition of the SLAs and the AFRC at Lome and in the peace agreement was a source of concern for you and the other fighters at Magbeni when you took these hostages, true?

  • And after you spoke with Johnny Paul Koroma you also had in mind the possible role in the peace process and in the new government for Johnny Paul Koroma, a position of chairman for Consolidation of Peace. Yes, Mr Witness?

  • No, just when we got to Liberia that Johnny Paul indicated to us that there was a position like that in existence.

  • While you were still at Magbeni, one of the hopes or aspirations of you and the other fighters were that the AFRC, or SLA as you call them, would have some kind of role to play in the new government, yes?

  • Would you say that those three things I have mentioned, playing a role in the new government, having communication with Johnny Paul Koroma and the fact that you were not represented at Lome, those three things were contributing factors to you taking these hostages?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • When Johnny Paul Koroma called, or when you had a communication with him and he said, "Put together a delegation and go to Freetown", the President of Liberia was sending a helicopter to pick him up, Johnny Paul Koroma, to Liberia, you and your fighters left Magbeni and you went to - is it Mansumana, Mr Witness?

  • Yes. Yes, my Lord.

  • Eventually you arrived in Freetown, yes?

  • Stayed at the Solar Hotel, right?

  • None of this was done in secret, was it, Mr Witness?

  • Well, we were under strict security control. I don't know what the government did, but we were escorted by armoured cars up to where we went to. To say that we had the opportunity or chance to go about visiting people, no.

  • I didn't ask you about visiting people. I was asking you if you had to hide, or sneak into Freetown. This was all done in daylight, right?

  • Well, we left Magbeni at night and, like I said, when we were moving we were escorted by ECOMOG to Freetown.

  • Well, at the Solar Hotel General Maxwell Khobe came to pay you a visit, right?

  • For the record, Khobe is spelt K-H-O-B-E. Maxwell, regular spelling:

  • Khobe at the time, a Nigerian general, was chief of army staff of the Sierra Leone Army, correct?

  • Kenyan general, four star general, Daniel Opande, came to see you at the Solar Hotel, correct?

  • Opande was overall force commander for ECOMOG at the time in Sierra Leone, true?

  • Yes.

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Yes, Opande is spelt O-P-A-N-D-E. Daniel, regular spelling:

  • All of these people, these important dignitaries, military men, they all knew you were going to Liberia to meet President Charles Taylor, yes?

  • His Excellency Tejan Kabbah's protocol officer, Abdulai Mustapha you said, was waiting for you in Freetown when you arrived, correct?

  • All of this was official. The Government of Sierra Leone was involved, yes?

  • The UN was involved. There were UN representatives waiting to meet you when you arrived in Freetown, yes?

  • Well, like I said, those were the only people, Maxwell Khobe and Opande, that met us. We did not see any other UN people who went to visit was at Solar Hotel.

  • Madam President, may I have a moment, please?

  • Well, UNAMSIL personnel welcomed you - or rather UNOMSIL personnel welcomed you when you were at Mansumana, correct?

  • They went there to receive us.

  • Well, let me just cut to the chase. I will read to you what you told the Prosecution on 7 November 2003. Your Honours, I am reading from tab 4 in the bundle of Defence documents handed out yesterday. Mr Witness, you can follow what I am reading if you want to check the accuracy. It is in that set of documents you have there and, Madam Court Officer, could you kindly display the relevant pages for the public on the overhead. Your Honours, this is tab 4 and I think it's page 32. I will find the ERN number in a minute. Mine does not have the ERN number on the top as does yours. Yes, the ERN number is 00100398 and it is page 32 paginated at the bottom right-hand corner. Mr Witness, these are records of your interview with the Office of the Prosecutor on Friday, 7 November 2003 and at the bottom of that page it says:

    "A. At Mansumana we met a very big delegation comprising

    of ECOMOG, UNAMSIL and other top militaries?

    Q. Did you go to Liberia at all?" I am now on page 33.

    "A. Yes, we were taken to Freetown we stayed at Solar

    Hotel. At Solar Hotel we were visited by Khobe who was the

    then army Chief of Staff and Khobe encouraged us, telling

    us that we should not mix up ourselves in politics and that

    if we say we want the military we are always welcome. "

    I will agree with you that there is no indication UNAMSIL or UN officials met you in Freetown just yet as far as this passage is concerned, but it does confirm you were met with a big delegation including UNAMSIL officials at Mansumana, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • We will come back to that passage, because there are important aspects of it I want to ask you about, or that section of this document. Now the plane you took from Lungi to Roberts international was an official plane provided by who?

  • Well, we met it there just like I told you. We had nothing else to do with that. When we went there with the helicopter we met the plane. The aircraft was parked and then we and Abdulai Mustapha, we went there and then we entered the aircraft.

  • Mr Witness, do you know or do you not know --

  • Yes, my Lord, I don't know.

  • Well, the Court did not finish her question. You don't know who provided the plane; is that what you're trying to say, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord, I don't know.

  • But none of you or your fellow fighters had to pay for your airfare from Sierra Leone to Liberia, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord, we did not pay. Like I said, we did not know about who. We just saw the flight.

  • Significantly Abdulai Mustapha flew on that flight with you, President Kabbah's protocol officer, yes?

  • And when you arrived at Roberts international airport was Momoh Gibba waiting for you there?

  • No, I said when we got there we saw two vehicles that came to receive us.

  • These vehicles you testified yesterday had unique licence plates. One had Guest 1 on the front licence plate and other one had Guest 2 on the front licence plate, correct?

  • I am sorry, it's not correct. I said the vehicles that came to pick us up, they were jeeps. They came to Roberts airfield. And the men were dressed in coats and they told us that they were special guards to the President. They picked us up and we went to Boulevard Hotel.

  • Well, there were cars and security personnel sent by the President of Liberia to welcome your delegation, right, at the airport?

  • Well, yes, it was those jeeps that picked us up and then they drove us to the hotel.

  • At the Boulevard Hotel the Sierra Leonean ambassador to Liberia at the time came to visit you and your fellow fighters, yes?

  • He knew what you were in Liberia for, correct?

  • Well, he visited us there, yes.

  • That was not my question. He knew you were in Liberia to consult with Johnny Paul Koroma and to possibly meet the President of Liberia, yes?

  • Well, I was not there to enter his mind. I only knew that he came there to visit us as Sierra Leoneans who had come to lodge in the hotel.

  • He didn't just come because you were only Sierra Leoneans. He came for another reason. What was the nature of the conversation that you had with him at the hotel?

  • Well, we never had anything to discuss with him. What we told him and what especially Bazzy told him was that if he wanted to talk anything with us he should go to Johnny Paul Koroma to talk with him. We never had anything to talk with him.

  • But the point is you agree that the President's protocol officer accompanies you from Lungi to Liberia and then the Sierra Leonean ambassador comes to pay you a visit at Boulevard. Are we in agreement, Mr Witness?

  • When did you meet Momoh Gibba in Liberia the first time?

  • It was in the hotel. He was the person that we met in the hotel. He welcomed us.

  • I see. The protocol officer of the President of Liberia came to welcome you and your fellow delegation members, yes?

  • Well, he introduced himself to be the ADC. He said he was Momoh Gibba and he is the ADC to the President. He moved us to the hotel manager and then he gave his orders for us to stay in the hotel.

  • Fair enough. We will accept that he is the ADC, aide-de-camp, to President Taylor. The point is the President's aide-de-camp came to welcome you and your group, right?

  • We met him there. When we came we met him in the hotel.

  • He was there to receive you, you said a few minutes ago, correct?

  • When did these two vehicles you spoke of yesterday with the unique licence plates Guest 1 and Guest 2 - when did they come to pick you up?

  • That happened the next day and when we reached he said we should take our baths and then we should feel free. And then the next day we saw two black cars that came to pick us up.

  • You didn't have to pay for your stay at the Boulevard Hotel, did you, Mr Witness?

  • Like I said, Momoh Gibba said that we shouldn't use money on anything there. He passed this order, they gave us the rooms. He said except for alcohol. He said we can use anything there except alcohol. If we wanted to take in alcohol we should buy it for ourselves, but all other things were free for us.

  • Yes, all expenses paid for except for alcohol, yes?

  • It was clear that these vehicles that came to pick you up were official government vehicles, was it not, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I saw Guest 1, Guest 2, they came and picked us up, and I want to believe that it was a government official vehicle.

  • Were there any RUF members among the 11 of you, Mr Witness?

  • I thought you told us RUF members were still part of the West Side Boys before you left?

  • Yes, but not part of the delegation that went. Like I said, our focus was the SLA that was left out of the Lome Peace Accord.

  • Would you say after the Lome Peace Agreement and the failure to mention the SLAs, as you call them, in the agreement the SLA and the RUF went their separate ways, Mr Witness?

  • No, we did not have separation at that time. We only showed this concern and then Bazzy planned the operation and then we went and executed it. The SLAs who were there with them and even the RUF were still there, we left them all there. Stagger, Eddie and others, they were all there. And we only decided to launch this operation to ensure that we were recognised.

  • That who was recognised, Mr Witness?

  • You told us of a meeting that you and your contingent had with Johnny Paul Koroma at some lodge in Monrovia, right?

  • Do you know who was providing that residential facility for Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Well, like I said, Johnny Paul told us that it was President Taylor who gave him that facility and his guards were there and I also saw RUF men and in fact it was Johnny Paul who showed them to us. He said, "Do you see the RUF moving around?"

  • When you said that yesterday, Mr Witness, it occurred to me that I had not read about it before. Did you tell the Prosecution when you spoke with them 7 November 2003 you saw RUF men with Johnny Paul Koroma in Monrovia? Did you tell them that?

  • Well, I said - I said it. I am not guessing. What happened is what I am saying.

  • Well, we are still on the tab I mentioned. This is the record of your interview, tab 4. I stopped at page 32 and 33. If we move on the same tab to page 34. The ERN number is 00100400. Mr Witness, let me read what you said to the Prosecution about this whole entire Liberian mission. This is what they have down as you telling them in 2003, one of your earlier interviews with them. Page 34 reads:

    "From Lungi we went to Liberia in an aeroplane and Abdulai Mustapha was in that group. One hour later we arrived at Roberts airfield in Monrovia. We were received by men who were not dressed in uniform, but I was told they were security men for Charles Taylor who came in two jeep cars. We were taken to Hotel Boulevard in Monrovia where we stayed. After some time we were visited by the Sierra Leone ambassador to Liberia.

