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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Now, Mr Taylor, when we adjourned yesterday we had commenced looking at the testimony of your former Vice-President Moses Blah, yes?

  • Now, there are about seven or so discrete topics which I'd now like to deal with in relation to him. The first is this: On 15 May 2008 at page 10002 of the transcript he was asked this:

    "Q. Before we leave the other gentleman, what kind of code

    was that?"

    That's the code used by radio operators:

    "A. I wouldn't know. He was trained to speak to his

    colleagues in code. They didn't want other people to know

    what they were talking about, but he will interpret to me

    what was happening in what location in clear terms, that

    this had happened and this is what I received and this is

    what we were doing all along.

    Q. And what groups used code?

    A. The radio operators used a code and you, the chiefs, it

    would be interpreted to you in a clear language, clear


    Q. But what organisation's code was being used?

    A. The organisation of the National Patriotic Front -

    National Patriotic Party government. We used the code from

    the war, from the NPFL. It continued on. That was the

    kind of code we used when they are talking. When the

    operators are talking to each other they will use the codes

    and if you are not trained you will not know what the man

    was talking about."

    Now, help us, Mr Taylor, was that the case in terms of radio operation under the NPFL?

  • Yes, that is true. And, in fact, a theme that has been followed throughout this trial, we've heard in the case of some of the operators that came here from the RUF talking about codes that were developed and we also heard some other witnesses talking about they were in the radio room or they accompanied someone to the radio room and they heard it or they listened to the radio. Well, it is very clear here and I'm sure this is the whole reason for the development of codes. So all of these explanations that were made here that someone is supposed to walk in a radio room and understand what is being said on the radio is a blatant lie. That's the reason that they had codes. So what Moses is saying here, even he could not understand what was being transmitted via radio. It had to take the interpretation of the operator thereafter.

    So when we look at these RUF so-called logbooks, that's why you have the logbooks, because the operators are supposed to receive the messages in codes and then decode them before they can be passed on to individuals. So if someone says to this Court, "I read a decoded message that came," that's more logical. But this nonsense about, "Oh, I was in the radio room and I heard the discussion," are all blatant lies and that's what Moses is saying here and it applies across the board. That's what codes in communication is all about. It's not that anyone that listens to a message will understand it. You really can't unless is decoded and interpreted. That's what he's trying to say.

  • So that when you would receive a message, Mr Taylor, as the witness was saying, "You, the chiefs, it would be interpreted to you in a clear language" --

  • That is correct.

  • -- so by the time you receive the code, it has already been interpreted or decoded by the radio operator. Is that right?

  • That is correct. That's the case across the board, yes.

  • Now, the second topic I want to deal with with you is this: During the course of Mr Blah's testimony, his attention was directed to what has now become Prosecution exhibit 116. I'd like you to take up that exhibit, please. Now, this is the original roster of the Special Forces commanders of the National Patriotic Front. Now, the witness's attention, as that's being prepared, Mr Taylor, was directed to a number of names against which the letter X had been appended. Do you follow?

  • And we were told by the witness that that designated the fact that that individual had either died or been executed, okay?

  • Now, some 20 plus such names were put to the witness. I know not for what purpose, but, nonetheless, I want you to have the opportunity of telling us what happened to each of these individuals. Do you follow?

  • Let's start, please, at page 9918 of the transcript of 15 May 2008. Now, the first two names mentioned, Mr Taylor, were Cooper Miller and Augustus Wright, okay?

  • Cooper Miller, Mr Taylor, second name on the list. We were told this by Mr Blah, line 3:

    "Q. You spoke of Miller having gone over to Prince

    Johnson's side. I think you also told us in your original

    answer that both of these men had gone over to Prince

    Johnson's side. Is that correct?

    A. They had gone there earlier. Augustus had decided

    to return to Mr Taylor, but I didn't know what message he

    was carrying. But in the process, when he was going he was

    found with arms on him, he was investigated and executed.

    But for their own safety, they were running away from

    Mr Charles Taylor. They didn't know where to go to be

    safe. That was when they went to Prince Johnson's base."

    Now, first of all, did both Cooper Miller and Augustus Wright defect to Prince Johnson's Independent NPFL?

  • No, but - no. Let's put this in context. If we listen, Moses's testimony on yesterday was to the effect that these two gentlemen had committed an act or alleged to have committed an act on the base in Libya. They were taken from the base in Libya. They were brought to Burkina Faso. From Burkina Faso they were supposed to be kept until after the revolution. Subsequent to the revolution, they were set free and they went to Prince Johnson. So to say here that they were running away from me and did not know where to go is total nonsense. So they are not running away from me. These people were in my custody, they were released and they joined the INPFL. That's factual.

  • Both of them did?

  • Both of them did. In the case of Cooper Miller - now, I want to answer your question directly because the markings here could mean they were killed, it could be mean they died, it could mean that they were executed. If I understand execution, for me would mean based on an act that is carried out in a legitimate or non-legitimate way where somebody is lined up and fired. Some of these Xs here relate to people that died naturally, some of them relate to people that were executed and some of them relate to people that were killed in combat. So as we go through it I will try to make this distinction.

    In the case of Cooper Miller, based on your question, Cooper Miller was killed at the Prince Johnson base within a fracas with the group that he was with with no connection to the NPFL. Augustus Wright, an individual - and by the way, I must tell you Augustus Wright was related to me. He was released, he joined the INPFL and decided that he wanted to return to the NPFL. We said it was okay, he could return. On a visit to me Augustus Wright had told individuals that the last act that he had to carry out was he was going to shoot me. Augustus Wright appears, he asks for a meeting with me, he comes to see me, he conceals a .45 weapon in my presence and before he can really take this weapon from his person - you know, these people have a way. You can take a weapon and put it in your belt, and sometimes when the police search you they search you on the side. But these guys were trained, they would take a .45 weapon and they put it at the back - in your back, not on the side. In the back in your pants, okay, in a way that if a trained policeman doesn't know what he's doing, he will search you and not find the weapon. The boys searched him that day and did not find it. Augustus got in my presence and made an attempt to get this weapon and he was captured, he was tried, and he was executed for attempted assassination as a soldier.

    Let me just add, before you go to the next question, all of the individuals that are on this list are military people. All of them were acted against not under common law; they were acted against under the uniform code of military justice based on the special operational order that had been approved by the NPFL.

  • Second name - well, third name, same page, 9918:

    "Q. Number 9 has an X by it. You said you've put the Xs

    there, why did you put an X by Mr Kerseh, Peter Kerseh's


  • Peter Kerseh was one of the strong fighting men. He

    crossed over to Prince Johnson and they were fighting

    against the NPFL. Later he decided to come back to

    Taylor's group. He was arrested on a motorbike one

    morning. I don't know the exact date. The case was also

    reported to the President that Peter Kerseh had been

    arrested and it was ordered that he should be investigated

    and if he was found guilty he should be executed.

    Judge Sebutinde: Was Peter Kerseh also executed?

    The Witness: Yes, for desertion. He left his post and

    went over to Prince Johnson."

    Is that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not correct. Peter Kerseh died in combat between the INPFL and the NPFL. He was killed in combat.

  • Right. The next name is number 10 on the list, Samuel Varney. Now, so as Varney is concerned Mr Blah said this, page 9919, line 3:

    "He later became the commander general of the Liberian army. He's also from my ethnic group. He was one of the trained soldiers for the Liberian government earlier before the NPFL was founded."

    And then he went on to say --

  • Just before you go any further, Samuel Varney does not have an X against it on my list.

  • But it's mentioned in the evidence of - it was - I'm looking at the transcript for 15 May 2008, your Honour, and it reads at line 1:

    "Before we go to the next X at Number 11, the number 10 individual" - who is Samuel G Varney, and he was asked about him. So there wasn't an X against his name but the questioner was asking the witness about him.

  • I see. Yes, I'm sorry to interrupt. Go ahead.

  • Not at all, Mr President:

  • Now, he went on to say at line 20, 21.

    "Q. Samuel Varney, is he alive?

    A. Varney's dead. He got sick and died."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That's correct. And the death and Samuel Varney getting sick occurred while I was - in fact, Varney has been dead not more than a year. It occurred while I was incarcerated by the Special Court. He died a natural death.

  • The next one he was asked about was Number 11, who is Yegbeh Degbon. Mr Blah said this, line 25 on page 9919:

    "This man was also executed. He was the most educated man in the NPFL. He was a geologist and he had been very loyal to President Taylor but he got into trouble. He was also investigated and it was found that he made a coup and wanted to overthrow the organisation at the time and become head of that organisation. He became executed on the orders of Mr Taylor, that I know of".

    Is that true?

  • That is true. Yegbeh Degbon was the one associated with the Black Kadaffa movement that we talked about where they used Sierra Leoneans and some Liberians - but most of them were Sierra Leoneans - where they put together, he and others, this Black Kadaffa force to counter the NPFL. And just like he said, he was investigated and found guilty.

  • And do you recall, Mr Taylor, evidence called before this Court which indeed we have looked at regarding an RUF retreat from Pujehun and a meeting in Bomi Hills at which Black Kadaffa was formed? Do you recall that evidence?

  • Bearing that in mind, when we look at page 9920 in relation to Degbon, Mr Blah says this:

    "He became executed on the orders of Mr Taylor that I know


    Q. What organisation was he trying to take over?

    A. National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

    Q. Was he accused of acting with other individuals?

    A. Yes, at the time he was executed."

    Further down:

    "There was another person was arrested and executed.

    Q. And do you know what time period this was?

    A. This was during the war. This was during the war. At

    this time the war was being fought very close to Monrovia,

    Bomi Hills, and we were fighting to gain territory at that

    time. It was at that stage of the war."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, to a great extent. This was about the Bomi Hills time, but this is - when he said near Monrovia, we have to clarify maybe the side. Because we are near Monrovia in 1990 but this occurs later because it's on the other side of Monrovia, which is the Bomi side. So to a great extent it involves the Bomi - he doesn't get into the details and you haven't asked me to get into the details, but near Monrovia, Bomi Hills, you know, I can accept that.

  • Now the next name he was asked about, which again doesn't have an X next to it, was Prince Johnson, number 12. Page 9920:

    "Q. Prince Y Johnson, is that the individual that led a

    separate force from the NPFL at one time?

    A. Yes, this is the Prince Johnson. He is now senior

    senator of Nimba County. He is alive. He is in Liberia.

    Q. You now say he's now a senator. How did he avoid that


    A. As far as I'm concerned, he has not been investigated

    by anyone. He fled to Nigeria through the help of the

    United Nations peacekeeping force. He returned to Liberia

    and maybe he won the election and became senator for my

    area Nimba County.

    Q. Do you know when he went to Nigeria?

    A. He went to Nigeria when he fled from his camp.

    Immediately when he killed Samuel Kanyon Doe he had planned

    to escape, he was also attacked by us and it was during one

    of these attacks that Cooper Miller was killed and he too

    decided to escape from his base. That was when he was

    escorted from out of there by the Nigerian peacekeeping

    forces because they wanted peace, so they took him away to

    Nigeria. He had been there for years, I cannot remember.

    It was during our last election that he resurfaced and he

    stood for elections and won."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Yeah. He doesn't get into all the details, but so far it's true. And I think now if I'm understanding this, he said that it was during one of the attacks that Cooper Miller was killed. Well, now we know what happened to Cooper Miller. I thought I executed Cooper Miller. That's one of - now we know what happened to Cooper Miller.

  • Now, the next name he was asked about was the person at 14, Michael Paygar.

    "Q. Michael Paygar, do you know about him?

    A. Michael Paygar had been the executive guard battalion

    commander for a time period, but he has been dismissed or

    transferred because he has not been behaving properly.

    He'd been drunk and later in his life he's in Monrovia and

    he left the job. He was sacked by Mr Taylor."

    Is that true?

  • No. In fact, Michael Paygar was never sacked. He's an old armed forces personnel. In fact, Michael is alive and well right now. But he was never sacked by me. In fact, he continued with the armed forces after my presidency.

  • Okay. The witness's attention was then drawn to the second page of this document and in particular to number 8, Timothy Mulibah:

    "Q. What do you know about Timothy Mulibah.

    A. Mulibah was executed on a charge of trying to overthrow

    Mr Taylor.

    Q. Was it alleged that he was associated with other

    persons in that effort?

    A. Yes. There were other people who were against

    Mr Taylor like Prince Johnson, there were other people whom

    I cannot remember off the top of my head now. He was

    arrested, a board was set up, he was investigated and his

    execution was ordered by the President."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Timothy Mulibah was a part of the Degbon group, yes. He was associated with that.

  • May I seek a clarification. When you say someone was investigated and executed or investigated and found guilty, does that mean they were tried?

  • Or just investigated?

  • No, your Honour, they were tried. There was a court-martial board set up, a tribunal set up, they were represented by counsel and everything. That has been stated throughout the trial, yes. It was not just a security group investigation. They were investigated, they went before a court-martial board. They were represented by counsel. In fact counsels of the bar of Liberia. They were properly, properly - it was properly adjudicated, but using the uniform code of military justice and not civil law or what you call common law.

  • Now, on that same point the witness was asked this on the same page, page 9922 ,line 9:

    "Q. And I just want to be clear. I mean, just in terms of

    the specifics of the order, do you know about this order

    specifically or is it a conclusion that you reached about

    who made the order?

    A. This investigation Taylor was involved. He became very

    serious about this. That was how I came to know. Before

    he was executed he was hunted because he's been running

    around, but he was arrested. I should have known at the

    time because of my position."

    Is that fair, Mr Taylor?

  • That's fair, yeah. They had to really be looking - you know, like he said, he should have known and he knew because of his position, yes.

  • And that's Moses Blah should have known, yes?

  • Now, the next name that the witness was asked about was number 58, Enoch Dogolea:

    "Q. You mentioned that name yesterday as the man that was

    Vice-President before you became Vice-President.

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And you said he died?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And did you receive any reports on how he died?

    A. Well, to my knowledge Enoch was sick and Taylor at the

    time had sent him to France and to other European countries

    for medication. He came back, the sickness got worse and

    he was taken to Abidjan. That was when he died. That is

    what I know of his death. But rumour came after that that

    he had been beaten by Mr Taylor and there was a newspaper

    report that he was beaten by Mr Taylor. I was not there

    when he was beaten but from my analysis he died from a


    Q. And do you know the source of the rumour?

    A. Rumours in Liberia are like wildfire. If anything

    happens in Liberia everybody will tell you. They will even

    say things that they do not know about."

    Now, Mr Taylor, two things. Firstly, that description as to how Enoch Dogolea came to his end, is that true?

  • That is true. Enoch suffered from hepatitis. I did send him to Europe. He did go to France. He did go to a little area called Andorra. I remember him going to Andorra. He went back to Liberia. He was subsequently treated in la Cote d'Ivoire. In fact, he died in a hospital in la Cote d'Ivoire. And it is true that there were these rumours that he had been killed, and so what the government did - I did, with the consent of his family, with the assistance of the French government, we had pathologists brought in and conducted, what they call it?

  • Post mortem?

  • Yeah, an autopsy of the body in Abidjan and those records were made clear in public. And I tell you quite frankly, I regretted that I ever permitted that to happen because I really - quite frankly, and it's very silly of me, I really didn't know what happened during the autopsy. And when I saw the report, I really said I would never permit any other autopsy or any other human being dead. You know, it was just terrible. So I regretted that. But what Moses explained, he died naturally and he was someone that was very, very - he was a former school teacher and a pastor that I loved very much, and so even the nonsense of some of these things that what Rapp is going to, that's exactly the type of situation that we find when this - I don't know what to call him, Zigzag Marzah came here talking about he beat Enoch Dogolea to death and all that kind of nonsense. All a lie. He died from natural causes. Foreign governments were involved in the analysis of his death, you know. So that's not true.

  • Mr Taylor, what about thought observation made by your Vice-President, "If anything happens in Liberia everyone will tell you. They will even say things that they do not know about," is that true?

  • That's true. And that's not just true for Liberia, but most of our people in that region, they do not have to be present to know something. They hear one part, and before you look, it takes on tentacles of different magnitudes you would not believe. And it is true and Liberia is no exception. It is very, very true.

  • Now, the next person that he was asked about was number 65, Joe Tuah. He was identified by Mr Blah as deputy director of the SSS. Is that right, Mr Taylor?

  • No, no, no. Joe was an assistant director of the SSS.

  • And what happened to him?

  • Joe Tuah is alive and well. In fact, Joe, just a few months ago, completed a masters degree programme in international relations at the University of Liberia, a couple of months ago. Very, very close to me. And may I just - well, anyway, no. I think that would be --

  • Now, the next person he was asked about was number 72, Francis Menwon, and he says this, line 22, page 9923:

    "Francis Menwon was one time investigated. There was a report on Francis Menwon that he was planning to overthrow the government. He was arrested and investigated but he got off the hook. He wasn't arrested. He was wearing plain clothes. He was no longer close to the President, and as I'm speaking to you now, he is now in Monrovia doing nothing."

    Is that true?

  • Well, a part of it is true and a part of it is not. Well, it's good that he mentioned it, Francis Menwon, so it just shows that they were not cold because I guess what the Prosecutor was trying to show, this is just a cold blooded murderer that just went around killing people. People were investigated and released. Francis Menwon is a boy still very close to me. He was not just doing nothing.

