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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Mr Taylor, we're coming to the end game now. As we go into the year 2003 what I would like us to do first of all is for you to provide us with a synopsis of the situation as it obtained in Liberia with LURD during 2002 going into 2003. Do you follow?

  • Now help us. The LURD incursions had begun when?

  • Oh, all the way back - I would say they first began around 1998/'99.

  • And can you help us with a month?

  • Well, we had a series of incursions. Around May 1999 we had some very serious - April/May of 1999 we had incursions. In around August 2000 we had incursions. So these are two --

  • And by the year 2002 what was the situation like?

  • Oh, LURD had attacked the city of Monrovia at least twice. By 2002 they were on the outskirts of the city of Monrovia around the town of Virginia. That's about I would say just about 3 or 4 kilometres outside of the city. Total chaos. Most of the ministries and agencies had closed, there were bombardments of - in fact long-range mortar shellings of the city. In fact by then the BBC had done several reports, the New York Times was involved in reporting, our own Ministry of Information. There were a series of things going on. The international community had intervened in a way. That led me in 2003 to a meeting in Ghana where I volunteered to step down if it brought peace, but we had near anarchy by this time. Hundreds of thousands of our people had fled city. The United States embassy compound at Greystone had been shelled and several hundred people were injured, some killed. We had a terrible situation during this period.

  • And help us, Mr Taylor. During that time what capacity did you have to withstand this assault by LURD?

  • Really hardly none. We were fighting. We knew by this time that there was now direct supplies coming out of Sierra Leone by this time.

  • Sierra Leone. Before it started with Guinea, by 2002/2003 LURD had captured Cape Mount County and part of Bomi holding the road - this famous road across the Mano River bridge. And so now we have direct supplies coming in from Sierra Leone.

    We also received reports - in fact at the beginning of 2003 in a document disclosed to this Court a few days ago, it was mentioned that in fact the United States did send a peacekeeping force to Liberia in late - well, I would say about the beginning of 2003 some 5,000 United States Marines, helicopters and an entire flotilla had been sent and we were receiving information that they were supplying LURD. I have no evidence of this. This is information that our security forces were saying, because US helicopters were flying from on board the ships into Virginia where I'm talking. Virginia, to remind the Court, Virginia is - we mentioned that in line with Ricks Institute where the Kamajors were put together back in 1997, even as mentioned in even the House of Commons report about Sandlines is conducting operation out of Liberia. That's what Virginia has to do with that.

    We have reports that helicopters are flying into Monrovia supplying LURD with ammunition. Now, like I said, this is all information, but following my departure from Monrovia some of the LURD commanders admit that they did receive some assistance. But we had no capacity at that time, and this is what really, really - we had been boxed in. The President of the United States George Bush had made a speech before the African diplomatic corps in Washington DC and had said that Charles Taylor must leave. So the whole essence of regime change had taken roots with the sending of the 5,000 plus United States Marines to Monrovia and so we had no way of resisting this onslaught and so that brought an end to my Presidency.

  • Now three questions, Mr Taylor. First of all, you spoke in the last answer of your knowledge of admissions made by some LURD commanders after you had stepped down?

  • How did you come by that knowledge?

  • Well, you know, remember one thing that has been lost is that my government negotiated the peace in Liberia. I didn't just - as Security Council resolution 1688 states and I think it is quite disingenuous to have stated it that way, that I fled Liberia. I didn't flee Liberia. I left Liberia with a normal transfer of power and agreement. But we negotiated the agreement and most of the officials that were left - there were three parties in fact to that agreement: LURD; MODEL; and the Government of Liberia, my government. So most of the officials that were left during the brief two months of the Moses Blah presidency were all officials of my government. There were very little changes, the military people and all. And following my departure when LURD came in, all the LURD and MODEL generals adopted my senior general, General Roland Duoh as the overall commander of all of the combatants, LURD, MODEL and government forces, so that mingling of - and discussions amongst soldiers just out of combat brought out all of the unexpected and all of the unknown.

  • Now the second thing I would like to ask you, Mr Taylor, arising from what you've told us before, is this: LURD, you told us, initially received support from Guinea. Is that right?

  • Oh, that is correct.

  • And later you speak of LURD receiving support also from Sierra Leone?

  • Now help us. Did you take up these matters with President Lansana Conte?

  • And President Kabbah?

  • Well, the Sierra Leonean end, and I have specifically stated, that's going into late 2002, 2003, I did not raise this substantively with President Kabbah, but Conte and I met twice to discuss the LURD situation. Once with Obasanjo in Nigeria where Obasanjo sat with Conte and myself and Conte denied that there was any support from him. We knew that in fact the United States government was supplying the munitions to Guinea. The United States government had not denied that. We confronted directly the United States government. They admitted that they were giving supplies to the Guinean government. They were also - there were United States Marines training Guinean elements at that time. They said, "Yes, we are training them. We are training Guinean regulars. We are giving them arms and ammunition. We cannot ascertain that they are sending it into Liberia. Under arrangements with them they are not supposed to do so, but we can't be sure they are doing it." What a cop out.

    The second encounter that I had with President Conte on this issue of supplies was in Morocco. Mohammed VI of Morocco met Lansana Conte. Mohammed IV, presently King of Morocco, and I sat along with Tejani Kabbah. The four of us met and had a discussion about this situation with Guinea supplying material and Conte again denied that this was done. So, yes, on those two occasions we did meet.

  • Mr Taylor, let us pause to deal with a matter which arises from that last answer before I go back to the third of the three points I mentioned earlier and it's this: There had been conflict in the sub-region now since 1989. Is that right?

  • Now, do you recall us dealing with a letter from the British ambassador which promised that the British government would be providing arms to the Sierra Leonean army?

  • Do you remember that letter?

  • That's correct, yes.

  • And do you recall providing us with evidence to the effect that arms entering that theatre of conflict were ending up in the hands of LURD combatants? Do you remember telling us that?

  • Now we have the situation, based on what you've told us, where another major country, the United States, is, on their own admission, sending arms and trainers into that sub-region in Guinea, yes?

  • What was your view as President of Liberia, Mr Taylor, that both Britain and the United States were pumping arms and ammunition into this conflict zone? What was your view about that?

  • Well, it was very clear to my government that these two nations were embarked on the process of regime change in Liberia. It was very clear. Several diplomatic sources had mentioned it to us and they were very consistent about the activities. Several things had happened. We had direct sanctions that had been promulgated by both countries. We also had in place - while other members - I would say at least three other members of the Security Council were sympathetic to the plight of the Liberian people in trying to obtain arms, Britain and the United States objected to any lifting of the embargo for legitimate self-defence leading us in 2002 to write and inform the council that we would, in fact, bring arms and stating that we would be prepared to legally argue the point that the Security Council had no right under the charter of the United Nations to deny a nation - a member state legitimate self-defence. So we were of the opinion that regime change was underway.

    Remember, in documents exhibited before this Court, I sent my - I sent envoys to the British foreign office. We made points. We sent many delegations to the United States. We met with US diplomats, their envoys. Both Under-Secretary of State Pickering came to Liberia, Jesse Jackson came to Liberia. Everything, all of our promises, all of the work that we did, they appeared to pooh-pooh the entire idea of listening to us. That's P-O-O-H, P-O-O-H. So, you know, it was just a disastrous situation and it was real clear to us that regime change was the motive.

    A third incident that I very rarely like to mention, but I will, an individual - a major evangelist in the United States, Pat Robertson, is well-known, the PTL Club 700, I think it is, who was involved in a little adventure in Liberia volunteered to speak to top administration officials in the United States. He met with George Bush. And following the meeting with George Bush, I got a message from Pat Robertson. He said, "The only thing I can advise you to do, Mr President, is appeal to God," he said, "because what I'm hearing from George Bush, there's nothing that you can do about what America intends to do." And then Liberia - we then launched the famous religious programme in Liberia called Liberia for Jesus. And it was very clear, nothing that we said made any difference.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, the third point I mentioned earlier which I would like to deal with is this: You mentioned that there were BBC and New York Times reports about the situation, yes?

  • Now, could we look, please, in the bundle of disclosure for week 38 behind divider 6, first of all, please. Now, Mr Taylor, have you seen this article before?

  • Yes. This is one of the two - two, in fact. One of the - there are two BBC articles that appear, one in January and one in February. Yes, this is one of them. This is it, yes.