    Later Johnny Paul sent a car which collected us and took us to the house where he stayed. We had a closed door talk with him. Johnny Paul Koroma told us the situation he found himself in in Kailahun. He told us how he was molested by the RUF, how his wife too was molested by the RUF in Kailahun.

    When Johnny Paul Koroma asked us for our demands Bazzy was very, very persistent in asking for the AFRC to come back. When we were consulted, the junior men were consulted, we told Johnny Paul Koroma that the men on the ground said that they wanted the army to be reinstated. The reason is if we talk about the AFRC not everybody will be involved in politics, but if we say 'the army' everybody will partake of it, especially when it was said that the army was disbanded."

    I can read on to the next page, but I will read the last paragraph just so we conclude the part when your meeting with Koroma took place, or you have made reference to your meeting with Koroma.

    "In that meeting Johnny Paul Koroma also said that since he has no office and there was vacancy for the CPP office, he said he was asking for that office to be given to him so that he also can take part in the peace negotiation in Sierra Leone."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • I have read it to you. That's the record of your first description of this meeting with Johnny Paul Koroma. Any reference there to the SLAs? It says AFRC, does it not?

  • Well, I did not see reference like that there, but this - what happened is what I have explained.

  • But do you get my point? You have been insistent on calling them SLAs before this Court. Five years ago you were calling them AFRC, right?

  • Well, this was the name given to us. Those of us, the SLAs in the bush, they said AFRC/RUF fighters and people knew that the AFRC was part of the SLA and people called us AFRC/RUF fighters.

  • Any reference to seeing Johnny Paul Koroma surrounded - or having about himself RUF men at this house, Mr Witness?

  • I have not seen reference like that. Maybe it was up to the investigators and the people who wrote this, but what I told them was that I said Johnny Paul showed us the RUF boys who were with him. So it was only up to the investigator who wrote this thing.

  • I will come to two more interviews you had about this subject in 2007 and we will find out then if you told them about RUF in the same house. We will get to it. Now, Mr Witness, do you see some of the concerns of the AFRC members being described on this page. They wanted the military to be reinstated. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Do you see the reference to having some kind of participation by Johnny Paul Koroma in the new government that was forming following the Lome Peace Agreement?

  • How about the reference to Johnny Paul and his wife being molested by the RUF. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Indeed, Johnny Paul Koroma did tell you about his experiences in Kailahun, yes?

  • He told us that, that is true. He told us.

  • Your evidence before this Court is at this time, after what they had done to your leader, Johnny Paul Koroma, RUF men were still part of the West Side Boys. Is that your evidence, Mr Witness?

  • We were all there at the West Side, yes. They were part of the West Side Boys.

  • Yes, you still had RUF members as part of the West Side Boys. Now, after this meeting with Johnny Paul Koroma you eventually got to meet with Charles Taylor during this visit, correct?

  • Was it on the same day you met with Koroma, or was it on the following day?

  • It was not the same day. I think it was the following day. I think it took us one or two days when Johnny Paul sent to us saying that we should prepare to go and meet the President, when Bazzy chose from amongst us some people who should go and meet with the President.

  • Only five of you were chosen at that time, right? Five of the 11?

  • Mr Witness, before you and the 11 even left Freetown to go to Liberia to meet with President Taylor, you wanted some guarantees or assurances that you wouldn't be arrested, right?

  • Well, this question looks - I want you to repeat it again. Let me get it clear.

  • The West Side Boys were --

  • Sorry to interrupt, Mr Anyah. Just to make sure is it arrest within the Sierra Leone area, or arrest within the Liberian area you are talking about?

  • I will clarify. I hope to clarify. Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, the West Side Boys were under tremendous pressure after they took these hostages in July/August 1999, correct?

  • Well, I want you to describe for me the pressure under which we were.

  • You were under pressure from the international community, yes?

  • Well, it was the Sierra Leone government and the ECOMOG that said we should release their people and the UNOMSIL officials who were there, the UN also said we should release them.

  • So, ECOMOG was insisting you should release them, yes?

  • UNOMSIL, UN, was insisting that you released them, right?

  • Yes, they said to release the ones who were under arrest, the ones we captured.

  • The Sierra Leonean government was also insisting you released the hostages, right?

  • Well, that is the pressure to which I am referring. Do you consider there to have been pressure on the West Side Boys around the time when you took these hostages?

  • Yes, by the bodies that I have made mention of.

  • And it is fair to say, is it not, that before you departed for Liberia you wanted some assurances from the Liberian government that nothing would happen to your delegation once you got to Liberia, yes?

  • Well, before we left Abdulai Mustapha had assured us that since the hostages were with us nothing was going to happen to us. We never wanted assurance from the Liberian government. We said we wanted to see Johnny Paul so that we will talk with him. We knew that we had people under our arrest, so nobody was going to arrest us.

  • I repeat my question: Did you, the West Side Boys, have any concern about being arrested upon arrival in Liberia?

  • Well, the only concern we had was for Freetown in general, because we were afraid a little that if we went to Freetown maybe they would want to arrest us, but we knew very well that if the government had a plan to arrest us then our men also on the ground will do away with the people who were there with us, the hostages. So that was our only fear.

  • We are now back in Monrovia and you go for your visit with President Taylor. This was at the Executive Mansion you said. Correct me if I am wrong.

  • When you made your way to meet the President of Liberia, he was accompanied by Daniel Chea, his Minister for Defence, right?

  • Momoh Gibba was also present in the vicinity, yes?

  • And he met the five of you, right?

  • Yes, my Lord, including Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Charles Taylor was meeting with you at the request of ECOWAS, true or false?

  • I did not know anything about that. Like I said, I did not know anything about that, whether it was ECOMOG or ECOWAS that did it. I did not know about that. It was only Johnny Paul that told us that we should prepare, that we are going to see the President where we will discuss and we will see how we can solve the problem.

  • Charles Taylor was meeting with you to facilitate peace in Sierra Leone. True or false, Mr Witness?

  • Well, we went to solve - the only thing, like I said, Johnny Paul told us that President Taylor was ready to meet with us so that we will tell him exactly our demands.

  • And part of the demands included the SLA being more involved in the new government that was being formed in Sierra Leone after Lome, correct?

  • Yes, we said we should be part of the Lome Peace Accord.

  • You would agree with me, Mr Witness, that it was important to have the SLAs play a role in this peace process in Sierra Leone if the Lome agreement was to be successfully implemented?

  • And Charles Taylor was trying to solve some of your concerns, the concerns of the SLA, right?

  • Well, like I said, we arrested people. We took people hostage and then we discussed our demands, and then Johnny Paul told us that we should be prepared to go and meet with him in Liberia and then we will meet the President of Liberia so that we will discuss this issue.

  • Johnny Paul was essentially telling you that Charles Taylor would facilitate - or help resolve some of your concerns, right?

  • Yes, he said we should go and meet with him and then we put forward our demands and then they will find ways and means to solve it.

  • During this meeting with the President of Liberia, yesterday you told us he gave your group 15,000 United States dollars. Do you remember telling us that?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • You described in some detail how he pulled it out of some portfolio you called it, right?

  • Was there anything illegal about that, or criminal about giving you 15,000 dollars, Mr Witness?

  • Well, he handed it over to Johnny Paul and he told him to give it to us so that we shall feel free and buy things around, go around shopping. I cannot say exactly that the way you are putting it that is it, but except you explain it to me now, but all I am saying is that he handed it over to Johnny Paul and he asked Johnny Paul to give it to us.

  • Do you know what kola nut is, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I know kola, people chew it in Freetown.

  • Yes, kola nuts. When you go and consult some elderly people in Sierra Leone sometimes do you take kola to them, Mr Witness?

  • I don't understand the kind of consult you are talking about.

  • When you have social interactions in Sierra Leone and sometimes you visit an older statesman, as a sign of respect sometimes do you break kola with him, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I have not done that before, wherein I will go and meet somebody, because I am not a crook. I am not involved in crookish activities to say I will go to somebody and take out something and say, "Here is kola nut for you." No, I have not done that.

  • Are you saying that breaking of kola signifies some kind of crooked activity? Is that what you are saying, Mr Witness?

  • Well, in my own view that is what has destroyed Freetown. When people want their businesses to go through they take something and take it to the big man in the office and give it to him. They say, "This is your kola", and the business - what they want will happen. But those of us who do not have it, for the poor people, if they don't have the kola to take it to that big man your business will not go through. That is what has destroyed Freetown.

  • I am not asking you what has destroyed Freetown. I am asking you, the entire west coast of Africa, from Nigeria when you start, you move up the coast through Liberia to Sierra Leone, the breaking of kola traditionally is a sign of respect between elder and junior, correct?

  • I don't know, because I was not - I did not grow up in the provinces. I live in the city, so I don't know much about that tradition you are talking about.

  • It is also the case that when young people visit a senior man in the community he will give them something to take back with them as a token of friendship and goodwill, is it not?

  • Your Honours, can I just clarify whether this is a question being put, or whether counsel is making a statement of fact that this is what happens.

  • Counsel is putting a proposition, but maybe phrase it as a question, Mr Anyah.

  • I did phrase it - I did phrase it as a question. I will rephrase it.

  • The record says that, "It is also the case that when young people" --

  • He ended it by saying, "Is it not?"

  • Mr Witness, I will repeat my question. I'll read it:

    "It is also the case that when young people visit a senior man in the community he will give them something to take back with them as a token of friendship and goodwill, is it not?"

    Do you agree with that, Mr Witness?

  • Well, that has never happened to me. Since I was in the military to say I will go and meet my colonel to - when I go to my seniors, my colonel, the orders he gives me is what I execute, but to say I have ever gone to my colonel and then he will take out something and give it to me as kola, kola nuts, no, I have never done that. That has not happened.