    During my presidency, he was one of those individuals that I sent to university. He's just recently graduated again. A whole bunch of these Special Forces you see on the list, most of them have now gotten their degrees from the university and doing things. So Francis Menwon, I have spoken to so many times, even since my incarceration. So he is right now - he is out of university and looking for a job, but he was in school during the time, that's why he was not working.

  • The next one he was asked about was number 71, John Duo.

    "Q. Do you know what happened to John Duo?"

    A. John Duo got sick and died."

    Is that true?

  • Then number 75, Oliver Varney:

    "Q. Do you know what happened to him?

    A. Yes, Oliver Varney was arrested and investigated for

    trying to overthrow Taylor at the time. His execution was

    also ordered.

    Q. Do you know who ordered his execution?

    A. Well, I have been always saying this, I will presume

    all the time that it was Mr Taylor because he had the order

    to execute anybody. He was arrested on a charge of

    attempting to overthrow him, Taylor, as head of NPFL. That

    was when he was executed was ordered."

    Is that true?

  • Oliver Varney, Yegbeh Degbon, Timothy Mulibah, yes, that's the group with Black Kadaffa. That's the other man.

  • Is the commander in Bomi. Varney, Anthony Mekunagbe and the third person just mentioned, we passed his name already, Timothy Mulibah, that's the Black Kadaffa group.

  • Next person he was asked about was number 88, Anthony Mekunagbe:

    "Q. Do you know what happened to him?

    A. He was also executed for attempting to overthrow the

    leader of the overall group NPFL. He was executed -

    investigated and executed by the order of President



  • True. Based on the explanation, yes.

  • Number 90, Johnson T Leaman:

    "Leaman got sick and died. He had a job as a minister, deputy minister for coast guard affairs in the Defence Ministry. He got sick and died. He was appointed by President Taylor but he died. Just recently he got sick and died."


  • True. But excuse me, counsel, because, again, I think the Honourable Justice Sebutinde asked a very important question earlier. Now, the way how I'm answering these questions and the way that it is put here, "He was investigated by President Taylor and executed," true, and I'm saying "true", for the records, for the future, I'm not saying - I'm saying "true" in the context of an investigation, a court procedure. I'm answering to the fact of the execution. But I'm sure as the records are being put now, it would be saying that Taylor - I'm sure someone could say, "Well, you said yes when the question was asked you that you investigated" - I just hope that the context, for the sake of the record, is understood that there is a process here and Moses cuts it short by saying, "Well, he was investigated and executed by President Taylor." I'm saying true for the process of the arrest, the investigation, the court-martial and the decision of court-martial that is carried out. That's what I'm saying yes to.

  • Very well. I think we all understand. Number 99, Paul Nimley:

    "Q. Do you know about him?

    A. I know about Paul Nimley. He is well. He's okay. He

    later became the representative for his county. He was

    working with the legislature. He was elected during the

    Taylor government and he was one of the representatives for

    Sinoe County."

    Is that true?

  • I forget whether it's Sinoe. It could have been Grand Kru, but he was appointed by me to the post in the House, and I'm saying appointed because the elections of 1997 were done under the process of proportional representation. And so after the process and the percentage that was available, it was to the party to designate. So he was designated as a member of the House of Representatives, not elected as he's saying there.

  • Page 9926, line 6:

    "Q. Let's go on to number 103, Joe Doe.

    A. Joe Doe had an unfortunate situation. He was in

    Monrovia after the war when Benjamin moved to Foya close to

    Sierra Leone on an assignment. That was where he asked Joe

    Doe to go. But previously Joe Doe had a problem with

    Benjamin Yeaten which I investigated between the two of

    them. Joe Doe's brother's wife was taken by Benjamin as

    his wife and there was a confusion. Joe Doe being afraid

    of Benjamin, he didn't want to be involved with our

    organisation, he fled into la Cote d'Ivoire. Benjamin

    persuaded him. He sent people after him. They convinced

    him and he came back to Liberia. When Benjamin went to

    Foya, as I said, he sent for Joe Doe. He said he wanted to

    talk to Joe Doe. The night he entered Foya, it was that

    night that he was arrested, investigated that he wanted to

    overthrow Taylor at the time. And as I heard, from what my

    security told me, there was a bitter argument. He said,

    'You called me here. How would I overthrow you in the

    bush?' And they said they should execute him. That's how

    he got killed. He was executed by Benjamin Yeaten.

    Q. To your knowledge, was he engaged in any effort to

    overthrow the Government of Liberia?

    A. That I don't know. He was a very quiet individual.

    Very, very quiet indeed."

    Is that true?

  • To a great extent, I don't have any quarrel - I don't know the details. The information that reached to me about Joe Doe was that during the fighting in Lofa, Joe Doe was killed in an ambush. Joe Doe was never accused, that I know, of being involved in any plot to overthrow me, no. Joe Doe was never the subject of any investigation by the government, that I know of. So Moses knows more about this than I do.

    But what information reached me, because he's one of the Special Forces, was that this is during the war against LURD and that he was killed in a LURD ambush. Now, Moses never revealed this to me, that he had intervened in a woman conflict between Benjamin and Joe Doe, but my government never accused Joe, and this is - when I heard it here in the Court, I was very shocked and in a way outraged because I did not know that there was a woman confusion that caused this young man's death. I was not aware of that. What was reported to me was that he died in an ambush.

  • Now, help us, just so that we're clear for future reference, do you recall there being an investigation in which Moses Blah was involved --

  • -- as inspector general?

  • No, that's what I'm saying, that this - maybe all Nimbadians - this is about woman business. This is - he's saying that he investigated some woman issue. That would not come to me. The boys fuss about women all the time and maybe he just intervened. But this was not anything that reached to me that he was conducting investigations, so I was a little shocked when I heard about it.

    What reached to me - because any time we lost a Special Force in combat, that was of great concern to me, because these boys were real trained and just to lose them in combat - and it was reported and the official report was that Joe Doe died in an ambush.

  • Very well. Next one he was asked - no, before we do that, he was asked at page 9927, in relation to the death of Joe Doe, line 1:

    "Q. Do you know what the assignment was at the time?

    A. Benjamin was moving everywhere, wherever there was

    fighting. I didn't know whether it was by order of the

    President or by himself. He was like - he became so

    powerful that he could do anything. He could go anywhere.

    And so he had gone there on one of those occasions to see

    how the men were fighting at the border with Sierra Leone.

    That was when he sent for Joe Doe and Joe Doe got killed

    there. He executed Joe Doe there."

    Now, Mr Taylor, first of all, is it the case that Benjamin could go anywhere?

  • Yes, Benjamin - yeah, Benjamin could go practically anywhere. And if I'm looking at this period that Moses could be referring to, Moses must be talking about the war with LURD. This is - by then he's Vice-President. He cannot be talking about this any time before that particular time. And by this time Benjamin - while he's SSS director Benjamin is a general, and he's one of the people that - really one of the brave people that can actually go to the front line and these places. So what Moses is talking about here, at this time this is the war in Lofa against LURD. So this has got to be somewhere now in about - I would put it to about 2001 that Moses is talking about. He being a soldier himself is moving around, so Benjamin was moving, yes. Wherever there was a major combat, it didn't take my authorisation for Benjamin to move. By this time the SSS, the Secret Service, was being mostly run by his deputy Montgomery. Benjamin at one point was promoted, in fact approved by the senate, and he, during the tough part of the war, was made deputy chairman of the joint chiefs and in charge of combat in the country. So he went wherever he visited the different front lines, the divisional headquarters. He did move around, yes.

  • Now, what about this part: "He became so powerful that he could do anything"?

  • No, man. I was not too powerful that I could do anything. Liberia operated under laws. I don't know what Moses means by he was so powerful, but as a general and because the country had deteriorated to a point - I mean, there was some senior officers of the armed forces at that time like Benjamin and other senior generals that could move and during that - I don't claim to know everything that Benjamin did, I do not, and neither do I claim that I was aware or ordered him to do everything that he did. But as far as being so powerful that he could do anything within the law that reached to me, yes, there are a lot of things that he could do and a lot of things that Moses was powerful too that he could do.

  • There's something in the transcript that should be corrected now just in case it's missed when the transcript is edited later. The transcript has you saying, Mr Taylor, at page 26, line 18 - your answer was, "No, man. I was not too powerful that I could do anything. Liberia operated under lies." Now, you said, to my hearing, "Liberia operated under laws."

  • All right. I'll get that - that's on the transcript now.

  • Sorry, Mr Griffiths, on that same issue. The text that you just quoted from the transcript, was Moses speaking about Mr Taylor or was he speaking about Benjamin Yeaten being powerful and being able to do anything?

  • My reading of it is that he was talking about Benjamin.

  • And so the answer that Mr Taylor gave is about himself?

  • Yes, by comparison. Saying I, as President, couldn't do anything, and that's the context in which he was answering the question, if one looks at the answer given by Mr Taylor.

  • I would have imagined that you asked: Is it true that Benjamin Yeaten was all powerful and could do anything?

  • Let me clarify it then by asking that question specifically. Was it true that Benjamin Yeaten became so powerful that he could anything, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, 121 on the list is indeed Benjamin Yeaten, and in relation to him you will see that he was asked this question at line 13:

    "Q. He could go all over. Did he go anywhere that Taylor

    did not want him to go?

    A. He must go with permission. Each time you see Benjamin

    you will see the chief. He had greater power in a way.

    The only person that was above Benjamin at the time that I

    know was President Taylor. Nobody else."

    Mr Taylor, was there this other power in the land?

  • No. No. I guess Moses may be seeing this from a different perspective that maybe later I will comment on, but no.

  • Well, comment on it now, please?

  • Well, I guess when Moses as Vice-President went to Benjamin Yeaten and said to Benjamin Yeaten that an indictment had been unveiled in Accra and that he had been asked to take over and that Benjamin should proceed and give him that cooperation and Benjamin said no, I suspect that this is why he's saying that Benjamin was powerful, and as a general he was just doing his duty. So I can see why he's claiming that Benjamin is so powerful because Benjamin - there are some instances where a soldier will have to make decisions. Even if he got an order from whoever, there are orders in the armed forces that military people can refuse to carry out. If they deem that order to be contrary to the laws of the land they can refuse to carry that order. So I'm just saying that Moses knows very well that Benjamin was not so powerful in Liberia that he could, as he describes it, do whatever he wanted to do. So I'm suggesting that he's saying this in the context of Benjamin's refusal to take his order to carry out a coup d'etat because he knows that Benjamin is not that powerful. There's a chief of staff of the armed forces. There are other senior government officials that Benjamin took orders from, respected them. So for him to say this must be in the context of Benjamin refusing to carry out his orders to carry out a coup d'etat.

  • Now, what happened to Moses Blah when he tried to order Benjamin Yeaten to carry out a coup d'etat? What happened to Moses Blah?

  • At the time Benjamin refused, he called me at Accra. I told him - in fact, the army had taken the decision to arrest the Vice-President before my arrival in Monrovia. I told them no, that for the armed forces to carry out that arrest it would not be proper, that I would be coming in and it was better for me to order that. I arrived. Moses came to the airport. They escorted me to the mansion. We convened a meeting there with other senior cabinet officials, members of the legislature. I reported to them, the general reported. The General Yeaten played the recorded telephone conversation with United States embassy where they had asked him to cooperate with the Vice-President and he had refused. It is in that meeting that I ordered that the Vice-President be arrested.

  • And so you ordered Blah to be arrested?

  • And that was after you returned from Accra?

  • And was that the time in Accra when the indictment was unveiled?

  • That is correct.

  • And how long did Blah remain in custody?

  • Blah was in custody for - I would say the whole process took about - the process took about a month. I'd say about a month. And since this question came out let me just answer. And even during that process Blah was treated with respect. He was not placed in the prison. He was kept under house arrest during the period of the full investigation by government. In fact, a legislative committee. Following that investigation it was determined that yes - in fact, Blah admitted that he had been encouraged to this. But because of the fact that I was leaving power and for continuity, we decided to - I decided to reinstatement him as Vice-President.

  • Right. Let's move on. The next name put to the witness was number 123, Dopoe Menkarzon. Now, the witness didn't actually say what happened, according to the transcript before me, to him. So you tell us, Mr Taylor, what's the situation with Dopoe Menkarzon?

  • Dopoe Menkarzon is alive and well. In fact, Dopoe Menkarzon met with the Prosecution in this case in Monrovia. Alive and well, held a meeting with them. They tried to persuade him in certain ways along with a cousin of my mine, Samuel Johnson. Samuel Johnson, left a meeting, held a press conference, and the Prosecution went to the Registrar and restricted my speaking to Samuel Johnson for the past three years, my nephew. So Dopoe Menkarzon is alive and well in Monrovia, and the Prosecution knows that.

  • The next person mentioned is Paul Vaye, number 127. According to Mr Blah, Paul Vaye got sick with AIDS and died. Is that true?

  • I know he got sick and died. AIDS I can't be certain of.

  • Very well. Number 132, Musa Cisse. What's happened to Musa Cisse, Mr Taylor?

  • Again another person that - Musa Cisse died about a year ago of - he got sick and died.

  • And then number 138 he was asked about, Sam Larto, and Mr Blah told us this:

    "Sam Larto was one of the strong fighters of the National Patriotic Front. He got killed on the highway of Monrovia, Gbarnga. He saw a man with a television set and he stopped that man for inspection. He inspected the boy and the fellow said it was a TV and he said, 'You've stolen this TV', and got into a quarrel and he got the man, he took out his pistol and he shot the man. He was arrested by Taylor and put in detention. He was investigated and executed."

    Is that true?

  • Well, a part of that is true. But let me just remind the Court. Sam Larto was not just - in fact, he was tried, but not just for that alone. Moses Blah - that Moses Blah told this Court that in Maryland County Sam Larto had murdered more than, I think, 60 civilian individuals --

  • Don't malign him on this point, Mr Taylor, because he does go on to say in the same answer this:

    "Previously Sam Larto had gone into Zwedru, Grand Gedeh. They had brought some people to safety from the bushes where we were controlling Grand Gedeh and I was responsible for the elderlies, the pregnant women, the old ladies. At one time I went to the highway as I mentioned, Maryland, Cape Palmas highway. Sam Larto went after me. In my absence he went there in the old administrative building where I kept these people. I was caring for these people. He went there and executed all of them, about 70 some persons, and upon my return I ran to Gbarnga with this report to the President. He was not in Gbarnga and the President said, 'I will have him brought here to be investigated.' It was not until I was in Gbarnga that I heard that he had been arrested for killing another person, and it was then that President Taylor ordered he be executed."

    Do you agree with that?

  • Okay. Now, there were several atrocities carried out by Sam Larto, I agree. He was arrested, he was investigated, he was taken again before the court-martial board - he was a general - for the wanton murder of some 60, 70 civilians, and it he brought down guilty. The verdict was execution, and he was executed. Now that he gives the full picture, I agree.

  • Now, the next name mentioned was number 155, Elmer Glee Johnson. Mr Blah said this:

    "This other fellow was killed in an ambush. I wasn't there. But the story surrounding this man was an American citizen, Liberian American citizen. He had come to Liberia and was a friend of Mr Taylor and had decided to fight alongside because of his military experience, but at one time there was an ambush near Buchanan, he fell into that ambush, but the story surrounding his killing was that - I was not there, but rumour has it that he was killed on the orders of Taylor, that he was getting more aggressive, he was not taking orders, but officially he was killed in an ambush, but I didn't know who set the ambush and who killed him, but that was what was said at every quarters when I asked how he got killed. That's why I said there is no special person who was saying this, how he got killed, or this man was not killed by an enemy, he's killed by his own forces on the order of the President. That was how he got killed. That was what I heard."

    What do you say about that, Mr Taylor? I appreciate it's hearsay --

  • Yeah, I know, but, I mean, I think he says it right here, that there were these rumours. He's 100 per cent right here. Elmer was a very, very, very good friend of mine. We were in Boston together. Elmer is a graduate of Boston University. I went to Bentley, but we were very close - very close friends. Elmer joined the US marine, was very, very trained. In fact, I know his whole family, mother - we worked very closely. And he really didn't have any experience in guerilla warfare, and so many times we advised Elmer not to take these, you know, risks. Unfortunately - in fact, he was ambushed by Armed Forces of Liberia personnel. And, in fact, Elmer's death was reported on the BBC when the Armed Forces of Liberia, having his identification card, revealed to the BBC and the Doe government reported that they had killed an American fighting for the NPFL and they had taken his ID card off him. So, unfortunately, very, very promising man. I mean, highly intelligent boy. I mean - well, we just say boy, man, because we were almost about the same age, but - so Blah is correct here. He did die in an ambush, but there were rumours.

    In our part of the world, any time there is a catastrophe, somebody either made witchcraft against the person, they either killed them or poisoned them. Any time there's a sudden death in our part of the - in our neck of the woods, it's got to be because of extraordinary causes, maybe witchcraft or somebody poisoned them. People over the millions of years just haven't gotten used to death. I mean, this was a great blow. But he explains it here properly as it was rumoured, yeah.

  • Tom Woweiyu, number 160. Line 22, page 9930:

    "A. Tom Woweiyu was a friend of President Taylor. He was

    introduced to me. When I say 'us' I'm saying about because

    I was an adjutant in Libya. He went to Libya along with

    President Taylor. At that time he was introduced to the

    battalion, that he was a best friend of Taylor, he was

    working with the organisation, but that he was in America

    taking care of some other things being done on the other

    side in America. Later he became Defence Minister in the

    NPRG government, the government I told you that was set up

    in Gbarnga. At one time he was arrested. He was arrested.

