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

  • Good morning, Mr Sesay.

  • Yes, good morning, sir.

  • Sir, this is an article entitled "RUF still kills and rapes Sierra Leoneans". It's exhibit P-516. Looking at the first page we see a list of related items and the article itself is listed as about the eight or ninth one down. We see it is dated 4 April 2001, "RUF still kills and rapes Sierra Leoneans". Turning to the next page, the article itself. I want to read parts of this to you. The first paragraph reads:

    "While the RUF leadership is trying to present itself as peace-seeking rebels, a new report from Human Rights Watch documents that the rebels maintain their terrorist methods. RUF are still raping, abducting and killing refugees fleeing camps in Guinea, HRW documents."

    First of all, let me just ask you, Mr Sesay, the 4th of April of the year 2001, you were the interim leader of the RUF, correct?

  • Yes.

  • And this would have been about a month or so before Abuja II, correct?

  • Yes, you're correct.

  • Thank you. I'll skip to the third paragraph:

    "The New York based human rights group reported that it had documented the abuses from December 2000 through mid-March in the Koinadugu, Kailahun and Kono Districts of eastern Sierra Leone. It said RUF soldiers are attacking returnees in Sierra Leone as they trek for days, and sometimes weeks, in an attempt to reach the government-held towns of Kenema, Kabala and Daru."

    I'll skip down to the next paragraph:

    "The returning Sierra Leonean refugees have been under siege in refugee camps in Guinea since September 2000 when cross-border attacks flared between Sierra Leonean, Guinean and Liberian government forces, rebels and militia groups."

    Mr Sesay, it's correct, as this article says, and as Abu Keita testified, that the RUF began its attacks on Guinea in September 2000, correct?

  • Well, the border attacks - I heard about them in October from the Kambia area.

  • Going to the last paragraph on this page.

  • Did the witness say "Gambia area"?

  • No, my Lord, I said Kambia, Kambia, Sierra Leone, towards Guinea.

  • The last paragraph reads:

    "Among the scores of returnees who gave detailed accounts to serious rebel abuses to HRW, numerous men who passed through the diamond-rich district of Kono and the rebel stronghold of Kailahun described recruitment of able-bodied men and boys as young as 15 to fight with the RUF forces or to carry out forced labour in the diamond mines or with the rebel army. Four men were killed for refusing recruitment, disobeying orders or being physically unable to work."

    On the next page, please. I'll just read the first three paragraphs:

    "The human rights group interviewed an elderly woman whose 25 year old son was shot and killed in front of her in December 2000 after refusing to be recruited. A woman described how her husband was executed in early December for refusing to hand her over to the rebels, while another woman described how her ailing husband was beaten to death in mid-March 2001 for no apparent reason.

    One woman described how she was gang raped by RUF rebels in Kailahun in late January 2001, after she and five other women were chosen from a group of returnees detained at a rebel checkpoint. The rebels 'said they were not going to kill us, but that they would use us until they would be satisfied. They also said they wanted peace,' the woman told HRW.

    Numerous women returnees described being abducted, raped and/or sexually abused. HRW interviewed six women who had been raped and numerous more who were either held or taken away to rebel bases, for a time span varying from a few hours to several weeks. The group also interviewed a man who managed to escape in mid-January after two weeks of forced labour, but had to leave his wife behind in a rebel base in Kono."

    Mr Sesay, all these abuses continued to take place - abuses by RUF against civilians in Sierra Leone - during the time that you were the interim leader of the RUF, correct?

  • Well, these were not things that I witnessed, because in January 2001 in Kono civilians were coming from Makeni, Freetown, Bo, Kenema; Kono was packed full at this time. So to say that RUF used to force people to work or to rape women in Kono, I did not witness that and I did not hear complaints like those, because I was based in Kono at this time. And the man who was the MP commander in Kono, and that is Edwin Bockarie, even when I was arrested he was the one who was with the team, they went to Kono to investigate me. So if such things were happening --

  • Your Honours, can the witness kindly slow down his pace and repeat this part of his testimony.

  • Mr Sesay, you said, "So if such things were happening". Continue from there, slowly.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said if these things used to happen to the people in Kono and they saw Edwin Bockarie go there to get witnesses for me, they would have risen against my investigation team, because the people in Kono know Edwin Bockarie that he was the MP commander in 2000 and 2001.

  • Mr Sesay, do you continue to deny that there were rapes in Kailahun District?

  • I did not receive such reports. And even when I used to go to Kailahun I had meetings with chiefs in Kailahun at this time.

  • I want to move on now and talk to you about how the situation in Sierra Leone changed in the middle of 2001 and how you perceived the military situation and the political situation for the RUF and for yourself.

    It's true, isn't it, that after the abduction of hundreds of United Nations troops, the United Nations and the international community increased their commitment to Sierra Leone and they brought in more and better troops for the peacekeeping mission? Isn't that true?

  • Yes, after the capture of the UNAMSIL personnel they increased their troops and they brought in a new force commander and that was General Opande.

  • These troops also were better equipped than those that had come previously. Isn't that true?

  • The Nigerians who were deployed first - they had the same equipments as what they used to have before.

  • Also, British troops arrived in Sierra Leone. They were not under the United Nations command, but they added additional military power to the government side. Isn't that correct?

  • And an incident took place in September 2000 that showed the military capability of these trained and modern troops and that was Operation Barras. Is that right?

  • If we could turn to the document behind tab 17, please. We see this is a web page and for "The Regiment, 1950 to 2002, The Post War Years". It's an article entitled "Gun fight at Rokel Creek, Operation Barras." I'm just going to read a few sentences from the article. It begins:

    "On August 25th 2000, a patrol of 11 men from the 1st Royal Irish Regiment were captured by the notorious West Side Boys while on patrol in Sierra Leone."

    You heard about that, is that correct, Mr Sesay, that the West Side Boys had seized some United Kingdom soldiers?

  • Yes, I heard it on the commercial radio.

  • And then if we skip down to the fourth paragraph:

    "The SAS confirmed that the rebel gang had high-powered machine guns situated on the south side of the river, as well as at Geri Bana, and across the 300 yards of Rokel Creek two more villages provided bases for the rebels. The paras would have to make a two-pronged attack. It was decided that the attack would go down at dawn, Sunday, 10th September."

    And then if we go to the last - next page to the last paragraph:

    "The mission in mangrove swamps of Rokel Creek took just 90 minutes, but the fire fight left one of the rescuers dead, one seriously wounded and another 11 wounded. 25 of the rebel forces, three of them women, were also killed and the further 18 including their leader, Brigadier Foday Kallay, were captured."

    Mr Sesay, did you hear that the West Side Boys were defeated by this well-armed and well-trained British force, United Kingdom force?

  • Yes, I heard that.

  • Your Honour, could this document be marked for identification.

  • What page out of where?

  • Two-page document. I read from both pages, gun fight at Rokel Creek, and these are the documents behind tab 17.

  • Where does this article comes from?

  • At the bottom of the page, hopefully it's in the copies you have, appears a web address

  • Very well. This is a two-page article entitled "Gun fight at Rokel Creek, Operation Barras" and it comes out of the said web page. That is marked MFI-41.

  • Mr Sesay, another factor in the military balance at this time in the middle of 2000 was that when the RUF had seized the peacekeepers in May 2000 Johnny Paul Koroma who was - first of all let me start over. Johnny Paul Koroma had been appointed by President Kabbah to the peace monitoring commission, is that correct?

  • Yes, before the May incident he had been appointed as the CCP chairman.

  • For clarification, is that the 8th of May incident involving Foday Sankoh when you say "May incident"?

  • Yes, my Lord. The capture of the UNAMSIL and the arrest of Mr Sankoh. Before that time Johnny Paul had become the CCP chairman.

  • So when the hostages were captured Johnny Paul Koroma supported the government and he led troops - or he encouraged his troops to attack the RUF, particularly at Lunsar, is that correct?

  • Some SLAs stayed with the RUF but many of them were now on the government side, correct?

  • Also by the middle of 2001, President Taylor in Liberia was under pressure from LURD; he was being attacked by LURD, correct?

  • Yes, there was fighting in Lofa.

  • Also in that May 2000 incident, the RUF had lost some of its military commanders, for example, Isaac Mongor was arrested on 7 May and he was still at Pademba Road, correct?

  • Yes, it's correct.

  • Mike Lamin was missing or had ran away, is that right?

  • He too was at the Pademba Road.

  • And then Superman was in Liberia, correct?

  • Yes, Superman had left, he had gone.

  • Until you received word around the middle of 2001 that he was killed, correct?

  • Yes, that's what I heard in mid-2001.

  • If we could look at the document behind tab 6, please. Mr Sesay, this is a document that has the document classification number on the United Nations' system S/2001/857. It's dated 7 September 2001. And it's the 11th report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations' Mission in Sierra Leone. I just want to ask you about a few of the sentences in this document.

    Let's go first to paragraph 4. The sentence that begins on the fifth line down:

    "The government indicated it had offered RUF a plot of land in Freetown to enable the movement to establish an office in the capital. It also recalled that 33 RUF detainees had been released on 7 July. RUF, however, claim that many of the detainees released were not members of the movement."

    First of all, is it correct that the government offered you land in Freetown for an office?

  • It was not at this time.

  • Mr Sesay, given that the - you controlled the diamonds, you've told us, up until late 2001, why would the RUF need the Government of Sierra Leone, or the international community, to fund an office for the RUF?

  • Well, that was the agreement in the Lome Accord, that the government should assist, and, together with the international community, they should assist the RUF to form - to transform themselves into a political party. It was not a request from the RUF, it --

  • If we could go then to paragraph 6:

    "The government and the RUF have also taken additional reciprocal confidence-building pressures, including the continuing release of abductees and child combatants by the RUF."

    And I won't read the rest of the sentence. Going to paragraph 7:

    "However, RUF has yet to return all the weapons and equipment seized from UNAMSIL and ECOMOG. No further items have been returned since the issuance of my last report. While the RUF leadership has indicated that they expected most of the rifles and other weapons to turn up during the disarmament exercise, so far, only 31 UNAMSIL weapons and 148 ECOMOG weapons have been recovered during the disarmament process."

    Is this true, Mr Sesay, that as of September 2001 only 31 weapons from the UN troops that were captured in May 2000 had been turned back over to the UN?

  • No. Because I gave instructions and the arms were put together, the artillery, the BZT, the vehicles and the communication sets were packed at the MP office in Makeni and, when General Opande went, I handed them over, together with the vehicles, and, during the disarmament, they discovered the UNAMSIL rifles.

  • And let's go to paragraph 18. And this is probably what I'm most interested in. Paragraph 18 states:

    "Since my last report UNAMSIL troop strength has increased to 16,664 as of 5 September 2001."

    It's true, isn't it, that as the year went on, 2001, United Nations forces in Sierra Leone became stronger and stronger?

  • Well, at that time we too had disarmed some areas. We had disarmed Kambia District and we had disarmed Lunsar and Tonkolili, and we were - we had disarmed Kono.

  • Well, that's correct, if we look at paragraph 21:

    "As indicated above, the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process has made remarkable progress. Since the programme resumed on 18 May a total of 16,097 combatants had been disarmed as of 3 September", then that's broken out, "6,325 RUF; 9,399 CDF and 175 AFRC."

    Mr Sesay, after Abuja II, that's when the disarmament started, and, as the United Nations' forces got stronger, the RUF got weaker and weaker, correct?

  • No, no. It did not happen that way. It was because - it was because of the outcome of the Abuja II that the Government of Sierra Leone, the RUF and the United Nations, including the ECOWAS, agreed in the meeting that they should create a tripartite meeting committee and, after they returned from Lome - sorry, from Abuja II - the tripartite meetings were to commence, and the CDF and the RUF were to disarm. The force commander at that time, we had a cordial relationship, we were not under any threat or pressure, and even General Opande testified to that and President Kabbah too testified to that.

  • Prior to Abuja II the RUF was already weakened by fighting and defeats in Guinea and in Lofa County and by these defections of the Johnny Paul Koroma loyal troops to the government's side, correct?

  • No, it's not correct. It is not correct because the Guinea attacks were border attacks and Johnny Paul joined the Government of Sierra Leone and they captured Lunsar from RUF and RUF re-captured Lunsar from them. So about 70 per cent of them did not want the disarmament, they wanted us to continue with the war until Mr Sankoh was free from prison. I was the one who said no, and that is why most of them stood against me. And during this time the RUF was armed; you know, like 1992, RUF was not that strong. It was only when they would fight, then you would get arms. RUF was weak at that time. But the time that you were referring to, no, they were not weak.

  • Well, how was the RUF armed in 2000 and 2001, Mr Sesay?