  • Have you ever received someone in your household that looked up to you, a young person, and when they were leaving you said, "Take this money and pay your transport"? Have you ever done that, Mr Witness?

  • Well, for me I don't do that, because everybody knows me for that. If I don't invite you to my house and you come to me and you expect me to give you money, I will not do it. I don't do that.

  • You don't, but do you know people in Sierra Leone who when young people visit them they say, "Young man, young woman, take this, pay your way, pay your tuition"? Are you familiar with that culture in West Africa, Mr Witness?

  • My Lord, you are forcing me to say what you want me to tell you. That has not happened to me. I am telling you what has been happening to me. I have not witnessed that and I have not done it.

  • Would you agree that Charles Taylor giving you 15,000 on the day in question in 1999 was a symbol or token of goodwill and friendship? Would you agree that, Mr Witness?

  • I was not in his head or in his mind. He gave it to Johnny Paul to give it to us. I didn't know his intention. He just said we should buy logistics and other things like clothing whilst we were in Liberia.

  • You have used the magic word "logistics". What do you mean by logistics? You always - you refer to arms and ammunition as logistics. Are you referring to something sinister when you say logistics, Mr Witness?

  • Well, logistics could comprise food, arms and ammunition, all of those could be part of logistics. When they say go for the military logistics, even the uniform is inclusive, the food could be part of logistics, ammunition could be part of logistics, arms could be part of logistics.

  • Are you saying that following a meeting where President Taylor was trying to solve problems regarding peace in Sierra Leone, are you suggesting he was giving you 15,000 to buy arms, Mr Witness? Are you possibly suggesting that to this Court?

  • No, he said you should buy clothing and some other things.

  • Then I go back to my question. His giving you that money was a token of goodwill and friendship, true?

  • He gave it to us. He gave it to Johnny Paul and told him to give it to his men so that we will buy clothings. I didn't know his intention.

  • When he says you should use the money and buy clothing, do you view that as something of generosity, Mr Witness? Kindness, a good gesture on his part?

  • Well, that was up to him, but we received it. That was up to him.

  • It is not whether it was up to him. I persist with my question, Mr Witness. When somebody gives you money to buy clothing and other like items, do you, in your experience as a grown man, view that as a gesture of goodwill?

  • Well, to me it could have different meanings, because, like for me, for example, if I give money to anybody that person must have done something for me. I cannot just give him money without doing anything for me. I will not do it. So that's why I said it is up to him. I didn't know his intention. He gave the money so that we could buy clothing and some other things.

  • I see. Your evidence is you never give out money to others. You do not give people return fare money as a matter of custom in West Africa when they visit you. This is your evidence to this Court, Mr Witness, right?

  • I am talking about my personal principle. I don't know about others. I am talking about my personal principle. I cannot just give money to people without - even my wife. Except if I - except if she asks that she wants to buy some clothing or something to do with the child's schooling, or to go to the market, then I will give money, but I do not just give money like that.

  • During this meeting with President Taylor, yesterday a number of things you said caught my attention. You said President Taylor spoke of having reorganised some SLAs and sent them back to Sierra Leone. Do you recall saying that, Mr Witness?

  • You said President Taylor spoke of "the movement" and his support of the 6 January invasion of Freetown. Do you recall saying that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes. And then you told us of the $15,000 pulled out from the portfolio and handed to you, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Let's look at what you told the Prosecution when they first interviewed you in 2003 about this meeting with the President of Liberia. Your Honours, I am still at tab 4. It will now be page 35, ERN number 00100401. Mr Witness, 7 November 2003, this is all you told the Prosecution about this meeting with the President of Liberia. At the top of the page, that paragraph:

    "We went back to the hotel after the closed door meeting to wait for further instructions. Later some vehicles were sent to take Johnny Paul Koroma to meet President Charles Taylor in the mansion. We went together with Johnny Paul Koroma to the mansion and we had some discussion with Charles Taylor. Charles Taylor told us in that meeting that the RUF and the SLA should come together so that we can fight for what we want. Since he was a President, we did not say anything. We only listened to Johnny Paul Koroma to address the issue. We left the mansion, we went back to the hotel, and Johnny Paul Koroma went to his own base."

    I will just read a little bit into the next paragraph:

    "After that Johnny Paul Koroma brought another paper to us which stated that President Kabbah has agreed to reinstate the army and that the office of the CCP has been given to him. We all signed."

    This is all you told the Prosecution when you first met with them in November 2003 about this entire meeting with the President of Liberia, yes, Mr Witness?

  • Well, yes, and it was in response to a question that they put to me. It was the way the question was asked. In fact there are sometimes I wanted to explain further and they said, "No, just stop there, this is what we want for now, if we want more we will ask you later." And was the question they put to me and I answered exactly the question. You can see clearly we had a meeting. They did not ask me to dilate further what went on in the meeting.

  • On 7 November 2003 you were not at that time living in a house being paid for by the Special Court, were you, Mr Witness?

  • No, I was not there at that time. I was at my house.

  • 7 November 2003 Charles Taylor had not been arrested and detained by the Special Court, yes, Mr Witness?

  • No mention in that statement I have read about 6 January invasion of Freetown, yes, Mr Witness?

  • As I said, it is not there, but it was the - I answered questions in response - I answered questions just as they were put to me. I could not have said things that were not in response to questions asked to me. At times I wanted to explain some things and they said, "No, just stop there. When we want that later we will ask you." I said, "I also want to explain" and they said no, I will be limited. "You should answer the questions that" - that's what they will tell me, "Answer the questions that are put to you."

  • Yes, we understand all these instructions that are not reflected in the paper. Let's focus on what's in the paper. There is no mention of Charles Taylor providing arms and ammunition to the SLAs, is there?

  • It is not there, but he tells you that we had a meeting. We had a meeting with the President. So if they had asked me, "What did you discuss in this meeting" then you will have seen it in the same document.

  • No mention of this $15,000 from that portfolio, US dollars, being brought out by President Taylor. No mention of that, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord. They did not say it, but they mentioned the meeting that we had.

  • No mention of Charles Taylor reorganising SLA soldiers who came through Guinea and him sending them back to Liberia. No mention of that, Mr Witness, yes?

  • It is not there, as I said, but the meeting that we had, it is reflected here that there was a closed door meeting with the President, but the investigator did not ask me to elaborate. Where he asked me to stop there, that is where I stopped. If he had asked me, "What did you discuss in the meeting, after this what happened" I would have gone ahead to dilate to elaborate further.

  • Mr Witness, if you go to tab 1, the very first tab of that set of documents, and we will come back to your additional statements on this issue in 2007, but that's tab 1, Mr Witness, let's focus on tab 1 for a second. This document has all the dates on which you have met with the Office of the Prosecutor for which we have records and we see that your meetings with them started on 5 November 2003 right up until this month, the month of April, 10 April 2008. You have met with them for 31 times, 31 times, Mr Witness, during that period of time?

  • Did you say 31? I am just looking at the number at the bottom. It says 21.

  • On the far right-hand corner, Madam President, is the tab or page where the interview notes are found. That's on the right-hand side. But on the left-hand side where it says number of - yes.

  • Indeed I see it now. It was covered over. I'm sorry, Mr Anyah.

  • Yes, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, you see what I am referring to, right?

  • Do you know when the first time you mentioned receiving 15,000 United States dollars from President Charles Taylor was, what interview date you mentioned that amount being given to you? Between 2003 and 2008, when did you first tell them that?

  • Well, they used to call me for interview intermittently right up until this time and so maybe you can refer me, because you have the document in front of you. So please you can refer to that document, because I cannot recall because they were calling me - I am not a machine. I am a human being. They used to invite me, they asked me questions and I answered.

  • I was waiting for the phrase you are a mortal man. Do you know what that phrase is: You are a mortal man? Can you explain what that phrase is to us?

  • Your Honours, can I ask the relevance of this question?

  • He said he was a human being. I am phrasing it in vernacular he might be more familiar with.

  • There is still the relevance, your Honour.

  • He is entitled to put the question, Ms Alagendra, because the witness himself has said, "I am a human being."

  • You know what "mortal man" means, Mr Witness, yes?

  • I said I am a human being. It is not that I have a machine implanted in my head. I am liable to make mistakes, or I can forget. I am not a machine like this that you have, now you can save something in its memory, when you come back you can just click on something and it can pop up. I am a human being.

  • You wanted me to point you to the relevant tab where you speak of the 15,000. I am putting it to you it was on 6 April 2008 and the tab number is tab 18, tab 18. Can you flip to tab 18 and you will see the reference to the 15,000 United States dollars. It was a Sunday, Mr Witness. 6 April was the 28th meeting, 28th time you had met with the Office of the Prosecutor, at least from what they have disclosed to us, and you see what it says there. It says:

    "Witness states that at the end of the meeting with President Charles Taylor in Liberia in 1999, Taylor gave the group of soldiers with Johnny Paul Koroma the sum of 15,000 USD to share among themselves."

    Yes, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Does that juggle your memory, or revive your memory as to when you first told the Prosecution about this 15,000 dollars?

  • Well, this was a time that they asked me a question relative to that and, as I said, prior to that time they did not bring questions relating to that, but when they brought a question like that to me then I answered. So this was the time that they brought the question relative to that: "What did you discuss in the meeting? How did you end up?"

  • I see. Mr Witness --

  • Yes, my Lord. Yes, your Honour, I want to use the gents.

  • Please assist the witness.

  • Yes, I have asked if you can be assisted to leave. Yes, Mr Anyah, you wish to speak?

  • Madam President, may Mr Taylor be excused to also use the washroom?

  • Yes, please leave. If he can also be escorted.

    Mr Anyah, please proceed.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, let's go to 2007 and let's now see your description about this meeting with President Charles Taylor. I would refer you and others here present to tab 13. Tab 13 contains notes from your meeting with the Office of the Prosecutor almost a year ago, 8 May 2007. It is about four and a half years or four years removed from your first meeting with them in 2003. Well, four years or less, but over three years certainly. If you go to page 2, starting at the bottom of page 2 of that tab, ERN number 0032137 - Mr Witness, if you flip the page over to page 2, the bottom right-hand corner, there is a paragraph there that starts, "JPK communicated from the Kailahun after the adoption of the UNAMSIL." Perhaps that was supposed to be abduction of the UNAMSIL and we have clarified you meant UNOMSIL and not UNAMSIL. So:

    "JPK communicated from the Kailahun after the adoption of the UNAMSIL soldiers that they should be released, but the SLA soldiers based at West Side refused, that JPK was under gunpoint forcing him to order the release. He later communicated that an 11 man delegation be formed to be sent to Liberia."

