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

  • Now, Mr Witness, yesterday, just to clarify a couple of matters, you explained to us how you believe by the beginning of 1993 when ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J had joined up in Bomi Hills, that the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone was blocked. Do you recall telling us that?

  • Can I ask you for some assistance - a little further assistance on that, please. For how long did ULIMO-K and J occupy those areas so as to seal off the border?

  • For almost a year. Almost a year. Almost a year.

  • Now, the other matter I want to deal with is this: You mentioned a group called New Horizon from the United States. Who were they?

  • They were a group of Liberians that had political ambition in Liberia and so they came over into Sierra Leone to see how they could exploit that opportunity.

  • And can you give us the names of any of those who came to Sierra Leone?

  • Yeah. I could remember Chris Farley.

  • Farley?

  • And Joe Wallace.

  • Yes, Joe Wallace. They were the two I can remember.

  • Now, just to pick up where we left off yesterday, remember you were telling us about a deal involving Maxwell Khobe and the garrison commander at Wilberforce Barracks and how as a result of a dispute word about Operation Eagle got out and consequently it had to be aborted and so a second option was alighted upon which involved arms being stored at your commander's address in Hill Cot in Freetown, yes?

  • And how that fact had been made public by a BBC journalist Ojukutu-Macauley, yes?

  • And that as a result of that the Republic of Sierra Leone government got involved in the person of the transport minister, yes?

  • Who made a broadcast on the radio?

  • That's also correct.

  • Now, during the course of that incident, did anything happen to your commander?

  • Yes. Initially he was arrested at house by ECOMOG, but as I told you, he told them he - they should give him chance. He wanted to make a call. And that permission was granted. He made calls. He called General Khobe initially at that time. Then General Khobe told him to wait, he will contact the then Vice-President Joe Albert Demby, which he did, and later on instructions from the Vice-President we saw Momoh Pujeh. He came right at the scene and he spoke with the commanders on the ground, and they decided to back out and leave the commander back and they left with a few of the arms back to Wilberforce.

  • So was he released?

  • Yeah, he was released.

  • Now, at the time of this incident, what was happening in terms of the armed combatants in Sierra Leone?

  • At the time of this incident at Hill Cot what was the situation of former RUF and SLA combatants in Sierra Leone?

  • Simplify this question, please, for me.

  • There had been a conflict in Sierra Leone for several years, had there not?

  • And did there come a time when a peace agreement was reached in Sierra Leone?

  • Yeah, that's correct.

  • To your knowledge, was one of the preconditions for that peace disarmament of combatants in Sierra Leone?

  • So at the time of this incident at Hill cot, was that disarmament process in progress or not?

  • It was not in progress at that time.

  • It wasn't. So what has happening at that time?

  • At that time we are still having skirmishes behind Waterloo, Masiaka and all the other areas that the AFRC and RUF were still controlling.

  • Now, the arms which you managed to retain at Hill Cot, what was intended in relation to them?

  • The intended purpose of that rifle, as I said earlier, was for us to start a ground offensive into Liberia. But since that first Operation Eagle was aborted we decided to wait for plan B and the plan B was unveiled to us by Counsellor Kabineh Janneh when one morning he came with a woman by the name of Aisha Konneh.

  • Pause there. Is that spelt I-S-A-I-T-U K-O-N-N-E-H?

  • Did she have a nickname?

  • Yeah, we used to call her Iron Lady.

  • She was married to the late - the then leader of LURD, Sekou Damate Konneh.

  • So when she and Counsellor Janneh arrived, what was discussed?

  • Well, they told us that they have spoken to the Government of Sierra Leone and that they were now facing out for preparing for disarmament, so the only way out is for us to take most of our fighters through to Guinea. Then we start the operation from the borders in Guinea.

  • Start what operation?

  • The LURD operation. Operation to overthrow the government of President Charles Taylor then.

  • And so Counsellor Janneh told you that this had been concluded following discussions with the Sierra Leonean government?

  • So what happened following that meeting?

  • After that meeting Aisha Konneh came with money up to about $10,000 for the recruitment.

  • Pause there. $10,000 which currency?

  • That was for recruitment in Freetown and they also gave $4,000 to four senior commanders of which I had $1,000.

  • And then they also left $2,000 for transportation of men from their places, whether you're from Bo to the government wharf because that was the easiest route for Guinea. We used the wharf.

  • To the government what?

  • Government wharf.

  • Where is the government wharf?

  • The government wharf is like just let me say very close to the CID headquarters.

  • Very close to the present place where the SLP party office is in Freetown and the CID branch right at that area.

  • So you gathered - transport was paid for for people to gather there, yes?

  • Now, how many people gathered there?

  • Well, initially we used to let the people go in numbers of 15, 20, because we wanted to avoid detection by the government. So they were going in 15, 20. If there were three boats going per day at least we send 60 people. So that's the way we used to do it.

  • And they were being sent to where?

  • Directly to Conakry.

  • Then they will move them forward to Nzerekore.

  • I think we've had that name before. And Nzerekore is in which country?

  • Pausing for a moment, in total how many individuals were transported in this way to Guinea?

  • Well, the strength that was required from that side initially was - because we used to take 500 per battalion, so it was two battalions are left. So it's a thousand. So it took a little bit of team to keep moving them by bits.

  • Help us, in which year was this taking place?

  • This was now in the year 2000, yeah.

  • Did you accompany these men to Guinea?

  • Yes, after the 1st Battalion has left, we then - we left together with the witness I don't want to name now. We were told Aisha wanted to see us so that we will brief the men in Guinea and give them support and moral courage. So we left and we met Aisha and we were briefed in Guinea and taken to their house at Kipe, there was a house at Kp that was there rented.

  • Kipe in which city?

  • Kipe in Guinea-Conakry.

  • That's a city, is it?

  • Yes, in Conakry. Then from there they would allow us to talk to our men. Then we came back to Sierra Leone. After seeing the men off to Nzerekore we came back to Sierra Leone for more recruitment.

  • So who came back to Sierra Leone?

  • I came back together with General Ibrahim Jalloh then the commander I don't want to name now.

  • So you came back to Sierra Leone for what purpose?

  • Because the strength was not enough for the operation yet so we needed more men so we came back for further recruitment.

  • And did you recruit further?

  • Yes, we did further recruitment and that was then done - we're taking a lot of CDF at that time now.

  • Civil Defence Forces. Most of them were Sierra Leoneans at that time now.

  • Pausing for a moment, the initial group - the initial battalion strength group that you mentioned, were they former Special Forces?

  • The 1st Battalion was completely Special Forces.

  • But when you returned to Sierra Leone you recruited former CDF combatant?

  • Former CDF, former RUF and some West Side Boys that were interested in the mission.

  • And were they transported to Guinea?

  • They were all transported to Guinea.

  • Pausing again, the arms and ammunition which had been stored at Hill Cot, what had happened to that?

  • Well, by the time we came for the second batch load of people - by the time we came for the second batch of the people that was going we were told that we should do symbolic disarmament in Freetown. Symbolic disarmament was commanders and the units that were within Freetown. So to encourage the boys to come and turn over their weapons. So those weapons that were kept at Hill Cot Road that were brought to Brookfields Hotel, we then went and did symbolic disarmament with them.

  • Why symbolic?

  • Well, initially there was this - there was - there was no concrete arrangement whether the RUF was prepared to disarm initially, so the government pre-empted the disarmament that we should first disarm for them to see that it is genuine so we should do symbolic - that's why they call it symbolic disarming.

  • So that's why we were the first people to disarm because there was this worry about the Special Forces and everything, so they said that we first should do it and we started doing it. So the arms that we stored at that place, those were the arms - most of the arms that we used to disarm.

  • Please pause. Did the witness say there was no concrete plan where the RUF was prepared to disarm initially? I'm looking at page 16, line 6. Mr Witness, is that what you said?

  • Did you say initially there was no concrete plan whether the RUF was prepared to disarm initially so the government pre-empted the disarmament?