  • RUF had had arms before this time. When the war was going on, RUF used to capture arms from government troops so they had arms; up to the time the RUF took the attacks in 1998 they got arms from ECOMOG.

  • Arms are useless without ammunition. You continued to receive ammunition from Charles Taylor in Liberia, correct?

  • No, my Lord. If you look at 1992, when the RUF hadn't much arms and ammunition, but RUF used to fight and capture ammunitions from government troops and they continued with the war.

  • Going on to page 7 of this report, paragraph 43:

    "Child combatants, abductees and other separated children continued to be released to UNAMSIL by RUF from May to 31 July. 1,169 children were released in Makeni, Kailahun and Tongo. A total of 1,214 children had been demobilised by RUF and 646 children by the Civil Defence Forces."

    That's correct, isn't it, Mr Sesay, that after Abuja II the RUF released over a thousand child soldiers?

  • My Lord, yes, that is true. But not all of them were fighters. A lot of them were with the RUF, doing domestic chores. But I do recall that Ambassador Adeniji received children in Makeni who were handed over by the RUF in Makeni to Ambassador Adeniji.

  • Now, you have said, Mr Sesay, that not all of them were child soldiers. So you're saying some of them were child soldiers, correct?

  • Yes, some of them. That is what I had said.

  • Mr Sesay, in your testimony previously, in direct and cross-examination, you've denied that there were child soldiers for the RUF.

  • No, my Lord. I think I said some of the children were with some commanders, some junior commanders, and some of them took part in battles. But it was not a policy to recruit them, that they were trained to become fighters of the RUF. It was not a policy. But some of them took part.

  • I want to look at another paragraph that affected your calculations at this time. Paragraph 46. It states:

    "Following the exchange of communications between the Secretary-General and the Security Council, in which the Council concurred with the recommendation to commence the operation of the Special Court, the Secretariat on 23 July 2001 sent a letter to the countries that had made pledges for the first year of the operation of the Court."

    Let me just stop there. Mr Sesay, you were aware also that the United Nations was pushing to prosecute those responsible for atrocities during the war, correct?

  • Well, at the early stages, I did not know. It was later that I came to know.

  • Finally, I would just like to take a quick look at the annex to this document, which has - is a list of contributions of military personnel to the United Nations mission in Sierra Leone, and we see a list of those countries contributed and the troops that they contributed. On the second page, we see that the totals were - this is as of 5 September 2001: 260 military observers; 109 staff officers; total troops, 15,994; headquarters staff, 301; for total personnel, 16,664.

    So the United Nations forces by September 2001 were very strong and they were a much stronger force than the RUF; isn't that correct?

  • Well, at this time in September, the only place where the RUF had not disarmed was Makeni, Tongo Field and Kailahun. So we had disarmed above 70 per cent. So the RUF did not now refer to themselves as a fighting group. We were now on disarmament process.

  • I'm going to change this, I think, for a moment. If we could have the transcript for 28 July 2010.

    Mr Sesay, you told us about Johnny Paul Koroma being the - was he the chairman of the CMC?

  • There also was an organisation called the CMC; is that right?

  • Ceasefire Monitoring Committee or Commission, correct?

  • I'd like to remind you of something you said on 28 July, at page 44896. At the time, counsel was reading to you the testimony of Karmoh Kanneh, Eagle, and he read, starting at the first line, in the middle of that line, where Karmoh Kanneh said, "I was working with CMC, that is the Ceasefire Monitoring Committee or Commission." And you were asked by Defence counsel:

    "Q. Was he?

    A. No, he was not a CMC member. He only went to Bo where

    Mr Sankoh was trying to have an office established, but the

    CMC members who were in Bo, he was not part of them."

    I'd like to show the witness P-115, A and B, please.

    Mr Sesay, P-115A is the front of an identification card, Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, southern province, name: Mr Karmoh Kanneh. It then gives dates. Do you see the man in the picture?

  • Yes, I see him.

  • That's Eagle, Karmoh Kanneh, isn't it?

  • P-115B is just the back, if we can just quickly see that, and it states on the back:

    "The bearer of this card is a member of the Joint Monitoring Commission. All civilian and military personnel are requested to extend him/her free access to the national territory."

    Mr Sesay, you told us that it was on the very last trip that you took to Liberia that Charles Taylor asked you to take Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone, correct?

  • Yes. That was the last trip when I met with Mr Taylor, because I went back to Liberia but I did not meet with him.

  • And there's a reason for that, not wanting to go back to Liberia and meet with Mr Taylor again, because when you learned that Taylor wanted Sam Bockarie back, you realised your life was in serious danger; isn't that true?

  • No. If I realised that my life was in serious danger, I wouldn't have gone back to Liberia.

  • Mr Sesay, Sam Bockarie had once told you, "You're a dead man"; isn't that true?

  • Yes, he once told me that.

  • Sam Bockarie is not the kind of man who'd want to come back and be a deputy to you. He would have insisted on taking over the leadership; isn't that true?

  • Yes, because he wanted power.

  • And you know that if Sam Bockarie came back to the RUF, it would have been a matter of time before he made an attempt or simply arranged for you to be killed, correct?

  • Yes, because the two of us had already had some problem, so he must have had some grudge for me.

  • So the situation you were facing, the time of Abuja II, May 2001, was that you were fighting a war in Sierra Leone you couldn't win against a much stronger force, and your patron, Charles Taylor, was himself under pressure, you knew if you went to Liberia he was going to replace you or kill you, and that if he was able to get Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone, Bockarie was going to kill you. Your survival was at stake at that time; isn't that true?

  • No, my survival was not at stake. Because if I had not agreed to the disarmament, we should have still continued fighting because we believed that whenever we attacked we would receive ammunition from the troops that we would attack.

  • Your Honours, can the witness kindly slow down his pace and repeat this part of his answer?

  • Mr Sesay, you said that whenever you attacked you would receive ammunition from the troops that you would attack. Now, continue from there and repeat your evidence, slowly.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said even whenever we would attack troops we would get ammunition from them because with that we would continue to fight, and RUF had been fighting that way. We were not receiving any supply. And the RUF men --

  • Mr Sesay, I asked you to continue slowly, not to continue as quickly as you were talking. Slowly, so that we understand what you are saying as it's being interpreted. Now, continue slowly, please.

  • Yes, my Lord. So I said the RUF generally did not want to disarm. They did not - they wanted us to continue to fight. And the troops that were to attack us - any time we were to repel them we should have received ammunition from them, but because we had been requested to disarm, so we went with that. But my life was not at stake.

  • Mr Sesay, the option of fighting was not realistic because you were faced by a modern United Nations force, well-funded and supported by world powers. They were supported by the British troops, by the Kamajors, by the government forces that had been joined by Johnny Paul Koroma. If you fought, you would have lost. If you were lucky, you would have been arrested. If not, you would have been killed. Isn't that the reality that you faced in the middle of 2001?

  • No, my Lord. It was because you were not there. That's why. Like I was saying moments ago, when Johnny Paul announced that he had joined President Nkrumah and Johnny Paul Koroma's troops and the CDF moved into Lunsar and we used the tank that we had from the Nigerians, the armoured tank, and we repelled the attack in Lunsar and we pushed them out, and from that time they did not attempt to come back to Lunsar. And even when the IMATT had dissolved the West Side and they had attacked - they had arrested Kanneh, they wanted to come and attack Lunsar, and they told the brigadier general there that - I am not saying - I am not saying that the AFRC, that you have dissolved but the RUF is strong. So they had that argument between them. And I said - he said it, "Issa is ready to carry out with the peace process." So even when RUF disarmed in Kambia, the brigadier was there with General Opande. During the force of disarmament General Opande called him and he said, "You see, I told you. You said RUF was a remnant. Have you not seen the types of weapons that they have disarmed with? That's why I told you not to attack them. Now we can carry out with the peace process peacefully." Even some members of the RUF wanted the IMATT to attack so the RUF would use that as an excuse to continue with the war. In war, ammunition is one thing but determination is the main thing.

  • Mr Sesay, in 2000 --

  • Sorry, sorry. He said - the witness said, "Even some members of the RUF wanted" what?

  • They wanted - yes, my Lord. I said even some members of the RUF wanted IMATT to attack so that the peace process should not carry on, because they did not want us to disarm while Mr Sankoh was in prison.

  • IMATT is an acronym, I-M-A-T-T. I think it is something to do with the Irish - it's a British and Canadian training force in Sierra Leone.

  • Mr Sesay, is that correct, that IMATT is an international military training and assistance organisation that was assisting in training the SLAs?

  • Yes, it's a British troops - it's a British troop but they are mixed with some other countries' troops.

  • By the way, the Lunsar attack that you ordered in 2000, you said you were able to push Johnny Paul Koroma's troops out of Lunsar, that was before the United Nations had reinforced its forces after the May 2000 incident. Isn't that true?

  • Yes, that is true. But the United Nations did not attack. It was the government troops that attacked us, that is the CDF and the AFRC.

  • Now, when it came time for Abuja II, that's when you made a decision of some importance. If we could have your testimony of 11 August, please, page 45952. I would like to remind you of what you said at that time about your decision to travel - this time to Abuja from Sierra Leone and not to go to Monrovia for instructions, as you did with Abuja I. So 11 August this year, 45952, line 9, you said:

    "Yes, my Lord. Because I can recall when even the Abuja II delegation wanted to travel, General Opande told me that, 'Young man, for people to have confidence in you, the delegation should not pass this time through Liberia. They should fly through the Lungi airport from Makeni.' And during that time we had no business with Liberia any longer."

    So, Mr Sesay, is that true; at the time of the Abuja II delegation you made that decision and you had no business with Liberia after that?

  • Well, it was General Opande who informed me. He went to Makeni and informed me that the Abuja II - the time for Abuja II has come and he and even my own people, if they see that the RUF delegation leaves from Makeni to Lungi, then the UN and the people would say yes, the peace process is genuine. And I said, "Oh, what do you mean?" Then he said, "That's all confidence building." Then I said okay, because the ECOWAS had told me that I should work with them. So when they suggested to me, I accepted.

  • So Abuja I you said you came to Monrovia because Taylor called you through Kposowa. Abuja II you followed the advice of Opande, you should not go through Monrovia, no one would have confidence in you. And from that point you said, "We had no business with Liberia any longer." That's true, isn't it?

  • Yes, because all of that came from the meeting that I had with the ECOWAS leaders in Monrovia because they told me that I should work with the United Nations authorities in Sierra Leone and the Government of Sierra Leone in the interest of bringing peace to Sierra Leone. They had told me that I should work with the United Nations authorities and if the United Nations authorities tell me to do this, that was their word, I had to go by it.

  • Mr Sesay, when you made this decision to seek the protection of Opande, to cooperate with him for your survival, one person who wasn't happy, I suggest to you, was Charles Taylor. I'd like to read to you from some evidence about his reaction. If we could have the transcript of 12 March 2008, page 5896. 12 March 2008, 5896, the last line. Mr Sesay, I'm going to read to you from testimony from Zigzag Marzah. He was asked:

    "Q. Mr Witness, you indicated that when you received the

    order from Charles Taylor to execute Issa Sesay that

    Issa Sesay had signed some paper. Do you know anything

    about what these papers were about?

    A. In relation to the document I am not sure, but what I

    saw in Kono at that time when I went there, in my presence

    I took some ammos to Issa to transfer it to Morris Kallon

    in Makeni, but I was in Kono, some white guys went there

    with some UN men and the CO Meh said that the people came

    to the chief, Issa, for him to sign some documents. I

    asked what the document was for and he said for the peace

    agreement in Freetown.

    It was at that time that I left with those white guys and

    entered Issa's residence. I went into Issa's room, because

    I don't speak Krio, so they won't notice that I am a

    Liberian. When they finished talking I used the bypass

    route and went to CO Meh who was in control of the diamond

    that we used to bring. I went to his house.

    It was there that I was - that I called over the Thuraya

    satellite and called to Charles Taylor that there were some

    white people from Freetown who had come to Issa, but they

    said that they had come for peace agreement. And he said,

    'The man wants to connive.' Then he said, 'Go to Kailahun

    and wait for him there, I will send for him.' First he

    said, 'You can execute him in Kono', and I said, 'No, the

    group is large and if there were places like Pendembu or

    Kailahun I will be able to execute him.' And then he said,

    'Okay, but then come to Kailahun, I will send for him to


    That's the time that I left Kono and went to Kailahun and

    waited there for over weeks, let's say over two weeks, and

    Issa never returned. Later Charles Taylor called me and

    said, 'The man has already connived, you can come back. He

    will no more receive supplies from me because our

    operation, RUF is not different. NPFL is not different.'

    When you cross - once you go across you go to Freetown and

    you are an RUF. When you cross from Sierra Leone to

    Liberia you are NPFL. That was how the movement was like.