    Now over on the next page, ERN00032138. You see that sentence right there after "Liberia", Mr Witness, it says, "This was coordinated by both the Sierra Leone government and the Liberia government." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Your trip to Liberia with this delegation was an official matter between Sierra Leone and Liberia, correct?

  • Yes, it was between governments. They took us from Freetown and flew us to Liberia and the Liberian government received us in Liberia.

  • Do you see the next sentence? Considering I asked you a few minutes ago whether you were seeking assurances from the Liberian government, do you see the next sentence, it reads, "The SLAs at West Side had to get assurance from the Liberian government to confirm that nothing will happen to them on arrival in Liberia"? Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • I see it, yes, my Lord.

  • This is what you told the Prosecution back in May 2007, yes?

  • Just pause, Mr Anyah. Yes, Ms Alagendra, do you wish to say something?

  • I was going to ask that the counsel put the whole of the issue with regards to assurance, which appears in the next paragraph.

  • Yes, of course. I intended to do so to be fair to all sides, of course:

  • Mr Witness, the next paragraph says:

    "The SLAs requested for the assurance of the delegation to travel to Liberia because the Liberian government had influence over the RUF. Through the communication JPK told witness and others that a helicopter had been sent on the orders of Charles Taylor to pick him and flown to Liberia."

    That is what you told the Office of the Prosecutor, right?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Now, what you mean by assurance, I have put to you before, was that you and fellow SLA members were concerned something would happen to you in Liberia. Do you challenge that, Mr Witness?

  • As it is in my statement, first we had a fear for Freetown because after 6 January they are said we were to go there and so we said no. Secondly, we had another fear because RUF had a strong connection in Liberia, whether they would have anything to do to us, so that is why we were asking for assurance and they told us nothing would happen to us.

  • I see. If we go down to the bottom of the page, where it says, "The following day JPK and the delegation met Charles Taylor." Do you see that, Mr Witness? The last paragraph of the page. It reads:

    "The following day JPK and the delegation met with Charles Taylor and JPK introduced the delegation. After the introduction, JPK read out the demands of the SLAs. Charles Taylor responded that he was very much happy to receive the delegation, that he was not happy with the division between the RUF and AFRC. Charles Taylor further said that he hopes to achieve peace between the two groups."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Your Honours, can I ask that the whole paragraph be put to the witness, please.

  • I am not sure that counsel has completed his question.

  • I will read to the next page to assure my learned colleague if that would be of assistance.

  • Mr Witness, do you see the reference there about Charles Taylor hoping to achieve peace between the two groups?

  • He was a mediator during this process, a mediator for peace, yes?

  • Yes, well, if he hadn't a concern for us they would have sent us to Ghana, but it was because he had hands in the AFRC/RUF fighters, that's why we were taken to Liberia.

  • What is the reference in your response to Ghana? Are you suggesting that Ghana had the chairmanship of ECOWAS back in 1999, around this time? Is that what you're suggesting, Mr Witness?

  • No, what I am saying is that if you are saying that it was a peace mediator, then even Ghana would have mediated, because they would have even said, well, now that you are fearing for RUF we will send you to Ghana so there will be no RUF there, but it was because they knew Charles Taylor had direct hands in the RUF/AFRC, that's why they suggested Liberia.

  • That was not the original point of focus of my question. It was simple. It was whether or not Charles Taylor, given what you are quoted as telling the Prosecution, was facilitating peace between these factions?

  • Yes, because he was the immediate person that had direct influence on the AFRC and the RUF. That's why the government said to facilitate the meeting in Liberia. We insisted that we had some fear for the RUF, but they still said we should go there.

  • We have already established that he was facilitating this peace in the context of something or a process that you told the Prosecution was being coordinated by the governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia, yes?

  • Continuing to read on the page: "He cited instances how he had been assisting RUF/AFRC after the intervention." Over to the next page, ERN ending in 2139, and here you give an answer, you say:

    "The instance he was referring to was that he allowed his border with Sierra Leone to be opened so that soldiers who escaped from the front lines came to Liberia. That the escaped soldiers were arrested and sent back to Sierra Leone to fight. That he had distributed arms and ammunition to Mosquito to counter the offensive of Mosquito Spray who attacked Liberia from Guinea. Charles Taylor said that he provided logistics which comprised of arms and ammunition, food, et cetera. Charles Taylor further assured the delegation of his continued support to AFRC/RUF. Charles Taylor advised both groups to unite and not allow the politicians to divide the group, otherwise everyone will find themselves in prison?"

    The next sentence I will leave for later. It's important. I won't read it now, but it speaks of the STF. We will come back to it. But let's focus on what I have just read, Mr Witness. In May of 2007 you knew by then that Charles Taylor was in the custody of the Special Court, yes?

  • Yes, the whole world knew.

  • Precisely. May of 2007 you are living in a house being paid for by the Special Court, yes?

  • May of 2000 when you speak with the office of the Prosecutor for the first time you start talking about Charles Taylor providing logistics to the SLAs and AFRC, yes?

  • Well, it was depending on the question. At this time they brought the question. You could see that from the various interviews that I had with them, it was that time that they brought the questions. If they did not ask me a question I will not volunteer answers. They asked me to explain at that time and so I explicated further.

  • Do you remember the document I showed you in tab 2 that delineates your interview dates with the Office of the Prosecutor? Do you know that 8 May 2007 was your 22nd interview with the Office of the Prosecutor? 22. And that is the first time you are now talking about Charles Taylor providing logistics to the SLAs, yes, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, in the various trials too I said it, but when the investigator was asking me before then he did not ask me about that, but later when he asked me that he wanted to have more information I answered that. Before then he did not ask me to go further, but on this occasion they asked me to elaborate and I dilated further. What I did not know I will tell them that it is not to my knowledge, but what I knew and for the sake of justice I said I will say it. And this time I told them, the Prosecution, that I had no fear as I had before. I said because before when Charles Taylor was the President I had a fear that if I had said we went to Liberia I would fear for my life, but now that Charles Taylor is no longer President I will not have fear to say anything. I will tell the truth and whatever I knew I will say everything and that is what I did.

  • I see. Let me consider your answer for a moment. Let me take a look at it. You are saying to this Court, Mr Witness - your Honours, the answer of course is on page 48 and it starts at line 15 for me which is a 12 point font I am using and I want to start with the part where he says:

    "What I do not know I will tell them that is not to my knowledge, but what I knew and for the sake of justice" - let me stop this so I can read it.

    "But what I knew and for the sake of justice I said I will say it and this time I told them, the Prosecution, that I had no fear as I said before. As I said because before when Charles Taylor was the President I had a fear that if I had said we went to Liberia I would fear for my life, but now that Charles Taylor is no longer President I have no fear to say anything. I will tell the truth and I will say everything and that is what I did?"

    That's what you just told us; now Charles Taylor is no longer President you have no fear. Mr Witness, the first time they asked you to tell them what happened about this meeting with Charles Taylor, that was your third time meeting with them, 7 November 2003, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord, according to you.

  • 7 November 2003 Charles Taylor was no longer President of Liberia, yes? He had left office in August of 2003, right?

  • Except when you are telling me now, but I can still recall he was a President. I can recall he was a President before I start elaborating.

  • Are you saying that when you met with them for the third time, 2003, 7 November, Charles Taylor was still President of Liberia? Is that your evidence? Is that what made you afraid so that you could not speak freely, Mr Witness? Well, I have two questions in one.

  • Yes.

  • So let me rephrase it:

  • Are you saying on 7 November 2003 Charles Taylor was still President of Liberia?

  • Well, I cannot recall the date that he was the President or no longer a President, but, as I said, when he still was a President I had fear for my life because that man was really influential, because when I went to Liberia I saw it myself and he was a President. And I said I was afraid because most of our SLA brothers crossed to Liberia and he rescued them and I said something could happen and maybe my life would be at risk. That is one. And second point, I answered the questions that were asked to me. I did not volunteer answers. During the first interview they did not ask me to elaborate about the meeting, but when they asked me later I had to dilate.

  • There are about 19 meetings between your third interview with them and your 22nd interview with them and it is only in 2007 you start speaking about Charles Taylor providing logistics to the RUF, yes, Mr Witness?

  • That was the time the question was asked to me and that was the time I answered.

  • Mr Witness, are you aware of the role Charles Taylor played and the role played by Liberia, I put the two together, in the peace process in Sierra Leone?

  • Except if you will want to explain to me so that I will know.

  • Mr Witness, is that a no? Is that a no, you're not aware?

  • Yes, my Lord, I don't know. Yes.

  • Are you aware that RUF delegates came through Liberia, were picked up by a United Nations aircraft and flown to Lome for the peace agreement? Are you aware of this occurrence, Mr Witness?

  • Well, we were at the West Side, as I said. We didn't know how they arranged their delegation, how they went to Lome.

  • Are you aware of President Taylor being part of the Committee of Six formed by ECOWAS, Economic Community of West African States, to facilitate the Lome Peace Agreement? Are you aware of that, Mr Witness?

  • I am not aware, except that you are telling me now.

  • And you see even as far as May of 2007, this paragraph I have just read in tab 13, do you see any mention there that Charles Taylor assisted in the 6 January invasion of Freetown? This paragraph I have read, do you see any mention there, Mr Witness, of that fact, what you told us in Court yesterday?

  • Which - what is the reference?

  • The page you are looking at ends in ERN number 2139. From the top of the page: "The instance he was referring to was that he allowed his border with Sierra Leone to be opened so that soldiers who escaped from the front lines came to Liberia." That entire paragraph, is there reference there, Mr Witness, to Charles Taylor facilitating the 6 January invasion of Freetown?