    According to him he was arrested on the order of Mr Taylor.

    He had been detained by the Small Boy Unit in another place

    called Mabarklay. He had been detained, his Nissan car

    patrol jeep was taken in a dirty place where these boys

    were. They knew him to be a minister of defence for us at

    the time. He was detained for a very long time. He didn't

    like the treatment he received. He told me that. Since

    then he left and went back to the United States.

    Q. What happened as a result of the investigation against


    A. On the investigation a lot of things happened. He was

    in America. He had left and there was no real

    investigation. When this thing happened he reported it to

    the President Taylor at the time. He was not happy with

    the response, so he left the organisation and went."

    Do you agree with that one, Mr Taylor?

  • Totally false. Tom Woweiyu, not to my knowledge, had any problems. In fact, when I was elected President of Liberia, Tom Woweiyu remains my friend. Tom Woweiyu was made a senator. In my government, he served in the Senate in Grand Bassa County. He remained Liberia until I departed on 11 August for Nigeria and Tom Woweiyu remains a friend today. We talk all the time.

    In fact, Tom Woweiyu, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, myself are the three individuals that put together the NPFL. So Moses - I don't know - this is where he slips into another slope, but Tom and I remain friends today.

  • Okay. Now, that's all I ask in relation to that topic, Mr Taylor. The next thing I want to ask you about is a comment made at page 9932, the transcript for 15 May 2008, and it's with regard to SBUs. Line 24, page 9932:

    "Q. Do you know who the Small Boy Units, or these young

    men and Small Boy Units took their orders from?

    A. There were two ways. They took orders from Benjamin

    Yeaten at the time. The other person was the President to

    them. Sometimes the President gave orders. As

    commander-in-chief he had all right to order the units.

    They were not units that were positioned in one place.

    Every area, every commanders had Small Boy Unit. I told

    you yesterday that everybody had a Small Boy Unit because

    they were unreasonable and everybody would like to have a

    group of small boys in their command.

    Q. You said Taylor had some role with Small Boy Units.

    Did he have his own Small Boy Unit?

    A. Yes, a lot of them in the Small Boy Unit. At one time

    there was a unit called - majority of them were Small Boy

    Unit. He had a unit before ATU. I will call their name


    Q. So you don't recall at this point the name of this

    Small Boy Unit?

    A. No, I don't remember.

    Q. What did this unit do specifically?

    A. They took military operations and assignments assigned

    to them. They will bring the man, arrest the man, block

    the road, they will block the roads. I said they were

    very, very unreasonable. They could be assigned anywhere

    to do any dirty operations, because they had no reasoning,

    they had no sense of direction to do anything. Like I must

    say that I had one with me, I had a Small Boy Unit too.

    Q. The particular unit that you can't remember the name

    of, how was that different, if at all, from other units?

    A. They were all Small Boy Unit. One small boy under age

    they called Small Boy Unit."

    Now, pause there, Mr Taylor. What do you understand by all of that?

  • Well, you know, Moses, I guess he's trying to tell the truth, but he's being pressed maybe to say something else. When Moses says here "one small boy under age they call a Small Boy Unit", my understanding of a unit is more than one person. But what Moses is actually trying to explain here is exactly what I have told this Court many times. Individuals brought their brothers, their close relatives sometimes to keep them with them for safety purposes and other things. One man cannot constitute a unit. And so he is trying to say that, okay, "I had one with me," meaning he had one person. If you check it, this had to be somebody close to him.

    So we are not talking about units here of 50, 60 people and all of that kind of stuff. What these people were doing at that particular time was, your family member or somebody close to you, you have them with you. They will go with you to places that you went, but they were not an organised, quote unquote. So using the word here "unit" and then saying "one" simply must show that there is - this is not an organisation that people are referring to. And he keeps trying to push it and people - you know, he can't hide it for too long, so he keeps saying, "I had one," and there was one - and we are not talking about groups of people. We are talking about individuals that somebody says, "That one person, this is my unit," okay, "This is my family," or something like that.

    The NPFL under my administration, not under my orders, had any large unit of young men called small boys that we sent into training, armed, equipped and all that kind of stuff. This is not the case. This is not the case. So when he says here "one", he means one.

  • Mr Taylor, I'm asked to clarify an aspect of your last answer. Were there any large groups of children who were referred to collectively as Small Boys Units in the NPFL?

  • No, that's what I'm saying. No.

  • So that what you're saying is that if an individual had an individual young person with them, they would refer to that single individual as "my Small Boy Unit"?

  • This is what I'm saying. But this is what Moses is saying. Like I must say that I had one with me, I had a Small Boy Unit too. I mean, he had one boy, and he goes further down and he says, "One small boy under age they called Small Boy Unit." I mean, you walk, you say, "Oh, this is my unit." I mean, this is what was going on at this particular time. And if you press him even more, I'm sure he will come - this is why he says, "One small boy under age they called Small Boy Unit." This is what was going on over there. Okay, an individual, you have your brother or your cousin with you, you take him wherever you went. The NPFL did not go collecting young people.

    In fact, I had an orphanage in Gbarnga with several hundred children, some of - in fact, I adopted a boy that is still with me now, okay. So this is not something where we went about recruiting small people, and I don't know how much clearer he can make it here. Maybe the Prosecutor wants him to say it differently, but I guess he clarifies it here.

  • Can I, Mr Taylor, take this opportunity to just remind you of a couple of passages, in light of that answer, from yesterday that we dealt with. At page 9825, on this same topic of Small Boy Unit, Mr Blah said at line 5:

    "I considered them to be other soldiers. There were other people in different units fighting much smaller than the Small Boy Unit. Everybody had a Small Boy Unit with them. You had little boys who were dragging your weapons behind you and they would say, 'Oh, they're my Small Boy Unit.' It was a common name to everybody."

  • That's what Moses is talking about, yeah. You've got your little brother with you, if he's carrying our rifle - I mean, or he's carrying your bag, or whatever, that's what he's explaining. This is an individual that is close to you that you control, that you take with you when you go, when you don't go - but he's your relative that is with you for security and your own guidance.

  • Were such children collectively trained for military purposes, Mr Taylor?

  • I said no. No.

  • Were they organised along military lines in the NPFL?

  • Did they engage in combat in the NPFL?

  • Well, that's another question now. Did they engage in combat? For the NPFL, no, the NPFL did not have them engaged in combat. Now, I cannot say here factually that those young men, wherever they were, didn't fire a gun. I would be lying to this Court, okay. But as a unit fighting for the NPFL, no.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, bearing that answer in mind, let us look again at the last part of Mr Blah's answer:

    "They took military operations and assignments assigned to them. They will bring the man, arrest the man, block the roads. They will block the roads."

    Now, those are the examples Mr Blah gave. Were children involved in effecting arrests?

  • That's what Mr Blah is saying?

  • No. Well, then he didn't do his job. Because in the armed forces that I commanded, arrests are based on ranks. If there is a captain that has done something wrong, he cannot and would not be arrested by anyone below the rank of captain; that is, we did not send a sergeant to arrest a captain. You had to be arrested by at least your rank or one that was higher. So then he as inspector general didn't do his job if he saw anybody arresting - this is not to my knowledge.

  • Very well. Were young people, children, used to man road blocks?

  • Not to my knowledge, no. Not to my knowledge.

  • Were they used for guard duties?

  • Not to my knowledge, no. Now, an individual - to be very fair about that answer, I would not doubt that somebody - because I tell you what I used to hear these boys used to do. I mean - well, okay, when we say guard duty that would be a little different. But to be very, very earnest to this Court, those individuals - in fact, when I used to ask questions about it, they used to also keep their relatives around them to serve as their eyes and ears too. So if their big brother Was inside sleeping, you understand me, they didn't sleep at the same time. So I'm not sure if we can interpret that as guard duty, but at least you helped to protect your brother whenever he was maybe sleeping in a place that he should not want to be. So in that way I don't want them tomorrow to say well, "You say you didn't know about this," but they helped to protect their bigger brothers.

  • Next topic, discrete topic, page 10036, testimony of 16 May 2008 at line 10:

    "Q. Originally just a small group in Libya and then

    eventually into thousands in Liberia - in Liberia how did

    the NPFL recruit its soldiers?

    A. We had two groups recruitment. We had the voluntary

    recruitment and we had people who were captured and forced

    into the NPFL."

    True or false?

  • False. The first part true. You know, then Moses then did not do good to me. Quite frankly, then they were all a bunch of liars that betrayed me. I, as the leader of the NPFL, they had me sitting in an area very well protected and quite frankly, I did not go around a whole lot because of the nature of guerilla warfare. And so whenever I moved, it had to be something that they were very well prepared for. And so a lot of these activities in the field they should have known, and to the best of my knowledge it was never brought to my attention that people were captured and forced into training. It would have never - and that was in violation of the operational order, and he was inspector general. In fact, the voluntary training was better for us because when people volunteered to fight, they fight better. If you force them to fight, they will run away and desert, and the desertion rate in the NPFL was very, very, very low. So to the best of my knowledge, then all of them messed up and they all were deceptive then; you understand me? Because there was an operational order published. Look, it took me almost two years to put this organisation together in training on every aspect of warfare and administration. Before we entered Liberia there was an operational order. Why was an attempt made to arrest Prince Johnson? Because he murdered some people and we said this was against our operational order. Why did I go to the extent to execute Special Forces? Because they violated the operational orders, they murdered people, and that was unacceptable in the NPFL. So for - if Moses knew that people were being taken by force, I did not know. He was inspector general. To the best of my knowledge, what reached me - and most senior people of the NPFL - was most of our thing were voluntary to the point that people brought food to the training bases, they brought families. People volunteered and people brought food. Most of these trainings when I got in Liberia we didn't have to buy food; people brought food. And it was to the point that if any soldier went anywhere and took anything from any civilian, you were dealt with. So this part about that Moses - look, your Honours, you know, I have to say these things. We're going through this trial because, you know, who knows? This may be the last chance I have to say what I have to say, so I have to speak my - look, Moses Blah, I don't know what brought him here. Moses Blah I do not consider an enemy, yesterday or today. Something brought Moses Blah here. I don't know what it is. I really don't know. But it took a lot to get Moses Blah to come to sit in this Court. Whatever that is, whatever pushed him into some of these things - and I'm sure he could not have come here for nothing. Moses is not an enemy of mine. I still consider him someone that if God is - if the Lord Hashim is on my side, I will speak to him and great him tomorrow like a brother. But whatever brought him here, they had to get something out of him. There was no such thing as forced recruitment by the NPFL. No such thing. You came in voluntarily, and let me say that.

  • Right. There are four more issues I want to deal with in relation to this witness, Mr Taylor. The next issue is this: Following his inauguration as President Mr Blah told the Court about various overseas visits he made, and he goes into some detail about these visits. Now, I commence the reference at page 10050 at line 3:

    "I became President within a week and I contacted ECOWAS

    to get permission that I would be travelling through my

    neighbouring countries to see how best we could live

    together as good neighbours, and I started with Sierra

    Leone. I spoke with Tejan Kabbah and then I moved on to

    Guinea and I talked to Lansana Conte, and I tried to

    organise them to bring peace to my people in Liberia and

    then on to Cote d'Ivoire, yes, and I talked to --

    Q. Who did you talk to in Cote d'Ivoire?

    A. I talked to Laurent Gbagbo, as President of Cote

    d'Ivoire, and lastly I went to Ghana, and the President of

    Ghana was then the chairman of ECOWAS, and then on to

    Nigeria, because Nigeria played a major role in the war in

    Liberia. They had given us great help, soldiers to ensure

    that peace returned to Liberia, and I went to congratulate

    him for his effort in bringing peace to his country. I met

    Obasanjo, President Obasanjo.

    Q. You said Sierra Leone first. Do you remember what you

    specifically said to President Kabbah?

    A. I went to Sierra Leone. I met with Tejan Kabbah. He

    welcomed me. I was received. We went to the State House

    and I started message to him by saying that I am very, very

    sorry - sorry, your Honours."

    And there was some problem with the recording and he goes on:

    "I told President Kabbah that it was not time for war during my presidency and that I will try my best to bring peace to both of us, and I also promised that there would be no cross-border attacks coming from my side into his country, and he promised too that he appreciated that I visited him and he said, 'We are neighbours. We are supposed to live together.' And he promised to come to Monrovia the following week to see me so that we could discuss further on the peace in Liberia."

    Now, pausing there. Mr Taylor, is there anything surprising about that kind of exchange between the President of Liberia and the President of Sierra Leone?

  • Is that indicative of the relationship you had with President Kabbah?

  • Yes, Tejani and I had the same relationship and even better.

  • Let's go on:

    "I was saying it was not good that we fight, and I met the

    war on, and the war was coming out of Sierra Leone and from

    Liberia, and I said that was not good and that we should

    stop fighting. I was speaking from my own side as

    President of Liberia, that it was not good to attack each

    other, I was not investigating him, I told him that would

    not happen and that if it happened in the past I was sorry

    about it and that things were going on and on on both sides

    of the country, but that during my presidency I would

    discourage that and I would not let that happen.

    Q. What was it that you said you were sorry for?

    A. I told him that I was sorry, because I saw what

    happened during the presidency of President Taylor that

    there were a lot of accusations that Sam Bockarie was in

    Liberia or he was not in Liberia and that Liberians had

    entered into Sierra Leone to fight and a lot of things. A

    lot of things were happening. And that I told him if these

    things happed, I am sorry. Those were the things I started

    by saying. And that those accusations, I was sorry about

    them and that during my presidency they would not happen

    any longer and that I was sorry about that. And it did not

    happen. I stopped it.

    Q. You said you visited Guinea and saw President Conte.

    What did you say to him?

    A. I told President Conte that there was war in Liberia

    and that people were coming out of Guinea fighting in

    Liberia and I apologised and I said, 'Please stop this, old

    man, if you have the capacity to stop this was. From my

    side you can rest assured that nobody will come out of

    Liberia to attack your country as long as I'm President of

    Liberia.' If there was anyone - I did not actually name

    anybody, but if there is anybody coming out of Guinea to

    fight against Liberia I said, 'Please sir, you should try

    to discourage that so that we can live together once again

    as good neighbours.' Conte promised and he admitted that

    in fact there were groups coming out of Guinea to fight in

    Liberia and then he said, 'Mr President, I welcome your

    visit, but you should do one thing for me.' He said,

    'Please allow your brothers, call them to you, talk to

    them. Once you all start talking I will intervene.' That

    was what he promised me. And he admitted that there was a

    group coming out of Guinea to fight against Taylor's

    government and he further said that I will tell them - I am

    sorry, excuse me, that I will talk to them about attacking

    Liberia and they will stop and he said, 'You have to do the

    same thing for your side.'"

    Now, Mr Taylor, did Lansana Conte ever make such an admission to you?

  • No. Lansana Conte met with Obasanjo and myself. He, Obasanjo and I sat and Conte lied. He said there was such thing. Lansana Conte, Tejani Kabbah, and I went to Morocco. We sat down with Mohammed VI. Right there, Conte lied and said that Guinea had nothing to do with it. So now I'm struck for me to be hearing here that he admits to Moses Blah something that everyone had known all along, that in fact the people were coming out of Guinea, fighting. And so Moses explains it - I'm not there, so I have to take his word for it - that Conte said that, but this is something that everybody knew.

    And, you know, just for the record, the Court needs to know, Moses was President for two months and the peace that brought Moses Blah - my government negotiated the transitional peace that brought Blah in for two months to be followed by Gyude Bryant. All of these are on the records here. So Moses, running around into la Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone, talking, I guess they just told him the truth. And Conte is very bold and said, "Yes, I know about it, the people are attacking." In other words, "These are my people. I can stop them whenever I want. You just talk to your people on that side." So I accept his word, what he's saying here.

  • Now, he's then asked about his visit to Cote d'Ivoire and he says, page 10053, line 17:

    "When I went to Cote d'Ivoire I was received like a President of my country and I was very happy. And he was also happy. He organised a press conference and he spoke first and he said, 'You have come here, I welcome you, but please let me speak.' Then I said, 'You can go ahead to speak.' What he said was that something happened in the past which he did not like and I said, 'What was it?' He said, 'I will give you a parable,' and I said, 'What it is, Mr President?' He said, 'If your neighbour's house is on fire, would you put gasoline on the fire or would you bring water to quench the fire?' And I asked him what that meant. Then he said, 'This message and this parable goes to the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.' He said, 'Charles Taylor saw my house on fire and instead of putting the fire off, he added gasoline to the fire and the fire started blazing everywhere in my country.' He said, 'As I am sitting down here I am sitting in a divided country,' and he did not like it. He had his properties looted, Caterpillars in companies. He named so many other things that went on in his country. He said so many people died and he said a lot of things. In conclusion I said, 'Look, I am now President of Liberia. Taylor is gone, he is no longer President, but I want to promise you one thing. As of today no soldier will live under my command as commander-in-chief of Liberia will cross into that Cote d'Ivoire with a penknife, I am not talking about guns, to attack your country by any means. I will discourage that. I promise you. I have people in position right now to stop such incursions against you.' That was the promise I made and it went on as I promised as I retired as President."

