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

  • Now I appreciate that being in that chair is a bit like sitting in a goldfish bowl, but nonetheless you do appreciate, don't you, the need to tell us the truth and that you've taken an oath to do that? Do you appreciate that?

  • Just before you proceed on, Mr Griffiths, for purposes of record I note that it hasn't been noted on the public record and LiveNote that another witness has taken the stand and that his evidence is continuing, so for purposes of record I will record that TF1-367 is back on the stand and is being cross-examined. My apologies for interrupting.

  • Not at all, your Honour:

  • Now, what do you understand by the oath that you took to tell the truth? What do you understand by that?

  • My understanding about that is my being in this court is to tell you the truth, what I saw and what I heard.

  • And tell me, do you respect the oath that you took to tell the truth?

  • Very well. Now according to the information given to me you first spoke to the Office of the Prosecution on 20 August 2004, is that right?

  • I can't recall the date, but I spoke to the Prosecution within that time.

  • Now, I know that that date was 20 August 2004. Now from disarmament until that date, in what country were you living?

  • In Sierra Leone.

  • And were you working during that period?

  • Were you during that period facing financial difficulties?

  • I was not a rich man, but what my family was supposed to be living on I used to get that.

  • Now when you came to speak to the Office of the Prosecution in August 2004, did you go to see them voluntarily?

  • No, I did not know about them.

  • Did they contact you, or did you contact them?

  • They contacted me.

  • And said what to you?

  • That is what I have told you, for me to come and say the truth what I saw during the RUF war and what I did during the RUF war together with my fellow colleagues.

  • Now I appreciate that you've told us that and I'll come back to it in a moment, but what I want to know is the circumstances which led to you speaking to the Prosecution. How did that come about?

  • That is what I have told you. I said at the earlier stage they met me and we discussed. That is what I have told you.

  • So, you didn't go to them. They came to you?

  • And when they came to you did they tell you that they knew your identity?

  • And did they tell you that they knew that you had been quite a senior officer in the RUF?

  • And when they came to see you, why did you think they wanted to speak to you?

  • It was because people must have already told them about me and what I was doing in the RUF. People must have given that information to them. I think that was the reason why they wanted to see me.

  • Now, do you have any idea who might have told them about you?

  • No, they did not tell me about a particular person, but I was not somebody hidden in the RUF. Everybody in the RUF knew me, so there were people who knew me and they had been with them.

  • I may be wrong, but I thought a name was mentioned and I'd ask it not to be translated.

  • I think I heard the same name.

  • I would ask that the broadcast in Krio be redacted.

  • I think the name was started but not completed, but we heard it. I also heard a name. Madam Court Attendant, that name should be redacted.

  • If the witness could just be asked not to mention any of his own name, or names, or nicknames.

  • Mr Witness, you have heard Mr Koumjian and you may remember that it is important that you also protect your own security by not revealing names or other information that could lead to your identification. Mr Griffiths, please proceed.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • In any event, when they came to see you you appreciated the need to tell them the truth, didn't you?

  • Yes, because they were after me to say the truth.

  • Now, you began your account to this Court on Wednesday of last week and let me just take a moment and remind ourselves of what that account is. In 1990 you were living in Kakata in Liberia, is that right?

  • Yes.

  • When NPFL fighters attacked Kakata and captured you?

  • You managed to escape, is that right?

  • Yes, but there wasn't anywhere that I knew for me to go and hide out, save in the township.

  • In any event, for how long did you remain in the custody of the NPFL following your capture?

  • The morning they captured the town we were in our houses all day and the following day they were knocking at the doors for us to open the doors. After that we were all under their control that moment. We were not allowed to go anywhere else. We actually were not in the houses any longer, we were outside, but we were under their control up to the time I went to the RUF base.

  • Now, for how long did you remain under their control in the way you've just described?

  • They captured Kakata and they were there for about one to two months. By then they were now on the Monrovia Highway and it was after that that the issue of RUF came to Kakata.

  • Let's just take matters slowly, please. The NPFL arrive in Kakata and you stay in your house that day. The next day you're forced to leave your house, is that right?

  • Yes.

  • Some time later you go to Camp Naama for training?

  • How long after the NPFL invaded Kakata did you go to Camp Naama?

  • That is what I meant. I said at the time I was in Kakata when Kakata was captured it was one month plus that I later went to Camp Naama to undergo the training.

  • Right. Now I want to concentrate, please, on that month or so between the arrival of the NPFL and your departure for Camp Naama. Do you understand me?

  • During that month or so period, where were you?

  • Say that again. Let me hear it clearly.

  • In the month or so between the arrival of the NPFL and your departure to Camp Naama, where were you?

  • I did not go to anywhere else. From Kakata I went to Camp Naama. I did not go anywhere else. From Kakata they did not take us to anywhere else.

  • So for that month period you remained in Kakata, is that right?

  • Yes, I did not travel to anywhere else because if you hadn't a pass you were not allowed to go to anywhere else.

  • Now, during that month long period were you in hiding?

  • No, I used to be in our house always because our house was very close to the main road. I was always there.

  • So were you in hiding at any time during that month long period?

  • When we were released to come out I did not go anywhere else, because when day breaks we would have to go and look out for food to eat and if you were hiding at that time how would you be able to get food to eat?

  • The only reason I ask is this, you see? On Wednesday of last week, when giving evidence to the gentleman sitting across the Courtroom, you said this - well, this question was put to you, page 14086, line 15, "Now, sir, you mentioned that after hiding, going into hiding in Kakata, you spoke to your brother. Who was this person that you spoke - used the word this morning as your brother?", and you said that was Mike Lamin. Now had you gone into hiding, or hadn't you?

  • By hiding what I meant by that is that, for instance, you are in this Court and you don't have chance - the opportunity to visit a neighbour, or to go out of where you are. That was what I meant by hiding. But I did not actually have the opportunity to either board a vehicle to go somewhere else, or - for instance, if I am sitting here and I don't have the opportunity to go to anywhere else or to visit a neighbour. That was what I meant by hiding.

  • Very well. In any event, how long after the arrival of the NPFL in Kakata was it before you met your brother Mike Lamin?

  • I can't recall whether it was a day or two or in a week's time, but after Kakata had been captured and the rebels had moved towards the Monrovia area it was later after that that I saw him come to our compound, but at that time we hadn't the opportunity to walk around, except when somebody had a pass that you would be able to do that.

  • No, my question is very simple. How long after the arrival of the NPFL in Kakata did you meet your brother Mike Lamin?

  • Asked and answered.

  • Yes, I think it was about --

  • Mr Griffiths, you've heard counsel for the Prosecution.

  • And the witness was about to answer, your Honour, having not to my mind given a proper answer to the question.

  • He hasn't answered it clearly. Put the question, please.

  • How long after the arrival of the NPFL in Kakata was it before you met Mike Lamin, your brother?

  • About two to three weeks, because they did not just capture the place and I later see him immediately, but the particular day I can't recall.

  • But when you saw Mike Lamin he was a member of the NPFL, is that right?

  • I did not ask him, but the way I saw him, yes, he hadn't weapons with him because they were free and they were walking around.

  • Let me ask you again. When you first met Mike Lamin after the NPFL attacked Kakata, he was already a member of the NPFL, wasn't he?

  • Yes, but I did not see him with weapons, but he was part of them and they were all going around together. He was with them.

  • Let me remind you of what you told us on Wednesday, "Who was Mike Lamin?" This is page 14086, evidence from Wednesday 20 August. "Mike Lamin was an NPFL soldier." Do you remember telling us that?

  • That is what I mean. I said he did not have weapons, but he was with the NPFL.

  • Thank you. Now as a result of speaking to Mike Lamin, he told you about someone called Foday Sankoh coming to Kakata and the RUF. Is that right?

  • Yes, yes. It was through him that I even heard that name because I did not know before who Foday Sankoh was.

  • Now, help us with this. Bearing in mind of course what you've told us, that it was some three weeks or so after the attack on Kakata that you met up with Mike Lamin, was it on that first occasion of meeting him that he mentioned Foday Sankoh and the RUF?

  • Yes, it was at the first time that I met with him, but I wouldn't have joined him to go because of where he was at that moment. He told me that Foday Sankoh was going to visit us there and I asked him who Foday Sankoh was.

  • In any event he told you that Foday Sankoh would be coming to Kakata and there would be a meeting at a local school called St Augustine's, is that right?

  • Yes.

  • And you went to that meeting?

  • Where you were told that a truck would be coming in due course to take volunteers to Camp Naama for training, is that right?

  • Yes, it was when we went to the meeting that he told us. We did not just get up and say that - and do that. He told us that he was going to dispatch a truck to get us.

  • And in due course that truck arrived?

  • Yes, the truck arrived at the particular time he told us that it was going to be there.

  • Now bearing in mind what you've already told us, that it was a month or so after the arrival of the NPFL that you went to Camp Naama, bearing in mind also that you've told us that it was about three weeks after the arrival of the NPFL that you met Mike Lamin, how long after that meeting with Mike Lamin did you get on the truck and travel to Camp Naama?

  • When I spoke with Mike Lamin he told me that the man called Foday Sankoh would have to come and it was after a week and the following week that Foday Sankoh himself came and spoke to us. It was within the two weeks that he came and spoke to us.

  • Very well. Now thereafter you spent some three months or so training at Camp Naama, didn't you?

  • And whilst there received, amongst other things, ideology training from Mike Lamin?

  • Thereafter there came a time when RUF forces invaded Sierra Leone?

  • It was not the RUF fighters who initially invaded Sierra Leone.

  • Let me put the question differently then. There came a time thereafter when Sierra Leone was invaded, is that right?

  • Yes, it came a time that Sierra Leone was invaded, but it was not at first the RUF.

  • How long after you completed your training did that invasion take place?

  • I did not actually complete the training for which I was there.

  • So the invasion began before you had completed your three month training, is that right?

  • It was as a result of the invasion that we did not complete the training, because immediately after the invasion they came and collected us from the camp and took us to the front line.

