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

  • Madam President, in the first instance, yesterday I indicated that I would seek leave of Court to have marked as an MFI the witness's statement. The first page of that document contains biographical and personal information of the witness and one possibility could be a request on application that that be marked confidentially. But my application for purposes of the statement is that the balance of it, that is, separate and apart from the first page, be marked with a single identification number, if it please your Honours.

  • Normally when we mark documents for identification, this is internal to the Court. It's not a public document per se.

  • So I'm inclined to give the whole document one number, which would be MFI-442.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Good morning, Mr Smythe.

  • Good morning, counsel.

  • I have a few more questions for you before I conclude my re-examination. You recall you were asked questions by learned counsel opposite on 1 March about when exactly it was that you became assistant director for operations. Do you recall those questions?

  • Yes, I recall the questions, yes.

  • May the witness be shown MFI-425, please. Mr Smythe, can you see that document?

  • That's correct. I can see it, yes.

  • The document bears a date at the top.

  • What date is that?

  • That date is 11/23/98.

  • And we've gone over this before and counsel opposite has gone over it with you. Your name appears at number 34?

  • And the title assigned to your name, right to the right of number 34 says special agent to the President?

  • You've told us that you went to Paris in advance of the delegation that travelled with President Taylor?

  • Now, what was your official assignment - rather, what was your official position within the SSS at that time?

  • My official position at that time was special agent to the President.

  • When did you become appointed assistant director for operations?

  • Objection. That's been covered in direct examination.

  • How do you know there's not something that counsel wants to clarify that turned up in cross-examination?

  • There was, indeed, a dispute on the basis of questions asked by learned counsel opposite indicating that - well, I'll proceed.

  • The objection is overruled.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Now, Mr Smythe, this trip took place in November?

  • December is the last month of the year?

  • So when between this trip and the end of 1998 were you appointed assistant director for operations of the SSS?

  • I was appointed right after this trip. After this trip, when we returned to Monrovia, that was the time I was appointed, because at that time the position of assistant director was vacant. So it was right after this trip that I was appointed.

  • And in what year was that appointment made?

  • Thank you. Thank you, Madam Court Officer. May the witness be shown Prosecution exhibit P-28, please. May he also be shown what has been marked as MFI-420A and 420B, please. May you show him, first of all, the back or the second part of MFI-420, which will be 420B. Mr Smythe, this document, in actuality the reverse or backside of your SSS ID card, was shown to you by learned counsel opposite on 1 March. Do you remember that?

  • That's correct, yes.

  • The signature that appears on the back, whose signature is that?

  • That's the signature of the director of the Special Security Service.

  • And what is that person's name?

  • Madam Court Officer, could you show us Prosecution exhibit P-28, please. First, can you show the entire document so that the witness familiarises himself again with the document. From the top, please. Mr Smythe, do you see that document?

  • That's correct.

  • Do you know somebody by the name of Abu Keita?

  • I don't know anybody by the name of Abu Keita.

  • When you look at what is numbered as number 4 or item number 4 in that document, do you see the name Major General Keita?

  • Yes, I do see that, yes.

  • Your Honour, excuse me. I do have an objection related to the scope of cross-examination. As your Honour knows, the only item that was mentioned in cross-examination was the signature of Benjamin Yeaten. The issue is, if counsel goes into more of the document, will I be allowed to then question the witness about the document? I didn't on cross-examination, so for that reason he should be limited to the signature, which was the only aspect of the document that I went into in cross-examination.

  • Mr Anyah, I want your response on that.

  • Your Honour saw what I just did. I went through the document that was marked for identification regarding the signature. It's logical that when I come to this document we will be considering the signature. What is at issue is not just whether this witness can look at two signatures and give us his opinion. What is at issue is the authenticity of P-28. To the extent that the Prosecution is asserting that the signature on P-28 is of a particular person, the entire authenticity of this document is called into question and the witness before your Honours can shed some light.

  • We're of the view, Mr Anyah, this is a Prosecution exhibit as you rightly point out. Indeed the authenticity of it is in issue. But we're also of the view that if the Defence wanted to call the authenticity of this document, this is a matter that should have been raised with this witness in chief; the authenticity part of it. Now what you are doing actually is going beyond the issue of the signature and going back into the authenticity which was a matter for examination-in-chief. So I do uphold the objection. Please restrict your re-examination to the issue of the signature.

  • Mr Smythe, let's look at the bottom of the document. Mr Smythe, have you ever seen Benjamin Yeaten's handwriting on a piece of paper?

  • Yes, I saw his handwriting.

  • Do you see below where it says "Approved" and a signature there is something written "General Yeaten". Do you see that?

  • Do you see below that there is something written "Benjeman" and it looks like "D" for David?

  • Could you raise this don't up a bit, please. We're straining to see what's at the bottom of it. Thank you.

  • Mr Smythe, do you see that part of the bottom right-hand corner of the document is missing?

  • Now, where you see where is written "General Yeaten", to your knowledge and on the basis of having previously seen Benjamin Yeaten's handwriting, is that Benjamin Yeaten's handwriting?

  • Your Honour, again the Prosecution objects that this goes beyond. There are questions I would like to ask in follow-up if this question is allowed.

  • Madam President, this cannot simply be reduced to an exercise of is this his signature or is this not. Your Honours have discretion in this issue. The Rules, when you look at the parts of the Rules dealing with examination of witnesses, this Court does not have an explicit rule that says that the scope of re-examination must be limited to the scope of cross-examination. It's a jurisprudential principle. In several jurisdictions sometimes that rule applies and sometimes another rule called the wide-open rule applies.

    In this instance what I'm proposing to your Honours is that the entire circumstances surrounding the inscription of this signature is subject to challenge by us on the basis of what the Prosecution attempted to do in cross-examination.

  • Very well. Just give me a moment, please.

  • Mr Anyah, when questioned on this in cross-examination what did the witness say? I can't quite remember now.

  • My recollection is that he said that this - there was - I'll find the reference to the transcript just to be precise. My recollection is that he said it looks like it but it could be a fake. He is not sure how this was done.