    Now, Mr Taylor, did you pour gasoline on the conflict in la Cote d'Ivoire?

  • No, not at all.

  • Now, what conflict was there in la Cote d'Ivoire during your presidency?

  • The rebels were fighting Gbagbo's government.

  • And the rebels were led by whom?

  • Soro Guillaume, the Prime Minister now.

  • Was that the rebel movement which was aided and abetted by one Sam Bockarie?

  • So when President Gbagbo was talking about someone adding petrol to the fire, could he by any chance have been talking about Sam Bockarie and his men?

  • Yes, and I think - yes, that, but also - I'm not sure what the rules of the Court - I forgot the rule, but there are some complicated discussions here that involve - because Gbagbo and I go a long way and Gbagbo is talking about that, but he is also talking about Liberians that were involved from across the border from the Gio, Mano ethnic groups in Liberia. The Ivorian war, if we can recall, starts in earnest when the chief of staff and former President Guei Robert is killed following the elections that Gbagbo supposedly won and that ignited the war in la Cote d'Ivoire. If we remember, the first attacks that occurred in la Cote d'Ivoire I think occurred in a town called, I think it was around Bouake. That's almost in the centre of la Cote d'Ivoire coming from the side of Burkina Faso.

    Now, Guei Robert being a Gio man and having connections in Liberia, there were individuals from Liberia from the Gio, Mano, other ethnic groups, from the border areas that also got involved in that war. And Gbagbo and I had had several discussions that I would not get into the details and there were several things that he wanted me to do that I couldn't do. In fact even some of the Ivorian soldiers that escaped into Liberia, they were picked up, their weapons were retrieved, I called Gbagbo and he sent aircraft to Monrovia to pick up his soldiers and weapons. But it is deeper than little Moses knows and the fact that there were Liberians involved that we had no control over really, I think Gbagbo understand - he understood that as also helping to put flame to the fire, but we remained good friends until I departed.

  • Right. Next topic I want to deal with, Mr Taylor, is the death of Sam Bockarie. Now I begin at page 9974 so that we get the context. Now you recall yesterday mention was made of this suggestion that there was an underground warehouse at White Flower, Mr Taylor?

  • Mr Blah went on in this vein - I'm given a spelling of Bouake, B-O-U-A-K-E. He says he would go in there to see the weapons fixed and then return to the front to whosoever it concerned:

    "It was that kind of place and it was highly restricted and nobody could go there easily. Highly restricted area. But it was under the residence of Mr Taylor. It was like an underground."

    Now I won't delay on that, Mr Taylor, because you have already denied that there was any such structure. But then he's asked this:

    "Q. Well, if it was highly restricted how did you know

    about it?

    A. Oh, I should know. I should know. As inspector

    general, as ambassador, as Vice-President I must know. I

    must know. If I was not supposed to know, then I must


    Would you agree with those sentiments, Mr Taylor?

  • As to the role of an inspector general, an ambassador, later Vice-President? Yes?

  • I agree, yes. He must know. He must know.

  • And then continues:

    "Q. Specifically how did you learn about this place?

    A. This was a place that when driving on car to the

    mansion, that is the President's residence, you see trucks

    backing up and they will say, 'Back off, back off, back

    off' and you see somebody towing loads to put on a truck,

    at least you will be concerned and you will want to see

    what was taken out of there and you must know, as long as

    you concerned about the organisation."

    Now we come to the topic in hand:

    "Q. Did the subject of Sam Bockarie ever come up in a

    meeting with President Taylor?

    A. Yes, on one occasion when Bockarie entered Liberia and

    before I went to my farm, there was a one on one meeting

    and it went like this: If you were visiting the President

    or in fact he will call some people in and they will say,

    'Sam Bockarie is here in Liberia. What do you think should

    be done to him?' And everybody had different suggestions.

    Like me, what I said was, 'Chief, if we should have this

    man arrested and taken to Sierra Leone so at least we will

    have good face from the Sierra Leonean government because

    they have been accusing us for a very long time.' Then he

    will say, 'Okay, okay, I heard your view. Thank you, thank

    you.' And that was the response to me when he consulted

    with me."

    Now, Mr Taylor, did Moses Blah suggest to you that Sam Bockarie should be arrested and taken to Sierra Leone?

  • No. He never suggested that to me. Moses Blah and I did talk about several issues surrounding Sam Bockarie when he entered the country. What was suggested is that Bockarie should be arrested and I made it very clear to this Court --

  • Who made the suggestion?

  • He had said that Sam Bockarie should be arrested. Everybody on the national security council had agreed that Sam Bockarie should be arrested for entering Liberia with such a force. That was a national security council decision and he was part of the council.

  • Line 6, page 9975:

    "Q. Why would he be arrested?

    A. I said this is a man that the Liberian government has

    been accused of that he was based in Liberia and that he

    was fighting from out of Liberia and if he is here this

    time and he has entered the country he should be arrested

    and turned over to the Sierra Leone government so that the

    Liberian government will have a good face to the Sierra

    Leone government. All he said was that, 'Okay, okay, I

    have got your view.' Then he was asking views from

    different government officials, asking them how they felt

    about Sam Bockarie's presence in Liberia. It was not like

    a meeting that was held. It was just consultations with

    government officials."

    Pause there. Was it just individual consultations, Mr Taylor, or was there a collective decision?

  • It's a national security council meeting and Moses does - I don't know. I don't know why these people don't want to just - this is a national security council meeting and there are questions asked around the room, as is done in any government, and each person gave their decision, okay. That council included him, it included the Defence Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Justice Minister, the chief of the staff of the army. It's a national security council meeting as you find anywhere. And the President will listen to all of the opinions around the room and at the end of the day it is the prerogative of the President to make a final decision. That's the same process I followed in my government.

  • Mr Taylor, following that collective decision which you've just described, was a decision taken as to who should effect the arrest?

  • Yes, it was decided - I decided that because we had reached a tense position in dealing with Sam Bockarie that he, Moses Blah --

  • Moses Zeh Blah, being he is calm and cool and has the military experience, should go. Moses lied to this Court when he said he was merely going to his farm. He lied. Moses was designated by me to go to Nimba and make sure that Sam Bockarie - the arrest of Sam Bockarie is effected and that I did not want any blood shed in Nimba with fighting; that he should use whatever wit he had to make sure that this arrest was carried out peacefully. That's what carried Moses to Nimba. Exactly that. And only that.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, Moses Blah was asked that same question, line 19:

    "Q. Who was going to arrest him?" That being Bockarie.

    "A. The Government of Liberia should arrest Sam Bockarie.

    If he was in the country then he should be turned over to

    the Sierra Leone government, and then the Government of

    Sierra Leone will be able to have good rapport with the

    Government of Liberia because the Government of Liberia,

    headed by Taylor, had been accused by the Sierra Leone

    government repeatedly that Sam Bockarie was in Liberia and

    now that he had entered the country, he should be arrested

    and taken over to the Sierra Leone government."

    Now, that last part, Mr Taylor, that he been handed over to the Sierra Leone government, was such a collective decision made?

  • No, that was not the decision. The decision was to arrest him, and I have told this Court I had absolutely no intention of turning Sam Bockarie over to Tejan Kabbah. That was not a decision by the National Security Council. The decision was to arrest Sam Bockarie for entering the country in such a violent way, and that final decision as to what would be done is not even a legal matter. Transfer of personnel from country to country under extradition, they are not basically legal matters. These are political matters and I have said, and I repeat it: I had no intention of giving him to Tejani.

  • Okay, thank you. You've told us that before.

    "Q. Did you know what the Sierra Leone government wanted

    of Bockarie?

    A. They were in search of him and according to them, he

    had committed atrocities in the country and he had

    committed so many crimes in Sierra Leone and that if he had

    been - he had been connected to Liberia and that fighting

    was going on in Sierra Leone and they were supporting them

    with arms, this was not a secret. It was on international

    radios, on televisions. Human right groups from all over

    the world were accusing Liberia at that time."

    Was that the situation, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. Excuse me, I was drinking. Yes.

  • No problem. Now, Mr Taylor, on that note let me ask you this: At this time were you aware that there was an outstanding indictment against Sam Bockarie in the Special Court for Sierra Leone?

  • No, I was not aware. I'm not sure if they had named all of those. No, I was not aware. Maybe it was out, but I was not aware that any indictment had been unsealed for Sam Bockarie.

  • Had you heard any rumour that it was being suggested that he face criminal charges?

  • Frankly, what had been rumoured was that yes, a court was being set up in Sierra Leone and that several of their leaders could be indicted, yes. It was rife out there, yeah.

  • Now, bearing that in mind, Mr Taylor, in light of your previous answer, if you had knowledge that there was an indictment outstanding against Bockarie, would you have handed him over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone?

  • Not necessarily. I would say this, I'm on trial and I know it's my life but not - it would have taken a process. It would have taken a process, and I cannot predict what would have been the outcome of that process. And let me go through this, not because I'm on trial I'm going to sit here and act as though: Oh, what is life? We're all going to live, we're all going to die, so we die with honour. The process - my legal people in Liberia, and even international lawyers that we had contacted on this Court in Sierra Leone, this was a domestic court backed by the United Nations under Sierra Leonean law and the process of getting someone to help under Chapter VI of the United Nations to get someone in Liberia transferred to Sierra Leone would have taken - we would have exhausted all of the legal process in Liberia before such would have happened, and I would have let that be done through the courts and let lawyers handle it. It would not have just been: Grab somebody, go to Sierra Leone. No, I would have never done that, okay? It would have been followed based on the constitution of Liberia looking at all aspects. Because in ECOWAS there is an ECOWAS court. There is an ECOWAS court. I was a part of setting up that ECOWAS court. There is an ECOWAS court set up. The judge is appointed under an ECOWAS court. Some of us were of the opinion that an ECOWAS court should look into any matters of atrocities and problems in the sub-region, okay? That was some of - and I shared that opinion. Likewise, in ECOWAS we have another case that is right now going on in Senegal where the former President of Chad, Hissene Habre, through some Belgian nonsense, were trying to get him on trial and Abdoulaye Wade said, "No, if he's going to be tried, he's going to be tried here in Senegal. We're not going to send him any place." So there are various opinions regarding this whole legal framework in West Africa. And what happened, okay? A court set up in Sierra Leone under Sierra Leonean laws was an issue that Liberia would have dealt with based on the constitution of Liberia. There is nothing that is compulsory that my lawyers and the legal framework in Liberia had shown that Liberia was under any obligation to surrender anyone, and we would not have done it blindly. We would have followed the law to the limit. So this is what I mean by we were going to follow it to the letter. So whether there was an indictment from a court in Sierra Leone did not mean that I would have arrested a Sierra Leonean and turned him over blindly. We would have had to exhaust the entire process, and the process would finally come down to one thing - one thing, and only one: Extradition and whether there existed a valid extradition treaty between Sierra Leone and Liberia. That's where the lawyer said it would have ended up, not that there was an indictment from a court in Sierra Leone. This was my legal advice at the time.

  • Now, just so that we get a time frame, the indictment against Bockarie was signed on 7 March 2003; he was indicted on 7 March 2003; but the fact of his indictment was not disclosed until its withdrawal on 8 December 2003. That is on the records of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

  • I left Liberia on 11 August 2003.

  • Witness was then asked, following a helpful intervention from the learned judge, Judge Sebutinde, "when did it take place?" That's the conversation about Bockarie. He says, "It happened in 2003, your Honour."

    Now, we're agreed on that, aren't we, Mr Taylor?

  • "Q. What did you do then following the advice he gave to


    According to him.

    "A. What else could I have done at that time? I left it.

    I left it at that and walked out of his sight.

    Q. You said that he consulted with people. Were others in

    your presence at the time of this meeting?

    A. No, I was alone when he consulted me."

    Is that true?

  • Well, it depends on what Moses is talking about.

  • The advice that he gave you that Bockarie should be arrested.

  • Well, you know, when you look at the question, of course - after these top level national security meetings, of course the President in his final whatchamacallit would call in the Vice-President and say, "well, listen. I mean, what do you think?" But Moses repeated what we had decided, that Bockarie should be arrested, and I had given him my views when we met on what the process would be. So the fact that he's saying here that he suggested that he be turned over to Sierra - I think it's just smoke he's blowing, that's all. But he never told me, because Moses didn't have the level of comprehension to even understand the issues that were going on here. He gave his opinion in the meeting, and that was it.

  • But then --

  • I'm not sure; was that an answer to the question? You asked Mr Taylor - the quote from the evidence was, "You said that he consulted with people. Were others in your presence at the time of this meeting?" and the answer was, "No, I was alone when he consulted me." Then you asked Mr Taylor, "Is that true?" I'm not quite sure he said whether he was alone or not.

  • I was not - he was not alone, no.

  • "But then when I got out I heard from other government

    officials that Sam Bockarie was in the country and that he

    had been through - and that they had have been through such

    consultations, but I did not want to find out what their

    responses were to it. I only new about what my response

    was to the President at that time.

    Q. Gid you see Sam Bockarie after the meeting?

    A. Yes, I saw Sam Bockarie. I saw him on two occasions.

    The first one was at Cocopa on the way to my village,

    and I stopped by my plantation and when going in by

    Harrison Karnwea, usually where they go towards the

    company, and sometimes where the field company - usually

    when I was going to Ganta I will bend down, I will get fuel

    from the company and then in those areas we had to stop and

    get fuel, and that time we stopped there to enter the camp

    and the Harrison camp was on the road, and they said I have

    been I have stranger here in the house, I will not have a

    place for you because you don't have a space. And he said,

    'Sam Bockarie is here', and then I allowed him in my jeep.

    We drove and we went to his house, and that was where I saw

    Sam Bockarie with cars with Ivory Coast licence plates,

    cars all over the place, vehicles of different types.

    Citroen, Peugeot, all French made cars, they were all

    around. So I was joking with him and I said, 'My man, you

    are rich with vehicles.' And then he laughed and then he

    called Sam Bockarie out. He came and shook my hands again,

    and that was my first time seeing Sam Bockarie close to him

    in Nimba County. And then he said, 'Chief, how are you

    doing?' He saw me in Benjamin's house before, and then I

    left them there and I patrolled. Harrison came on the way

    and he gave my fuel, and then I took off from that end and

    then went to my village."

    What do you understand by the phrase "I patrolled", Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I have to - this is a war zone and "patrol" for me is a military patrol. I would say he didn't say - but he went on a patrol. For me, that has a military connotation. I mean, why would Moses Blah - there is war near Monrovia. There is fighting in Nimba County. Why would Moses just go to his farm? "Patrol" for me means he went on a military patrol.

  • And what military patrol could that be?

  • To look for or search for that's on the Sam Bockarie operation. And I don't see how Moses could have met Sam Bockarie and just said, "Oh, hello, hello," when he has said before he's in a discussion. He knows the Sam Bockarie story. He knows a decision has been made to arrest Sam Bockarie. And he would just meet Sam Bockarie and say, "Oh, my man, you are here," and then he goes on a patrol? No. This whole operation and patrol is a military patrol, and the intention is to go and have Sam Bockarie arrested. That's his mission.

  • "Q. Just to be clear, this particular visit, this was

    before or after this meeting that you had with Taylor?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Was it before or was it after?

    A. No, it was after."

  • "It was after - after the meeting, and Sam Bockarie had

    just entered Liberia at that time. I think it was about

    two days or three days.

    Q. You said you saw him two times after the meeting."

    Now, Mr Taylor, that timing. Two or three days after Bockarie entered the country, how quickly was it that the meeting was held when the decision was made for him to be arrested?

  • Within the same time he's talking about. But they come at the border, there is this standoff. We know that Sam is advancing towards the border. We get the information and it is very clear. Instructions are given he's not to enter Liberia at all. And if there is going to be any entry by the people, everyone entering the country should be disarmed. We've given that instruction. There is this tension at the border. The national security council is meeting frequently during this particular time. A decision is made that: Look, Sam Bockarie - we are getting constant reports that Sam Bockarie has forced his way in, and I say, "Oh my God. We have a war on our hands in the city. We're not going to have another war on the border." Immediately what would Moses be doing with two days of the border to go up there? Moses, your assignment: Go up there and make sure that you bring this matter under control. We don't need another war over there. So within that period of time these meetings are happening within the two days' span.

  • Mr Taylor, where is Cocopa?

  • It's in Nimba County?

  • How far is it from the border with la Cote d'Ivoire?

  • Not very far. Cocopa is, I would say 10, 15 kilometres or more from the border. Probably a little more.

  • I ask for this reason: Remember the instruction was that they were not to enter the country?

  • According to Blah, they're in the country when he sees Bockarie --

  • -- with many, many vehicles?

  • They forced their way in and they are - most of them are disarmed at the borders, okay? They force their way in and when what I said: "I don't want any exchange of fire. Go over there and make sure that he is brought to Monrovia."

  • And then it goes on:

    "Q. Where did you see him the next time?

    A. The last time I saw Sam Bockarie was in the evening. I

    had gone to the farm again. I think that took about three

    to four days, as somebody died in my town and I went for

    the funeral. And in that evening I drove from Monrovia to

    my farm and it is in the far distance. I had a hut - not

    in my big house, I had a hut in my compound and one of my

    senior bodyguards came around, I think it was about 10.30

    to 11, and he said, 'But chief, we have lots of vehicles

    passing, lots of people passing. What is happening?'"

    How much time do I have, can I ask?

  • We're getting close to the limit. Less than a minute.

