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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Now, can I remind everyone that we were looking at the Sandline report, which is in volume 1 of 3, disclosure for week 31:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you recall that yesterday when we adjourned we were looking at this report - House of Commons report on the Sandline incident, yes?

  • And we concluded yesterday having looked at, first the introduction, and then certain aspects of the summary, yes?

  • Now, I would like us now, please, to go to page 11. So it's behind divider 18, Mr Taylor, and can we go, please, to page 11.

  • Page 11. There should be a subheading near the top of that page, "Intelligent Reports and Assessments"?

  • That is correct, yes.

  • I would like us to begin, please, at paragraph 216:

    "We have seen 102 intelligence reports and assessments on Sierra Leone during the period May 1997 to May 1998. They comprise 47 GCHQ reports ..."

    What is "GCHQ", Mr Taylor?

  • That you look in paragraph 214, it says "Government Communication Headquarters".

  • Right.

    "... five SIS reports, 44 DIS reports and assessments, mostly extracts from weekly summaries, and six JIC assessments drawn from the foregoing. We have also seen 21 reports from the British military liaison officer and 47 reports from HMS Cornwall."

    What do you understand by that, Mr Taylor: Reports from HMS Cornwall, the ship which we know was offshore at the time?

  • My understanding of the capabilities of a ship like that would be intercepts of communication, that is, radio, telephone, telegraph and that kind of stuff. Probably also they would look at movements within the area offshore and even maybe surveillance of air traffic and different things within the region. They would - or may I say should - have such capabilities.

  • Thank you.

    "The GCHQ and SIS reports were copied to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as were most of the DIS reports. All the JIS assessments were copied to the FCO and other departments. These reports are secret and highly classified, and we cannot reproduce or specify them. However, we are satisfied that with only one exception, they contain nothing which bears significantly on our investigation and which is not also available from other official and less highly classified sources. The exception is the report mentioned in paragraph 6.53."

    Let us now, please, go to paragraph 6.53, which is on page 63. Now, it's the penultimate paragraph on that page:

    "On or about 19 February, AD(E) ..."

    And when one looks at the glossary at the back of this report, that stands for Africa Department Equatorial of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which covers West Africa, including Sierra Leone. So that's what that stands for.

    "... received a copy of an intelligence report suggesting that President Kabbah had engaged Executive Outcomes/Sandline to prepare and lead a military force from bases in Liberia to oust the junta. Sandline was described as heavily involved in the plan, which was said to include the supply and training of troops and the provision of military helicopters and supplies. This report was marked for passing to Ms Drury. She does not recall whether she saw it herself. She had instructed her staff to be" - can't make it out - "in the intelligence reports they showed her; however, this particular report was seen by Mr Murray. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have to make judgements about intelligence reports. Mr Murray discounted this one because, as he told us, it referred to arms and Kamajor in the unlikely location of Liberia."

    What do you understand by that paragraph, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, this is exactly what I told this Court before. I come to office in July 1997. There are Liberians that have been disarmed, whatever levels, from the civil war, from ULIMO, that are being ferried back - into Sierra Leone. They are operating from, I have told this Court, a base, Ricks Institute, just practically inside the city on the road going to Sierra Leone toward the Bo Waterside. I am all up in flames about this, and I am stating that I do not want anything to do with forces being armed from the Liberian civil war being taken into Liberia - I mean, into Sierra Leone.

    Also, there is this report where ECOMOG flies combatants out of Roberts International Airport into Sierra Leone for this whole thing. All of this is going on throughout late 1997 that results to a conflict. So here we are, Sandlines - and I want to say no one can say this is not without the knowledge, because everything is happening here. All of these intelligence agencies, the secret intelligence agencies, HMS Cornwall, the collection of communication other things, all of these top agencies are aware, and this operation out of Liberia is a violation of our sovereignty, but I am not in control of the situation over there. They are doing this inside Liberia. So this simply is saying here that in fact, this whole operation that occurs in February begins, is planned, and operated out of Liberia, and this is beginning late 1997. And I made this point to this Court before.

  • So, Mr Taylor, when, in earlier testimony, you told us about Hinga Norman's association with ECOMOG, the recruitment of former Liberian combatants, and also the arming of the Kamajors, were you aware at the time that was linked to this British-based company Sandline?

  • No, not at all. Not at all. I was not aware, no.

  • Mr Griffiths, I am just seek a clarification on time frame. In that paragraph they speak about the 19 February. Now, in view of what Mr Taylor has just said, should we mean that to read 1997?

  • No, no, no, no, no.

  • This is 19 February 1998. But I am saying the commencement, your Honour, starts in late 1997 going into 1998, because I recall - they received - he says on or about 19 February. This is 1998. But the origin of this is back in 1997, as I detailed to this Court, OF my concern with Liberians being armed, and it has its genesis in 1997.

  • And can I say, your Honour, for future reference, if needed, there is a very helpful chronology which - appended to this report at annex B which begins at page 123, which sets out not only the chronology of the matters dealt with by this inquiry, but indeed other matters relevant to Sierra Leone. And if we could just glance at that, we will get an idea of what I am talking about. We see that it sets out when Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961; the ousting of Momoh, so on and so forth. So that is available for future reference.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, yesterday you told us that it was the United Kingdom who took the lead in passing this UN resolution to impose sanctions on Sierra Leone?

  • Can we go, please, to page 14. Do you have it?

  • Yes, I do.

  • Paragraph 3.1 - 3.7:

    "The United Kingdom took the lead in promoting a resolution of the United Nation Security Council to strike further at the illegal junta.

    Following the ECOWAS call for sanctions, the United Nations department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office convened a meeting in London on 14 July 1997."

    Over the page, last paragraph:

    "On 13 August, UKMIS" - that is the United Kingdom Mission in New York - "sent the Foreign and Commonwealth Office a first draft of the UN resolution incorporating an embargo on the sale or supply of arms and related materials of all types to the territory of Sierra Leone."

    Over the page, please:

    "In spite of the clear policy of a blanket ban, officials' grasp of its implications seems from the first to have been uncertain. For example, the minutes of a meeting of interested departments, held at the Cabinet office on 22 September 1997, after the blanket ban approach had been accepted, record as one of the points made in discussion that:

    'It would be possible to provide arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone forces, but this incurred the risk that the arms and ammunition would reach the Kamajor forces which could possibly lead to an escalation of violence in the countryside and make civil war a greater possibility.'"

    An then it goes on to explain that the Kamajors are traditional hunters used by the Kabbah government as irregular fighters under the title of civil defence militia or civil defence units.

    And then finally when we go over the page we see at page 17 that on 10 September, top paragraph:

    "The United Kingdom mission to the United Nations sent a further draft of the provision, decides that all states shall prevent the sale or supply to Sierra Leone, by their nationals or from their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of petroleum or petroleum products or arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territory."

    Now, Mr Taylor, do you have any difficulty with the language of that provision?

  • Well, difficulty - I don't have any difficulty with the language.

  • Do you understand what it means?

  • Yes, I understand what it means. They are trying to prevent arms, ammunition, others, but there is something that is very - in a way I would say very deceptive about the whole - this whole scenario. And the dates here, I think the justice asked something earlier and I think we can - we are talking about 10 September. I think it's important to look at what time we are talk about. Obviously this is not 10 September 1998. If we are going back now, all this thing is going on and if we go back to what I said on yesterday, you see this language, we see who drafts the resolution.

  • Who drafts the resolution?

  • The British ministers in Whitehall draft the resolution. And this is the way that UN resolutions go. Resolutions are drafted and they are floated by governments, permanent members, they are floated and very rarely are there any real changes. But we see what the resolution is. But we get to know that arms get in there. But those arms are available for this operation as of February 1998, which means that if you look at the sequence and the truthfulness of what they are telling this Parliamentary committee, there is still some hidden parts of this because some things are still secret.

    If the reports get there 19 February, they have already carried out the intervention earlier in February. So that means that arms are sent in there before February to carry out this thing. So this fact that people are saying, "Well, we didn't know that it was going to be in violation", it's all a bunch of hogwash. They knew, they approved it but that is still secret just as some part of this cannot be secret. That's the point I'm trying to make.

  • Well, how do you explain this, Mr Taylor: That the British drafted the resolution and then turned around in this report and said they didn't understand what the resolution they drafted meant?

  • Well, that's what beats me too and, you know - but then again their argument would be that's a part of what you call deniability. That's pure denial because the operation is still secret and so what you are seeing here is a little strange. They would claim that they are not lying. They would claim that they are not authorised to describe the information. This is purely what you call, you know - I don't know what English word to use for it, but this is nonsensical that someone would say, "I drafted the law, I sent it forward and approved it, but, hey, I didn't know what it meant." Nonsense. That's begging the issue. So I'd say the British ministers that provided this information told the House of Commons delegation or committee, they lied. As clearly as that, they are lying because they have to hold certain things still secret.

  • So paragraph 3.14, 10 September refers to 1997?

  • Yes, because the resolution is passed before the 1998 operation. So to say that we don't know how the arms got there and we didn't know, when they have already passed the resolution that they drafted, I am saying that they were aware and they were supplying arms after the resolution which was in violation of the resolution and those arms were going in. But don't forget now they were accusing me in Liberia of sending arms to Sierra Leone.

  • And, your Honour, can I invite your Honour's attention back at page to paragraph 3.16 for confirmation that have year.

  • It's also in the chronology.

  • It's also in the chronology. So it's 10 September 1997 to which that paragraph refers:

  • Mr Taylor, let us just briefly look at, please, at who Sandline is or was. Page 23, please. Do you have it?

  • Paragraph 4.3:

    "Sandline's senior employer is Mr Tim Spicer OBE, a professional soldier who retired from the army in 1995 as a lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards.

    Sandline's UK base was, until recently, at 535 Kings Road, London, SW10.

    Other associates of Mr Spicer in this context include Mr Rupert Bowen, formerly of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and now of Branch Energy, and brigadier Bert Sachse, formerly of the South African Defence Force and now of Lifeguard, which provides security services for various commercial enterprises, including diamond mines in Sierra Leone."

    Let's go to the next page, page 24, please. Paragraph 4.8, five lines from the bottom of the page:

    "Before Mr Penfold took up his appointment as High Commissioner for Sierra Leone in March 1997, he went on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's advice to the Kings Road office to visit Branch Energy, as one of the leading British companies in Sierra Leone."

    So that before Penfold took up his job, he already had links with Sandline. Now, did you know this, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I did not. I did not.

  • When we jump to page 32, we see that Penfold, at paragraph 5.2, took up his appointment as High Commissioner in March 1997. Paragraph 5.3:

    "Only a few weeks after Mr Penfold took up his appointment in Sierra Leone, the government to which he was accredited was overthrown by the coup of 25 May 1997."

    It then goes on at paragraph 5.5 to describe his transfer to Conakry. Let's jump to page 34, paragraph 5.8:

    "Whilst he was in Conakry, Mr Penfold kept in close touch with President Kabbah and his government. He saw the President two or three times a week and enjoyed his confidence. In late October, Mr Penfold travelled with President Kabbah to London, where both took part in the conference on 'Restoring Sierra Leone to Democracy.' Mr Penfold then accompanied President Kabbah to the Commonwealth Heads of State conference in Edinburgh."

    Were you aware, Mr Taylor, that Mr President Kabbah attended that?

  • In press reports, yes, I did hear about it.

  • And then when we jump to page 43, just to complete the chronology of events:

    "On 1 March" - this is 1998 - "HMS Cornwall arrived at Freetown and on 5 March its helicopter picked up Mr Penfold from Conakry and took him on board. HMS Cornwall returned him to Freetown that day, together with the Sierra Leone Foreign Minister. Major Hicks, who was the new British military liaison officer, and two members of the royal military police protection team, also travelled with them. Mr Glass, the Deputy High Commissioner, had gone back some days before to prepare the High Commission for reopening. On 10 March, President Kabbah entered Freetown to a jubilant welcome, accompanied by President Abacha of Nigeria."

    Now, Mr Taylor, during this whole episode, and we see that the British government was involved initially in the autumn of 1997 in drafting this resolution, that their High Commissioner was closely involved even whilst President Kabbah was in exile in Guinea with that President and, indeed, that Kabbah was present in the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference. Now help us, through all of that, do you accept that the British government didn't know that they were breaching this resolution?

  • No, I don't. No, I don't. The British government - what cannot be lost in this whole scenario, your Honours - for me why is this important? I have no arms in Liberia following the disarmament and my election as President. There are arms flowing into Sierra Leone. The Kamajors are being armed and there is a point that we must remember, the Nigerians that want to carry out this major operation in Sierra Leone have an embargo of arms against them, so --

  • Who do?

  • Nigeria. By this time Nigeria is embargoed so Nigeria cannot import arms. Nigeria has an arms embargo.

  • You mean ECOMOG?

  • No, Nigeria as a country. So because the majority of their people are there, Nigeria cannot bring in the extra supplies for this operation. It is stated further in this report also about that. But what is interesting about this, arrangements are made for the illegal transport of arms into Sierra Leone, thus breaking a United Nations Security Council resolution. But you need to find an alibi, so how are arms getting into Sierra Leone? So I am saying the British are involved in this lie that arms are coming from Liberia when they know very well that I do not have arms, because these arms that came into the Kamajors and for the Nigerians for the operation in Sierra Leone definitely did not stay in just the hands of the Kamajors and the Nigerians. Of course you are fighting a war, arms are intercepted, there are ambushes and different things, but the explanation as to how are arms getting into Sierra Leone can only be made by saying it is coming from Liberia and Charles Taylor. This is for me the whole genesis, 1997 when I come into office, going on into 1998, they must show that arms are coming there. They must hide the fact that it is Sandline with the authorisation of and knowledge - and I want to say, even though they are denying it, with the knowledge and/or acquiescence of the British government, okay, with senior ministers, okay, that they would bring in these arms and build this lie that the only way that arms are getting into Sierra Leone is because they are coming from the Charles Taylor government when I do not have any arms in Liberia.

    For me, this is the situation. So this whole thing that the British say, "Well, we didn't know," it's impossible for them not to have known when they drafted the resolution; they pushed it through the Security Council; they got it accomplished; their ambassador is meeting with Sandlines people or people associated with Sandlines; their ambassador is in Guinea. They know what is going on, and so to put this whole thing on me is to really - this whole thing makes me really a victim of this whole intelligence set-up. All of the agencies involved here, all intelligence agencies, every one are from the British government, all of them. So I do not accept that they did not know, and I think they were aware. But to hide that fact, they put the blame on Taylor. And I keep telling the world: How can I supply arms to Sierra Leone in 1998, 1999 when I do not have arms in Liberia? So to account for the arms in Sierra Leone, that's where - they brought it into that country, and we still don't know the number of shipments because that is still secret. But there had to be many shipments. That's my statement on that.

  • Now, is there anything else that you want to tell us about this report, Mr Taylor, before I move on?

  • Well, you know, I guess I have - just a little. That - when we look at even this report, I do not think we read that portion, but Sandlines - I think we touched it - is also providing, through Executive Outcome, protection of diamond fields in Sierra Leone. So the whole issue of diamonds is of a greater scope. It is not just about arms, but it is about the protection of this company that has its interest - the name of the company was just read - in Sierra Leone. So this whole thing - and how does Kabbah get the weapons paid for? He promises that that company, through the working diamond, would pay for arms. So this whole thing about the RUF mining diamonds, which I do not dispute, but that it had to be controlled by an external force and it is through the diamonds, okay, that arms are supplied by Taylor, is based on this intelligence plot. And how they do these intelligence things, they write them just like a movie script. It's written out, it is played out. And this is why we see - everything that is being played out for your Honours in this case is all based on an intelligence plot with key players, major senior officials in governments and intelligence agencies to find a fall guy, and Charles Taylor had to be that fall guy. That's what this report, for me, shows how arms got in; the diamond interest that Sandline was protecting; Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary's own knowledge of this and denial, even to this Congressional committee - I keep saying "Congressional" because of the American background - of the --

  • The House of Commons?

  • The House of Commons committee, all of this is a careful orchestration for my destruction, and it continued from '98, '99, 2000, and on. That's all I have to say about this.

  • Well, I want to move on from --

  • I am not sure I caught the name of the company that was supposed to benefit from the diamonds. It's important. We need to get that name.

  • You read it out here. When Mr Penfold went to the offices, that was read by you.

  • This is page 23; yes, Mr Taylor?

  • Let me just see it, counsel, for just one minute.

  • Have a look at paragraph 4.5.

  • Okay. Let's - I think 4.2 and 4.5 would set out the --

  • Have a look also at the other paragraph to which I drew your attention, 4.8, over the page.

  • Okay. So one of these companies associated with Sandline is involved in diamond operation. That's the whole point. So Sandlines is not just supplying weapons to the Government of Sierra Leone, but they are also protecting an interest. That's the point.

  • And we see at paragraph --

  • For the record, it's Lifeguard and Diamond Works and Branch Energy.

  • Right. Well, Mr Taylor, I - unless there is anything further that you would like to direct our attention to, I appropriate that we leave this report behind now.

  • So let's put that away. Right. Now, the other matter, Mr Taylor, which you told us you wanted to look at yesterday was diamonds, okay?

  • And what I would like us to do, please, is to carefully trace the history of this issue of diamonds. Do you follow me?

  • Now, where I would like to start, please, is exhibit D-15, please. I wonder if we could have that one up on the screen. Do we have it now?

  • Sorry, I am having difficulty bringing it up on my screen. Now, do you recall, Mr Taylor, us looking at this Mohamed Talibi letter before?

  • Yes, I do.

  • I just want us, please, to quickly remind ourselves of its contents. You see it's dated 26 June 1996, yes?

  • Where is Foday Sankoh at this time?

  • June 1996, Foday Sankoh should be in la Cote d'Ivoire. He is in la Cote d'Ivoire.

  • "I want to thank you and the other brothers back home again very much for the $500,000 US which I received through you for the purchase of needed material to pursue the military mission. However, I wish to let you all be informed that my business partners for these materials are here with me, and we have had extensive discussions on this subject. Attached to this letter, you will find a list of materials and their costs for your serious and urgent attention. I now need $1.5 million US in order to purchase twice the listed materials for effective and smooth operation.