    I have found the reference in the transcript and the witness said, "I can't confirm that." This starts at page 36322 of the transcript of 1 March and it goes to the next page, page 36323. A question was asked at line 24 by learned counsel opposite. It actually starts at line 20 at page 36322. The question was:

    "Q. Without taking the document off, could the witness

    please be shown P-28 - without taking it too far away, I

    should say. We see at the top it's called 'Operation order

    20 January 2001'. Go down, please.

    Sir, this morning you have identified on two documents the

    signature of Benjamin Yeaten. Here we see at the very

    bottom of this document, 'Approved director Benjamin

    Yeaten' and then printed again 'Benjamin D Yeaten' and then

    there is a signature above it. That's the same signature

    that you have identified twice before, correct?

    A. I can't confirm that.

    Q. Sir, let's look at the - you were certain of your

    identification card being signed by Yeaten, correct?

    A. That's correct, yes.

    Q. And you were certain of the voucher being signed by

    Yeaten, correct?

    A. That's correct.

    Q. Well, let's look at the identification card now side by

    side if that's possible. The signature with that on this

    document.

    A. Those documents are official documents. That's why,

    you know, I recognise his signature there. But this is not

    an official document so I can't say. Somebody can forge

    somebody's signature, so I can't say this is his signature.

    I can't say that."

    Now, they read the title of this document in chief. They read what I am reading now, "Approved by director Benjamin Yeaten." Why can we not in re-examination consider the same issue?

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • We are of the view, having looked at the document in question, exhibit P-28, there is a signature that purports to be of Benjamin Yeaten and underneath it are the words - one of the words I think was scored out. It looks like "director". And then there are two definitely different handwritings purporting to be - to complement the signature, so to speak, or to authenticate the signature. The words are firstly "General Yeaten" which has been torn off and then below that in a different handwriting "Benjemand Yeaten".

    So we're of the view that this is relevant. It's not a matter that's been covered before and it's an admissible question. So the objection is overruled.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Smythe, let's look at what is written around this purported signature of Benjamin Yeaten. Let's consider the writing that reads "General Yeaten". Do you see that, Mr Smythe?

  • That's correct, yes.

  • On how many documents during the time period you were assistant director for special operations would you say you have seen the handwriting of Benjamin Yeaten?

  • So many times.

  • When you look at that writing that says "General Yeaten" with the "N" missing, is that to your knowledge the handwriting of Benjamin Yeaten?

  • Excuse me, to be precise this is printing. Counsel is saying handwriting. I know that may include both, but there is a distinction.

  • We can argue on semantics between capital letters and --

  • I think the witness knows what has been asked of him. Please continue.

  • Mr Smythe, in your experience and to your knowledge, is that the printing or handwriting of Benjamin Yeaten?

  • I can't - this is not the writing of Benjamin Yeaten that I know.

  • Do you see right below it it says "Benjemand" or you could read it as "Benjeman D Yeaten". Do you see that?

  • Do you know how to spell Benjamin, Mr Witness?

  • Yes, I can spell Benjamin.

  • Can you spell Benjamin for us, please?

  • B-E-N-J-A-M-I-N. J-E-M-I-N I mean. J-A-M-I-N, yeah.

  • Can you say that again?

  • Do you see how "Benjemand" or "Benjeman" is spelt in this? Can you say what you see there for us?

  • I'm seeing B-E-N-J-E-M-A-N or H, I don't know what - it looks like N or it looks like H, I don't know.

  • Is Benjamin Yeaten's name spelt as it appears on this document, the first name Benjamin?

  • No, it is not spelt that way.

  • Have you ever known Benjamin Yeaten to sign a document containing an error in the spelling of his name?

  • Benjamin will always authenticate a document to be correct before he signs it because I can only remember him signing official documents.

  • Where you see that name --

  • Sorry, Mr Anyah, the witness has not answered your question. Have you ever known Benjamin Yeaten to sign a document containing an error in the spelling of his name? The answer should be yes, or no, or you don't know.

  • Mr Smythe, do you understand the question?

  • Please repeat your question.

  • In the time you were assistant director for operations when you worked with Benjamin Yeaten have you ever known him to sign a document containing an incorrect spelling of his name?

  • No, I have never known him to sign any document containing an incorrect spelling of his name.

  • When you look at what is written there below "Benjemand" or "Benjeman D Yeaten", in your experience does that appear to be Benjamin Yeaten's handwriting?

  • That doesn't look like Benjamin Yeaten's handwriting.

  • Do you see where it reads "General Essa Sesay"? Do you see that?

  • Yes, I see General Issa Sesay.

  • What is the spelling you see of the first name of that person?

  • Again, your Honour, I'm happy to go into this but I need to be allowed to ask questions also. This is far beyond the signature of Benjamin Yeaten that was directed - that was the only subject of the cross-examination on this document.

  • Yes, I would be inclined to agree. Our earlier ruling on the scope of your re-examination of this document is pertinent. You can't go into matters beyond that signature of Benjamin Yeaten, please.

  • I appreciate that:

  • Mr Smythe, what colour of ink is used to write where you see the name General Yeaten?

  • And right below that where you see the other name "Benjeman D Yeaten", what colour of ink does it appear to be?

  • Appears to me to be a black ink.

  • Thank you. Do you know why the word that appears to be "director" underneath Yeaten's signature is scratched off in this document?

  • Again, your Honour, I'm happy to go into this on recross but this is beyond the spoke of the cross-examination.

  • Madam President, this is still in relation to the authenticity of the signature.

  • Yes, I do agree. It's still in regards to the authenticity of the signature. I overrule that objection.

  • Mr Smythe, in your experience working for Benjamin Yeaten, and we saw the back of your SSS ID card where it said "director", have you known him to scratch off the words "director" and yet sign his signature on a document?

  • No, I have not known him to be doing that.

  • An official document, that is?

  • I have not known him to be doing that on any official document.

  • Thank you. Thank you, Madam Court Officer. Thank you, Mr Witness. May the witness please be shown what has been marked as MFI-415, please. Madam President, if it could be helpful, I have the original of this photograph and that might actually be helpful because a question arose last week by your Honour Justice Lussick about something in the photograph. So may I hand it to Madam Court Officer, please.