  • Now, this is a report from the BBC news dated 4 February 2002, and beneath a photograph of Liberian soldiers is the caption, "The Liberian army says it is poorly equipped." Is that true?

  • Oh, yes. Oh, yes. An arms embargo had been imposed on the Republic of Liberia all the way back in about 1980 - around 1992 and it was still in effect. So we had no way of getting anything.

  • Now, the article provides:

    "Liberia's Defence Minister has said that the government army is fighting and unfair war against rebels in the north of the country.

    Daniel Chea said that his forces are unable to get military supplies because of an international ban on selling weapons to the Liberian government.

    The international ban was imposed because Liberia was accused of selling diamonds on behalf of the rebel movement in neighbouring Sierra Leone."

    Now, pause there for the moment, Mr Taylor. Now, help us, unfair in what sense?

  • In that the rebels are being supplied, trained and equipped through surrogate Guinea and we are hamstrung by the arms embargo. This is what he is talking about.

  • "Last week ..." so that's the end of January 2002?

  • "... the rebels briefly captured a village just 80 kilometres from the Liberian capital Monrovia, causing thousands of refugees to flee." Is that correct?

  • That is correct. In fact, I think it's shorter than 80 kilometres, but the fact - the factual nature of what they are talking about is true.

  • "The BBC's Sam Howard in Monrovia says that many Liberians will be shocked by this admission."

    Would you agree with that sentiment Mr Taylor?

  • Well, most of the population was convinced that the government would do everything and, you know, some - some individuals - in fact, big governments do that sometimes. You deny the advancement of enemy forces to give your people some hope. But my own line was that we had to tell the people the truth that will prepare people in other areas to begin evacuation to avoid massive loss of life.

  • "'We have to make do with what we can lay our hands on from captured weapons, whereby the dissidents have overwhelming external support,' said Mr Chea."

    Now, pausing there. Mr Taylor, when Mr Chea, the Defence Minister, was speaking to the BBC, was that with your full knowledge?

  • And when he was saying, "Whereby the dissidents have overwhelming external support," what's that a reference to?

  • The supply of material by the United States and Britain through the surrogates of Guinea and other surrogates in Sierra Leone.

  • Over the page, please:

    "Liberia has repeatedly accused neighbouring Guinea of backing the rebel group, Liberians United For Reconciliation and Democracy.

    The Defence Minister said that if the arms embargo was lifted, the army could defeat the rebels within a month."

    Was that a fair assessment?

  • Well, not a month, but, I mean, defeat would be imminent. It would be a little longer, but generally I would say that we would have defeated them, yes.

  • "The government said in January that the sanctions should be lifted because the war in Sierra Leone had officially been declared over."

    Now, to whom had you made that request, Mr Taylor?

  • For the lifting of the --

  • We had gone to the Security Council. We had, first of all, gone to ECOWAS. We had made the point to ECOWAS. They agreed. We had made the point to the African Union and we had also advanced this to the Security Council and we had obtained the acquiescence of at least three members. France, to a great extent. Russia and China had no real objections. They normally don't get involved.

    You know, a lot of people don't know - they think the Security Council sits there and goes through a lot of head banging. That's not the way the Security Council works. The Security Council works on deals, arrangements here and there. And we had gone to them, but two members said emphatically that they would not have the arms embargo lifted, and with that, it would not just get lifted. But we had gone through the three areas.

  • And who were the two members who objected?

  • Britain and the United States objected to any lifting of the arms embargo for legitimate self-defence.

  • Returning to the article:

    "The thousands of people who fled the northern towns of Sawmill and Tubmanburg last week are now starting to return. Sawmill was captured by rebel fighters but government troops retook it soon afterwards. The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh says that aid agencies are unable to reach Tubmanburg because of the lack of security.

    He says that the sick are forced to travel to Klay, 20 kilometres away, to seek medical treatment.

    Tubmanburg mayor Gbeley Karnley said that civilians and government soldiers had looted goods belonging to the fleeing refugees.

    The military authorities in the town have warned that any soldiers found guilty of looting will be punished."

    Now, Mr Taylor, as a result of this deteriorating situation, did the Government of Liberia take any steps?

  • It depends now. The fighting is going on in terms of - but we're still trying some public relations. The Ministry of Information is busy doing what it ought to do, publishing different situations. We're talking about the war and the LURD threat and what it means. We also have pressure on us at this time now, we're pushing into 2003, a priority of the United States at this time is to get its agent Bility out. So we have - the Ministry of Information is dealing with LURD, we're dealing with the Bility situation and we still are dealing with the peace process now going in Ghana. So there are a series of things going on at this particular time.

  • We'll come back to that Ministry of Information topic in a moment. But before we get there, did your government have the power to declare a state of emergency, Mr Taylor?

  • Oh, yes. Yes, all governments do. Yes, we do. Yeah, we did and at one point we did declare a state of emergency.

  • Can you recall when that was roughly?

  • When the - I can't get it offhand, but that's somewhere in 2003. When the city of Monrovia comes under attack we declare a state of emergency that will give the military an opportunity to deal with the attack, but we are very careful because we - because of the rights of our people, we leave in place the writ of habeas corpus. That is not suspended during the state of emergency, but we do declare a state of emergency.

  • Can we have a look behind divider 7 in the same bundle and whilst we're looking at that, could I ask, please, that that BBC article, "Liberia struggling to defeat rebels," dated 4 February 2002, be marked for identification, please, MFI-285.

  • Yes, that document is marked MFI-285.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, have you seen this article before?

  • We see that it's a BBC news article dated 8 February 2002, yes?

  • Yes, this is the - this is the first - I misspoke. This is the first attack on the city. I misspoke when I said 2003. 2002, yes.

  • So this is the first attack on Monrovia?

  • Now we see again that same photograph of Liberian soldiers with the same caption?

  • Unsurprising, given that this article is only four days after the previous article we looked at?

  • "Liberian President Charles Taylor has declared a state of emergency as armed rebels appeared to be gaining ground on the capital Monrovia. The President made the announcement hours after rebels attacked Klay, just 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of the city, although he made no reference to the fighting."

    Pausing there, Mr Taylor. Why did you announce a state of emergency?

  • On maps that we've seen previously, Klay - in fact it is spelled in a different way on some maps, but we've gone through this, the Court understands - is at a major junction that leads directly to the Bo Waterside bridge and that is the border with Sierra Leone. That junction also leads to Tubmanburg. So Klay is about midway between Tubmanburg and city of Monrovia. And if you remember Klay, this is where one of the Prosecution witnesses Mr Bility said he was held in whatever he described here that I don't know. But it is a very, very important junction.

    Now, by attacking Klay Junction this was the open road to Sierra Leone and it is at this particular time that the rebels have an opportunity now to begin to get supplies out of Sierra Leone that I spoke about. So we don't have to look at the map I don't think, but I'm sure the Court has seen where Klay is in relation to the road to Sierra Leone and the road to Bomi Hills.

    It is a strategic junction and so we had to raise it because this will mean that this opened a short link to the receipt of arms and ammunition. Before this time the rebels had to travel from the Guinean border, through Lofa, through the forest down that took them sometimes - and they had to walk. It took them sometimes a week to two weeks. By attacking the Klay Junction, that gave them a very short route now from Sierra Leone. From Klay to the Bo Waterside I would put it to about 35, 40 kilometres. So that is strategic and important because now it gave them a shorter route to receiving arms and ammunition which they did.

  • It goes on:

    "Forces loyal to President Taylor have been fighting rebel factions in the north of the country since 1999. Earlier this week, Defence Minister Daniel Chea said the government army was fighting an unfair war because of an international ban on selling weapons to the Liberian government. Last week, the rebels briefly captured the village of Sawmill, just 80 kilometres from Monrovia, causing thousands of refugees to flee.

    'The arms embargo and the government's inability to fully cater to the economic and social well-being of its citizens warrant the declaration of a state of emergency,' Mr Taylor said on state radio and television. 'The state of emergency will be lifted only circumstances which warranted this action are removed; he said. Rebels spokesman Charles Bennie told the BBC's Focus on Africa that they would soon be in control of Klay Junction on the main road to Monrovia."

    Charles Bennie, known to you, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I know that name very well, yes.