  • Let me say again. What was happening on the ground was that since Sankoh was in Freetown then it was rumoured that Sam Bockarie at that time was telling the boys not to disarm. And as such the date was given for disarmament to commence. So the government told us that we should first start disarming to see whether they will reciprocate on the other side.

  • Where "we" means who?

  • We the Special Forces and the loyal troops on the government side. So we started symbolic disarmament and later the RUF followed suit.

  • Put differently, Mr Witness, was the government concerned about the readiness of the RUF to disarm?

  • Yes, that was the concern because from all indication there were signals that most of the RUF units were disgruntled and they were not prepared to disarm. And so the government said since we have given a date we should start by that date and we should start doing it. If they don't do it now then the international community will know that they are not prepared to do this, so that is why we started disarming.

  • Mr Witness, are you saying that the symbolic disarmament was with the knowledge of the government, the symbolic part of the disarmament?

  • That's correct. Because it was even started by the then Deputy Defence Minister himself, Chief Sam Hinga Norman.

  • What I mean is was the government of the day aware that the Special Forces were disarming only symbolically?

  • That's correct.

  • Two things there that I want to clarify: First of all, who gave you Special Forces formerly part of the CDF - who gave you the order to disarm?

  • The orders were given by - the first day we got orders from General Khobe that the symbolic disarmament should be done and we should fully partake. Then the next morning the coordinator of the Civil Defence Forces and then Deputy Defence Minister Chief Hinga Norman came and told us that he is in charge of the CDF and as such the Special Forces are part of that unit and he was going to disarm first and we should follow suit. So he was part of the disarmament exercise before we followed suit that morning.

  • Now the second part of that which I want to clarify with you is this: When you say symbolic disarmament, does that mean that you were only giving up part of your arms symbolically or that you were seeking to send a symbol to the RUF? Do you follow? Which of those two is right?

  • We are just sending a signal to the RUF that we were prepared to disarm, but we never gave up all the arms that particular day.

  • Did you in due course give up all of the arms?

  • Yes of course. As soon as they started disarming and it was rumoured that RUF has also started disarming then everybody was willing to give up the arms now.

  • So what happened to the totality of the arms which had been at Hill Cot?

  • The total - the arms that were at Hill Cot were all disarmed. We disarmed everything.

  • They were all given to whom?

  • It was given to the UN because they were taking the arms from us.

  • Mr Griffiths, when you say the arms at Hill Cot do you also include the ammunition? Because I recall the witness saying that ammunition was stored there.

  • Was it the arms and the ammunition which was handed over to the United Nations?

  • That's correct. Because there was - in fact, there was that programme, if there is any arms without ammunition, then it means the ammunition - you have either hidden the ammunition. So we have to bring your arms and the ammunition all together before you disarm.

  • Further to that question, when you say the totality of the disarmament, does that include the arms and ammunition that had been smuggled into Brookfields Hotel earlier? Were those given back to the UN?

  • That's correct. It was in fact in the Brookfields Hotel that we started the symbolic disarmament.

  • Just to be clear, all of the arms which had been smuggled out of Wilberforce, as you told us yesterday, with the connivance of General Maxwell Khobe, were all of those arms and ammunition handed over to the United Nations?

  • Yes. Those that were in the Brookfields Hotel that we took from Hill Cot to Brookfields Hotel, all was handed over to the United Nations.

  • Did that include the arms at Hill Cot as well?

  • Thank you. So we have this situation now where you and other commanders of the Special Forces are in Sierra Leone recruiting from former CDF combatants. Meanwhile, there's a battle - battalion-strength group of former Special Forces in Guinea. Is that right?

  • So explain to us how the situation develops thereafter.

  • In Guinea or in Sierra Leone now?

  • Well, let's start with Sierra Leone and we'll move to Guinea.

  • After the first - we left the first battalion in Guinea, they were there for planning. They were already in Nzerekore now for planning and the first phase of advancing. We started recruiting in Freetown again and that recruitment was a little bit tedious because we were facing a lot of problems with the security forces now, because it has already leaked that Liberians and Sierra Leoneans were going to Guinea to start war. So they were making arrest at the wharf here and there, but at that time still we're having this contact with Khobe. So from point to point he will come in and the government will come in to say, "No, these people are just going for business," and they will release them. So by the time we have all the strength that we wanted, then we left as an advanced party for Nzerekore to start the operation proper.

  • The Special Forces - the commanders of the Special Forces then.

  • And did you go before or after the CDF recruits?

  • After the CDF recruits, because most of them that we took were waiting to disarmed and give them their benefits, so it took a little bit of time. After they received their benefits, so we decided to go with them. So after they have travelled, then myself, General Jalloh, then there was a commander named Dog, that's the nickname. Dog.

  • That's the name, yes. Yes, we all crossed together now.

  • And you go to Guinea?

  • To Guinea to Nzerekore.

  • And just paint the picture for us now. In Nzerekore, first of all, how many of you have now gathered?

  • The strength was almost over 2000, because there was a group of Mandingos that has already been training before we reached there and they - most of them were also Guineans and Liberians, because the border is porous in those areas. You have Sierra Leone, Kailahun, Guinea on the other side, then Liberia, so people - you have Gissis on the Liberia side. On the other side, Mandingos in Liberia. So there was a strength of about over 2,000 now.

  • Now, these Mandingos who had been trained in Guinea, first of all, who had trained them?

  • They were trained by the Guinean gendarme.

  • And where in Guinea had they been trained?

  • And what kind of facilities were made available to you in Nzerekore?

  • Well, we have open field for training and then we are given rifles for training, live rounds. Then food, medicine, then vehicles.

  • And who provided all of that?

  • The Guinean government.

  • And what was the objective behind this operation? Just remind us.

  • Well, the objective of LURD was to make - was to topple the government of Mr Charles Taylor.

  • Now, that name LURD, when was that name applied to the group?

  • After all the forces have combined and then --

  • In Guinea, Nzerekore. The Special Forces from Sierra Leone, the CDF, former RUF and West Side Boys all combined together. They then decided to call LURD, Liberia United - let me cool down and just - that was when LURD was really formed, so that it should not be seen as any faction-oriented. There should be one goal and our goal should be one Liberia, and nobody should say, "You are Mandingo. You are Krahn. You are this." No.

  • At this stage who was the leader of this movement called LURD?

  • The leader of LURD at that stage was the - was Sekou Damate Konneh.

  • And just tell us a little bit about him. Where was he from?

  • Well, Sekou Damate Konneh was from Liberia. He has a Liberian background. He is a Mandingo. But after the rebel war in Liberia, he resided in Guinea together with the wife Aisha Konneh. He was a businessman. And that's all I could say about him.

  • And, help us, do you have any idea how it came about that the Guinean government was supporting this movement to the extent of providing arms, ammunition, food, medicines and so on? Who had created that link; do you know?

  • That link was created by the wife, Aisha Konneh.

  • Whom, in fact, when we were in Guinea we have told have very close relationship with the President Lansana Conte, because even at Nzerekore we see presidential vehicles coming on our base and she goes straight to the President. And even our commander, that I don't want to name now, was given that opportunity to see directly with the President then at that time, President Lansana Conte.

  • So we've got the picture now. This group in Guinea assisted by the Guinean government.

  • So what's the next step?

  • The next step was to open front lines in Liberia.

  • And where were those front lines opened?

  • Before I come to deal with that, can I just seek your assistance on another matter. Was LURD dominated by Mandingos?

  • It wasn't 100 per cent dominated by Mandingos.

  • But did they have a very powerful influence in LURD?

  • Yes, they had a very powerful influence in LURD, that's correct.

  • Mr Griffiths, sorry to interrupt, but let me take the witness back a little bit to the government wharf and the smuggling out of fighters to go into Guinea. Now, the witness said at my page 21, he explained that news had leaked already that Liberians and Sierra Leoneans were going to Guinea to start the war, so they were making a rest at the wharf here and there, but at that time - Ms --

  • Sorry, I'm not wishing to interrupt your Honour at all. It was just, when your Honour has finished, there was a point I wanted to make perhaps before your query is answered.