  • Why do you not give the original to the witness and put the copy on the overhead?

  • Mr Smythe, do you have the photograph?

  • Can you examine it closely, please.

  • You identified this photograph last week and, again, you were asked questions about it on 1 March by counsel opposite. Do you recall last week that his Honour Justice Lussick asked a question about the - what appears to be an object at the top left-hand corner of General Jackson's hat?

  • Now, when you look at the original, what sort of object does that appear to be to you?

  • I can't tell what kind of object it is because it can look like a stick, it can look like an iron. I don't know.

  • You said this photograph was taken --

  • Sorry, I beg your pardon? It can look like a stick and it can look like a what?

  • An iron. I-R-O-N. A piece of iron, I mean.

  • What were the circumstances under which this photograph was taken, 6 April 1996 incident involving Roosevelt Johnson?

  • Questions were asked of you yesterday whether or not ULIMO-K was aligned with the NPFL - actually, the questions were asked on 1 March - whether ULIMO-K was aligned with the NPFL when this event occurred. Do you recall that?

  • The Council of State, its membership, did it include most of the warring factions who took part in the war in Liberia?

  • And what were those warring factions again?

  • The warring factions were the NPFL, ULIMO, and LPC.

  • Was ULIMO one entity or was it split by then?

  • ULIMO was split, but on the Council of State, ULIMO-K was represented on the Council of State.

  • Whose orders were being carried out when it was said Roosevelt Johnson should be arrested?

  • It was the order of the Council of State.

  • And whose orders were you executing or attempting to execute when you and General Jackson were in this location at that time?

  • I was executing the orders of the Council of State.

  • Were there ULIMO-K fighters or members involved in attempting to arrest Roosevelt Johnson?

  • Yes, ULIMO-K fighters were involved.

  • Was it a collaborative or joint venture between the ex-combatants or fighters of members of the Council of State?

  • I didn't understand that question quite well.

  • I appreciate that. When you went to the area of Roosevelt Johnson's place, did you go alone or were there representatives there from ULIMO-K and others working in concert or together with the NPFL representatives?

  • There were ULIMO-K, NPFL.

  • Do you know whether any of these persons pictured in this photograph were also members of ULIMO-K or the LPC?

  • I don't know. I don't know.

  • As you look at that photograph, do you know whether any of the persons pictured in that photograph appear to be under the age of 15?

  • No, I can't really tell. But I can't say they are below the age of 15.

  • What do you mean by you can't say they are below the age of 15?

  • I can't look at them and think they are below the age of 15. I don't know their ages, but not - looking at them, I can't say they are below the age of 15.

  • Looking at them, are they older or younger than the age of 15, in your opinion?

  • To me they are older.

  • Looking at those pictured there, are they older or younger, in your opinion, than the age of 18?

  • To me they are older than 18.

  • Thank you. May the witness be shown, please, MFI-436. Mr Smythe, you recall drawing most of this diagram for us on 1 March, Monday, this week?

  • That's correct.

  • And you recall yesterday adding to it in relation to something called the special agent unit?

  • When you testified yesterday, you said the special agent unit was dissolved before you assumed the position of assistant director for operations.

  • Madam President, with leave of your Honours, may I ask that some indication be made at the box with the dash to confirm that this unit was dissolved vis-a-vis the title of this entire document? Because as it is now, the title says "SSS structure when witness served as assistant director for operations" and yesterday in the transcript a different qualification was given to this document when the witness said the special agent unit was dissolved before he assumed the position assistant director of operations.

  • Can we see what's written at the bottom of this document in relation to that red box, if anything? Is there anything written? There's nothing written. I can't read what is in the red box.

  • Can you magnify the red box, please, Madam Court Officer.

  • Mr Koumjian, do you have any objection to the proposal made?

  • Let the document be given back to the - let the witness indicate - Mr Anyah, perhaps you could repeat to the witness what you want exactly indicated.

  • Yes. Could he be given a red pen, again, please. Or you could give him the MFI to write where he is seated:

  • Mr Smythe, could you find some space on that paper and draw an arrow very near the red box and write --

  • There's no need to draw an arrow. The document is already complicated enough. Let him write beneath the red box the words you want him to write.

  • Mr Smythe, can you write "The SSA was dissolved before I became assistant" --

  • SSU, I apologise. SSU, special agent unit:

  • Mr Smythe, can you write that the SAU, the special agent unit, was dissolved. Are you writing, Mr Smythe? "SAU was dissolved before I became assistant director of operations."

  • Your Honour, just to be clear, I'm reading from the transcript of yesterday where the witness actually talked about this. I think it's a bit less clear than counsel is saying. On page 36431, line 24, the witness said:

    "That special unit was not in existence when - how do you call it - it was dissolved later on during the presidency of Mr Taylor."

    The question was, "At what point was it dissolved? The witness says, "I can't remember actually at what point." The question was, "When you were promoted to assistant director of operations, did it exist?" Answer, "No, it didn't exist that I know of. I didn't know of its existence after my elevation to assistant director position."

  • I'm reading the same transcript and our interpretation is that he said, "I don't know of its existence after my elevation to assistant director."

  • What you have just asked him to write is that the unit was dissolved before he became assistant director. Now, what is objectionable about that?

  • It is inaccurate. The witness testified - or it's leading. The witness testified yesterday that it wasn't in existence sometime during the presidency. He does not know if it existed when he was appointed to the assistant director position.

  • He may not remember when it was actually dissolved, but what he is clear about is that it was not - he does not know of its existence when he was assistant director for operations and that's at page 364 --

  • Mr Anyah, for the sake of clearing this - for me it's very simple to clear. The witness is sitting here. You can ask him again --

  • -- in relation to this unit so that the record is accurate as to his evidence.

  • Mr Smythe, was there a unit called the special agent unit in late 1998 when you were appointed assistant director for operations of the SSS?

  • Prior to my appointment, the SSU - I mean, the SAU was dissolved. It was not in existence when I became assistant director of operations.

  • Can you write the indication I have asked, which is "SAU was dissolved before I became assistant director of operations"?

  • That's what I wrote. "SAU was dissolved before I became assistant director of operations."