  • No, I don't see any reference here to that, but in the meeting that was what he discussed with us. That is what I told the Court.

  • Do you know when you made your reference to 6 January, a few months later they came back to you again. The Prosecution came back to you again, Mr Witness. It's in tab 15. And then you added some words to this paragraph. You specifically added some words to this paragraph. Let's go to tab 15. Tab 15, page 3, the ERN number of that page ends in 0519, the date of this meeting between the witness and the Office of the Prosecutor appears on page 1, 20 September 2007.

    Madam Court Officer, could you give him tab 15, page 3? Paragraph 13 of that page, Mr Witness, there was your 24th meeting with the Office of the Prosecutor, 20 September, they came back to you and then you added something to that paragraph I have just read. It says, 13, ERN number 00032139, paragraph 11, the fourth sentence should read, "Charles Taylor said that he provided logistics which comprised of arms and ammunition, food, etc, to the troops" and here is the relevant language, this is what you have inserted in that paragraph after "food etc", you have added: "Since they were driven from Freetown by ECOMOG during the intervention, even during the January 6 invasion up to the ceasefire." This is what you have added a few months later, yes, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, when this question was brought to me regarding the meeting, if I had any knowledge about Charles Taylor and I said, "Yes, he discussed that with us in a meeting." I told them that. I told the investigator who interviewed me.

  • Are you saying when you met with them in May it escaped your mind to tell them that Charles Taylor had provided all of these logistics as you prefer to call them --

  • Well --

  • May I finish my question? That Charles Taylor had provided all of these logistics since you were driven from Freetown by ECOMOG during the intervention period, even during the 6 January invasion up to ceasefire? Did this escape your mind when you spoke with them on 8 May 2007?

  • Well, it depended on the questions that they asked of me. If they wanted to ask me questions they would call me, they asked me what do you know about this and I will answer. If after some time they wanted to ask me some other questions they will call me and ask me and then I will give them the answers. They were the investigators. They were asking me the questions. I wouldn't have suggested questions to them. So I answered the question to them because it was asked. So this question was asked, was answered, because they asked it of me. I couldn't have volunteered answers.

  • But you see, Mr Witness, even after you met with them 8 May 2007 and they came back for more, 20 September, in both of those interviews you still left out the $15,000. It was only when you came to The Hague in April of this year you added one more thing, "Oh, by the way, he took out $15,000 from a portfolio and he gave it to us." Yes, Mr Witness?

  • Except if the investigators had been omitting that, but I mentioned that. I can remember even during the AFRC trials I mentioned that when the Defence objected that that was not part of the statement. I can recall.

  • I see. Mr Witness, are you aware of the fact that within a few weeks after you and your delegation returned to Freetown Foday Sankoh flew in from Lome?

  • Yes, together with Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Well, I have not finished my question.

  • Johnny Paul Koroma was still in Monrovia, yes?

  • Foday Sankoh flew in from Lome to Monrovia, yes?

  • Well, we had left Monrovia at that time. As I said, President Taylor told us that Pa Sankoh was leaving to go, coming through Ghana, and he will meet us there so we will discuss. But I said when that incident happened that forced us to move. It was only Major Gbonkelenkeh that we left behind. So it was when we were in Freetown that we were told that Sankoh had arrived in Liberia and he was trying to prevail on Johnny Paul Koroma to come to Freetown.

  • Yes. Two men were in Monrovia and they met with President Taylor. Are you aware of that, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I was not in Liberia again as I said. We had left. It was only Major Gbonkelenkeh who was part of our squad that left in Liberia with Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Let's see what the BBC says about this meeting in Monrovia. Madam Court Officer, I would be grateful for your assistance. I hope I have enough copies. Mr Witness, you told us several times of listening to Focus on Africa over the BBC or France International, AFI, but this is from the BBC. The reference appears below from the internet website. Do you see at the top of the page it says, "Friday, August 6, 1999." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Do you see the caption, "World: Africa, Sierra Leone, Who are the kidnappers?" That's the question posed.

  • Yes, my Lord, I see it.

  • And you read the first paragraph:

    "The rebel group at the centre of the Sierra Leonean hostage crisis can be traced back to the 1997 coup which overthrew the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Among the demands of the kidnappers is the release from captivity of Johnny Paul Koroma - the man who led the Sierra Leonean army in the coup against President Kabbah in 1997.

    The kidnappers say they are from the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), the movement led by Mr Koroma. They say their leader is being held prisoner by the Revolutionary United Front - another rebel movement which recently signed the Lome Peace Accord with President Kabbah's government."

    And then interestingly you see the next paragraph, Mr Witness. Its says: "Previously, the AFRC and RUF have fought together against the Kabbah government."

    And then we go to the next page. There is a paragraph there I will come back to, but let me read it for now. It says:

    "In fact, the protracted war fought against the rebels by the ill-paid soldiers" - and this relates to the history from the provisional ruling council all the way from Strasser's administration all the way to Momoh - I'm sorry, all the way to Kabbah --

  • You're not actually quoting there, Mr Anyah. You are putting in an comment.

  • Yes, I will come back to this issue, but let me read it for now. This is what it says, it reads:

    "In fact the protected war fought against the rebels by the ill-paid soldiers contributed to the resentment which eventually triggered the coup."

    We will discuss what caused that coup, but let me read on:

    "When Mr Koroma and his soldiers took power in Freetown, the RUF offered its support and was granted a share in the government."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • This is saying when the AFRC took power in 1997 RUF offered its support. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • If you go down a little bit where it says "Fought together", that is the transitional phrase, do you see, "However, the RUF and the AFRC retained distinct identities." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Your Honours, in fairness for that paragraph to make sense the paragraph above that needs to be read to the witness.

  • Okay, thank you, learned counsel. I will read the first paragraph.

  • The section is "Fought together." It says:

    "The two groups fought together against a counter-offensive launched by the Nigerian-led ECOMOG intervention force, which was attempting to restore President Kabbah to power. However, the RUF and the AFRC retained distinct identities."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • I see it.

  • This is saying that even after the junta period, after President Kabbah was thrown out of government, AFRC and RUF retained distinct identities. Do you agree, Mr Witness?

  • I disagree. The person who wrote this was not on the ground. I was there. I disagree.

  • You are entitled to disagree, but you quoted the BBC and we now quote the BBC, so let 's read on.

  • Well, I am quoting, I was on the ground, what happened. This one was written by a journalist who was not on the ground. I was on the ground.

  • We understand your answer, Mr Witness. Allow counsel to continue, please.

  • Now the next paragraph is also important. This is no longer junta period this is talking about. There is now talking about 6 January and that invasion you spoke a lot about. It says - and I will skip the one that says when Mr Kabbah returned to the presidency last year, we move to the next paragraph:

    "The RUF continued to control large areas of the country, but it was the AFRC which came very close to gaining control of the capital once more in an attempted insurrection in January."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • They are saying that the 6 January invasion was an AFRC matter. Do you agree, Mr Witness?

  • I see the time and the Chamber's concern.

  • Yes, I was just about to note that too, Mr Anyah. Mr Witness, it's now the time for the mid-morning break. We will be taking 30 minutes and we will be resuming court at 12 o'clock. Please adjourn court until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.29 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Please proceed, Mr Anyah.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, before the break we were considering an article by the BBC dated 6 August 1999, and I recall I was on page 2 of the article and I read to you a paragraph and I asked you a question about the 6 January invasion. I want to read that paragraph again. It is on page 2, Mr Witness, the page on which Johnny Paul Koroma is pictured, and it says down in the middle of the page:

    "The RUF continued to control large areas of the country, but it was the AFRC which came very close to gaining control of the capital once more in an attempted insurrection in January."

    Mr Witness --

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • -- do you agree that the invasion of Freetown on 6 January 1999 was exclusively an AFRC affair?

  • When we go down on the same page there is the paragraph that says:

    "Johnny Paul Koroma had been expected at the Lome talks and is believed to have been on the list of people nominated by the RUF to form part of a Government of National Unity, but he never arrived in Lome. Mr Koroma had been living in hiding with the RUF rebels and their military commander Sam (Mosquito) Bockarie."

    Then we go to the next page, Mr Witness, the third page, and there is a section that says "Fears of Koroma's influence". Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Madam Court Officer - yes, thank you:

  • And if you go down to the paragraph that says:

    "Believing their leader was kept away from the talks, the AFRC kidnappers are now complaining they were neglected in the peace process. They want to be readmitted and paid as soldiers in the Sierra Leone Army which is being re-established following President Kabbah's return to office."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness? Can you answer affirmatively?

  • Now we have been reading this article and there is a clear distinction, is there not, between the AFRC and the RUF? Yes, Mr Witness?

  • Well, as I say, when I look back to the date - excuse me, please - to say August 1999 this person was a writer. He wrote. He was not on the ground when the troops entered Freetown. It was what he understood. That is what he wrote and published, but I disagree to what he wrote. He was not on the ground.

  • Well, will you agree with the writer that the AFRC was complaining about being neglected during the peace process?

  • I have said that clearly in the Court. I said that was why we captured the UNOMSIL. Thankfully, you have seen it in the writing.

  • You would agree with the writing that it said the soldiers wanted to be readmitted? That is the AFRC soldiers wanted to be readmitted into the Sierra Leone Army, yes?

  • Yes, my Lord, because that was one of our demands that we went with in Liberia, that we were to be recognised and reinstated into the national army.

  • So we now have two aspects of the article with which you agree, yes, Mr Witness?

  • Maybe you can name the other one, but I think this is the one that I agree with, the reinstatement of the army. That is why the delegation went.

  • We are still on page 3 now and you recall a few minutes ago you agreed with me and the article when it says that you felt neglected from the peace process. Would that make it number 2 point with which you agree, Mr Witness?

  • This is the only one I have seen that I can agree on, because that was why we did that operation at West Side. Maybe you would want to remind me of the other one that I agreed with you on, but I can remember it is this one that I agreed with you on.

  • Well, I will let the record speak for itself on that.

  • Your Honours, can I also say that I am not aware of the other one myself, if counsel can say what was the other proposition.

  • Well, Madam President, with respect I have been interrupted during my cross-examination and I am entitled to have some latitude in how I examine the witness. I have not misstated any facts.