  • Where was I? Yes. But we were still - this is what the witness said: But at that time we were still - we have having this contact with Khobe, so from point to point he will come in and the government will come in to say, "No, this is just going for business," and release them. Now, the question I want to ask is - or to understand, the witness is saying that the Sierra Leone Army would come in from time to time to try and arrest these people at the wharf, but at the same time Khobe would come in to protect these people. And then you said, "And the government will come in to say, 'No, this is just going for business,' and release them." Now, is the witness saying that the fighters went into Guinea with the knowledge and acquiescence of Tejan Kabbah and his government? Is that the evidence?

  • Do you understand the question, Mr Witness?

  • I understand the question.

  • So was the Government of Sierra Leone headed by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah complicit in the setting up of LURD and the transport of its combatants to Guinea?

  • Well, I will say this clearly: Because, in the first place, because of international law, no government will come and declare that I know exactly what is going to happen, but they were in the know.

  • They were in the know?

  • They were in the know, because they knew very well we were Liberians in Sierra Leone fighting. At the end of the day, our objective was to go back. So - and we were fighting along the CDF and they know they also have - at some points go and help us back. So they knew very well. There were top officials in the government that knew very well. As I've told you, the Vice-President knew about our motives. He was met by New Horizon. He was met by Aisha Konneh. General Khobe knew very well. It was only few police officers that were deployed at the wharf that never knew what was going on. So any time they effect arrest, they will have calls from superior officers that would tell them, "No. You play low. We know these people."

  • Yes, but the question was in relation to Tejan Kabbah himself, was he complicit in all this, to your knowledge?

  • To my knowledge, the presidency was far above us. But I could tell you about the Vice-President. He was fully aware. That was Joe Albert Demby.

  • Very well. Ms Howarth, you wanted to say something.

  • Yes, I'm grateful. It was just the answer given just prior to Madam President's question, it's at page - my page 24, line 17, the question was: "Before I come to deal with that, can I just seek your assistance on another matter? Was LURD dominated by Mandingos?" And the answer that's recorded is: "It was 100 per cent dominated by Mandingos." However, the answer given by the witness was, "It was not 100 per cent dominated by Mandingos." And I think that can be seen by the subsequent question and given, but given it's an opposite, I thought it perhaps appropriate to --

  • I clearly recall that.

  • Yes, you are absolutely right. I'm sure they will pick this up in the corrections.

  • We come then to the opening of front lines. You've told us these were to be opened in Lofa County, yes?

  • Now, the first incursion, did that have a name?

  • Before we started the LURD operation, an operation has already gone months before. That was the operation that really pre-empted the attack and that operation was called Mosquito Spray.

  • And just talk us through, please, what that Mosquito Spray operation involved.

  • Well, that was done because, in attacking Liberia, there was no legal basis for anybody to tell anybody that we have been attacked from Guinea and Guinea would have denied. So what the unit did was to infiltrate into Liberia, because there is a very vast jungle, very big forest in those areas, and they did a pre-emptive strike on Guinea pretending that there was attack coming from Guinea.

  • Come from?

  • From - that attack coming from Liberia.

  • So just talk us through that again. An advance force infiltrate into Liberia?

  • Then pretend to attack Guinea from Liberia?

  • Yes. They shell Guinea from Liberia.

  • The people doing the shelling were whom?

  • That's the first advance unit. That was operation Mosquito Spray. They are Liberians that were based in Guinea that have infiltrated.

  • So were - those who shelled Guinea, were they members of LURD?

  • Yeah. Most of them became members of LURD now.

  • Sorry, I don't understand that answer "most of them became members of LURD now". So did they become members of LURD after shelling?

  • Most of them were LURD because a lot of them died in that jungle. So those that survived it became members of LURD. Not all them any more.

  • At the time of the shelling they weren't yet members of LURD, is that what you are saying.

  • No, they were member of LURD but it was only the operation that was code named Mosquito Spray.

  • We need to clarify this. Let's start right at the beginning because I want to avoid any confusion. What did operation Mosquito Spray involve? Just talk us through it.

  • Mosquito Spray was an operation code name to enter Liberia, then shell part of Guinea. That will then give option to Guinean government to respond that there has been attack on Guinea.

  • And those who carried out this shelling, from where did they come?

  • They came from Guinea, cross and infiltrate into Liberia.

  • And those who crossed from Guinea into Liberia who conducted that sham attack Guinea, were they members of LURD?

  • Initially they were not member of LURD at that time because LURD formation was not well coordinated at that time because the combination of bringing LURD together is a combined force of we the Special Forces from Sierra Leone and, as I've told you, the CDF, the West Side, it's this combination of tribes, including the Krahns and other people, that came up with LURD. But that operation was not fully conducted by LURD. But after that operation it was then at that point that Guinea gave - have the option to shell Liberia. They shelled Lofa indiscriminately for some time and most of those guys recruited back into Guinea. And later when they met the formation of LURD they infiltrated into LURD and became full members of LURD.

  • So just help me with a matter of timing then. At the time of the Mosquito Spray operation --

  • That's correct.

  • -- was the organisation called LURD already formed?

  • So that Mosquito Spray operation, were you in Guinea at the time that it took place?

  • No, it took place before we got to Guinea.

  • So it took place before you got to Guinea?

  • How do you know about it then?

  • We are all fighters. Most of the guys that went on the operation were also part of us and then we are briefed that they have already done this and there is now every indication for infiltration because at that time the forces of Taylor were also now - they came with force because after that shelling they were also engaging Guinean troops on the border area, so we have all options now to go in.

  • Are there any further questions?

  • Yes, indeed. I wish to understand, Mr Witness, are you saying that part of the Special Forces or the fighters on your side decided to cross into Liberia and shell the country that had taken them in, Guinea?

  • That's correct.

  • Mr Witness, do you understand the word "pretext"?

  • Can you break it down for me?

  • Why was it thought necessary to mount operation Mosquito Spray?

  • It was very important because there was no way anybody will attack Liberia openly because Liberia was a sovereign state and Guinea is part of the Mano River Union of course, so there was no way Guinea would have allowed us to attack Liberia as a guerilla force unless something must have happened from that end. So shelling part of Guinea raised an alarm that there was attack on Guinea. So that gave the option to the Guinean government to respond. So we going in was not a problem to Guinea any more.

  • Is this now - is the witness saying that this Mosquito Spray was with the - or the Guinean government was complicit in this operation Mosquito Spray?

  • What do you mean by "complicit", ma'am?

  • Were they involved? Were they in the know about operation Mosquito Spray, the Guinean government?

  • Yes, they were in the know.

  • How close was the connection between Aisha Konneh and President Lansana Conte?

  • Too close to call.

  • Very close. Very cordial.

  • From your knowledge, could operation Mosquito Spray have been launched without the knowledge of the Guinean government?

  • Could that operation have been launched without the knowledge and acquiescence of the Guinean government?

  • So they knew about it?

  • And they condoned it?

  • And they used that as an excuse then to cover your actions in launching an invasion of Liberia?

  • Ms Hollis, I think you had better let it go. It's already on the record. But, Mr Griffiths, may I caution you please not to suggest answers.

  • Well, I totally disagree with that, Madam President, with respect. In the --

  • You really can't do that, Mr Griffiths.

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Mr Griffiths, you really can't do that. You really can't disagree with me.

  • Now, what happened? Can you give us a date for operation Mosquito Spray?

  • As I said yesterday, I have been a military man, dates are not too important. I cannot remember too much. I cannot tell you.

  • Very well. What happened after operation Mosquito Spray?

  • Then after Mosquito Spray we have already then assembled in Guinea. We are given the green light now for LURD operation to start and the operation was blessed by Sekou Damate Konneh. Then we invaded Liberia.

  • How many fronts were opened during the course of that war launched by LURD?