  • Can you hand it over to Madam Court Officer, please. Let's see what was written, please. Mr Smythe, you referred previously in relation to the Paris trip that there was something called an advance team. Do you remember telling us that?

  • Was the advance team part of this special agent unit, to your knowledge?

  • Well --

  • Objection. That is leading and suggestive.

  • I can rephrase it:

  • Which part of the organisational structure, to your knowledge, was the advance team a part of, please, Mr Smythe?

  • Part of the operations.

  • And which specific part of the operations section was the advance team a part of?

  • Can be - the part of operations, as I say, it can be the advance team, which is written here, advance team, under the chief of protective services.

  • Please, your answer is not - when you say "it can be", it's as if you are not sure what it was.

  • Sorry, your Honour. Advance team fall under CPS. That's the chief of protective service.

  • To your knowledge, and bearing in mind your knowledge of the SSS structure, is the advance team the same thing as a special agent unit?

  • No, it's not the same thing. Advance team means a team that will go ahead of the security team, that will go ahead of the President before he arrives at wherever he is going.

  • Have you ever heard of something called the long guard?

  • Again counsel is leading the witness and suggesting answers.

  • This is unnecessary. What is leading about asking him if he's ever heard of a name?

  • I have no idea what the long guard is or where this question is leading. I would like to know where the question is leading before I even can rule on any objection or otherwise. Please continue, Mr Anyah.

  • Have you ever heard of something called the long guard, Mr Smythe?

  • Long guard was - that's the name - what is the name of that - name of a person or what? Try to be specific, please.

  • Within the organisational structure of the SSS, during the time period when you were assistant director for operations, was there ever a unit called the long guard unit?

  • The long guard unit, if I will consider that, that's the unit maybe in the - how do you call it, not within the close proximity of the President.

  • I don't understand. The question was simple. Have you ever heard of something called the long guard or the long guard unit? You either have heard or you haven't.

  • I have not heard of long guard unit.

  • Were there persons or members within the SSS who performed functions that were described as long guard functions?

  • Yes, I could - yes, yes.

  • And which person or persons within the structure of the SSS performed such functions, if you know?

  • It would be people under operations.

  • And what do you know that to mean, a function called a long guard function?

  • The long guard function, as I can recollect, is the security that will be not within the close proximity of the President but within the surrounding of the President.

  • If the President, for example, were travelling from Monrovia to Gbarnga, would his security detail include those who performed long guard functions?

  • Now, we spoke yesterday about something called the SSU. Do you recall that?

  • And counsel asked you several questions about the SSU and can you tell us what SSU stands for again?

  • SSU stands for Special Security Unit.

  • Was that a unit within the structure of the SSS when you were assistant director for operations?

  • SSU, no, when I was assistant director it was not.

  • Do you have any knowledge about the structure of the ATU?

  • I was not in the ATU. I don't have know the structure of the ATU.

  • Did you hear anyone discuss the structure of the ATU at any time?

  • Well, ATU, I mean, provided security for the President sometimes when we are travelling out of the country - excuse me, when we are travelling out of Monrovia with the President ATU securities will be involved, so in those cases we can coordinate with them in providing security for the President.

  • You told us that the SSU was not part of the SSS when you became assistant director, is that what you said?

  • Yes, SSU was not part of the - it was - the time - sorry excuse me. When I served as assistant director, during my period I can say it was dissolved. SSU was dissolved.

  • And do you know the circumstances that led to its dissolution?

  • Well, I can't say for sure but because the ATU was being formed, so maybe because of that is why the SSU was dissolved.

  • Excuse me, Mr Witness, are you saying the SSU was dissolved during your assistant directorship?

  • So when you became assistant director it was actually in existence?

  • That's correct, yes.

  • Are you able to tell us exactly precisely when the SSU was dissolved?

  • In the early part of the time I served as assistant director ATU was not in existence.

  • That early part meaning what?

  • Well, after my appointment. That's what I'm trying to say. It's not one year into my appointment.

  • You are not able to be precise as to the year or the date or the month?

  • Well, it's - how do you call it. I think it should be in 1999 or so because I was appointed at the end of 1998, so obviously I think it should be that time.

  • Responding to the President's questions you said ATU in your response. Which unit was dissolved after you became assistant director for operations?

  • To your knowledge were any members of that dissolved unit retained within the SSS after its dissolution?

  • Were all of them retained within the SSS or were some of them sent elsewhere?

  • Some of them were retained as SSS and some of them were sent elsewhere.

  • In respect of those who were sent elsewhere, do you know to where they were sent?

  • They were sent to - they formed part of the ATU.

  • Are you saying that members of the dissolved SSU ended up forming part of the ATU?

  • When was the ATU formed? That is, when did this exchange or transfer of personnel take place?

  • No, when? What year, if you recall?

  • I could recall maybe in 1999.

  • Mr Smythe, yesterday we all listened to a radio broadcast from a BBC interview. I think it's Prosecution exhibits - the audio being 279 and the transcript being 279B. Do you recall that, Mr Smythe?

  • This was in relation to an invasion in Freetown in the early part of 1999. Do you remember that?

  • You and I never covered the Freetown invasion when we undertook your examination-in-chief but it was raised in the first instance during cross-examination. Now I ask you where were you during the first week of January 1999?

  • During the first week of January 1999?

  • I should be in Monrovia.

  • Were you then engaged as assistant director for operations of the SSS?

  • Yes, I was assistant director for operations for the SSS.

  • Were you part of the intelligence apparatus of the Government of Liberia at that time?

  • No, I was serving as assistant director. I was not intelligence.

  • Were you privy, as in did you have knowledge of intelligence information that was gathered by the technical and intelligence services section of the SSS during that period of time?

  • Pardon me again? Come again with that question.

  • Yes. One of the components or units in the SSS you said was, I believe, technical services and intelligence?

  • And those persons there gathered intelligence, yes?

  • When they would gather intelligence would that be something that would be shared with you in your capacity as assistant director for operations?

  • If it is something that threatens the life - I mean the security of the President it will be shared with me but other than that, no.

  • When you were in Monrovia engaged in your function as assistant director for operations in January 1999 did you notice any overseas travel by Benjamin Yeaten during that period of time?