  • Very well. So just so that we can get the time line correct, three months after you went to Camp Naama Sierra Leone was invaded and that brought an end to your training. Is that right?

  • Yes, the invasion it made our training incomplete, so they came and collected us and took us there.

  • Now, you spent a little time in Sierra Leone before being made ground commander at Foday Sankoh's mansion in Gbarnga. Is that right?

  • How long did you spend in Sierra Leone before going to Gbarnga in that role?

  • At the time we went to Sierra Leone I have forgotten the date, but I spent six months in Gbarnga.

  • How long did you spend in Sierra Leone before going to Gbarnga to spend six months?

  • That is what I am trying to tell you. I have forgotten that time and the date.

  • Can you give me no idea? Was it a matter of weeks, months, or what?

  • No, it was not a week. It was more than a month, but I don't want to lie in saying the month or the dates.

  • Very well. Were you involved in any fighting in Sierra Leone during that period?

  • Where were you fighting?

  • I fought in Kailahun.

  • Now there came a time in 1992 when you went to Kono, is that right?

  • How long did you spend in Kono?

  • We spent about two months there and then we were flushed out by the enemies. We were not there for a long period. We were - I think it was about two months.

  • Thereafter you returned to Kono in 1995, didn't you?

  • In Kono also and even there people stayed there for a long time, but I did not stay there for long because it was just for about two to three months when I went there and I left there again and the enemies captured the place.

  • Then, as you've told us, in late 1998 you were appointed RUF mining commander in Kono, a post which you held until the year 2000, is that right?

  • Yes, from '98 to the beginning of 2000.

  • Now prior to that appointment you had been SO-1 in Freetown during the junta period, is that right?

  • Yes.

  • You had also been engaged, if I understand your evidence correctly, in 1997 in bartering with the ULIMO fighters for arms and ammunition. Is that right?

  • And am I right that that was 1997, or was it in fact 1998?

  • It was in 1997 and it was in '98 that I went to Kono.

  • Did you go straight from that role as arms purchaser for the RUF with ULIMO straight into the role of mining commander?

  • Excuse me, that misstates the evidence. It was not the arms that the witness testified he was bartering in 1997.

  • Mr Griffiths, I'm just trying to work out this chronology that Mr Koumjian has raised.

  • The witness had testified to purchasing arms from ULIMO in I believe 1998, but he earlier if I'm not mistaken had talked about a barter, as counsel correctly used the word barter, trade that he was involved in at the border and that was not arms as I recollect the evidence.

  • The question relates to the arms, doesn't it?

  • Yes, and I don't believe - that misstates the evidence as far as '98 - excuse me, '97. The witness didn't testify, as I recollect it, that the arms was the barter trade he was talking about in '97. He named other items.

  • I'm sure it's my fault, your Honour. I really don't understand the objection, but I'll try to clarify matters.

  • I'm just looking at an answer, "You had also been engaged, if I understand your evidence correctly, in 1997 in bartering with ULIMO fighters for arms and ammunition?", answer, "Yes". That's why I'm a little - I'm trying to clarify the issue. But if you yourself, Mr Griffiths, are going to clarify it, then I will allow you to do so.

  • Taking matters slowly so that we can all follow, there was a time when you were engaged in purchasing arms and ammunition from ULIMO. Is that right?

  • Yes, there came a time that we used to buy ammunition, not arms, from ULIMO.

  • It came a time that that happened.

  • Did you go straight from that role into the role of mining commander in Kono in 1998?

  • Yes, in 1998. It was because Sam Bockarie trusted me that he used to give me those positions. I used to buy ammunition from the ULIMO in 1997, and from there when I came back he sent me to Kono in 1998 for me to undertake mining there.

  • Yes, can I emphasise the word "straight". Did you go immediately from the role of purchasing ammunition from ULIMO straight to the role of mining commander in Kono?

  • No, I did not just come and pass straight to the place. Buedu was our headquarters. When you come first you will have to stay there for some time and from there they will give you another assignment.

  • I'm just trying to get the timing, you see? That's why I'm asking. Between the time when you concluded your role purchasing ammunition from ULIMO, how long passed by before you moved on to becoming mining commander?

  • When I returned from Liberia, Buedu was our headquarters. I was there for some time, but I was not there for a long time. The commander who was stationed in Kono he used to make some blunders, so he decided to send me there to go and take over. But actually I was in Buedu, but it did not take too long, but I have forgotten now to tell you that it was either two or three days or what, because by then we did not come maybe and answer to roll calls or that a register was made.

  • Was it a matter of days, weeks or months that you spent in Buedu before taking up your new role in Kono?

  • It was more than a week, that is what I am telling you, but I cannot tell you whether it was a month or two, but it was more than a week and I don't want to lie. But anybody who came from a particular mission, when you come first you will have to stay in Buedu for some time because that was the headquarters and from there they will send you to another assignment.

  • Let me explain why I'm asking. You've told us that you took up the role of mining commander in late 1998. What I'm trying to discover is whether your ammunition purchasing activities continued from '97 into '98, do you follow me? That's why I'm pursuing this. So how long did you spend in Buedu after you had returned from Liberia before going to Kono?

  • No, it was not from '97 to '98. I said after the retreat in '98. It was in '98 that I was buying the ammunition. It was not from '97 to '98. '97 I was in Freetown. I was as SO-1 logistics, so I was not doing ammunition business. It was in '98 that I was purchasing ammunition.

  • Very well. So then as we know you become mining commander, you're relieved of that role in the year 2000 and you're succeeded in that post by Peleto. Is that right?

  • Thereafter you fought in Guinea, is that right?

  • Where you were wounded, is that right?

  • Yes, I was wounded.

  • And you were not involved in any further fighting until disarmament, is that right?

  • Yes.

  • And that account which covers your career, that 11 year period or so you spent in the RUF, is that account the truth?

  • Yes, what I know is what I have said.

  • Good. Now let's move on and deal with another time line, shall we? Now, we know from information with which we've been supplied that you were first in contact with the Office of the Prosecution on 20 August 2004. Now some 18 months after that in February 2006 you were again seen by the investigators, weren't you?

  • Did they say I contacted them?

  • No, no, no, listen to the question, please. It's very simple. Do you recall 18 months or so after your first contact with the Prosecution that you were seen again in February 2006?

  • I will not deny the fact that they did not contact me or that they did not see me, but I cannot remember that date any longer that it was either on the Friday or what day or what day, but actually they went and met me.

  • Mr Interpreter, you do not - he did not deny that they did not contact him. What he didn't deny is that they did contact him. I think you're saying the opposite of what the witness is saying.

  • Your Honours, you are right, your Honours.

  • Now, do you recall that on that occasion you spent some four days with investigators in a process called proofing? Do you remember that?

  • Thank you. And do you also recall - this might help to jog your memory - that you first received payment from the Prosecution in that same month, February 2006? Do you remember?

  • Yes, because the time I was with them I started receiving, but I can't recall the date because I was not recording. When they came and gave me something I will just receive it, but I did not record it.

  • Now, there was a further proofing session about three months later in June 2006. Do you recall that?

  • I don't remember that. There were times they would call me and I would go there, but I don't recall the times. Q.

  • [Redacted]

  • In fact prior to giving evidence against them you had actually visited them in custody in Freetown, hadn't you?

  • Yes, they themselves called me, but I said I was not going there, but they pleaded with me to go.

  • Did you go and visit Augustine Gbao in the prison attached to the Special Court in Freetown

  • [Redacted]

  • That is what I have told you. They called me and I said I was not going there. Augustine said - Augustine Gbao said I should go there, but I refused. It was to Augustine Gbao that I was to go, but they called me and I refused. I said I was not going there.

  • Did you visit Mr Gbao in prison, yes or no?

  • Yes, I went to visit him. Him - I visited him.

  • And whilst visiting Mr Gbao, did you also see Morris Kallon and Issa Sesay in the prison?

  • Yes, I saw them there.

  • And did you take your wife and family with you on that visit?

  • No, I went alone. They called me. I went there alone.

  • Did your wife and children not go with you?

  • Not at all. Not at all. I went there alone.

  • In any event, when you went to the prison to visit those men

  • [Redacted]

    The question, please help me understand.

  • At the time you went to the prison to visit those men,

  • [Redacted]

  • [Redacted]

  • It took a long time. It took a long time because the day I left there I never went close to that area again. Q.

  • [Redacted]

  • It took about seven to eight months that I did not go around the Special Court in fact.

  • [Redacted]

    given also that you'd first been in contact with the OTP in 2004, it follows that you knew when you went to visit them that you were already talking to the Prosecution. You knew that, didn't you?

  • No, no, no.

  • Let's take it in stages and hopefully you can follow. You first spoke to the Prosecution in 2004, is that right?

  • I don't recall the date now.

  • Take it from me it was 2004.

    [Redacted] and you've just told me that it was [Redacted] that you'd visited these men in custody. It follows then, doesn't it, that when you went to visit them you'd already started talking to the Prosecution. That's right, isn't it?

  • No, no, they were the first. In fact, by then the Special Court had not even contacted me. I even had - I was even afraid of going there. They had not contacted me. By then we were in the RUF office. That was where in fact I used to sleep at that time.

  • Why had you gone to visit them?

  • At that time I was at the RUF office.

  • Your Honours, could the witness make that area clear. It was not clear to the interpreter.

  • Which area are you talking about, Mr Interpreter?

  • Where I exactly stopped, after that.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter is having a problem understanding what you're saying. Please pick up your evidence where you said, "That was where in fact I used to sleep at that time", and continue your answer.

  • Okay. At that time the RUF office was where I was assigned, that was where I was, so that was where I was when one of Issa's bodyguards called Eddie Bockarie who went to the office - by then Kposowa was present - and he told me that those people wanted to see me. He said Issa and others wanted to see me. I asked what they wanted to see me for. He said they said I should go there. They did not want to talk with me on the phone. And at that time it was he, Eddie Bockarie, who took me to the place because I did not want to go there, but it was Kposowa also who advised me to go there to go and see the reason why they are calling me because by then even the name Special Court was not good in my ears and I did not even want to go around the area.