  • Well, as I told you, the initial strength that was available was almost four battalions because we were taking 500 per battalions. So every battalion we have five fighting patrols, 100 per patrol. That's a company plus. So we already opened up over 20 fronts initially we entered Monrovia because this was more of a guerilla warfare than a conventional warfare. But we were having complete overhead cover from the Guinean government because they were shelling for us whilst we were moving initially.

  • So when you say the Guinean government who are you talking about?

  • The Guinean army.

  • Were providing what?

  • Artillery cover for us.

  • Artillery cover for your invasion?

  • And was the invasion restricted to the Guinea-Liberia border? Did you only enter over the Guinea-Liberia border?

  • We started from that axis and we push all the way very close to Bomi. But we were having difficulties in maintaining the territory because Lofa was very too large, so we decided to open another front in Sierra Leone.

  • Where in Sierra Leone?

  • In Pujehun District. So since we were very much familiar with the terrain here, we are then withdrawn from Liberian axis, from Lofa, to Bo. At that time the Guinean contingent was based in Bo.

  • Of UNOMSIL was based in Bo. So that was where we used to receive arms from Guinea through the Guinean contingent. Then since they were UNOMSIL they escort those arms for us all the way to the border, Gissiwulo, Gba, Liya, all those crossing points. They will just drop us in the jungle, we would collect the arms then we will cross into Liberia.

  • So the Guineans contingent of UNAMSIL based in Bo in Sierra Leone were providing you with arms and ammunition and transport in order to attack Liberia from Sierra Leone?

  • Just talk us through how these incursions developed. You've opened this second front now in Sierra Leone. How do things develop thereafter?

  • Well, since Sierra Leone was very close - the border from Pujehun was very close to Monrovia, we had - we were - it was very easy for us to recruit from Pujehun District because that was a very big dominated base by CDF. It was very easy to recruit because we transported a lot of arms and ammunition through that axis, so we then linked up with the mother forces from Guinea, we linked up at Bomi Hills, then we took the whole of Cape Mount, then we started pressurising Monrovia.

  • How long did that whole process take?

  • Well, the whole process took us - because we link up with that forces in Bomi then we started planning the final phase of our first operation how to get into Monrovia. All those things took us almost two to three months.

  • And in due course was an assault launched on Monrovia?

  • Yes, we launched the first assault on Monrovia. That first - but before we launched this first assault on Monrovia the whole team, because we were having our access directly from Lofa all the way to Guinea, so we were called by Sekou Damate Konneh for briefings in Guinea. We were there, Dog, myself, General Jalloh, and then he got a call from Monrovia.

  • Who got a call?

  • Sekou Damate Konneh. First he got the call and he came outside and he told us, "Gentlemen, you don't have to waste time. We've just had a call that Taylor forces are running out of ammunition. They don't even have enough mortar rounds, so make a push."

  • Where did that call come from?

  • From Liberia. Directly from Liberia.

  • Do you know who made the call?

  • Yes, we were made to know that it was a journalist called Hassan Bility.

  • Hassan Bility?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • So he was providing information, was he, to Damate Konneh in Guinea?

  • Yeah, that's what we were told directly because we were there in fact when he made - because he told us and he told us to wait, after one hour he will call again, and we were all seated, on the sat phone he called.

  • Excuse me, Mr Witness, you are running again with your testimony. A lot of what you are saying is not captured on the record. I'm going to ask you again as I asked you yesterday to speak slowly. You are not just having a dialogue with counsel. You are giving evidence to court which is being recorded, please.

  • Very well. Mr Witness, your called to Guinea for a briefing along with other commanders, yes?

  • For a briefing with Sekou Damate Konneh, yes?

  • And whilst there, a telephone call is received?

  • From a journalist in Monrovia, Bility.

  • And what information was provided to Sekou Damate Konneh?

  • Well, Sekou Damate Konneh told us in the first phase that he has just had instruction that Taylor's forces were running low of arms and ammunition and that we should make a very big push for Monrovia. That is the time to get it and to get him. Then whilst we were there he told us to wait. We are refreshing. In the space of 30 minutes the call came again.

  • From Hassan Bility and we are all seated and told us listen to it carefully, and he asked him what's the situation on the ground and he told him directly that things on the ground are not good, so let the people move and push from Monrovia. So you will see for yourself they are running out of ammunition. So that was loud and clear to all of us. So we are supposed to be in Guinea for seven days. Then he told us to cut short, we'll go and plan the first phase of the operation from Monrovia.

  • And did you do that?

  • Yes, we left and we went and the first phase of the operation was to really test whether that information given to us was correct. So we made a push from Klay all the way to Freeport, that's our first stop. We made - we met a little bit of resistance but not that too much because any time we are pushing too much they are retreating because at that time we are shelling heavily. We are heavily armed. We are using mortars, BZTs. But the only problem we were facing, we hadn't enough vehicles because the route from Guinea to Lofa was too bad.

  • Yeah, the roads were too bad. So in that operation our plan was to have vehicles - open vehicles that we could use to mount our BZTs anti-aircrafts and the rest. So we went in for the first attack. We collected those things, food, diesel, enough fuel for our vehicles that we made a retreat back to Bomi Hills.

  • And what happened thereafter?

  • After that we then planned another phase of the operation. This was to hit Monrovia and come back, so that we draw the firepower of the enemy, because we knew they were running low out of ammunition. And hitting them when we were retreating and we know they will pursue us. In pursuing, they will use more arms. So that was the objective of the second --

  • Mr Witness, slow down, please. You have to repeat your answer.

  • Just go over that again, Mr Witness. It's not easy giving evidence in a courtroom, as you've discovered, right? But it's important that everybody follows what you have to say because what you have to say is important. So, please, just take your time - we're not in a rush - and just tell us the account you want to.

  • The second phase of the operation, as I said, was to draw their firepower because we knew very well that the moment we engage Monrovia, they will be engaging us. And if we decide to retreat, they will pursue us. And in pursuing us, they will have more rounds to waste. So we went to Monrovia for the second time. We got what we wanted from there, fuel, food, at the port, because there was enough food at the port. We looted at lot of food, then retreated back to Bomi. But then there was this persistent call that we should go and finish the job.

  • From our leader, Sekou Damate Konneh, that he was in fact on his way to Bomi and he doesn't want to speak to any commander from Bomi. He wants to speak to us directly from Monrovia and that we should move at all costs and we should make sure that, one, Monrovia is totally taken and that Mr Taylor should be arrested; we shouldn't kill him because they want to try him.

    So then we went in for the third time in Monrovia. We are there for almost five days. We have occupied the whole of Bushrod Island. We have the strength moving towards Gardnersville. We already crossed the double bridge into battery factory, that was our front line, because our objective was to go for Red Light. Then the main bulk of the operation was to cross the two bridges now into centre of Monrovia. So --

  • Go on.

  • The phase of that operation was to be launched on a Saturday, faithfully on Saturday, to cross the bridge. So we have already prepared artilleries because I was an artillery personnel with General Jigay. He was operating the first BZT, advanced BZT, that was to be the second BZT --

  • I'm going to pull you up again, Mr Witness. What you are saying is not being recorded. The transcriber just cannot keep up with you. Can you please make an effort to slow down.

  • You were telling us you were operating the second BZT. Yes?

  • Then the third BZT was supposed to be operated by another unit called Horsepower, which was --

  • Horsepower, yeah. Which was operated by General Julu. So before that morning now, because which was supposed to be a dawn attack until day, K1, General K1, who was operational commander, came to the artillery headquarters at Katupa Vai Town and told us, "This operation has been called off," and we should remain where we are. They have instructions that we should not cross the bridge any more.

  • Instructions from whom?

  • Well, that I cannot tell you perfectly clear because I don't want to lie. He told us that he has instructions from above that we shouldn't cross the bridge and that very soon there will be an ECOMOG force that will be on the ground - UNOMSIL force that will be on the ground and there will be some - we will see an overflight of Marines, that we shouldn't shoot at them.