    We all took one instruction from Charles Taylor."

    Mr Sesay, Charles Taylor was unhappy with your decision to cooperate with the UN in disarmament, and at one point he sent an instruction to have you executed. Did you know that?

  • No, I was not aware of that and I never heard that. And I don't believe Mr Taylor would be unhappy with me, because they told me that I should work with the government and the United Nations to disarm the RUF. That was what the three of them told me; he, President Obasanjo and Alpha Konare. Zigzag Marzah, when I became interim leader, he never went to Kono, that he was there. I did not sign any document between myself and the United Nations. The agreement was signed in Abuja, the Abuja II. I did not sign it. I did it - it was Omrie Golley who signed on behalf of the RUF in Abuja. I did not sign any document with the UN. This man is telling lies, it's not true.

  • Mr Sesay, you met - when you were in Kono you met with various officials from UNAMSIL, from the United Nations. Isn't that true?

  • General Opande and others used to come to Kono. General Opande, General Agwai, General Issa --

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat the last name.

  • Mr Sesay, go over those names again slowly, the people who used to come to.

  • General Opande, General Martin Agwai, he was the deputy force commander, General Issa - General Issa Chisuzi, who was the chief military observer, they used to come to Kono.

  • Do you know how to spell Issa Chisuzi?

  • I will try to find the spelling.

  • All those three - those were the three military commanders who used to come to Kono and they were all blacks, not white men.

    My Lord, please give me two minutes to use the bathroom.

  • Mr Sesay may be escorted out to the bathroom.

  • [In the absence of the witness]

    In the meantime, Mr Koumjian, perhaps you could assist us with the spelling of these names. There was Martin somebody.

  • Your Honours, I have found Martin Agwai, A-G-W-A-I.

  • We can try to find it at the break, because there may be a book that I have that might have it.

  • Mr Interpreter, do you have any idea how to spell it?

  • Very well. We can continue.

  • [In the presence of the witness]

  • Mr Sesay, where is Chisuzi from?

  • Madam President, if he is from Zambia I might assist because it would go phonetically, Chisuzi would be C-H-E-U-C-H-U-Z-I.

  • Thank you, Mr Chekera.

  • I'm grateful for that.

  • Mr Sesay, fortunately for you, you are aware, aren't you, that Charles Taylor can make an alliance of convenience with former enemies; he can take a former enemy and make him an ally. You are aware of that, aren't you?

  • No, I was not aware of that.

  • Are you aware that Charles Taylor, one of his council is a former leader of the LURD rebels? Mr Supuwood?

  • Well, my Lord, I don't know. I did not know the people who were in the different warring factions, I only heard of the heads.

  • Mr Sesay, soon after the Abuja II you learned that Superman had been killed in Liberia, correct?

  • Yes, around mid-2001, that's when I heard.

  • Mr Sesay, you did lead the RUF in disarmament from mid-2001 and you did that because it was the only chance you had for survival, given the forces that were against you, given the possibility of Sam Bockarie coming back and killing you, and given the fact that if you went to Liberia you'd end up like Superman. That's why you cooperated with the disarmament, because it was the only way for survival; isn't that true?

  • No, no. That was not the only way. In fact, they were bringing up ideas to me that I was kicking against. At one time Gibril brought up an idea that, before disarming, I should give him 400 to 500 armed men, that he should go with the satellite phone in Pujehun District and they would lead an attack in the Pujehun District. When they asked him during an interview, he said since the RUF and the CDF did not want to disarm, they, the citizens of Pujehun, would disarm them forcefully. I went against those ideas. I said no.

  • You knew that the forces against you in Sierra Leone were too strong fight against. The Special Court was coming to Sierra Leone. And you decided, for survival, to go and join that side, to cooperate with Opande; isn't that true?

  • No, my Lord. The people who worked for peace in Sierra Leone, the United Nations authorities knew that I did not surrender to them. They knew that the RUF was armed. I cooperated with them. They knew, including President Kabbah, they knew, together with General Opande, Adeniji was the SRSG, General Martin Agwai --

  • General who? Your Honours, can he kindly repeat the last name.

  • Mr Sesay, you are still running. We don't have anything that you said. Repeat your evidence where you said they knew, together with General Opande. Now, continue from there.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said General Opande, General Martin Agwai, Ambassador Adeniji, General Ali Hassan, President Kabbah and Francis Kaikai, who was the executive secretary for NCDDR, all these people knew and they said it, that some of the commanders of the RUF, didn't want the RUF to disarm at all. The RUF was armed, but I had been told by the ECOWAS that if the Lome Accord fails, that will be a disgrace to them. That was why they appointed me to implement the Lome Accord and disarm the RUF. That was why I started cooperating with the RUF. If I had surrendered or I was under any threat General Opande and others would have said so, and even the President of Sierra Leone by then should have said so.

  • Mr Sesay, if you continued to lead the RUF, you knew it was only a matter of time with Sam Bockarie out there, that he would have returned and you would have been killed.

  • No, no. Because some of my colleagues who were commanders, they did not want Sam Bockarie any longer. So when I told Mr Taylor that the problem between Sam Bockarie - I said the problem was between Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh and that I would want to consult my colleagues. He himself knew that we did not want to accept Sam Bockarie any longer.

  • You said to President Taylor you wanted to consult your colleagues. You went back to Sierra Leone and you never saw Taylor again, and I'll tell you why. If we can look at the testimony from 14 July 2009, please, page 24340; 14 July 2009, 24340. I'd just like to read a short description of you by Charles Taylor. On line 2:

    "A. Well, I'll tell you Issa was one - he's a very careful


    And one of the ways you were careful, Mr Sesay, is that after you told Charles Taylor, "Well, I'll go and consult with my colleagues about Sam Bockarie's return", you made sure you never went back to give Charles Taylor an answer. Isn't that true?

  • Well, I told him that the problem was between Mr Sankoh and Sam Bockarie. I cannot accept Sam Bockarie on my own, I had to consult my colleagues. Since then he did not call me and I did not return to him.

  • Mr Sesay, you said at one point that you have nothing to gain by testifying in this trial. You're convicted and your appeal is final, correct?

  • You are sentenced to 52 years in prison, correct?

  • But, Mr Sesay, you are a human being, and human beings find hope. So what is your hope of not spending the rest of your life in prison?

  • Well, my hope is to God and to the people of Sierra Leone who know that the peace process was something I had accepted willingly, and even during the days of the war when I was with the civilian population, the way I had respect for the civilians, that's the only hope I have.

  • Mr Sesay, when I read to you Charles Taylor's testimony where he said he never asked the RUF to take Sam Bockarie back, you refused to answer the question or to respond that what he said was a lie. You came here trying to protect Charles Taylor; isn't that true?

  • Well, my Lord, I came here when his lawyers told my lawyers that I should give an account of what I know between myself and Charles Taylor. When they requested I said okay.

  • You have nothing to lose by testifying here, as you're already convicted but you have the hope that if Charles Taylor is free, he can help you get a political release from prison, because there's no more court appeals. That's your hope, isn't it, that Charles Taylor will be released and will advocate for your release from prison. Isn't that true?

  • No, my Lord. Mr Taylor is not a Sierra Leonean and he has no influence or authority over the Government of Sierra Leone. He has no political authority in Sierra Leone. It's only the people of Sierra Leone who can plead to the international community on my behalf, not Mr Taylor. And the UN authorities who knew that I cooperated with them, that's the only hope that I have after God. Not Mr Taylor.

  • Mr Sesay, your whole life with the RUF, you did what was necessary for survival. At Camp Naama, when you were tricked by Foday Sankoh into going to Liberia, you told us you stayed, you didn't escape, because you'd seen - Foday Sankoh told you about Isiaka being killed for escaping, and it was a matter of survival for you to train with these rebels; isn't that true?

  • Well, at that stage, that was what Mr Sankoh said. But at the time that I went to Abidjan, I knew that Isiaka did not die, and I was not able to leave Camp Naama on my own because I was not familiar with Liberia. That was my first time of going to Liberia. Later, when I had been at the base, I heard what Mr Sankoh was saying about his cause. I stayed then with the RUF.

  • Mr Sesay, you didn't want to end up like Superman, murdered by Charles Taylor, you didn't want to end up killed by a larger stronger United Nations force or arrested, so you disarmed, as a matter of survival. Isn't that true?

  • No, my Lord, that's not true, because the people whom I worked with for the return of peace when I disarmed the RUF, they should have said that. But they knew that I did not surrender and I did not disarm for my survival, I disarmed in the interest of the country.

  • Throughout your time in the RUF, in Luawa Giehun, when Foday Sankoh was investigating and executing those he suspected of conniving, you killed as a means of survival of ensuring your own survival; isn't that true?

  • I did not take part in the killing of the Giehun people because, if I had taken part in that, the people of Giehun wouldn't have been my witnesses.

  • Mr Sesay, who had the radio code in the RUF, "Survival"? Who was called Survival?

  • And the truth is, Mr Sesay, throughout the war you took children from their parents, you turned them into soldiers and bush wives, you commanded troops that killed your fellow Sierra Leoneans, you were convicted - you personally killed, you personally raped. All of these acts you did to ensure your own survival; isn't that true?

  • No, my Lord. No. The civilians who were behind RUF lines know that I did what I could to protect them. That was why, if you look at my Defence case, the civilians were in the majority from Kailahun, from Kono up to Makeni.

  • Let's look at the testimony of one of Charles Taylor's Defence witnesses, 12 April 2010, please, page 38706.

    This is from the testimony of Charles Ngebeh, your fellow RUF and, in the middle of line 15, he testified:

    "A. The atrocities that were committed by the RUF, Issa,

    are now in jail. The Kamajors are suffering, the AFRC are

    suffering. Indeed, it happened."

    That's what your fellow RUF soldier told this Court, but you told the Court on 12 July that you were the victim.

    You also told the Court on 17 August that you heard Charles Taylor threaten that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war, and Sierra Leone did taste the bitterness of war, and you were one of those he sent that inflicted that war on the people of Sierra Leone. Isn't that true?

  • No. I was not sent by Mr Taylor. It was Mr Sankoh who took me to Sierra Leone to fight a war. If Charles Ngebeh talked about the atrocities, yes, the RUF committed atrocities, I wouldn't refute that. But --

  • Your Honours, can he kindly repeat his answer slowly.

  • You have to repeat your answer, please, slowly.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said the RUF committed atrocities, but some of the commanders who committed the atrocities who were commanding areas, they were not under Issa's control. They became Prosecution witnesses. Some were given letters and they said they would not be prosecuted. In fact, he trained Issa.

  • Mr Sesay, you lived up to your radio code, Survival, all through the war and you continue to live up to it. Just as you would kill, just as you would rape, just as you would take children from their parents, you'll lie in court and you've been doing that for your survival. Isn't that correct?

  • No, my Lord, I did not kill innocent people. I protected civilians to the level that I could protect them. And I did not come here to tell lies. I came here to say what I knew and what I could recall.

  • Your Honours, subject to the ruling on the motion for leave to appeal, I have no further questions, depending on the results of that, of course.

  • The decision was issued yesterday.

  • And frankly, I'm surprised that it has not yet been published. But I've been informed that it was published this morning, while we've been sitting here.

  • Your Honours, there are also at least one MFI I believe that I used this morning - or one document I used this document that has not been MFI'ed and that would be the document behind tab 6.

  • This is the eleventh report of the Secretary-General from the United Nations Mission to Sierra Leone, dated 7 September 2001. Mr Koumjian, do you only want the pages that you used to be marked?

  • Yes. That's fine.

  • That will be page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4.

  • Page 7 and the annex.

  • Those pages, collectively, are marked MFI-42. Would that be all, Mr Koumjian?

  • Yes, thank you.

  • Mr Chekera, any re-examination?

  • Yes, Madam President, thank you.

  • Mr Sesay, what we are going to do is to try to clarify your answers from the questions that were being asked by Mr Koumjian.

  • I don't intend for us to repeat your evidence that you've already given when Mr Griffiths was asking you questions.

  • I will ask you very concise questions and I hope that you also answer in very concise terms.

  • Mr Chekera, I hope you are on tune to channel 2.

  • I get the hint, thank you.

  • Mr Sesay, let's start by looking at the issues that arose today - this morning. Let's look at P-516. You recall P-516, or maybe you could just have a quick look at it. I just have one or two questions. Mr Sesay, you remember this document, the one that's on the screen?

  • Yes, sir.

  • That's a document which was read to you outlining a number of atrocities that were allegedly committed around 2000, 2001, by which time you said disarmament was already underway. You recall that document?

  • Yes, sir.

  • I just have one question to you with respect to that document. At the time of the alleged atrocities in that document, that is around 2000 and 2001, what was the relationship between the RUF and Charles Taylor?