  • Did you in due course discover why they wanted to see you?

  • When I went there they did not tell me anything because I did not want to go there. It was Eddie Bockarie, not from they themselves. It was Eddie Bockarie. Later I asked him and he told me that those men wanted something from him, but in fact I quarrelled with him. I said I did not want anything from those men, I did not even want to go around them, that area, and since then I did not even speak with them.

  • Let's try again, shall we? When you went to the prison did you say to them, "What do you want to see me for"?

  • It was the one who called me that I asked. He told me - he did not explain everything to me automatically, because by then his wife was there, Issa's wife was there, Kallon's wife was there. They were all sitting there. So at first when I had gone there they had wanted to encourage me so that I will continue visiting them, so they did not actually explain to me the reason why they wanted to see me. They only suggested a time that Eddie Bockarie should bring me back to them. So it was since then that I refused to go there, so I never went there again.

  • Very well. So after that visit did you say to the man Bockarie, "What did they want to see me for?"?

  • Yes, I asked him. I asked him the reason why he took me there, because I did not know anything about it.

  • And what did he say?

  • He said those men - in fact, he also did not expose everything broadly to me. He said they had something in mind that they wanted to discuss with me. That was just what he told me. So the time he told me that he was supposed to take me back to the place I refused to go, so I never went there again. I said I was not going there.

  • Did you ask him, "What is it that they want to discuss with me?"?

  • No, when he said those men wanted to discuss something secretly with me, just between them and I, I did not actually ask him to tell me into details what they wanted to discuss with me, so what I told him also was that I was not going there any longer. Kposowa wanted to talk to me again. I told him, "No, I am no longer going there."

  • But surely natural human curiosity would cause you to want to find out what these men behind bars wanted from you? Surely?

  • Asked and answered.

  • No, as long as I had said I did not want to go there I would not go there because I did not want them to even explain anything further to me. As long as I had said I was not going there, I would not go there.

  • Obviously the witness understood the question, even if Mr Koumjian didn't.

  • My objection was not that I didn't understand the question. It was that it was asked and answered and argumentative.

  • I was going to overrule it because it was another aspect of the question. The witness has answered it and we don't need any extra comments.

  • So is it right then, are we to understand that until this day you haven't got a clue why those three men wanted to talk to you?

  • I had no idea about it, because the name Special Court I did not understand in fact. I did not have any idea about those things. Q.

  • [Redacted]

  • Say that again. Let me hear it clearly.

  • [Redacted]

  • Yes, yes.

  • [Redacted]

    in March of this year you were seen again by investigators from the Special Court, weren't you?

  • You were seen again in May of this year, in June and again in July of this year, weren't you?

  • Please refer to the times again, the time that you referred to, the first, second and third time.

  • May, June and July of this year.

  • At this time, your Honours, I have some cross-examination bundles which I'd like to be handed out, please. I apologise for the shopping bag, Madam President:

  • Now just so that you understand, here we have copies of notes taken by investigators during various meetings with you

  • [Redacted]

    Now I'd like, please, the witness to be shown first of all behind divider 1 and could we exercise some care because there is a name on that page which I do not want to be broadcast, okay? I really see no need for any of these documents to be broadcast because the points to be made will be quite clear.

    Now, Mr Witness, do you have any difficulty reading?

  • I can try a little bit.

  • Now do you see your name at the top of that page?

  • Do you see a date, 20 August 2004? Yes?

  • Yes, I have seen it.

  • Now let's start, please, at the first paragraph:

    "In 1991 I was in Bo Gendema living with my uncle. I was in the 7th grade at the Roman Catholic primary school Bo Gendema. The RUF rebels came to the village and I fled with my uncle's wife to Serabu near Pujehun. The rebels also came to this location and seven of us young boys were abducted. My uncle was killed. I knew the men were RUF because they wrote 'RUF' on doors and walls of houses in Pujehun Town where we were first taken to and then later to Zimmi. Some of the fighters were Liberian and spoke Liberian English. There was also Sierra Leoneans among the rebels. The commander of the group that abducted me was known only as CO AB. He was Liberian."

    Is any of that true?

  • Let me say something.

  • Let's try and answer the question. Is any of what I've just read out true? Yes or no will do.

  • This page that you've read

    [Redacted] I told them that it was not correct and I gave them a reason, so I cannot say it is true here.

  • It's right, isn't it, that what I've just read out is a complete pack of lies, isn't it?

  • Not all of them. I said this page, what is on this page. Earlier I told them when I gave my evidence that it was not correct and I gave them a reason why I said that.

  • Now, help me. You see, you told us that you were in Kakata when the war broke out and yet here you're telling the investigators that you were actually in Liberia [sic] in Bo Gendema. Why did you tell them that lie?

  • That is what I have told you, that I knew my reason. If you want me to tell you the reason I'll tell you that reason why I said that.

  • But you agree with me, don't you, that what I've just read out is a pack of lies? It is, isn't it?

  • I am referring to this page, not everything. I said I know my reason why I said that. If you give me some time I'll tell you the reason.

  • Is the paragraph I've just read out a complete lie, yes or no?

  • That's what I've told you.

  • Thank you, so it is a lie.

  • Let's get a positive answer, shall we?

  • Let him answer, Mr Griffiths, because he's referred to a page and you're referring to a paragraph. Let us hone in on this paragraph.

  • That paragraph I've read out it's a complete lie, isn't it?

  • The one which you read that I heard,

  • [Redacted]

    that it was a reason why I said this.

  • Please answer the question as put.

  • Is it a lie, yes or no?

  • Yes, this paragraph that you have read.

  • All right. Let's continue then, shall we? "We were taken to a training base near Zimmi." That's a lie, isn't it?

  • Excuse me, your Honour, but there was a question that was not answered. It's on page 82, lines 18, 19. "Why did you tell them that lie?", and the witness has not answered that. Page 81, lines 18 and 19. On my font it's page 81 on line 18, the last three words, and then it continues on line 19, "Why did you tell them that lie?"

  • Okay, this is the reason --

  • Pause, Mr Witness, please. Mr Koumjian, I'm looking at 18 and 19 and my font reads, "You agree with me, don't you, that what I've just read out is a pack of lies, isn't it?" And then the answer includes, among other things, "If you give me some time I'll tell you the reason." For me that's part of the --

  • Okay, in my colleague's font it is page 81, lines 11, 12. Perhaps she's on a line with your Honours.

  • I understand now, Mr Koumjian. I see it. Thank you.

  • Thank you. Thanks to my colleague.

  • Mr Griffiths, you asked a question, you've got an answer, the answer did not directly answer the question as put and you then moved on. You've heard Mr Koumjian's comments if you wish to reply to that objection.

  • I will ask the question again:

  • Why did you tell the investigators the lies which you now admit you did in that first paragraph?

  • It was one morning while I was at my house, but before then after Special Court had arrested Issa Sesay and the other brothers I had some fear in me so I wasn't going just anywhere, because I thought because since I was a high commander, or a senior commander, I thought I would be arrested too. So I was at my house one morning and I saw a white woman with a black man. I was surprised. Just when I got out on the veranda I saw them out. My heart jumped a bit. In fact, I almost fainted. They saw me and they asked me if I was --

  • Your Honours, the witness has --

  • Don't say your name, Mr Witness, please.

  • Continue with your answer, but please do not say your name.

  • Sorry, your Honours, the witness already mentioned his name in Krio. I don't know if that would help the Court.

  • Thank you, Mr Interpreter, for that information. It's not on record, but if it is recorded and could be broadcast it will have to again be redacted. The relevant part, Madam Court Attendant, please assist us.

  • So they said they wanted to see me at the Special Court. There was no way for me to escape at that time. I thought I had already been arrested at that point, so at that time whatever question they asked me I was just telling them lies just for them to release me so I would escape and go where I would be safe. So that was why I told them that lie. I did not tell them the exact truth because I just thought I had been arrested at that time.

  • Firstly, did anyone, either the white woman or the black man, say to you, "You are under arrest"?

  • They did not tell me that, but that was my first time to see them. The rumours that we had been having about the Special Court that they said from the senior officers right to the private soldier all of us were going to be arrested. The FM radio stations and every other radio station used to say that. The neighbours, the individual people, those of them who listened to the news exaggerated the news, so we had fear in us. All of us were afraid. In fact, that was why some of our colleagues went to Liberia and some others went to Guinea. Even as I speak to you some others are still in neighbouring countries. They've not returned yet.

  • So can I take it then that you took a deliberate decision to lie to them?

  • Yes, I did not want to tell them any truth at that time.

  • And you told them deliberate lies, if I understand what you're telling us, because you were afraid that you might be yourself arrested. Is that right?

  • So help us, please, and we'll take this in stages. How did you think telling them the lies that you did in that first paragraph would protect you?

  • The information - because where I had rented people knew around that we were the ex-combatants, so there were people who were not ex-combatants and so these people were exaggerating things to us. Whatever information they got, they exaggerated it to us. When they went to town and got anything, they would come to us and exaggerate it. If they listened to the news - at times we would listen to the radios and we - things are exaggerated. So we had that fear in us, but I wouldn't have gone to Liberia because my family was with me. I actually wanted to escape but how would I have left my wife and my family behind? So that was why I was afraid. I decided to stay.

  • Let me try my question again and it's a simple one. How did you think telling those lies would help you?

  • Mr Griffiths, I obviously do not wish to put words in your mouth, but help him with what? Help him not to be arrested? Help him to get a Liberia, et cetera? Perhaps a little clarification.

  • Now you told us that you had told these lies deliberately. Now would you agree most people tell lies for a good reason. Would you agree with that?

  • Yes, that was my own reason, to save me, maybe they would release me.

  • Right. You thought that telling lies would save you and they would release you. So help me, how did you think telling them the lies that you did in that paragraph would lead to your release or would cause them not to arrest you? How?

  • The time they came to me, I thought if I told them what I had just - what you had just read they would leave me and they would go and after they might have left I would just escape and go where I wanted to go so when they would come the other time they would not see me.

  • So you were actually thinking about avoiding them altogether?

  • Yes.