  • "Information Minister Reginald Goodridge confirmed to the same programme that they were in the area. Rebels had earlier told Reuters news agency that thousands of rebel fighters were poised to strike Monrovia and could take the city in 72 hours. They said they wanted the President to resign and leave. Liberia has repeatedly accused neighbouring Guinea of backing the rebels, spearheaded by the Liberians United For Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). The Defence Minister has said that if the arms embargo is lifted the army could defeat the rebels within a month. The international ban was imposed because Liberia was accused of selling diamonds on behalf of the rebel movement in neighbouring Sierra Leone. The government said in January that the sanctions should be lifted because the war in Sierra Leone has officially been declared over. LURD is thought to be led by former chief of staff Charles Julu."

    Mr Taylor, pause there. Charles Julu, is that the same Julu from the Nimba raids?

  • That is correct.

  • That period in Doe's government?

  • And was he the leader of LURD?

  • No. No. By "leader" here I'm not sure - I can't speak for the BBC, they may be referring to his activities in the military field. Julu was one of the principal commanders. The leader of LURD by this time is Sekou Damate Conneh. That is very - that has been --

  • We've had that name before?

  • Exactly. But he is one of the principal - he is one of the principal leaders in terms of leadership in LURD, yes.

  • "... who served in the former regime of President Samuel Doe assassinated in 1990 after Mr Taylor launched an insurgency. The rebels gathered many of the forces that fought Mr Taylor during the country's brutal civil war from 1989 to 1997. Rebels claim to be active in northern Liberia, and the government has sent military reinforcements there to deal with them. But the situation is also confused by a variety of pro-Liberian government militias in the region, some of which are reported to have clashed among themselves."

    Is that the case, Mr Taylor?

  • "Our West African correspondent says the conflict in Liberia is complex and fragmented, with no clear rebel front line outside Monrovia. He says the rebels - if they exist as a coherent force at all - are a mixture of dissidents opposed to President Taylor and elements who would best be described as bandits."

    Would you agree with that assessment?

  • Now, this bandit element, Mr Taylor, help us. Is it the case that law and order had broken down in Liberia by this time?

  • To a great extent, in those areas, yes, I would say so. When the capital is under attack and most of the countryside is fighting, yes, I would say - I would say law and order had broken down.

  • Now help us. In February 2002, how far did the writ of the Liberian government extend geographically?

  • We had most of the country except for that Lofa, Bomi, Cape Mount region and we've seen the map. That is, we had, I would say, the rest of the country but that strategic region bordering Gbarnga, that's the famous St Paul River bridge that I've talked about, we've seen it so many times, coming all the way down through Cape Mount, Bomi, westward on the border with Sierra Leone, I would say that was the area of problem.

  • Yes. Now you also made mention, Mr Taylor, of a New York Times article?

  • Yes. They dealt with the same issue, yes.

  • Dealing with the same issue of LURD. Could we have a look behind divider 8, please. Whilst we're doing that, could I ask, please, that the BBC news article dated 8 February 2002 entitled "Liberia declares state of emergency" be marked for identification MFI-286, please.

  • Yes, that document is marked MFI-286.

  • Again, Mr Taylor, have you seen this article before?

  • Yes, this is the New York Times article dealing with the fighting.

  • And we see this article also dates from February 2002:

    "The armed forces went on the offensive today against rebels whose approach to Monrovia, the capital, sent thousands of terrified civilians fleeing and led to the declaration of a state of emergency. The government said the rebels had killed at least 16 people. Tension has gripped Monrovia since rebels attacked Klay, a major road junction 22 miles away, on Thursday, rousing grim memories of the seven-year civil war in the 1990s that killed as many as 200,000 people. Founded by freed American slaves in the 19th century, Liberia has become a byword for anarchy in a troubled region. The latest conflict has forced thousands from their homes, and the attack on Klay sent refugees streaming into Monrovia."

    Is that true, Mr Taylor?

  • And how was your government coping with this influx of refugees?

  • There's a terrible situation here, but what happens here, most of the NGOs are stationed in Monrovia. They cannot get out. So as the refugees come into the city, what the relief agencies begin to do is to begin to supply them stocks from within their warehouses in Monrovia, but there's this massive influx of the population and it stretches all of the agencies and hospitals and everywhere. It stretches everything because this is unusual.

  • "The rebels who threatened on Friday to attack Monrovia if President Charles Taylor did not step down say they control much of northwest Liberia and deny the government has the upper hand. 'We are still in full control of the areas we have taken and we are moving ahead,' a rebel official in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, said today in a telephone interview."

    Can I pause again. Now, Mr Taylor, bearing in mind the geographical location of that rebel official in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, was the Ivory Coast at this time harbouring rebel elements opposed to your government?

  • I wouldn't say so, no. If you got on a cell phone and - well, we call it cell phone. What do they call it here? Mobile phone and you called, you could make a call on your way out of Ivory Coast, so, no, I have no evidence that la Cote d'Ivoire is doing that at this time.

  • Later a force came into being called MODEL. Is that right?

  • From where did they attack Liberia?

  • That was later in - I would say by mid-2002.

  • And as far as you were concerned, was that with the connivance of the government of the Ivory Coast?

  • I would not be able to - Gbagbo and I were talking and I would not say so. I could be na├»ve, but I have no evidence at this time. It is later in 2003 that I get to know that it is been done with the acquiescence of some officers in the Ivorian armed forces, but I was not of the opinion that Gbagbo was directly involved. I have no evidence of that.

  • Now, you say later in 2003.

  • How did you come by that knowledge at that time?

  • Well, because of the intensification of the war out of - by MODEL coming into an area in Grand Gedeh County - in fact, specifically an area called Toe Town, that's spelt T-O-E, Toe Town - Gbagbo and I had gone through several exchanges of telephone conversations and he had said that he had no knowledge and did not support them, but because of the intensification their developed some little tension. I was claiming that he should do whatever he can and he was saying that he was doing whatever he could.

    We also had a situation where there were Liberians that were fighting in the Ivorian civil war and Gbagbo was telling me, 'Well, listen, there are Liberians on this side. I don't believe that you are responsible, just as there are Liberians coming out of here fighting in your country. So what we ought to do is not accuse each other, but let's get together." And, finally, he and I get together in 2003 in Togo and settle it. So that's what I mean by "we". None of us had any specific evidence that the Head of State was involved, but we do know some of these things happen at the bottom and you really do not know. Because of tribal and ethnic connections, people do things.

  • Going back to the article:

    "The government accuses neighbouring Guinea of supporting the rebels and says its own response to the attacks is hamstrung by a United Nations arms embargo. Guinea denies supporting the rebels. The embargo was strengthened last year to halt a diamonds for arms trade between Liberia and Sierra Leone rebels. The Defence Minister Daniel Chea said, 'Because of the arms embargo, we are unable to adequately defend our people.' Mr Chea said he also had evidence that militia fighters from Sierra Leone, known as Kamajors, were fighting on the rebel side."

    Was that the case, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. But I think, you know, in all fairness, we need to explain what we were talking about at this time. Let's be reminded that Kamajors recruit from Liberia from ULIMO-J and ULIMO-K. They organise and go with the assistance of - we've seen all the reports of everybody, of ECOMOG. So when we say here that the Kamajors fighting, we are talking about ULIMO-J, ULIMO-K and some of their Sierra Leonean friends that they have obtained that come along.

    I tell you, the way how these boys fight, it's almost like a joyride for some of these kids that carry all this stuff. ULIMO-J and K fighting in Liberia, Sierra Leoneans say, "Oh, you are my friend. You're fighting. I'll go with you today," and they go. So that's what we're talking about. It's a combination of the three.

  • And your Defence Minister continued, according to the New York times report:

    "Yesterday we came across somebody whose leg had been chopped off by a blunt object like something that happened in Sierra Leonean's civil war."

    Did that come to your attention, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. And he mentioned this is the first time we had ever seen that and we know that it is - this appeared to be a phenomenon from that side, and so that's how we say that there's some people involved because this had never happened throughout the civil war in Liberia. So we saw this as something as an incident associated with the war in Sierra Leone only and that for that to happen, someone from that side had to be involved in that kind of atrocity, because from the beginning of our civil war in 1989 up until this particular time we're talking about here, 2002, we had never seen such situation.

  • So what are you telling us, that such amputations were alien to the Liberian civil war?

  • Totally alien. There's been - there's no - no - and I mean no recorded incident of any amputation in the Liberian civil war from 1989 all the way through my leaving office in 2003. No recorded incident by NGOs, human rights groups, nothing. This is not a phenomenon associated with Liberia, no.