  • Very well. There's a question I need to ask on that topic, so I'm going to pause there.

  • Thank you. We will take the short adjournment and come back at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.03 p.m.]

  • Now, you will recall, Mr Taylor, that before the short adjournment we were looking at Moses Blah's testimony regarding the death of Sam Bockarie. You recall that?

  • And in particular, where he had said at page 9978:

    "The last time I saw Sam Bockarie was in the evening. I had gone to the farm again. I think that took about three to four days, as somebody died in my town and I went for the funeral. And in that evening, I drove from Monrovia to my farm. It is in the far distance."

    So bearing that in mind, it would appear Mr Blah is saying he goes to Nimba within two or three days, goes back to Monrovia, and then he has gone back to Nimba for a funeral. That's his reason for being in Nimba on this occasion, Mr Taylor.

    "I had a hut. Not in my big house. I had a hut in my compound. And one of my senior bodyguards came around, I think it was about 10.30 to 11 o'clock, and he said, 'But chief, we have lots of vehicles passing, lots of people passing. What is happening?' Then I told him to return to double check where the cars were going to and then when he went outside - and my house was very close to the road, and when he went out he did not stay. In no time he came back and he said, 'Chief, put on your clothes. I saw Benjamin coming into you. Dress properly.' Then I went in and put on my jacket and my trousers and I came outside. As I approached the main road, Benjamin was almost at my door and he said, 'How do you do, chief?' I said, 'Oh, Ben, where are you going?' He said, 'We are talking patrol tonight. At the back of the jeep, the jeep where he was in, he dropped down from the car and the car was coming slowly towards me. That was when I saw Bockarie. He jumped out of the car. His wife, Benjamin's wife, and a lady that I cannot name, those ladies alighted from the car and hurried. Ladies started calling for seats. He said, 'Chief, bring the seats. There are visitors here.'"

    And jumping a few lines.

    "I was a big man in government and when I saw the director, I said they should take seats."

    And he goes on to describe how they sat outside.

    "Then they sat down. I saw Bockarie's wife, who was later introduced to me, and I saw Benjamin's wife whom I knew very well. And there was a strange girl too. I saw Benjamin and another group of people. The people I saw in the majority were Sierra Leoneans."

    And then he goes on to describe how he provided them with whiskey, over the page at page 9980; how Bockarie was wearing with a military jacket; how they stayed for a couple hours; and then he went to sleep about 1.30. And he expands on what he had said earlier at page 9981 when he says:

    "Benjamin Yeaten told me that he was taking patrol - a routine military patrol."

    And then he goes going to explain where they were going. Now, you recall all of that, do you, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I do.

  • And then he is asked this at page 9984:

    "Q. And do you know why the women were along if they were

    on patrol?

    A. That I wouldn't know. Even when I was an NPFL, I would

    set an example. When I am travelling, sometimes I take my

    wife with me."

    And he goes on to say that this happened on 5 May 2002. That's line 20, page 9984.

    "Now, you said that he slept until about 2, 2.30, when he was woken and told that there had been heavy fighting at the border."

    And then you will recall he goes on to say that on the next day - he says that on the next day he bumps into - on the next day he bumps into Benjamin Yeaten on his way back to Monrovia. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor? He said he drove back to Monrovia. He said on the way back to Monrovia, they got to Flumpa.

    Do you know a Flumpa?

  • "We went off the road, put out the lights, and we were waiting. We were waiting. It was not up to 30 minutes."

    Page 9985:

    That vehicle started passing with a heavy speed. So we waited there until daylight. We were now going on to Monrovia. And as we were approaching Ganta they stopped the car, and a boy came up to him and said, "Chief, Benjamin is in the company camp answered wants to talk to you." So they went to a place called Saw Mill Camp. And he then - jumping a few lines. I am trying to summarise as such as possible. He goes on to say this at page 9986, line 27: "He want to see me in his car." That's Benjamin Yeaten.

    "So when I went into the camp and he said, 'Chief, come here.' He was sitting on a chair outside. He said, 'Come, chief.' I went to him and he was still sitting down. And he got up and he said, 'Oh, chief, I called you. We went on an operation last night.' I asked him what operation it was."

    And then Bockarie - Yeaten takes him to a vehicle and he saw the body of Sam Bockarie still dressed as it was the previous night, and he said he was taking the body to Monrovia.

    Now, Mr Taylor, as far as you are aware, who took Bockarie's body to Monrovia?

  • Sam Bockarie's body, on everything under this sun that I know, was taken to Monrovia by Moses Blah. He took it to Monrovia, and he came to the mansion and informed me. And I was very - nobody under this planet took Sam Bockarie body's to Monrovia beside Moses Blah. The funeral home received it. It was escorted there. His chief of staff was with him. Moses, I don't know why he lied, but he took it to Monrovia and it was simple to say he did. He took it. He was on that assignment. He took it, Moses Blah.

  • Now, he goes on to say this at page 9989. He was asked this question:

    "Q. You said you hadn't discussed with Benjamin Yeaten at that particular time what had happened."

    And he says at line 23:

    "It was when he came to Monrovia about a week or two. When he returned to Monrovia when I asked him, he jokingly said, 'Look, we did that thing to destroy evidence.' It was at that time - it was at that time that I knew that it was Sam Bockarie's body. He said, 'Oh, President Blah, this is an operation. You are small in it. We want to destroy the evidence. We don't want anything exposed. The way you were thinking was the wrong way.' Then I said, 'All right.' That was what I said at the wrong time."

    And then he goes on.

    "The consultation that I had with the President Taylor at the time was that he was to arrest this man and send him over to Sierra Leone at least to have a better face with the Government of Sierra Leone. That was the way I was thinking, to have him arrested and send him over to the Government of Sierra Leone. That was what I thought. But the thought of killing him to destroy evidence was not my thought. I never thought of that. I think that was what he was referring to."

    Now, he is asked this question:

    "Q. You used the word, I think - I have to get it exactly from the record, but I think you said 'because we'd be exposed.' I think words to that effect?"

    And then he says this:

    "The NPFL government or Charles Taylor's government will be


    Q. What would be exposed?

    A. Whatever secrets they may have had with the links with

    RUF and the government of Charles Taylor, that he was

    supporting the government, that he was supporting those

    fighting in Sierra Leone. These were the things that were

    not supposed to be exposed from my own analysis."

    Is that the case, Mr Taylor?

  • That was never the case. I don't even think he used the word "exposed". If we took our time and went through that, Rapp's own leading, telling him "exposed". But I really - oh, boy, I swear. There was no such thing. There was no - expose what? Expose what? What is supposed to be exposed at this time? What is it about Sam Bockarie that is supposed to be exposed? What? Sam Bockarie, to the best of my knowledge, is not wanted. Sam Bockarie, as far as I know, there is no - in fact, there is - the indictment that we're talking about is not unsealed. What is to be exposed? I did not lure Sam Bockarie into Liberia to say that some nonsense what - either Rapp or whoever put in this man's put in his head to say that - to destroy evidence. You understand me? Look, Moses Blah lied to this Court in saying that somebody told him they were trying to - he said two weeks later before he knew that was Sam Bockarie's body? According to this, I thought he saw the body and recognised it in his yard before the body left when he - when they removed the cover from the body. I thought he knew.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, according to Mr Blah, he discussed Bockarie's death directly with you after the event. Page 9991, line 8:

    "I got to White Flower and went in and asked the security man at the gate whether the chief was there, whether the President was there. He told me to wait out for a while. He went to see him and he said, 'Okay, you can come in.' When I went inside then I said - I saluted him and I said, 'Chief, Benjamin passed by my village last night and when I came back on the main road I saw the corpse of Sam Bockarie and another corpse in the car.' That was when he told me, 'No, that is not your business, it is a military operation. I only would like to hear it from a military people and not from you.' That was how that conversation ended?"

    And then he goes on to say that he went to pick up his daughter from school. And he continues:

    "President Taylor, he told me it was a military operation. That it was none of my business as Vice-President of my country."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, he is a military man, how would I tell him it is a military operation? He is a military man. That's a lie. Moses is - I tell you something, we will bring to this Court everybody that was involved. Look, Moses Blah was sent on that assignment. I swear on my life he was sent. This thing, from what he told me, was an unfortunate situation. Moses Blah, I swear, brought Bockarie's body down, deposited at the funeral home. His chief of staff was present, who signed that document. The funeral home people, I don't care if we bring every one of them here. Moses Blah lied to this world in this Court. He brought Sam Bockarie's body. He can't tell anybody that he didn't. He is lying to - he is lying, you understand me. And there is no need to lie.

    The fact of the matter is that Sam Bockarie was killed by Liberian forces. So what is there to lie about? Or is this is a part of the thing to show - what is there to hide? Sam Bockarie is killed by Liberian forces. Some of our forces get killed too. But why would Sam Bockarie's body be brought from Nimba some 200 kilometres to Monrovia? Couldn't Sam Bockarie have been killed and buried in combat? What was there to bring his body to Monrovia? If there was anything that anybody wanted to do anything, why was Sam Bockarie's body brought to Monrovia? Why was it brought?

    Because he was sent on this operation and he brought it to Monrovia. Nobody ordered him to bring it to - Sam Bockarie was killed. The Liberian soldiers that were killed was buried. Sam Bockarie could have been buried over there. The body was brought to Monrovia and it was placed where? In a funeral parlour to preserve. Because I wanted to make sure - I am not going to hide fact - people can say Sam Bockarie was my son. I liked Sam Bockarie, yes, like a son. And Moses knows the anger that was in me when he reported to me that Sam Bockarie had been killed. What did I do immediately? In fact the Defence Minister was not even there. I ordered the Defence Minister to come down and go to the funeral home and make sure that Sam Bockarie's body should be preserved, that nothing should happen, it should be preserved. There is not somebody that is trying to hide something and all this type of nonsense.

    I swear I don't know why Moses lied about this particular issue. There is no reason to lie. He was not killed by some road accident. He was killed by a Liberian armed forces. It's simple. So why would he lie to show that somebody he is saying - is trying to say is trying to hide evidence and all this. Is Sam Bockarie the only one that was involved in the Sierra Leonean war that would be able to disclose X, Y or Z? No, that's not true. He lied when he said that somebody told him - somebody trying to destroy evidence.

    Moses Blah was negligent in his actions. I trusted him to go up and get this boy arrested and his failure caused him to really get killed. And the fact that other Liberian soldiers got killed in the process too, I mean for me it was an unfortunate situation. Simple as that. Nobody is denying that he was killed. He was killed in Liberia.

  • Mr Taylor, is it also right that Bockarie's wife also died?

  • Or this other unidentified woman?

  • No. The bodies that were brought to Monrovia - if I am not mistaken, there were two or three bodies brought to Monrovia. Sam Bockarie I think and two other bodies, if I remember the report correctly, that were brought to Monrovia. Some of the other soldiers over there that were killed, their bodies were turned over to their families and different things.

  • Now he said that later that same afternoon there was announcement by the Defence Ministry, to be precise the Defence Minister came up with an announcement that Sam Bockarie and his group were entering Liberia from Cote d'Ivoire by way of Gbutuo border last night. The border guards tried to arrest him. They put up some resistance and there was a bitter exchange of gunfire and he died in the process and his corpse has been brought to Monrovia.

    Did the Defence Minister make such an announcement?

  • I don't know the exact words, but he made an announcement just describing that there was an exchange of fire with Sam Bockarie's entry into Liberia, he got killed. I don't exactly remember the words of the Defence Ministry. But to that effect, I would say yes.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, can I ask you, in order clarify something that's been brought to my attention, do you know anything about the death of Bockarie's wife?

  • Do you know anything about the death of the wife's sister or any other female?

  • No, no. That was never reported to me, no.

  • Do you know whether or not they were with Bockarie when Bockarie was killed?

  • No, that was not reported to me. No, I don't know.

  • What about his children? Do you know anything about the whereabouts of his children?

  • No, I do not know. The last time that I - before Sam Bockarie left from Liberia, it had been reported to me that his children were - in fact one of his sons was with Sankoh in Freetown and he had refused to let him go or something. But I am not aware. It was never reported to me that he arrived in Liberia with his children. I don't think he would have brought them in such a hostile environment.

  • What do you say about the suggestion made in this Court, Mr Taylor, that Bockarie's entire family was killed in this incident, apart from his sister-in-law?

  • Well, I would say no because, if that had happened, Blah would have reported it to me. And nobody reported that. I have seen no report before I left Liberia that Bockarie's family was killed, no.

  • Did you yourself see Bockarie's body after it was brought to Monrovia?

  • I saw the picture. I did not - no, I did not go to the funeral home. I saw the picture.

  • What do you say about Mr Blah's assertion that Bockarie was killed by hand? He was choked to death before they could go and take his wife and kill her. That Bockarie was strangled. What's your knowledge of that?

  • I have no knowledge of that. The only knowledge that I have of Bockarie's death is based on the examination that was done by Liberian and I think - I am not sure - I think it was an NGO but there was some - a non-Liberian examination of the body. Only that report that I can rely on. I know of no information that Bockarie was strangled. I relied only on the report that was made, that was exhibited to this Court. It's the same report that I saw of gunshot wounds and the like. But I did not - I don't recall seeing strangulation on that report. I don't recall seeing strangulation on that report.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, final matter on the Bockarie thing is this: Do you have any knowledge of any property recovered from Bockarie following his death?

  • No, no. I really - no, there were no - they only brought his body. That's a point. I don't know what happened to - I am sure people that were with him, if he had cars, I am sure some of the friends and maybe soldiers that were with him probably took his possessions. But the government did not seize any possessions that I know of.

  • Specifically, according to Mr Blah, he received information that a large mayonnaise sized jar of diamonds was recovered from Bockarie's property along with a bag full of money. Do you have any knowledge of that?

  • No, but if anybody would know it would be Moses Blah. Where would Sam Bockarie be getting diamonds from, coming back from Ivory Coast after three or four years outside when there is a witness saying that Sam Bockarie was stranded and had no money to do anything, that when he returns from this trip from Ethiopia into Ghana he is supposed to send to his wife to get money and here is a man outside there begging into Liberia for money that's got a mayonnaise jar of diamonds outside? What level of lie is that?

    Three years- Sam Bockarie leaves Liberia in 2000. This is happening in 2003. A man who is scouring out there and scrounging around is supposed to be returning with a mayonnaise jar, the same mayonnaise jar lie that this Prosecution have encouraged throughout. This is a man that is returning with another mayonnaise jar of diamonds when while he was in exile he had to send this boy who claims he was sent back to his wife to beg - to ask for money, who could not afford a ticket outside has a mayonnaise jar of diamonds for God's sake. That's a lie. And if it's - then Blah has it. He was the man on the assignment.

  • Two more topics, Mr Taylor, and then we are done. The first one is Johnny Paul Koroma. Mr Blah told this Court on 15 May at page 9953 that on one occasion, line 20:

    "There was a little conflict between Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma. They came to Liberia. They had a meeting in which I was not involved. But according to Foday Sankoh who said they had come to the chief to settle this matter between us and so that we can go back. I didn't know how it ended.

    The last time I saw Johnny Paul Koroma was when he was at Spriggs Payne Airport, a smaller airstrip that we have in Liberia. He boarded a helicopter. We had our own helicopter that took him back to Sierra Leone. That was the last time. But he seemed not to be satisfied because he spoke to me before he boarded the plane that he had also come to the chief but the treatment he received from the RUF was not satisfactory so he was going back. He said he was not satisfied with the judgement anyway.

    He was speaking to the President. He said, 'Well, President Taylor has called us to settle this matter, but it looked like I am not satisfied with the judgement, but I have to take it as it is.' And he went back to Sierra Leone on the helicopter."

    And then it goes on:

    "Q. What did he mean by judgement?

    A. They had conflict. They had dispute among themselves

    and so they had to come down to President Taylor to see how

    he will unite them to work as a unit. He said he was not

    satisfied with the decision taken by President Taylor.

    Q. Why did Taylor have the ability to make a decision for


    A. I wouldn't know.

    Q. How would you describe their relationship with Taylor?

    A. It was cordial, because if you come to somebody to try

    to determine the matter between you - between both of

    you - it could be that the relationship is good."

    Now, Mr Taylor, is that a fair description?

  • No. This whole statement here is - my God. Sam Bockarie, Foday Sankoh, Johnny Paul Koroma come to me to settle a dispute? If we take a little time and decipher this, Sam Bockarie - now, Sam Bockarie has to be within the Sierra Leonean picture up until December 1999. Johnny Paul Koroma, Sam Bockarie, Foday Sankoh must all be in this picture up until 1999 because Bockarie leaves Sierra Leone in 1999. Then Johnny Paul Koroma and Sankoh finally get together in 1999 September.

    What confusion is there between Foday Sankoh, Johnny Paul Koroma and Sam Bockarie? None. The conflict between the RUF and Johnny Paul Koroma is settled in September 1999 between Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma. October 2, they board a plane and go to Freetown. I don't see Johnny Paul Koroma again. Foday Sankoh is back and forth up until December when we cannot settle the problem between Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie and Sam Bockarie leaves Liberia.