  • At that time the RUF and the Charles Taylor - and Charles Taylor, the only relationship was the meeting - the meetings that I attended to become the interim leader and the instructions that the ECOWAS were giving me to work with the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations.

  • To work with the government in Sierra Leone and the United Nations with respect to what?

  • In respect of the implementation of the Lome Accord to disarm the RUF.

  • Thank you. That will be all from that document.

    Let's just keep - let's talk about disarmament, Mr Taylor - sorry, Mr Sesay, and the suggestions that were put to you by learned counsel opposite. Effectively, Mr Sesay, if you did not understand counsel opposite correctly or clearly, what he was saying to you was that were it not for circumstances you would not have disarmed. You were forced into disarmament by circumstances. I would like you to comment on that before I ask you the next questions.

  • Well, the lawyer was not in Sierra Leone and he was not involved in the process. The people who were involved in the process, that is the United Nations authorities, the SRSG, the force commander, the deputy force commander, and General Ali Hassan who was the sector commander for the north, and the President of Sierra Leone himself, President Tejan Kabbah by then, all of them testified on my behalf. And they said that I cooperated in the process willingly.

    So if he was not the one who did the work and he's saying that I was under threat and the people who brought peace to Sierra Leone knew that I was involved in the process willingly, they said it in other press outlets, they said it in the north that Issa had opposition when he disarmed the RUF. If I was under threat I wouldn't have been under any opposition to disarm the RUF.

  • Yes. Mr Sesay, you have said in your evidence under cross and during your evidence-in-chief you were actually under threat from the RUF who were opposed to disarmament. You've said that in your testimony. The people who actually threatened you were your colleagues in the RUF who were opposed to disarmament, Gibril Massaquoi and company. My question to you is: What was your motivation for disarming the RUF at this time?

  • It was because the ECOWAS leaders told me to disarm the RUF because if the RUF failed, that would be a disgrace to them. The western world would look at them that they were not capable to solve an internal problem. That was it. And I considered that the people of Sierra Leone wanted peace and that was why --

  • Your Honours, can he kindly speak slowly and take this answer again.

  • Can you repeat your answer. "I considered the people of Sierra Leone wanted peace and that was why", continue from there. Slowly.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said based on what the ECOWAS leaders told me about the disarmament process, and President Kabbah - I mean, President Obasanjo, President Taylor and President Alpha Konare in our last meeting in Monrovia, based on what they told me that if the Lome Accord failed then the western powers would look at them that they were unable to solve internal problems. That I should work with the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations to carry out the disarmament of the RUF.

    Secondly, the people of Sierra Leone themselves at this time, they were yearning for peace because I was in Makeni and the UNAMSIL used to come to Makeni, the bishop used to come to me to talk to me, even the chiefs used to come to me in Makeni and Magburaka. I said those were the two reasons why I accepted the disarmament.

  • Mr Sesay, you've indicated that the ECOWAS leaders wanted you to go ahead with disarmament and that included Mr Taylor. Now, you've heard evidence that was read to you by counsel opposite that actually during this time Mr Taylor ordered Zigzag Marzah to execute you for signing some document with some white UN officials. During the time of disarmament, did you sign any documents in Sierra Leone relating to the disarmament?

  • No. I did not sign any documents pertaining to the disarmament process. The disarmament process, it was in Abuja that it was signed. It was in Omrie Golley - it was in Abuja that Omrie Golley signed for the creation of the tripartite meeting that led to the disarmament. The United Nations in Sierra Leone did not have any meeting whereby I signed a document in relation to the disarmament, no. Even the tripartite meeting that we used to hold, we were not signing documents. The SRSG was the chairman. They used to suggest that - the SRSG would suggest to the government and the RUF, during these meetings we would want the RUF to disarm in Tonkolili and the government to disarm in Bonthe, for example. That was what they used to do, they were not signing documents. The SRSG would prepare the agenda and they would share the paper to the RUF and the Government of Sierra Leone.

  • What about any of those officials you indicated, you talked about in your evidence, you were meeting during this process. Did you sign any documents with them?

  • No. I recall that the only document that I sent to General Opande was when he requested that he had the first meeting with me. Then I suggested where we would have the meeting. But I never signed a document between myself and the UNAMSIL. When they came, we normally spoke.

  • Your Honours, can he kindly repeat his answer again slowly.

  • Pause. Pause. You need to repeat your evidence. You said, "I never signed a document between myself and UNAMSIL." Continue from there.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said they used to visit me. The RUF controlled areas - I used to have meeting - when I had meetings with them, we normally just used to talk. I would explain the problems that affected civilians that needed General Opande's intervention in terms of relief supplies. When General Opande came to testify, he said that. And he too used to see the civilians who were living behind RUF lines.

  • Still on the same topic, Mr Sesay. It was suggested to you that one of the reasons why you disarmed was because you were afraid of the Special Court. When did you become aware of the Special Court?

  • Well, at the initial stage, like the lawyer said, in July, I was not aware of the Special Court. But around September at one time General Opande came to Makeni. I was not there. They told him I was gone to Masingbi. He flew close to the road in his helicopter and he saw my two vehicles and he landed by the roadside and he stopped my vehicles and he said, "I had come to you in Makeni and they said you had gone to Masingbi, so that's why I was chasing you."

  • Your Honours, can the witness be requested to slow down his pace.

  • Mr Sesay, first of all you are running too quickly. Secondly, the question asked to you simply was: When did you first become aware of the Special Court, and the answer would be a date.

  • Okay, my Lord. I'm sorry that I'm explaining. It was around September 2001 when General Opande told me.

  • And by that time, what was the stage of the disarmament process, where were you at?

  • Well, at that time we were proceeding with the disarmament. The RUF was still in arms in Kailahun District, Tongo Field, Bombali District. The RUF had not disarmed in those places.

  • In percentage terms, how much of the RUF-controlled territory had already disarmed, if you can tell?

  • At that time, RUF had disarmed up to 60 to 65 per cent.

  • Again, Mr Sesay, it was suggested that another reason why you went ahead with the disarmament process was because you feared Sam Bockarie would kill you. Were you under any apprehension that Sam Bockarie would kill you during the time of the disarmament?

  • No. Sam Bockarie could not have killed me. He couldn't have been able to kill me, because some of the commanders in the RUF by then no longer liked Sam Bockarie. Because Morris Kallon did not like him. There are other commanders who did not like him. So he couldn't have killed all of us. It was not possible.

  • What about Charles Taylor? Were you under any threat from Charles Taylor?

  • No. If I had suspected that I was under any threat from Mr Taylor, I wouldn't have come here. I wouldn't have come here.

  • Now, another reason why, as counsel suggested, you proceeded with disarmament was because you were afraid of UNAMSIL, which are - if you look at the document that was marked MFI-42, by September 2001, which by September 2001 had troops amounted to something like 15,000 in Sierra Leone. Did you disarm because you were afraid of the UNAMSIL troops?

  • No, no, no, no. If I was afraid of UNAMSIL troops - I was not afraid of them. I was not afraid of them. And the authorities of UNAMSIL know that I was not afraid of them. I did not surrender to them. I cooperated with them. I was willing to cooperate with them so that Sierra Leone would have peace. Had I known - because if they knew - if they were aware that I was afraid of them, they wouldn't have testified for me.

  • Your Honours, can he repeat the last part of his answer?

  • Repeat the end, the last part of your answer. We didn't get it.

  • My Lord, I said someone who surrenders out of fear - someone who surrenders surrenders out of fear. The UNAMSIL authorities did not see that in me. They knew that I was willing for the process to go on.

  • Yes. Mr Taylor - sorry, Mr Sesay, I keep confusing you with Mr Taylor. MFI-42, by September 2001, there were about 15,000 troops, UNAMSIL troops, in Sierra Leone. You've indicated that by this time disarmament was around what percentage again, September 2001?

  • My Lord, I said at this time the disarmament had gone, and in fact, it was in this month that the ECOMOG - ECOWAS leaders went to Kono, President Kabbah, President Obasanjo, President Konare. They went to Kono and they praised me a lot about my cooperation, and President Kabbah --

  • Mr Sesay, the question was: By September 2001, what percentage of the RUF had disarmed? That was the question. What's your answer?

  • My Lord, about 60 to 65 per cent.

  • In any event, Mr Sesay, do you know what the mandate of UNAMSIL was when they were deployed to Sierra Leone?

  • They were a peacekeeping force.

  • And I understood that they did not have chapter 7.

  • Thank you. I'm just going to ask you - I'm going to move to a different topic. I'm going to ask you quickly about the satellite phone that you got from Mr Taylor. That was from yesterday's evidence.

    You recall indicated that you got a satellite phone from Mr Taylor?

  • And you recall counsel reading your evidence from Mr Taylor, where he said he did not give you a satellite phone?

  • And you recall in your evidence, when you were answering one of the questions from counsel opposite, your answer at line 2 - sorry, page 47172, that's yesterday's transcript, 47172, at line 2 to 6. When you were talking about the satellite phone, you said - the one that you got from Mr Taylor - "I requested for a phone and President Taylor himself told President Obasanjo about it, that I should be assisted with a phone. Then President Obasanjo said they would work on it, and during that October, Mr Taylor gave me one phone."

    I just want to explore your answer when you said when you requested for the phone and President Obasanjo said they would look into it. When you got the satellite phone from Mr Taylor in October, did Mr Taylor tell you who it was coming from?

  • Well, Mr Taylor just told me that the phone that I had requested for so that I would communicate with them whenever they wanted to talk to me, that was the phone. Then he gave me the phone.

  • Did he indicate that it was coming from him personally or from the ECOWAS leaders, as promised by Obasanjo?

  • Well, when he - the way he spoke, it was from the ECOWAS who had given it to me, because it was a request to ECOWAS, through President Obasanjo.

  • Sorry. Mr Sesay, did I hear you say, "Mr Taylor just told me that the phone that I had requested for so that I would communicate with them whenever they wanted to talk to me, that was the phone"? Is that what you said?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • And "them" - when you say "them", "communicate with them", who are you referring to?

  • The ECOWAS, my Lord.

  • In other words, the phone - the purpose of the phone you requested was to communicate with the ECOWAS leaders?

  • And is that what you used the phone for?

  • Yes, ma'am. Because I used to receive messages through the phone about the meetings that were to take place, and I used to call. And when I started working with the UNAMSIL, I was using the phone to call General Opande and the others, when we used to discuss the Abuja II meetings. I was using it for the peace process, and I was using it for my own personal purpose.

  • Let's move on to a different topic, Mr Sesay. Let's discuss briefly the person you saw in a number of photographs. I'm going to be asking that you look at D-297C, D-172, P-122F. Those were the pictures you saw of Momoh Dgiba.

    Mr Sesay, you said that Momoh Dgiba trained with you at Naama and he left before the training was complete.

  • Yes, his brother and himself.

  • At the time that Momoh Dgiba was at Naama, do you know whether he had any association with Charles Taylor?

  • No. I only knew Momoh Dgiba, that his father was from Sierra Leone but he was born in Liberia, because that is what he was saying. But I did not know - I did not hear anything in relation of him having business with Mr Taylor when we were at Naama.

  • Where was he coming from before he came to Naama, to your knowledge?

  • From Harbel, where Pa Kallon was - most of the recruits at Camp Naama had come from Harbel, Harbel and Kakata.

  • And before the training was complete, did you know where he went?

  • Well, I heard that he returned to Harbel when he left Naama.

  • And did you know when he became Charles Taylor's aide de camp?

  • No, my Lord, I don't know. I only saw Momoh Dgiba as Mr Taylor's bodyguard in 2000.

  • Do you know how he was appointed camp de aide - aide-de-camp to Charles Taylor?

  • No, I don't know.

  • Do you know who appointed him to that position?

  • Do you know whether Charles Taylor was involved in that process of appointing him to that position?

  • No, my Lord. I don't know about Taylor's administration and his men.

  • Sorry. You can just - let's look at D-297C. Mr Sesay, can you tell when that photograph was taken?

  • I don't know. I don't know when this picture was taken.

  • Would you say that was before the Naama days or that was after the Naama days?

  • This was many, many, many years after the Naama.

  • Can you tell whether this was before Charles Taylor was President or after he was President?

  • Very well. D-172. Again, Mr Sesay, can you tell when this photograph was taken?

  • No, my Lord, I don't know.

  • Again, does this look like before Naama or after Naama days?

  • This was after Naama, a long time.

  • Thank you. P-122F. Again, can you tell when this photograph was taken?

  • No, I don't know.

  • Can you tell whether it was before Naama or after Naama?

  • This was after Naama, a long time after Naama.