  • An overflight of Marines?

  • Yes, the US Marines because --

  • Yes. Because they were visible at sea.

  • Yes. You could see the warship. They were visible. You could see them - if you are at the port, you could see them. So they told us we shouldn't attack them, we shouldn't fire at them, and the instruction was we are not supposed to cross the bridge any more.

  • And did you at some stage discover what had happened to President Taylor?

  • Well, whilst we were in Monrovia we were told that negotiation was going on for him to peacefully leave, so as such there was then no need for us to pursue him any more. So we decided to wait and see. So we are still at our defensive positions and then the ECOMOG force came. Then there was ceasefire and they deployed between us - the bridge and us and the LURD forces on the other side of the bridge.

  • Now, did you in due course discover that President Taylor had in fact left Monrovia?

  • Yes. After some days we are then briefed that the next day that President Taylor will be leaving. That there has been high power delegation from ECOWAS that they are negotiating for his departure and where he will go and that the next day he will be leaving. And the next day we are told he has already left.

  • Mr Griffiths, before I lose sight of it, I recall the witness mentioned there would be a UNAMSIL ground force coming and then later he talked about an ECOMOG force coming. Is it - which is it, please?

  • Can you help with that, please?

  • Yeah, I will help with that. You know when we were in Sierra Leone we are used to this UNOMSIL, UNOMSIL, but that was to be a UN force that was supposed to be what - in Sierra Leone we have this UNOMSIL, UNMIL, so - but it was purely a UN force that was coming because they were having blue helmets.

  • Right. Now, I'm hoping we can take --

  • So this has nothing to do with ECOMOG then? Because you used both phrases.

  • Was it an ECOMOG force or was it a UN force that came and took up position?

  • It was a UN force, because they are all having blue helmets when they came.

  • Let's just be clear about it. You were told that what force would be entering Monrovia?

  • A UN force was coming to deploy.

  • The force that did in fact deploy, was it a UN force or an ECOMOG force?

  • It was a UN force.

  • How were they dressed?

  • They were dressed in - the helmets is different because they used military fatigue and the blue helmet indicates that they are UN forces.

  • Thank you. Now, following the departure of President Taylor, what happened to LURD as an organisation?

  • LURD as an organisation, first and foremost, we are asked to vacate the vicinity of Liberia because they wanted to see no arms and Monrovia should be an arm-free city. So we are all ordered to move back to our headquarters at Bomi Hills and we are at Bomi Hills. And we are there until I waited disarmament.

  • Did the witness say - sorry - we were asked to vacate the vicinity of Liberia? That is what we have on the record.

  • Monrovia. Monrovia. Not Liberia. Monrovia.

  • No, I'm sorry, it's Monrovia. Because we were in Monrovia.

  • So you were asked to vacate Monrovia and move back to Bomi Hills. Is that correct?

  • And did you do that?

  • And what happened thereafter?

  • After that there was now negotiation between our leaders. There was now political development in Liberia for the formation of an interim government which would involve all these people to rule for a period of time until after disarmament, so we were there. LURD participated in that interim government.

  • LURD participated in the interim government?

  • Yeah, LURD participated in the interim government.

  • And who was the LURD representative or representatives in that interim government?

  • Well, they had a lot of representative because Kabineh Janneh served in that government. Vamba Kanneh served and --

  • Sorry, what did you say? What name did you say to start with?

  • Counsellor Kabineh Janneh served in that transitional government.

  • Dr Vamba Kanneh served.

  • If you can't remember any more names, Mr Witness, don't worry. Don't worry. It's unimportant.

    Now, as you are undoubtedly aware at a later stage elections took place and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected President, yes?

  • Yeah, that's correct.

  • Were you in Liberia at that time?

  • No. I have moved back to Sierra Leone. After - immediately after disarmament, I came back to Sierra Leone.

  • Yes. Now, that new President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, had you encountered her at any stage prior to her election as President?

  • If I have encountered her?

  • Had you heard of her before?

  • In only one context, but that was not clarified to us. Because when the New Horizon came in Freetown they told us that they - they were comprised of a lot of Liberians, including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and that's a big wig and she has influence for a push. That was the only time her name was mentioned, but she never spoke to us.

  • So the name was mentioned in connection with New Horizons, yes?

  • Now, you mentioned earlier - and it may have slipped notice, but I want to go back to it - that you were instructed that President Taylor was to be captured so that he could be put on trial. Yes?

  • Now, help us with this: Have you ever had contact with the Special Court for Sierra Leone prior to coming to this Court to give evidence?

  • Well, the first context was through our commander that I have told you.

  • That I don't want to name now.

  • We were called together with another {redacted} Sylvester, and then General Jigay because he was part of the RUF. Our first assignment was - initially when we were entering Guinea was to make sure that we find out whether indeed Johnny Paul Koroma was dead. That was our first assignment.

  • Who gave you that assignment?

  • Well, that assignment came from our commander but he was dealing directly with David Crane at the time.

  • David Crane, what, the Prosecutor of this Court?

  • Yeah, he was the Prosecutor of the Court.

  • So David Crane was in contact with your commander who you cannot name and asked you to carry out this operation, yes?

  • And did he, David Crane, provide you with any assistance in order to do that?

  • Yes, because to move in those areas in search of information he needed money, so they gave us money.

  • Who gave you the money?

  • Well, the money particularly was turned over to us by our commander but he went to David Crane and received - he gave him a phone, a flat phone, just like a laptop, and then they gave him money.

  • Well, I cannot tell exactly how much he gave to him but the money that they gave to us in Bo was $1,000, me, Passaway and General Jigay.

  • Is that $1,000 between the three of you?

  • That's correct. That was for transportation.

  • And you were being given that by David Crane, the Prosecutor of this Court, to do what?

  • For certain informations because they were not sure whether Mosquito was really dead and they were not sure whether - they were thinking that Johnny Paul Koroma was still alive. So they wanted confirmation. Since we are fighting that axis and we are in Monrovia, they wanted to have first-hand information whether that was true.

  • Because you are fighting what?

  • Since you were fighting where?

  • Since we are fighting in Liberia and it's where these people were supposed - they were thinking they were supposed to be, so they thought we would give them viable information about those two people.

  • So did you carry out investigations on behalf of the Prosecutor of this Court into the deaths of Johnny Paul Koroma and Mosquito?

  • And what was the result of those investigations you carried out on his behalf?

  • Well, we were told that Johnny Paul Koroma was killed in Lofa County when he crossed from Sierra Leone into Lofa and that he never reached Monrovia. He had some scuffle with some of the soldiers that he met and he couldn't properly identify himself to them, so a scuffle ensued between them and he was killed.

  • Where in Lofa County?

  • Well, the specific location I don't know, but we were told he was killed in Lofa.

  • And where did you get that information from?

  • We got that information from an ex-ATU fighter who was called Senegalese. He was a Sierra Leonean but he was fighting on the other side.

  • The Anti-Terrorist Unit?

  • Now, what about your investigations into the death of Mosquito?

  • That also was confirmed that he was killed along the Ivory Coast border and it was also confirmed to us that he was not taking instructions from his superior officers and he was doing things on different orders and, as such, a scuffle also ensued between them and he was killed.

  • Where did you get that information from?

  • From this same person because he was an ATU.

  • And you mentioned earlier that you had been instructed that Charles Taylor was to be put on trial, yes?

  • Who had given you that instruction?

  • That instruction was given to us by - the first instruction was given to us by Sekou Damate Konneh because he told us directly that there is already an international arrest warrant for Charles Taylor that he has committed atrocities and that they wanted him to answer questions so we shouldn't kill him, we should arrest him and make sure we turned him over to this Court for questioning - for the Court for questioning.

  • So you were given that instruction before or after Charles Taylor left Monrovia?

  • We were going with that instruction before we even entered Monrovia.

  • Before you entered Monrovia?

  • You had that instruction?

  • That we should capture him, not to kill him.