    My representative, Captain Phillip Palmer, will elaborate on this all-important and urgent mission as he is expected to travel, along with my business partners somewhere for these materials if, and only if, the above mentioned amount is available. These materials will be given to me at discount rates and of the requested amount, plus the one already to hand, will cover, in addition, all transportation costs for airlifting these materials.

    The airlifting of these materials to our controlled territory will be done before any payment for this mission is done by me. This is why I am urgently appealing to you and the other brothers back home for your usual cooperation in providing this time the $1.5 million US to be at hand with me so that my business partners and my representative can proceed for these materials very quickly for fast and smooth operation."

    Can we just go back to the title on the first page, please. Now, we see it's addressed to "Brother Mohamed Talibi, Libyan Arab Peoples Jamahiriya, Accra, Ghana".

    Now, Mr Taylor, do you recall yesterday when we were looking at the testimony of Moses Blah, Blah expressing the view that Gaddafi was not particularly impressed with Foday Sankoh. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I do.

  • Now, were you aware of that?

  • No. Gaddafi and I never discussed Foday Sankoh. I was not aware.

  • Did you ever discuss the Sierra Leone situation of Foday Sankoh with Gaddafi?

  • Yes. Later years when I become President, what Gaddafi states is that he really felt that Sankoh did not have any revolutionary credentials and that, you know, I was right for staying far away from him.

  • Now, the other thing that we need to note about this letter, Mr Taylor is this: This is a request to the Libyans for money and not arms.

  • Because if you look, "I wish to let you all be informed that my business partners for these materials are here with me." So the letter is a request for money, but the persons who the materials are coming from are there with him in Cote d'Ivoire. Do you see that?

  • Now, can we now, please, have a look at exhibit P-272, which is the second of the Talibi letters. Now, we see now this letter is dated 4 December 1996. So this is a week after the Abidjan Peace Accord signed on 30 November, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • That is correct, yes.

  • We see it's addressed to the same individual:

    "I received the $29,000 US through Mr Daniel Kallon, for which I am very grateful to you and the other brothers back home. We have signed the peace accord on November 29, 1996, just so as to relieve our movement of the enormous pressure from the international community while I will use this opportunity to transact my business in getting our fighting materials freely and easily.

    I have already finished negotiations with my business partners, and I have so far paid $300,000 US. Our agreement is that they should receive $700,000 US from me in Sierra Leone upon their arrival with the materials into my controlled territory. The total cost of the material is $2 million US. The balance amount will be paid when the operation is completed.

    I am therefore asking you and your brothers to urgently provide the needed US $700,000 so that I will be in a position to live up to my commitment to my business partners, who will be coming very soon with these materials. As I have always learnt from you people, there is some money with the Burkinabe government for the provision for our needed materials. But as you might have known by now, that government have really not shown that keen interest in assisting us as a movement. I even had conversation with Commandant Diendere these few days, but with no positive results.

    I would therefore suggest that you prepare a letter for me to meet President Compaore on this issue, as we never received anything from them, and even my delegates at Ouagadougou have returned ever since to my location here. Please advise on this issue.

    When I went in last week, I was able to organise serious mining operations in precious minerals which I believe will help us to generate the needed foreign exchange for our mission."

    Now, pause there. Mr Taylor, do you recall after Abidjan Sankoh made a helicopter visit to RUF held territories in Sierra Leone. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I do. Yes.

  • "When I went in last week, I was able to organise serious mining operations in precious minerals which I believe will help us to generate the needed foreign exchange for our mission. For now I am highly in need of this $700,000 US in order to go in and be waiting for the arrival of my business partners. Please help me in this great hour of need and I promise not to let you down. Palmer will give you the rest of my message. My best regard to you and your family."

    Let's just go back to the first page, please, and remind ourselves of the date of this letter. We see the letter is dated 4 December 1996, so this is the end of 1996. Now, just jumping forward briefly, Mr Taylor, what happens to Foday Sankoh in March 1997?

  • In March 1997, Foday Sankoh is arrested.

  • So a couple of months after this letter, Sankoh is arrested, yes?

  • Now, let's bear in mind, please let's go back to the last paragraph, in December he is saying, "I was able to organise serious mining operations in precious minerals last week." So that's the end of November, yes?

  • The next document I want us to look at, please, is Prosecution exhibit 18, which is the panel of experts report. I would like us to look at page 16 of that report, please, paragraph 67:

    "The Revolutionary United Front initiated the war in 1991. Until 1995, RUF diamond mining and digging was probably done on a sporadic and individual basis."

    So that's the first four years of the conflict, it's sporadic and individual.

    "By 1995, however, the RUF and its patrons were clearly taking a much greater interest in the diamond fields of Kono District, and had to be removed forcefully at that time by the private military company, Executive Outcomes. From then on, the RUF interest in diamonds became more focused, especially with the 1997 imprisonment of Foday Sankoh in Nigeria. During his imprisonment and subsequently, the diamond areas of Kono and Tongo Field became a primary military focus of the RUF, and diamond mining became a major fundraising exercise."

    Let's put it together. The letter to Mohamed Talibi is December 1996, yes?

  • When he had gone in, as he said in the letter, to put the diamond mining business on a more organised business, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • Now we have the report saying that by the time of his arrest in 1997, concentration of the RUF on diamond mining has become more focused. Yes?

  • At the time of his arrest in March 1997, Mr Taylor, where were you?

  • March 1997, I am in Liberia. I am working very, very hard on my campaign to be elected as President.

  • Now, bearing in mind what is said here about the period 1991 to 1995, mining is sporadic and on an individual basis. Help us, Mr Taylor, during that period, did you have anything to do with diamonds in Sierra Leone? Let's just limit it to '91 to '95 to begin with?

  • I had nothing to do with Sierra Leone. No contacts with diamonds. Nothing. I had no contacts up to the period in question here of 1995.

  • Right. Let's extend it is a little further. In 1997, when, according to this report, diamond mining becomes more focused, at or about the time of Sankoh's arrest and imprisonment, at that stage, Mr Taylor, did you have any links with the RUF?

  • None whatsoever.

  • Were you aware that diamond mining in RUF held territories had become more focused by that time?

  • Did you have any hand in causing it to become more focused, as the report suggests?

  • No. I had nothing to do with it and I would suggest in adding to my "no" that if there were any connections whatsoever, and looking back at the nature of the hypothesis as produced by the Prosecution, at least Foday Sankoh in one or both of those letters that he wrote to Mohamed Talibi would have alluded to the fact that - some allusion would have been made to the fact that my friend or my brother or someone I know, Mr Taylor in Liberia, you know, is helping me to do this or would do this or that. I would think that by this time Sankoh, like I say, would have mentioned it in one or both of his letters. My answer is no, there was no contact whatsoever.

  • Now moving forward. So now we have reached 1997.

  • Let's jump a couple of years and go to 1999. Can I ask, please, that MFI-82, which your Honours will find behind divider 19 in disclosure for week 32 - now, Mr Taylor, do you recall this Downes-Thomas code cable that we looked at some time earlier?

  • Yes, I do.

  • Now, you recall, this was Downes-Thomas's somewhat critical report to Prendergast at the United Nations about the behaviour of his counterpart in Sierra Leone, Mr Okelo, yes?

  • And when we look at the second page of the code cable, yes, paragraph 3:

    "It was wrong and improper for special envoy Okelo to have sent a junior officer to, in effect, snoop around Monrovia."

    Let's go to the next page, please, paragraph 8:

    "With regard to your request for comments on the officer's note, I should state that I found it reckless and somewhat amateurish. My suspicion is that he could have benefitted from proper instruction and sound guidance. It is therefore not surprising that he failed to confine himself to strictly Sierra Leone-Liberia matters. By and large, his note is an amalgam of chatty cocktail gossip, gratuitous observations and dangerous subjective speculations. Special envoy Okelo's view that his officer makes perceptive observations on the Liberian situation and the leadership of President Taylor is probably a result of him being stationed in Sierra Leone. From my vantage point, however, there is a degree of irresponsibility on the part of special envoy Okelo in forwarding and widely distributing the note officially. That note, albeit journalistic in nature, contains dangerous and in my view unverified pieces of information. Be that as it may, the somewhat inconvenient truth is that the note now officially advises the United Nations that one of its staff members has confirmation that President Taylor is a business partner to Mr Radcliff, a British diamond dealer believed to be one of the many diamond dealers with connections in Sierra Leone."

    Mr Taylor, did you have any connection with that man?

  • No. In fact, Mr Radcliff is the very individual that was arrested and deported from Liberia back to, what do they call this, Down Under, what they refer to as Down Under.

  • Australia. How a partner of mine would be arrested. We had - the Liberian security arrested Mr Radcliff, confiscated a military uniform and other things he had at his office. He was expelled from Liberia. But there is a greater context here and I think I need to note it here. We are now talking about 1999.

  • March?

  • March 1999. But let's look back '98 and probably a little bit of 1997, what do I mean? Mr Okelo has written a report in 1998 following the February intervention. We already know now that the operations that brought the intervention in Sierra Leone were carried out, we know they were carried out now by Sandlines, we know Executive Outcome is involved and we know that there is the protection of commercial interest which is diamonds. So for me to bring in a British citizen that is supposed to be in Monrovia - and in fact the reason why we expelled Mr Radcliff, because we considered him a British intelligence officer. So I see this as another little piece of that plot.

    Here you have diamond interest in Sierra Leone that's being protected through the Sandlines operation which Kabbah promises that these materials are going to be paid for. Now we have Okelo having written the first note saying that there are Liberians fighting.

  • It's not Kabbah promising. Oh, Kabbah. Okay, yes, you're right. Beg your pardon.

  • I beg your pardon. I didn't hear you, your Honour.

  • Just ignore the comment. I was mistaken. Ignore the comment, please.

  • What were you saying, Mr Taylor?

  • I got thrown off a little but, well, the point I am trying to make and I guess the justice caught it even though the justice withdrew her statement, but the point is when you look at the - there are other documents in that House of Commons report that talks about how Tejani Kabbah will pay for the operations as conducted by Sandlines. It involves diamonds. That's also a part of that report, that's why I made the reference to it.

    So this is the second report now, the second action. First action by Okelo is to say that Liberians are involved in fighting in Sierra Leone. Second memo now is going - is that there is - he sends someone to Monrovia to supposedly to identify someone that is involved in diamonds. This is strike number two from Okelo and I think Okelo is being guided. I wanted to just raise it's the second attack from Okelo. It's not the first.

  • Now, it goes on, looking at this document:

    "Sam Bockarie resided in Monrovia at the house of Liberian senator Kpoto."

    Did you know that senator, Mr Taylor?

  • Senator for what part of Liberia?

  • To your knowledge, was Sam Bockarie living at his address?

  • Did the senator have a home in Monrovia, to your knowledge?

  • Oh, yes, he had a home in Monrovia and Senator Kpoto was President pro tempore of the Liberian Senate.

  • To your knowledge, did Sam Bockarie ever reside with him?

  • Never. And mind you we are talking about 1999. When does Sam Bockarie get into Liberia? Late December 1999. Every witness that has come before this Court has said where he lived, he lived at the ELWA Junction, what they call Four Houses. Never lived with - Senator Kpoto had his wife and children and family, how would he house Sam Bockarie? Sam Bockarie was given a house by the Liberian government. He arrives in Liberia the last week of 1999 December. So he could not have lived with him prior to that, at the period in question here of 1999. That's blatantly incredible.

  • Can we put that document away now, please. Now still on this issue of diamonds, Mr Taylor, the next thing I would like us to look at, please, is to remind ourselves of the contents of General Jetley's report, MFI-131, week 33, behind divider 43.

  • Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, I know you have given great leeway to the examination of this witness, but it appears for the last several documents we have in fact been engaged in closing argument about this. These documents have been read into the record. They are again being read into the record. So in terms of - and the accused is being asked to say yes or no to things. So in relation to the real questioning of this witness, we would suggest it's not questioning, it's basically a continuation of an ongoing theme of closing argument and we would object to it and we think it's also a waste of time in that these documents have been read word for word into this record.

  • Yes, what's your reply, Mr Griffiths?

  • Very simple, Mr President, and it's this: I am setting the foundations for further documents that we will be looking at in due course which this Court has not yet looked at and in order to properly appreciate the significance of the documents I am coming to, we need to lay the historical foundation to remind ourselves of what the factual matrix is within which certain events which I am directly coming to now occurred. It's simply that.

  • All right. Well, on the basis that you are laying the foundation for further documents, I will allow the question.

  • Now, do you recall, Mr Taylor, in the Jetley report, reference being made to Nigerian involvement in diamond mining in Sierra Leone? Do you recall that?

  • That is correct, yes. I recall their involvement in diamonds, yes.

  • And let us just remind ourselves, please, page 1 of that report. Let's just have a look at paragraph 3. Do you have it?

  • "It is well known that public opinion in Nigeria was against the continued deployment of Nigerian troops as part of ECOMOG in Sierra Leone, however the Nigerian army was interested in staying in Sierra Leone due to the massive benefits they were getting from the illegal diamond mining. Brigadier General Maxwell Khobe was commonly known as Ten Million Dollar Man. It is alleged that he received up to ten million dollars to permit the activities of the RUF. The ECOMOG force commander Major General Kpamber was also involved in the illegal diamond mining in connivance with RUF leader Foday Sankoh."

    Let's put that away. Okay?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, remember the overall topic we are looking at is diamonds, yes, and your answer to this allegation, yes?

  • Now, help me, were you sharing the proceeds of diamond mining with the Nigerians?

  • Were you involved in diamond mining with the RUF?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we know that Foday Sankoh was arrested on 8 May 2000, yes?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, this issue of diamonds and Sierra Leone, to your knowledge, did it attract the interests of the Wall Street Journal?

  • Yes, it did.

  • What do you recall now?

  • Well, there was a publication in the Wall Street Journal that linked the trade of diamonds with me in Liberia.

  • I would like us, please - and this is what we were coming to - to look in week 33, binder 2 of 4, behind divider 69. Do we have it?

  • Do you have it now, Mr Taylor?

  • Just one minute.

  • It might be easier to remove it from the file so you can turn it the right way round. Is this the article you are talking about, Mr Taylor?

  • Now this is from the Wall Street Journal for 3 August 2000:

    "De Beers announced with great fanfare in July that it was abandoning its policy of buying diamonds in African conflict zones, occasioning both applause and predictions of De Beers' demise, but the diamond cartel, whilst modifying its tactics, has not changed its basic strategy.

    Almost since its inception at the end of the 19th century, the diamond cartel has had a singular strategy: Stifling by any means necessary the flow of gem diamonds from sources not under its ownership or control. The problem with diamonds isn't their scarcity but their abundance. They are found not only in geological formations like volcanic pipes that can be fenced off and mined, but also in vast alluvial areas like riverbeds or beaches, places that can't be restricted.

    When Europe ruled Africa, the cartel had little problem making arrangements with colonial administrators to police or close down freelance diamond gathering. After African colonies got their independence, the cartel came to terms with dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko, whose police kept out - and occasionally massacred - suspected smugglers.

    Where governments were less cooperative or capable, the cartel commissioned mercenaries to suppress, often by maiming or killing, prospective diamond hunters. At one point in 1965, the cartel gave bounties to remnants of the Katanga gendarmerie to hunt down smugglers in Angola. It also paid a Lebanese mercenary named Fred Kamil in Sierra Leone to arrange ambushes that would persuade Mandingo tribesmen to quit the diamond trade. Since these measures didn't fully eliminate the leakage to diamond cutting centres in Belgium, Israel and India, it also acted as a buyer of last resort to keep prices from falling.

    But that is history. The cartel now has found an ingenious new mechanism for achieving its ends: the United Nations, after spending months laying the conceptual groundwork in the media, as well as working through the Clinton administration and human rights communities, it has convinced the UN Security Council to impose a global ban on undocumented gem diamonds from conflict zones.

    Undocumented diamonds are of course just those diamonds picked out of riverbeds that De Beers wants eliminated. The conflict zones, Angola and Sierra Leone, are the alluvial areas in which De Beers previously depended on paid gems. Instead of using colonial administrations, dictators or mercenary gangs to stop Africans from gathering and selling stones, the United Nations will use its resources (backed, no doubt, by the cartel's own contingent of lawyers and detectives) to accomplish that task.

    The cartel managed this favourable outcome by playing on the guilt of the West. The idea that blood diamonds were responsible for ferocious civil wars in Africa was too much for altruists and activists in developed nations. Mr Clinton, meanwhile, saw diamonds as an opportunity to enhance his own standing among these groups. On 21 July he called for an international conference to consider practical approaches to breaking the link between the illicit trade in diamonds and armed conflict.

    Mr Clinton's press release made no secret of the liaison with the diamond cartel, noting that at a May conference in South Africa, the United States, Britain and Belgium, among others, had agreed with De Beers upon the importance of establishing a global certification scheme for diamonds.

    Like all persuasive ideas, the concept of blood diamonds is not without a basis in reality. Diamonds, like any resource, can be converted to money. Money can be used to buy arms and ammunition. What the concept neglects, however, is that governments are the principle means by which warriors get funded and armed. Countries such as the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somali, Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia have managed to sustain ferocious civil wars for years without having or selling diamonds.

    Even countries rich in diamonds have found alternative ways to finance their warfare. In Angola, UNITA rebels were armed by the Central Intelligence Agency, South Africa's intelligence service and Zaire. In the Congo, at least seven African governments are presently intervening in the civil war with arms and troops.

    A regime backed by the United Nations and the United States that inhibits the sale of uncertified diamonds, diamonds that in practice come from fields the cartel doesn't control, probably won't stop civil wars, then. It will, however, make it far less costly for De Beers to control the diamond market. Another brilliant coup for the cartel."

  • Mr Griffiths, despite the delayed start I won't interpret our normal schedule.

  • We will have the short break now and resume at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.31 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Taylor, just before the break we looked at that Wall Street Journal article. What do you say about that article, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I would say that this is a very important article. The author of this, Mr Epstein, has written, apparently, extensively in dealing with the issues of diamonds. He is the author, as is suggested at the bottom of the page, of a book: The Rise and Fall of Diamonds. He is knowledgeable of the trading in diamonds and what not, so I take what he said here very seriously.