  • So, Mr Sesay, from those photographs, can you tell whether Charles Taylor knew Momoh Dgiba before he came to Gbarnga or after - sorry, before he came to Naama or after Naama?

  • No. He did not know him when he was in Naama because, when he was in Naama, he was slim. When he was in Naama, Momoh Dgiba was a slim guy, he was not a man then. He was a slim guy because --

  • Well, because we were of the same age group.

  • Mr Sesay, my fault, maybe I didn't ask the question in as precise terms as I promised.

    My question was: From those photographs, can you tell whether Charles Taylor knew Momoh Dgiba from the time Momoh Dgiba was at Naama or from the time after Momoh Dgiba left Naama?

  • I believe that it was at the time that Momoh Dgiba left Naama. That was the time Mr Taylor knew him.

  • Very well. Thank you. That will be all in respect of those photographs.

    Let's just stick with the photographs for the time being and look at D-51. Mr Sesay, you will recall the evidence that was read to you about Zigzag Marzah when Zigzag Marzah said that you gave him a girl - a woman, one Seibatu. Do you recall that evidence?

  • Yes, I recall.

  • That was sometime in - according to his evidence, that was in Kono. In your evidence, Mr Sesay, you said the only Seibatu you knew was Hawa's sister. Do I recall your evidence --

  • Yes, that was what I said.

  • Sorry, I think I'm going too fast as well. Which Hawa were you talking about?

  • Hawa for Sam Bockarie.

  • And do you know whether Zigzag Marzah had any relationship with that particular Seibatu?

  • Hawa or Seibatu?

  • No, he had no business with her.

  • When you were in Kono, did you ever meet Zigzag Marzah in Kono?

  • No. Zigzag Marzah did not go to Kono when I was there.

  • Now, this Seibatu, who was Sam Bockarie's wife's sister, do you know where she went when Sam Bockarie went to - moved over to Liberia?

  • All of them went.

  • And do you know what became of her when she went to - what was she doing when she was in Liberia?

  • I did not know what she was doing. But when I went - at one time when I went to Sam Bockarie's house, I saw her there.

  • And tell me something: When Sam Bockarie was in Liberia, when he was living in Liberia, did he have any relationship or any interactions with Zigzag Marzah?

  • Interpreter, you are talking about me. I think the lawyer is talking about Sam Bockarie.

  • Sam Bockarie and Zigzag Marzah, did they have any interactions or any relationship.

  • I did not know because I only went to Sam Bockarie's house once.

  • Mr Chekera, I have my eye on the clock. We'll take the midmorning break now and reconvene at 11.30.

  • [Break taken at 11.01 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.33 a.m.]

  • Mr Chekera, please continue.

  • Mr Sesay, I was asking you questions about someone by the name Seibatu, who was Hawa's sister, and Hawa was Sam Bockarie's wife. Mr Sesay, do you know whether Sam Bockarie, when he moved to Liberia, whether he had any interactions with Benjamin Yeaten?

  • What was the nature of their interaction?

  • Well, he was almost a friend of Bockarie because at the time I went there when I visited Benjamin Yeaten, I met Sam Bockarie there.

  • And what was the relationship between Zigzag Marzah and Benjamin Yeaten, if you know?

  • Well, I cannot give details about that but Benjamin was the boss for Zigzag.

  • Very well. Let's look at D-51, please. Mr Sesay, you will recall learned counsel opposite showing you D-51 in conjunction with the evidence he read to you of Zigzag Marzah, to try to establish that Zigzag Marzah used to frequent Sierra Leone and was indeed friends with Sam Bockarie. Do you remember that?

  • Can you tell from that photograph in which country it was taken?

  • This should be Liberia.

  • Why do you say that should be Liberia?

  • Because we did not have roads like these in Buedu.

  • Very well. Thank you. That would be all with respect to D-51.

    Let's look at a different topic, Mr Sesay. Let's talk about Daniel Tamba and, while we are at it, we will look at D-316 and P-153A. Mr Sesay, if you can just give a year, when was it that Daniel Tamba left the RUF to go to Liberia?

  • It was in December of '99.

  • And do you know what he did when he went to Liberia?

  • Well, I did not know what he was doing.

  • With that - with that in mind, would you dispute the allegation by learned counsel opposite that he then joined the SSS?

  • Well, I wouldn't dispute that, because that was in Liberia.

  • Very well. Let's look at D-316. I just want to draw your attention to the date, that's dated 9 November 2001, and you will recall, Mr Sesay, this is the document that lists Daniel Tamba as one of the members of the SSS from that document. Mr Sesay, I just want your answer. 2001, November, was Daniel Tamba still a member of the RUF?

  • No, no. From December 1999, Daniel Tamba no longer was member of the RUF; from January 2000 to November 2001, Daniel Tamba was no longer a member of the RUF.

  • Very well. Let's look at P-153A. That was a photograph. You recall this photograph where you identified Daniel Tamba and Benjamin Yeaten?

  • Can you tell when that photograph was taken?

  • No, I don't know.

  • Can you tell whether that photograph was taken when Daniel Tamba was still a member of the RUF?

  • No. It was not at that time because at the time Daniel Tamba was a member of the RUF he was not working with Benjamin Yeaten.

  • Very well. Thank you. That would be all with respect to those photographs.

    Let's move on to another topic, Mr Sesay. Let's talk about the Guinea attacks or, rather, let's talk about the allegation that RUF members were fighting in Liberia and in Guinea.

    You indicated, Mr Sesay, in your evidence that certain members of the RUF, during the disarmament, left and went to Liberia?

  • Yes.

  • And that some of them were indeed engaged in combat in Liberia. In fact, you actually referred to evidence of a different witness who confirmed that. I'm going to ask you about one particular person. Do you know someone by the name John Vincent?

  • Yes, I know him.

  • John Vincent, when he left Sierra Leone, where did he go?

  • He went to Liberia.

  • Do you know why he went to Liberia?

  • Well, I thought at that time that they did not want to join me for the disarmament process, he did not want to disarm. That was the reason why he went to Liberia.

  • And what nationality was John Vincent?

  • He's a Liberian.

  • When he went to Liberia, do you know whether he was engaged in combat in Liberia?

  • Well, at the time he went, I did not know.

  • Besides John Vincent and Superman, were there other Liberian vanguards who went to - who went back to Liberia during the disarmament process?

  • Yes. Like CO Lion, CO Kailondo, all of them went - CO Gorgie, all of them went.

  • And do you know whether any of those were engaged in combat in Liberia or on behalf of the Liberian government?

  • Yes, because like for Lion, I heard that he died in Kolahun at the time they were fighting against LURD. They were Liberians. So, when they went back to Liberia they joined the AFL.

  • And at that time were they taking instructions from you?

  • No, no. They were not taking instructions from me.

  • Very well, Mr Sesay, let's move on to a different topic. Let's look at D-84. Mr Sesay, I just have one or two questions in respect of that document. D-84, Mr Sesay, is a document that you allege was written by Gibril Massaquoi. Do you remember that document?

  • When did you first see that document?

  • It was during my trial.

  • And who tendered the document?

  • It was the Prosecution that tendered it to the Court and my lawyers gave it to me to watch it. They tendered it as an exhibit.

  • When the Prosecution tendered that document as an exhibit, do you know what they were trying to establish?

  • Well, they were trying to establish that I had a command responsibility and that I had a link with Mr Taylor.

  • So, Mr Sesay, just so that I understand you correctly, that was a document that was used against you by the Prosecution in your case?

  • Thank you. That would be all with respect to that document.

    Mr Sesay, we are going to move backwards a bit and start with the issues that arose in your cross-examination right at the beginning, and we will follow, hopefully we will follow the dates chronologically.

    Let's look at an issue that arose on 17 August. Mr Sesay, you will recall when counsel opposite was cross-examining you about the agreement between Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio to destabilise the elections?

  • Yes, my Lord.

  • And you were referred to a document, if you recall, that is a - the document at tab 8, that has been marked MFI-19. Mr Sesay, you will recall in your evidence you had indicated that the agreement between Maada Bio and Foday Sankoh to destabilise the elections was reached at Yamoussoukro? That was your evidence. Do you recall that?

  • Yes.

  • And counsel showed you the document at tab 8 to prove you wrong because by the time Yamoussoukro - by the time Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio went to Yamoussoukro the elections had already taken place. You recall that?

  • In your explanation, you indicated that even before Yamoussoukro, Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio had been in contact. I want us to discuss that aspect. Do you know when it was that Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio first started discussing the elections?

  • Well, I do not recall the exact date now, but that was what I knew, that Mr Sankoh and Maada Bio had been discussing - at first --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to slow down.

  • Mr Sesay, you're going too fast again for the interpreter. Now, repeat your answer. You said at first Mr Sankoh and Maada Bio had been discussing.

    Now, continue from there.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said at first Mr Sankoh and Maada Bio had been discussing through paramount chiefs like the late Bai Kurr, I mean late Bai Yorsoh in Magburaka and Paramount Chief Bai Kurr in Masingbi. Those were the first people that Maada Bio started using to talk to Mr Sankoh because he knew those were his brothers from Tonkolili District. So that was how their talks started. So they went on like that until the time they met in Abidjan, and Yamoussoukro.

  • Sorry, before you continue could we have the names of the chiefs again?

  • The first one that I referred to was the late Paramount Chief Bai Yorsoh and the honourable Paramount Chief Bai Kurr.

  • Madam President I'm going to ask the interpreter to assist.

  • Very well. Please, Mr Interpreter can you spell these two names.

  • Bai Yorsoh is B-A-I, one word, the next one is Y-O-R-S-O-H. And the next one is B-A-I, one word, the next is K-U-R-R.

  • And if you know, Mr Sesay, what was Maada Bio's attitude towards the elections during these negotiations with Foday Sankoh through the offices of the two chiefs?

  • Well, what Maada Bio and Mr Sankoh agreed on, in fact Maada Bio's idea towards the election was negative, but it was only because of the pressure from the politicians and the international community, because even on the day of the elections, soldiers opened fire in Freetown, and Maada Bio wanted disarmament first; he said peace before elections. That was the agreement between him and Tom Nyuma and others.

  • Maada Bio wanted peace before elections. And you said soldiers fired - opened fire in Freetown. Firstly, what soldiers and - okay, which soldiers opened fire in Freetown?

  • The Sierra Leone soldiers under Maada Bio, they opened fire in Freetown on the day of the elections.

  • And why were they opening fire?

  • Well, they wanted to disturb the elections, but the civilian population concentrated and they wanted the election to carry on, they, together with the politicians.

  • And what was Foday Sankoh's position with respect to the elections?

  • Well, Mr Sankoh also ordered attacks because he and Maada Bio had planned that - Maada Bio said if he was unable to stop the elections, he said then on the very day of the election, Mr Sankoh should attack Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and he will order the army in Bo, Kenema, Magburaka and Makeni to retreat and go back to Freetown so that the RUF will be able to take control of those towns. So it was just to disrupt the election so that the elections would not hold.

  • And do you know if you know when was it that Foday Sankoh became aware of Maada Bio's position with respect to the elections?

  • Well, it was something they discussed before the elections. And even --

  • I'm sorry to interrupt, perhaps I should have asked this earlier, but I'm curious to know as to, Mr Sesay, how do you know what went on between Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio? You're talking about them planning various things in regard to the election, but how do you know all this?

  • Well, my Lord, at this time I was in Danane and Deen-Jalloh, who was the head of the delegation and his wife, his wife was Maada Bio's elder sister, so these arrangements were things that were done between Deen-Jalloh, Mr Sankoh and Maada Bio. And even at the time they met in Yamoussoukro, I heard it from Mr Sankoh himself.

  • I also want to seek clarification from you, Mr Sesay. Who was the Head of State in Sierra Leone just before these elections that we are talking about?

  • It was Maada Bio who was the Head of State. He was the chairman of the NPRC.

  • And who called for the elections to be held at this particular time?

  • Well, what I understood was that the politicians said they wanted elections.

  • What politicians?

  • Like the different political parties, the SLPP, the APC and other parties.

  • And your testimony is Maada Bio, being the incumbent President at the time, arranged to have an election but actually didn't want the election? Is this your evidence?

  • Yes, ma'am. What I understood from Mr Sankoh was that Maada Bio did not want the election at that time because he said he wanted peace before elections, but the people in Freetown were putting him under pressure and the international community too said they wanted the election so that Maada Bio could turn over to a civilian rule.

  • Very well. Please proceed.

  • And even Britain was pressurising him.

  • Mr Sesay, maybe just to put that evidence into context, how had Maada Bio become the Head of State in Sierra Leone?

  • Well, Maada Bio was initially the vice-chairman to Valentine Strasser King who initially overthrew the APC government in '92. But later Maada Bio, and Tom Nyuma and others overthrew Strasser King in 1995. So when they overthrew Strasser King, Maada Bio then became the chairman.