  • Could we have a time frame for this particular instruction, please? A year, perhaps a month?

  • During the operation?

  • Can you give us a year when you were given that instruction to capture him for him to be put on trial?

  • I have told you I have a problem with dates.

  • I'm not asking for a date, sir. I'm asking for a year.

  • How close was it to the departure of Charles Taylor? Was it in the same year or what?

  • It was in the same year that Mr Taylor left.

  • And can you help us as to roughly how long before he left you received that information?

  • That information was given to us three months into - because - three months, because we are in operation for almost three to four months, yes.

  • So you were given it when?

  • Three months into the operation.

  • Now, where were you when your commander made these contacts with David Crane?

  • We are in Bo directly.

  • What were you doing in Bo at that time?

  • I've told you Bo was the base for our recruitment.

  • Recruitment for what?

  • For the LURD operation. So whilst we were on this movement then - you know the Court was in Sierra Leone already now. He had this contact with this Court, our commander, so he came and briefed us that we have another assignment attached to this programme. The Special Court want to have certain information and if you guys can just give me this information about Johnny Paul, about Mosquito, then that will be well with us. And that we also have this instruction that Mr Taylor should not be killed because he is wanted here, he must be captured and turned over to the Court. That was in Bo.

  • I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask you for a time frame for this as well. What year was this?

  • It was during the same year that Mr Taylor left Liberia because it was just four months - but I couldn't remember the year exactly, but it was just four months back but the same year that he left.

  • Madam President, I am told by Mr Taylor that he would like an opportunity to consult with me before I conclude with this witness. I've just received that instruction now.

    First of all, a particular name was mentioned during the course of this witness's testimony and I would ask that that name be redacted, please. He was mentioned as a Defence witness.

  • Yes, can you guide me as to the page and line, Mr Griffiths?

  • I'm seeking to locate it now. The matter has just been brought to my notice.

  • Mr Griffiths, are you looking for the line?

  • We're both searching for it now as we speak. Page 46, please, line either 20 or 21 depending on the font being used.

  • From my record I can't even tell the names. I can only see a name Sylvester but the others are not legible, so I have no recollection who these were. Is that what you are referring to?

  • And which of these names? There's a litany of names. The one to which the word "witness" is attached?

  • Mr Griffiths, we are of the view that the record as it stands really makes no one the wiser as to what this witness meant when they referred to that name. I mean, witness in where? In what case? To what? Maybe to the murders, et cetera? Who knows?

  • The point is, Madam President, once the transcript has been perfected it will become clear and I see the transcriber nodding in agreement who that witness is.

  • Yes, the point I am making is witness where? In what? Or witness to what, is the issue? Of course the dialogue that you and I are having is making it very obvious witness to what, but if you had just left the issue it might have gone undetected even as it stands.

  • Which is why I was being quite Delphic in dealing with the matter in the hope that it could be resolved swiftly without any contention.

  • You want the Court to redact only that first name?

  • Yes, and the word "witness".

  • Very well then. Word "witness" and the name immediately following that word will be redacted.

  • Mr Griffiths, if my memory serves me correctly that name was mentioned more than once. Am I right?

  • But not in relation to any legal proceedings:

  • Coming back to your narrative, Mr Witness, do you recall telling us about the various attacks which were conducted on Monrovia? Yes?

  • How many attacks in all were launched by LURD on Monrovia?

  • Three major attacks.

  • Now, bearing that fact in mind --

  • Mr Griffiths, we are just wondering to ourselves in view of the fact that the person whose names we're redacting is a protected witness, we're wondering how this witness came to know that that person is a witness. Good question, isn't it?

  • Well, why I'm looking rather querulous is because it's not a question for me. It should be a question for the witness surely.

  • It should be a question for the Defence.

  • Three attacks you've told us, yes? Three attacks?

  • Yes, there were three attacks.

  • Now help us. When in relation to those three attacks was this contact made by David Crane? Was it before the three attacks or when?

  • Before the three attacks.

  • So before the assault was launched on Monrovia, this meeting took place in Bo where you were told of David Crane's involvement, yes?

  • By the way, Mr Witness, before I conclude, who was the commander of the Mosquito Spray operation that you told us about?

  • He was called Prince Cio.

  • Cio

  • That's the name that we know of.

  • The letter C and then O?

  • Well, is it CO or is it S-I-O? It can't be both. Which is it, Mr Witness?

  • It's not CO. S-I-O. Prince Cio. That's the way we call it, C-I-O. It's not CO.

  • I need to clarify two spellings. One, the Iron Lady who was mentioned, her first name is spelled A-I-S-H-A. Secondly, a place name in Guinea was given Kipe. That is K-I-P-E acute. That's all I ask in chief.

  • Madam President, I ask the leave of your Honours to make an application and raise an objection.

  • Yes, certainly we'll hear the submissions, please.

  • Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, we would like to make these submissions in the absence of the witness.

  • Could the witness please be escorted out temporarily. Mr Witness, you are not yet done with your evidence but the following application will be made in your absence. You will then return afterwards.

  • [In the absence of the witness]

  • Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, your Honours, the most recent summary that we have that was to guide us in our preparation to cross-examine this witness was a summary that was provided on 29 January 2010, and the CMS number for this was at 27032 and this is what we have for this witness's testimony:

    "Background. The witness was a member of the CDF. The witness will testify about the structure of the CDF and the formation of ULIMO. Arms and ammunition. The witness will state that the CDF received arms from the Sierra Leonean government which obtained its arms from South Africa and the UK. The CDF also obtained arms from ECOMOG through Liberia. The witness will also explain that the AFRC captured large quantities of CDF arms and ammunition in Kenema and that Sam Bockarie obtained arms from the State House and took them to Pendembu after the AFRC coup."

    That is the summary, the most recent summary, which we submit we are allowed to rely on in preparing for the cross-examination of this witness.

    The very first summary that we were given by the Defence contained details that they later omitted. They contained details, simply the name of General Ibrahim Jalloh, Mohamed Tarrawalley Sparrow, ethnic groups around the Pujehun District area, General Abu looks like Warn Mohamed, ECOMOG commander, again the capture of large quantities of arms and ammunition from the CDF by AFRC around Zimmi and Kenema, General Bropleh and Terminator, how some of the STF members joined the West Side Boys, how ULIMO was formed and commanders like General Karpeh and General Free Kalay and General Passaway.

  • I wonder if I can have the CMS number for that reference, please.

  • That is the very first summary we were given, 25333, and thereafter the Defence chose to eliminate those details and give us the last summary that you have.

    Now, if we look at what this witness has testified to your Honours, the great majority of the testimony is certainly not covered by the last summary provided to us, the summary on which we were allowed to rely, and indeed the great majority of that information is not even covered by the more detailed first summary.

  • Ms Hollis, is the last summary version 5 or version 6? What might it be?

  • Version 4 is what we have.

  • We've got version 5. So I just want us all to be on the same page. I don't know if there's a version that supersedes version 5.

  • We have the 29 January 2010.

  • There is one dated 12 May 2010.

  • And I believe that is exactly the same as the 29 January 2010 version, my case manager tells me. So the point is this: That the versions on - the last version that we were given, the version on which we are allowed to rely in preparing is, to put it mildly, grossly inadequate compared to what this witness has told your Honours. There is nothing in there about this witness being a member of the LUDF, about the witness being a member of ULIMO. In fact, it says he's a member of CDF. In his testimony to your Honours even when he talks about fighting with the CDF, if you will note his testimony, he always holds the Special Forces out as a separate unit. He talks about Special Forces and CDF. Special Forces fighting alongside the CDF. So he himself in his testimony has talked about others telling him and his group you are part of the CDF. He has never identified himself as part of the CDF.

    Certainly nothing in these summaries indicates that he went into Liberia as part of ULIMO and fought in Liberia. Nothing indicates the split between ULIMO-J and ULIMO-K. Nothing indicates how they got arms in Liberia. Nothing indicates the disarmament in Liberia, including of other factions. Nothing indicates his recruitment into the Special Forces, his return to Sierra Leone. There is no indication of the operations that he took part in as part of the Special Forces.