  • Let's go on to the next paragraph, shall we? "We were taken to a training base near Zimmi." That's a lie, isn't it?

  • That's what I've told you, yes.

  • Because you're telling us now that you went to a training base in Liberia called Camp Naama?

  • Yes, I only told them this when I later knew that I was not going to be arrested so I spoke the truth to them, because they told me then that they were not going to arrest me personally.

  • Let's see how the account goes on, shall we:

    "At this base we were given the RUF ideology, that is to fight against corruption in government, and we received training in the use of light weapons including the AK-47. There were more than 50 of us at the training base. There were girls present as well. The training commander was referred to as CO PI. He was also Liberian. The training lasted for one month. After this training an RUF commander, nickname Mon Ami, took me to his house in Zimmi as house boy. He was Ivorian and spoke mostly French. He also spoke some English and Krio. I stayed with Mon Ami up to 1994 when the RUF was forced across the border to Liberia by government troops. Mon Ami was killed in battle. I moved with his wife Fatumata to Kailahun in 1995 and stayed with her up to 1997 when the AFRC junta came to power."

    Do you agree that all of that is a pack of lies?

  • This paragraph that you've read, that's what I'm talking about. I said it's a lie. It was because they came to me without being informed, so that's why I gave them false information just for me to - just for them to leave me so I would go where I want to go.

  • Now if I understand what you've told us, their arrival on your veranda came as a shock to you. Is that right?

  • Yes, because I had not seen them before. I never knew them. They just came to me that way.

  • Now would you agree that the account I've read out on this page contains a lot of details, names, places and so on which is quite complicated? Would you agree?

  • No, I have told you that this thing that is in this paragraph that you've just read is different from the actual truth that I spoke to them. The real one which I told them, everything in there is correct.

  • But the point I'm making is this. This complicated account was given - this lying account by a man in shock who had not anticipated that these people would be arriving on his doorstep, yet you were able to lie quite convincingly in this way, weren't you?

  • Yes, that's what I did for them to leave me so I will go where I would want to go.

  • Let's go over the page, shall we:

    "Sam Bockarie was commander in Kailahun at the time. He called the parade and announced that the soldiers in Freetown headed by JPK had seized power and had invited the RUF to join them in forming government. Most of the commanders in Kailahun left for Freetown. I stayed in Kailahun. Foday Sankoh was out of the country at this stage. I heard he was arrested in Nigeria."

    Apart from the fact that Foday Sankoh was indeed arrested in Nigeria, is any of that true?

  • This one that you've started reading here everything is correct, but the first one that you read was not correct, but this one now that you've started reading is correct. From Sam Bockarie, Foday Sankoh, that was how it happened.

  • It then goes on:

    "I first moved to Kenema and then on to Freetown. I stayed with Eldred Collins at 7th Battalion, Goderich where he lived. When the demise of the AFRC/RUF junta was imminent I left Freetown for Kenema but Kamajors had started attacking RUF positions around there so I left with some colleagues for Kailahun where it was safer. A few weeks later ECOMOG removed the AFRC/RUF from Freetown, Makeni, Kono and other areas."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, it is true, but I did not say Kenema. I said Kono. When I left Freetown I went to Kono, not Kenema.

  • So they've written that down wrong, have they?

  • Did you stay with Eldred Collins at 7th Battalion?

  • Yes, when I came from Kailahun straight I went to Eldred Collins's house. It was there Sam Bockarie sent me. The house where Eldred Collins was, it was the first place I was sent.

  • Did you live at that address with Eldred Collins?

  • Yes, when I went it was then that he rented another house so he gave me that house. He left the house, because he had some other people, many of them.

  • So you did live with Eldred Collins, did you?

  • It was the house. The two of us were not living together. When I went, the house where he was he asked me to live there. He left the house and he went to some other house. I was in that house, but he was not there living with me.

  • So when it says, "I stayed with Eldred Collins at that address", what it should have said was, "I stayed in Eldred Collins's house", is that right? That's what it should have said?

  • So they've written that down wrong as well, have they?

  • I was at Eldred Collins's house.

  • But they've written it down wrong, have they?

  • You are reading. I am not reading.

  • Are you not following what I'm reading?

  • I do hear everything that you're reading. I do hear what you are reading.

  • Now, a simple question. Have they written that part down wrong, "I stayed with Eldred Collins"? Have they?

  • That's what I've told you. I met Eldred Collins at his house, but when I came I came together with some other people and he left the house and went to some other house. He left me there with my people. He was there when I arrived, but when I arrived he left me there and went elsewhere.

  • Let's move on to the next paragraph:

    "A large group of retreating AFRC/RUF men and women subsequently arrived in Kailahun. I saw JPK, Five-Five, Gullit, Adams, Issa Sesay and many more. Soon after the arrival of these people a meeting was held and Sam Bockarie said that all the RUF/AFRC fighters and commanders should not stay in Kailahun. JPK together with his family and guards were taken to Kangama near Buedu. Mostly SLAs were sent to Kono with the aim of recapturing it from ECOMOG and another group was sent to Daru. I remained in Kailahun under CO Isaac, a Sierra Leonean."

    Is that true?

  • The one that you've read is true, but not Isaac. I was not under Isaac. I was under Sam Bockarie.

  • Why did you tell them that you remained in Kailahun under CO Isaac?

  • Kailahun? CO Isaac was not in Kailahun. I was not under him.

  • Try my question. Why did you tell them that you remained in Kailahun under CO Isaac?

  • CO Isaac was my former commander. First we were with him, but Sam Bockarie was in command. Even if I was with him, Sam Bockarie was the commander at that time.

  • Mr Witness, do you understand the question?

  • The question is why you said certain things to the Office of the Prosecutor. That is what the question is about.

  • Okay. CO Isaac was my former boss, just like you'd live with your father, but Sam Bockarie was the overall commander in Kailahun at that time, but formerly we were with CO Isaac in that country even before we came here.

  • Did you remain in Kailahun under CO Isaac, yes or no?

  • No, they were under the high command of Sam Bockarie.

  • Did you remain in Kailahun under CO Isaac, yes or no?

  • No, I did not --

  • So why did you tell the investigators that then?

  • CO Isaac was my boss.

  • Why did you tell the investigators that then if it wasn't true?

  • That's what I'm telling you. He was my boss, I was there for him, but it was under the high command of Sam Bockarie.

  • Mr Witness, all these questions are about why you said certain things to the Prosecutor, not what you said. Why you said them.

  • Mr Witness, did you hear what I said to you?

  • Yes, can you please repeat it.

  • These questions are about why did you say certain things to the Office of the Prosecutor. Now why did you say those things, if in fact you now say a different version?

  • The question - if they asked me a question that is what I would respond to. The question they asked me, I answered to it. It was not for any other reason that I said that.

  • Mr Witness, are you deliberately avoiding the question that counsel up there asked you? The question is very plain regarding the sentence, "I remained in Kailahun under CO Isaac." Now you've just told the Court that that sentence is not true and the question is if it is not true why did you lie to the Office of the Prosecutor? Please answer that question.

  • That is what I have told you, that the initial statement that was obtained from me when we met at that initial stage, I told you here from the beginning that some of them were not correct because of the prevailing circumstances at that time, which I have already explained to you. But afterwards the other statement that was obtained from me, I gave them the true events of things.

  • I think I will move on, your Honours, because I don't think we're going to make much progress here:

  • But help us, up to the point we've reached in these notes some parts you say are true, others are lies. So help us, why did you choose to lie about certain things but not others?

  • That's what I have told you from the beginning. The two people who met me, because I didn't want to have my hands in any other problem where I was so when they met me whatever I felt like telling them was what - just for them to leave me and I would go where I wanted to go was what I told them. That's why I told them these things, these pages that you're seeing now. But later when I had confidence that nothing would happen to me, when they met me I told them the truth, what I actually did from the beginning in Liberia. But at the initial stage I did not tell them the truth because I had a fear in me.

  • Let me try my question again. Why did you choose to lie about certain things but not others?

  • I did not choose. I was just talking just randomly. Even when they were interviewing me I was not even comfortable sitting there with them.

  • You obviously did not understand the question. The question is why did you lie about certain things and tell the truth about things? In other words, you were picking and choosing where you would tell the truth and where you would tell lies, according to this statement. The question is why.

  • That's what I'm telling you, because when I spoke the truth about some things [indiscernible] and some other things I would just say anything that comes to mind, then that's why I told lies because I was even tired. I wanted them to leave me so I would go, so whatever came to mind was what I said at that time.

  • Let's go on, shall we.

  • No, I think there's even some words that the interpreter himself was not clear on. I'm reading from line 22, page 95, the witness said: "That's what I'm telling you because when I spoke the truth about some things [indiscernible] and some other things I would just say anything that comes." Mr Interpreter, what was that you said that we didn't catch?

  • Your Honours, I can't recall exactly now what is indiscernible there.

  • Are you talking to me?

  • I was speaking to the interpreter but perhaps, Mr Witness, can you repeat your answer? Can you explain to the Court why sometimes you would tell the truth and sometimes you would tell a lie?

  • Okay. If you ask me a question and if I answer to some of them correctly and for some others I can just say whatever that comes to mind. I was confused. I just wanted them to leave me. I didn't want to tell them everything. I just wanted them to leave me and I'll go.

  • Next paragraph: "After the RUF had retaken Kono I went there with some colleagues. I was not specifically ordered to go to Kono". Is that true?

  • That's the same thing you are saying again. I think we've discussed that.

  • I'm sorry, I've not referred you to this passage before, so can we have a look at it, please. "I was not specifically ordered to go to Kono". Is that true?

  • No, it is not true.

  • "Rather, my previous acquaintance with Issa Sesay prompted me to go there". Is that true?

  • No, that is not true.

  • "Issa had previously had an affair with the late Mon Ami's wife, Fatumata". Is that true?

  • No.

  • Pause there, please. Why are you telling that lie about Issa Sesay and involving the wife of a dead man in the lie? Why are you doing that?

  • Explain that part to me so that I can understand, Issa Sesay and?