  • No, Benjamin Yeaten would always travel with the President that I know of.

  • The question was to your knowledge did Benjamin Yeaten travel overseas at any point in time around the first week of January 1999?

  • I'm not aware of him making any trip outside of Liberia during that time.

  • To your knowledge, did Mr Taylor travel out of Liberia during that period of time?

  • To my knowledge, no.

  • To your knowledge, were any employees or members of the SSS during that period of time engaged in any fighting in Sierra Leone?

  • No, to my knowledge none of the SSS were involved in any fighting in Sierra Leone.

  • To your knowledge, were any members of the SSS, in particular Benjamin Yeaten, engaged in any radio communications with persons in Sierra Leone during that period of time?

  • To my knowledge, no.

  • To your knowledge, did the SSS or any other branch of the security apparatus of the Government of Liberia provide any arms or ammunitions to any persons in Sierra Leone during that period of time?

  • No, to my knowledge, no.

  • As you sit there now, Mr Smythe, do you know whether Mr Taylor or anyone who was working for Mr Taylor back in January 1999 played any role whatsoever in the invasion of Freetown in January 1999?

  • No, I don't know of anybody working with Mr Taylor to have played any role in that invasion.

  • Did you hear of the involvement of Mr Taylor, or anyone associated with him, in that invasion during the period when you served as assistant director for operations?

  • No, I never heard of the involvement of Mr Taylor, neither anyone associated with him.

  • May I have a moment, Madam President?

  • Thank you. Madam President, we have no further questions for the witness.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, that is the end of your testimony. I want to thank you for your time.

  • Your Honour, I do have a request, if your Honour would have the patience to hear me briefly. Questions were asked about handwriting at the bottom of P-28 that the Prosecution asserts is the handwriting of the adjutant. Both under the names Issa Sesay and General Yeaten it shows it's the same handwriting. And also we would like to ask questions about the position of Benjamin Yeaten commanding various militia forces beyond his position as SSS director on this document which is dated 2001 when this witness was in Libya and ask this witness about his knowledge. So that's our request to deal with items that went beyond the scope of our cross-examination.

  • Is it necessary that I respond to this?

  • Yes, of course. It's an application.

  • We oppose the application on several grounds: One, the Prosecution interjected this exhibit and placed it before the witness. At that point no mention of concern was indicated concerning the fact that it purports to have a date when the witness was already in Libya. At the top the date is January something, 20 January 2001. They did not complain then, "Oh, by the way he was in Libya and he wouldn't know anything about this document." They put the document before him.

    Now that it has been subject to re-examination there appears to be some concern on their part. Where does the inference or suggestion that the same person wrote this come from? It comes from counsel opposite. That's not sworn testimony. And why didn't they raise all of that with the witness? They brought the document, not us. And now they wish to obviate what is the general practice procedurally that doesn't allow for what would be recross-examination. We oppose it.

  • Mr Koumjian, if I understand, what you want to ask relates to the handwriting of the adjutant under the name of Issa Sesay? Is that one of the things you want to address?

  • Yes, the items dealt with in the redirect, the handwriting under the signatures of both names and the position.

  • I asked you one question. I'm the one speaking. I'm not asking you to respond.

  • You remember when counsel was about to ask questions relating to the names Issa Sesay I ruled him out of order and I said the question was impermissible at your request? I said he couldn't ask questions relating to the name Issa Sesay and that his questions were to be limited to the names below the signature of - or the purported signature of General Yeaten. So that first issue as relates to the name of Issa Sesay was not a matter that arose in re-examination and I think is not a matter that you can be permitted to open up again.

    Now, relating General Yeaten, you are saying you want to ask questions about the position of Benjamin Yeaten commanding various militia forces. Is this a matter that arose in re-examination? I don't think so.

  • It relates to the director title being below.

  • It did not arise in re-examination. But let me consult my colleagues first.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Mr Koumjian, we've noted that you have diligently stood up and objected when you've thought that the re-examination was going beyond the scope - the admissible scope, but in this particular case you actually didn't stand up to object when you now say that the re-examination went beyond the scope on this respect relating to Benjamin Yeaten. So we will not allow you to take a second bite at the apple, so to speak. The questions are not allowed.

    And this brings us to the exhibits that were marked for identification. Do you wish - before we look at the exhibits, it occurred to me that my colleagues may have questions for Mr Smythe.

  • Mr Smythe, have you had any training in identifying handwriting and how to identify handwriting?

  • I'm a security personnel. I was trained in security personnel, and some of my functions, you know - I mean, some of my training, you know, include that. You know, so I've been seen - I've been shown different handwritings to identify them, yes. So, not extensively, but, yes, I did that.

  • If that's the case, Mr Smythe, when counsel for the Prosecution first asked you about Benjamin Yeaten's signature on that document that's just been discussed, you weren't able to say whether it was or not.

  • I said the reason being, that document was not official and it doesn't look to me - I said in the testimony that it doesn't look like his signature. It looks like it's forged. I did say that. But being that the other signatures that I identified were on official documents, I could attest, you know, that, yes, indeed, it was his signature.

  • Are there any questions arising out of the questions immediately asked?

  • Not from the Defence, Madam President.

  • Thank you. I very quickly wanted to go through the exhibits. I would like to know what exhibits, if any - I assume, first of all, that all the exhibits marked for identification are intended to be tendered. Is that a correct assumption on my part?

  • We would like all of those requested to be marked by us to be tendered save for the request I made earlier in respect of MFI-442, the witness's statement. Our preference would not be that the cover page, which contains his biographical data, be included in the public exhibit.

  • Mr Koumjian, do I properly assume that all the documents that you marked for identification are to be tendered?

  • Yes, your Honour. And perhaps to save a bit of time, I can say that the Prosecution objects to none of the Defence MFIs being admitted, save for the witness statement, which of course contains information far beyond what was the subject of direct or cross-examination. And if that's offered, we have some case law on whether that should be admitted. I don't know if you want argument on that now.

  • Are you saying that you wouldn't have wanted the Defence statement to be admitted?