  • "The war is part of a regional conflict centred on the diamond rich area at the junction of Liberia's border with Guinea and Sierra Leone, where a ten-year war officially ended last month. Both sides - government and rebel - include fighters from the civil war that ended with when President Taylor was elected in 1997."

    Now, that reference to diamonds, Mr Taylor, so far as the incursion of LURD is concerned, as far as you're aware, were diamonds an element of the conflict between your government and LURD?

  • No. Never. Never. No. No. Not at all. No. The conflict with LURD was simply - I can attribute the conflict with LURD and MODEL to the same development of World War II. World War II started as a result of unfinished business from World War I, as simple as that, from all events in history. The war with LURD and MODEL was just what? Unfinished business that led me to the presidency where the Krahn felt that they were unjustly - that I unjustly took power. And the death of Samuel Doe, that was just to finish what was not finished before the elections. So, I mean, that's why I equate it with the circumstances regarding the development of World War II. We don't want to get into the history of that, of who took what part of what country and Britain deciding that they would back one side. That's not the case here, but I'm just trying to say that there's some similarities to that.

  • Now, before we move on, Mr Taylor, the three news articles we've just examined speak of the situation in early February 2002. Now, help us, had that situation improved or deteriorated by December - by January 2003?

  • Things were still deteriorating, I would say.

  • And what would your assessment be of the situation in Liberia by the beginning of the New Year 2003?

  • By 2003 we are - we are trying to resist LURD, but things go a little bad because MODEL begins to develop strength and MODEL attacks the southeastern part of Liberia, so now we are confronted with combat on both sides. By this time, the United States succeeds in bringing about an embargo on the export - for the first time, an economic embargo on Liberia through a Security Council resolution placing a ban on the export of Liberian timber.

    So here we have, first they start of first with an embargo. They push through a Security Council resolution. And, you know, the issue of diamonds now is front and centre. While there's no evidence, resolutions are flying through, and we know who are drafting these resolutions because all of the resolutions on Sierra Leone or regarding Sierra Leone are drafted by the British. And these resolutions, for the purpose of the wider public that is listening to this, people must know Security Council resolutions, I mean, are drafted. They are proffered. And who wastes time reading all the fine prints?

    So there's an embargo on diamonds, Liberian diamonds. There's an embargo on the sale of Liberian timber. So what they do, they hamstring the country. We are - all the those areas economically that we can obtain income for the Liberian people are stopped. So we are just at a point where we cannot move and then MODEL moves in to the southeast and we are just stuck. We can't move.

  • Now, earlier, Mr Taylor, you mentioned action taken by your Ministry of Information in early 2003. Do you recall that?

  • Yes. The Ministry of Information, we do a complete statement analysis dealing with LURD, and in that Ministry of Information, to the best of my recollection, the issue of Hassan Bility is hot now. That's an international issue. We also deal with Bility in that particular thing from the Ministry of Information.

  • Could we look, please, in week 39, behind divider 1, please.

  • Just to save us coming back to the New York times article --

  • Could I ask that that be marked for identification MFI-287, please, Mr President.

  • Yes, that's so marked.

  • Mr Taylor, this document, again, what's its source?

  • This is a document basically dealing with the relationship with the United States. The source is the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Liberia. Just trying to detail the long historic ties, the conflict and all of these in - I guess in a way trying to remind the United States, whether they care or not, that there should be some long-term ties and talking about all the efforts that we've made to make sure that that engagement continues.

  • Mr Taylor, we're going to deal with this article.

  • And then after we've dealt with the article in due course we will deal with the further months of 2003 leading to you stepping down. Do you follow?

  • So let's have a look at this document now in a little detail. We see that it's dated 7 January 2003, yes?

  • And it's a press release issued by the Ministry of Information, Monrovia, Liberia. Yes?

  • Where we see in the top right-hand corner the handwritten word "file", whose handwriting is that?

  • This is - I'm not sure whose handwriting, but this must be someone in my Ministry of State. This would be our copy.

  • The first subheading is:

    "Keeping the record straight on US-Liberia relations.

    As the Liberian government and people begin the critical year 2003, it is incumbent upon the Taylor administration to assess, and if possible redirect the course of its relations with its principal traditional ally, the United States of America. It is the intention of the government to set the record straight on a number of issues that have arisen since Liberia embarked upon its constructive engagement policy with the United States."

    Second subheading:

    "The Government of Liberia constructive engagement policy.

    The government and people of Liberia painfully realised a number of years ago that the United States government had instituted a policy of 'no interest' in Liberia. Washington has since failed to support democracy following the 1997 elections and continues to exhibit apathy towards post-war reconstruction. In spite of this realisation, the Taylor government fostered its constructive engagement policy to build confidence with Washington DC and encourage normalisation of relations.

    To this end, the government employed diplomatic overtures, public relations efforts and a general show of goodwill in acceding to numerous demands of the United States. It appears, however, that all of these efforts have not been met with an equal measure of goodwill from our American friends.

    More disappointingly, these efforts have only been recorded by a bellicose behaviour on the part of successive US officials, who have pursued an anti-Liberian policy in support of sanctions and arms embargo, military, economic and diplomatic pressures against the peace-loving people of Liberia. Arrival of US Ambassador John Blaney. The arrival of John William Blaney as the new US ambassador to Liberia, following a period characterised by acrimony during the tenure of his predecessor" - remind us, Mr Taylor, who was his predecessor?

  • Blaney. The predecessor - I can't quite recall now who was the ambassador.

  • Okay. We may come back to that:

    "... gave real hope to the government and people of Liberia that a new page would be turned in US-Liberia relations. This optimism was based on some positive signals emanating from circles in Washington DC that US policy was finally being altered towards Liberia for the better. The government embarked upon a maximum public awareness campaign to improve the battered US image in Liberia. Massive preparations were made to welcome Ambassador Blaney to Liberia in ceremonies befitting a paramount chief. Lapel pins exhibiting the American and Liberian flags symbolically linked together were distributed by the hundreds and proudly worn by American officials and their Liberian counterparts at private and public functions. Touched by these felicitations, Blaney made some broad promises as follows:

    1. That he was in Liberia to stop the LURD terrorist incursions against the Liberian government and people.

    2. That he would work for the improvement in relations between Liberia and the United States.

    3. That he would work to improve the livelihood of the Liberian people.

    4. That he would work with the Taylor administration to establish a road map for the way forward.

    To these ends President Taylor summonsed front-line members of his cabinet and senior legislators to a three-hour meeting with Ambassador Blaney to establish the basis for the proverbial road map. The President further instructed his cabinet to maintain an open-door policy and engage the new ambassador and his staff on all points of interest.

    US intrusive policy.

    With banners welcoming Ambassador Blaney still adorning the streets of Monrovia and billboards extolling US-Liberian friendship cropping up at strategic locations, the constructive engagement process seemed to falter. Ambassador Blaney began visiting ghettos, internally displaced centres and out of the way villages to implement US intrusive policy. He explained to the desperate and starving populations that the Government of Liberia was responsible for their suffering. He implied that the government had misled them; that the UN sanctions and arms embargo that encouraged the LURD terrorist incursions was not responsible for their plight, but rather the actions of the Taylor government. He went on to refer to government forces defending the country against Guinean-backed LURD terrorists as belligerents."

    Is all of that true, Mr Taylor?

  • Every bit of it.

  • "Coupled with these utterances by the ambassador were renewed bellicose statements from the US State Department that there should be a regime change in Monrovia."

    Again, was that specifically stated by the US State Department?

  • Their spokesperson and other - and that went on over to Capitol Hill where senior members on Capitol Hill, senators - Judd Gregg, who is still United States senator and was nominated by Barack Obama to a position that he refused, went further to call for the government to be overthrown, Judd Gregg. So there was open an warfare, yes.

  • "Throughout the country Ambassador Blaney and former US military officials are moving around dedicating cheaply constructed toilets and clinics in areas with strong support for President Taylor's NPP government. USAID-Liberia and Mercy Corps in collaboration with the US embassy are busy recruiting local government officials, student leaders, members of parents-teachers associations, traditional leaders, ex-combatants and sex workers to form coalitions to effect social and political change in Liberia. They are funding the illegal establishment of up to 45 community-based radio stations throughout the country, and co-opting the transport companies to play propaganda audio cassettes to passengers on long-distance routes. The intrusive policy has targeted 2003, the elections year, for most of their programmes to mature and take effect."