  • Did Issa Sesay have an affair with Fatumata, the wife of a dead man, Mon Ami? Did he, yes or no?

  • It might be helpful, I believe that the pronunciation --

  • No, she was our sister.

  • So that is a lie, isn't it?

  • She was our sister.

  • I'm sorry, my fault. I don't understand your answer. Perhaps you could explain. Who was whose sister?

  • Issa Sesay, all of us, because Mon Ami was a French man and we were Sierra Leoneans so she was our sister.

  • Yes. Now, let's now try my question. Did Issa Sesay have an affair with Fatumata?

  • No, he did not do that to her like you can take somebody as a wife, no, but she was a friend to him.

  • Let me put the question differently. That sentence is a complete lie, isn't it?

  • No, they were just friends.

  • That sentence is a complete lie, isn't it?

  • No, that is not a lie. They were friends. Even if you ask him he would tell you.

  • Did he have an affair with her, yes or no?

  • She was his girlfriend. She was not his wife.

  • Did he have an affair with her, yes or no?

  • Mr Interpreter, I have heard you use the word "affair". Please put it into proper Krio.

  • Yes, he used to go there at night. She was his girlfriend.

  • So he did have an affair with Fatumata?

  • If people are friends you would know, but I did not enter together with them in the same room so I didn't know what happened in the room, but if people are friends, boyfriend and girlfriend, you would know.

  • Well, I'm sure you weren't in the room.

  • Mr Griffiths, the word "affair" apparently does not exist in Krio. It is synonymous with having sexual intercourse it would appear. Mr Interpreter, am I right? Well, Mr Interpreter, are you there?

  • Yes, your Honour, I thought the Krio interpreter would respond, but that is correct, your Honour.

  • So perhaps, Mr Griffiths, you could rephrase your question in a way that could be interpreted.

  • Was Fatumata a sexual partner of Issa Sesay?

  • Yes, he did it but I was not with him in the room because that was not something that people would be invited to witness.

  • I'm sure you wouldn't be. I'm sure you wouldn't be, but what makes you say that Fatumata was a sexual partner of Issa Sesay?

  • All of us here, you know, most people here are either married or have girlfriends or - you know, when you see two people you can see the way they can play with each other, you will know that they are boyfriends or girlfriends, you don't need to go with them into the room.

  • Very well. Let's carry on with the paragraph, shall we. Let's try and conclude it before the luncheon adjournment.

    "Issa often visited Fatumata when she was in Kailahun and also while she was in Freetown during the junta period in 1997. As a result, I came to know Issa Sesay personally."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, I knew Issa Sesay personally and even Fatmata, I knew her personally.

  • Did you come to know Issa Sesay because of his relationship with Fatumata?

  • No, it was not at that time that I knew Issa Sesay. I knew him before then in Liberia.

  • Exactly. You knew him according to the account you're now giving from Camp Naama in Liberia. That's where you met Issa Sesay. That's right, isn't it?

  • Yes, it was in Camp Naama that I met him.

  • So you were lying then to the Prosecutors when you told them that you met him effectively because of his relationship with Fatumata. That was a lie, wasn't it?

  • Yes, I met him in Liberia, but when we were in Kailahun he and that lady were in love so that was when we became friends, but before then we were not really friends.

  • Mr Witness and Mr Griffiths, I note the time. It's the normal lunch break. Mr Witness, we are now going to take the lunchtime adjournment. We will be resuming court at 2.30. Please adjourn court until 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Some change of appearances on both bars, Mr Koumjian?

  • Thank you, your Honour. For the Prosecution: Brenda J Hollis, Alain Werner, Ruth Mary Hackler and Nicholas Koumjian.

  • Thank you. Mr Griffiths, likewise?

  • Madam President, Courtenay Griffiths and we are now rejoined by Mr Munyard.

  • I think you have lost a member, have you.

  • Mr Chekera has left us.

  • Thank you. Please proceed.

  • I wonder if that document could be placed before the witness again, please, and we were on the second page, two paragraphs from the bottom of that page. Now in that second to last paragraph we see this:

    "In Kono I met Issa Sesay who was then the overall RUF commander in Kono. Morris Kallon was there as second in command. In late 1998 I was appointed as mining commander by Issa Sesay and placed in charge of the mining site at Kokuima in Kono. I succeeded another man named Mohamed Kamara."

    Are the contents of that paragraph true?

  • There is some amount of truth in there, but at the beginning of that really I did not meet Issa Sesay there. He met me there.

  • So can we put it this way: The first sentence is a lie, is that right?

  • Yes, because he did not meet me there. I did not meet him there. He met me there.

  • But where it says, "Morris Kallon was there as second in command", is that true or false?

  • Morris Kallon was there as second in command to Superman. At the time we came from Freetown was the time he was second in command, but not the time that Issa Sesay was there.

  • So can we take it then that that sentence, "Morris Kallon was there as second in command", can we take it that is a lie?

  • At the time I am talking about in this paragraph, I was sent to Kono before Issa Sesay went there. That is what I am trying to say. So when he went there he went there together with Kallon, so they met me there.

  • Simple question. That sentence, "Morris Kallon was there as second in command", is it true or false?

  • Yes, in Kono he was there as second in command in Kono under Issa Sesay.

  • So that is the truth then, yes?

  • Yes, Kallon was second in command under Sesay.

  • "In late 1998 I was appointed as mining commander by Issa Sesay and placed in charge of the mining site at Kokuima in Kono. I succeeded another man named Mohamed Kamara."

    Is that true?

  • What to you mean by succeed, that I succeeded a man?

  • You took over from a man called Mohamed Kamara. Is that true?

  • Yes, it was in 1988 - I mean 1998 that I took over from Mohamed Kamara in the Kono jungle.

  • And was that in late 1998?

  • Yes, the reason why I said late, it was not early 1998. It was late 1998 that I took over.

  • Very well. Now help us with this: Would you agree that during the 11 years you spent in the RUF the most important role that you played was as mining commander from 1998 until 2000? Would you agree with that?

  • Yes, that was the time I became mining commander.

  • Yes, I know that. Listen to the question, please. Would you agree that during the 11 years you spent in the RUF your role as mining commander was the most important role that you played?

  • No, that was not the most important role. There were other roles that I played that are important too.

  • But it was an important role, wasn't it?

  • Yes, that was one of the important roles, but it was not the only important role.

  • Because would you agree that what came to be one of the most contentious issues in the Sierra Leonean conflict was the whole idea of what people have come to call blood diamonds? Would you agree?

  • Blood diamonds? I don't know about blood diamonds. We were looking for diamonds.

  • Or conflict diamonds. That has become a major issue about the Sierra Leonean war, hasn't it?

  • Yes, when they were talking about Sierra Leone war they included mining because we were mining for minerals, diamonds.

  • Exactly. Now, bearing in mind that you were concerned about being arrested and getting yourself in trouble, help us with this: Why did you tell the truth about being a mining commander, yet told so many other lies? Why did you do that?

  • Explain, because you have said two things. Explain to me the last question that you asked.

  • Very well. Let me try again. You were afraid - you were frightened of being arrested at this time, weren't you?

  • And you have told us on more than one occasion it was that fear that caused you to lie?

  • Yes, because I thought I was already in their hands and that I had been arrested.

  • Now, bearing that in mind, why admit that you were mining commander and yet tell so many other lies?

  • The idea about the mining commander that I told you about, the people did not just come to me. They had got information about me that I did so and so thing, so when they went they asked me whether I was the mining commander. And then I thought of it, I said, "How did these people manage to know that I was the mining commander?"

  • Right. So the only reason why you told the truth about this was because they told you that they knew that you had been the mining commander? That's the only reason why you told the truth about this, wasn't it?

  • The people already knew that that was a role I played, so there was no need for me to lie.

  • So you told the truth about that because you knew that they knew the true position. That is right, isn't it?

  • Yes, the question they asked me was what I answered. They asked whether I was the mining commander and I said yes. When they asked me that I did not deny. I said yes.

  • And, you see, the reason why you were forced to answer in that way was this, wasn't it - can the witness please be shown exhibit D-9 behind divider 1 in the bundle of exhibits to this witness.

  • Thank you. Your Honours, I believe this does have the name --

  • I don't want it up on the screen.

  • And your Honours will understand why in due course:

  • Now let's just take matters in stages, shall we? Look at the first page of that document. Have you seen that document before? It is behind divider 1 in your Honours' bundles.

  • Sorry, Mr Griffiths, I misheard which divider.

  • Have you seen that document before?

  • I am looking at it, except I read it. Unless I read it before I understand.

  • Just have a look at the title, "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, Defence Headquarters, to the leader of the revolution, from Major General Sam Bockarie, salute report, dated 26 September 1999". Have you seen this document before?

  • I have just seen it in this Court.

  • For the first time?

  • I did not see it when I was in Sierra Leone. I saw it here.

  • When you say you saw it here, prior to me putting that document before you had you seen it before?

  • It is here that I have seen it.

  • Let me try again. Today, is it the first time you've seen that document? Is there something about that question that you don't understand?

  • No, I am reading it.

  • No, listen to the question.

  • Excuse me, your Honour. Can I just kindly ask counsel to allow the interpretation to be completed before the next question.

  • Have you seen that document before it was placed in front of you a couple of minutes ago?

  • Yes, this document, I did not see it in Sierra Leone, but I saw it here and now in this Court today I have seen it here again.

  • Let me try one last time. Before it was placed in front of you a couple of minutes ago had you seen that document before?

  • Yes.

  • I don't know if this is it, but I saw a similar document like this during prepping. I don't know if this is the document, but I saw a similar document like this.

  • I said here, not in Sierra Leone.

  • So, here in Holland?

  • Who showed it to you?

  • A similar one like this, it is not this. A similar one like this.

  • Who showed it to you?

  • I have told you it was during proofing. I don't think this is it, but a similar one like this, I saw it with Sam Bockarie's name written on it that when he gave --

  • Mr Witness, counsel is asking which person showed it to you.

  • The lawyers who were there who were - during proofing, they showed me. I don't think this is it, but they showed me a similar one like this.

  • What is the name of the lawyer?