    Your Honours might conclude that that would be covered by the statement that he was a senior member of CDF. But certainly the details have not been included in anything we have been given. And certainly there is nothing about these meetings that he says his group took part in with Mr Supuwood and others where a project was supposedly planned called Operation Eagle and other options for overthrowing Charles Taylor were discussed.

    Nothing in any of those in any way would alert us to that. Nothing indicates about the movement of people into Liberia as part of this overall objective to overthrow Charles Taylor. Nothing indicates Operation Eagle was abandoned and then the other operation was pursued. Nothing indicates the fighting as part of the first group without a name. Nothing indicates that this name went to Guinea as part of this first group which was not named. Nothing indicates his knowledge of the creation of the LURD. Nothing indicates the composition of the LURD. Nothing indicates the supposed involvement of Guinea with LURD's activities, including this Mosquito Spray operation as he described it. Nothing indicates other actions he talked about in relation to the LURD in Liberia. Nothing indicates the involvement of a person he said was identified as Hassan Bility in providing intelligence. Nothing indicates his statement about contacts with the OTP of the Special Court and the supposed taskings that he and others were given.

    We would suggest to your Honours that this goes beyond simple inadvertence and in fact borders on if not is bad faith on the part of the Defence to surprise the Prosecution so that we would be unable to prepare in a timely manner to meet this evidence.

    Now in addition to all of these areas that were not in any way given notice of in these summaries, there are, we believe, two areas where there are differences in what is in the summary and what this witness has told your Honours.

    The first one is that in the summary you are told that the CDF, that arms were captured by the AFRC. In his testimony he was very clear that while this was during the junta it was definitely the RUF. That raises the question of whether he earlier had told the Defence a different version, indicating it was the AFRC. And also in relation to the somewhat more nuanced point of whether or not he was a senior member of the CDF, in the summary it does portray him as a senior member of the CDF. We suggest in his testimony he definitely talks about his group as fighting alongside the CDF but he does not portray himself as a member of the CDF.

    We believe because of these differences, and also because the Defence chose to eliminate details in the second through the most recent summaries, that the Prosecution should be entitled to receive the statements of this witness to find out why those details were eliminated. Did the witness tell the Defence contrary statements with contrary facts? And we believe that we have a right to those statements.

    Whether we receive the statements or not, since in our view the great majority of this witness's evidence is a surprise, we are not able to proceed with an effective cross-examination at this time. We are unable to test the credibility of this witness on all these new areas until we have time to research it and some of these researches we need to do cannot be done by simply looking at transcripts in this trial and looking at exhibits in this trial. We need our investigators involved, which, had we had an adequate summary, we would have had time to have them involved.

    For these reasons, your Honours, we would ask first and foremost that we be provided with statements this witness has given to the Defence. Secondly, we would request your Honours give us a delay so that we can adequately investigate these matters before we commence the cross-examination of this witness. Because of the nature of the matters which are a surprise to us, and the number of the matters which are a surprise to us, we do not believe we would be able to commence with an effective and informed cross-examination of this witness until the end of next week because we need investigators to do some of this investigation for us from our office in Sierra Leone.

    So we make that application to your Honours and we make this objection that once again in our view we have been given an inadequate summary and in relation to this particular summary, we are of the view that it is also a misleading summary from the Defence. Thank you.

  • Mr Griffiths, your response, please.

  • I accept, Madam President, your Honours, that the details contained in this summary do not properly reflect the full extent of this witness's testimony, and I must accept much of the blame for that for this reason. An updated summary had been prepared by someone in our office, but that matter was brought to my attention at a late stage and consequently had inadequate time in which to ensure service of that updated summary on the Prosecution, and I accept totally the blame for that.

    However, whilst accepting culpability in that regard, I totally object to the suggestion that our reasons for so behaving or acting were motivated by any mala fides. I totally object to that. We have always sought, in our dealing with the Prosecution, to treat them with respect and not to question their motivation in, we would submit, the most ungracious way my learned friend has today.

    In consequence, I do not object to the adjournment, but I do object to disclosure, and I object to disclosure on this basis. What is pointed to as differences in testimony in our submission is not material. This is a ploy to obtain further ammunition for cross-examination, if there be any. In order, in our submission, for this Court to say that disclosure ought to be ordered, the Prosecution need to demonstrate that they have been so prejudiced that they cannot adequately deal with issues in cross-examination, and in our submission, they are here clutching at straws.

    You will recall that during the testimony of this witness, at one point he did speak of the AFRC capturing a large quantity of arms left behind by ECOMOG in Zimmi, and you will recall your intervention, Madam President, when you sought clarification as to whether he was referring to the AFRC or the RUF. That was yesterday. And it's quite clear from the testimony of the witness that he tends to use the words "AFRC" and "RUF" and "junta" somewhat interchangeably during that period following the coup in May 1997. It's quite clear from his testimony that that is the case. So the submission being made that there has somehow been a shift in the position taken by this witness on that issue is, in our submission, completely unfounded. It has no basis in fact.

    Secondly, my learned friend concedes that the second difference pointed to is somewhat nuanced, that is, the reference to CDF. Of course the witness has said on more than one occasion, "I was a member of the Special Forces," but you will recall that he gave testimony to the effect that he was recruited by Sam Hinga Norman, who was present at Ricks Institute, and we know from the very fact that that man, the former Deputy Defence Minister was put on trial in this very Court for forming the CDF, that there must have been, from that starting point, some connection between the Special Forces recruited by him and the overall organisation which he ran, the CDF.

    So in our submission, the idea that these words: "The witness was a member of the CDF; the witness will testify about the structure of the CDF," that that somehow represents a difference, a change, a tailoring, if you will, of his evidence, in our submission is totally fatuous. Because you will see, if we look at the construction of that sentence, "structure of the CDF". The Special Forces were part of the structure of the CDF, so what is misleading about that in light of the testimony given by this witness?

    So in our submission, the second part of my learned friend's application should be refused. In our submission, there is no basis in law for it. In effect, we would submit this is a fishing expedition and, as such, should be refused.

  • Ms Hollis, do you wish to reply at all?

  • Just very briefly on the law, Madam President. We would simply suggest to your Honours that it is in the interest of justice in this instance to provide us with these statements.

    There is a large question as to why all of these details were omitted from subsequent summaries. Is it because the witness changed his evidence, and so these are not thought to be any longer in good faith? Is it because he said something different, and so they dropped them off entirely? We don't know that. We do know there were certain details in the first summary that were subsequently deleted by the Defence from all subsequent summaries. So was it because of a change in the witness's story? Was it because of equivocation in the witness's story? Was it because the Defence decided they no longer wanted to give us this kind of detail? We don't know. Aside from the third possibility, the first two have to do with the interest of justice and us being allowed to determine if this witness gave consistent statements to the Defence.

    We would point out, as your Honours have noted, that once a witness testifies, the witness's credibility is at issue, and inconsistencies in statements given to the Defence as compared to this testimony is relevant to a determination of this credibility. We would also point out that the issues that are raised regarding the credibility of the witness need not go to central issues in the indictment. That is not required.

    So as a matter of law, your Honours, we believe that in this instance we have met the test to be provided the statements of this witness. Thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to make these comments.

  • In view of the time - we only have five minutes left to the time we normally take our midmorning break - we are going to adjourn for the break, and during the break the judges will deliberate and return at 12 noon with a ruling on this issue. Court is adjourned accordingly.

  • [Break taken at 11.25 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 1.09 p.m.]

  • Yes, Ms Hollis.

  • Madam President, may I note a change of appearance for the Prosecution. Mr Mohamed A Bangura has departed and we are joined by Mr Nicholas Koumjian.

  • Can I also make the same observation. We have been joined by Mr Morris Anyah and Mr Hawi Alot.

  • That too is noted.