    So this nonsense that Moses is talking about about, Johnny Paul Koroma getting on a helicopter and going to Freetown because there is a matter of confusion - problem between the three of them is a lie from - I don't want to call the name from where. Total, total, total outrageous lie, okay? He is trying to look at - and mind you, all this time in 1999 that this is happening, Moses Blah is not even in Liberia. So the Prosecution is asking him about something that he doesn't know. 1999, this man is in Libya. During all of this matter he is in Libya during all the peace, this whole - he has no idea and he has been pushed into a lie here aimlessly.

  • But he goes on at page 9955:

    "Q. And to the best of your knowledge, when he came to

    Sierra Leone on this occasion, was he then a head of the


    A. No he was not. Something happened that I did not know.

    Either he was caught in the RUF territory or something,

    because somebody happened, some misunderstanding. They

    wanted someone to unite them. That was why they came to

    President Taylor.

    Q. Could you tell whether this was before or after the

    period of the junta?

    A. It was after the period of the junta, because the

    reason is that the discussion we had, he was talking like

    he was not in control of anything at that time."

    Was Moses Blah party to this meeting - the presence of

    Johnny Paul Koroma in Monrovia, Mr Taylor?

  • Never, never. Never. Look at the itinerary that we've presented to this Court. Moses Blah is not there. Enoch Dogolea is not there. Never. Moses Blah is not even around for those talks in August, September and October when the people leave. Never. He is not even around. He does not know what's talking about. Never.

  • Final matter on the Johnny Paul Koroma topic. He was asked this at page 9998:

    "Q. Do you know anything about what happened to Johnny

    Paul Koroma?

    A. Johnny Paul Koroma, when he fled from there, this was a

    pure rumour. This is what I heard from people. They said

    Johnny Paul Koroma was in Lofa forest and he was killed. I

    wouldn't say in detail how he was killed, who killed him.

    I have tried to find out who actually killed this Johnny

    Paul Koroma, but it was said that Johnny Paul Koroma was

    killed in Lofa, close to the Sierra Leone border."

    He is asked where he got this information from, and he says:

    "My radio operator. He said that they were hearing some signals that Johnny Paul Koroma was killed in the Lofa forest and people were calling in code to pass it on to other people. I said since we don't know who killed because he couldn't tell me who did it. He said it was a radio. We had a radio."

    Now, do you know anything about the killing of Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • No. And I don't even think Johnny Paul Koroma got killed, because there have been other reports that Johnny Paul Koroma is alive somewhere. So I don't know where they got this sort of lie from. But we heard this from - you know this whole line, we heard it from the other - one of the other protected witnesses. And I am sure that those involved he talked about, I am sure people will give explanations on this. But that's not true. Because there are also reports that Johnny Paul Koroma is alive and well someplace in - so I never heard this rumour that Johnny Paul was killed. Why would Johnny Paul be killed? There is no reason, no.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, the final topic that I want to ask you about is this in relation to Moses Blah: How much notice did Moses Blah have that you were stepping down as President?

  • Moses Blah had close to two weeks of notice. What happened at that time was the - I followed with the legal people at the presidency and everybody - we followed the dictates of the constitution based on the exact words. That was - the transaction was preceded by a letter to the national legislature advising them and that letter - we have copies of that letter - advising them of my desire to step down, giving them the date and the time and to whom I would be turning over. That went to both houses of the legislature; the Senate, of course, presided over by Moses Blah.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, one other question: Was Moses Blah aware that you were leaving Liberia and going into exile abroad?

  • Very much aware. Fully, fully aware. Fully aware. And he was not the only one. The most senior officials of government were very much aware that I was going out because some - about a month or two before my departure President Obasanjo, in major public statements across the international media, had mentioned that Nigeria - and it was put in diplomatic language. If and when President Taylor steps down as he has stated, Nigeria would welcome him. And my close people like Moses, members of the National Security Council, other senior officials of government, security people, were all aware that I would be leaving for Nigeria.

  • Well, you appreciate that Moses Blah told this Court something different, Mr Taylor.

  • Well, that's Moses. That's why I wonder why - I have heard some things here today that really - you know, that surprise me. Well, the letter to the legislature is available. The video of the entire ceremony is available. So I don't know why Moses told some of these lies. He told the truth on some other occasions. I really don't know, but the videos are there. Those videos don't lie. Moses - the Presidents that came to that particular - this was not a haphazard process. It was a well-planned process.

  • Was there a programme of events?

  • A major programme of events. A major programme of events very well documented. We had - Thabo Mbeki flew from South Africa; Joaquim Chissano flew from Mozambique as head of the African Union; John Kufuor of Ghana was there. I mean, this is not a hiding thing. It's well documented. We have the video.

  • Well, Mr Blah told us this at page 10031:

    "The Presidents of the various countries like the President of Ghana, the President of Nigeria, the President of South Africa, the President of Mozambique - I think there were four Heads of State that came to Liberia, and on that day they came, that was the day that I took the President - that was sworn into office as President of Liberia. And that was the same day President Taylor was taken out of the Liberia. There was no previous discussion. It is just like you remove this glass from here, and you put the next glass there."

    Page 10033:

    "It all happened in a hurry, because that same day he was taken away."

    Then when I came to cross-examine him, page 10340, line 9:

    "I did not even know when he was leaving, if he was leaving

    Liberia. I did not know until at the Executive Mansion

    when the announcement was made.

    Q. Former President, your President is stepping down and

    goes abroad. You are about to take up the reins of

    government. Are you honestly telling us that you didn't

    have a clue what the terms upon which he was stepping down


    A. Let me come again. If I tell you the kind of movement

    that was going on in Liberia at that time, you wouldn't ask

    that question. I did not know that day President Taylor

    was leaving that country to go into exile. I knew it at

    the Executive Mansion when I was called upon and those

    Presidents came, and in his speech he said he was leaving.

    He shall be back. And the minister, the Chief Justice of

    the supreme court came in, called me out of the group and

    said, 'Look, you have to be sworn in to become President of

    this country.' We had gone there - Nyundueh Monkomana and

    Moses Blah. President Taylor has favoured Monkomana to be

    his successor. I was just - I didn't know that my position

    would have been either stay the Vice-President according to

    our constitution to take over from President Taylor. That

    was the kind of situation I was in."

    So he is pleading, Mr Taylor, that he sat in the room at the Executive Mansion when he discovers he is going to be President. Is that true?

  • That's a blatant lie.

  • Well, we do have a videotape, don't we, of that ceremony?

  • Exactly. And the letter. Because - I'll tell you what happened, the process. How would the Chief Justice call and say, "You have to be sworn"? There is a process that is unique in Liberia of how this is done. The legislature is present during that process. In fact, what the legislature does, it convenes in what we call an extraordinary session, and it is during that extraordinary session that the President - nobody called him and said, "Come, you must be" - it was all - that extraordinary session for the purpose of the induction is done. The induction takes place during the extraordinary session of the legislature being administered the oath. Every step of that programme was followed based on the constitution. There was no mistakes. Everybody knew. Moses knew. Moses visited me several days before my departure as I was packing. We tried to keep it out of the knowledge of a lot of the citizens, because I can tell you, if a lot of the citizens had known I wanted to leave the country, they would never have let me go because a lot of people did not want me to go. Moses came to my house. Even there is some items that I gave to him and his wife. I mean, come on. Moses - Moses - Moses - Moses lied. He lied. That's what he did. And I am sure a lot of it would be credible. Even the picture would complete the performance.

  • Well, let's have a look at some documents, shall we? First of all you said there was a programme, Mr Taylor; yes?

  • First there was a letter that I wrote to the legislature.

  • Well, let's have a look at the programme first, shall we?

  • Can we take up the small volume which I indicated yesterday. It should have "DCT-42B" and "DCT-42C" on the front.

  • Volume number what, please?

  • Disclosure for week 39, yes. Do your Honours have it?

  • Now, what's the first document we see in this bundle, Mr Taylor? Mr Taylor, could we go to the start of the bundle, please?

  • Does your Honours' bundle begin in this way?

  • Okay. I would like us to start, please, with the programme which starts like that, which is DCT-42B. Yes, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we are looking at this in light of the fact that Mr Blah claimed that he only discovered he was going to be Vice-President when effectively he was plucked out of the crowd; yes?

  • You mean President.

  • Now, how long in advance was this programme printed?

  • This programme would have to be done, I would say - I would put it anywhere to not less than three days before, because this has been done, you can see, by the - the protocol of the Foreign Ministry. So it's a whole process. So it's done a few days before the actual event.

  • And as we can see, it's headed, "Programme for Induction into Office of Moses Z Blah, President Designate of the Republic of Liberia," at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion. And then we go over the next page. Who is that a picture of, Mr Taylor, on the following page?

  • That's Moses Blah.

  • Yes, it looks like him. And the page after that, who's that?

  • Then we see the order of the day, do we?

  • Beginning at 6 o'clock in the morning?

  • Cannon to be fired?

  • And we see at 9.45 the President designate will be received by a guard of honour?

  • And then we see special protocol, yes?

  • And again we see a programme for that, yes?

  • And then we go on and we see which hymns were to be sung?

  • So was this all done in a rush, Mr Taylor, with Moses Blah, as he told this Court, totally oblivious as to his fate?

  • No, it was not done in a rush. As a matter of fact, for this level of protocol, Moses participated. What is done, the protocol at the Foreign Ministry - the President, I am aware. But because this is for the induction of Moses, questions are asked him by the protocol of the Foreign Ministry if he has any additions, subtractions or suggestions to put together this programmes. Because protocols are not just imposed upon you. You participate in the process. Say for example if Moses says at this induction, this is his induction, "I want this done and that done, that would be accommodated. So he is aware. So he is a part of this planning process.

  • Right.

  • Now I am not going to delay over long on that programme, Mr Taylor. I just want to look quickly as your resignation letter. But before we leave the programme, what date appears on the first page?

  • The first page of the programme should show the date of the programme. That should be 11 August.

  • Now, let's have a look at your resignation letter which is in the same bundle. Can I inquire whether your Honours have it?

  • What's the date on the letter, Mr Taylor?

  • Let me get to the bundle. It's a little further. Okay. That is on 6 August.

  • So there is four days between your letter of resignation and the actual inauguration ceremony, yes?

  • That is correct, but let me just add one thing. Even though the letter is dated on the 6th, the knowledge of this coming into play is known far before this particular time. You understand what I am trying to say? Okay, you have a letter dated - the process leading to this, the discussions leading to this are all known far in advance.

  • Now, the letter reads as follows:

    "Honourable, ladies and gentlemen." It's addressed to the Liberian Legislature. "A little over two months ago, I made a profound declaration in Accra, Ghana at a summit of Heads of State of ECOWAS and the African Union that is helping to shape the destiny of our common patrimony.

    We are painfully aware of the prevailing circumstances in our nation today regarding the civil conflict, in which our government has been betrayed by unscrupulous politicians, our own brothers and sisters in self-imposed exile. Compounding this betrayal are the persistent double standards applied against Liberia by the international community, which have led to a breakdown of law and order on the one hand and the destruction of the Liberian economy on the other. Therefore, I, as President of this noble republic, can no longer preside over the suffering and humiliation of the Liberian people.

    It was on account of this enduring compassion for my people that I declared on 4 June 2003 in Accra, Ghana that if I were seen to be the problem to Liberia, I was prepared to step aside as President and allow the Liberian people to live.

    Since my declaration, no one has determined that I am the problem. However, the conditions in Liberia have deteriorated to an alarming extent as a result of three unprovoked attacks on the city of Monrovia by LURD rebels supported by our neighbours, Sierra Leone and Guinea, causing the death of more than 2,000 innocent civilians, the massive loss of property and the humanitarian catastrophe. This state of affairs is unacceptable.

    Liberia today stands at a threshold of survival that requires sober thinking, mature decision and expedient action. The actions and decisions that we evolve today can only be judged by history and posterity, for we are convinced that we are not the problem in Liberia, neither is this government solely to be blamed for the current state of affairs.

    Nevertheless, we are constrained by the responsibilities placed upon our shoulders by the constitution of the Republic of Liberia to honour the sacred heritage of our forebears and do what is right for the survival of our nation. In consequence of these grave responsibilities, I have, after much soul searching and prayerful consideration, decided that I would begin a process to allow for a cessation of hostilities, healing of the wounds and encouragement of reconciliation amongst all Liberians.

    I have decided to sacrifice my presidency and turn over the mantle of authority to my Vice-President, on Monday, 11 August 2003, at 11.59 a.m. precisely.

    It is my hope that this decision will then allow for the restoration of peace, security and prosperity to Liberia, and that all the assistance withheld by international donors during my tenure of office will finally devolve to the Liberian people for the good of the country.

    I take this opportunity to express heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the honourable legislature, the judiciary, and the entire citizenry of Liberia for the support and cooperation accorded me. Even as I take this decision, you have my assurance that as a patriotic Liberian I will remain available to offer my experience, talents, counsel, and resources to assist in whatever way I am called upon.

    May God Almighty prosper the works of our hands and save the State.

    Cordially, Dankpannah Dr Charles Ghankay Taylor."

    Now, I see on the second line on that page that it states, "turn over the mantle of authority to my Vice-President." I mean, did Mr Blah get a copy of this letter on 6 August, Mr Taylor, four days before his inauguration?

  • Mr Blah not only received a copy, but he presided over the Senate as President of the Senate when this letter was read to the Senate. It was presented to the legislature, both Houses. He presided over the Senate side, the Speaker over the House. This is in line with the constitution. It was expected. This is what the constitution - this is why even the time is precise about what was going on.

    Moses Blah had - what I had mentioned before. Before this letter, Moses Blah knew the entire process. This is not something that sprang up on him. Before this letter, all discussions about checking with the lawyers to make sure that everything was being done in line with the constitution, how it should be done, why it is mandatory by the constitution, all of these discussions were held before this letter was written. And he, Blah, as President of the Senate, presided over the Senate to present this document to the Liberian Senate. And he says that he didn't - I mean, he didn't know.

  • Well, at this point in time, Mr Taylor, I would like us to have a look, please, at a video of the ceremony.

  • Can I indicate, Mr President, your Honours, that we have a transcript of the video which is the other document in this bundle.

  • You want that played now, Mr Griffiths.

  • Yes, please, Mr President.

  • [Video played to the Court]

  • Madam Court Manager, could you please halt the video there and we will resume at that point. And we will resume at the paragraph beginning, "Now the Liberian people need a good" after lunch.

    We will take the lunch break now and resume at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Madam Court Manager, can you start that video again from where we left off.

  • [Video played to the Court]

  • I just want to get a reference, Mr Taylor, if you will give me a moment. Mr Taylor, did the NPP have a newspaper?

  • What was it called?

  • Have you ever heard of a newspaper called Pepper Bird?

  • That was also a newspaper published by a wing in the party. The Pepper Bird is the - it's used on the logo of the National Patriotic Party, so there's a branch of the party that published the Pepper Bird.

  • Yes. And was there any discussion in that document of your proposed departure?

  • Oh, I don't recall. I really don't recall if there were any discussions in that paper. But because it was it was connected to the party, somebody could have leaked something to it, but I don't recall.

  • I'm told that the remainder of the film can now be shown, Mr President?

  • There's some more film?

  • There's more footage. This is the remainder of the footage.

  • There's no more transcript though, I understand.

  • I wonder if I could just have a moment just to check the situation. We'll leave it at that point, Mr President:

  • -- so when Moses Blah told this Court that it came as a bolt from the blue when he was appointed Vice-President, was he telling these judges the truth?

  • President. When he was appointed President. No, he was not.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we've now dealt with all of the witnesses that I propose to deal with with you. Do you follow?

  • And I now want us to return, please, to your testimony generally, okay?

  • Now, first of all, I would like to engage in a bit of tidying up because there was a document that I wanted you to deal with which we omitted to deal with earlier in your testimony, okay?

  • At the launch of the revolution in Liberia, Mr Taylor, did you make any public statement?

  • Yes, I did.

  • In what form did - what form did that statement take?

  • That's going all the way back into 1990. I issued - in fact, as early as, I would say, about January 1, 1990, I issued a statement as leader of the National Patriotic Front setting out the aims and objective of the front and the revolution that we had launched in Liberia. It is following that that - if you remember a document shown to this Court before a second document came out through Mr Woweiyu to the then State Department at the time, but I issued the first statement on 1 January 1990 detailing word-for-word what the goals were, what the aims were, dealing with - this is why when the issue of ideology came up I said when it comes to ideology there were differences in dealing with Libya and the issue of ideology. We spelt out almost immediately, day one, where we were going and what our objectives were. I set that out in the very first day of January 1990.

  • Now, could I invite your Honours' attention to DCT-210, which is at tab 2, disclosure for week 29. It should be a very slim disclosure. Mr President, it should be immediately behind a map of Libya.

  • We don't seem to have it, but I wonder if it could be put on the overhead.

  • That will give us access to it.

  • Yes, Mr President, there may be additional questions about this document, but according to our records, it was read out verbatim to the Court on 16 July. It was not marked for identification, but it was read out. That's what our records show. Perhaps there are follow-up questions to it or perhaps our records are in error, but I do recall it being read.

  • Well, I was basing this on my record of which documents had been marked for identification, and it may be that I omitted to mark it for identification, hence my error.

  • That's what it's sounding like.

  • Well, that being the case, Mr President, I am not going to ask you to look at this document, but I would ask at this stage that it is marked for identification. And I'm grateful to my learned friend for that assistance.

  • What was the description of the document again?

  • It's a statements by Charles Ghankay Taylor, leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, dated 1 January 1990.