  • It was Nicholas.

  • Can you see him in court now?

  • Is he sitting over there?

  • In any event, turn, please, to page 13. Do you see a paragraph just above halfway:

    "Proceeds from the sale of agricultural produce was used to provide much needed rations and materials for soldiers and civilians alike. With the diamond rich ground of Kono under our control, a mining unit was set up headed by [you] who is in place to give account of all proceeds from mining operations". Do you see that?

  • Yes, I have seen the area.

  • Now when the investigators came to you they told you, did they not, "We know who you are. You were the mining commander in Kono". They said that to you, didn't they?

  • Objection, asked and answered.

  • I think the witness volunteered the information. It wasn't put quite the way it's put now. I allow the question.

  • Did they not say that to you along those lines?

  • Yes, when they went they already knew that that was a role I played, so they went there to ask me for me to talk.

  • And so you knew that when it came to diamonds you had to tell the truth?

  • Put that document to one side now, please, and let's go back to the notes of the interview conducted with you on 20 August of 2004 and we were on the second page towards the bottom of that page, last paragraph:

    "My daily duties as mining commander included taking possession of the diamonds which had been collected from the miners by the respective site commanders. The site commanders would come to the RUF office used for the diamond hand over each afternoon. The site commanders would come with the day's find of diamonds in order to turn them over to me and I would then carry them personally to Issa Sesay at Issa's house around 5 p.m. each day."

    Is that the truth?

  • Yes, what is written here is true, but I did not do it alone. Like you said they are personal, that personal is not correct. I used to go with people.

  • Right. So where it says on the last line, "I would then carry them personally to Issa Sesay", that is wrong?

  • To say personal, I did not take diamonds alone. Just one person would not take diamonds along to him. There must be somebody there to serve as a witness.

  • Very well, but nonetheless other than that that paragraph is true, is it?

  • Yes.

  • Over the page, please:

    "Present at the diamond office during the hand over procedure were the two evaluators. Their names were Pa Abdul and Soidu Bampura. They used special instruments which we called lip. These instruments were a type of magnifier held to the eye. The evaluators at this stage merely sorted the clear white stones from the coloured ones and divided them into clear and coloured groups. Also present were Issa's security guards, the guard detail was generally four in number. They were armed and were rotated with other guards on an almost daily basis. A clerk was also present for the process. During my time as mining commander, the clerk was Mohamed Kanneh. Mohamed was responsible for recording the numbers of stones and caratage in a register kept for that purpose. These books were generally hard covered exercise books which were kept by Issa."

    Pause there. Is all of that correct?

  • Yes, that was what we used to do. When we came we will sort them out, the coloured from the clear ones, and people who knew about them, they will weigh them and then some people will use - hold the lip to their eyes and then wash them nicely then later - after which we will give it to him.

  • So on this particular topic you chose to tell the investigators the truth. Is that right?

  • Yes, this is true. What is in there is true. That was what we used to do.

  • "I was the diamond commander from about December 1998 for about eight months to July/August 1999. Mining operations were conducted on Monday to Thursday of each week. There were no operations on Friday to Sunday. I would estimate that on average approximately 40 to 50 stones were brought to the mining office on each of the mining days."

    Is that right?

  • So again you chose to tell the investigators the truth about that?

  • And where we therefore see that you began that job in December 1998, can we accept that as being the truth?

  • Yes, 1998 was the time I was given that job.

  • Try my question. Can we take that date, December 1998, as being the truth?

  • Like I told you earlier, the month and the date I don't recall, but it was in 1998 that I was given that position.

  • Did you lie to them about it being December?

  • No, the time I am telling you about is what I don't recall, but it was at that time in 1998 that I was given that position because it was in December that we captured Koidu Town.

  • Thank you. So we can accept December 1998? I'm asking for a very important reason. Is it December 1998?

  • Because the capture of Koidu Town was in 1998, but I am now trying to recall the time I went there, but I told you initially that it was in 1998 that I went there.

  • Did you have any reason to lie to the investigators when you gave them that particular date?

  • No, it was the way they asked me the question, because it was not a date that I recalled. They only asked about the time we captured Kono and I did not recall it. If I knew a date I will say like maybe like today's date, but if I did not know at all I will talk about certain events that coincided with that date.

  • Did you give them that month, December?

  • Yes, they asked me about Koidu Town and I told them that it was in December that we captured Kono. Yes, in December.

  • Thank you. Next paragraph, please:

    "Issa Sesay had a house in Kono located in a part of town known as Lebanon. The mining office was located just across the bridge from Issa's house."

    Is that the truth?

  • Yes, there was a swamp in between and the swamp had a bridge over it. They were across the one side and we were across the other side.

  • And was that area of Kono called Lebanon because many Lebanese diamond dealers lived there?

  • According to the Kono people, but at the time we were there I did not see Lebanese people there, but when we were there they told us that during normal times the Lebanese people were living around there so that was why they referred to the place as Lebanon.

  • Let's continue:

    "After the stones had been divided into the two groups, I then packaged them in paper which I then wrapped tightly with sticky tape. The packaged stones were then taken to Issa's house where they were weighed. Manual scales were used for this purpose. The weighing of the diamonds was always done at Issa's house on a long wooden table in a small room off the front veranda of the house. This room was also a communications room housing a radio set. The weights were then recorded in the register by Mohamed Kanneh. Sometimes Issa just took the diamonds from me and they were not weighed. However, no-one ever challenged Issa about this because it was dangerous to confront Issa on such issues. He could beat or even kill you."

    Is all of that true?

  • Yes, those were his behaviours and at the time we used to weigh the diamonds where we were sometimes when we take it there he will have to loosen the Sellotapes to see them, because maybe he will think that we had put some other things in there, so he would have to loosen it and look at them. So sometimes we will just give them to him and then he will just look at them and then repackage them. That was what he used to do, but not all the time. Sometimes.

  • But the details you give of the long wooden table, the veranda and so on, all of that is correct, is it?

  • Yes, it was a table like this that was in the room. There was a radio set in the corner. There was a big table there and he had a chair in front of the table, so we did not used to sit down, we would just stand up and look at him.

  • And let's just remind ourselves, shall we, you are telling the truth about diamonds, aren't you?

  • Let's continue:

    "The procedure I have just described only related to the government pits. Issa Sesay also controlled two private pits in the Koidu Town area called Number 11 and Kaisambo. I don't know anything about the operations in terms of the labour force or diamond proceeds at these sites as they were kept secret. To show any interest in these sites could result in a person being killed."

    Is all of that true?

  • Yes, at his personal place if you were not assigned there you were not even supposed to go there.

  • And then this:

    "I don't know precisely what Issa Sesay did with the diamonds I passed to him as mining commander other than to say he, Issa, would tell me that he was going to Buedu. Sam Bockarie was in Buedu at that time. Issa travelled to Buedu about twice per month and would often return with food. I think Issa took the diamonds to Buedu during these trips. I do not know anything about what Issa may have received in exchange for diamonds."

    Is that paragraph true?

  • Say that again.

  • Let me read it again:

    "I don't know precisely what Issa Sesay did with the diamonds I passed to him as mining commander other than to say that he, Issa, would tell me that he was going to Buedu. Sam Bockarie was in Buedu at that time. Issa travelled to Buedu about twice per month and would often return with food. I think Issa took the diamonds to Buedu during these trips. I do not know anything about what Issa may have received in exchange for diamonds."

    Is that paragraph true?

  • The paragraph where you are now, you yourself know that as a mining commander when you held that position the diamonds that you receive when you took them to him you should know, but at the time they asked me I did not want to tell any other person where the diamonds went to. I only told them that it was to Issa Sesay that I gave the diamonds. I did not take diamonds to give to another person directly. I did not want to involve any other person in there, but I knew where the diamonds were supposed to go to and I knew what they did with them.

  • Is that paragraph true?

  • This paragraph is not true. Like I said, I knew where the diamonds went to, but, like I said again, I did not want to involve the name of any other person because it was to Issa that I used to give the diamonds. That was why I called Issa's name.

  • But you told us a moment ago that you were telling the investigators the truth about diamonds, so why lie about this aspect of the diamond trade? Why lie about that?

  • It is not a lie. I talked about the person I was giving the diamonds to. That was the reason why I called his own name, but I knew where he used to take the diamonds to, but they did not ask me about that. What they asked me about was what I answered. They did not ask me where the diamonds were going to.

  • Yes, they did, because that's why you say, "I don't know what precisely he did with them" and over the page, "I do not know anything about what Issa may have received in exchange for them". Why say that if you're telling the truth about diamonds?

  • That is what I have told you. The question they asked me was to whom did you used to give the diamonds to. I said Issa Sesay and I said in return he would take the diamonds to Sam Bockarie in Buedu. But they did not ask me what Issa Sesay used to do with the diamonds, but they asked me about Issa Sesay and I spoke about him and he was not the overall boss, but they did not ask me about any other person. That was why I stopped there.

  • At the time that you were speaking to the investigators did you decide that you were going to limit the amount of information you gave them about diamonds?

  • Yes, in my mind. Yes, in my mind. I did not say everything.

  • Why?

  • In my mind. The questions they asked me were the ones I answered. The one that they did not ask me about, I cannot just go ahead explaining things like that.

  • Why did you decide to only tell them part of the story?

  • The ones they asked me were the ones I answered. I cannot just go ahead explaining. Even in here you are not asking me all the questions. The ones you ask me about are the ones I will talk about. It is not everything that I am talking here.

  • At the time that you were speaking to the investigators are you telling us that you did know what Issa Sesay did with the diamonds you gave him? At that time that you spoke to them did you, on your account, know?

  • From the beginning of the assignment from the time they put me there since the start of the war I knew about all the diamonds. I knew where they all went to. But if someone did not ask me about them I cannot just go ahead explaining things.

  • Well, if you knew why did you use these words, "I don't know precisely what Issa Sesay did with them"? Why say that?

  • That is what I have told you. I said it was not all the information they asked me to explain about. I will tell you some and about some if you did not ask me I cannot go ahead explaining.