    But I would like to draw the Court's attention to what Mr Epstein is talking about here, and I believe in the beginning of this trial when I talk about a conspiracy and lies and deceit, I think Epstein's explanation here regarding diamonds must be looked at very seriously. This whole issue of diamonds beginning seriously at this particular time comes as a result, really, of De Beers losing ground in the international diamond activities because they are no longer having their so-called - as I say, when these governments control African countries, they no longer have their boys out there working for them. And so this whole thing that - of causing this change and raising all these red flags that all these conflicts are because of blood diamonds, when we know we do not have blood oil - and we've seen this around the world, where countries have been invaded that have oil - is because De Beers is trying to protect her business interests. As simple as that.

    Let's look at the connection. De Beers, we see Sandline, we see Executive Outcome, the companies that were just named in the transcript a few minutes ago and read out by - well, we were assisted by the Honourable Justice Sebutinde. You look at South African connection, British connection, this is protecting De Beers's commercial and financial interests. This is what all of this is about, but they need a fall guy, Charles Taylor and diamonds in Liberia.

    And I say this for the following reasons: If we look very carefully at a document that we've read through here, we see a report coming out, paid for by NGO. The heart of the matter, Ian Smiley. At the search of Foday Sankoh's house in May 2000, a document is supposed to be found. There's a Charles mentioned that is explained who Charles is, not Charles Taylor. But by June 2000, Douglas Farah, a journalist at the Washington Post, writes an elaborate article in the Washington Post saying that the documents found at Foday Sankoh's house in May 2000 with Charles show that Charles Taylor was receiving 90 per cent of --

  • Mr Taylor, can I interrupt you there. We will come to that in a moment.

  • But I'm trying just to draw the connection of what Mr Epstein is talking about. This is a conspiracy. This is - this whole fall guy Taylor and is linked to all of these things that are being shown here right now, the final fall guy.

  • Mr President, can I just pause for a moment because I was helpfully reminded during the break that I hadn't asked for the Sandline report, if I can style it such, to be marked for identification. So could I ask then, please, that the report of the Sierra Leone arms investigation - the House of Commons report of the Sierra Leone arms investigation/Sandline, can I ask that that be marked for identification MFI-277.

  • I had that already marked in my records as 277. Perhaps I've gotten ahead of myself.

  • I don't think I had formally asked for it to be.

  • The House of Commons report is marked for identification 277.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, a moment ago you mentioned the Charles letter. Now, I would like us, please, to remind ourselves of what the Charles letter said.

  • Yes. I don't believe there's been a foundation established for reading this, which would be leading the witness. Nor do I believe, based on Mr Taylor's comments yesterday, if it's the same Charles letter, that the connection that your Honours have indicated must be made before an exhibit can come in under 89C can be made. This is not, as I understand it, a letter that was directed to the accused, directed to be written by the accused. The fact that there may be a name in there that is the same first name as the accused does not create a connection, a link, a personal relationship between this accused and this document.

    And we're not talking about hearsay, so that I'm very clear. We're talking about the requirement that your Honours have imposed of a connection. Nor do we believe that this is a connection, in the very liberal sense, of it having been part of his archive and having been read by him. So we would object to this document being put to him until a sufficient foundation can be laid.

  • Yes. Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr President, this is a document which has already been put in evidence. It is MFI - one moment. It is the Charles letter - I can't put - I can't put my hand on the MFI number at present. But, Mr President, the point is this: Mr Taylor has made quite clear both yesterday and today of a link between the finding of this particular letter, a reference in it to a Charles, and a later Washington Post article in June 2000 in which the Charles referred to in the letter is said to be Mr Taylor. And we say this is germane to the link between - the alleged link between Taylor and diamonds and, consequently, it's a matter relevant to the issues raised on the indictment.

  • Has Mr Taylor ever seen that document or, better still, read it?

  • Well, Mr Taylor, have you read the Michel letter?

  • Yes. Your Honour, the document that I refer to is a document from Michel to the leader disclosed to the Defence by the Prosecution, a document found at Foday Sankoh's house during the search in May 2000, that it goes from Michel to the leader that describes the whole issue of diamonds. It deals with the fact that they are having problems with Charles who is receiving 90 per cent of the profit. It goes further to even state who Charles is. It was disclosed by the Prosecution, stamped by the Prosecution. It is a Prosecution document.

  • Just to make that clear, in answer to my question --

  • -- did you read the document or not?

  • That's the detail, your Honour, yes. I have given you the - I have read it and that's the detail of the letter, verbatim - well, I can't say verbatim - as I have summarised it.

  • I think Mr Taylor's established a foundation for that document. He's able it describe it and give evidence as to its relevance, and therefore I'll allow you to question him on it, Mr Griffiths.

  • But before we do that, Mr Taylor, it's my fault, I'm getting ahead of myself. In that Wall Street Journal article, it said, amongst other things, this:

    "Like all persuasive ideas, the concept of blood diamonds is not without a basis in reality. Diamonds, like any resource, can be converted to money. Money can be used to buy arms and ammunition. What the concept neglects, however, is that governments are the principal means by which warriors get funded and armed. Countries such as Liberi have managed to sustain ferocious civil wars for years without having or selling diamonds."

    Now, help me, Mr Taylor. Did you at any stage during the Liberian conflict rely on the sales of diamonds to fund the activities of the NPFL.

  • Not at all. No.

  • Again, Mr President, before I get ahead of myself can I ask, please, that that Wall Street Journal article on diamonds dated 3 August 2000 be marked for identification MFI-278, please.

  • Yes, that document is marked MFI-278 for identification.

  • Mr Taylor, let us now then go to the letter. Your Honours have this letter behind divider 142, disclosure for week 33. This is the letter that was disclosed to us by the Prosecution. Is that right, Mr Taylor?

  • This is the document, yes.

  • It is a document allegedly found at Foday Sankoh's address in Spur Road following his arrest on 8 May 2000. Is that right?

  • Now just to remind ourselves, from Michel to The Leader:

    "Good morning. I'm back in Washington. I got your fax on Thursday and I will go to the embassy of Sierra Leone this Monday morning for this visa. As soon as I will get the visa I will fly to Freetown to meet you.

    Let me take a few minutes of your time to explain to you what last week in Antwerp. As you already know I met my partner, you met his employee in Freetown ten days ago. My partner has now decided to work with us without any restriction. As I told you already, with him involved in the picture money is not an issue any more.

    Important: The American during the meetings in Freetown offered him to open a buying office in Sierra Leone. They would like to see three buying offices working in Sierra Leone. However, as my partner told me last week, all of this could take X weeks or months. You do not have any time to waste any more, neither do I. This is what we suggest, he will come with me to see you next week, we will bring with us what you know.

    Dear Foday, this meeting is very important if Charles (my partner) meets you and gets the confirmation of what I told him already, based on our agreement, he will be ahead full speed immediately.

    The problem: At this time, and after one year of efforts, I did not get anything, yet you and I know it. But, what is done is done. Let's forget it and move forward. With Charles we can buy, I am not talking about receive for free, the 10 per cent going to Freetown but also the remaining 90 per cent in Kono. In short, if we put together what we have, yourself, Charles and myself, we can start immediately what we were supposed to start months ago and all of us would finally make money instead of losing money every day. At this time, you and I are the big losers. I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned I'm tired of it.

    What we have to solve: 1. How will you convince the people in charge in Kono to bring everything to you instead of 10 per cent and it is not possible how are you going to convince them to sell those 90 per cent to us instead of keeping it or selling it to the Lebanese or whoever?

    2. The other point, if we can buy it how are we going to ship it outside? Through Freetown is probably out of the question, through Monrovia is not safe either, we cannot trust those people.

    Charles has the financial ability to do anything, a private jet from Belgium to Kono or to Monrovia or to Freetown or any other solution. With Charles we can do whatever is possible. It is now up to you and me to find the solution.

    Foday, what I am saying is this: The money if finally on the table, you make sure that the merchandise is available one way or another and all of us will be okay. At the minute the commission will be in place and we will have the final contract, everything will be easier for all us but please let's do something in the meantime. The ambassador of Sierra Leone went to see Charles's father in Antwerp yesterday. Don't forget he is the president of the association for all the diamond buyers in Antwerp. Following our advice, Charles's father told the ambassador that Antwerp was not ready to do anything until the commission is in place. Charles is already preparing the equipment you requested last week."

    Mr Taylor, are you the Charles referred to in this document?

  • No, I'm not.

  • You said that later the Washington Post published an article, yes?

  • On what was that article based?

  • That article was based in - I would say at most to this document. In June - a month later, this is in May. In June Douglas Farah of the Washington Post writes an elaborate piece quoting this letter - this document found at Foday Sankoh's house as stating that Charles Taylor is involved in diamond operations in Sierra Leone and is demanding 90 per cent of the profits. In June 2000, written by Douglas Farah, published by the Washington Post.

  • Mr President, can I seek some assistance here? I'm not sure, and it's entirely my fault, whether when we first looked at this letter I asked for it to be marked for identification.

  • Madam Court Manager, could you help us on that? Has that been marked for identification?

  • Your Honour, it appears not to have been marked.

  • Very well. Could I ask then, please, Mr President, that this letter from Michel to The Leader, Foday Sankoh, recovered from Foday Sankoh's address following his arrest be marked for identification MFI-278, please.

  • That's MFI-279.

  • That document is marked for identification MFI-279.

  • Mr President, there appear to be memoranda that are attached or are on the same pages here that do not indicate they are part of the letter. So I'm not sure what to do. Those haven't been referred to, they are not part of the letter.

  • Yes, thank you for that, Ms Hollis. Yes, that's quite correct. There's some additional documents on the tail end of that letter.

  • Mr President, yes, and when I first referred to this letter we did go through those additional - the two additional messages. We went through them on the first occasion and I would like the whole document to be marked for identification, please.

  • I see. There's some evidence already regarding the tail end document?

  • That document then is marked MFI-279.

  • Now let's come then, Mr Taylor, to the next stage which you've already alerted us to which is the Douglas Farah article, yes?

  • Can I invite everyone's attention, please, to disclosure for week 37 behind divider 1:

  • Mr Taylor, do you have it?

  • Who is Douglas Farah?

  • Douglas Farah is a reporter for the Washington Post in Washington, DC, that served also as I think the bureau chief in Abidjan sometime in the period up to I would say about 2000, 2001.

  • Is he still working for the Washington Post, Mr Taylor?

  • No, to the best of my - what limited information I have is that Douglas Farah no longer works for the Washington Post. He now runs his private web page or something like that.

  • Let's look at this article, bearing in mind the contents of that Michel letter:

    "Sierra Leone's rebels have been freshly reinforced by Liberia with arms and recruits and are preparing to fight rather than let UN peacekeeping forces take over their diamond mining strongholds, say Western intelligence officials and West African sources with direct knowledge of the events.

    In the past two weeks, Liberian President Charles Taylor has sent several convoys of trucks loaded with weapons, food and medicine across the border to the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in the Kono region of north eastern Sierra Leone according to the sources."

    Now, Mr Taylor, did you in late May/June in 2000 do that?

  • Never. No. No.

  • "Taylor has also sponsored military training for several hundred RUF fighters at his own security force's main camp, they said. Most of the reinforced RUF units are led by Sam Bockarie, a long time rebel leader, better known as Mosquito, who is now living in Monrovia under Taylor's protection. For months Western military and intelligence officials have reported Taylor's tacit support for the rebels and friendship with their leaders. But in recent days intelligence officials, diplomats and sources with direct knowledge of RUF activities say his support has become more active and the threat of a wider regional war is growing. These sources say Taylor's recent reinforcement of the rebels is due to his determination to either maintain RUF control over the bulk of Sierra Leone's diamond fields, or back a new RUF escalation of the war. While Taylor acknowledges a friendship and historical ties with RUF leaders, he denies that he is arming the rebels now.

    The rebels' support from Taylor and from the President of nearby Burkina Faso is the latest turn in nearly two decades of intertwined West African wars-conflicts that, at their inception, pitted brutal, corrupt US-backed governments against revolutionaries trained and armed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In the 1980s and 90s Gaddafi backed the rise of Taylor, RUF leader Foday Sankoh and the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore. While Libya's influence has waned in recent years, its proteges still cooperate closely, intelligence analysts said.

    The current crisis arose last month when Sankoh refused to disarm the RUF as called for in a July 1999 peace agreement. The situation deteriorated when the rebels kidnapped about 500 UN peacekeepers and Sankoh fled the capital. Taylor, under international pressure, secured the peacekeepers' release. Sankoh was arrested by government troops and remains in prison.

    Last week, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Parliament that 'there is continuing evidence establishing close links between the rebels in Sierra Leone and supporters in Liberia.' The European Union suspended $48 million in aid to Liberia to pressure it to halt what another British foreign office minister Keith Vaz called 'the flow of illicit weapons to the rebels from outside.'

    Scholars and diplomats say Taylor backs the RUF because he profits from the sale of diamonds they mine, and because the rebels employ many of Taylor's impoverished former militia fighters who otherwise would be a threat to his regime. 'If you can't give Taylor what he gets from Sierra Leone you can't give him anything and he won't stop,' said Ibrahim Abdullah, a historian at South Africa's University of the Western Cape who studies the RUF and Liberia. 'What he is getting from Sierra Leone is jobs for his boys around diamonds?'

    Confidential RUF documents found in Sankoh's house after he fled show he was shipping diamonds out of Sierra Leone through Liberia with Taylor's knowledge. The documents also show that Sankoh was growing increasingly angry at Taylor because Taylor was taking 90 per cent of the profit."

    Where does that figure of 90 per cent come from Mr Taylor?

  • In the letter from Michel to the leader.

  • Now, were you the Charles referred to in that letter?

  • So were you, as this journalist in the United States in the Washington Post was claiming, that important newspaper, were you getting 90 per cent of the profits, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, help us. As a former President, what kind of influence does the Washington Post newspaper have worldwide?

  • Extraordinary. Extraordinary influence. The Washington Post, extraordinary.

  • Now, the Charles referred to in the Michel letter, Mr Taylor, the one who is receiving 90 per cent, according to that document, do you now know who that Charles is?

  • It is explained in the letter. He is the son of the head of the diamond buyers' association in Antwerp, and I have to assume he is Caucasian.

  • Thank you, Mr President. That is a mischaracterisation of what has been marked MFI-279. Nowhere in this letter does it say that a person named Charles is getting 90 per cent of the profits of diamonds. In fact, it says that Charles is the partner of Michel and that Charles and Michel and others can try to get the 90 per cent that is not coming to them from Kono. So that is a mischaracterisation of the plain language of this letter.

  • Yes, that seems to accord with my memory of the document too, Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr President, this Washington Post article makes quite clear that the source of that reference to 90 per cent is confidential RUF documents found in Sankoh's house. Of the documents recovered from Sankoh's house, the only document which refers to 90 per cent is that Michel letter. So the source of that reference to 90 per cent could only have come from that document and from nowhere else.

    If my learned friend can point to a single document recovered from that Spur Road address which makes a different reference to 90 per cent, then I would like to see it. So that's the clear connection between the two, in our submission.

  • I think you are saying, Ms Hollis, that if that's the reference to 90 per cent, then the Washington Post author has got it wrong.

  • Not at all, Mr President. What I'm saying is this: Defence counsel is taking 90 per cent, which is in this letter, and he is attributing that to being given to Charles. The letter doesn't say anything about Charles receiving 90 per cent. The letter says, "Charles is my partner, and if we get together with Charles, we can all get the 90 per cent that now, Mr Sankoh, you're not getting from Kono." So there's nothing in that letter that says a Charles is getting the 90 per cent. That's the mischaracterisation of the letter.

    The letter does contain 90 per cent, but it does not say this person Charles, whoever that is, is getting 90 per cent. Instead it says, Charles is the partner of the one writing the letter and so is one with Michel and Foday Sankoh to try to rectify the situation so the 90 per cent they are not now getting they can find a way to get. That's the mischaracterisation.

  • I understand.

    Just to put this in context, Mr Griffiths, I'm correct, am I not, in saying that the question objected was this one: "Q. Now, the Charles referred to in the Michel letter, Mr Taylor, the one who is receiving 90 per cent, according to that document, do you know who he is?" Or do you know who that Charles is? That's the question objected to, isn't it?

  • And it's the linkage of the Charles and receiving the 90 per cent that is the basis of the objection and the mischaracterisation.

  • Yes, that's what's objected to.

  • Very well. I'll rephrase the question:

  • Mr Taylor, this reference in the Douglas Farah article linking you to Taylor and 90 per cent - I'm looking at the Washington Post article, the paragraph we've just read, linking the name Taylor with taking 90 per cent of the profits, yes?

  • Mr Taylor, help us. First of all, that reference to 90 per cent, where, other than in this article, have you seen such a reference in a document --

  • I have not seen it in any other document.

  • Apart from the Michel letter that was obtained from Sankoh's residence in May 2000.

  • Now, bearing in mind my learned friend's objection to the link, Mr Taylor, can you help us - can you help us, to your mind, as to where this linkage of you and 90 per cent comes from?

  • My understanding, counsel, your Honours, of the allegations made here - well, the allegation made here by the writer, Mr Farah, links directly to his misunderstanding or deliberate attempt to smear my name by deliberately misunderstanding the linkage between Charles as stated in the May document versus Charles Taylor of Liberia. I think this is deliberate and I think it is mischievous, because, in fact, that letter does not say that Charles Taylor is receiving 90 per cent, but I think this is due to the conspiracy that I talk about and the deliberate mischief of Douglas Farah, who subsequently I understand the Washington Post had to get rid of - by deliberately trying to malign my name by associating Charles Taylor with the Charles that is mentioned in the May document taken from Foday Sankoh, which is misleading in the first instance.

    So to the extent of what the Prosecution is talking about, the Prosecution has a point that it does not say Charles Taylor. But this link of referring to the May document as what he calls it confidential, I think is deliberate, it's mischievous and it does misstate what the Michel document says and I think he is trying to smear my name. So the link here is the deliberate smear of my name linking me to the document and Foday Sankoh mischievously.

  • Now, let's go back to this article, shall we:

    "In an effort to protect his interests without escalating the war, Taylor, with Compaore's backing, has pushed for a truce in Sierra Leone that would leave the rebels in charge of the main diamond fields. That has been rejected by Sierra Leone and the region's major power, Nigeria and tensions are growing."

    Now, Mr Taylor, bearing in mind the date of this article, which is June 2000, at that stage were you pushing for a truce in Sierra Leone?

  • Well, yes. ECOWAS is pushing by June 2000. We have a situation where we've just gotten the UN hostages released. Theirs chaos in Sierra Leone. We are all pushing for some stability in Sierra Leone by June 2000.