    Now again, Mr Taylor, is all of that true?

  • Every bit of it. Every bit of it. This was a public document. The United States had its representatives in Liberia to counter this by denying or confirming this. There is no evidence of any document that they published decrying these statements. This is a public document.

  • Now help us, Mr Taylor. Was 2003 an election year in Liberia?

  • When were the elections scheduled to take place?

  • November 2003. That would be - that's the constitutional date for elections in Liberia following my election as President in 1997.

  • Now help us. So when you were elected in 1997, that was for a six-year term, was it?

  • That's the constitutional term, yes.

  • And help us, Mr Taylor. At the time of this statement in early January 2003 was it your intention to stand for election for a further term?

  • Definitely. Under the constitution there are only two terms of the presidency. I was entitled to a second term. We were preparing for the elections. We were running ads and different things. Yes, I was preparing to participate and I was preparing to be a candidate for a second term.

  • Now help us. So that was your view in January 2003, yes?

  • Now help us. How did you consider your prospects in January 2003 in those elections due to take place in November?

  • I considered that the NPP had an excellent chance of winning. There were others that - in fact, to cap off your question, the United States and other international organisations had said that elections should not be held in 2003. It is important to know. So that's why you see all these actions. But we felt that we had an excellent chance of winning. That by this time if we had managed to contain the war that was really in Lofa and Cape Mount and Bomi Counties, most of the population had fled, we could have held the elections, as most countries do if you have crisis in the country, whether we're talking about what we're seeing now in Afghanistan, one cannot argue that the elections could not have been held. But we had planned to hold the elections if things had remained stable as it were at this time, yes.

  • Next heading:

    "Hassan Bility and other prisoners of war.

    The Liberian government was quite amazed by the local and global pressures that the US embassy mounted to stifle due process in the case of Hassan Bility and his co-conspirators and to secure their release. The government tried all along to protect the fact of Hassan Bility's connections to the embassy and the frantic secret negotiations that embassy officials were making to quietly slip him and a few of his co-conspirators out of the country. But the Government of Liberia was forced to go public with these behind the scene arrangements when Ambassador Blaney erroneously referred to Bility as a political prisoner and continues to state erroneously that he had been tortured during his incarceration.

    Even more baffling is the fact that while the Liberian government has aligned with the United States and its allies in the global fight against terrorism, the US government has shown unusual interest in airlifting Hassan Bility, who was arrested for associating with a terrorist organisation, LURD, and operating a terrorist cell on their behalf in Monrovia."

    Pause. Now Bility had been released and airlifted out of the country in December 2002. Is that right?

  • That is correct.

  • So the Bility situation was still a hot topic at this time in Monrovia. Is that correct?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, this reference in the first paragraph under this subheading to secret negotiations behind the scenes, had your government been secretly negotiating with the US embassy for the release of Bility?

  • Yes. The embassy had visited. Remember, Bility said - the embassy had visited Bility at least twice. They had said to us, "Look, this is an unusual annoyance. Washington is present. Why don't you just let Bility go?" We said, "Well, look, we have evidence" - we showed it to them - "that Bility is not just a journalist, but he is involved in actually recruiting. He is a part - he is - he is a combatant and that's what we term him." We said, "He is an unlawful combatant. So for you to tell us to let him go, we can't let him go. We're prepared to - if possible, let's put him on trial, okay, and see - you know, and bring the facts to the Court." So they said, "Well, a trial would just be, you know, too much." We said, "Okay, we'll keep him until the end of the war. You said that your unlawful combatants are not entitled to the judicial process and can be held until the end of the war, so we'll hold Bility until the end of the war."

    What annoyed the government that we're explaining here, they go forward and they say, "Oh, Mr Bility is a political prisoner." That opened a new - I mean, that opened a can of worms. And we really got upset that you would term Bility, after we've shown you the emails and Bility's activities, prisoners of war that have admitted that Bility is engaged in certain activities in Monrovia. So we do two things. We go public and this is the incident where we bring Bility out to this public news conference that is mentioned in the last visit where I say, "Great. Since Blaney is now" - we're now going at loggerheads. "Oh, you don't want to release him because maybe he is tortured." Oh, yeah, you know that Bility is not being tortured. This is when I hold a press conference and we bring Bility to the press conference to demonstrate that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and we will hold him until we very well get ready to release him.

  • So the press conference which you've told us about in the past, Mr Taylor, that was triggered by the assertion he was a political prisoner?

  • That is correct and that he was probably being tortured, yes. That's when we bring him out to demonstrate to the world that the statement made by the United States embassy is, in fact, false and misleading.

  • Now, the second aspect of this passage that I want us to deal with is this: What had the Liberian government done to align with the United States and its allies in the global fight against terrorism?

  • Some I can state. Some I cannot state. Those that I can state: We had made public statements backing the US's right to go after terrorist cells in, for example, Afghanistan. We backed that publicly. We aligned with the United States's position in international fora. That we did. Some of the other ones, I don't think I'm privileged to speak about because they do involve government to government intelligence activities that I'm sure I cannot talk about. But so far, we aligned with the United States in saying that they had a right to self-defence. We backed their right for Afghanistan. We - as discussions came into national fora, we aligned with them. We held memorial services in Monrovia and all of that kind of stuff and this is what we did publicly.

  • Mr Taylor, just in general terms, and I'm not asking for the details, did the Liberian intelligence service cooperate with the United States intelligence service?

  • Bearing that fact in mind, did you thereafter allow Monrovia to become a base for Al-Qaeda terrorists?

  • No. How would that be? If anything close to Al-Qaeda had come near Monrovia, they would have been - they would have been picked up and dealt with even harsher than the Americans would have.

  • Next topic:

    "US-backed sanctions against liberia.

    Having complied with the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1343 that brought sanctions against Liberia, and despite the fact that Sierra Leone has returned to peace and stability with the demobilisation of the RUF and the holding of democratic elections, the United States government is still pressing for the continuation of sanctions against Liberia. Two instances attest to this fact:

    1. The High Diamond Council: Following strenuous efforts by the Liberian government to apply the Kimberly Process to put into place a certification regime for the export of Liberia's rough diamonds, one of the key demands of the US Security Council resolution, United States pressures have succeeded in scuttling the process. Officials of the High Diamond Council were told in no uncertain terms by US officials in Brussels and Switzerland to frustrate Liberia's efforts to become compliant."

    Is that true?

  • Very true. My minister was there.

  • Jenkins, the late Jenkins Dunbar. My ambassador, Dr Othello Brandy, ambassador to Brussels, present. Members of the High Diamond Council told our delegation. We wanted to become kimberlite compliant so we could resume the trade and export of Liberian diamonds and the High Diamond Council made it very clear to us that we are under pressure to delay the process as much as we can and they did that. And I have that in part, a written report from my minister back in 2003 concerning this - all of the efforts that we made to become compliant.

  • "2. Another key demand of US Security Council resolution 1408 is for Liberia to submit its maritime and forestry programmes to an international audit. Initially, the United States State Department tried to coerce the Liberian government to use a hand-picked audit firm, the Crown Agents. The Liberian government opted for the internationally recognised open bidding system to select an audit firm. The US government, the European Union and other local and international representatives were present when Deloitte and Touche were selected in a transparent process from among three reputable companies that had submitted bids. No sooner had Deloitte and Touche begun their work, than the US swept the rug from under our feet again and pressured the company from New York and London to 'drop the Liberian account'. It is true, as Ambassador Blaney has stated in a recent press statement, that 'the United States did not stop this firm from contracting with the Government of Liberia', because they were present for the signing ceremony. But he cannot deny the fact that the US did pressure the firm to drop the Liberian account after the contract was signed."

    Again, is that true?

  • Yes, that's what he says. It's true, yes.

  • "Crown Agents", who are they, Mr Taylor?

  • They had different groups. My dear, these people have a web of their nonsense. I don't remember precisely all the names, but they called themselves the representatives - they called themselves Crown Agents representing British interests. Man, it's just - I don't know their actual names, but they represented the British government at the time.

  • Next subheading:

    "International contact group on Liberia.

    The International Contact Group on Liberia is a group of self-appointed mediators whose stated intent is to help resolve the Liberian crisis with LURD. As much as the intent and initiative is welcome by the Liberian government, it is expected that several key issues must be taken into consideration.