  • Let's go over the page to the next paragraph, please:

    "Towards the latter part of my eighth month as diamond commander I recall two Lebanese men met with Issa Sesay at his house in Kono."

    Pause there. Is that right?

  • Yes, two Lebanese men came to Kono.

  • Where had they come from?

  • The Lebanese men, according to the information I got, they said they came from Liberia, they came through Sierra Leone and then they went and met us there.

  • Were they diamond dealers?

  • Did they come to purchase diamonds from Issa Sesay?

  • Let's continue with the paragraph: "These two men arrived in a green jeep on two occasions. I don't know where they came from." Pause there. I thought you told me a moment ago that you knew they came from Liberia?

  • Yes, that was what I heard, but I did not travel together with them. They said they came from Liberia, they came through Sierra Leone, travelled all the way and met us there.

  • But why tell me a moment ago - why are you telling them there, "I don't know where they came from" and now you are telling us, "Yes, I do know. They came from Liberia"? Why?

  • It was because I did not want to ask or say something that would warrant me being asked too many questions. That was the reason why there were so many things that I knew, but when they did not ask me about them I pretended not to know.

  • Well, I'm going to have to ask you beaucoup questions because you won't give me a straight answer. Tell me, why did you tell us a moment ago --

  • I would ask that the examination be limited to questions rather than arguing with the witness. If the witness is not answering the question your Honours can direct him to answer specific questions.

  • Put your question, Mr Griffiths.

  • When you spoke to the investigators in August 2004, did you know that these men came from Liberia?

  • So why did you tell the investigators, "I don't know where they came from"?

  • That is what I have told you, that the investigators who went to me, I did not want them to continue asking me so many questions about those people's location where they came from and I --

  • Your Honours, that last bit is not very clear.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter did not hear the end of your answer. It says --

  • Okay, I just told them that the people came from Freetown and they went to visit us.

  • Let's continue:

    "Their second visit was about a week after the first and on the second visit they brought a generator with them. I believe the generator was taken to the Number 11 site and used at that location."

    What kind of generator was that?

  • It was a Lister machine. It was as green just as this book.

  • What is a Lister machine? You are going to have to help me, because I don't know. What is it used for?

  • A Lister machine that provides electricity for the place.

  • Now the Number 11 site, was that a mine?

  • So was the generator for use at a diamond mine?

  • Yes, even where they were staying for them to electrify the place.

  • So let's put that together. Two Lebanese diamond dealers travelled from Liberia to Sierra Leone, bringing a generator with them for use in a diamond mine, yet these two Lebanese men did not come to Issa Sesay to buy diamonds. Is that all correct?

  • Yes, they did not come there to buy diamonds. They came to mine for diamonds. That was what I saw them doing. They did not come to buy, because if somebody was there buying diamonds they would have been sitting in offices and buying diamonds, but I used to see them go to mining sites and I used to see them there myself and people were there working for them. So there is a difference between buying and mining.

  • So effectively the RUF was leasing out diamond mines to Lebanese diamond dealers. Is that correct?

  • Those were the two places. Let me say just the one place, Number 11, that they came and did mining there, that I saw those Lebanese men come and do mining there, but I did not see any other person come there save for those two men who were brought by Issa.

  • How long did the Lebanese men mine at Number 11 site?

  • They were not there for a long time. They just dug one big pit and they washed the gravels and since then they left. When they left I did not see them any more.

  • How long were they there for?

  • About two months.

  • Because they dug just a pit.

  • Now remember at the beginning of that paragraph you say this: "Towards the latter part of my eight months as diamond commander" - let's remind ourselves that over the page you said you began that role in December 1998. Consequently from what you've just told us, the Lebanese diamond dealers would have been in Kono some time round about May, June, July 1999. Would you agree?

  • I have forgotten the date. That was why I told you that they were there for about two months, but I don't recall the months.

  • They were there towards the later part of your eight months as diamond commander?

  • Yes, when I was there that was the time. They were there and they left whilst I was still commander and they went.

  • Okay. Let's continue and finish this page, shall we:

    "The government/RUF mining site at Kokuima was at a single location comprising several small pits where digging operations were carried out manually. Labour force was comprised of 11 gangs of seven men. Each gang had a gang leader. When a diamond was found it was handed to the gang leader who then gave it to the site commander. The site commander, as I stated previously, would then bring the diamonds to me at the office."

    Is all of that true?

  • Yes, that was how we were working. There were people who were in charge of the diamonds at the sites.

  • Pausing there then. "The labour force was comprised of 11 gangs of seven men". So we are talking about a labour force of about 77 men, yes? Is that right?

  • Yes, at Kokuima.

  • "Some of the miners were happy to mine, but some were forced." Is that right?

  • "I heard of people receiving beatings for trying to quit work at the pit." Is that true?

  • Those who did not work - who did not want to work at the place, they will be disciplined.

  • They would be beaten?

  • And did that take place when you were mining commander?

  • Did you order people to be beaten for refusing to work at the pits?

  • We had our discipline order at the place and at the site there were people who were representing us in those positions and we had disciplinary officers there and if there was somebody who did not want to work they had somewhere to go and keep that person, because for me personally I did not want them to beat people because maybe they will be beating somebody and that person might die.

  • Your Honours, could the witness slow down his pace and take off from where I stopped.

  • Just pause, Mr Witness, please. The interpreter needs to keep up with you.

  • Good. Could you continue with your answer from the point where you say, "They will be beating somebody and that person might die". Continue from there, please.

  • I said I told them to stop beating people. Maybe they will be beating somebody and that person might die at the end, so if somebody said he was not going to work we will find somewhere to keep that person, but I said they should stop beating people to prevent somebody dying.

  • Let's go back to my question. Did you order anyone to be beaten for refusing to work?

  • No, I did not tell them at any point in time to beat somebody because somebody refused to work. Those were some of the circumstances that I refused to go by for which I was removed from that position.

  • As mining commander you were the man in charge of mining, weren't you?

  • Did you ever say to any of the disciplinary officers, "Don't beat miners"?

  • Yes, the MPs. When I heard that - because my security who was there as my representative, at one point in time he came and told me that they were beating people there, so the MPs who were in charge, I told them they shouldn't beat people and if somebody refused to work they should go and keep the person, they shouldn't beat people, to prevent somebody dying.

  • Did you ever prevent someone being beaten?

  • That is what I have just told you. I said I stopped them not to beat somebody to prevent somebody dying.

  • "Armed guards were present at the Kokuima pit to prevent stealing of diamonds and to prevent others from entering to take the workers away to other sites. I know Issa brought in truck loads of people to do the mining from areas such as Makeni and Magburaka. However, I do not know if these people came to Kono to mine voluntarily, or whether they were forced. Those who attempted to steal were beaten by the guards. I personally witnessed this during one of my visits to the site at Kokuima."

    Pause there. When you witnessed that beating, what did you do to stop it?

  • That is what I have told you. Maybe some other person will come and explain to you what I was doing. Sometimes when I even met them disciplining somebody I will ask them what the person did and I will plead with them to forgive the person. At any time I met them disciplining somebody I will stop them from beating that person. I will advise them to jail that person, because if somebody was in jail he will be there for some time, but to continue beating somebody, if they did that somebody might die. That was what I used to do.

  • So can I take it then that you found the beating of miners totally objectionable?

  • Yes, I told them to jail them than to beat them up, because if you were to be jailed for an hour or two when you come out you will advise yourself, but to beat somebody was not good.

  • So tell me if you found it so objectionable why did you stay in the job for so long?

  • Help me understand that English.

  • Your Honours, could counsel give chance for the interpretation before he continues his cross-examination.

  • Mr Griffiths, I think you were talking over the interpretation.

  • My fault. My fault:

  • If you found the beating of miners so objectionable, why did you stay in the role of mining commander for so long?

  • Okay, that is what I am telling you. In fact the reason why I stayed long in the position was because the first miners who were with us, they were loyal, nobody used to beat them. If you asked them to do something they would do it, so there wasn't much problem.

    But those who Kallon and Issa went and collected from Magburaka and Makeni and other areas who were not under our control, those were the ones who started the Rasta style. So those were the ones who were beaten. So when I tried to stop that they removed me from the job and replaced me with some other person. They said I was not hard hearted. They said I was weak.

  • The interpreters have missed a word. They started - did you say "Rasta style"?

  • No, I did not say Rasta.

  • What was the word you used?

  • I said they said I was too soft and that I was not harsh. It was not Rasta. That I was not wicked. That was the reason why I was removed and I was replaced with somebody who was iron handed so that he would be able to take care of the people.

  • The particular word that I am asking about came in this context:

    "Those who came from Magburaka and Makeni and other areas who were not under our control, those were the ones who started the" - something - "and those were the ones who were beaten."

    What was the word you used?

  • Okay, that is what I mean. I said the ones whom they brought from Magburaka and Makeni, when they brought them they were not used to our own training. They had been living their own life. Those were the ones who were beaten because they did not - they did not go by the control. They were doing things the way they wanted to do them. That is what I meant.

  • Going back to the page:

    "However, I did not go to the site often so I cannot say much about what was happening there. I was sacked from my position of mining commander after Issa Sesay's guards lied to Issa that workers at the site had been stealing diamonds. I was accused of being behind these thefts. I was beaten by Issa and his guards before being dismissed. I then went to live in Magburaka and had little to do with the RUF thereafter."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, that was how it happened. They lied on me. They said I had lost diamonds and that I had stolen diamonds and that was not what happened, so Issa called me, the MPs went and investigated me and he even told them to beat me up and those were his boys, he asked them to beat me up. And later Sam Bockarie called on me, but he found out later that it was not true, so he asked me to forget about it.

  • Listen to these words, "I was beaten by Issa and his guards". Were you?

  • It was Issa who gave the command. They were the MPs. Those are his boys. He did not hold a cane himself to beat me up. It was his boys who beat me.

  • Were you in fact beaten?

  • Yes, that is what I am telling you. I said they whipped me up and I had a series of wounds on my body. Issa himself was present, Kallon was there and Peter Vandi was there. All of them were there when Issa gave the command for them to beat me up. In fact they hang me over and by then they were sitting down drinking and smoking.