  • "Last week senior officials in both Liberia and Sierra Leone warned that the war could spill into Liberia. Sierra Leone deputy Defence Minter Hinga Norman said his troops would take on Taylor if necessary to finish off the rebels. Daniel Chea, Liberia's Defence Minister, responded by warning Sierra Leone not to 'threaten this country with war, especially one that you can cannot win ... stop blaming your war on Liberia.' Intelligence analysts and sources close to Taylor said he cannot allow the rebels to lose the war, in part because he has taken millions of dollars from foreign investors in the form of licensing fees to allow them to mine Sierra Leone diamonds. 'That is why he is pressing for a cease-fire, where the rebels control the mines, or there will be all-out war,' said one source familiar with RUF operations."

    Now, Mr Taylor, where are these millions that you obtained from foreign investors for licensing fees? Where are they?

  • There are no millions. There are no millions. And this is why - there are no millions, there are no diamonds, but this is why this report by the Washington Post must be looked at in a greater context of what is going on in what I describe as this conspiracy, okay. There are no - we have phantom accounts, phantom bank accounts. And Douglas Farah, I wonder, at the beginning of this letter in 2000 - and it may have escaped us - Sam Bockarie is supposed to be training a rebel force in Liberia. False. He is not there. Now we're seeing monies, bank account - all a part of a mischievous plan.

    And the fact that this writer states even in the paragraph that I explained very carefully here the confidential nature and Taylor receiving 90 per cent, it is not in isolation. It is all part of a plan, and this is another link of that deliberate attempt to spread disinformation to destroy me, okay. So this is deliberate and it is - it does not exist as he explains it.

  • "Liberian Information Minister Joe Mulbah denies the allegations telling the BBC recently that his government 'has never sanctioned the traffic of diamonds or guns. We are not involved (in Sierra Leone) ... and I challenge anyone to prove us wrong when we say we have nothing to do with diamond deals in Sierra Leone.' Sources with direct knowledge said mercenaries from South Africa and Burkina Faso who are working for Taylor have trained fighters under rebel leader Mosquito's command at Taylor's training camp at Gbatala, 90 miles northeast of Monrovia. They said Mosquito's men are equipped with surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles, anti-tank weapons, and other arms from a 66-tonne shipment that moved through Burkina Faso."

    Now, Mr Taylor, who are these South Africans and Burkinabes who are training Mosquito's fighters?

  • There are no one training Mosquito's fighters. All evidence led in this Court, including one of those that trained, testified here there was a South African general hired by the Liberian government in 2000 to train the ATU of the Republic of Liberia, and all of this stuff is just all a makeup using real situation with disinformation. There's no one training any Sam Bockarie forces.

  • Now, who are these Burkinabes who are involved, Mr Taylor?

  • There are no Burkinabes whatsoever.

  • And where did you get the surface-to-air missiles from and the anti-tank weapons to equip these soldiers?

  • There was no such thing. There was no surface-to-air or anti-tank. None of that.

  • What about the 66-tonne arms shipment from Burkina Faso, how did that enter Liberia? Help us?

  • There was none of such. There was no amount of 66 tons or any other ton from Burkina Faso that entered Liberia. No.

  • Page 3:

    "In Burkina Faso earlier this month Compaore played host to senior RUF commanders to plan military and political strategy, diplomats and intelligence analysts said. In return for their support, Taylor and Compaore received diamonds from the RUF, which are then sold on the international diamond market, intelligence sources and UN investigators said."

    Now help us. In June 2000, Mr Taylor, who were the RUF commanders who went to Burkina Faso to plan military and political strategy?

  • None that I know. In June 2000 we know what is going on in Sierra Leone. There is no such, that I know of, of commanders. Foday Sankoh is in jail. We know that. We know that the UN hostages are released and we know that Sam Bockarie - excuse me, Issa Sesay is the most senior commander and he surely is not in Burkina Faso. There's no such thing. It's a lie.

  • "Taylor, Sankoh and Compaore have been linked since the mid 1980s, according to academics, intelligence analysts and participants in the early days of the revolutionary fervour that swept the region. Liberia's US-backed dictator, Samuel Doe, accused Taylor, then a senior Liberian bureaucrat, of stealing government funds. When Taylor fled to the United States, he was arrested at Doe's request but escaped to Burkina Faso."

    Did you?

  • I did not escape to Burkina Faso. That's not true.

  • "According to historians and regional experts, Compaore enlisted Liberian aid in the killing of then President Thomas Sankara, after which Compaore seized power in Burkina Faso."

    What Liberian aid was there in the killing of Thomas Sankara, Mr Taylor?

  • Have no I idea. When Thomas Sankara died I was in prison in Accra, Ghana, being held by the then government of Jerry Rawlings when Thomas Sankara was killed.

  • "Taylor launched his revolt against Doe in 1989 then helped Sankoh found the RUF in 1991. Compaore, Taylor and Sankoh, as well as many of their senior commanders, trained at Libya's World Revolutionary Headquarters in the 1980s. The Reagan administration regarded Libya as a primary sponsor of international terrorism and saw Doe as a reliable ally. It poured $500 million in aid into Doe's Liberia and pressured Nigeria and other pro-Western governments to intervene militarily using Sierra Leone as a base to fight Taylor. But Taylor ultimately fought to a draw, signed a ceasefire and won a presidential election in 1997.

    Troops sent by Taylor and Compaore fought alongside the RUF in Sierra Leone, and the RUF helped Taylor's troops, while Compaore supplied both with a secure arms pipeline, according to investigators."

    Now, Mr Taylor, what's your knowledge of Burkina Faso sending troops to fight alongside the RUF?

  • I have no knowledge of that. And I don't think there are any reports anywhere that showed that there were any Burkinabes. The more I listen to this I'm convinced that Douglas Farah was put up to this and that's why he doesn't work for the Washington Post any more, but it bears all of the trappings of an intelligence plot. Every bit of it. Real situations and lies. There was no such thing. You go through the truth commission report in Sierra Leone. I don't recall as I've read that report the presence of any Burkinabe troops in Sierra Leone. All lies he was put up to.

  • And then we come to this, the penultimate paragraph:

    "'The deal was that the RUF would help Taylor liberate Liberia and afterward would provide a base for the RUF to enter Sierra Leone,' said Abdullah. 'When the RUF entered Sierra Leone there was a Burkinabe force under their command that Taylor arranged to send in.'"

    Who were they, Mr Taylor?

  • There was no such thing. All of the Prosecution witnesses have never said there was one Burkinabe. All a lie. No such thing.

  • '"All the arms for Taylor and the RUF came from Burkina Faso and were bought in Ukraine. The payment for all this was diamonds that went through Liberia, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.' That basic route still works, intelligence officials said."

    What's the position on that, Mr Taylor?

  • Now that part "the deal was that the RUF would help Taylor liberate Liberia and afterward provide a base for the RUF to enter Sierra Leone", that sounds a bit like the Prosecution allegation against you, Mr Taylor, in the indictment?

  • Well, except that - yes, it sounds like it but except that there is no evidence of any RUF army fighting in Liberia, so that would fall flat on its face. That would just be just what it is, maybe a hypothesis or something where these cases are developed. All of their witnesses, no one has come here and said that we were fighting in Liberia and after we got through fighting we were helped. There's no evidence of any Sierra Leonean force fighting in Liberia to help liberate Liberia, so that wouldn't work. So again, Abdullah, you check from now until hell freezes, you would never find an Abdullah. When you see according to intelligence sources, according to diplomats without names, this is all some intelligence write-up. That's all it is. Designed to cause confusion and stir up things when they want to smear someone. You never get the source because they do not exist. They use some real situations. All lies, this Douglas Farah.

  • "'Until that iron triangle is broken there will be turmoil in the region,' said one intelligence official. 'There is too much history, too much money and too much blood for them to stop now and they view losing the RUF as the beginning of the end.'"

    Now, Mr Taylor, this is June 2000, 18 June.

  • On the following day, 19 June 2000, did anyone contact you?

  • The day after this article was published?

  • I can't quite recall.

  • Did anyone contact you in relation to this article?

  • Well, yes, there were several individuals but they were internal to Liberia that I recall.

  • At this time were you in contact with President Tejan Kabbah?

  • Yes, in June of 2000 Kabbah and I are working very closely. In fact, to give the Court an idea of June 2000, we're still - up until June 2000 we're still arranging for the rest of the UN hostages that are taken, so I'm in communication with Kabbah and everybody else.

  • Before I forget, could I ask, please, that that Washington Post article by Douglas Farah dated 18 June 2000 be marked for identification, please, MFI-280.

  • Yes, that document is marked MFI-280 for identification.

  • Counsel, the question you just asked me, there's a letter later from Tejan Kabbah asking me if I read the Washington Post document now. So, I mean, I do not know if that's the direction of your question, but the question is asked by Kabbah as to whether I saw the Washington Post document and he was trying to alert me of it.

  • Right. If we go to week 33 behind divider 59. Mr Taylor, this is a document disclosed to us by the Prosecution. It is a letter from President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to you and we were only disclosed this one page of the letter, but if we look we see that the letter is dated 19 June 2000. Is that right?

  • That is correct.

  • So it's the day after the Douglas Farah letter was published in the Washington Post?

  • You see that it's addressed to you, yes?

  • First paragraph:

    "Mr President and dear brother, I thought I should, in accordance with the agreement between us, share with you information contained in the attached documents reflecting recent reports carried by the Washington Post. My main interest in the report relates to the alleged movement of arms into Sierra Leone territory which our intelligence agencies have been noticing. I should reiterate that I have full confidence in your determination to continue to work for a speedy and peaceful settlement of the Sierra Leone conflict.

    On my part, I want to reassure you of my firm commitment to furthering the close, peaceful relations between our two countries and peoples, particularly in the context of the 2000 Mano River declaration we recently adopted in Conakry.

    Thank you for the video cassette. I have seen it and discussed it with the Deputy Defence Minister, Chief Hinga Norman, who has assured me that he has no intention of either inciting the Liberian people or casting aspersions on your person. He has further assured me that he will avoid making such statements again. I regret this situation and will see to it that there is no repetition in the future."

    What video cassette was that, Mr Taylor?

  • Of a press conference - or at least a statement made to the press in which Chief Norman made some bellicose remarks and I sent him a copy that had come from our mission down there, telling him that I did not feel it was proper what he had said in that particular press conference about threatening to - as mentioned, to deal with the Liberian situation. Even if he had to move on Liberia, he would do and that kind of stuff.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, what was the effect on you of receiving this letter from your brother President, President Kabbah, mentioning this report in the Washington Post?

  • Quite frankly, I'm not sure as to whether I should describe it as being angry. I just felt it was foolish. Because Kabbah and I were working together and he is going to ask me about a Washington Post article published by Douglas Farah. And what I gathered from this was a type of - well, like, you know, there you are, there appears to be some proof. You are on the ground, you're President of Sierra Leone, you know how closely we are working together. If he did not mean anything negative in regards to Douglas Farah's lie, he would have said, you know, "My brother, I have seen this document in the Washington Post. I do not agree with it" and maybe suggest what should be done. But I look at it with a degree of disdain that Kabbah would in some, I would say, low level inference try to give this report any credence. So I was a little bit I would say upset.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, did you take any steps to address what was said in this report by Farah?

  • Oh, yes. The press offices, we did whatever we could. Douglas Farah, we complained about this. Because, in fact, I can remember, we also raised this issue with the Washington Post because we had - I had refused, at least on three or four occasions, to grant Douglas Farah an interview when he came to Liberia several times after being stationed at la Cote d'Ivoire, and so I just felt that this was a part of his mischief and I complained to even the Post about it. And if I can recall properly, I think the Ministry of Information dealt with it as we would deal with any other innuendo coming from the press.

  • Mr President, can I ask, please, that the one-page letter from President Kabbah to Charles Taylor, dated 19 June 2000, be marked for identification, please, MFI-281.

  • Yes, that document is so marked.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, in the summer of the year 2000, bearing in mind the date of this Douglas Farah Washington Post article, was there any other further reports linking - in the international media linking you as an individual and Liberia to diamond smuggling in Sierra Leone?

  • There was a BBC report done by Mark Doyle. Mark Doyle wrote an extensive piece, some three, four pages, in - detailing diamonds and my involvement with diamonds. He makes reference to what Kabbah makes reference to in his letter. There are supposed to be two reports that are done by the so-called Sierra Leonean Special Branch. Mark Doyle makes a reference to those reports. He ties it all in. Mark Doyle even states in that particular written report, he even goes to Monrovia and interviews a senior official of the United States embassy accredited near Monrovia to ascertain the authenticity of these accusations.

    In fact, he reports in that document that the senior United States government official says, "Well, look, we never said that Taylor was directly involved in diamonds or diamond smuggling, but it's up to Mr Taylor to clear it up." And this is where they put it, so it's like, "Hey, you know, it's up to him to clear up whatever is being said. We've never said it directly or accused him directly, but it's up for him to clear it up." So - but Mark Doyle ends with a general picture that there appears to be some truth to this thing because all of these reports are coming out and we know the sequence of these reports that are coming out. This is about his writing now constitutes the third or fourth document in what I call the whole conspiratorial move, and this is the document that Mark publishes in July 2000.

  • Right. Can we have a look, please, behind divider 64, disclosure for week 33, please. Is this the article, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, this is the article by Mark Doyle. This is it, yes.

  • Now, we see it's dated 18 July 2000, so it's a month after the Washington Post article by Douglas Farah, yes?

  • "BBC West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle reports from Monrovia on the links between diamond smuggling and Liberia's backing of Sierra Leone rebels. Liberia has close relations with rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone trying to overthrow the internationally-recognise government in Freetown. The British government has roundly and publicly condemned Liberia for smuggling Sierra Leonean diamonds out of the rebel held areas and using the proceeds to supply the rebels with arms. So if Liberia is smuggling diamonds and running guns to the Sierra Leone rebels, a diamond dealer seemed a good place to start looking. Riad Shour is a fully licensed legal trader in Liberian diamonds. He believes that if Sierra Leonean gems are being smuggled they are leaving via Sierra Leone's other neighbour Guinea. 'In Sierra Leone, most of the diamonds from there are white,' says Mr Shour. 'In Liberia, they are all greenish, yellowish diamonds. However there is a problem. The world's main importer of diamonds is Belgium, and the trade body there, the Diamond High Council, says Liberia exports millions of dollars worth of diamond every year, stones which experts say it could not possibly produce and must, logically, come from neighbouring Sierra Leone.'"

    Mr Taylor, have you ever denied that Sierra Leonean diamonds may have passed through Liberia?

  • I've never denied that.

  • "I met, in Liberia, with one of the main figures in the Sierra Leone rebel movement, Major General Sam Bockarie. Mr Bockarie lives in Liberia and says he has retired from fighting."

    Now, pausing there. Of course, bear in mind this article is dated 18 July 2000.

  • Bockarie would have been in Liberia since December '99. Is that right?

  • And whilst in Liberia, Mr Taylor, was he prohibited from meeting with the international media?

  • No, he was not.

  • "Mr Bockarie lives in Liberia and says he has retired from fighting. Coincidentally, he was listening to the British Foreign Office Minister, Peter Hain, speaking on the BBC World Service Radio about his campaign to ban blood diamonds. I asked Mr Bockarie about illegal diamond mining during his time as the rebels' military commander. 'That is wrong because I was in charge up to the moment that they became convinced that Liberia was receiving diamonds selling them for arms and ammunition,' he said. I asked him to confirm that his men were not digging for diamonds. 'We were restricting it because the leadership had believed that if that happens then everybody would concentrate on mining and would not concentrate on war,' he said. 'It would be difficult for us to gain military victory over the enemy.' I watched a helicopter fly into Monrovia from the Sierra Leone border. This particular flight was uncontroversial, but Liberia's critics, including the British government, say the border is regularly breached by air and by land for diamond smuggling and gun running."

    Pause. Mr Taylor, breached by air and by land. Were you sending air shipments into Sierra Leone?

  • No, we were not. I don't know what Mark means by - if he says the flight was uncontroversial in 2000, he is talking about normal helicopters. The only helicopters that are going across that border are UN helicopters. Maybe that's what he means by uncontroversial.

  • "Proof is hard to get. However, I have obtained secret Sierra Leonean police files which record detailed allegations of the movement of guns and diamonds between Liberia and Sierra Leone. The files were obtained directly from Sierra Leonean police intelligence officers and did not appear to be part of any political propaganda effort against Liberia."

    Pause. Mr Taylor, has any such report ever been brought to your attention?

  • No, it has not been brought to my attention, no.

  • Have you seen any document disclosed by the Prosecution in this case which purports, as this - firstly, to come from Sierra Leonean police intelligence?

  • No, I haven't seen any disclosed.

  • Or any police files as alleged by this journalist detailing allegations of the movement of guns and diamonds, have you seen any?

  • No. If it exists, I haven't seen it.

  • "However, these interesting documents remain allegations, not proof. What is curious is that if Britain or the United States do have evidence to prove Liberia's involvement, why do they not publish it?"

    Mr Taylor, have you ever seen any evidence published by either the United States or Britain proving your alleged complicity in diamonds and arms smuggling?

  • None. I not seen any published, neither with all of the meetings that I met with British and American officials did they ever give me any evidence. Neither. No. I haven't seen any published, no.

  • "A question I have put to Walter Greenfield, the charge d'affaires of the United States embassy in Liberia."

    Do you know him, Mr Taylor?

  • Not personally, but I have heard the name, yes.

  • "'What we have said is that there are many reports out there that allege that the Government of Liberia is involved through illicit diamonds and the flow of weapons and were concerned by them,' he says. 'We think that if they are not involved in this activity they have a real public relations problem on their hands because they have to dispel that notion.' Some powerful countries believe that Liberia may be gun running and smuggling diamonds. However, the Liberian President, Charles Taylor, remains his usual, confident self, challenging the West to publish evidence of any arms or diamond convoys crossing the border. 'When someone gets up and says that Liberia is involved in diamond smuggling and gun running like a movie, you've got to be joking,' he says. 'But what we have said is, with all of the western intelligence - for God's sake. These people have satellites focused on Sierra Leone.' 'Could somebody please bring me one photograph of a convoy going.' The Liberian President may well be doing what Britain says, but on the current available evidence, he may well get away with it."