  • So Maada Bio was leading a military junta. Is that correct?

  • Yes, after he had overthrown Strasser.

  • And what was the attitude of the Sierra Leoneans to that military junta?

  • Well, the Sierra Leoneans did not want military rule any longer, and they then wanted civilian rule. That's including the politicians themselves.

  • What about the attitude of the international community to that military junta?

  • Well, Britain also wanted a civilian rule. They wanted the military to turn over to a civilian rule because they were the ones who sponsored the elections.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, let's move on to a different topic. You will recall, Mr Sesay, counsel opposite suggesting to you that your evidence was tailored to suit Mr Taylor, and that you might have been influenced by Mr Taylor while he was in detention in Freetown. Do you recall that?

  • I'm going to refer you to this letter I have from the Registrar in connection with Mr Taylor's conditions of detention.

    Madam Court Manager, you might want to assist me with the document I distributed earlier. I'll refer you specifically to paragraph 2. That's a letter dated 23 August 2010, to Courtenay Griffiths QC from the Registrar. If you look at paragraph 2:

    "The former Registrar of the Special Court, Mr Munlo, issued a segregation order on 31 March 2006, upon request from the Prosecution pursuant to Rule 26(A) of the Rules of Detention. The segregation was ordered for the purposes of: (a), preserving security and good order in the detention facility and; (b), preventing any prejudice to or otherwise undermining the outcome of the proceedings against the detainee, Mr Taylor. It" - that is the segregation order - "remained in effect until Mr Taylor's departure to The Hague."

    You will recall, Mr Sesay, in your testimony you indicated that when you were in detention, you did not have access to Mr Taylor.

  • Yes, I recall.

  • Just briefly explain to us what this segregation meant between yourself and Mr Taylor.

  • We were in another - in a different block and Mr Taylor was in a different block. And we never used to meet. We never used to see one another and we never used to discuss. And the place where we used to receive visitors, he never used to go there. The only place that he used to go that I also used to go was to the doctor. But at any time he was going to the doctor, they would drive him in a vehicle and they would pass through the other side. But at that time they will have to stop us, we will not be allowed to go to the doctor until the doctor was finished with him and he leaves. So I was never able to talk to him or see him.

    And even in the recreation yard, the exercise yard, the blocks were separated. There were officers who were there guarding and watching us whilst we were at the exercise yard. They were there to keep security at the exercise yard. And in the building where we were, there were two line 1 officer and line 2 officers, and that was how we were located at the detention.

  • And, Mr Sesay - a yes or no, will suffice - with those segregation measures in place, did Mr Taylor ever attempt to contact you?

  • Very well, Madam President, may this letter be marked for identification.

  • The letter from the Registrar entitled, "Conditions of detention of Mr Taylor while in Freetown" and dated 23 August 2010, is marked MFI-43.

  • While on that issue, Mr Sesay, it was also suggested to you that you might have received instructions from Mr Taylor through his counsel. Did you, Mr Sesay, receive any instructions on how to tailor your evidence to suit Mr Taylor's purposes through any one of Mr Taylor's lawyers?

  • No, no. None of his lawyers told me anything, that this is a message from Mr Taylor, no. Even the lead counsel, at the time he went to Rwanda, at the time he used to go to the prisons for three days, he used to show me my own testimony and he would tell me the areas he would want me to talk about, and he will tell me that he was not going to come to interview me. He said, "I will only give you the file of your testimony and these are the things that I will have to lead you on." And those were the only things.

    It was only when I came here that you started asking me whether I knew this person or I knew this other person. That was the only time. But at that time it was only my own document. Then at that time now I came when you asked me if I know this person and I will say yes, then you would ask me how, then I explain and then you people would write.

  • Mr Sesay, talk normally like normal people talk. Nobody can possibly record what you're saying at the speed at which you talk. In any event, it's your business. If your evidence is not captured, it's a waste of time, isn't it? I've told you at least more than a hundred times to slow down. I don't know why you don't slow down.

  • Thank you, my Lord.

  • Let's take our time. I know you might be anxious to go back and I promise you you're not going to see this courtroom by next week, so just let's take our time.

    You were asked in that context, Mr Sesay, of whether you knew someone by the name of Supuwood. Have you ever received any instructions from Supuwood, Mr Sesay?

  • No.

  • I don't know this person.

  • Very well. Thank you. Let's move to a different topic, Mr Sesay. Let's look at your evidence when you were quizzed about the death of Alice Pyne's child. I don't want us to go back to the gory details of that sad incident; I just want to ask you a few questions. When was it that you heard about the disappearance of the child, Mr Sesay?

  • After they attacked me in Makeni and killed some of my bodyguards, when I went to Buedu, that was the time I heard it. That was around April of '99.

  • Sorry, "After I was attacked in Makeni and killed some of my bodyguards?" Is that what the witness said? Was that what you said, Mr Sesay?

  • My Lord, when I went to Buedu, that was the time I heard it.

  • What did you say about the death of your bodyguards?

  • I said after I was attacked in Makeni by Superman and Gibril Massaquoi and others, then I went to Buedu in '99. That was when I heard that Alice's child got missing.

  • Your Honours, the witness used a word that could mean "missing" or "died". Can he please clarify?

  • I've asked the witness at least twice. I'm not going to ask him again. Please continue, Mr Chekera.

  • Mr Sesay, let's start by who attacked you and killed your bodyguards?

  • It was Gibril Massaquoi, Superman and their followers.

  • And you said in your response that was the time that you then moved to Buedu and heard about the death of - sorry, and you heard about the missing child. What did you hear in connection with the child, Alice Pyne's child?

  • I heard that Alice's child, she left the child with Seibatu who was with Hawa Mosquito. So she took the child to her mother, behind Buedu, behind Benduma. I don't know what happened, but they said the child got missing. That was the information that I got.

  • Seibatu took the child with one Mosquito, is that what you said?

  • No. I said Seibatu took the child to her mother. Her mother was living in a village around Buedu, behind Benduma. That was what they said.

  • Now, which Seibatu are you talking about who took the child?

  • The same Seibatu who was with Hawa Mosquito.

  • And she took the child to her, as in Seibatu's mother? She took the child to her, that is Seibatu's mother?

  • Yes. She said the child was with Seibatu's mother.

  • And then what happened when she took the child to Seibatu's mother - to her mother, rather, that is Seibatu?

  • Well, when I went to Buedu, the incident had already taken place. When I went there, that was the information I got.

  • At the time that you went to Buedu and got this information, what was your relationship with CO Nya?

  • CO Nya and others were with Superman when they attacked me and they killed some of my bodyguards and they chased me up to Makali.

  • So by the time you got to Buedu and heard about the missing child, you were running away from Superman and CO Nya and others?

  • Yes.

  • And what was the relationship between CO Nya and Alice Pyne?

  • They were in Lunsar, Nya and others attacked me.

  • Sorry, my question was what was the relationship between CO Nya and Alice Pyne?

  • Nya was Alice's husband.

  • And who was the father of the child?

  • Now, Mr Sesay, you will recall counsel opposite quizzing you why you did not bother to ascertain the details of the missing child. With all the information that you've just given us, can you explain why, when you got to Buedu, running away from other people, CO Nya, you did not bother to find out what had happened to his child?

  • I went to Buedu and the incident had already taken place, I just got the information. And at that time, Nya and others had attacked me. I had a wound in my toe when I got to Buedu, so I did not have interest in Nya's issue because they were chasing me to kill me at that time.

  • Very well, Mr Sesay. Let's move on and deal with this topic. I don't want us to go into too much detail, so I'll ask you very specific questions and if you can assist me by giving specific answers because we have quite a lot of evidence, but we just need to put a few things into context.

    Let's look at the topic relating to child soldiers. You yourself, Mr Sesay, you said in your evidence, you had children that were with you, yes?

  • Yes, in Kailahun.

  • In Kailahun. What year was that?

  • That was 1993, '94.

  • '93, '94, how many were they?

  • Well, about six of them, because there were the junior brothers and sisters of my bodyguards.

  • We will come to that in a minute. There were six?

  • Yes, about that, six.

  • How young was the youngest of the six?

  • At that time, the youngest one could have been around one year, and that is Ansu.

  • And how old was the oldest?

  • The oldest among them would have been around 14 years in 1993, late '93.

  • And when we say they were with you, what do you mean? Were they living under you? Or living with you?

  • They lived with me. We were in the same house, the same village as our brother in late 1993 up to the time I came to Giema in 1994.

  • Yes?

  • Mr Sesay, this Ansu was a baby. Whose baby was Ansu?

  • That was Boys, Musa's mother, Yea Amie, that was his child. Ansu's big brother was Momoh, and Momoh should have been around 3 to 4 years at that time. And there was Momoh's elder one and he was called Alhaji.

  • I asked you who was the mother of this baby. I need to understand who was the mother of the baby.

  • Yea Amie. Ansu's mother was Yea Amie, that is Boys's mother.

  • Where was this mother at the time that Ansu was in your custody?

  • She was with me, Yea Amie was with me, because all of them retreated from Kailahun Town.

  • And how old was Ansu's mother?

  • Ansu's mother - even myself, I used to - I used to refer to her as "mother" because in Mende "Yea" means "mother". She was an elderly woman.

  • And where was her husband?

  • The husband had gone to Guinea at the start of the war. It was the woman who stayed behind at the house, together with the children. The husband went to Guinea and he returned after the war but I was told, when I was in detention, that they - that he died in 2005.

  • How did this woman come to be with you, she and her children, how did they come to be with you and your group?

  • My Lord, when Boys became my bodyguard in '93 - in late 1993 - during the retreat the woman retreated with her son, that is Boys, and they went to the border; that was how they came to live with me, because her son was my bodyguard.

  • May I continue? Thank you.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, when those children were living in your house, what were they doing? Were they attending to any duties?

  • Well, they attended to their mother to, like to prepare food, like some of those who were big enough, like Alhaji, he would fetch water to her, to prepare food.

  • Now, besides yourself --

  • And there was the uncle, Pa Sama.

  • He was the uncle to the kids as well?

  • Yes, Pa Sama, yes.

  • He was also living with you?

  • Yes, Pa Sama was with me too in Giema.

  • Okay. My question was were you the only commander who had that arrangement where you had kids from other families living with them?

  • No. Other commanders too had their bodyguards' family members with them. Like, for example, in late 1993 Peter Vandi was my deputy. He too had - his father was with him, an old man, and his sister's children were with him as well.

  • And these kids, for how long did they remain in your care? Or under you?

  • They were with me up to the overthrow of the AFRC, and after the AFRC took power from the SLPP then I left, and the woman and her - and the man decided to return to Kailahun Town. So during the AFRC, they left Giema to their house in Kailahun Town, Pa Sama, Yea Amie and the children.

  • Mr Interpreter, when you say "they were with me up to the overthrow of the AFRC", did you mean "overthrow by the AFRC"?

  • Yes, my Lord, when they overthrew the SLPP.

  • And Mr Sesay, when you say the woman and the man decided to return to Kailahun, who are you talking about?

  • I'm referring to Yea Amie and her husband's elder brother, that is Pa Sama, together with the children, they returned to Kailahun Town from Giema to their house Mofindor Road.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, while on this topic, let's talk about RUF policy with respect to children. Was there any policy in the RUF relating to children?

  • Well, there was no policy for children to become child combatants but the RUF used to take children and train them, some of them became fighters; like in 1998 RUF established schools, and that continued up to the disarmament.

  • At what point were children most used as combatants by the RUF? At what point during the war, if you can give a date, when this became prevalent?

  • That was during the jungle, from 1994 to '97.

  • And these children who were used as combatants, what specifically were they being used for?

  • Well, when they would go to the battlefront, some of them would go with the children, some of those who were the age of 15 would fight and some of them would be at the PC Ground when the attack would be going on, and some guys would use them, they would use the children to carry their arms, because those were little soldiers, and others would be at the houses to do domestic chores for the RUF wives, and --

  • In your evidence, under cross-examination, Mr Sesay, you talked about children being taken to the front line and you made reference to something that you referred to as the zoebush. Firstly, when you talk of the front line, what are you talking about?

  • The war was in different stages. Like between '94 and '97, we would have the main road. That was the combat camp. Like, if the enemy would be one mile to the village, it would be the combat camp near the enemy. Then there they would establish a camp called the zoebush. The boys would be there with them.

  • The question was: When you talk of the front line, what are you talking about? Now, is that your answer? Is that your explanation of what a front line was?