  • Not in totality. If your Honours do admit it, we want it clear that only the sections that were referred to in testimony are being considered. And, in fact, we've marked those, both the sections that were considered by - raised by the Prosecution and by the Defence. But, actually, I don't think it's necessary because the witness, for all sections of his contradictory witness statement that I read to him, either said he did say that or he said I was reading the statement correctly and then denied saying it. So I think the record is clear that what was put to him is in fact the witness statement from the Defence.

    If it's admitted, only those sections that were dealt with in cross-examination or redirect should be considered because I did not cross-examine this witness on everything in the witness statement. It would be a statement being admitted without cross-examination.

  • But you had the opportunity to do that. That was the very purpose that the Court allowed you to see this document. You had free hand to cross-examine this witness on his statement.

  • Your Honour, I had the witness testimony and I used the statement in order to cross-examine him on his testimony. I did not ever offer the statement into evidence, nor was it offered during the direct examination, and I only dealt with specific portions of the statement. So the statement, of course, goes beyond - it has 200 and some paragraphs, although at one point it jumps 100 numbers from 161 to 261, and it includes information that was not dealt with by either party.

  • Mr Anyah, what is your view on the submissions by counsel but also on the documents tendered by the Prosecution? Do you have any objections?

  • Yes, I will take it in stages. With respect to all documents tendered by the Prosecution, I have no objection to any of them save for MFI-431, and it's only a partial objection. MFI-431 is a photograph depicting Charles Taylor and my objection is as to --

  • Can we put it on the overhead, please, 431.

  • My objection, Madam President, is only in relation to the text that appears below the photograph. It says, "Charles Taylor speaks to troops in Robertsfield on July 21, 1990." If the Prosecution is asking that that part be included as part of this document when it's exhibited, I would have an objection because there is no evidence corroborating that this is the place Charles Taylor was on that particular date.

  • Mr Koumjian, do you insist on that caption?

  • Your Honour, I frankly do not insist, although hearsay is admissible and written documents have been submitted by the Defence without oral testimony to prove items. It does help place the photograph, but, frankly, it's not a critical matter to me.

  • Because the point is neither party put this caption to the witness and, really, I think it's not fair to include it as evidence in this Court when it hasn't been put to the witness.

  • Thank you.

  • So if you have no strong objections, then the caption will be deleted and thank you.

  • I would like to give the laws on the other issue whenever your Honour believes it's appropriate.

  • On the issue of the statement, I have case law to cite to your Honour.

  • But I haven't responded.

  • Mr Anyah, the issue of 431 I think is settled.

  • Yes, thank you, Madam President. Now, with response to this statement, let's look at some context. The Prosecution was the one who requested the statements. Your Honours will recall that. We provided them with the statement. There was a dispute about something relating to Voinjama. We provided them with the statement. They used the statement extensively in cross-examination and I say that, with respect, it wasn't only at the time learned counsel opposite produced the statement and distributed it in court that they started making use of that statement.

    If you review the transcript, and I'm very well familiar with that statement, a lot of the questions asked of this witness to set up what we call the impeachment with the statement, from day one of the cross-examination, on the 26th, was based on that statement we gave them. They would ask him questions about different issues and it was only yesterday they would reflect and use the particular paragraph in the statement they wanted to use to "contradict" what he had said previously. So it is incorrect to say that the statement was made use of in a limited sense. In my respectful submission, they used it extensively.

    Second of all, in re-examination we covered several paragraphs of that statement. When you add the portions covered by the Defence and the Prosecution, plus the portions the Prosecution was minded to and alive to when they were asking the witness questions before they produced the statement, we have in essence covered perhaps 70 to 80 per cent of that statement in court with your Honours.

    And if your Honours need to have a proper idea of who this person is and how to - the context in which to evaluate his evidence, you now need that statement. It is the only way you can, in its totality, assess the credibility of this witness. That statement forms part and parcel of his evidence now as a consequence of the Prosecution's request. Counsel is about to cite some case law, but before that is done let us recall the Prosecution's case.

    Several witness statements were admitted. And I repeat that. Several witness statements were admitted as exhibits in this case. I've been scrolling through the exhibit log. D-66, a Defence exhibit admitted. It's the statement of TF1-097. P-203 admitted in this case, a witness statement taken by the Office of the Prosecutor pertaining to TF1-206. There is also a witness statement admitted in relation to TF1-074, I believe. Not all were admitted in Court, but a few of them were admitted in Court and if given time I will pull up each and every one that was admitted in Court after a witness testified. Some of them were perhaps pursuant to Rule 92 bis. So there is a practice already in this case during the Prosecution's case in chief of the admission of the statements taken by the Prosecution witnesses who nonetheless testified viva voce before your Honours. So how can it be that there is some exception to be had when it is requested during the Defence case?

    We reiterate our request that the statement in its entirety be admitted, except the first page that contains the biographical and confidential information of the witness. Thank you.

  • You want to exclude that page, or you want it admitted confidentially?

  • Ideally we're in your Honours' hands, but it should be admitted confidentially. I would think that would be the appropriate way to proceed.

  • Mr Anyah, is that cover page part of the statement?

  • Well, it is not part of the substantive part of the statement. There is one portion that provides a frame of reference, which is the part that deals with the date - the first date of the interview. That would be relevant to your Honours' consideration, and it does provide the location of the interview, so your Honours may wish to have that on hand.

  • I note that, Mr Anyah. It also shows the names of the persons who were conducting the interview, which I think is relevant too.

  • Yes, your Honour. Thank you.

  • Mr Koumjian, are you addressing us on a point of law?

  • Also, your Honour, I believe that some of the facts that counsel stated are incorrect and I would like to address them.

  • Only on a point of law.

  • Well, it all deals with the admissibility.

  • We have to come to some closure on this and to be able to deliberate on the tenders.

  • Your Honour, the case at the ICTY of Naletilic and Martinovic, otherwise known as Tuta and Stela. There is a decision on the admission of witness statements into evidence of 14 November 2001 in which the Trial Chamber makes clear that it's the oral evidence of the witness and their response to the challenge of the evidence presented that is the evidence - of the prior statements presented that is the proper evidence.