    Now, Mr Taylor, have you ever seen a satellite photograph of a convoy either then or now?

  • None whatsoever. None. And this is the whole problem. This is the whole problem. I am in jail and here is a US official saying, "They've got a public relations problem." They joke with people's lives and they published these things since 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, diamond smuggling, gun running, and what do we have, we have a host of witnesses coming up here now saying, "We took diamonds to - we heard that diamonds were going." How do you play with somebody's life like this on a public relations problem that the person has? There's been no such thing. None.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we've looked at that article by Douglas Farah in the Washington Post. Was that the only occasion that Mr Farah touched this topic of diamonds?

  • Oh, no. Mr Farah went further. Upon being - and I may be describing it in a way that may not be 100 per cent correct. Upon being thrown out of the Washington Post, because I understand that he was asked to leave because of several controversial reports that he did linking me with more than diamonds --

  • Linking you with what?

  • Douglas Farah did publications linking me with Al-Qaeda.

  • Oh, yes, he did publications. But Douglas Farah, in your question, published a document under an organisation Coalition For International Justice where he goes even deeper in detailing movements of arms, diamonds, bank accounts, billions and millions of dollars. Oh, all kinds of things. So he doesn't stop there. He goes further.

  • Now before we go any further, could I ask, please, that the BBC article by Mark Doyle dated 18 July 2000 be marked for identification MFI-282, please.

  • Yes, that document is so marked.

  • Mr Taylor, you made mention of Douglas Farah linking you with Al-Qaeda, yes?

  • And did he do that in a publication?

  • Could I invite attention to disclosure for week 33, binder 4 of 4 behind divider 148:

  • Do you have it, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, we see that this article is a bit later. It's 24 October 2003. Yes?

  • And we see it's by Douglas Farah entitled "The role of conflict diamonds and failed states in the terrorist financial structure."

    "In 1998, following the Al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Clinton administration froze some $240 million in assets belonging to Afghanistan's Taliban government and Osama bin Laden, the rogue regime's guest. They caught both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by surprise because they apparently did not realise the money, mostly held as gold reserves in the United States, could be targeted. Because it was so costly a miscalculation and because Al-Qaeda constantly reviews both successful and failed operations to find and correct their own vulnerabilities, a far-reaching review of the terrorist financial structure was undertaken.

    Adapting to the US response and determined not to be caught in the same position again, Al-Qaeda began a systematic withdrawal of its funds from the formal banking sector, where its assets were vulnerable and traceable. Instead, the decision was made to begin shifting money into commodities that would hold their value over time. Chief among these were diamonds and tanzanite.

    Diamonds and tanzanite offered an additional advantage for terrorists. The infrastructure needed to acquire and trade in the gemstones was easy to set up because the commodities were available in states that exercised little control over much of their national territory. Tanzanite is only found in a small corner of Tanzania where the government has virtually no presence and the diamond trade Al-Qaeda tapped into in West Africa was centred in Liberia, where the corrupt regime of Charles Taylor also controlled diamonds mined by his allies in neighbouring Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone the diamond fields were under the control of the notoriously brutal rebels of the Revolutionary United Front. The RUF earned international notoriety for its signature atrocities of hacking off the arms, legs and ears of civilians, including children as young as two years old; mass rape; and the abduction of thousands of children who were forced to become fighters.

    Al-Qaeda had long-standing ties to the gemstone trade. Documents and testimony presented during 2000 the trials of Wadih el Hage and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh show that Al-Qaeda even before the US embassy bombings was dealing extensively in diamonds, tanzanite, amethyst, rubies and sapphires, mostly as money making ventures. According the trial transcripts, senior Al-Qaeda leaders were deeply concerned about the possibility that Al-Qaeda operative was carrying a large quantity of stones when he drowned while crossing a lake.

    After the embassy bombings the use of gemstones accelerated rapidly but with an added purpose. Rather than being viewed solely as a business venture, gemstones and diamonds in particular were used as a way to store the value of Al-Qaeda's financial resources outside the formal financial sector. A premium was no longer placed on turning a profit, but rather acquiring as many stones as possible with money that was being siphoned out of banks and businesses.

    The Al-Qaeda leadership through Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed, one of its senior financial operators, contacted an old Al-Qaeda friend who had fought with the mujahideen and now ran most of the illicit or blood diamond trade for West Africa, Ibrahim Bah. Bah is a Senegalese who trained in Libya under Muammar Gaddafi, then went to fight in Afghanistan in the early 1980s. After about two years there, he briefly returned to Libya before joining Hezbollah fighters combating Israeli forces. Finally he returned to Libya in the late 1980s, just in time to train and become friends with the long list of Libyan-backed leaders who would wreak havoc on West Africa: Charles Taylor of Liberia; Foday Sankoh, founder of the RUF in neighbouring Sierra Leone; Blaise Compaore, now President of Burkina Faso, who assassinated his best friend, Thomas Sankara, in order to assume the presidency."

    Pause there. Mr Taylor, did you know about Ibrahim Bah's connection to the mujahideen in Afghanistan?

  • Not at all. Never. I don't even think he did.

  • Never knew of it, but I say I don't even think he did. That's a far right lie.

  • Do you know about Bah fighting with the Hezbollah fighters in the Middle East?

  • No. No, I do not know and when it comes to the Hezbollah activities, Liberian intelligence did a lot with working to - if anybody had known that Bah was connected to Hezbollah he never would have gone to Liberia. No, don't know.

  • Why not?

  • Because the Liberian intelligence agency is wholly and solely connected and assisted by all of the major the Western intelligence you can talk about, whether we're talking about the CIA or you're talking about Mossad which is Israeli - and my government got a lot of assistance in terms of security training, we had good relationship with Israel. Hezbollah would have never entered Liberia ever. And so Bah would not have been able to stay around Liberia, no.

  • "The contacts between Bah and Al-Qaeda began in 1998 just weeks after the embassy bombing and continued until after 9/11."

    Now I want to pause there, Mr Taylor. What's your knowledge of the relationship between Gaddafi and Al-Qaeda?

  • To the best of my understanding or my knowledge of Gaddafi, I think Gaddafi would have dealt in a harsher manner with Al-Qaeda than even the United States of the West. From all of my knowing of Gaddafi and the ideological leaning of Al-Qaeda, Gaddafi hated that line of ideology, from my discussion with him, and knowing him, he would have dealt even harsher with Al-Qaeda than even the United States. So this is a lie.

  • The reason I'm asking, you see, Mr Taylor, is this: The contacts between Bah an Al-Qaeda began in 1998. Now, you remember we looked at two letters from Foday Sankoh to Mohamed Talibi this morning, did we not?

  • That is correct.

  • Dated June and December respectively 1996?

  • And we thereafter looked at the UN panel of experts report which mentioned diamond mining becoming more focused in Sierra Leone in 1997, yes?

  • Now, here what is being suggested is that by '98 Ibrahim Bah has established this link with Al-Qaeda. Now what do you say about that?

  • I say it's got to be a lie. I mean, I wouldn't know the details, but I can tell you the Americans would not have missed it and they would have never - Bah would be linked to Al-Qaeda as explained here beginning 1998 and he would not be in custody of the Americans after they investigated and this whole thing and even talked to Bah and interrogated Bah about this matter, this is Douglas Farah's lie. It is not true. I doubt it very much.

  • "But what is important and instructive are the conditions ideal for terrorists that allowed the relationship to prosper. Bah had access to diamonds mined by the RUF, among the most prized in the world. He was also a key player in Liberia."

    Was he?

  • "A corrupt state that, while retaining the valuable trappings of nationhood, was in fact a functioning criminal enterprise."

    You were the head of a criminal state, Mr Taylor, according to Farah, and no doubt as President you were the arch criminal, weren't you?

  • Definitely not. Definitely not.

  • "Among the benefits accrued to the Taylor regime, despite its criminal status, were the right to issue internationally recognised diplomatic passports, the ability to register aircrafts and ships, control of the formal entry points, and access to a central bank. Bah's close relationship with Taylor" - did he have such a relationship with you, Mr Taylor?

  • "And the Liberian security apparatus guaranteed that his guests, while wanted as terrorists elsewhere in the world, could come and go unmolested to Monrovia." Was that the case?

  • That was never the case. Never the case.

  • "Armed thugs from the presidential guard escorted Mohamed and later Al-Qaeda visitors to and from the airport, allowing them to circumvent immigration formalities and lessening the paper trail. As long as Taylor was apprised of the situation and was able to take" - there you go again - "his percentage of each deal neither Bah nor his guests had anything to fear."

    Now, Mr Taylor, who are these armed thugs who were from your presidential guard?

  • I have no idea who this boy is working for and who paid this Douglas Farah. There are no armed thugs escorting any Al-Qaeda or anything. That's not true. No armed thugs.

  • I think we'll take our lunch break now. It's almost right on 1.30.

  • We'll adjourn until 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • All right, Mr Taylor. Can we pick up, please, where we left off on that Douglas Farah article.

  • "Bah also had access to the official state apparatus of neighbouring Burkina Faso, due to his long-standing personal and business relationships with President Blaise Compaore. Compaore also had close ties to Taylor. Compaore and Burkina Faso offered a valuable asset that Liberia, under a United Nations-mandated arms embargo could not: The ability to produce internationally recognised end-user certificates for the purchase of large quantities of weapons from around the world. For many years Bah, with Compaore's knowledge and blessing, coordinated arms shipments for Taylor and the RUF through Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Totally false. That's not true.

  • "Al-Qaeda was not the only terrorist or criminal group to operate under the protection of Taylor, Compaore and Bah. Victor Bout, one of the world's largest illicit weapons dealers, registered his fleet of aircraft in Liberia ..."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not true. Victor Bout, from what I understand, his aircrafts were registered in Niger.

  • "... because he could so with no questions asked and no inspections required. With those aircraft, he shipped tons of weapons, including combat helicopters, surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns to Taylor ..."

    Did he?

  • "... and the RUF through Burkina Faso." Did he?

  • No, he did not. No.

  • "At the same time, Bout was supplying UNITA rebels in Angola and several sides of the civil war that was shattering the Democratic Republic of Congo. He often accepted diamonds as payment for his weapons.

    There is an intriguing link between Bout and Al-Qaeda. US and UN investigators found that while supplying African wars with weapons, Bout was also providing goods and services to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. From his base in the United Arab Emirates, Bout and a partner, a member of the royal family, flew weapons, medicines and other commodities to the outlaw regime and its supporters.

    Another world-class criminal, Lenoid Menin of an important Russian organised crime family, also set up shop in Monrovia ..."

    Did he?

  • Lenoid Menin did have a business in Monrovia, yes.

  • He was doing timber business in Liberia.

  • "... buying diamonds and exploiting timber. Protected by the Taylor's son Chucky ..."

    Is that true?

  • That is not true. Lenoid Menin registered a business in Liberia doing timber. He did. He's never been arrested. He's in Israel. And I'm sure if Douglas Farah had any - if there was any important thing about Menin, it's easy to get him. He's an Israeli citizen. He lives openly in Israel. That's a lie.

  • "... Menin also delivered weapons in exchange for the chance to reap millions of dollars in illegal profits. Despite an international arrest warrant, Bout lives peacefully in Moscow. Minin also remains free.

    Terrorists and criminals chose their commodity well. Diamonds, like tanzanite and other gemstones, carry a high value in small bulk, yet are easily convertible to cash in an industry that is largely willing to ignore the origin of the stone. The stones cannot be detected by dogs and set off no metal detectors at airports, making them easy to transport. Sales of small amounts are impossible to detect on the world market. They cause no undue fluctuations. For years, Bah and others made extensive use of grey market networks in Antwerp and elsewhere to sell millions of dollars worth of diamonds, with part of the proceeds going to personal enrichment and part going to keep the RUF and Taylor armed and at war."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not true.

  • "By early 2001, Al-Qaeda was moving more aggressively into the diamond trade with the clear intent of putting their assets beyond the reach of international investigators. Two top Al-Qaeda operatives who were believed to have been heavily involved in the US embassy bombs and other high profile attacks, - Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed - were dispatched to Monrovia to set up greatly expedited mining operations, offering to buy all the diamonds the RUF could produce. They lived in a safe house tucked between buildings housing Libyan diplomats and security forces in downtown Monrovia."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not true. You know, that is so much a lie. These are the - in fact, in 2003 - these kinds of lies - the Liberian government, in cooperation with the United States government, had consignments of FBI and everything, my government, before I left office, with these kinds of lies, cooperated fully with the United States government. All these matters were cleared up. There were no such thing. This is why it never went any further. My government working with the United States government in 2003 went through a thorough, thorough investigation.

  • Investigation of what?

  • Of these lies that there were these people from Al-Qaeda that had been going through Liberia, had been living in hotels and had been moving diamonds. The FBI of the United States spent months in Liberia investigating this. All lies.

  • And what was the outcome of the investigation?

  • All lies. The same - all these issues contained in here were also subject of the 9/11 commission that investigated this in Washington DC. All lies. All. The 9/11 commission set up by the United States government looked into all of these lies. Lies, lies, all of them.

  • Now, you said that your government cooperated with the FBI before you left office, Mr Taylor.

  • Now, just remind us, when did you leave office?

  • This article is published October 2003, after you left office.

  • By October 2003, had this alleged Al-Qaeda link been properly investigated by the American authorities?

  • Properly investigated by the American authorities, yes.

  • So let's go back to this October article, shall we:

    "In this effort, Al-Qaeda leaders, while devoutly Sunni Muslims, showed their willingness and ability to work across religious divides. In order to move the diamonds quickly, the Al-Qaeda operatives turned to Aziz Nassour, a Lebanese diamond merchant with decades of experience in the blood diamond trade. Nassour is a devout Shi'ite Muslim and a supporter of Lebanon's Amal militia.

    Nassour, who was a close business associate of Mobutu Sese Seko in the former Zaire and owner of a host of diamond companies in Antwerp with overlapping directorates, met with the RUF high command in Monrovia in July 2001, promising to buy all the diamonds they could produce. The rebels promised to step up production to the maximum."

    Mr Taylor, do you know about such a meeting in July 2001?

  • No, I don't know.

  • Behind the RUF high command and this man Nassour?

  • No, I do not. And if we look at the dates, and this draws my attention, by 2001, Issa Sesay is a leader then of the RUF. I'm not aware of any such meeting in Monrovia, but I'm sure that if such a meeting had occurred, I would have been told that Issa Sesay had - I don't remember Issa being in Monrovia in July 2001.

  • "Several factors contributed to the RUF being able to dig out the stones at unprecedented levels. Since the RUF had driven most of the civilians out of the diamond mining areas after taking over the region in 1997, production was limited to what the rebels themselves could mine. But things were changing at the same time Al-Qaeda was scrambling to acquire the stones.

    Because a fragile United Nations-backed peace process was taking hold and the RUF was gradually disarming, the rebels were able to move their cadres directly from the demobilisation camps to mining. And because the war was winding down, miners who had stayed out of the diamond mining region for fear of the RUF poured into the area as United Nations peacekeepers offered a modicum of security for their labour.

    Nassour's monopoly also created a shortage among traditional RUF clients, one of the tip-offs that something unusual was happening, diamonds buyers who normally bought stones from the RUF were unable to buy diamonds during the summer of 2001 because some unknown buyers were paying 10 per cent to 15 per cent more than the market rate. They said that premium, being paid by their competitor, made it virtually impossible for them to buy high quality stones. The lack of diamonds was severe enough to prompt United States Ambassador Joseph Melrose to write a cable to Washington about it, although he did not have an explanation for the unusual market happenings. The cable received no response from headquarters.

    At the same time, according to Belgian diamond experts, despite the fact that in the summer of 2001 more diamonds were being mined than at any time in the past decade, the stones didn't show up in Antwerp or any of the other world markets. That showed, one investigator said, that someone bought and, is hoarding, a large stock of diamonds worth many millions of dollars.

    The paradigm shift in terrorist financing, although similar methods have been used for decades by Hezbollah and other Middle Eastern groups, was missed entirely by western intelligence agencies. The CIA lost almost all of its operatives in West Africa after the Cold War, leaving the agency with virtually no resources on the ground. French and Belgian intelligence, active in their former colonies in West Africa, knew of the Middle Eastern connection to diamond sales over the past two decades, principally to Hezbollah and Amal militia supporters, but viewed them as relatively harmless. In the 1980s, the Israelis, aware of the financial boon diamonds provided to its enemies, sent in a large number of its own diamond dealers in an attempt to cut into the trade. Remarkably, by the end of the 1990s Israeli and known Hezbollah and Amal dealers were doing business with each other across Africa.

    Because of the lack of understanding of the terrorists' use of commodities, the United States government, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, did not look for terrorist funds where they were hidden. The initial hunt for Al-Qaeda funds focused almost exclusively on trying to freeze the few assets that remained in western banks and were traceable to terrorist funding. The initial reporting on terrorist ties to gemstones, by me on diamonds, and Bobby Block of the Wall Street Journal and tanzanite in particular, were met initially with deep skepticism in the United States intelligence community.

    This largely continues today. Because it had such a limited understanding of Al-Qaeda's financial structure before the September 11 attacks, the government was slow to recognise and begin to act on the host of non-traditional financial methods used by terrorists. These include the use of charities, the hawalla system of transferring assets, and the vital role that gold plays for these groups. Some US intelligence agencies remain reluctant to acknowledge even the possibility that Al-Qaeda moved significant assets into commodities, especially gemstones, despite the growing evidence beyond anecdotal evidence and eyewitness testimony to support the veracity of the reporting. Much of the evidence has been uncovered by European law enforcement and intelligence officials, who have followed leads the United States has chosen not to. The Swiss Attorney-General, in a recent interview, said it was now accepted conventional wisdom among European investigators and intelligence agencies that Al-Qaeda had put most of its wealth, estimated by United Nations experts to be between $30 and $300 million, into commodities for safekeeping.

    The Belgians in particular have uncovered a wealth of information on the diamond nexus to Al-Qaeda, flowing through Antwerp. Other eye witnesses, unavailable when I did my initial reporting, have come forward to confirm the presence of the Al-Qaeda operatives in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Most significantly, the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has uncovered witnesses and other evidence that not only corroborated my initial findings, but placed other senior Al-Qaeda operatives in Monrovia at the same time."

    Have you seen any such evidence in this Court, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I haven't. I haven't.

  • "For reasons that remain unclear, United States officials have given little importance to the findings.