    Mr President, I wonder if the defendant can take advantage of this hiatus to leave the Court momentarily for the usual reason.

  • Yes, certainly, Mr Taylor. Mr Taylor can be escorted out.

    Mr Griffiths, this document - you go ahead. This document, you're saying you led some oral evidence on [microphone not activated].

  • Yes. We read the document, but I omitted to mark it for identification. That was the omission. So I was hoping to rectify that omission now. And what we could do, Mr President, is this: Without any prejudice to the defendant, in his absence, could I ask, first of all, that the programme for induction into office of Moses Zeh Blah be marked for identification MFI-271.

  • That document is marked for identification MFI-271.

  • And that the defendant's letter of resignation be marked for identification MFI-272.

  • Yes, that document is marked MFI-272.

  • That the DVD showing the induction into office of Moses Blah be marked for identification MFI-273A and the transcript be 273B.

  • Yes, the DVD and transcript are marked accordingly for identification.

  • And finally in this regard, Mr President, that the statement by Charles Ghankay Taylor, leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, dated 1 January 1990, be marked for identification MFI-274, please.

  • I missed the description of that document.

  • It's a statement by Charles Ghankay Taylor, leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, dated 1 January 1990.

  • That's the one that you simply forgot to ask to be --

  • That's the one that I simply forgot to ask to be marked for identification.

  • All right. That document is marked MFI-274.

  • Mr Griffiths, I'm a little concerned about the transcript. It must have been obvious to you that there are errors in the transcripts. I don't know what we can do about that. Perhaps not at this stage, but - I don't see us admitting it into evidence with all the errors and the inaccuracies. It's not accurate record of what we heard on the DVD.

  • Would it suffice then, your Honour, if for the moment we don't refer to it as a transcript but as a note of conversations on the video as opposed to transcript?

  • Yes, I did pick up a few errors myself, but they didn't change the meaning of anything except for a few inconsequential things, but I think a note would cover it. If you're saying that's not a verbatim transcript, but a note of the --

  • All right. The document that's now been marked for identification 273B, we'll delete the description "transcript" and insert "a note of the video contents".

  • Right:

  • -- we've spent several months now going through your account. Are there any remaining topics that you would like us to deal with before we conclude this stage of your testimony?

  • And what are they so we can just note them down?

  • I would say there could be approximately four, at most five, general areas. One of note: Mr Stephen Ellis testified in this Court, and it might be of interest to show a document that we would have of a telephone conversation that Mr Ellis had as early back as the very early 1990 with an association in the United States called the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia which Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Ezekiel Pajibo, Harry Greaves Jr, are all members, maybe to show some early connection with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and some of the actions she's taken against me and what this Ellis's own long-term connection with Liberia in terms vis-a-vis his own testimony here.

    Another very important document that I think would help the Court, after my election in 1997, there was a special journal published by the Economic Community of West African States. That journal is important because it details in a sequential way all of the peace processes in Liberia, from Cotonou, dealing with Yamoussoukro with Abuja and all of these. I think for some future purposes, I think it would be important in dealing with the authenticity of some of the statements that I made before this Court and the veracity of those statements.

    But equally important is another area that, while we've been talking about arms that have been going to Sierra Leone that should have been sent by me that didn't exist, it might be of interest to this Court, a very important document, again, from my - this is - these are documents I'm talking about that I had in my archives. The House of Commons of Great Britain published a massive report in dealing with Sandline and its activities in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. That was a published report by the British House of Commons in dealing with the illicit trade of arms going to Sierra Leone between the periods - I would say between 1996-1997. That report was published in 1998.

    It details the sale of arms to the Sierra Leonean government, but what is of interest to me, it also deals with this famous February intervention in Sierra Leone and the fact that this operation for the removal of the junta was planned, carried out and operated from Liberian territory involving Sandline. That is in - contained in this report. I have talked about - remember as I told this Court about the Kamajors being organised in Liberia from Ricks Institute and moving out and the constant problems that I had - well, the British government - the British House of Commons did investigation - is contained in that report.

    Equally of importance in that report are the facts that present in Sierra Leonean waters at the time, HMS Cornwall was stationed there. When we talked about these radio intercepts that I said they had the capacity. If I had been on the radio talking about - and then talking about some of the things that they said, of course there were assets out there. In 1998 the Americans had assets out there, but the British had HMS Cornwall out there. This is very, very important in dealing with all of the Secret Services of the British government, the British army, the MI6, every bit of information is contained in that report. And I can't see why those intelligence agencies that the British House of Commons say that reported and from that report there about 100 plus reports that came in, I don't see how these accusations are continuously levelled against me when this Prosecution has access to important information that could probably exonerate me. So I think we ought to look at this House of Commons report that comes out in 1998.

    And of course we have not still dealt with diamonds. Because in my initial statement before this Court I talked about a conspiracy, I talked about deceit on the part of the Prosecution and major countries. Now, we have reports - we have the famous report given to us by the Prosecution of the investigation that was done by the Belgian government and published in 2000. That report, while it says Mr Taylor's government or Mr Taylor is in some way connected, the entire report says nothing. There is nothing factual about my involvement and it rambles on.

    Also we have all of these - we have this famous document that is presented to us by the Prosecution of this famous Michel letter that goes from Michel to Foday Sankoh and subsequently - in fact, before we go to the subsequent part of this, that letter contains a very important passage where it states that Charles is making a lot of trouble because he wants 90 per cent of the profits. Now, Charles - it is also explained in that document who Charles is and it's not Charles Taylor. But subsequent to that the Washington Post and the BBC come out with statements that Charles Taylor - that they have uncovered factual material that shows that Charles Taylor is involved with diamonds. And there's sufficient documents in our custody to show that this whole diamond issue is all made up and all these witnesses that came here with these lies are just a part of the plot. And so I would think that it would be interesting if we were to present those documents.

    And last, not least, I think dealing with the issues surrounding my arrest. I think those issues are very important, how I got arrested, why I got arrested, the issues involved, the different solutions. I think generally for me these are the areas as I have gone through this case that I think would be of interest. And all these documents, I have read them. They were part of my archives, other than the documents that the Prosecution have given us, that would be the Belgian report. Of course we have unclassified State Department material that was also given to us and I would just suggest that these would help in helping the Court determine my fate.

  • Right. Let us deal with those matters which you've raised sequentially. First of all in relation to Stephen Ellis, can I invite attention, please, to disclosure for week 32 behind tab 11. It's DCT-10.

    If your Honours are having difficulty finding this document, the point to be made is a very simple one and we can accomplish matters by merely putting the first page.

  • Yes, Ms Hollis.

  • Yes, the Prosecution followed the accused's explanation of this document and we have an objection in relation to putting this document in through this accused. According to him these are entirely third party comments. He had no hand in making them. He was not one of the parties. As far as we know, none of the parties were his agent at the time and your Honours have been very relaxed in terms of the connection that is required for documents to come in through this accused, but there must be some limits to that. We would suggest that there is no foundation for this accused to speak to this document and that there are other means that the Defence can use to attempt to put it in under other Rules, but that it is not connected with this witness, even though you have relaxed the standards, sufficiently for this witness to be able to be the conduit through which this document is introduced to the Court. I don't recall Mr Ellis being cross-examined on this document, so we have an objection to this through this accused.

  • Do you want to reply to that?

  • Yes, I do briefly, Mr President. The Prosecution called Stephen Ellis as an independent expert witness giving objective testimony about events in Liberia. Now we can show that that portrayal of Mr Ellis as totally independent is in fact erroneous because there is this long-standing connection between him and individuals who now state publicly opposition to this defendant. And it seems to me perfectly legitimate for the defendant to show, through the exhibition of this document, that connection. The contents of the document itself are immaterial. What this document proves is a long-standing connection between Stephen Ellis and, inter alia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf dating back over a decade. In our submission, that is an important point to be made.

  • Yes. Was this one of the documents from Mr Taylor's archives?

  • Ms Hollis, some of the reasons for your objections just go to hearsay, you're saying according to him these are entirely third party comments. Well, that's covered by - that's hearsay. The accused had no hand in making them. Well, he doesn't have to if he's tendering hearsay evidence. That he was not one of the parties, he doesn't have to be. That still makes hearsay evidence admissible. And Mr Taylor has read the document and he gave evidence that makes it relevant. So in my ruling the document can be produced through this witness.

  • Court Management are having difficulty finding this document.

  • I think it's with many other documents stored downstairs.

  • Very well. It's my fault, Mr President, entirely. Although I notified certain individuals what volumes would be required, I'm not sure if that was comprehensive. It's a very simple point which can be made by just exhibiting my unmarked copy on the screen.

  • Your Honour, the tab Defence counsel is indicating does not correspond to our tab 11 in week 32.

  • It's my fault. It's my fault entirely. I'm looking at the wrong reference. It's week 30, tab 3. Sorry, my fault:

  • Mr Taylor, just change seats for a moment, please. What is the point that you seek to make in relation to this document?

  • If you look on this document it's the Association For Constitutional Democracy in Liberia and there is an executive board. If you look under the logo on that page, you'll see a list of names. All of those individuals are individuals are individuals that are - most of them are alive and well in Liberia today. They are all anti-Taylor elements; harry Greaves, Ezekiel Pajibo, Momo Rogers, Amos Sawyer, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. That's the point. And this is the association that Ellis has had with this group over a long period of time.

  • Because this is notes of what?

  • This is a telephone conversation - an interview - an interview that Stephen Ellis conducts. He is about to publish something about a wide range of banking and other issues in Liberia, but they are in contact and he knows them very well.

  • And was it to your knowledge that there was this long-standing connection between Ellis and these individuals, Mr Taylor, dating back to 1990?

  • No, I had no real knowledge of that.

  • In 1990 what was the situation in Liberia?

  • And at that time were you aware that there was this inquiry being conducted by Stephen Ellis?

  • Can I seek a small clarification, Mr Griffiths, and sorry to interrupt. What does the witness mean by "anti-Taylor elements" given the date of this document? If you could throw some light, please.

  • Yes, your Honour. When you look right now, let's go back to - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the present President of Liberia. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the one that was involved in the initiation and writings of letters to Nigeria that led to my arrest and incarceration. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been making all types of provocative anti-Taylor statements throughout my incarceration. She has taken legal and other actions against me in Liberia. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has cut off all emoluments that are granted me under the constitution of Liberia. But the man that she is dealing with at this time who does not tell this Court when he testifies here that he has had this long-term association with these people did not disclose that himself to this Court. That's why I think it is of importance that I wanted to have it revealed that there is a long-term relationship within - all of these people that are connected here are present or in part officials of the Government of Liberia now that still remains very much anti to Charles Taylor.

  • Is there any other comment you want to make in relation to this document, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I just wanted to draw the nexus between Ellis and his long-term association with Ellen, Sawyer and all of these individuals that continue to be what they are against me.

  • Thank you. Can I have that --

  • Also, given that we - speaking for myself, I've only seen the one paragraph and the heading says "Notes on telephone interview with Stephen Ellis, February 15, 1990." Are these notes made by someone? Is this a record of a telephone interview with Ellis? Or what is this document?

  • Can you help us, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I can help. If you look at the bottom of the page, this - it says "note" and it is signed by Mr Harry Greaves Jr who is also a member of the executive board and he takes notes of the telephone conversation with Mr Ellis. The very first name up at the executive board is Harry A Greaves Jr. He does this note. He is the one that is detailing, okay, that this conversation has occurred.

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • And this telephone conversation is alleged to have occurred in February 1990.

  • Anything else you want to tell us regarding that document, Mr Taylor?

  • No, no. I think we've laid out - I've laid out what I wanted to - it just - that's all I wanted to --

  • Thank you. Can you go back to your seat now, please. And can I have that page back, please.

  • Mr President, can I ask, please, that that page be marked for identification MFI-275, please.

  • What's a brief description of that, just in case we have to go back through the --

  • I was going to suggest: Notes of a telephone interview with Stephen Ellis showing link with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf dating from 1990.

  • I have to object to that depiction. This shows notes of a conversation where a person agrees to do a story. There is nothing in here to show an ongoing link from 1990.

  • Yes, I tend to agree with that. We're just trying to identify the thing at this stage. You are not tendering it. We can argue all that later, if necessary.

  • Well, why don't we call it: Notes on a telephone interview with Stephen Ellis, February 15, 1990?

  • Yes, well, that document as described is marked for identification MFI-275.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, the other document that you wanted us to look at was you said the official journal of ECOWAS?

  • Published in 1997, yes. It's a special edition journal published in 1997 that details all of the different peace processes.

  • Now, this document - your Honours' copy should be in Court because I know that Mr Meisenberg brought them into court yesterday for your Honours. It should be week 31, tab 7. Now, this is the only volume your Honours will need for the next while - little while, at any rate:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, is this the document you were telling us about?

  • This is the document, yes. The special edition.

  • Now, it's a very large document, Mr Taylor. I wonder if you could just - for the moment, just take it through the contents and give us an idea how this document might assist us.

  • Well, I have gone through with this Court the different movements between 1990 all the way into my movement to Monrovia in 1995. And these different stages, from Dakar, Cotonou, you see Abuja, Tunisia, Abuja I and Abuja II, and all of the stages of the peace process and what happened into Liberia, from Gordon-Somers to Nyaki and coming on down, will help the Court at least in verifying some of these - some of the information I presented before this Court in terms of the different peace processes in Liberia leading up to my election as President.

  • Well, Mr Taylor, as I say, for the minute, I just want you to help us in this way: First of all, during the Liberian civil war, when was the first attempt by ECOWAS to organise some kind of peace process?

  • Now, what's the significance of Dakar, 27 to 29 July 1992?

  • Dakar now is where I go and meet the famous American delegation headed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Leonard Robinson. We have exhibited photos here of Jon Dobrin, senior State Department official, that set into motion and we have exhibited those photos here before this Court. But these are the documents that deal with the process.

  • Now, Cotonou, the next stage, in October, were you there?

  • Cotonou? We were represented. No, I did not go to Cotonou. We were represented in Cotonou.

  • But were you present in Dakar?

  • Yes. I personally went to Dakar, yes.

  • Now, what about Abuja in November?

  • 1992 November, we are represented. I don't go to - this sets the stage for my eventual move a couple of years later, but this sets the stage for my going to Abuja and puts into place the framework for lasting peace.

  • And what about number 4, Cotonou?

  • Okay, Cotonou. You have Abuja, Cotonou. There's a failure and the group returns to Cotonou to put into effect what was not put into effect at Abuja, so then we go to Cotonou, once there is a failure.

  • What about Tunisia?

  • Tunisia? This is - in fact, I personally go to Tunisia. I can remember the OAU is meeting in Tunisia. I think Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was just - he had just taken over from the old man and they have a meeting up there. So I go to Tunisia to present my case to them.

  • That case being?

  • That we - you know, we want peace. Explain the obstacles. And after Tunisia, before we go on to Akosombo and then we have this attack in Gbarnga, but to make this case. For the first time I have an opportunity to make a case before the - a committee of the African Union - I mean, excuse me, not African Union. The OAU.

  • Right. Now, Mr Taylor, if you look between item number 5 there - beneath item number 5, you'll see that ULIMO is mentioned, yes?

  • Now, help us. At this stage - at this stage, are you talking directly to ULIMO --

  • -- in Tunisia in 1994?

  • No, we are not talking directly. ULIMO is dealing with the interim government with Sawyer.

  • But were they present in Tunisia?

  • Yes. They he did go to Tunisia. I think Alhaji Kromah was there for I think a side bar discussion, but they did have representatives there.

  • And what about Sierra Leone? Did Sierra Leone have a representative at this meeting in Tunisia?

  • As a government, Sierra Leone was there as a government but not involved in a discussion with me at the time.

  • Did you talk to the Sierra Leonean representative?

  • Now, I ask for this reason, Mr Taylor: Whether, for example, any accusation was made to your face in Tunisia that you were providing assistance to the RUF in 1994. Do you follow me?

  • I follow you. No. I - there was no face-to-face discussion with the Sierra Leonean delegation, neither was I confronted with any accusations from the Sierra Leonean government at that meeting, no.

  • Now, let's go to the second page of the contents.

  • Whilst that's being done, Mr President, a spelling. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Z-I-N-E, El, A-B-I-D-I-N-E; Ben, B-E-N, Ali, A-L-I, President of Tunisia.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, hopefully we can go through this next stage slightly more quickly. Just cast your eye down that page and ask me - tell me whether you were present at any of the meetings listed from 6 to 12 there?

  • Oh, yes. I was present at Ghana, Akosombo.

  • Ghana, which one? Which date?

  • So you were present in Ghana 22 to 24 November, yes?

  • Which date in - 15 to 21 May?

  • No, no, no. That's around - I will put it to 16 to 19 August.

  • I went to - that's my first meeting with Abacha at the time. So I attend Ghana, Akosombo, and Abuja, the final agreement.

  • So that's your first meeting with Abacha?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, again, I'm going to ask you the same question: Was Liberia - I mean, sorry. Was Sierra Leone present in Ghana in November 1994?

  • No. The - well, I would say yes, but the Akosombo - the discussions in Ghana were between and amongst the parties to the Liberian conflict. So, of course, diplomats from Ghana and other people were there, but they were not involved in these discussions. They were about the Liberian conflict.

  • Right. It's entitled The Fourth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the ECOWAS Committee of Nine on the Liberian Crisis. So it was only those foreign ministers on that committee who attended the meeting. Is that right?