  • Please feel calm, Mr Anyah.

    Ms Alagendra, there was a reference to the AFRC complaining and he said, "I clearly said that in court".

  • That is still one, your Honour.

  • Ms Alagendra, there are two paragraphs that counsel is putting before the witness on page 3 I believe; that is the paragraph beginning with the words "Believing their leader" and the second paragraph is "They want to be readmitted". Now, there are two separate propositions in those two paragraphs with which I imagine that the witness says he agrees.

    Do you agree with the things written in those two paragraphs, Mr Witness?

  • Thank you, Justice Sebutinde:

  • Shall we go back to page 2, Mr Witness, the preceding page. Right next to the picture of Johnny Paul Koroma, slightly below it, there is a paragraph that starts:

    "When Mr Koroma and his soldiers took power in Freetown the RUF offered its support and was granted a share in the government."

    Mr Witness, do you agree with that paragraph?

  • Indeed during the course of your evidence you told us you recalled a BBC broadcast by Foday Sankoh where you heard for the first time the name People's Army, correct?

  • And that was Foday Sankoh suggesting or directing his RUF members to go and join the AFRC in Freetown, yes?

  • Yes, that was what he said.

  • You would agree that it was not Charles Taylor who asked the RUF to go and join the AFRC junta in Freetown, yes?

  • Well this was an order from their commander at the moment, yes, that is the AFRC. It was when the AFRC overthrew, not 6 January. It was when Foday Sankoh called the RUF to join forces with the AFRC in Freetown.

  • Yes, but I want to be clear about this. We are speaking of the same event, 25 May 1997. My question is this: It was Foday Sankoh, not Charles Taylor, who directed or ordered the RUF members to go and join the junta or AFRC in Freetown, yes?

  • Yes.

  • When we go down to the section that says "Fought together "- you see that, Mr Witness?

  • There is a paragraph that says:

    "The two groups fought together against the counter-offensive launched by the Nigerian-led ECOMOG intervention force which was attempting to restore President Kabbah to power."

    You agree they fought together, right, Mr Witness?

  • Then the next paragraph beneath that: "However, the RUF and the AFRC retained distinct identities." Do you agree with that, Mr Witness?

  • I would want you to break it down for me. What do you mean by different identities? I want to have it clearly. Because I can remember this question was put to me that they were not together, now you are talking about identity. I would like you to make it a little more clear.

  • Pause, Mr Witness, and I will ask counsel. It would appear the witness does not fully understand. Please rephrase it or explain it.

  • Yes, Madam President. I will try:

  • Mr Witness, is it fair to say that after the junta period there was still, on the one hand, the RUF and, on the other hand, the AFRC, as in they were not one and the same?

  • No, they still continued to be the same. They were SLA on our own end and there were SLAs in Kailahun. They were in Daru - towards Daru. So they were still the same. Right up to even after the peace negotiations.

  • I will clarify. I understand. Mr Witness - I'm sorry, Justice Sebutinde.

  • Mr Witness, are you saying that the RUF and the AFRC became the same organisation, were fighting as the same organisation, or that they were two distinct organisations fighting together?

  • They were two different organisations, but we had the same aim and we were doing organised operations, coordinated operations, RUF/SLA. That was how the operations went on.

  • So then they were two distinct identities, but fighting together with a common aim. Is that your evidence?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Thank you, Justice Sebutinde:

  • The two groups in question had a common enemy in the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, correct?

  • Yes. There is another article from the BBC I would like to be assisted with. Mr Witness, do you have an article before you from the BBC with the date 1 October 1999?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • "World: Africa", that's what it says, "Sierra Leone rebel leader delays return." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • There is a picture there. Underneath the picture reads, "The peace accord was signed in Lome in July." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Do you see Corporal Foday Sankoh in that picture, Mr Witness?

  • It is not too clear. Yes, I see him. It is not so clear.

  • We go down to the first full paragraph, it says:

    "The Sierra Leone rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, has delayed his return home. Mr Sankoh, who heads the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), had been expected back in Freetown on Friday along with the head of the former military government, Johnny Paul Koroma, but Mr Sankoh told the BBC he would not return to Sierra Leone until next week. The BBC correspondent in Freetown says the country has ground to a standstill in anticipation of their homecoming, which would mark a key stage in the peace process."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • This return homecoming of both Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma was a significant event for peace in Sierra Leone, yes?

  • I did not get that clear. I did not get that clearly.

  • Yes, I understand. I will try and be clearer, Mr Witness. The BBC is saying that Freetown had ground to a halt in anticipation of the return of both Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma. Do you agree with that proposition, Mr Witness?

  • When you say standstill, I don't understand when you say Freetown was in a standstill. I don't understand what that means.

  • Would you agree that it was very important to peace in Sierra Leone, the arrival of these two men together, united in Freetown in 1999, the month of October?

  • Yes, my Lord, I will agree.

  • Let's go back down to the end of the page, same page we are on. At the bottom there is the reference:

    "The two men held more than three hours of reconciliation talks in" - over to the next page - "Monrovia mediated by Liberian President Charles Taylor on Thursday."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • So there was this significant event in Sierra Leone and Charles Taylor spent three hours with two men facilitating reconciliation and mediating whatever disputes they may have. This is what the BBC says, do you agree, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, according to what is written here.

  • Johnny Paul Koroma told you before you left Monrovia that he was going to meet with President Taylor, right?

  • Yes, before we went to Monrovia.

  • And it was anticipated at that time before your departure for Lungi that Foday Sankoh would soon arrive from Lome, Togo in Monrovia, yes?

  • No, I did not get that rightly.

  • There was talk before your delegation left Monrovia that Foday Sankoh would soon be coming to Monrovia from Lome, Togo, yes?

  • No. I said when we met with President Taylor he told us that Foday Sankoh was leaving and would come to Ghana. From Ghana he will come to Monrovia and he will meet with the team that went there, the delegation, and we will discuss things out.

  • You see the paragraph after the one I have just read, it says: "Afterwards the two rebel leaders appeared in jovial mood as they spoke to reporters." It quotes Johnny Paul Koroma as saying, "I am satisfied. Everything is fine now ." This is after their meeting with Charles Taylor. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, I can see it, but this thing happened because of a reason.

  • Yes. At the time all of this was going on - well, let's go back a few months before. Did your West Side Boys take two RUF commanders hostage; Mike Lamin and Superman, Denis Mingo?

  • Can you please tell me the time frame, because it happened after some time. I want the time frame.

  • I will do so. In the month of August 1999 did the AFRC, or SLA members, as you call them, take Denis Mingo aka Superman and Mike Lamin into custody?

  • Yes, it happened. It was after the return when we came from Liberia and Johnny Paul and others had come to Freetown. That happened.

  • Are you aware that it was Charles Taylor who facilitated the release by the AFRC of Mike Lamin and Denis Mingo?

  • No, I don't know that because Johnny Paul gave the order. When he came he said we should release them. That I know of.

  • Johnny Paul Koroma was at the time in Monrovia, right, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I think you are teaching me things that I witnessed. I told you that it was after we came from Liberia we went into the jungle. When Johnny Paul and Foday Sankoh arrived, that was the time we arrested Mike Lamin, Superman and others. That is what I know, but if you are saying that at that time Pa Sankoh and Johnny Paul had not come yet, no, I disagree.

  • That is not what I am saying. You appear to be saying that Johnny Paul Koroma was already in Sierra Leone when Mike Lamin and Denis Mingo were arrested. Is that your evidence?

  • Yes, my Lord, because we had left Liberia and we had come, moved to the West Side when Johnny Paul and Foday Sankoh were now in Freetown and that was when we ran that operation and we arrested those guys.

  • I want to be clear about this because it could lead to some confusion. What I wish to know is this: The date of arrest, not the cause of the detention, the date of arrest of these two men, did it take place when Johnny Paul Koroma was in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, at that time they had come. We had left Liberia. We were now in the West Side jungle. Johnny Paul and Foday Sankoh had left. We heard over the radio that they had arrived in Freetown because the ECOMOG forced us that all the commanders should go back to their areas. It was when we left that Johnny Paul and others arrived. So Johnny Paul and Pa Sankoh arrived in Freetown while we were in the West Side together with the other commanders because all of us were together. After which when Johnny Paul arrived it was within that week that we arrested Mike Lamin, Superman. There was FAT Sesay. We arrested all of them, because he too was with the squad that came from Makeni.

  • Mr Witness, are you telling the Justices that after Johnny Paul Koroma had met with Foday Sankoh in Liberia for reconciliation talks with Charles Taylor, upon arrival back in Sierra Leone his AFRC fighters arrested two RUF commanders? Is that your evidence, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, we arrested them. We arrested Mike Lamin and Superman and there was a reason why Bazzy ordered their arrest.

  • Mr Witness, counsel is asking about a time frame. Concentrate on the time.

  • Mr Witness, I am not quarrelling with you whether or not they were arrested. I just want to know whether it was before the meeting between Koroma, Sankoh and President Taylor, or after the meeting.

  • It was after the meeting when we had left Liberia. That was when we came and did the arrest, when we arrested Mike Lamin and Superman.

  • Madam Court Officer, can you assist me please.

  • Mr Anyah, I obviously do not want to interfere with your cross-examination, but it appears to me that you are honing in to the return date of Sankoh and Koroma.

  • That is correct, Madam President.

  • Whereas the witness appears to be replying on his return date.

  • For my purposes it will not make a difference, but I will seek to clarify first.

  • Mr Witness, was Johnny Paul Koroma in Sierra Leone on the date the AFRC members arrested Mike Lamin and Denis Mingo?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • And he had just come from Liberia. Is that your evidence?

  • And he had just come from the meeting that this BBC article speaks about between himself, Corporal Foday Sankoh and President Charles Taylor?

  • Yes, the two of them came to Freetown. They were in Freetown when we did the arrests of these two people.