    The terrorist ties to the diamond and tanzanite trade were uncovered by reporters on the ground in Africa. Given the lack of human resources the CIA and other intelligence gathering agencies have on the ground in West and Central Africa particularly, it is not at all surprising the activities were undetected. Perhaps more than any other region, Africa was abandoned by US intelligence services following the Cold War, often leaving a single station chief to cover two, or even three, countries with almost no support personnel.

    Given the dearth of assets on the ground and the fact that so little of the illicit trade is detectable through electronic intercepts or other high tech tools, it seems to me highly probable that similar transactions by Al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups have transpired in other countries. Countries across Africa, from the Central African Republic to the Congo and Chad, offer many of the same conditions that Liberia and Sierra Leone have offered: The trappings of a state, but in reality states rife with corruption, coupled with an almost complete lack of investigative capabilities and no tradition of confronting criminal elements.

    There is strong anecdotal evidence that Al-Qaeda bought gems in Congo-Kinshasa and Angola, as well as Sierra Leone and Liberia. The DRC, with its host of different armies dividing up the country for the purpose of looting, coupled with a long history of a rapacious state and corruption, is long known to be a major financial centre Hezbollah and other armed groups. Private armies control vast swaths of the extensive nation, and neither the central government nor intelligence agencies have any clear idea of what transpires outside of the capital. For example, there are direct, twice-weekly flights from the diamond mining centre of Mbujy-Mayi in southern DRC to Dubai. The flights pass through no customs regime, file no flight manifest, and are uninspected on both ends of the flight. In Angola, Jonas Savimbi maintained strong ties to Compaore in Burkina Faso and the corrupt dictatorship in Togo, often using diamonds as a medium of exchange for weapons. The only serious investigations into the activities and their possible ties to terrorist organisations have been carried out by the United Nations panel of experts and a handful of private, non-governmental organisations. Neither the host states nor counter-terrorism bodies from other countries have dedicated significant resources to unraveling the diamond trade there. Until resources and attention are brought to bear in this area, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations will continue to use diamonds and other commodities to finance their actions."

    Now, Mr Taylor, have you heard a single witness in this case link you to Al-Qaeda?

  • Mr Taylor, you made reference earlier to a Belgian report, did you not?

  • Help us, when did you first see that report?

  • That report, I first saw it here - by "here" I mean since my incarceration. It is a document that was provided to the Prosecution by, apparently, the Belgian authorities upon request of David Crane, the Prosecutor, and that document was made available to the Defence. I have read the entire document.

  • Before we move to that document, can I ask please, that the Douglas Farah article, "The Role of Conflict Diamonds and Failed States" be marked for identification MFI-283, please.

  • Yes, that document is marked for identification MFI-283.

  • Can I invite attention, please, to behind divider 150 in this same binder.

  • Mr President, for purposes of the record, we wish to raise the same objection to this document that we have raised earlier. The fact that this accused read a document after it was disclosed to him does not establish the relationship of this accused with this document sufficient to provide the foundation that your Honours have indicated is required before such a document can be admitted pursuant to 89C or, in fact, even shown to the witness. So we wish to put that objection on the record.

  • Well, it's on the record, Ms Hollis. Do you want to --

  • No, thank you, Mr President.

  • We are going to allow the question, Ms Hollis.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, the first page of this document should bear the ERN number 00102148. Does it?

  • Now, we see it's headed "Federal Criminal Investigation Department" and then a date. Then it's addressed to the Public Prosecutor, Antwerp, and then we see subject of the report, "Criminal organisation committed between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2001." Then it goes on to list various things and it also mentions at the bottom Nassour Aziz. Now, remember that name appearing in the Douglas Farah article we just looked at?

  • That is correct.

  • And Ossaily Samih, yes?

  • Can we look at this next page, please.

    "Further to the request from the Special Court for Sierra Leone I can provide the following information.

    Further to the investigation into Nassour Aziz, Ossaily Samih, ASA DIAM and others, it has been demonstrated clearly that this organisation had direct contacts with the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, for the transport of rough diamonds through Monrovia (Liberia) to Antwerp (Belgium). This was done under the supervision and with the support of the regime of the former President Charles Taylor."

    What do you say about that assertion, Mr Taylor?

  • I'm saying that is totally untrue, and as we go into the report we will get to see that the report does not contain any factual evidence of the conclusion reached in that paragraph. But as we go through it - I have read the entire report. In their conclusions 1 and 3 - conclusion 1 going from, I think, page 6 through 14-18 and conclusion 3 there's nothing mentioned about Charles Taylor receiving diamonds or being involved. So this conclusion, I disagree with it. Because even as we go down and they refer to it, there's nothing linking me to anything. So I don't understand, and I'm sure the Court will get to see the reading of how they reach that conclusion.

  • And now:

    "I am attaching a copy of the summary report which clearly demonstrate this link. You are specifically referred to conclusion 1, see pages 6 to 14, and conclusion 3, see pages 18 to 27."

  • Now, we should make clear that that numbering appears at the top of the pages we'll be looking at subsequently?

  • "Please note that this information has already been sent to the investigators of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. I am referring to the response to an international legal assistance, reference and file of examining magistrate Bogaerts, at Antwerp. The request for legal assistance concerned a question of 12 March 2003 by then prosecutor David Crane of the Special Court."

  • So this report is prepared, Mr Taylor, do you understand this, at the request of David Crane, a request he made in March 2003, yes?

  • Can we go to page 10 of 49 at the bottom, please. That's the numbering at the bottom of the page. Do you have it, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, we see there a list of the suspects, okay?

  • Aziz Nassour, do you know him?

  • Ossaily Samih?

  • George Mario Zanos?

  • Over the page. LY Samba?

  • Vanda Nowa Di N'soyo?

  • Now, picking up under those photographs:

    "Start of the investigation.

    On 6 December 2001, the Financial Information Processing Section at Brussels reported a number of suspect money transfers to the Antwerp prosecutor's office.

    The transfers were linked to potential money laundering transactions by ASA DIAM NV diamond company based at Antwerp.

    The following individuals were mentioned: Nassour Aziz, Ossaily Samih, Ahmad Jaafar, Ahmad Ali-Said.

    The suspect transactions were also linked to the illegal trade in conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone, with respect to which the CFI refers to the Court investigation underway at Antwerp.

    This concerns a list of national and international press items about Ossaily Samih who is allegedly involved in illegal diamond smuggling from Sierra Leone which is related direct or indirect funding of the Al-Qaeda network."

    Now, let's go over the page. Now, we see at the end of the second paragraph that the authorities carried out various searches and seized various documentation, including documents relating to arms trading with Western African were selected from the seized documents. Do you see that, Mr Taylor?

  • "An initial analysis of the seized documents, various payment slips, numerous telephone contacts and the links between Ossaily Samih and Nassour Aziz gives the impression that there are clear indications that Ossaily and Nassour are involved in illegal diamond trading with RUF rebels from Sierra Leone to Antwerp through the ASA DIAM NV company. This confirmed the statements in the article of the Washing Post of 2 November 2001."

    Now, are you aware of that Washington Post article, Mr Taylor?

  • And following that on that page, we see that there were further searches carried out as a consequence.

  • Let's go over the page, please:

    "The term 'blood diamonds' refers to the illegal diamond trade with countries where bloody conflicts are being fought between rebel movements and governments.

    You are referred to the international embargoes introduced by the Security Council of the United Nations on the diamond trade with countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola.

    To end the conflicts, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution concerning diamond trade with Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The resolutions distinguish between Angola and Sierra Leone, from where diamonds may be exported with certificates of origin, and Liberia, which is subject to a complete ban on diamond exports.

    These resolutions were adopted by the European Community after which the member states incorporated them in their national legislation, known as the sanctions on violations of the act of 11 September 1962 on the import, export and transit of goods, related technology - violations on the United Nations embargo on diamond imports."

    And then let's go to the bottom:

    "The conclusions of this investigation are based on the following facts:

    1. Analysis of the evidence and documents seized during

    the searches of the home of Ossaily Samih.

    2. Analysis of contacts based on the requested retroactive

    traffic data for satellite telephones, GSM mobile

    telephones and landline connections used by the individuals

    covered by the investigation.

    3. Analysis and expert report on the accounts and

    financial movements of the ASA DIAM company.

    4. Interviews with and confessions by the relevant


    5. Air travel by the relevant individuals.

    6. Results from the rogatory commissions.

    7. Analysis of the documents seized during the search of

    the offices of the ASA DIAM company.

    8. Analysis of the documents seized during the search of

    the offices of the Artesia Bank in Antwerp.

    9. Expert investigation of the accounts of ASA DIAM by the

    appointed accountant."

    So now we come to:

    "Conclusion number 1: Illegal trade in conflict diamonds.

    Nassour Aziz, as the actual manager of the ASA DIAM diamond company and as a leading figure of the organisation, has developed a mechanism for smuggling rough diamonds, known as conflict or blood diamonds, from the Kono region (Sierra Leone), via Monrovia to the Antwerp diamond market.

    Nassour's right-hand man and his key figure in Africa is Ossaily Samih."

    And then we see that it's explained that Kono is a diamond region in the eastern part of Sierra Leone bordering Liberia and is controlled by rebels of the RUF. And it also explains who the RUF is. And then this:

    "We can divide the illegal diamond activities of the ASA DIAM company and Nassour Aziz into three periods.

    Period 1: 1999 - December 2000 - the diamond route was Kisangani (Congo) - Antwerp. According to the statement by Vanda Guy, one of Nassour Aziz's employees, in 1999 Vanda Guy proposed to Nassour Aziz to engage in diamond transactions with the RCD rebel movement in Congo who were in conflict with the Kabila regime at that time.

    After some meetings in Belgium, Nassour Aziz give $25,000 US to Vanda Guy to pay key figures in Kigali (Rwanda) and Kisangani (Congo) to get a monopoly on the diamond mining activities in Kisangani.

    Vanda Guy manages to arrange this and subsequently, from early 2000, millions of USD are taken to Kisangani to fund the diamond trade.

    The couriers take the diamonds from Kisangani (Congo) via Kigali (Rwanda) to Belgium, where they are cleared through customs as originating from Kinshasa (Congo).

    The diamond route Kisangani - Antwerp operated until about the beginning of 2001 and then came to a standstill.

    Although the diamonds indisputably come from the Kisangani region, all bookkeeping documents state the origin to be Kinshasa."

    Over the page, please. Let's pick it up at the number 2:

    "Period 2: October 2000 - May 2001 - diamond route Monrovia (Liberia) - Antwerp.

    In Antwerp, at the offices of the ASA DIAM company, Nassour Aziz introduces Ossaily to Darwish Ali, an American of Lebanese origin.

    According to Nassour, Darwish had good contacts in Liberia for setting up a diamond line."

    Pause. Mr Taylor, Darwish Ali, do you know him?

  • No, I don't. No.

  • "Ossaily Samih was given $2,000 US to cover expenses and was instructed to inspect a batch of rough diamonds in Liberia.

    In December 2000, Ossaily travels to Liberia with Darwish to start up the diamond activities. In Liberia, Darwish introduces Ossaily to Bah Ibrahim, an RUF leader.

    Ossaily moves into Hotel Boulevard in Monrovia (Liberia) where he also pays for several other rooms, for example, for Darwish, Bah and others."

    Mr Taylor, Hotel Boulevard, we've come across that hotel before, haven't we?

  • Was Hotel Boulevard used to accommodate members of the RUF?

  • Yes. During the peace process, yes.

  • Were you aware of this meeting at Hotel Boulevard involving Darwish, Bah and others?

  • "From January 2001 several couriers with cash from ASA DIAM, at the instructions of Nassour Aziz, are sent to Liberia to hand the banknotes to Ossaily Samih in person.

    Various loose notes made by Ossaily in Monrovia show that through payments, in Liberia, Ossaily Samih made it possible, under the protection of the Liberian security services, the SSS (Special Security Service) or the ATU (Anti-Terrorist Unit), to have diamonds from the rebel areas in Sierra Leone transported to his hotel in Monrovia."

    Now, Mr Taylor, were you aware of the SSS and the ATU playing such a role?

  • No, but it's possible that individuals could have done that. I'm not aware of it.

  • "Samih then hands the rough diamonds to the money couriers, some diamonds are packed in a condom which they hide in or on their body to smuggle them to Antwerp where they deliver the goods to Nassour Aziz."

    Let's go over the page:

    "The review of the accounts of ASA DIAM clearly show that Nassour Aziz made every effort to hide his illegal diamond supplies from Liberia.

    For example, there is not a single reference on paper to his diamond line from Liberia. Again, we refer to the expert report drawn up by the appointed accountant.

    In this report we also read that the details of the telephone invoices of ASA DIAM were carefully removed to hide any link to Liberia.

    However, the investigation of the retroactive telephone traffic of the landline phones, as well as the personal GSM phones of Nassour Aziz, indicate regular contacts with satellite phones used by RUF leaders and responsible personnel of the presidential security regime of Liberia."

    Now, what do you know about that, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't even know what he means by "the presidential security regime of Liberia." What is that?

  • What he's saying, Mr Taylor, is that there is some link there between the presidential security regime and this man Aziz Nassour. Now, what do you know about that?

  • Nothing. But, I mean, I don't know what he means by "presidential security regime", okay? If we're talking about individuals like he said, SSS or ATU individuals, but, you know, when you're look at these things when people are trying to destroy people, why does somebody have to talk about a presidential security regime? Is he talking about a personal aide-de-camp of Charles Taylor? I mean, this is an intelligence operation going on. Somebody says the Secret Service regime; what does that mean? So, I mean, he has already said here that there are SSS, okay, and some ATU personnel, and in fact later in the reports he even mentions their names. But what does that have to do with the presidential security regime? What does that mean? I mean, you know, for me it doesn't have any real meaning except somebody is trying to do something like a nexus that you later on call the names. So, I mean, I don't know what it really means.

  • Help me with this as well, Mr Taylor:

    "Regular contacts with satellite phones used by RUF leaders would suggest RUF leaders are in direct contact with Nassour Aziz, the diamond dealer."

    Yes? So help me, Mr Taylor: What was your role then?

  • None. What are we talking about, 2001? That would not even be a role for me. The RUF individuals, whoever these people are talking to, are talking directly to them. What does that have to do with the President of Liberia? Nothing. It's not to say that I'm talking to President Taylor, or President Taylor sent me the leaders to talk to. He is in contact with the RUF, whoever he's talking to, in 2001. That is what? We're talking about a period - 2001, we're talking about the RUFP now. We're talking about the leadership in Sierra Leone. There's, as far as I'm concerned disarmament, demobilisation is going on in Sierra Leone. What they are doing in Sierra Leone is none of the business of Charles Taylor. Why does it have to be Taylor? That's what I'm talking about and the nexus. I have nothing to do with who he is talking to, and he says the RUF leader.

  • Now we come to:

    "Period 3: June 2001-December 2001 - diamond route Monrovia (Liberia) Beirut (Lebanon).

    In the course of May 2001, the cooperation between Ossaily Samih and Nassour Aziz ends. Ossaily returns to Belgium and there is a serious incident with Nassour. According to Nassour, Ossaily has held money back and he refuses to pay Ossaily for the work done in Monrovia. We refer to a sound recording which Ossaily stored on his computer.

    After Ossaily was essentially dismissed by Nassour, he tries himself to set up a diamond line with Monrovia, from the Baeckelmansstraat. From June 2001 Ossaily made numerous phone calls from Belgium to the individuals he cooperated with in Monrovia, such as Bah, Issa."

    Now, Mr Taylor, what do you know about that contact?

  • I don't know. Ibrahim Bah, I don't even --

  • Issa? I'm not sure if it's Issa Sesay. I don't know. Maybe that's who he's talking about, the leader of the RUF. I have no - and it's very plain who he is talking to. I don't know anything about who these people are talking to or what they are doing. Now, I'm in no position to deny that individuals came to Monrovia and were doing their business. That's what - I cannot deny it. I don't know what they are doing, but I am not involved. Neither have I authorised anyone to be involved with them and they are doing - somebody comes, checks into the Boulevard Hotel - and let me clear. We've heard about this hotel. This is not a government hotel. Boulevard is a privately-owned hotel where - it's one of the best hotels in Monrovia. People come and go. That's not - I know nothing about what is going on between these private people.

  • "In this statement Ossaily also admits that he wanted to arrange diamond transactions with the RUF. In his view, there is nothing wrong with buying diamonds from the RUF and then to sell them in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

    Ossaily's flight details show that in the second half of 2001 he travels at least three times to Abidjan (Ivory Coast) from where, according to his own account, he travels once to Monrovia to do diamond business there.

    Ossaily's activities continue in this way until January 2002, after which the links with West Africa are greatly reduced.

    We cannot demonstrate that in the third period Ossaily actually managed to buy diamonds in Monrovia or from the RUF in Sierra Leone.

    Similarly, the import of rough diamonds by Nassour Aziz through ASA DIAM ceased completely from June 2001. We refer to the expert report by the accountant on the records."

    Over the page, please:

    "In the period of July 2001, Nassour held an airport visa for Liberia, valid for three months. This visa states that Nassour is the guest of Bah Ibrahim."

    What do you know about the issue of a visa to this man Nassour, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't know. The man has a three - you know, this is the difficulty of this case. The President of Liberia, some immigration officer, it's a normal procedure. He's a Lebanese national. You can see three months visa. That's normal. People get three months visa all the time. That would not even come near me, not even - this is not even a minister who would look at something like this. I wouldn't even know who is given a visa by immigration. I don't know. I have no idea.

  • And then we see below, Mr Taylor, in schematic form, the three routes which we've just looked at in writing. Do you follow?

  • And if you notice, to the right of that box your face appears, President Charles Taylor, do you see?

  • Now help me. During that period 3, do you see any mention in this report of you being involved in that particular route for the transfer of diamonds?

  • There is no mention. But my picture shows up here, and anybody seeing this will say: Oh, Taylor. There's nothing mentioned here that what they call Nassour or something while in Liberia talked to President Taylor or documents that we found when we searched President Taylor - how does Charles Taylor's name get in this only God knows, and this is the problem with this whole Taylor business. Here is my picture.