    Now, this is the ruling of the Court on the Prosecution's oral application:

    The Prosecution's oral application for the disclosure of the statement of witness DCT-190 is on two grounds: Firstly, that the summary dated 12 May 2010, that is, the summary before us, is grossly inadequate; and secondly, that the witness's evidence-in-chief is at variance with the summary. The Prosecution cites two examples; namely, that while the summary shows that the AFRC was the organ or the faction that captured the CDF arms and ammunition at Kenema, the witness's testimony in chief ultimately points to the RUF as the ones who captured those arms.

    The second alleged inconsistency is where the witness is stated in the summary to have been a member of the CDF, whereas in his evidence-in-chief the witness states he was a member of the Special Forces that fought alongside the CDF.

    Now, the Defence, whilst conceding that the summary is indeed inadequate, does not agree that there are material inconsistencies between the witness's summary and his testimony in chief so as to warrant a disclosure of his statement. The Defence therefore opposed the disclosure, although they do not object to the adjournment sought by the Prosecution.

    Now, to restate the jurisprudence on the issue, there is no blanket right for the Prosecution to see the statement of a Defence witness, but in each case the Trial Chamber retains the discretion to order such disclosure, depending on the circumstances of each case. The test for the Court to determine is whether the Prosecution has demonstrated such undue or irreparable prejudice that it would be in the interests of justice to order the disclosure of the statement.

    We have also held that a witness summary is not meant to be a complete statement of everything that the witness will attest to, but must at least provide a reasonable indication, however brief, of the evidential areas to be covered by the witness in his testimony.

    We have further held that where a summary is indeed grossly insufficient but not necessarily inconsistent with the witness's testimony, the appropriate remedy is for the Prosecution to be granted extra time to adequately prepare for cross-examination of that witness.

    Now, in the present case the Defence have conceded that the summary pertaining to witness DCT-190 is indeed inadequate. Having heard the witness's testimony in chief, there is no doubt in the Trial Chamber's mind that there are a lot of material areas that have been covered in the witness's testimony about which no indication whatsoever was given in the summary. The Trial Chamber therefore finds that the summary is not only inadequate; it is grossly inadequate.

    On the issue of inconsistencies, the Trial Chamber agrees with the Prosecution that the witness's testimony in chief, relating firstly to the capture of arms and ammunition in Kenema, is at variance with what is stated in his summary. The Chamber also agrees with the Prosecution that there is inconsistency between his testimony and summary in relation to his membership of the organisation known as the CDF. Both these inconsistencies are, in the Trial Chamber's view, material in nature.

    Furthermore, this situation is complicated by the fact that the Defence earlier on this year filed a more detailed summary covering many of the areas that the witness has in fact testified upon, but then the Defence withdrew this summary and replaced it with a more scanty version now before us. It is not clear why this was done.

    To complicate matters further, Defence counsel, after taking responsibility for the scanty summary that has been submitted - the scanty summary, has then submitted that the Defence did in fact prepare an updated summary that presumably would have contained more detail than the one at issue, but never got around to serving it on the Prosecution.

    What is clear is that the net result of these various findings raises more questions than answers, as the Prosecution has rightly pointed out, and that ultimately the Prosecution would suffer undue prejudice if the statements were not disclosed.

    In the premises, the Chamber orders the immediate disclosure of the witness statement or statements of witness DCT-190 to the Prosecution.

    The Chamber also grants the Prosecution an adjournment to be able to prepare for cross-examination of this witness.

    Now, we will determine the extent of the adjournment after hearing from Ms Hollis.

    Ms Hollis, you have asked for an adjournment until the end of next week, which would ultimately give you one and a half weeks that you have asked for, but we were wondering whether you would be prepared to start on your cross-examination of this witness. If we merely interposed the next witness, had that next witness give their full testimony, that might well take us up to Thursday this week, and would you be able to start the testimony of the cross-examination of this witness, or not?

  • May I confer with Ms Howarth?

    Thank you for that time to consult, Madam President. The Prosecution of course will look forward to getting the statement today as soon as possible, and we believe that we would be able to conduct some of the cross-examination not today and not tomorrow, but perhaps starting - what would that be - Thursday to conduct that which we believe we could properly prepare for.

  • So it would make sense if the trial Chamber proceeded in this manner: That the next witness be called this afternoon and the testimony of that witness, both in chief and cross-examination and re-examination, if any, be handled and exhausted before the cross-examination of DCT-190 begins? Would that make sense? Is that practicable?

  • That is for the Prosecution, yes.

  • I will ask the same question of the Defence. Do you have any objections to the proposed manner?

  • Are we talking about the cross-examination commencing on Thursday of this week?

  • Cross-examination commencing upon the completion of the testimony of the next witness, whenever that may be.

  • Well, I can inform the Court, because you may need to take this into consideration, the next witness should be concluded this afternoon. The next witness should not last more than an hour, an hour and a half, because that witness deals with a rather discrete issue, which can be dealt with within a fairly narrow compass.

  • You are, of course, referring to the testimony in chief.

  • No, no. Well, of course I can't anticipate cross-examination. But Mr Anyah, who will be taking that witness, tells me that he anticipates the witness will be no longer than 30 minutes in chief.

  • In any event, I think we are talking at cross-purposes here, both you and the Defence - sorry, the Defence and the Prosecution are agreed that the right thing to do is to interpose this witness - this next witness.

  • I am agreed on that.

  • And to exhaust the testimony of that witness and then to see if indeed the Prosecution is in a position to start cross-examination of the current witness. If they are not, I am sure we will hear from them. And so this is the way we are going to proceed:

    At 2.30 when we reconvene - and I am looking at the clock, we have only have ten minutes before the luncheon break - when we reconvene at 2.30, the Defence will present their next witness. We will stand over - perhaps we will have to call back this current witness for me to explain what has happened and then we will start stand him over, DCT-190, while we exhaust the evidence of the next witness.

    Perhaps there is time to call DCT-190 back.

  • [In the presence of the witness]

  • Mr Witness, a matter has arisen in court that requires a stand over of your evidence. Namely, that the Prosecution has asked for time to look into certain aspects of your testimony before they will be in a position to cross-examine you and this request has been granted by the Court. You will remain in The Hague and you will be called upon when the time comes to continue your testimony in cross-examination. However, in the meantime I will caution you, as I have done before, that you are not to discuss your testimony with anyone until all of your testimony is completed.

  • Yes.

  • So the Court will adjourn until 2.30 this afternoon.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.23 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Good afternoon. Mr Anyah, are you taking us through the next witness?

  • Yes, I am, Madam President. Good afternoon, Madam President. Good afternoon, your Honours. Good afternoon, counsel opposite.

    The next Defence witness is DCT-213. Madam President, the witness will be testifying in English and the witness wishes to be sworn in on the Bible.

    I should add that currently the witness is subject to a decision of your Honours regarding protective measures dated 27 May 2009. Having spoken to the witness, the witness wishes to testify openly, and so we would ask for a rescission of that protective measure of pseudonym which was granted the witness.

    I should also add that there will come to a time during the course of the examination of the witness when I will apply to your Honours and Madam President to move into private session to protect the privacy of the witness as well as others who may be implicated in the witness's testimony who are not parties to this case.

    And there is lastly in that some vein a particular exhibit I will refer to that is a confidential exhibit that I would want dealt with in private session. Thank you, Madam President.

  • Very well. The submissions of counsel are noted. Mr Koumjian, you have something to say in response?

  • No, your Honour, just to announce the change of appearance this afternoon for the Prosecution. This afternoon the Prosecution's represented by Brenda J Hollis, Maja Dimitrova and myself.

  • That is noted. As I was saying, the submissions by the Defence to rescind the protective measures accorded to witness DCT-213 are granted. The application is granted, and the protective measures contained in that decision as pertaining to that witness are indeed rescinded at the witness's request. Please call the witness in.

  • Madam President, please permit me to indicate that Ms Logan Hambrick is no longer with the Defence. Thank you.