  • Madam Court Officer, may I have your assistance please:

  • Mr Witness, this is an article from a website that keeps day to day accounts of news from Sierra Leone. The citation appears below, "sierra-leone.org", it is a news archive and you see the date there on the top of 31 August 1999. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • I will read that paragraph. It says:

    "Two RUF commanders, Brigadier Dennis 'Superman' Mingo and Brigadier Mike Lamin, were reportedly abducted by AFRC rebel soldiers late Monday or early Tuesday while travelling between Freetown and Makeni."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • It says:

    "The kidnapping took place in the area near Okra Hill, some 45 miles east of Freetown, where rebel soldiers earlier this month kidnapped nearly 40 UN military observers, aid workers, ECOMOG soldiers and journalists."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • "The rebel commanders were part of an RUF advance team which has been holding talks with the government officials in Freetown on ways to implement the peace accord signed in Lome, Togo last month. The reasons for Tuesday's abductions was not immediately clear."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • This is speaking about the abduction of two RUF rebel commanders who played a part in the peace process, Mike Lamin and Denis Mingo, and it is saying it took place 31 August 1999. Does that refresh your recollection regarding when Mike Lamin and Denis Mingo were arrested?

  • I know of the arrest and they were not just two, and apart from that I disagree with this date because we had come and Johnny Paul Koroma together with Foday Sankoh had come first before we did the arrest, when Johnny Paul ordered that we should release them. We moved with them and all of us went to Freetown even.

  • Do you know why the date is important, Mr Witness? It is important because I am putting it to you that Charles Taylor brokered or facilitated the release of these two men.

  • May I finish? Mike Lamin and Denis Superman Mingo, and he did it in conjunction with the meetings between Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma to facilitate peace. Do you agree with that proposition?

  • Let us go down the page. Let us talk about the Malians and who else Foday Sankoh was meeting with, on the same page. You told us of the Malians and you remember I said they were arrested 7 May. It says:

    "Two Malian ECOMOG soldiers who were captured by the RUF on May 7 during a rebel attack on Port Loko returned to Bamako on Monday, according to Malian state radio. The two, who were reported to be in good health, were released August 29 following lengthy negotiations by Sierra Leone and Mali within the framework of ECOWAS, the radio said."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness? Please say yes or no, or answer in the affirmative?

  • Yes. Yes, I see it.

  • This is suggesting that ECOMOG - I am sorry, that ECOWAS was involved in all of these negotiations. Would you agree with that, Mr Witness?

  • Well, I did not see any ECOWAS member with me. It was Johnny Paul's order that we executed. No ECOWAS member went there to talk to us.

  • Do you see reference to lengthy negotiations by (1) Sierra Leone, (2) Mali, (3) within the ECOWAS framework? Do you know what that means, Mr Witness?

  • I will explain.

  • These Malians whom we released, we demanded that we would only release them if they would release our brothers who were in custody in Guinea. So this negotiation was ongoing between the Sierra Leone Government and the Malian government, so when our men were released and they confirmed to us that they had come that was when we released them too. So, it was not an ECOWAS effort. It was the Sierra Leone and Malian government in relation to what we demanded. That was why this release happened.

  • So you disagree with the part that suggests negotiations took place within the ECOWAS framework, but you agree that the Malian government and the Sierra Leonean Government negotiated the release, right?

  • Yes, because it happened.

  • Shall we go to the next paragraph and see who Foday Sankoh met with in addition to President Taylor:

    "30 August 1999" RUF leader Corporal Foday Sankoh said Monday he was preparing to depart Togo for Freetown. 'I will be leaving here within the next few days or even hours. I met President Eyadema today to say goodbye', he said".

    Eyadema, Gnassingbe Eyadema Senior of Togo, was President or chairman of ECOWAS at that time. Do you agree, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, according to this paper. That is what I see.

  • Well the paper calls him President, but it doesn't say of where. I am proposing to you he was chairman of ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, at that time. Do you agree?

  • I am happy that it is your proposition. That is what you are saying, but I am not seeing it here.

  • Mr Witness, do you know whether President Eyadema was President of ECOWAS, or do you not know?

  • I know he was a President in Togo, but he is saying he was the chairman and I don't know. I am not seeing it here even.

  • Madam Court Officer, could you assist me. I have one more of these.

  • I notice I said "President of ECOWAS" when I should have said "chairman".

  • Mr Witness, this is another article from the same website, sierra-leone.org, and for counsel's references they can verify the citation at the bottom of the page printed by myself a few days ago. Mr Witness, it speaks of 30 September 1999 and you see the first sentence reads:

    "RUF leader Corporal Foday Sankoh and former AFRC Chairman Lieutenant-Colonel Johnny Paul Koroma met in Monrovia for the first time on Thursday, and held more than three hours of reconciliation talks mediated by Liberian President Charles Taylor."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • We have been through this before, right, in the context of a BBC article a few minutes ago, yes?

  • You see the next sentence:

    "The two rebel leaders told reporters afterwards that they had ironed out their differences, but did not elaborate 'I am satisfied. Everything is fine now', Koroma told reporters."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Let's go down further in the paragraph. There is something there of importance. If you go down to where it says "In September ...", it is around the middle of the page and it reads:

    "In September, Koroma and 13 of his followers issued a document claiming they were 'unrepresented, unrecognised and marginalised in all the deliberations and final outcome of the Lome Peace Agreement' and that their interests had been ignored by RUF leaders."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • This is speaking of a dispute between the RUF and the AFRC, is it not, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, but there was a time frame. There was supposed to have put the time there that it happened after the peace accord, because we were left out.

  • Let us go down a little bit:

    "Among their demands were that they be reinstated into the Sierra Leone Army and that they be given a voice in the power-sharing agreement with the Sierra Leone Government."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • And now we come to something of note, of importance. The next sentence:

    "Prior to the talks Taylor told the rebel leaders he had been in contact with ECOWAS, the UN and the OAU to ensure that all parties to the Sierra Leone conflict were included in the government and 'to make sure that as you prepare to go to Freetown they are part of the process, that they are present and that they accompany you to Freetown'. Taylor said he had contacted Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema, current ECOWAS chairman, to 'finalise the arrangement' for their return home. Liberian information minister Joe Mulbah told reporters Wednesday night that Sankoh and Koroma would fly to Freetown on Friday and 'will be escorted by some officials of the Liberian Government'."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • The media is reporting that Charles Taylor was in contact with ECOWAS, with the chairman of ECOWAS Gnassingbe Eyadema, with the UN, with then the Organisation of African Unity all in efforts to facilitate peace between Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma. Do you agree or disagree, Mr Witness?

  • This was not to my knowledge, because when I went to Liberia he did not tell us any of this. That is not to my knowledge, because it was when we captured Johnny Paul Koroma that was - I heard Charles Taylor saying we should go and see Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Well, let me break that question into two because it is not fair to you.

  • Really, is this what the witness said, "When we captured Johnny Paul Koroma"? Is that what the witness said?

  • Yes, your Honour. It could have been a mistake on his part.

  • He is shaking his head in disagreement. Witness, can you please repeat what you just said.

  • I said the only time - what I know, it was after we had captured those UNOMSIL officials and that we demanded that we wanted to see with Johnny Paul Koroma and that was when we went there and I don't know anything about this negotiation that Charles Taylor negotiated with the UN or ECOWAS for us to go and meet with Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • So your answer is that you do not know whether or not Charles Taylor spoke with all of these people? Is that your response, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord, because Johnny Paul just told us that he had spoken to Charles Taylor to ensure that the - facilitate a helicopter to go and pick us to go to Freetown.

  • But you would agree with what is written on the print. You would not disagree that this paper or this article is suggesting that Charles Taylor did all of these things?

  • Well, my Lord, this is a writing of a journalist. If they favour somebody they write in that person's favour, so they can write anything.

  • I see. I have one more article. You mentioned Christo Johnson to us yesterday. Do you recall that, Mr Witness?

  • A journalist taken hostage by you and your fellow fighters in Magbeni, yes?

  • Mr Witness, is there something you wanted to say?

  • I am sorry, I am taking a drug that makes me to urinate frequently, so I want to use the gents.

  • We understand. Please assist the witness, Madam Court Officer.

  • Madam Court Officer, could the witness kindly be given a copy of a document, this is a BBC article, and could one copy be placed on the overhead, please:

  • Mr Witness, yesterday you told us of a reporter by the name of Christo Johnson. Do you recall that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Christo Johnson was one of the journalists taken hostage by you and your fellow fighters at Magbeni, yes, Mr Witness?

  • When did you say that hostage taking took place again, Mr Witness?

  • It was say after the Lome Peace Accord, just after the Lome Peace Accord was signed, around July/August.

  • The date on this article if you look at the top says Friday, 6 August 1999. Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • It says, "World: Africa, Sierra Leone hostage tells of ordeal." Yes, you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Then we read the first paragraph:

    "Reuters reporter Christo Johnson, who was among the hostages captured by Sierra Leone rebels, talks of his ordeal following his release."

    Yes?

  • Yes, I have seen that.

  • Then as you look through the pages of this article you will see Johnson's name in bold letters and the words after his name as if he's answering questions. Can you look through the article to familiarise yourself with this process. I will start with the first paragraph where the name Christo Johnson is highlighted in bold on the first page:

    "Christo Johnson: We first arrived in a village where they (the rebels) released 22 children. From there we moved on to the place where we were supposed to collect another batch of children, which would have brought the number up to about 200. While waiting for these children to come in, we were told we would have to attend a meeting with the soldiers. We were invited to this meeting hall by a spokesman for the AFRC soldiers (from the former militia regime). And when we entered they asked us to stand for prayers. After prayers the spokesman came out with a statement from their side saying that they had problems. They had been looking for food and medicines. People seemed to be neglecting them. They had a lot of problems. Patience was running out and they were looking to the international community and the government. While this was happening a group of guys came in and said, 'Look, you guys, hands up!' - we put our hands up. They said, 'Hands up, give up everything you have.' We had no alternative but to obey their instructions."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Is this narrative similar to what you recall happening to Christo Johnson and the rest back in what you say was July 1999?

  • There is - part of it is similar, is true.

  • Continuing, this is Mr Johnson speaking:

    "They said, 'Look, don't get scared, we are not going to harm you. We just want the international community to know what our grievances are and you will have to take these grievances to the government and the world'."