  • Now, listen to what follows: "I then" - that is after the beating - "went to live in Magburaka and had little to do with the RUF thereafter". Is that true?

  • That only happened when Sam Bockarie - that was the second time when I went to Magburaka when Sam Bockarie sent me there.

  • Did you following the beating go to live in Magburaka and have little to do with the RUF thereafter?

  • No, that is the second page. After the beating Sam Bockarie called me.

  • Your Honours, can the witness explain what he means by "second page".

  • Mr Witness, please pause. The interpreter needs some clarification. When you started your answer you said, "That is the second page" and the interpreter asks what that means.

  • When they found out that I was not guilty, that was what I meant, second page, then Sam Bockarie sent me back to do my job, I was reinstated, and from that time Issa had grudge for me and he took me from the position again and sent somebody else there.

  • Did you following the beating go to Magburaka and have little to do with the RUF thereafter?

  • No.

  • Is that sentence a lie?

  • That sentence, that is what I have told you. I said Sam Bockarie invited me even before I went to Magburaka.

  • Mr Witness, is that sentence a lie, yes or no, please?

  • Yes, that other sentence, yes.

  • Yes, I went to Magburaka, but after. I did not say I did not go to Magburaka, but it was after.

  • And the bit about having little to do with the RUF thereafter, that is a lie, given what you're telling us now, isn't it?

  • When I was in Magburaka then I didn't have much to do with RUF again when I went there to settle finally, because I had already been removed from the job. In fact, I didn't go to Kono any more.

  • Following the beating - and let's just put it in context, shall we? On what you were telling the investigators you began the job in December 1988 [sic], you were beaten and your term of office brought to an end eight months later, that's July 1999, and according to this following that beating in July 1999 you went to Magburaka and had little to do with the RUF thereafter. Is that true or false?

  • That is what I have told you. That statement that you have uttered going to Magburaka, it was after Sam Bockarie had sent me back to the mining. It was at that time that I was dismissed and I went to Magburaka finally. That's what I said. Maybe the person wrote something else, but that's what I told the person.

  • We will come to what was written down in a minute. Let's just see if we can get to the bottom of this, please, and believe me I will continue until you give me a straight answer. Did you go to Magburaka in July or thereabouts 1999, yes or no?

  • No, I did not go to Magburaka in 1999.

  • From 1999, July, up to disarmament did you have little to do with the RUF for that two years or so?

  • From the time we were disarmed when I said I had nothing to do with arms any more --

  • Listen to the question, please. From 1999, July, until disarmament would it be true to say that you had little to do with the RUF?

  • Yes, I was an RUF at that time but I hadn't an assignment at that time, so there wasn't much until I went to Magburaka. I was in the RUF. If you asked me I would have told you I was an RUF, but nothing much. Because I hadn't opportunity to go to the government soldiers.

  • Well, from what you're telling us and have told us last week, you stayed on as mining commander, one of the most important posts in the RUF, until 2000 and then went fighting in Guinea. So it would be a lie to say that you had little to do with the RUF thereafter, wouldn't it?

  • I think you deliberately don't understand what I am telling you. I told you it was twice that I went for the mining. It was during the last occasion when I was assigned there and that when I left there finally I went for the Guinea war, I did not even spend one month there and I came back and settled in Magburaka. That's what I'm telling you. From that time I had less to do with the RUF. In fact, for that Guinea war I did not even spend up to one month there. When I went there I got injured and I returned and I was based in Magburaka. That was where I was. I did not go to Kono again to settle.

  • Tell me, because we are almost at the end of these notes, you go on to say:

    "Amara Salia also known as Peleto replaced me as mining commander. At the time of the UNAMSIL abductions in 2000 I was living in Kono."

    Now, firstly, did Peleto replace you as mining commander?

  • Yes, he was the one.

  • Were you in Kono at the time of the UNAMSIL abductions in 2000?

  • Yes, that is what I have told you. I said I was there when they were abducted, but it was not in Kono that they were captured.

  • I'm not saying it was. My question is very simple. Were you living in Kono at the time they were abducted?

  • Now you appreciate, don't you, that in this statement you've limited your role as mining commander to an eight month period beginning in December 1998? You appreciate that, don't you?

  • Do you now tell us that you were in fact mining commander from '98 until 2000?

  • That's what I meant. I put the two times together, both.

  • But help me, why in this statement did you limit or appear to be limiting your role as mining commander to an eight month period when now you are telling us it was more than twice that? Why?

  • I spoke about two times. I said both times. The first one when I was there it would be up to that, then I was removed and later I was reinstated. So I spoke about the two times.

  • No, you didn't, and I am going to ask you again. What you were telling them here in August 2004 was, "I was mining commander for eight months. Then they beat me and I left and went to Magburaka to live and had little to do with the RUF thereafter." That is the story in August 2004. The story today in August 2008, four years later, is, "I was mining commander from late 1998 to the year 2000." A simple question: Why the difference?

  • I told them the two times, the first time and the second time, because it was two times that I occupied the position. Maybe what I said was not what was written, but I told them both times. I did not just go to Magburaka like that. It was the very last time when Issa removed me that I went to Magburaka and after that again when I came from Guinea. I told them both times.

  • In reality, if what you are telling us is right, after that paragraph, "I was beaten by Issa and his guards before being dismissed" you should have continued by saying, "But guess what? Sam Bockarie reinstated me in that role and I stayed in that role until 2000." Why didn't you tell them that?

  • I said that, because I did not just say when they beat me up I went to Magburaka. I said they took me to Buedu and it was after Buedu that I was reinstated. It was the very last time when I was removed then I went to Magburaka.

  • Now you agree, don't you, that in this first meeting with the Prosecution you told them a number of blatant lies? You agree with that, don't you?

  • I have told you from the beginning, I said the first meeting I had with them - in fact, I did not want to even talk to them. I was not even willing, but I just said maybe if I had said so they would arrest me, so I did not actually tell them what they wanted that first time. It was on the second meet that I told them the truth, because then I knew they were not going to arrest me.

  • So you agree with me that you told a number of blatant lies?

  • You are just repeating the same question.

  • Your Honours, can counsel wait for the interpretation.

  • That's what I have just told you. I said you are just repeating the same question.

  • Mr Witness, you have not actually answered the question. You have given an explanation, not an answer.

  • You have told some blatant lies, haven't you, in that interview, yes or no?

  • Yes, the first interview. I did not say the second one, but the first one. Some of them were lies, the first one, but the remaining ones were all true.

  • Do you remember on Thursday of last week, yes, I asked you this question, page 14277 of the transcript:

    "Q. Did you join the RUF voluntarily?

    A. I joined the RUF to save my life.

    Q. Let me try my question again. Did you join the RUF

    voluntarily?"

    At which point Mr Koumjian, Nicholas as you know him, objected. And then you said:

    "No, I did not join it on my own. Something made me to

    join it.

    Q. What was that?

    A. The treatment that was given to us in Liberia, the

    Sierra Leoneans, the Guinea civilians and the Nigerian

    civilians."

    Do you remember me asking you those questions?

  • Yes.

  • Let me try it once more. Did you join the RUF voluntarily?

  • Excuse me, could counsel read the complete answer. He read back part of the witness's answer on that page, but I think it would be fair to the witness to give the complete answer he gave on Thursday.

  • Mr Koumjian, you have the benefit over me. I don't have it before me, but if there was an answer given it should be put completely, Mr Griffiths.

  • Very well. I was merely seeking to be as economical as possible:

  • "A. The treatment that was given to us in Liberia, the

    Sierra Leoneans, the Guinean civilians and the Nigerian

    civilians. The treatment that was given to us made us to

    fear. We had nowhere to hide. We just had to join them.

    If we did not join them our lives would have been at risk,

    so that's why I joined the RUF.

    Q. Let me try my question differently. Did anyone force

    you to join the RUF?"

    Again Mr Koumjian objected and I asked it again:

    "Q. Did anyone force you to join the RUF?

    A. No, nobody forced me. I said I went there to save my

    life. Circumstances forced me to go there. If I had not

    been there maybe I wouldn't have been talking here even."

    Now, let me ask you one more time, did you join the RUF voluntarily?

  • Asked and answered. The witness has given, as we've just heard, a very detailed answer and it is really arguing the semantics about what is voluntary given the witness's answer.

  • I am asking for a very good reason, your Honour, because I'm about to challenge the witness with a previous inconsistent answer to that same question. So that's why I am asking it again.

  • Very well. Put the question. You must answer the question, Mr Witness.

  • Did you join the RUF voluntarily?

  • What do you mean by "voluntarily"?

  • You volunteered to go of your own free will?

  • I did not just get up and go there. Something made me to go there.

  • Would your Honours give me a moment? Yes, could we go, please, behind divider 8.

  • Is this in the Defence bundle?

  • In the Defence bundle, your Honour:

  • Now you should see interview notes for 25 and 26 March 2008. Do your Honours have that?

  • Yes, thank you, Mr Griffiths.

  • Can we turn, please, to paragraph 10, second page. Could you turn over to the page, please. Mr Witness, could you turn to the second page, please, paragraph 10:

    "Witness states that after Foday Sankoh's address a lot of Sierra Leoneans agreed to join him to fight the war in Sierra Leone. That day Foday Sankoh returned to Gbarnga promising to return to Kakata in one week's time with a truck to pick up those who had volunteered to join him so that they can be taken to the training base to commence the military training. Witness states that on this trip to pick up those volunteers he came with a truck which was a six-tyre Toyota truck to Kakata. Most of the Sierra Leoneans who had volunteered to join him had escaped. Foday Sankoh then went to the detention centre where the Sierra Leoneans were detained and requested for them. Witness states that he was one of the persons that voluntarily joined him."

    Do you see that?

  • This volunteer, I did not volunteer. This person who wrote this word "volunteer", I did not volunteer. I went there because of something. There were two reasons that made me to go there, two reasons, important reasons that made me to go to that place. I did not just get up like that and say let me go to that place. I went to that place for two reasons.