  • My Lord, I said there were different stages in the war. Front line is where the battle takes place. That is what is a front line, because there were times if the enemy is, for example, in this village across this table, then the RUF is on the other side, then here we would have a combat camp and the people, that is the men who would be in the combat camp would be the stand-by for combat at any time, and then there will be the PC Ground, that is the rear, but front line is where the fighting takes place.

  • So, Mr Sesay, let's just make sure that we get this right. The front line is where the combat is taking place, this is where the exchange of fire is happening, right?

  • And you say there is a zone after the combat camp - sorry, after the front line - what do you call that area?

  • We call that area PC Ground.

  • PC Ground. PC Ground is just - sorry, PC Ground is behind the front line?

  • And you mentioned another area behind the PC Ground.

  • That is the zoebush.

  • So what's happening at the PC Ground?

  • The PC Ground is where they will prepare food for the combat camp men, and the PC Ground, if somebody was at the combat camp and was not well, that person would be taken to PC Ground for treatment.

  • And the zoebush, what's happening at the zoebush?

  • It was in the zoebush that the fighters used to sleep. There are times they fight, their wives will come from the rear and they will spend three to four days with them, at times one week. They will be in the zoebush.

  • And these child combatants, which zone or zones would they be deployed, of these three?

  • They would be at the PC Ground. Some of them will assist in preparing food. Some of them will be in the zoebush with the fighters' wives.

  • And this practice, for how long did it persist?

  • This practice started from 1994 and it was - it continued up to the disarmament.

  • The children that you said, Mr Sesay, were carrying arms for the combatants, the children you described as little soldiers, where in this relation to - where - which zone were these children, considering the zones that you've described, where would they be?

  • My Lord, they would be in the zoebush and they would also be in the PC Ground but when the time came for fighting and the enemy attacked the front line, the soldiers who had their guns would take the guns and they would go to the battlefront.

  • Yes, but I didn't ask you about the soldiers. I asked you about the little soldiers, the children. Those are the ones I asked you about. The ones that were carrying arms. Where were they located?

  • Those who were of the age of 15, they would go and fight but those who were not up to that age, they would have the fighters' arms or junior commandos' arms but when the fighting would start the fighters would take the arms from them because not all the fighters had arms.

  • Mr Sesay, you were asked was there any policy in the RUF relating to children and your answer was, "Well, there was no policy for children to become child combatants." But is it the case that there was no policy in the RUF one way or the other regarding the use of children as soldiers?

  • No, my Lord. I did not know of such a policy that - that it was a policy for children to become soldiers, no.

  • Was there a policy to prevent children from becoming soldiers?

  • So, Mr Sesay, in your evidence, some of these children who were in your evidence, around 15 or so, those who looked older than the rest, would actually go sometimes - would occasionally go to the front line?

  • Yes.

  • And during the time that you, Mr Sesay, during the time that you led attacks, let's talk about, for instance, the attack on Kono, did you have children in your ranks who went to the front line when you attacked Kono?

  • I met children in Kono but I did not - they did not take part in the battle, they did not participate in the battle. They were with the women who prepared food at the PC Ground for the fighters and they used to fetch water at the PC Ground.

  • We will talk about the children at PC Ground. I want to talk about you, from the time you left Buedu, to advance on Kono, did you take any children with you for that attack?

  • Well, some of my bodyguards' brothers went with me, like Boy George, Victor, some of their brothers went with me.

  • And did they take part in the assault on Kono by yourself?

  • No. They did not take part because the arms which they carried were my bodyguards' arms, so when the time came for the attack, the arms were taken from them by my bodyguards.

  • And when you got to PC Ground, you said there were children at PC Ground. Do you know the circumstances in which those children got to PC Ground?

  • Yes. Some of them were captured in Kono, some of them were with their family members because around the PC Ground there were civilians.

  • And were any of those children --

  • On that particular answer, I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr Chekera. I just wanted to clarify that.

    You said, "some of them", referring to the children, "were captured in Kono". So are you saying the RUF used to capture children?

  • Well, my Lord, some of their family members had gone and they left them, and so they were - of their fighters in Kono. Some of them were family members of the RUF so they were staying at the PC Ground, my Lord.

  • Mr Sesay, what did you mean when you used the word "captured"? "Captured in Kono", when you were referring to these children?

  • What I mean, for example, if RUF went to a village and --

  • Your Honours, can the witness kindly slow down his pace and repeat this evidence.

  • Slow down, please, and repeat your answer. Explain what you meant by "captured".

  • My Lord, what I mean is that, like, when RUF was in Kono, at the PC Ground and if they went on a patrol and met people, family members, some of them will hide in the bush, they will take them from the bush and bring them to the PC Ground or maybe from the villages and they will bring them to the PC Ground, that is capture. That is what I mean.

  • In other words, take them against their will? That's what normally "capture" means. Can you confirm if that is what happened?

  • Well, I was not in Kono.

  • It's either yes or no. We need to understand the word "capture." Is it yes or no? You're the one who used the word "capture", we are just seeking clarification from you. When you use the word "capture", can you confirm if you mean that these children were taken against their will? Yes or no?

  • Well, no, my Lord, because some of them were staying with the family members.

  • Yes, but the family members too would be captured, isn't this what you said?

  • Well, some of them were brought to the PC Ground because they didn't want them to stay in the bush on their own for Kamajors to attack them, so they wanted to bring them to the PC Ground to maintain security in the area.

  • Continue, Mr Chekera.

  • Unless your Honours have other questions on the issue, I was going to move on.

  • I've said continue, please.

  • Mr Sesay, let's look at a different topic.

    Mr Sesay, you will recall when you were under cross-examination, counsel asking you questions, a number of questions, effectively suggesting that the RUF had unfettered access into Liberia because you were receiving cooperation from Mr Taylor. You were referred, for instance, to D-186. Maybe we could look at D-186.

    Mr Sesay, you will recall this was a letter that was shown to you from Charles Taylor to President Tejan Kabbah, where Mr Taylor was reiterating his commitment to a non-aggression pact between Sierra Leone and Liberia in terms of the Mano River Union, and you were referred, Mr Sesay, in particular to paragraph 2, or the second paragraph. The paragraph was read out to you. I don't intend to read it out to you the paragraph again. But what counsel was putting to you, Mr Sesay, was that while Mr Taylor was committing or was purporting to commit to regional treaties, in the night he was supping with the devil, that is with you, the RUF, he was misleading President Tejan Kabbah into believing that he was committed to the peace process in terms of the peace treaty between the Mano River Union States, while all the while he was letting the RUF go in and out of Liberia.

    Now, I'm just going to ask you a few questions in relation to this second paragraph because this paragraph, Mr Sesay, relates to Article 8 which provides that member states of the Mano River Union undertake to cooperate, to hand over militants from each other's governments who stray into neighbouring countries without authority. Do you understand what I'm saying? Article 8 relates to, in this context, Mr Taylor was undertaking to hand over any military or paramilitary forces from Sierra Leone who strayed into Liberia. That's what paragraph 2 talks about.

    Now, Mr Sesay, my question is: Was the RUF a member of the Sierra Leone military?

  • No.

  • Was it a paramilitary force within the Sierra Leonean Government?

  • Now, Guinea, do you know whether Guinea is a member of the Mano river Union?

  • And, Mr Sesay, you've talked about certain members of the RUF. You talked about trade blossoming at the Guinean border, arms trading. What year was that, again, when you were trading arms toe Guinean border with the Guinean soldiers?

  • That was from '92 to '98. The only thing that stopped it was the attacks, when they crossed over to Mofindor and they crossed over to Yenga and even after those attacks in October/November we still continued to do business with them at the crossing points, whilst they were still at Yenga.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, besides those cross border trading, besides the cross border trading, did the RUF have any other access into Guinea?

  • Yes. The RUF used to go to Guinea. In fact, it was in Guinea that Mamie Isatu Kallon used to go and do arrangements for ammunition and at any time RUF was going out, we used to transit through Guinea to go to Abidjan. We had people in Guinea who used to give lodging to our people who were travelling out of Sierra Leone, like in Gueckedou and Macenta.

  • So the RUF could easily go in and out of Guinea?

  • Yes. They will just cross the river.

  • And besides Guinea, the RUF was also crossing over into Ivory Coast, as you've mentioned?

  • Was there any restriction for the RUF - for the RUF, in terms of transit or crossing over into Ivory Coast?

  • No. There was no restriction, because our delegation was based in Danane. They will travel to Abidjan and they will travel to Danane, sometimes they will go to Guinea and they will come to Sierra Leone.

  • And, Mr Sesay, when your delegation was in Ivory Coast, it was to the knowledge of the Government of Ivory Coast?

  • Yes. They knew about it.

  • And were any RUF arrested in Ivory Coast?

  • No. The Ivorian government did not arrest any RUF member.

  • Besides Mamie I who was arrested in Guinea, was there any other RUF member who was arrested in Guinea?

  • No. It was only Mamie I who was arrested and sent to Freetown.

  • Very well. While on the same topic, Mr Sesay, this alleged easy access of the RUF into Liberia, you were referred to the incident involving Foday Kallon and how you went into Liberia to recruit former SLAs. You remember that?

  • And you said the SLAs who had fled to Liberia were in places like Vahun, Kolahun, and Foya. You recall that?

  • Yes, I recall.

  • How far is Vahun from the Sierra Leonean border?

  • From Vahun to Bomaru is nine miles. So if you are talking about the border, then it's eight miles because from the border to Bomaru is one mile. So from Vahun town to Bomaru town is nine miles.

  • And how far is Kolahun to the Sierra Leonean border?

  • Seventeen miles.

  • And Foya, how far is it?

  • And besides the SLAs who had fled to Liberia at this time and were living by the border line, were there any other persons from Sierra Leone who were living along the border line at this time, that the SLAs fled to Liberia?

  • Yes, there were thousands of civilians who were in Vahun as refugees and there were hundreds of thousands of civilians also who were refugees in Kolahun from Sierra Leone.

  • And how were the - how were these refugees crossing over into Liberia?

  • Well, at the time the intervention took place, when --

  • Your Honour, could the witness be advised to slow down and repeat.

  • Mr Sesay, slow down and repeat your answer, please.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said at the time the intervention took place, that was the time the civilians from Kenema, from around Tongo, Segbwema, Mano Junction, up to Daru, and its surroundings, they crossed over to Liberia through Kailahun, Bomaru.

  • What control measures were at the border posts at this time?

  • Well, do you mean on the RUF side or towards the Liberian side?

  • Let's talk on both sides.

  • Well, there were securities on both sides, but the RUF side of the security knew that the people were running away from the ECOMOG and the Kamajors and the Liberian securities saw the people in hundreds of thousands of people, they went as refugees. So they knew the people were going for rescue, for safety, in Liberia, to meet their family members. The people went together with their family members, children; there were many who crossed the borders.

  • Mr Sesay, are you saying that these hundreds of thousands of people who ran away for rescue were running only from the Kamajors, the ECOMOG and the Liberian security?

  • No. They were running away from Sierra Leone and going to seek refuge in Liberia, my Lord. That was during February of 1998 as a result of the attack by the ECOMOG and the Kamajors on Kenema, Tongo, Segbwema, Mano Junction, all of those areas.

  • So those people, Mr Sesay, in their thousands were allowed access into Liberia?

  • Yes. They built a refugee camp in Vahun, they built another refugee camp in Kolahun.

  • And when some of those people wanted to come back, were they being denied access to come back by the Liberians?

  • No. After the signing of the Lome Accord, the Liberians allowed them to return.

  • So, Mr Sesay, during this time - just so that I get your evidence correctly - there are a lot of refugees along the Liberian border, Sierra Leonean refugees, and they can easily go in and out of Sierra Leone, is that your evidence?

  • Yes. That used to happen because even the trade that used to take place at the borderlines, civilians used to come and meet them there and they used to trade with them.

  • Yes, Mr Sesay, let's move on and deal with something else. Let's just quickly look at exhibit D-123G.

    Mr Sesay, exhibit 123G is a photograph of an artillery piece that, according to Mr Taylor's evidence, was given to him by the RUF, and this exhibit was shown to you to prove that you were lying when you said that the RUF did not give any artillery pieces to Mr Taylor. Do you remember that?

  • Yes, I recall.

  • Have you seen this artillery piece, or any artillery piece that looks like this, from the time you were in the RUF, did you see this particular artillery piece?

  • Yes. I saw one that looked like this.

  • What - I don't know in military terms - what name do you give to this artillery piece in military terms?

  • Well, this should be a 105 or a 106, but I cannot be actually certain which exact one.

  • You recall in your evidence you gave evidence of a 106 that was captured, which you said Isaac was using. Did you say it was being used by Isaac? I think you said Isaac.

  • Yes. I said it was Isaac and the late Kargbo who used it.

  • That particular artillery piece that Isaac was using, do you recall when that was captured?

  • Yes. That was - that was in '92.