    Further, counsel said that we admitted documents during the Prosecution case - witness statements. That was only witness statements under 92 bis. The only other witness statements were Defence --

  • Is that a point of law, or you are wandering off into facts again? If it's not a point of law, I am not interested. We need to deliberate on these documents.

  • Your Honour, further there are other cases that indicate that portions - I believe in the Norman case there's a decision that portions of a witness statement that were put to a witness could be admitted into evidence. In this case if you look at what was actually put to the witness it's far less than - I would estimate it at 10 per cent of the witness statement was put to the witness as there are many pages in this witness statement that actually were not addressed by either counsel.

  • Counsel, if you have some relevant jurisprudence could you avail that to the legal officers of the Chamber?

  • The Norman decision is from 16 July 2004, decision on disclosure of witness statements and cross-examination.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • What I propose to do in order to save sitting time is to discharge this witness now. Mr Smythe, thank you very much for your testimony. We wish you a safe journey home and you can be escorted out.

  • Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, your Honours. Thank you, both counsels. I wish you all the best.

  • Thank you. Yes, Mr Anyah?

  • I just need permission of the Chamber at some point to return his original photographs. I don't know if your Honours require me to retain it.

  • No, we do not need the original photographs now. They were needed whilst the witness was being examined, so you can return those.

  • The other issue is the next witness I think requires certain protective measures which I'm informed may require time to set up in Court. Now, we'll have of course to adjourn while that's being done and we want to use that time actually to admit the various documents in Chambers. When we return after the break I could read out verbally the exhibit numbers that I've given to the exhibits and then we could proceed with the next witness. That would include a ruling on the documents that have been objected to.

    I'm reminded that normally on a day where we started as early as we did today our break would stretch from 11 to 11.30. We would reconvene for the second sitting at 11.30 and this is what I intend to do. We will rise now to allow the measures to be put in place and to allow the judges to deliberate on the exhibits and reconvene at 11.30 for the next witness.

  • [Break taken at 10.20 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.44 a.m.]

  • Now, there was before the break an application by the Defence to tender in particular MFI-442, which is the statement of the witness Yanks Smythe, and that application was opposed by the Prosecution. Now, the following is the Court's ruling on that application, after which I will give you the numbers - the exhibit numbers of the documents as admitted.

    Now, the statement, MFI-44, the Defence have applied to tender in evidence the whole statement of Defence witness DCT-179, Yanks Smythe. The Prosecution objects to the tender of the entire statement and submits, rather, that only the parts referred to in cross-examination and re-examination be admitted.

    Now, it will be recalled that it was not the Defence who initially introduced this statement in evidence; rather, it was the Prosecution that obtained a court order for the disclosure of the statement, intending to use it in cross-examination inter alia "to impeach the credibility of the witness". Indeed, the Prosecution had unfettered opportunity to cross-examine the witness on the entire contents of the document, and at this stage the Prosecution cannot claim to suffer irreparable prejudice arising from its tender into evidence.

    On the other hand, the Defence have argued that once the witness has been examined on parts of his statement - or has been cross-examined on parts of his statement with a view to impeaching his credibility, then it is only fair and in the interest of justice to allow the judges to consider what he has said in his testimony in the full context of his entire statement.

    The Trial Chamber recalls that in its ruling of 25 February 2010 - that was last week - while ordering the Defence to disclose the statement, the Chamber observed that, "If the witness has made a prior statement, the Trial Chamber must be able to evaluate his testimony in light of this statement in the Chamber's quest for the truth and for ensuring a fair trial".

    Now, in our view, since the credibility of the witness has been called into question arising from the alleged inconsistencies between his testimony in Court and his prior statement, the Trial Chamber cannot evaluate his evidence by referring only to the parts of the statement that have been referred to by the parties in Court.

    Now, in this case, the Defence itself has applied to tender the entire document in evidence, and therefore it is not prejudiced by the tender either.

    We find that it is in the interest of justice to admit the whole document into evidence, and that is our holding.

    Having done that, I will now give the exhibit numbers of the documents that were marked for identification, starting with the Defence exhibits. These are documents that were tendered or introduced into evidence through witness DCT-179, Yanks Smythe.

    Now, the document MFI-408, that was a list of 15 persons that the witness drew up, saying that he trained with these persons at Camp Tajura. That is admitted as D-92.

    The document MFI, which is a map of Liberia as marked by the - MFI-409 is a map of Liberia as marked by the witness. That is defence exhibit D-93.

    MFI-410, which is a copy of an organogram, that is, Prosecution exhibit P-54, as now marked by the witness is defence exhibit D-94.

    MFI-411, this is another organogram that was formerly exhibit P-55, as marked by the witness is now D-95.

    MFI-412A is a photograph, formally DP-210. It is now Defence exhibit D-96A.

    MFI-412B is also a photograph. It is now defence exhibit D-96B.

    MFI-412C is a photograph and is now deference exhibit D-96C.

    MFI-412D is a photograph and is now defence exhibit D-96D.

    MFI-412E is a photograph and is now defence exhibit D-96E.

    MFI-413 is a photograph and is now defence exhibit D-97.

    MFI-414 is a photograph and is now admitted as D-98.

    MFI-415 is a photograph and is now admitted as D-99.

    MFI-416A is a photograph and is now admitted as D-100A.

    MFI-416B, a photograph, is admitted as exhibit D-100B.

    MFI-416C is a photograph admitted as exhibit D-100C.

    MFI-416D, a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-100D.

    MFI-416E, a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-100E.

    MFI-417 is a photograph now admitted as exhibit D-101.

    MFI-418, a photograph, is admitted as D-102.

    MFI-419 is a one-page document entitled, "business office of HE Charles G Taylor Sinkor, Monrovia, leases and rents". That is admitted as exhibit D-103.

    MFI-420A, which is a copy of the official identity card of the witness Yanks A Smythe, and that is the front page showing his photograph, that is now admitted as exhibit approximate D-104A.

    MFI-420B, which is a copy of that same identity card, but showing the reverse side of the card, is now admitted as exhibit D-104B.

    MFI-421A is a one-page letter from the Assistant Director of Operations SSS, Yanks Smythe, to Honourable G Bestman, Minister of Finance, dated 12 April 1999. That is now admitted as D-105A.