  • Let's go over the page, page 18 of 49:

    "Indications of diamond trading with the RUF:

    The investigations clearly indicate that Ossaily Samih in Monrovia is the key figure for the purchase of rough diamonds by Nassour Aziz and ASA DIAM and that he also manages the funds sent to Africa by Nassour. Various evidence indicates that in Monrovia Ossaily negotiates directly with senior members of the RUF rebel army, with the general approval of the regime associated with President Taylor."

    Now, what do you say about that, Mr Taylor?

  • How does one deal with this kind of matter? Somebody is in Monrovia dealing with whoever, and somebody draws a conclusion that this person is dealing with individuals, as he puts it, with the general approval of the regime associated with President Taylor. These are the things that got me four years in jail. Some are just - what does this mean in the English language that somebody is --

  • But, Mr Taylor, hold on. Look, the Prosecution have called several witnesses who have given evidence in this Court that they knew of diamonds being taken from Sierra Leone and given directly to you, yes?

  • Many of it in mayonnaise jars, yes?

  • So, Mr Taylor, if that is right, can you help us as to why this man Nassour was negotiating directly with senior members of the RUF; should have been negotiating with you?

  • You see, that's the whole point. That's the whole point, because all those things you were talking about, there's diamonds coming in mayonnaise jars, nobody is standing there, but diamonds are leaving Sierra Leone, but they are designated for Taylor, and they want to say that Taylor received them, when they are not there and not know. And like you say, why would anybody want to be negotiating directly with RUF people? I should have all the diamonds and they should just come to me.

  • "The names of the individuals found on various notes by Ossaily, and with whom Ossaily has had extensive contacts in the Hotel Boulevard in Monrovia, can be placed in the RUF of Sierra Leone, given various UN reports and further to statements by the couriers. We refer to Bah Ibrahim, Issa Sesay, Denis Mingo, Sam Bockarie, Eddie Kanneh. The seized documents and photographs also clearly show that Ossaily has very close connections with senior figures in the presidential regime, ie, the Special Security Service and the ATU."

    Help me, Mr Taylor, where's your name?

  • I don't see it because it's not there. I don't know these people. Never heard of them or talked to them. It's not there.

  • Now, you note that the particular names given, the report says, were found on various notes by Ossaily. Now, Mr Taylor, did you ever have any dealings with this man Ossaily?

  • Never. Never had any dealings with him. Never.

  • "The meetings with RUF members in Hotel Boulevard in Monrovia. Ossaily pays for various rooms in this hotel.

    Macky Abbas, Ly Samba, Vlasselaerts Nora, all confirmed in their statements that RUF members regularly visited Hotel Boulevard. Ossaily also admits to have been in contact with RUF members.

    The numerous telephone contacts with RUF members, ASA DIAM buys a number of satellite telephones from the Belgian company GT&T at Louvain, La Neuve. These telephones are then distributed in Monrovia to Ossaily and other important individuals. Further to Ossaily's seized telefoonrepertiores - meaning contact list or call register - we can determine who used which phones. Satellite phones were provided to senior RUF members such as Bah, Issa, Mingo, Eddie (alias Falcon)."

    Did you get a phone, Mr Taylor?

  • No, no, never got a phone. If I had gotten one, he would have said. Never.

  • Let's go over the page:

    "Transmitters are bought and made available to the RUF and/or members of the regime associated with President Taylor.

    Call credits are purchasedfor satellite phones used by the RUF in Sierra Leone and for the SSS and ATU in Monrovia. For example, at Ossaily's a document was found with the note 'special request from RUF Sierra Leone 2Ic (General Denis Mingo-Superman), please help with 500 units'. This note includes a clear reference to the RUF Sierra Leone and '2IC' refers to second in command.

    When Ossaily is confronted with this document, he states that he has received this request via the reception of Hotel Boulevard but not to have done anything further to it.

    The evidence shows that Hamed Abdul purchased call credits in Belgium for the satellite phone ending 725. Hamed Abdul is an uncle of Ossaily.

    Several Western Union transfers are made to various individuals, including a money transfer on 14 December 2000 of approximately 5,000 euros from Ossaily Samih to Ibrahim Bah.

    During the search at Ossaily's various notes are found with references to payments to RUF members such as Bah, Issa and Eddie and payments to the members of the SSS and ATU, such as Colonel Adams."

    Who is Colonel Adams?

  • Colonel Adams was a Ghanaian former military officer that also was used to help to train the ATU. He's Ghanaian. In fact, he lives in Ghana.

  • What do you know about him being involved in this, Mr Taylor?

  • I did not know that Adams - he was there helping to train the ATU. I didn't know he was involved in diamond business. He's a Ghanaian and he was on assignment there. I mean, that assignment is on contract there working.

  • And then they give an example of the note. And if we go over the page, you see an example of the note, and if we look, for example, in the right-hand column, do you see the name Eddie and Issa in brackets behind it, Mr Taylor?

  • And then you see in the same line at the bottom Bah Hotel, Bah Personal. Do you see that?

  • And just to the left of that, do you see Adams?

  • Yes. Actually, it's right over Bah Hotel. At the top of Bah Hotel, Colonel Adam.

  • It appears there as well, yes?

  • And then the report goes on to note --

  • I'm just wondering if that's the same person. The one appearing directly overhead is Adam without an S.

  • And the one on the left is Adams with an S.

  • And it doesn't refer to the one on the left as a colonel.

  • Well, it might be two different people, Mr President.

  • It's true. The President is right. I mean, the one I know is Colonel Adams, to the right, so the President has a point.

  • "During the search, photographs of diamond mines were found on Ossaily's personal computer. The photographs were stored on the file name 'Min' or 'Mining area' or 'Kono'."

    And then there were also photographs of individuals, okay?

  • And then it goes on over the page:

    "Further to the seized documents and various statements we can make a reconstruction of the illegal route for rough diamonds from Sierra Leone to Hotel Boulevard."

    Now we see your picture again, Mr Taylor, yes?

  • And the route is Sesay, Eddie Kanneh with an arrow going to Hotel Boulevard where they would meet Ossaily, yes?

  • Who would then take the diamonds up to Antwerp, yes?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, in the description so far, have you featured at all?

  • Well, to my understanding of this report, I don't see how I feature, but my picture keeps showing up. It would have been easier to say - even say Liberia or Monrovia, but, no, it has to tie to Charles Taylor, tie in at any cost Charles Taylor. Even after they name an individual, it's still tied to Charles Taylor.

  • And then over the page. It's explained that there's a reference to helicopter, yes?

  • Now, let's go over the page, shall we, to page 23 of 49. Now, Mr Taylor, you will note, of course, that the pages we've looked at to date relate to the first conclusion, yes?

  • That is correct.

  • Which was referred to right at the beginning of the document, yes?

  • Now, when we go now to page 23 of 49:

    "The funds to finance the diamond smuggling come from the account of ASA DIAM company with the Artesia Bank in Antwerp. The revenues from the sale of the illegally procured diamonds on the Antwerp market are systematically used for the purchase of new goods.

    Cash is taken from the company using cheques in the names of Nassour Aziz and Zanos Mario. At the instruction of Nassour the cheques are written by the authorised representative Ossaily Najla and signed, after which she or secretary Claus use these cheques to withdraw cash from the Artesia Bank."

    And then it goes on to show how they prove that.

    "Zanos Mario states that the cash withdrawals in 2001 made using cheques in his name were largely taken to Monrovia by other couriers. He mentioned Macky Abbas, Ly Samba, Tsoukaladakis Michel as couriers."

    Now, there's that name Michel, yes?

  • "Zanos Mario also states that he signed blank documents which were then used by ASA DIAM or Nassour to make purchase invoices, purchase invoices to support the millions of US dollars withdrawn from the ASA DIAM account with the Artesia Bank. With respect to this, Zanos' statements include verbatim with respect to the various invoices in my name in the accounts of ASA DIAM, I again confirm that Aziz and, more specifically, Katrien got me to sign a number of blank documents which were later used to make purchase invoices. Hence you will find invoices in my name stating 'BUREAU ZANOS GEORGE MARIO'. I repeat that I never sold these goods to ASA DIAM and this was only an accounting device to import the diamonds into Belgium.

    3. The statements by couriers Macky Abbas and Ly Samba and also the statements by Vlasselaerts Nora indicate that these funds were given to the couriers Macky Abbas and Ly Samba, who travel to Monrovia with the money and give it to Ossaily Samih. After handing over this money, the named couriers receive diamonds from Ossaily which they have to smuggle via Monrovia to Belgium, for which purpose they anally hide the diamonds in their body. Vlasselaerts Nora even states on 15 March 2002 that her boyfriend took a number of 100 USD banknotes with him when he left Monrovia. The quantity of banknotes was similar to a shoe box full."

    Let's go over the page, please:

    "4. Ossaily only admits buying several lots of diamonds in Monrovia and to have handed them over at the same location to a cousin of Nassour Aziz and to have sold part of the diamonds to overseas buyers on his account, in contrast to the statements of Macky Abbas and Ly Samba. He denies exporting diamonds outside Liberia. During the confrontation on 29 April 2002 with Macky Abbas, he confirms that on one occasion he received a sum of money from Macky Abbas.

    5. The expert report written by the appointed accountant indicates that during the period studied, 1 January 2000 to 31 August 2001 inclusive, 89.8 per cent of the total imports concerned rough diamonds. During this period, 99.47 per cent of the rough diamonds purchased are sold on the Belgian market. The revenues are withdrawn in full in banknotes or transferred to accounts in other countries in the name of Nassour. Practically all the rough diamond purchases are associated with invoices from Nassour Aziz himself.

    Tote of the money laundering operation.

    The report by the Financial Information Processing Section notes a number of suspect transactions by Nassour. The information obtained from the Artesia Bank, the ASA DIAM accounts and the expert report by the accountant can be used to determine the total amount of Nassour 's suspect transactions. This shows that the Financial Information Processing Section was aware of a number of the suspect transactions, but by no means all of them.

    With reference to the expert report by the accountants, we can determine the total of the international transfers and cash withdrawals in banknotes. During the period 1 January 2000 to 31 August 2001 inclusive, a total of $19,057,400 US worth of international payments is made."

    Now, Mr Taylor, what do you know about all of those dollars?

  • Not a dime do I know about nothing. Nothing is made payment to me. I don't know anything about what they are doing, no.

  • Let us skip a couple of pages, please, and go to page 26 of 49, which is headed:

    "Conclusion 3: Arms trading.

    The conclusions about the arms deliveries are based on a number of important documents seized during the searches of Ossaily Samih's home, the analysis of a number of telephone contacts, admissions and results obtained further to rogatory commissions.

    Together these conclusions clearly show that Nassour Aziz and Ossaily Samih engaged in a number of activities to facilitate the delivery of arms to African war zones such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two specific periods, January 2001 and July 2001 are particularly notable in these conclusions.

    During the searches at Ossaily Samih's home address among the documents we find an envelope marked 'SON EXCELLENCE MONSIEUR L'AMBASSADEUR SALAME' with a stamp with the text 'Ministere d'Etat de la Defense et la protection civile'. It contains a letter in the French language signed by Lida Kouassi Moise, Ministre d'Etat. It concerns an 'authorisation pour livraison' for the supply by the Nataco Holding Company in Bulgaria of a range of arms to the Republic of the Ivory Coast.

    Ossaily admits that this document was given to him at the offices of ASA DIAM by Darwish Ali. Originally it was intended to Nassour Aziz but Darwish proposed to Ossaily that he himself should try to arrange the arms transaction. If Ossaily could manage this then it would result in a generous commission for him. Later Darwish gave the same document to Nassour.

    The further investigation of the End User document provided the following outcome:

    In the reports related to United Nations resolution 1343 (2001) of 26 October 2001, in appendix 4 to the resolution, there is a document which closely resembles the document found with Ossaily.

    The contents of the published document indicate that it is a 'certificat d'achat' whereby the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Ivory Coast gives permission to the Avia Trend Company to supply arms and ammunition.

    According to several international newspapers, the Avia Trend Company, a cargo company in Moscow, is owned by Valery Cherny, a soviet test pilot. Cherny is associated with Leonid Minin, an arms trader of Ukrainian/Israeli nationality.

    On 5 August 2000, Minin was arrested by the Italian police in connection with international arms trading and drugs dealing. At the time of his arrest, a large quantity of diamonds and a significant number of documents were found."

    Now let me pause there. Mr Taylor, do you know anything about this arms transaction involving the Republic of the Ivory Coast?

  • No, no, no. I do not know.

  • "During the execution of the rogatory commission in Italy, we obtained access to information from the Italian investigations concerning Leonid Minin which shows that there are several documents indicating that Minin supplied arms made in Russia to both the regime of President Charles Taylor of Liberia and to the Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone."

    Now, Mr Taylor, have you seen any such document?

  • No, I haven't seen it, and it's not even attached to this report. I haven't it seen it, because Minin did not supply any weapons to Liberia. I haven't seen it.

  • What do you know about him supplying weapons to the RUF?

  • No, I don't know. Because he was in Liberia, and how would he get the weapons to the RUF at this time in 2001? What would he be doing? No.

  • "The investigations in Italy indicate that Minin in this period was an important contact of Nassour and Ossaily in connection with arms supplies to the regime of President Taylor. Minin was paid with rough diamonds."

    What do you know about that?

  • No, that is not true. Minin did not supply any weapons to Liberia, and they should have provided the copies of that. No, he did not provide any weapons to Liberia at all. And I guess that's why the Italians did not hold him.

  • Why? What happened to Minin?

  • Minin's in Italy. He was investigated and he went back to - I mean, he went back to Israel. He's in Israel.

  • Now over the page, please:

    "We support these conclusions with a document with handwritten notes by Ossaily Samih. The document is illegible, but analysis of the document: At the bottom of the document in Ossaily's handwriting '10 Dragonov 7.62 millimetre, 30 charges 1000'. A drawing of a pistol is made around this note. A Dragonov is a war weapon, a sniper rifle, made in Russia.

    With respect to this note, Ossaily states: 'This is my handwriting. I note that document in Monrovia. A director of Liberian Special Security, General Yeaten, asked me if I could supply 30 Dragonovs with 30 magazine clips/charges. I made a note of his question out of politeness, but I did not undertake any further steps to it. I did not supply this. Generally, if I was asked something I could not do anything about, I gave them money to keep them happy.'"

    What to you know about that?

  • Oh, Benjamin. No, I don't know about this, and it's good that he didn't do anything about it. Maybe talking to him and find out if he could supply sniper rifles. But I'm not aware of this discussion with him, and it's good he didn't do anything about it.

  • Mr Taylor, when you say "he did not do anything about it", are you referring to Ossaily or to Mr Yeaten?

  • No, your Honour, he is saying here the - this is Ossaily's handwriting. Ossaily is saying that this request was made to him but he could not --

  • He, Ossaily, did not.

  • He, Ossaily, did not do anything about it, your Honour.

  • Now over the page, page 29 of 49:

    "However, further investigation shows that Ossaily undertakes several steps to meet General Yeaten's request."

    And reference is made to some reports. Then halfway down the document on the left we need the note "Ouga 00226356005, room 523."

    "Alpha Zulu is Nassour Aziz's call sign. The phone number is the number of the Sofitel Hotel in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. Both Ossaily and Nassour state that on 17-18 and 19 January 2001, Nassour Aziz was staying in the Sofitel Hotel in Burkina Faso where he had a meeting with Ibrahim Bah."

    Now, do you know anything about that, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I don't.

  • And we can jump a few lines and look at the sentence just before we see that box:

    "We can conclude that the number 00226356005 was called by Ossaily five times in total on 18 and 19 January.

    4. Analysis of the retroactive telephone records on 17, 18 and 19 January. The full telephone records of satellite telephone used by Ossaily on the days 17, 18 and 19 January 2001 show that Ossaily is constantly calling Nassour Aziz, Liberia and Baba Jobe." Who is Baba Jobe, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't know him. I don't know him.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you note that they were able to get hold of the telephone records retroactively of these satellite phones, yes?

  • Now, as far as you're aware, were any attempts made by this Prosecution to obtain records of any satellite phone you made have used?

  • Not that I know of, no. They may have made efforts, but I haven't seen any.

  • Over the page:

    "Bah is also called by Ossaily on the number starting 226, the country code of Burkina Faso, which indicates on 17, 18 and 19 January 2001, Nassour Aziz and Bah are both in Burkina Faso.

    In Ossaily's telephone contact list we find a number with the note 'Bah Burkina,'" and then they go on to deal with telephone contacts with Baba Jobe.

    "He's on a United States travel ban document. Baba Jobe is identified as a significant arms manufacturer and director of the New Millennium Air Company in The Gambia."

    Do you anything about that company, Mr Taylor.

  • Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I misled the Court. When you say Jobe, I know a Baba Jobe, okay? I do know Baba Jobe. Baba Jobe is - the Baba Jobe that I know is the personal assistant to the President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. That's the Baba Jobe that I know. He's the personal assist to the President of The Gambia. I think he also got into some trouble with the President and I think he's in prison right now. I think Baba Jobe is in prison in The Gambia. But it's Jobe. I think it's pronounced Jobe.

  • Have you ever had any contact with him, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, to the extent that he is an assistant of the President. He and I have no relationship, but I know him because I visited Yayah a few times, and he is very close to Yahya Jammeh. That's the extent of my knowledge of him.

  • Now, let's go over the page, shall we. Now we get an idea of the thoroughness of this investigation, Mr Taylor, where it says that through the internet, the investigators discovered that the number which appears above is the fax number of the courtyard by the Mariott Hotel in Aventura in the US. Let's just jump further down the page - halfway down the page:

    "Further to the implication to the request for international legal assistance from Detroit, the unknown Mr Simon was identified as Yelinek Shimon with an address in Panama City. From 15 January through to 20 January, Yelinek Shimon was staying at room 416 of the Mariott Hotel in Miami.

    The FBI in Detroit identified Yelinek has a known arms dealer who was mentioned in connection with an illegal arms deal with between Panama and Nicaragua."

    Then it goes on to describe a 10-page list of contacts which Ossaily made with his satellite telephone with Nassour Aziz, Ibrahim Bah, Baba Jobe, Issa Sesay, Vlasselaerts Nora, Ossaily Najla, and that was only for the month of January 2001.

    Let's go over the page, Mr Taylor. Middle of the page:

    "During another interview, Ossaily states: 'You have to know that in Monrovia I was not working exclusively for Aziz. What I mean is that there were others who received money and bought diamonds. I already mentioned Nassour Zein, but there also a Keneme, a certain Abu, Soley, Ly, and a certain Mamadou. They were all Senegalese. I only discovered later that these men were also buying for Aziz.'"