  • Where was it captured?

  • Were there more than one pieces that were captured on that occasion?

  • No. We captured one piece, one 106, and a BZT. It was in the ambush.

  • And that was the one that you say was then being used by Isaac in - the one that was captured, you said that was the one that Isaac was using?

  • Yes. I said that was what Isaac used to launch. He and CO Kargbo. That was what they used to go and launch at Mobai Junction.

  • And do you know what happened to that particular piece eventually?

  • Well, that piece was with us. It was with us but later they were again recaptured from us at Baidu towards Koindu, including the BZT.

  • So, Mr Sesay, my question to you is the piece you're talking about that Isaac was using and the one in D-7, are they one and the same piece or these are two different pieces?

  • Well, this was the particular type that Isaac and the other guy were - used to launch.

  • Mr Chekera, the witness said "they were again captured from us" at where?

  • At Baidu, on the borderline. That was where we were being pushed in 1993.

  • That is B-A-I-D-U? Is that how you spell that location?

  • The one that Isaac was using was the one that was captured at Baidu from you in 1993?

  • That was what they captured from us at Baidu, but I heard at one point that they captured this kind of weapon in Koindu at the time the RUF started the war in 1991, but the particular one that we captured at Baiima, that one we were using it.

  • Mr Sesay, what became of the weapon that you just described, the RUF captured in Koindu, the one that looks like the one in the photograph? What became of that weapon?

  • I heard that they captured one 105 in Koindu and that weapon was transported to Liberia, but the one that we captured in '93, that one remained with us.

  • So, Mr Sesay, effectively you do agree with the Prosecution that the RUF did supply an artillery piece to Charles Taylor?

  • Well, that was at the start of the war in 1991.

  • Very well. Let's move on to a different topic. Let's talk about the diamonds that you - that were taken from Johnny Paul Koroma, which you took to Burkina Faso - or, rather, Mr Sesay, let me rephrase my question - that you were meant to take to Burkina Faso and you eventually lost.

  • Yes.

  • When you were sent to - when you were given instructions to go to Burkina Faso, you've indicated that your instructions were to go and meet up with Ibrahim Bah who would take you to General Diendere?

  • Yes.

  • And when you were going to take the diamonds to - or, rather, let me rephrase. Who was going to hand over the diamonds to General Diendere?

  • Well, it was Ibrahim Bah.

  • And what were the specific instructions when Ibrahim Bah hands over the diamonds to General Diendere? What were your instructions?

  • Well, the instruction was that Ibrahim Bah was to speak to - to talk to General Diendere for him to help us with ammunition because we were under pressure from the ECOMOG and the Kamajors. And he, Bockarie, did say that I should inform Ibrahim Bah about this so that he and General Diendere will be able to speak on the radio.

  • General Diendere was going to speak on the radio with who after the handing over of the diamonds?

  • With Sam Bockarie. That Sam Bockarie will be able to talk to him on the radio so that everything that we would have been able to do would have gone through Ibrahim Bah so Ibrahim Bah would have brought them.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, when you were instructed to go with these diamonds, were you given the diamonds and told that you were going to, on handing over the diamonds, receive X amount of ammunition or any amount of ammunition?

  • No. He did not tell me the amount of ammunition that I was to receive. When I would have arrived in Monrovia, Ibrahim Bah was to come and pick me up and we'd travel. And whilst we were there it was General Diendere who was supposed to tell us what he would be able to assist us with.

  • I'm going to use a very legal term, Mr Sesay, and I hope it can be translated to you properly. The diamonds you took to General Diendere, were they consideration for a particular quantity of ammunition? Were they paying for a specific amount of ammunition?

  • No. I was just to travel with the diamonds myself and Ibrahim Bah, and what General Diendere will be able to give us he would have given us. But Bockarie did not actually tell me about any specific amount of ammunition, my Lord.

  • There's just something I want explained to me regarding that transaction. Mr Sesay, you were instructed to go to Burkina Faso. What were you doing in Freetown? I beg your pardon. I beg your pardon, of course. What were you doing in Monrovia?

  • Well, my Lord, that was where I was to wait for General Ibrahim who was supposed to pick me up. General Ibrahim was supposed to travel from Burkina Faso and pick me up in Monrovia and then he would travel with me.

  • But if you were going to Burkina Faso, what I can't understand is why did Ibrahim Bah have to travel all the way from Burkina Faso to pick you up in Monrovia when your destination was Burkina Faso in any event? Why didn't you go straight to Burkina Faso?

  • Yes, my Lord. It was Ibrahim Bah who was to pick me up in Monrovia so that we would have travelled to go. That was the instruction given to me because I had never travelled to Monrovia - I mean, sorry, I had never travelled to Burkina Faso and Bockarie said he had spoken to Ibrahim Bah and Ibrahim too had accepted that he was going to travel to pick me up in Monrovia.

  • So you did not know how to get to Burkina Faso by yourself. Is that what you're saying?

  • Well, my Lord, I knew how to tell someone that I wanted to travel to Burkina Faso, but the commander who sent me said Ibrahim Bah should come and receive me from Monrovia for the two of us to travel and go. My Lord, I had no - I had no other option but for me to do what he told me to do, just to wait for Ibrahim Bah so that when he comes we'll travel.

  • Mr Sesay, when you were sent with the diamonds, did Sam Bockarie tell you, "Take these diamonds to General Diendere and come back with ammunition"? Or, "You are going to take the diamonds and you're going to come back with ammunition"?

  • He told me that I was to travel to Monrovia and Ibrahim Bah was to meet me there and the two of us would go to Burkina Faso with the diamonds. And when we would have got to Burkina Faso, General Ibrahim would talk to Diendere and that he himself wished to talk to Diendere for him to talk to him to help us with ammunition.

  • Now, Sam Bockarie was going to - once you delivered the diamonds, Sam Bockarie was then going to talk to General Diendere for him to help you with the - with ammunition. Is that what you're saying?

  • You go first, you deliver the diamonds and then once you delivered the diamonds, Sam Bockarie talks to General Diendere on the radio concerning supply of ammunition. Do I capture your evidence correctly?

  • When we would have arrived in Burkina Faso, that is Ibrahim Bah and myself, Ibrahim Bah would have explained to General Diendere about my mission and Bockarie said he intended to talk to General Diendere to help with the ammunition that he could help us with.

  • Now, from what you heard from Sam Bockarie, had he already agreed with General Diendere on the supply of ammunition before your trip to Burkina Faso? Was there a deal already before you were dispatched to go to Burkina Faso for supply of arms - sorry, ammunition?

  • Yes. I knew of a deal that had been on between Mr Sankoh and Diendere, like the ammunition that they brought to Sierra Leone in 1997 --

  • Mr Sesay, I'm sorry, I'm just going to cut you there and try to assist you to focus on this particular - I'm talking about the trip that you were taking - that you were taking to Burkina Faso. This particular trip where Sam Bockarie sent you. Before he sent you, did Sam Bockarie tell you that he had already struck a deal with General Diendere and all you had to do was to deliver diamonds to General - to Ibrahim Bah?

  • No. They had not struck a deal yet. It was when I would have arrived then they would strike a deal. But from my understanding, Sam Bockarie sent me to him because Diendere had been dealing with Mr Sankoh.

  • Let me ask another question for clarification. Were Sam Bockarie's instructions to you, Mr Sesay, that you hand the diamonds to Ibrahim Bah or that you hand the diamonds to General Diendere?

  • I was to hand the diamonds over to Ibrahim Bah and we were to take them to General Diendere because it was Ibrahim Bah who was to take me.

  • Because if you were to hand the diamonds to Ibrahim Bah, who was then to hand them to Diendere, why was it necessary for you to travel to Burkina Faso yourself?

  • Well, my Lord, Bockarie wanted me to go with the diamonds so I too would be present with Ibrahim Bah where the diamonds would be presented to Diendere. That was why I was sent.

  • Mr Sesay, I think you've answered this question before but how long did you wait in Monrovia for Ibrahim Bah to arrive?

  • My Lord, I think it was between three to five days. Around that. I cannot be specific but I spent some days before the diamonds fell off me.

  • You said earlier you had no choice but to do what you were told and wait in Monrovia. But did these arrangements make any sense to you? The diamonds were going to Burkina Faso, according to your instructions. The ammunition that you sought was in Burkina Faso, and yet there you are waiting five days in Monrovia. Did that make sense to you?

  • Yes, my Lord. I was awaiting Ibrahim Bah's arrival. He was to take me along. That was what I was told by Bockarie, that I was to be in the hotel and to wait for Ibrahim Bah to take me along. And that is what happened exactly, my Lord.

  • Mr Sesay, let's just talk about Ibrahim Bah a little bit. Did you know where Ibrahim Bah was before he came to Monrovia to pick you up?

  • Before he was to come and pick me up, he was in Burkina Faso.

  • And in your dealings with Sam Bockarie or, rather, in Sam Bockarie's dealings with Ibrahim Bah, which you are privy to, did Sam Bockarie trust Ibrahim Bah to take diamonds anywhere by himself?

  • Well, if Sam Bockarie trusted Ibrahim Bah he wouldn't have sent me, but he sent me to go along. That is an indication that he didn't want Ibrahim Bah to go alone, that's why he said Ibrahim Bah should pick me and go with me.

  • Was there any instance where diamonds would be handed over to Ibrahim Bah alone and he would know what to do with them without another member of the RUF present?

  • No. That had not happened before this time that I travelled.

  • Incidentally, Mr Sesay, you mentioned Ibrahim Bah at some point taking off with some of the proceeds from the sale of diamonds. When was it?

  • That was in October to November of 2000.

  • What happened on that incident? Don't go into detail. Just briefly.

  • Well, the money that was to be given to him and he was to send the money to me, he held on to part of the money, $60,000, and he did not give that money right up to date.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, while still on the issue of the diamonds that were taken from Johnny Paul Koroma which you were supposed to take to Burkina Faso and you lost along the way, you will recall the evidence of TF1-371 being put to you on the quantity of the diamonds. You'll recall you had said in your evidence that they were worthless pieces, the only one that was worthy was a 14 carat - 13 or 14 carat diamond, and the rest were not of any significant value. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I recall that.

  • And evidence was put to you by counsel opposite that actually according to the evidence of 371, there were quite a number of - there were quite a number of plastics and the diamonds were in their thousands. You recall that?

  • Yes.

  • When counsel opposite suggested that actually the diamonds were in their thousands. I want to refer you to the evidence of TF1-371, which counsel might have overlooked, concerning that - sorry, that's in the RUF trial. Concerning the amount of those diamonds, the quantity, and tell me whether you would agree with that. That's the transcript of 20 July 2006. That was closed session. So I'm not going to ask for it to be displayed. And that is at page 73.

  • I would object to that, on the basis of the rule that evidence should be put to a witness so the witness could respond, any prior transcripts would have been available to Defence counsel during cross-examination.

  • I don't understand the nature of your objection because Mr Chekera is about to read the transcript. What is your objection?

  • Well, it's very hard for me to say this in open session but my objection is based on the rule that you have to put evidence to a witness to get the witness's - the witnesses has a chance to respond.

  • I thought that's what Mr Chekera is about to do.

  • It's not this witness I'm talking about. He's saying there is a contradiction.

  • What is the nature of your objection, Mr Koumjian? You've lost me, really. What is the nature of your objection?

  • Counsel had the opportunity, much earlier in the trial, the Defence, in general, I mean, to put any contradiction or any such evidence to another witness, and I can't say whether I recall whether they did or not but they should have at that time.

  • No, no, no. The contradiction or the - I think the contradiction that he now wants to put to the witness is to contradict you, Mr Koumjian. This is what I understand. Your suggestions, as the Prosecution. Not to contradict another witness but to contradict your suggestion. So am I right, Mr Chekera?

  • Indeed.

  • Then the objection is overruled.

  • Mr Sesay, you will recall there was a dispute as to the quantity of the diamonds, and counsel opposite suggested on the basis of the evidence of TF1-371 that actually the diamonds were in their thousands. And I'm just going to read to you part of the evidence of TF1-371, 20 July.

  • I just want to correct. I think what I said is 1,832 diamonds, not in the thousands, that was from a document.

  • I have no problem with the correction, thank you very much.

  • The diamonds were over a thousand, Mr Sesay, according to learned counsel opposite, and this is the evidence of 371 on the same issue, on 20 July 2006, at page 73. I'll probably start at line 12:

    "I had started out by asking you - that was a question - I had started out by asking you if you remembered if anything happened in Buedu and you've told us of the - of these events involving Alex Tamba Brima. Do you remember anything else happening when you arrived in Buedu?"

  • I apologise but I can't find a transcript from 20 July 2006. Could I just ask counsel to check the date?