    MFI-421B, which is a one-page document entitled, "official purchase and special services voucher" dated September 2, 1998, is now admitted as exhibit D-105B.

    MFI-422A, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-106A.

    MFI-422B, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-106B.

    MFI-423A, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-107A.

    MFI-423B, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-107B.

    MFI-423C, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-107C.

    MFI-423D, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-107D.

    MFI-423E, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-107E.

    MFI-423, which is a copy of a Prosecution exhibit P-98 as highlighted by the witness, is now admitted as exhibit D-108.

  • I apologise for interrupting. I have that as MFI-424.

  • What did I say? I do beg your pardon. Let me repeat that again.

    MFI-424, which is formerly a copy of Prosecution exhibit P-98 as highlighted by the witness or as marked by the witness is now exhibit D-108.

    MFI-425, which is a one-page document entitled, "list of official delegation representing the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, Paris summit, November 23, 1998" is now admitted as exhibit D-109.

    MFI-426, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-110.

    MFI-427 is a one-page document entitled, "press release of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs Reginald Goodridge, Deputy Minister of State", dated 13 July 2000, is now admitted as exhibit D-111.

    MFI-428A, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-112A.

    MFI-428B, a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-112B.

    MFI-428C, a photograph, is admitted as exhibit D-112C.

    MFI-429, a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit D-113.

    Lastly, the statement of Yanks Smythe, which consists of two portions, is admitted as follows:

    The cover page, which consists of his bio data and other matters, personal matters, is admitted as exhibit D-114A and will be marked confidential.

    The rest of the statement of the witness comprising 25 pages is marked D-114B and is not confidential.

    Which brings me to the Prosecution exhibits tendered through the witness as follows:

    MFI-430 which is a diagram drawn by the witness of NPFL command structure as at March 1991, that is admitted as exhibit P-386.

    MFI-431, which is a photograph from the guardian.co.uk, a photograph depicting Charles Taylor and others, without the caption underneath that photograph is admitted as exhibit P-387.

    MFI-432 is a list of NPFL radio stations as of January 1, 1992, as indicated by the witness DCT-179, that is admitted as exhibit P-388.

    MFI-433 is one page of a document - page 1 of a document entitled "IRIN-WA, Weekly Round Up, 32/1999, University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Centre, Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, Integrated Regional Information Network For West Africa." That page 1 is admitted as exhibit P-389.

    MFI-434 is also a single page, page 1 of a document entitled "BBC News article 1986", the article is entitled "US launches air strikes on Libya" and is dated 15 April 1986, that is admitted as exhibit P-390.

    MFI-435 is a document comprising two pages entitled "Libya, Agriculture, Production, Consumption, Imports and Exports." That is admitted as exhibit P-391.

    MFI-436 is a diagram drawn by the witness of the SSS structure when the witness served as assistant director of operations in the SSS. That is admitted as exhibit P-392.

    MFI-437, which is a map of Monrovia city as marked by the witness, is admitted as exhibit P-393.

    MFI-438 is a photograph and that is admitted as exhibit P-394.

    MFI-439A is a photograph out of the guardian.co.uk, a photograph of Charles Taylor and others, without the caption on the right side of the photograph, the caption is not admitted, but the photograph alone is Prosecution exhibit P-395A.

    MFI-439B, which is a photograph, is now admitted as exhibit P-395B.

    MFI-439C, which is a photograph, is admitted as Prosecution exhibit P-395C.

    MFI-440 is also a photograph, it is admitted as exhibit P-396.

    MFI-441A is a photograph, it's now admitted as exhibit P-397A.

    MFI-441B is a photograph, now admitted as exhibit P-397B.

    And I think that is the entire list of the documents. Mr Anyah, you may call your next witness or introduce your next witness, actually.

  • Madam President, Mr Griffiths has carriage of the next witness. May he be heard from your Honours.

  • I beg your pardon, Mr Griffiths.

  • Madam President, I will be dealing with the next witness who bears the appellation DCT-125.

    Now, as the Court apprehends, there are certain protective measures in place in respect of this witness pursuant to a decision of your Honours dated 22 January of this year, those being voice modulation and image distortion. Also it was recognised in the course of that decision that it may be necessary on occasions to go into private session in order to protect the identity of the witness.

    Can I indicate at this stage that it is my intention to begin with the witness in private session as he deals with certain background details which will inevitably if made public identify him.

  • Thank you. Does the Prosecution object to a temporary private session?

  • No, absolutely not. Your Honour, while I am on my feet may I just point out that the Prosecution received the name of this witness on 15 February, I believe that's 16 days ago. At this time in the interests of this trial proceeding efficiently we are ready to listen to the direct testimony of this witness, but we reserve our right to ask for an application for further time if we need it before we begin our cross-examination.

  • Madam President, can I make this observation in regard to the statement just made by my learned friend: We are aware that the three week time period for disclosure does not expire until Monday of next week. We are aware of that. But nonetheless, because this is the second time this complaint has been made, it seems to me important to set out what are the difficulties we face.

    First of all, that disclosure period was based on an estimate made by us as to how long our first witness would take and indeed how long the testimony of Mr Taylor would take.

    That is not an exact science. Furthermore, that process has been complicated by the fact that, totally outside our control, the weekly timetable for this case has changed. As a consequence, more time has become available than was anticipated when first disclosure was made. So that too needs to be borne in mind.

    In our submission, there can be no suggestion in relation to this particular witness that the Prosecution suffered any kind of prejudice, so consequently we would ask your Honours to bear this in mind if in due course any application is made by the Prosecution for an adjournment.

  • In any event, we have noted the comments from both sides, both of which are pertinent. You have both accurately stated the factual situation on the ground relating to the length of the immediately preceding witness's testimony, but in any event, there is not an issue at this stage relating to the testimony of the upcoming witness.

    I just wish to confirm with the Court Manager that the protective measure of voice distortion is in place.

  • Your Honour, I can confirm that; the measure is in place.

  • Then we will call the witness in before we go into private session.

  • I think we need to close the other blinds before the witness is brought in, then they can be raised.

  • Yes. Because I need to swear the witness in in open session, not in closed session.