    You see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • We get to the next page. This part is important, "Question" - now you will agree this is somebody asking Christo Johnson a question and the question is:

    "Were you able to establish whether these men were just members of the former AFRC militia regime or whether they were also some Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in the group?"

    Mr Johnson answers: "We established that they were all AFRC members, former members of the Sierra Leone Army. There were no RUF people there."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Christo Johnson is telling the BBC and the world that the people who took him hostage were all AFRC members, not even one was an RUF. Do you agree with that, Mr Witness?

  • I disagree. I totally disagree.

  • You continue to maintain - may I finish my question? You continue to maintain that RUF members were part of this West Side Boys you claim to have been a member of?

  • Yes and I want to give a brief explanation with the Court's permission in this particular area.

  • Is the explanation something you haven't told us before, Mr Witness, when you were questioned by the Prosecution?

  • Well this is something that I have seen established by Christo Johnson here and he is a journalist, and even when he was in the camp he had limited areas to go to. We limited his movement. He did not go to all the areas that we were and with certain senior commanders he did not even visit them. And then we - when we called him, we explained things to him. The senior commanders explained to him and then he told us that he will go and put it over the news, you see, and that was what happened. And Christo Johnson himself was just limited at the headquarters. Bazzy and other commanders, he only spoke to them. He was not allowed to go to the villages, or the areas around us. He was only limited to the headquarters where the commanders were, the commanders who explained this thing to him, that is Bazzy, Bomb Blast, Tito and others, Junior Lion and all of us who were there. So if he is saying here that what he saw at the headquarters is what he is explaining here then I don't agree with it, because there were some other villages where there were different, different battalions situated there.

  • What you are telling the Court, Mr Witness, is that the area around which Christo Johnson was allowed to stay had no RUF members in that vicinity. Is that what you are trying to suggest to this Chamber?

  • What I am saying, no, I said the man was limited. We arrested them and it was only at the headquarters where Bazzy and others were that he was allowed to go. When we needed him we will go and collect him from Tito's place and then he will come to Bazzy, but to say he had a free movement all around the area, that didn't happen. So he never even knew who and who were staying in that camp, because he was only limited to the headquarter. And mostly when he was staying with Tito and he would be taken from Tito's place and be brought to Bazzy's place when we needed him, so that was all. He came there at Bazzy's place and then things were explained to him, then he said he will go to Freetown and send it over air and he will give the news to the world. Then that was what happened.

  • Are you saying, Mr Witness, that because he was kept at the headquarters that prevented him from knowing who else was at this camp? Is that what you are suggesting to this Chamber?

  • Yes, my Lord, because he was limited. He would only move from Tito's place where he was staying and then come to Bazzy, who was the overall commander. You will always see soldiers passing, roaming about all over the place, but he did not know actually who and who were there. The only things he said when he was supposed to have were the things we told him. The things we told him were the things he was supposed to have said.

  • Oh, is that your evidence now, that he only said the things you told him? Is that your evidence, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, we told him to go and tell the international community. I have said this earlier in my testimony. We said he should go and inform the international community that we want our leader to be released and he was held hostage in Kailahun and we want the international community to ensure that he has been released and then - those were the news items we gave to him and when we heard him over the air he did not state these things that I see here. He only went over the air and said very good things about us, but all of these things he has established here were not said over air.

  • You understand, Mr Witness, that the top of the article says:

    "Reuters reporter Christo Johnson, who was among the hostages captured by Sierra Leone rebels, talks of his ordeal following his release"?

    You understand he was making these comments after his release, Mr Witness, yes?

  • Well according to the paper, yes. Just as I am sitting here somebody can ask me about the Special Court and I can say anything and that will be my own comment, but not what maybe somebody told me to say. This must have been his own comments that he made, but he was limited in the camp. He was just limited between two areas.

  • And is that why he did not know or professes not to have known there were RUF members amongst your number?

  • He did not know anything about the camp. The only thing was that he was held hostage. And when we discovered that he was a journalist, when he told us, he said he wanted us to take him to Bazzy so that he will be released so that he will go to town and tell the international community the reason why we held the people hostage. So that was all that he knew about the camp. He only saw us roaming about the camp.

  • Madam Court Officer, could we turn to page 2 for the public on the overhead:

  • Mr Witness, let us read on to the next part of this article. There was a question posed to Mr Johnson:

    "What else did they have to say about the situation in Sierra Leone?"

    Answer: "One of the commanders said to us, 'Our problem is that the RUF general, that is Sam Bockarie, has arrested our leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Johnny Paul (Koroma), who was chairman of the AFRC regime. He has been arrested and he has not been allowed to move'.

    All they wanted was for the government of President Tejan Kabbah to use his influence to get (RUF leader) Corporal Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor to get Sam Bockarie to release Johnny Paul immediately"?

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes.

  • This confirms that Johnny Paul Koroma had been arrested, yes?

  • Well, we were not at the scene. Like I said, he was no longer communicating, so as Bazzy said we have not been getting communication from this man for a long time and if this man has - if for a long time now we have not been communicating with him it means he must be under arrest, so if he has not been calling us all this while then he must be under arrest.

  • At the time this was going on the members of your group wanted President Kabbah and President Taylor to step in to solve these problems, yes?

  • No, all what we had decided on was that we had said that if we held this - if we arrested these UNOMSIL people who came and we held them hostage, they will recognise us. Whosoever, the government and the international community, they will recognise us. And then we said if we arrested them and held them hostage, that will show our concern to the international body.

  • This article is dated 6 August 1999 and we have seen articles whereby as of October President Taylor had gathered all of these warring factions together, specifically Koroma and Sankoh. You recall that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, according to the paper. He had direct influence and he was the only person they knew would be able to do that.

  • He was the person who sent that helicopter to pick Johnny Paul Koroma and take him to Monrovia, right?

  • Yes, according to Johnny Paul, according to what he told us on the radio set.

  • And then we go down on the same page to the next question:

    "How would you describe the mood of these abductors? Are they desperate men?"

    And then the answer comes:

    "They are very, very desperate. They want their man, Johnny Paul, to be released because they are desperately in need of peace. If Johnny Paul is not released, I think they want to fight the RUF."

    Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • Christo is painting a picture of how desperate you and your fellow fighters were. Do you agree with the picture that is painted by this article?

  • Well, I agree that we were desperate to see Johnny Paul. Yes, we were desperate. Yes. We did say that we wanted to see him, because they did not make mention of him and us in the Lome Peace Accord and for a long time he has not been talking to us and so we are desperate to see him.

  • The article specifically is saying you were desperate for peace. Do you agree with that proposition?

  • Yes, we also wanted peace. We needed peace because we had now realised that if Johnny Paul was not included in the Lome Peace Accord then we will be out, so we were also supposed to be part of the Lome Accord because we were now a force to reckon with.

  • And when you went to Liberia to meet President Taylor you were going in search of solutions to facilitate peace, right?

  • Well this question that you are asking me, what I know we arrested people, but Johnny Paul did not tell us that, "Charles Taylor, we want peace". We did not tell him, "We need peace", or, "We need peace". Johnny Paul told us that, "You should now move with your delegation. You go to Freetown and then you meet me in Liberia."

  • Do you see the last part of the paragraph I just read? It says, "If Johnny Paul is not released, I think they want to fight the RUF." Do you see that, Mr Witness?

  • This is the same RUF you said had members amongst your number at the same time Christo was held hostage, yes?

  • Go back to the question, please.

  • You have told this Court that amongst your group were RUF members when Christo Johnson was held hostage, yes?

  • The same RUF members, or the same RUF organisation, that you wanted to fight if Johnny Paul was not released, you had their members amongst your number. Is that your evidence, Mr Witness?

  • Yes. Yes, my Lord, they were with us.

  • The same RUF members that you wanted to fight you tell us were present at the house, or lodge, where Johnny Paul Koroma was in Monrovia when you visited him about a month later. Do you stand by that evidence, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, my Lord, they were there.

  • I want to state this clear, that our determination when we held that man was that they should release our leader. So we did not have any difference with them at that moment, we were together as one, but because we were not made mention of in the Lome Peace Accord so we decided to arrest those people so that we will make it a condition that if they don't release our leader we will cause problem for the peace process in Sierra Leone.

  • Your Honours, if I can just clarify something. The answers the witness has been giving to these questions seem to suggest that he is agreeing the RUF was there, but the issue as to whether they wanted to fight the RUF has still not been clarified.

  • I have asked the questions I need to ask for my examination on this issue.

  • There will be re-examination, Ms Alagendra.

  • Madam President, if it please the Court, I would ask for MFI numbers for the five articles I have put before the Chamber.

  • Mr Anyah, perhaps in order to get them in the right sequence I can rely on you to go through each one.

  • Yes, Madam President. The first one was a BBC article, dated 18 April 1999, and the title is "World Africa: Rebel leader freed for talks."

  • 27.

  • All right. That is a three page document with the heading "BBC News" and a subheading "World Africa: Rebel leader freed for talks", dated Sunday, 18 April. Is that the correct one? Yes, that is MFI-27.

  • I thought it would be 26.

  • So did I. I am just relying on Court Management to keep the master record.

  • Madam President, 26 is Port Loko.

  • Thank you for that. MFI-27.

  • The second one is also a BBC article, the date is 6 August 1999. The title is "World: Africa, Sierra Leone, Who are the kidnappers?"

  • That is a three page document headed "BBC News", subheading "World: Africa, Sierra Leone, Who are the kidnappers?" It becomes MFI-28.

  • The next one is a news archives from the website sierra-leone.org and it relates to the dates 31 August 1999 and 30 August.

  • This is a one page document headed "Sierra Leone, News Archives, August 1999, Sierra Leone Web", sub-dated 31 August 1999, it becomes MFI-29.

  • The next one is also a news archives article with the date 30 September 1999 and it has two photographs, one of - well, that was not introduced in evidence, but it's one of Foday Sankoh and one of Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • Very well. It's a one page document headed, "Sierra Leone, News Archives, September 1999, Sierra Leone Web, News Archives" with a sub-date of 30 September 1999 and that becomes MFI-30.

  • I think there are two more. The next one is an article from the BBC from 1 October 1999.