  • That is correct.

  • Now, just pause for a minute, Mr Taylor. Who were the nine countries on the committee?

  • They kept adding. You had Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Guinea, Ivory Coast - I can't recall. They kept --

  • Let me ask you a simple question. Was Sierra Leone on it?

  • No, Sierra Leone was not on any of the committees for the Liberian peace process, no.

  • Okay. So in Abuja in August, yes?

  • You attend this further meeting, yes?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, did anyone, either in Ghana in November or in August in 1995, make the accusation to you to your face as leader of the NPFL that you were implicated in the situation in Sierra Leone?

  • No. And if they had done so they would be crazy because by 1995 they know that their units - ULIMO, their units are and have been on the borders. So no one can even come over there. And I'm saying "their units" because let's not forget ULIMO is put together, is armed by Sierra Leone. That's how ULIMO comes into Liberia. So once ULIMO takes full control of Lofa, Bomi, Cape Mount County, the entire region as drawn on a map that have been exhibited to this Court, Sierra Leone no longer looked across the border at any threats. So that matter was never raised subsequently by Sierra Leone.

  • Very well?

  • Let's have a look at the third page of the index, please, Mr Taylor. Of the meetings listed there which ones did you attend?

  • Well, I did not go - well, I'm already in Monrovia. For example, number 14, I'm already in Monrovia --

  • So by November 1996 --

  • -- you're in Monrovia?

  • Oh, definitely. I'm a member of the Council of State.

  • All right.

  • So were you present at that meeting in Monrovia in November?

  • No, I did not attend the foreign - but the Foreign Minister of Liberia attended the meeting, but it's important in terms of the sequence of what happened during that time.

  • So were you present at any of these meetings?

  • No, these are all Foreign Ministers meetings concluding the process now to lead to election. They are all dealing with disarmament, demobilisation, raising of funds to pay for the electoral process. This is all what's going on. It gets to us because I'm a member of the Council of State, so the Foreign Ministers going to the meeting, all meetings thereafter the reports come to us as members of the collective presidency.

  • When we look at item 17 there, Mr Taylor, we see that's headed "Monrovia, July 1997, special elections", yes?

  • Now, all of the things that we see listed under there, was it ECOWAS who took charge of all of these matters?

  • Positive. ECOWAS took care of all of these matters. It was not the Government of Liberia that did all of this. It was ECOWAS.

  • So that, for example, where at item (i) it says "Special elections law for the 1997 elections", who created that?

  • Those laws were put together by ECOWAS. It was not - we did not have a legislature or anything. ECOWAS put together the electoral laws at that particular time. ECOWAS did, 100 per cent.

  • So, Mr Taylor, can we take it then that the total framework for the elections wasn't a Liberian thing; it was an ECOWAS thing, looking at this list?

  • Yes, but I want to add not just - it was an ECOWAS international community affair. The Liberian government did not organise, plan and conduct the elections of 1997. They were organised, planned and conducted by ECOWAS and the international community using Liberian personnel. But the laws - the security, everything, the funds provided for it, were all provided by and through the international community and ECOWAS.

  • By way of example, Mr Taylor, can we just briefly look, please, just at a few pages, starting at page 145, just to get a flavour of the extent of ECOWAS involvement, yes. Now, page 145, and I'm just looking at headings, I'm not asking everyone to go through this in detail. We see that a budget was set for the elections, yes?

  • Yes. I'm rushing there.

  • Paragraph 47, page 145?

  • Paragraph 47 on page 145. Have you got it?

  • Now, the sums of money set out there, Mr Taylor, who was providing that?

  • That's the international community.

  • That's the international community?

  • Yeah. There were different forms made. It had contributions from the European Union, the United States government. We also had - at that particular time the chairman of ECOWAS asked member states of ECOWAS to contribute to the electoral process. The Government of the Republic of China I can remember contributed because I visited China. The Republic of China donated $1 million. But this was all done through ECOWAS member states, the European Union and other groups.

  • Quickly paragraph 50: "The ministers therefore recommended that elections in Liberia should be held not later than the end of July 1997." If we just quickly go over the page, Mr Taylor, we see that's a decision made on 20 May 1997. Do you follow me?

  • So help me, was the electioneering period crammed into that period between 20 May and the end of July when the election took place?

  • Oh, yes. But --

  • Prior to this announcement of the date --

  • -- was there any electioneering?

  • Yes, there was electioneering and we were - they were trying to figure out, because money was a big problem, and they were hedging their bets on would they have sufficient, would they not have sufficient. But finally as money came in they took a decision on a firm date.

  • And another quick glance to page 149, please. "Special election laws for the 1997 elections submitted to ECOWAS on 5 May 1997 and approved by ECOWAS on 21 May 1997." I just want to ask you this, Mr Taylor. When it says "submitted to ECOWAS", who actually drafted this law?

  • The ECOWAS ministers drafted this law. That's what they were meeting so many times for. We did not - Liberia had its own election laws. They were not accepted because the elections of Liberia of 1997 were conducted under the system of proportional representation that was alien to Liberia. We had never had it before and we have not had it since. Proportional representation was specially done. And so all of the mechanics, other assistance from international organisation, lawyers and different things from NGOs and all, they helped ECOWAS to put together these laws and submitted them to the Heads of State. So there is something funny about this language here now. When it says here "Special election laws submitted to ECOWAS and approved by ECOWAS", now you have to look at who does the submission. The Foreign Ministers do the submission. The approval is done by the Heads of State.

  • And if we just go over to page 150 and quickly glance down the contents page we get an idea as to how comprehensive a piece of legislation this was?

  • And I just want us, in light of the way in which the elections in Liberia have been described by the Prosecution, and particularly the reference to "You killed my ma, you killed my pa, I will still vote for you", suggesting that undue influence was placed on voters, I would like us to go to page 179, please. Do you have it?

  • 179, letter (e):

    "Secret ballots. All political parties shall consistently emphasise and reinforce to their supporters and to all voters that balloting will be in secret so there is no fear of victimisation. In addition, parties shall constantly remind their supports of the need to observe the election law, this code of conduct and all other rules promulgated by the commission in connection with the conduct of these elections. Parties must obligatorily educate their supporters that tampering with ballots cast either by rigging or falsification of any kind is a criminal offence carrying serious and enforceable legal sanctions, whether in the capacity of a perpetrator, an accessory after the fact, accomplice or facilitator."

    Did your party abide by that, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, we did. We surely abided by it. But maybe, counsel, one of the issues that for the benefit of the Court in dealing with this document, I think if we look at the very front page of this document where it states the document is submitted to ECOWAS and approved by ECOWAS I think makes the point. This is not a document approved by the legislature of Liberia or any group. It is approved by ECOWAS and normally this would mean that ECOWAS has full control of this process. This is not an internal little manoeuvring on the part of the Liberian parties. Nowhere in the world you will hear that election laws are promulgated by outsiders except under these special conditions. I think this is the point that I wanted to make.

  • Bearing in mind that phrase, "You killed my ma, you killed my pa", let's have a look at letter (f):

    "Exerting undue influence. Political parties shall not, whatever the temptation, procure voters by forcible occupation of polling stations or through other illegal activities at the polling stations. Parties shall not attempt to influence the outcome of the balloting through monetary inducements in the form of bribery or allurement of election officials. Everyone, including the giver and the receiver, should be aware that this is a serious electoral offence with enforceable sanctions."

  • Now again, Mr Taylor, was that abided by as far as you're aware by the parties who participated in this election?

  • Yes. 100 per cent. If we did not there would have been sanctions. 100 per cent we did.

  • Just to be clear, did all the parties abide by this?

  • Yes. And why do I say yes is because I know of no instance where any of the parties that registered to participate in these elections were sanctioned. I know of no sanctions applied or enforced, may I say, at that time against any party.

  • Now that we get a flavour of this document and the information it provides us with, Mr Taylor, is there any other particular passage which you would like us to look at?

  • No, I think - I think this is - this is up to the electoral process and I was very much interested in this document mostly because of the laws and what had been alleged by the Prosecutor in still dealing with this issue that you raised, so I'm okay with this.

  • Very well. Mr President, can I ask, please, that that document, the official journal of ECOWAS, volume 22, special edition, 1997, be marked for identification MFI-276, please.

  • Yes, that's marked for identification MFI-276.

  • The other matter I want us to move on to now, Mr Taylor, is the reference you made to the House of Commons report, yes?

  • Can we have a look, please, behind divider 18 in the same volume. Do you have it, Mr Taylor?

  • Just to get a background to this document, let's start at the introduction on page 1, shall we. Yes?

  • "Early 1996, democratic elections were held in the Republic of Sierra Leone, after some years of military rule. Mr Tejan Kabbah took office as President. However, in May 1997, his government was ousted by a coup. Power was taken over by a junta of military officers and other rebel forces, and President Kabbah went into exile. The international community joined in the condemnation of the junta. The following October, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution imposing an arms embargo on Sierra Leone. In November, the resolution was implemented for the United Kingdom by an Order in Council making it a criminal offence for any British citizen to supply arms, without a government licence, to anyone in or connected with Sierra Leone."

    Now, that "anyone", Mr Taylor, did that include President Kabbah?

  • Oh, yes. Anyone, yes.

  • "In December 1997, Mr Tim Spicer of Sandline International, a private military company, made a contract with President Kabbah to provide him with help, including military equipment, to support his return to power. In pursuance of this contract, Sandline sent a shipment of arms and ammunition into Sierra Leone in late February 1998."

    Pause there. February 1998, Mr Taylor, remind us, what is the significance of that date?

  • The intervention.

  • Were you aware that at the time of the intervention this British company was providing arms or importing arms into Sierra Leone --

  • "Mr Spicer is a British citizen and had not applied for a licence under the Order in Council. The arms arrived soon after ECOMOG, a Nigerian-led West African force, had begun hostilities which led to the junta's downfall and President Kabbah's restoration. The arms were received by ECOMOG and most of them remained in store at Lungi airport. They played little or no part in the removal of the junta.

    "Around this time, Hm Customs and Excise, acting at the request of officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, began an investigation of Sandline's activities. On 24 April, Mr Spicer's solicitors, SJ Berwin & Co, wrote to you protesting against the Customs investigation on the grounds that Sandline's plans had been known and approved by government officials. Their letter is set out in full at annex A."

    We'll come to that in a moment. Let's just complete the introduction. Over the page:

    "On 18 May 1998, Customs announced that the Attorney-General had confirmed their decision that no criminal proceedings should follow their investigation. This was because, although offences might have been committed, any prosecution might well fail and in any event would not be in the public interest."

    Now, if we go to page 119, we see the letter written by SJ Berwin & Co referred to in the introduction. And if we can look, please, first of all, Mr Taylor - page 119, do you have it?

  • Let's skip to paragraph 3, and we note it's dated 24 April 1998:

    "Our clients with both UK nationals. Mr Spicer is an executive of a company called Sandline International, which is in the business of providing military assistance to lawful governments, and Mr Grunberg is a consultant to that company.

    "At the suggestion of your High Commissioner in Freetown, Mr Peter Penfold, President Kabbah asked our client to provide such assistance. At a meeting held shortly thereafter Mr Penfold confirmed that he had initiated that approach and encouraged Sandline International's involvement.

    "Thereafter negotiations proceeded with President Kabbah and his representatives and, as those developed, full briefings were given both personally and by telephone to representatives of Her Majesty's government. At the Foreign and Commonwealth Office those briefed included John Everard, Craig Murray, Linda St Cook, Tim Andrews and our clients were led to believe that clearance was given at head of department level. The Ministry of Defence personnel who were briefed included Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hicks in Conakry and Colonel Andrew Gale, the British army military adviser to the UN special envoy to Sierra Leone."

    Who was the UN special envoy to Sierra Leone at this time, Mr Taylor?

  • Okelo. Mr Okelo.

  • Over the page:

    "Further, Mr Penfold himself called at our client's office premises on 28 January 1998, just three weeks before the equipment now in issue was delivered, and was given full details of the arrangements including the number of personnel involved and the nature of the military equipment that was to be provided. He was also given a copy of Sandline International's strategic and tactical plan, its concept of operations, for its involvement in the Sierra Leone arena.

    "Our clients were assured throughout that the operation had the full support of Her Majesty's government. At the same time our clients kept informed the US State Department at the highest level including John Hirsch, the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Charles Snyder, Director, Office of Regional Affairs and Dennis Linskey, Chief, West and Southern Africa Division. Furthermore, following support having been given for the proposed operation by both the US Department of State and the US Department of Defence (represented by Allan Holmes, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations), we understand that Michael Thomas, the Country Desk Officer for Sierra Leone at the US Department of State, met with Philip Parham, the Africa Watcher at the British embassy in Washington indicating the US government's full support for Sandline International's involvement, which was no doubt reported back to your office in London in accordance with the proper procedure.

    "Accordingly, it is quite apparent that the involvement of Sandline International in support of President Kabbah had at all times had the approval of Her Majesty's government and, should it become necessary, we would contend that a licence had been given within the meaning of the Sierra Leone (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1997.

    "As there is apparently now some disagreement between the officials in your department and the those in the Department of Trade and Industry as to whether that licence falls to be given by you as Secretary-General for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs or by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, a copy of this letter is also being provided to her.

    "As you will, of course, be well aware President Kabbah and the lawful Government of Sierra Leone were duly restored to power. Sandline International's personnel were on hand and equipment, as arranged and approved, was duly delivered to the military observer group of ECOWAS. President Kabbah personally signed both the agreement with Sandline International for the provision of military assistance and the End User Certificate for the military equipment. Sandline International's involvement was quite open and indeed their personnel were invited aboard HMS Cornwall where they provided tactical and operational advice. Further, engineers from HMS Cornwall assisted in the repair of a helicopter which Sandline International was operating in support of President Kabbah."

    Over the page, please, last paragraph on page 121:

    "Sandline International was involved quite openly and with the full prior knowledge and approval of Her Majesty's government, with an operation which involved assisting, with both personnel and military equipment, the restoration of the lawful Government of Sierra Leone, which was the express purpose for which sanctions were applied in the first place. Far from any offence having been committed in these circumstances, it would merit serious criticism that one department of government should be investigating to the considerable inconvenience and distress of our clients, a matter which was conducted with the knowledge and approval of another department."

    So that was the letter sent. Now, can we go back to page 3 and just have a look in the time available to the summary. And we're not looking at all of this. We're just looking at one or two paragraphs. Paragraph 1.1 on that page:

    "No minister gave encouragement or approval to Sandline's plan to send a shipment of arms into Sierra Leone and none had effective knowledge of it. Some officials became aware or had notice of the plan. The High Commissioner gave it a degree of approval ..."

    Who is the High Commissioner, Mr Taylor?

  • In Sierra Leone at the time it's Peter Penfold.

  • Right:

    "... which he had no authority to do, but he did not know that such a shipment would be illegal. No other official gave any encouragement or approval. All concerned were working to fulfil government policy and there was no attempt to hide information from ministers. However, officials in London should have acted sooner and more decisively than they did on the mounting evidence of an impending breach of the arms embargo, and they should have told ministers earlier and more effectively. As a result, ministers were given no, or only inadequate, notice of the matter until the Berwin letter" - which we have just looked at - "arrived."

    Paragraph 1.2:

    "The High Commissioner, Mr Penfold, was told of Sandline's plans, in mid-December 1997 by President Kabbah, and later that month by Mr Spicer, and gave them a degree of approval.

    "However, the full effect of the arms embargo had not been properly explained, and Mr Penfold and others were not aware that the unlicensed supply of arms to the elected Government of Sierra Leone was illegal."

    Over the page, page 4:

    "At the beginning of February 1998, the head and several officials in the Africa Command of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office received definite written notice from Mr Penfold that Sandline's plans included the supply of arms. They did not immediately appreciate the full significance of the information, and they did not act on it.

    Paragraph 1.7:

    "The British military liaison officer in Conakry was told, also in February, that a shipment of arms was expected, and subsequently that it had arrived, and later what was being done with it. He reported back on all three occasions to the Ministry of Defence, but none of the reports effectively got through to the right officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."

    Over the page, paragraph 1.16:

    "Much of the trouble was caused by ignorance of the fact that the arms embargo as implemented by the Order in Council prohibited the supply of arms to all parties in or connected with Sierra Leone, including President Kabbah's government, and not just to the illegal junta. This ignorance arose from repeated, and partly systemic, failures of communication."

    Mr Taylor, what do you think about that?

  • Total nonsense. Total, utter nonsense that they would say this, because the Security Council resolution placing the embargo was written by Britain. Britain proposed this resolution by ministers in London that sent it based on their report in this report that I've read that said that they proposed the resolution. How would the British ministers not know of an arms embargo that they proposed to the Security Council that became a Security Council resolution? Nonsense. They were supplying these arms and in fact earlier than this, as far as this document shows, back in 1997, late 1997, when they were operating out of Liberia and moving arms, how could they provide arms in late February when the intervention occurs in early February? What did they use to conduct their intervention? So they had to supply arms before that. And how would all of these senior officials not know, the State Department this way, the British ministers, the foreign - nobody knows.

  • Mr President, would that be a convenient point?

  • Yes, that's a convenient point. We're going to adjourn now, Mr Taylor. I remind you of the order not to discuss your evidence. We'll adjourn until 9.30 tomorrow.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m. to be reconvened on Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 9.30 a.m.]