    Do you know any of those individuals, Mr Taylor?

  • None of them. I do not know any of them, no.

  • Let's go over the page. Let's go to the number 13, please:

    "Statement by Peleman Johan: Peleman Johan has been appointed on several occasions by the Security Council of the United Nations as an arms expert for the Liberia investigations panel. Further to his appointment, Peleman personally undertakes investigations and fieldwork in Africa into violations of United Nations sanctions. The results are summarised in the United Nations reports.

    We interviewed Mr Peleman twice and on one occasion confronted him with Ossaily Samih.

    During the interviews Peleman spoke directly about the involvement of Ossaily in the illegal trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone in the Boulevard Hotel in Monrovia. We quote:

    'During our investigation it became clear that for its supplies the RUF (Revolutionary United Front, rebel army in Sierra Leone) was dependent on the regime in Liberia, Monrovia. This is because years ago the RUF was set up in Monrovia to provide a buffer zone between Liberia and Sierra Leone and to keep control over the diamond rich areas in Sierra Leone.

    Couriers take the diamonds mined in Sierra Leone to the Liberian capital, where they are traded.

    This is done under the supervision of the presidential troops of Liberia. The most important are the SSS and ATU.

    In this context, the panel concluded that Ossaily Samih at the Boulevard Hotel was an important buyer of the diamonds offered for sale there by the RUF rebels or their couriers.

    Samih was staying in the largest suite in the hotel, which indicates that he may be considered to be a man of significance.

    What I remember is that Samih had a larger room than Ibrahim Bah. Bah could be described as a key figure between President Taylor and the RUF.'"

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not true. And Bah should have told them, the many times that he has talked to them, that it is not true.

  • "'Hotel personnel of the Boulevard Hotel and Samih himself have confirmed during interviews with the panel that senior RUF people offered batches of RUF diamonds to Samih at this hotel.

    Oddly enough, the hotel personnel told us that Samih could even permit himself to refuse certain RUF members.'"

    Now, Mr Taylor, were you aware of such a trade going on at the Boulevard Hotel?

  • Not at all. I don't dispute that it went on, but I was not aware. I was not aware that they were buying and selling diamonds at the hotel, no. And then let's reflect on what the investigation shows; that the diamonds that are taken out of Liberia are smuggled out in ways that they describe. That is surely not a situation where things are being done, you know, within the - you know, with the knowledge of anybody at a very high level in government. So I think there was - I doubt very much if such a thing would not be going on at - I mean, in a hotel in Monrovia and in other parts of Monrovia. The fact that individuals bring diamonds from Sierra Leone, sell it on the streets, or sell it to individuals in Liberia, I'm in no position to say that it did not go on. But what strikes me is that these little transactions going on in hotel rooms where it is stated here that RUF people come, they take diamonds to the hotel, it has to be Charles Taylor doing it. That's what strikes me. I don't know how they can come up with these things. This does not involve me or any senior member of my government.

  • Then it continues:

    "'These men then had to come back later at a time which suited Samih. Another piece of information is that Samih's driver in Monrovia was the brother-in-law of the President.'"

    Who is that, Mr Taylor?

  • Never. Never had a - can you imagine? Who they are referring to here is this other boy, Cindor Reeves, the other crook that testified here in the Netherlands that they threw out. My brother-in-law, the brother-in-law of the President, would be a chauffeur for somebody in town; can you believe that?

  • Is Cindor Reeves related to you in that way?

  • Because it goes on:

    "'The hotel staff confirmed that on several occasions Samih was collected to go to the presidential palace.'"

  • Total nonsense. Total, total nonsense.

  • Mr Taylor, you realise that they're quoting from a conversation they had with this chap Johan Peleman, yes?

  • And then it goes on:

    "This also creates a link to the associated arms trading. For example, Peleman states that he interviewed a certain CR, Cindor Reeves."

    Do you know a Cindor Reeves, Mr Taylor?

  • Cindor Reeves is a fellow that claims to have been the half brother of my first wife Agnes Reeves, which turned out not to be the case, and Agnes Reeves and I broke up back in 1993. This boy turned out to be a liar, not the brother of this woman claimed to be, but this man - if this man is so important, the Prosecution [indiscernible] they know Cindor Reeves very well. This is a liar that has been paraded all around and in the Dutch investigation they investigated that boy. They got to know: (1) he was a liar; he was not the brother of Agnes Reeves. They went to Liberia. All the claims that he made were all lies. Cindor Reeves through our investigation, in fact, was a chauffeur of Ibrahim Bah. That was Cindor Reeves. Now, the President of a country would not have his brother-in-law being a chauffeur or a driver for Ibrahim Bah. Cindor Reeves was just one of these local moving-about boys that has not been considered credible. I'm not sure if I can say this other part, because there may be an outstanding court order about certain things, I don't know. So I don't want to go too much into that part unless I get some guidance from the Court.

  • Well, don't.

    "For example, Peleman states that he interviewed a certain CR, ie, Reeves. Cindor Reeves stated that he was personally involved in a number of arms deliveries in Liberia. We quote:

    'Reeves told me freely about this involvement in a number of arms deliveries. He also confirmed arms deliveries in January 2001 and July 2001. Reeves told me that the arms deliveries were organised under the coordination of Bah. Reeves confirmed that he knew about the existence of the end user document for arms from Bulgaria and that certain items on this list were actually delivered. With respect to the types of arms, Reeves mentions "ammunition and rifles, also sniper rifles". I'm assuming that he refers to Kalashnikovs and Dragonovs. Reeves confirmed to me that Ossaily was aware of the end user certificate concerning the arms from Bulgaria.

    As far as the arms deliveries were concerned, Reeves told me that they were loaded on to trucks and brought to the border with Sierra Leone, where the arms were handed over to the rebel army in return for diamonds.'"

    January 2001 and July 2001, Mr Taylor, what do you know about these arms deliveries?

  • Never. 2001 arms delivery to Sierra Leone? How would that be possible? To do what in July 2001? Sierra Leone is disarming by July of 2001. But just to make a comment, since - Reeves turned out - Reeves is the centre of comments made initially when the indictment was issued that insider, his brother-in-law - you want to tell me this Prosecution will have an important witness as that lying Cindor Reeves, the impostor, they would not - they have now found out, I know, that he's no use to them. My brother-in-law who was used, okay - who is supposed to be my brother - who was used in this case in the Netherlands, and in other instances this Prosecution would not have brought him here? This boy is an imposter and a liar. He did public - I can talk about it. He did public interviews in Canada, different reports, a total, total - I guess they themselves couldn't take him. That's why he's not here. Complete impostor, a liar. He's what we call in Liberia a drifter, just moving from place to place trying to survive, pass himself off. He's been brothers to people, brother-in-laws to others. That's - this boy is one of these little trickster, gangster type. That's what Cindor Reeves it.

  • "'Reeves confirmed to me that he knew both Aziz Nassour and Ossaily Samih, but that he considered Nassour to be more important than Ossaily.

    Reeves told met that the arms delivery in January 2001 came from Gambia, (Banjul) and was made by the New Millennium Air Company. This is an aviation company set up by Baba Jobe. Apparently Baba Jobe has a brother named Joe Baba. Reeves told moot Joe Baba worked for President Taylor.'"

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • That is not true.

  • Do you know a Joe Baba?

  • Then when we go over the page, "Notes concerning 'CR' or Cindor Reeves: Ossaily's handwritten documents include the initials CR in several places. CO refers to Cindor Reeves."

    Jumping a few lines:

    "Among the files on Ossaily's personal computer we find two photographs. Vlasselaerts Nora, when shown this photographs, states, 'The man on this photograph is the driver of Mr Bah; his name is CM (phonetically). This photograph was taken in one of the salons of the hotel.'"

  • This is Ibrahim Bah's little bagboy, Cindor Reeves, who is supposed to be my brother-in-law. He's a chauffeur for Bah.

  • Over the page, Mr Taylor.

    "Statement by Macky Abbas:

    Macky stated: 'During my second period in Liberia, I saw that Samih had a list of arms. I remember that Samih had this list in his room and discussed it with Bah. It was a long list with different weapons and the price on the other side. The following people were present in the room: Samih, Bah, Eddie and Ali Darwish; however, I am not completely certain about Darwish. The satellite phone was on and Aziz followed the discussion in this way. I happened to be in the room, but Samih asked me to leave the room. I saw the list was held by both Samih and Bah. On the table there was a catalogue or photographs - I cannot remember that properly - with pictures of weapons.'"

    I'm going to ask, Mr Taylor, that we jump to page 40, please, of 49:

    "Elements relevant to charges against Nassour Aziz - arms delivery July 2001.

    In connection with the further investigation into illegal arms transports organised by Nassour Aziz, in addition to the arms delivery he organised in or shortly after January 2001, on the basis of the conclusions listed below, we conclude that Nassour Aziz made another arms delivery to Liberia in July 2001.

    We base this on the combination of the following conclusions, which are similar to the arms delivery in January 2001.

    Telephone contacts with Russia.

    With respect to the arms delivery in January 2001 or shortly thereafter, we observe that during the period around the delivery Nassour Aziz had numerous telephone contacts with Russian telephone numbers. His last call in this connection was on 23 February 2001. After this date there were no further contacts with Russia until 8 January 2001. When the arms delivery of July 2001 enters the start-up stage, we see that Nassour is again contacting the same Russians.

    Nassour's visit to West Africa, specifically Ivory Coast and Liberia.

    With respect to the arms delivery of January 2001, the retroactive telephone call records and Nassour's flight details are used to determine that he is in Burkina Faso on 18 and 19 January.

    In the period of the approaching second arms delivery (July 2001) Nassour Aziz is again in West Africa, this time in Liberia. We can determine this on the basis of his GSM telephone calls.

    Using the information provided by Proximus about GSM number 0478/400000 we can use the roaming data to determine that Nassour Aziz was in the Ivory Coast on 19, 20 and 24 July, from where he made numerous contacts.

    We also noticed that he used his GSM telephone to contact the satellite telephones used by: Ibrahim Bah, Issa/Eddie, Issa/Ossailly Samih/X Gibril/Mingo Denis.

    On 21, 22 and 23 July 2001 there were no calls from that GSM number 0478/400000. In that period it was not possible to use a GSM telephone in Liberia due to a lack of GSM infrastructure. Hence, this GSM silence indicates that Nassour Aziz travelled from the Ivory Coast to Liberia on 21, 22 and 23 July.

    Assuming that Nassour Aziz must have called his contacts and could not use his GSM for this given the lack of infrastructure we look at the retroactive telephone records of the relevant satellite telephones. This analysis confirms this assumption. As he could not use his GSM telephone in Liberia on 21, 22 and 23 July, he had access to satellite telephone 871.762.677.737. In Ossaily Samih's telephone register this number refers to 'FALCON SM/Mingo Denis/Eddy/Edy'.

    The [conclusion] that Nassour Aziz used this satellite telephone during these three days is based on the fact that individuals in Nassour's confidence and his personal contacts were called.

    Airport visa issued in Liberia.

    The fact that Nassour Aziz was indeed in Liberia on 21, 22 and 23 July 2001 is also confirmed by the airport visa issued in his name by Liberia in July 2001 with a validity of three months. This airport visa also states that Nassour Aziz will be the guest of Ibrahim Bah.

    The information above also shows the contacts between Nassour Aziz and Ibrahim Bah, Mingo Denis and Issa/Eddy, all individuals who can be connected to the RUF and the associated illegal trade in diamonds.

    These conclusions and striking similarities with the arms delivery of January 2001 support the arms delivery in July 2001. All the conclusions so far clearly show that Nassour Aziz arranges all this and that at the time of the actual delivery and/or payment he arrives on site as the chief."

    Now, Mr Taylor, arms deliveries to Liberia in January and July 2001?

  • No. These people, I'm surprised that the Belgian and Dutch police would be so silly, because this - look, I have told this Court, I ordered arms in 2001 from Serbia. I wrote the Security Council. There were no weapons delivered by these people, and I do not deny that I imported weapons in 2001. The letter was written to the Security Council. I told them I was going to do it. I gave the list. They went to Serbia and verified.

    This report is just - you know, I must be honest. I don't know what's going to happen to me, but this gives all the sign of a well orchestrated set of lies and disinformation. For the Belgian police - they're supposed to be professional - to do a report like this - 2001, there is GSM infrastructure in Liberia. Who told them that there was no GSM infrastructure in Liberia in 2001? Who said that? There is GSM infrastructure. The fact that you call somebody and you don't get him on the phone, you say, "Well, he's got to be Liberia." What type of nonsense is that? How can professional people behave like this, where you accuse people and got them suffering, come up with conclusions where there's nothing evidential about what they've said about me and talking this thing. There's no weapons brought in.

    In fact, when you read this about January and July weapons, there's no real, real - there's nothing here. Weapons come into Liberia. The United Nations is aware of how they come. I write them. I send the list. They go to Serbia. They verify it. They close the factory down. No weapons came from no Russia or nowhere else. This is a very amateurish report here just to destroy people. No weapons came from Russia, no.

  • Now, when we go to page 42 of 49, we come to the fourth conclusion, yes, and what those who prepare the report do is, they go through each individual suspect. Nassour Aziz is described as the leader. Let's go over the page:

    "... Ossaily Samih may be considered as the essential key figure for Nassour Aziz. Without the assistance of Ossaily, Nassour would not have been able to commit the crimes.

    In the period that he was in Monrovia, Ossaily may be considered to be the local chief. It is clear that Ossaily has to account for his actions to Nassour. This is demonstrated by the fact that on his return to Belgium, Ossaily brought all his notes from Monrovia with him. This was probably to account for the amounts paid by him.

    Ahmad Ali-Said is Nassour Aziz's brother-in-law. The conclusions show that Ahmad Ali-Said gave Nassour Aziz the opportunity to commit crimes through the ASA DIAM company."

    We won't deal with that. Let's skip to page 46 of 49 where they deal with other named individuals. And I'm only interested in numbers 4, 5 and 6:

    "Macky Abbas.

    At the instruction of Nassour Aziz, Macky Abbas carries banknotes to Monrovia (Liberia), hands them to Ossaily in person and then receives rough diamonds in return.

    The rough diamonds are illegally transported to Belgian (smuggled) and delivered to Nassour Aziz and/or ASA DIAM.

    Macky Abbas also takes money to Kisangani.

    Ly Samba.

    At the instructions of Nassour Aziz, Ly Samba takes banknotes to Kisangani (Congo) and Monrovia (Liberia) on several occasions. In Monrovia he hands the banknotes over to Ossaily in person. Ly then receives rough diamonds and illegally smuggles them to Belgium and delivers them to Nassour Aziz.

    Tsoukaladakis Michel.

    At the instructions of Nassour Aziz, Tsoukaladakis Michel takes banknotes to Kisangani (Cong) and Monrovia (Liberia) on several occasions. In Monrovia he hands the banknotes over to Ossaily and Colonel Adams in person. However, Tsoukaladakis Michel receiving diamonds."

    And let's go over the page to conclusion number 5, where they deal with the alleged link with Al-Qaeda. And I mention it for completeness. Now, Mr Taylor, we've gone now through this document, yes?

  • Now, remember, this was a document requested by David Crane in March 2003.

  • Now, we've gone through it in detail. Do you see any reference to you being involved in diamond dealing?

  • No. And I don't think he saw it either, that's why he didn't use it.

  • So having gone through the report now, that reference at the start of the document "this was done under the supervision and with the support of the regime of the former President Charles Taylor", have you seen any information in this document to confirm that?

  • Well, from my layman's point of view, I have seen nothing. Maybe the investigators saw it. I have seen nothing in this report that - from a legal evidentiary standpoint to suggest that I was involved in masterminding the trading in diamonds and the smuggling of diamonds in and out of Sierra Leone. There's no such thing. You know, this has been one of those things that has really - each time I've read this document, I've just been asking maybe I've been missing something. I have seen nothing.

  • Mr President, before I move on, could I ask, please, that that document, Belgian investigation into diamonds, made at the request of David Crane, be marked for identification MFI-284, please.

  • Yes, that's marked MFI-284.

    Tell me, Mr Griffiths, just before you get on to your next topic, I see we've got approximately five minutes, are you still on track to complete your examination-in-chief on Monday?

  • Just to clarify, Mr Griffiths, this MFI-284 is a synopsis of many other documents, is that correct? That's the way it comes across to me.

  • Yes, it would appear so. Apparently there must have been other documents appended to this report, but this is all that was disclosed to us by the Prosecution. So this is all we have access to.

  • I just want to clarify for the record the assumption Defence counsel makes that we had additional documents we did not disclose is not true. We gave them what we got. And the summary may have been extracted for our purposes or others, but the investigation certainly was not at our request.

  • Yes. Well, that's now a matter of record, Ms Hollis.

    Mr Griffiths.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, do you remember the UN Security Council resolution 1306 in relation to Sierra Leone and the alleged conflicts about diamonds? Remember that?

  • Now, who was - we noted in the presidential papers that you had a minister called Jenkins Dunbar. What was he in charge of?

  • Jenkins Dunbar was the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy in my government.

  • Now, did he prepare any report for you with regard to the issue of diamonds?

  • Yes, he did. Jenkins Dunbar, at the height of the activities and accusations against Liberian, Jenkins Dunbar was dispatched to Belgium to work along with the then ambassador to Belgium, Dr Othello Brandy, to work with the World Diamond Council in trying to set up a mechanism of certification of Liberian rough diamonds because an embargo had been issued and working along with other diamond producing countries including the Southern African region and what not. He cooperated with the World Diamond Council and the various trips that he made to Belgium, South Africa and others, a letter was written to me giving a full report and accounting of; one, the meetings; two, the possibilities and probabilities of putting together a certification regime, those countries that were interested in assisting Liberia put this regime together; and fourthly, what Liberia had to do to meet the diamonds of the Security Council. That letter was written to me.

  • Now I don't think we have time enough, Mr President. It will take me perhaps 10 minutes on Monday and then I hope to be concluding sometime by Monday afternoon.

  • All right. That does seem an appropriate time to adjourn now.

    Mr Taylor, I just remind you of the order in place regarding not discussing your evidence. We will adjourn until 9.30 Monday morning.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.29 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday, 9 November 2009 at 9.30 a.m.]