    1. The United States, which is a prominent member of the contact group, must show sincerity and good faith by unequivocally condemning LURD for carrying out terrorist aggression against the innocent people of Liberia. In the absence of this condemnation, the US role cannot be taken seriously, especially when the United Nations, the African Union, and ECOWAS have already condemned LURD.

    2. The Liberian government is the legitimate democratically elected government recognised by the international community. It is unacceptable that the government will be treated by the contact group as a faction or be equated with the LURD terrorists.

    3. The Liberian government welcomes the US statement that it does not support LURD and urges an end to all military support to the LURD from whatever sources. But the operative question that the US must then answer if that, if the US is training the Guinean army, and the Guinean army is supporting LURD, then who really is encouraging the LURD terrorists to renew their attacks against Liberia after they were pushed back into Guinea a few months ago.

    The 2003 elections.

    The Liberian government wishes to make it clear that it is committed to the democratic process and will endeavour to have elections in line with the constitution. However, it is unacceptable for any foreign entity to try to influence the results of the election by trying to subvert the constitution or clandestinely funnel funding to favoured political parties as the US intrusive policy has earmarked."

    Which political parties are they, Mr Taylor?

  • Which political parties are?

  • Were being favoured by funding.

  • Oh, we had what - the present party that is leading the government by the present President. You had the NDP and the other parties. All of the other political parties in Liberia that participated in the last election were being assisted. All of them.

  • "It will be recalled that in the 1997 elections, the US government failed to assist with funding and logistics to hold the special elections that brought the war to an end. By now calling for the United Nations to assist with the elections, the US is once again giving indications that it does not intend to assist the Independent Elections Commission with funding and logistics. Besides, Liberia is not a mandated territory and strongly objects to any insinuation that an outside agency should supervise the elections. The government welcomes any number of monitors to observe the elections, but not to supervise it.

    US-Liberia relations, which way?

    In spite of its best efforts to pursue its constructive engagement policy with the United States, the Liberian government is convinced that such initiatives are not being reciprocated. Nevertheless, the US must understand certain truths about Liberia:

    1. The Taylor administration is not anti-American.

    2. The government and people of Liberia will do nothing to adversely affect American interests in Liberia.

    3. The Taylor administration is firmly committed to the free enterprise system, democratic governance, the holding of free and fair elections, the protection of human rights, freedom of the press and the rule of law.

    The Liberian government believes that the best way to build confidence and improve relations is that the US and Liberia should be talking to each other, and not at each other through press releases and counter press releases.

    The US should endeavour to keep its promises to the government and people of Liberia and not continuously sweep the rug from under our feet. The goal post should not be continually moved every time Liberia accedes to new US demands there appears to be progress on the key issues.

    There is a strong sense of frustration among Liberians from all walks of life that the US is not dealing honestly with Liberia, and that her policy lacks consistency. In fact, Liberians are convinced that US policy toward Liberia is really 'no policy', or a 'hands off' policy.

    While Liberia is not deterred in pursuing its constructive engagement policy, it must be made clear that it is the responsibility of the government to seek the welfare of the people, maintain peace and stability and discourage any attempt by anyone to drive a wedge in the unity and cohesion of the Liberian population. The United States must therefore strongly reconsider the implications of its intrusive policy as it targets certain disadvantaged groups to institute so-called social and political change. Any misguided change without due process could be disastrous for the future of Liberia as the 1980 ill-advised military coup and the prolonging of the 1990 civil war have proven.

    As much as Liberia cherishes its historic relations with the US, the neglect and apathy exhibited by the US towards Liberia is creating widespread anti-American sentiments. Liberians across the board feel betrayed and disappointed over US policy, no matter how many toilets are built in ghettos or how much money is given to local NGOs. The strongest sentiment pervading the consciousness of every Liberian as elections unfold is that America, if you cannot help an old friend, please don't hurt us."

    Now, Mr Taylor, what was it that prompted that press release?

  • When you look at the whole thing I'm not sure, but this whole process - this whole process that brought me here brings this out. What prompted this is the frustration - the frustration over the years. And, you know, we were really misleading ourselves in so many ways. This is almost like when a piranha smells blood. The United States had taken a decision for regime change in Liberia and nothing was going to stop it. We were busy trying to control the process, but the decision had been taken.

    I think to a great extent we were our own worst enemies. By "we" I mean the government. Throughout the history of Liberia the United States had never seen a process coming out of Liberia where they were really confronted and the United States was not used to Liberian governments before mine telling them yes or no. It was, "Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir." And I guess to a great extent they were stunned. And so the decision was taken.

    Let's not forget the war that LURD - my government was a democratically elected government. My government was under attack. What would you do as a friend? You help the democratically elected government. No, you help the rebels. So I guess they were confounded by the fact that there was someone in Liberia that was able to say yes or no, or saying things like we will do what's in the best interests. They were not used to it. I mean, what, a little poor African country like Liberia, can't pay it's payroll, would be saying yes or no and talking on terms. They were just not used to that. And so we were frustrated and we just outlined some of - some of these things we are going through really are for historical purposes. The die was cast, we were going to be destroyed anyway and it happened eventually. I'm here. But the pages of history are all that are reflected here. These are not things that are because I'm arrested and was saying - these were things that were on the ground obtaining at the time.

    So I mean it's just our frustration and trying to detail the record for the pages of history to reveal what was going on at the time. It's good to know that a vast majority of - I would say up to maybe 80 per cent of Liberians that travel abroad for higher education all go to the United States. I personally am a third generation American family. My grandmother migrated from Georgia to Liberia in the late 1890s, so I'm a third generation freed slave that came to Liberia. I'm a third generation family myself. So maybe all that desire that maybe some of our forefathers fought for to fight slavery in America, maybe if some of that was not a part of me maybe I would have had success, but I'm not a coward. And so we were able to state the fact constitutionally I had to have election. I didn't have a choice. And because I - whether I won or lost, I had to have election because the constitution said so.

    So, counsel, it's just the years of frustration and trying to set the record straight we decided to do. And these are not all of the publications. I don't have all of them because some of them are still in Monrovia, but that's just the story.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, in a little while we're going to take up the narrative regarding 2003 knowing that in March 2003 an indictment was signed against you, yes?

  • But before we come to that there are one or two matters which I need to clarify at this stage. Four of them in total.

    Could I have a moment, please, Mr President? I just need to locate something.

    Mr President, there are one or two matters which I need to clear up. The first is this, and this document should be treated with care. I do not want it put on the overhead, please. But in disclosure for week 44 there is a photograph behind divider 1 which the defendant made reference to during the course of his evidence and I'm being deliberately Delphic about it for reasons which will become obvious once your Honours see the photograph.

  • Mr Griffiths, I don't wish to interrupt, but what were we to do with the press release?

  • I was coming to that. That I would like the press release, "Ministry of Information, Monrovia, Liberia, press release, 7 January 2003", to be marked for identification MFI-288, please.

  • That document is marked MFI-288.

  • Now, behind dividers 1 and 2 in the disclosure for week 44 is the photograph of an individual and behind divider 2 is the photograph of the back of that photograph, and I would like those to be marked for identification, please. They are directly relevant to certain testimony given by Mr Taylor on an earlier occasion. Do your Honours have that photograph? Yes?

  • It's one with a DP number on it, Mr Griffiths.

  • I'm going to ask for this to be confidentially filed.

  • Yes.

  • We would ask that we go into private session so a foundation for this document can be established.

  • I would object to that process because your Honours will recall the direct testimony given by Mr Taylor regarding this photograph. In our submission, the foundation has already been laid.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • Can you give us the transcript reference that relates to these two documents?

  • I can conduct a search for that. I don't have it immediately to hand. You may recall, Mr President, that certain details were mentioned in private session when I was dealing with the testimony of a particular witness, but my learned friend Mr Anyah is busy now searching for that reference.

  • Did it relate to the family background of the witness in question?

  • No, it dealt with the current status of that individual. If your Honours give us a moment we can find the reference.

  • All right. Otherwise we can move on and defer any further consideration until we get the transcript reference.

  • Yes. Now, another matter that I would like to deal with at this stage, Mr President, is really a housekeeping matter. Right at the outset of Mr Taylor's evidence, we played - I dealt with in extenso a memo from one Tom Woweiyu, NPFL, to John Dobrin, US Department of State regarding the situation in Liberia, dated 22/01/1990. And following checks made by myself over the weekend, I don't think I asked for that document to be marked for identification, although it was dealt with in some detail. So I would ask, please, that that document so described be marked for identification, unless there's any objection, as MFI-289. And I can give the description again. It's DCT-53, memo from Tom Woweiyu, NPFL, to John Dobrin, US Department of State, regarding the situation in Liberia, dated 22 January 1990, and that would become, on my reckoning, MFI-289.

  • Could you please remind us where it's located.

  • It's located in disclosure for week 30 behind divider 2.

  • And that was the subject of some evidence, was it?

  • Yes, it was. It was read in toto into the record.

  • Do you have any transcript reference for that, when it was read into the record?

  • Mr President, we believe that adequate foundation was laid for this document to be marked for identification.

  • All right. Thank you for that, Ms Hollis.

  • All right. In that case, that document will be marked for identification MFI-289.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, one other matter which requires clarification is this: At some stage the Reverend Jesse Jackson was appointed as a special envoy in West Africa by the United States government, wasn't he?

  • Yes, specifically President Clinton. He was special envoy to the peace process at that particular time, and I'm speaking about around 2000.

  • And what was his specific role? Help us.

  • Reverend Jackson was a special envoy because he knew Liberia. He was sent in to look at the Sierra Leonean/Liberian/Guinean situation for the Clinton administration and to see if he could help in the process of bringing about a speedy resolution. In fact, he held meetings in Guinea, in Nigeria; Monrovia, attended by Kabbah; in the case of Monrovia, with me; Conakry, where I attended; and he played a very, very important role during that period, even during the hostage crisis that erupted around 2000, he was in the region while the whole thing was unfolding.

  • And, Mr Taylor, have you seen any record of any of the discussions you had with the Reverend Jackson?

  • Yes. In fact, on that tour he was accompanied by Howard Jeter, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the time. Subsequently given to us by the - in fact, those discussions at that particular time were classified. I held discussions with Reverend Jackson about the accusation of diamonds, arms, and the whole peace process. It was classified at that time. The Government of Liberia was not provided transcripts of those discussions.

    Subsequent, since my arrest, the Prosecution did provide for us the unclassified version of those discussions that were held with Reverend Jackson, Howard Jeter and the rest, because, in fact, Jackson became the most senior US government official dealing with the crisis at the time. We received an unclassified version of that classified report from the United States government.

  • And what was the thrust of that document that you received, Mr Taylor?

  • That document dealt with the issue of the crisis and how I saw it and what my role had been and what it thought my role could continue to be. Reverend Jackson, during the discussions, dealt with the rumours, as he termed them, that had been circulating about diamond dealing and arms trading, where they were talking about gunrunning and diamond smuggling. He urged my government to do everything that we could to try to remove these rumours that were hurting, as he termed, hurting my government. We promised we would do so. He also dealt with the peacekeeping efforts and what I could do, and he recognised the role that Liberia had played and urged Liberia to continue to play such constructive role.

  • Mr Taylor, help us again, please. Precisely, how did you come by this information?

  • And can you recall when that was?

  • I don't know exactly when they provided it, but the details of this unclassified report covers 2000 and the issues surrounding that time.

  • Yes. I wonder if we could now look, please, behind divider 133, disclosure for week 33, binder 3 of 4.

  • Mr President, whilst that document is being located, I now have the transcript reference in respect of that earlier matter we discussed. And for the assistance of everyone, this was a private session on 16 September 2009 and pages 29073 to 29075 of the transcripts refer. Given the time, I wonder if we could, perhaps with the assistance of Court Management, locate those transcripts. So it's 16 September 2009 - I would like to resolve this issue before the break - pages 29073 to 29075.

  • Do you want us to look at those? We would have to go back into private session, wouldn't we?

  • Yes, we would, Mr President. I think it would be of assistance, but I would like to resolve this sooner rather than later.

  • Your Honour, the only problem I would face in regards to broadcasting those transcripts is that they are confidential, and if I put them on the broadcast screen next to Mr Taylor, it will mean that the public gallery will be able to view them.

  • That's why I said private session. I wasn't suggesting you put them on the overhead for public viewing.

  • Well, we can go into private session and I will refer to the particular references from my monitor.

  • You want to do that now?

  • All right. For members of the public, we're going briefly into private session to protect the identity of a witness who is the subject of protective measures orders made by this Trial Chamber. What that means is, you'll be able to still see the proceedings, but you won't be able to hear anything.

    Madam Court Manager, please put the Court into private session.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 31376 to 31381, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Taylor, before we went - -

  • Just before we go any further, I think we're still in private session, aren't we?

  • I indicated to Court Management that we could move out of private session, because I think we concluded that.

  • All right. We are in open session, are we, now?

  • Your Honour, we're in open session.

  • Mr Taylor, before we concluded for the short adjournment, you had mentioned to us an unclassified report which you had seen disclosed to us by the Prosecution detailing meetings you'd had with Jesse Jackson. Is that right?

  • And when had these meetings taken place?

  • These meetings took place around 2000.

  • Can you give us a month?

  • I would put it to about May. Jesse was - in fact, Reverend Jackson had come, and I remember it very well during the whole episode of the UN hostage taking and all of that, so I would put it to about May of 2000 or thereabout.

  • Yes, now again can invite attention, please, behind divider 133, week 33, binder 3 of 4. Do you have it, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, this document, in terms of its layout, is slightly difficult to follow, so we need to proceed with care.

  • Now, if we look below the dotted line about four inches from the top of the page do we see a date, May 2000, yes?

  • That is correct.

  • Now if we move down a few more lines we see the word "Confidential", yes?

  • And then two lines below that, "Subject: SE Jackson's" - special envoy Jackson's "May 19 meeting with Charles Taylor." Yes?

  • Miss another line and we see the word "Summary"?

  • "On Sierra Leone, Taylor said the UN hostage release must not be conditioned on Sankoh's fate, that Liberia needs helicopters to help effect the release of US hostages, and he does not control the RUF (at least not Foday Sankoh). He also noted that it is impossible to forcibly disarm the RUF and that talk of a war crimes tribunal is not helpful to securing the release of the hostages."

    Now, I want to pause there. Now, do you recall this conversation, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, I do.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, did you in fact indicate, as stated here, that talk of a war crimes tribunal is not helpful?

  • For the release of the hostages, yes.

  • Now, when you made mention of a war crimes tribunal, were you in May 2000 aware that in due course you would be indicted?

  • It continues:

    "Taylor denied Government of Liberia involvement in gun-running, diamond smuggling and deforestation, but was challenged by Special Envoy Jackson to actively prove his case. In reply, Taylor bemoaned Liberia's not having any friends in Washington to help refute the accusations. When Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeter pressed further on this issues, citing evidence presented to UNSC" - what's UNSC?

  • United Nations Security Council.

  • "... of Ukrainian gun-running through Burkina Faso into Liberia, the Liberians embarked on a very aggressive denial."

    Pause again. Now, Mr Taylor, have you been shown any evidence of Ukrainian gun-running through Burkina into Liberia either in, or prior to, May 2000?

  • No, this is something that went - what they said, they presented it to the Security Council. We had never seen anything.

  • Subsequent to this meeting with Jackson, were you ever provided with any such evidence?

  • To this day have you seen any such evidence?

  • No, I haven't been given any - the only thing I have seen in this courtroom is what we saw, a plane, that they say were weapons designated for - that's all I have seen.

  • "The Liberians embarked on a very aggressive denial. Before the meeting ended, Sam Bockarie was summoned and meet with Special Envoy Jackson, Ambassador Myrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeter and Taylor."

    Pause there. Did Sam Bockarie attend this meeting?

  • Yes, at the - not the government side of the meeting. Following the discussions, they wanted to see Sam Bockarie. I asked them to get Sam Bockarie. He was brought. He met with us briefly, and I left them and they met with him separately.

  • This meeting, Mr Taylor, where did it take place?

  • Does it follow that Bockarie was in Monrovia in May 2000?

  • Yes, Bockarie, a few months - that's a few months after his arrival, yes.

  • Because Bockarie had arrived in Monrovia in December 1999, hadn't he?

  • So subsequent to Bockarie's arrival he met with the Reverend Jackson and these other individuals?

  • So, Mr Taylor, in light of that, was Bockarie's presence in Liberia being kept a secret?

  • No. Oh, no. In fact, the reason why they wanted to see Bockarie - and you will see here they do not raise any objection to his presence in Liberia - because Bockarie's coming to Liberia was done with the acquiescence of the United States, the United Nations and everybody. So they do not complain about his being there.

  • Over the page, please. Page 2:

    "2. Presidential Special Envoy Jesse Jackson met 19 May with Liberian President Charles Taylor as part of Jackson's trip to the region to seek ways to resolve the crisis in Sierra Leone. Four sessions were held:

    Closed small meeting with Jackson, Taylor, Ambassador Myrick and Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeter (followed by brief exclusive interviews with Washington Post and Chicago Tribune reporters, accompanying Jackson and CNN videographer in from Freetown):

    Two larger meetings with Taylor plus nine and Special Envoy Jackson plus six;

    Small meeting with RUF commander Sam Bockarie, Special Envoy Jackson, Ambassador Myrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeter, Taylor, Mrs Taylor, Foreign Minister Captan, and political adviser Cyril Allen". Yes?

  • Number 4 at the bottom of the page, "small closed meeting", do you see?

  • "The initial small closed meeting originally included President Taylor, Foreign Minister Captan, Special Envoy Jackson and Ambassador Myrick. Before discussions got underway, Taylor indicated he wanted a one on one with Jackson. The session lasted about 30 minutes, including press interviews (Washington Post, Chicago Tribune reporters accompany Jackson and CNN vidographer)."

    What was said during those 30 meetings when you were one on one with Jackson?

  • I can't say verbatim everything, I mean, it was just basically a special envoy comes in, and normally they have a special message, and I really wanted to find out from Reverend Jackson what in the world is going on. Basically, that's what I want to find out. What in the world is going on that we cannot get America to think constructively about us? What can we do? How can we do it? What is expected? Generally, this is what we are talking about in that meeting.

  • Over the page, please. Number 5:

    "The day's second session started with 20 minutes open to the press in which Taylor and Jackson gave opening remarks. Taylor began by saying he was there to listen, adding 'We know we must have peace'. Taylor stated the hostages must be released with no linkage to the release of RUF leader Foday Sankoh or demands for changes to the Lome agreement. Once all the hostages are released, then we must go on to disarm the RUF, the SLA, the Kamajors, take the Lome Accord to its logical end. 'I think we're all in agreement here,' said Taylor, cautioning that the process is not easy.

    Diamonds and guns - Government of Liberia not involved.

    Taylor want on to deny any Government of Liberia involvement in diamond smuggling or arms trafficking through Liberia or from or to Sierra Leone. 'Liberia has never been involved in gun-running to Sierra Leone or the movement of diamonds from Sierra Leone.' He said ECOWAS has a treaty that covers this. If there are diamonds smuggled through Sierra Leone or from Sierra Leone, he wants to work with Sierra Leonean President Kabbah to get to the bottom of it. Taylor noted reports that after Sankoh fled his Freetown house on 9 May, documents were found showing that Liberia was involved with the RUF in diamond smuggling. Taylor said Kabbah should make these documents available for review. 'If he has facts, let's go through it.'"

    Did Kabbah ever provide you with those documents?

  • Not one line of it, no. The first I ever saw any document from Sankoh's house that even is closely associated with documents that were supposed to be found were given by the OTP in the famous document that we have before the Court, it's called the Michel to The Leader document. It's the first time that I ever saw a document associated with documents found at Foday Sankoh's house.

  • "Taylor said he didn't doubt diamonds were being smuggled from the region, noting Liberia had appealed without success to the IMF and World Bank for assistance in setting up a programme to stop the illegal trade. He said the international community should provide assistance to set up an effective central control mechanism and that the Belgians should know how to do this.

    Helicopters needed for hostages.

    Taylor said Liberia was working hard to get UN hostages released, but needed helicopters to carry out the effort. I'm sure they have been debriefed. Even many of the hostages will tell you they walked three days to the border. Helicopters from a neutral source are needed to fly over hostage-holding or staging areas to help find and retrieve the hostages. Libya that day had delivered two toy helicopters, too small, seating only two or three passages. Liberia was sending these back to Libya. Mi-8s seating 15 to 18 are needed. Liberia is doing what it can with limited means, using a local helicopter company."

    Pause there. Mr Taylor, I thought you had large helicopters in which you were delivering helicopter loads of arms and ammunition during this period to the RUF.

  • We did not have. That's why I told the Court we had Mi-2s, which are very tiny, but we did not have this size of helicopter by this time in early 2000.

  • And who was the local helicopter company that you were using?

  • It's the Weasua had - they had an Mi-8.

  • And were you using the Weasua's, that private company's helicopter to transport arms?

  • Move on. Number 9:

    "Jackson's remark - take on the rumours directly. In the portion opened to the press, Jackson's closing line was his strongest and set the stage for the follow-on session from which the press was excluded. Jackson counselled Taylor to take on directly the rumours of Government of Liberia complicity in gun-running/diamond smuggling/bringing mercenaries to the region. These rumours and activities that serve as the basis for them jeopardised Taylor's government."

    Now, Mr Taylor, did Jackson use the word "that special envoy rumours" or did he say "we have evidence"?

  • This is a United States government document. He said rumours. This document is not put together by me. This is a United States government classified document. Neither Jackson nor Under-Secretary of State Pickering, no United States government official or no one has ever brought me any evidence to this date. These are his words, rumours. These are his words.

  • "Reverend Jackson began his remarks by thanking Taylor for the meeting. The Sierra Leone crisis with 10 years in the making and the RUF capture of UN hostages has riveted world attention. Some hostages have been freed and all must work to free those remaining. ECOWAS had charged Taylor to secure the hostages' release and owes a special debt to Taylor for accepting that charge. Seeking helicopters is important and we hope that UN efforts and UN helicopters will be given the access they need. The hostages must be released soon to ensure the injured or ill do not die in the hands of the RUF. We're glad Taylor sees no link between release of hostages and Sankoh's fate. The RUF has broken the Lome Accord. Jackson noted Taylor's statement of support for restoring democracy in Sierra Leone and for an ECOWAS force with a peacekeeping mandate in which Liberia would be willing to take part. We support Taylor's efforts to help release the hostages and bring peace, noting that if the RUF succeeds in Sierra Leone, their banditry and torture would eventually spill over into Liberia."

    On UN diamond smuggling and gun-running, an international effort to stop these activities is critical. Diamond brokers in consumer countries must be partners to the effort. There are no so many poor people over so much rich soil in the region's diamond producing areas, lamented Jackson.

    The RUF activities are barbaric. We hope they will agree to disarm and demobilise and finish the remaining work to build peace and democracy in Sierra Leone."

    Then we come to the confidential meeting:

    "Referring to his meeting the previous day with Nigerian President Obasanjo, Jackson said Obasanjo had commended Taylor for accepting ECOWAS's charge to seek the hostages' release."

    Was it ECOWAS who asked you to get involved, Mr Taylor?

  • Were you acting on your own initiative in that regard?

  • "Jackson said Obasanjo told him that Nigeria was willing to commit five battalions, but their mandate needed to be peace making and not peacekeeping. Jackson thought Obasanjo would welcome Taylor's offer to commit troops.

    Jackson and Taylor then went into another room for a CNN interview. All press was excluded when they returned.

    Jackson noted that Liberia is at centre stage as the world press turns its spotlight on Sierra Leone and Liberia's role in the region. Jackson said crisis can turn into opportunity. ECOWAS had turned to Taylor to secure the release of the UN hostages. If he delivers, he will demonstrate leadership. However, if any hostage dies in captivity, the world will blame the RUF. Jackson commended Taylor's clear declaration that the release of UN hostages is not linked to Sankoh's fate. Jackson also praised Taylor for not compromising Liberia's national interests even for a friend like Sankoh. Jackson noted Obasanjo the previous day had called himself Charles Taylor's friend, and based on that friendship was sending someone" - I hope everyone is following. We've had to jump a few lines.

    "... based on that friendship was sending someone to meet with Taylor to warn him to stop his destabilising activities. Taylor's statements before the world press (while meeting with Jackson) that the Government of Liberia was not involved in gun-running and diamond smuggling was a big step. Now it was time to prove it, to make a case, to take the issue on. It was important to engage ECOWAS countries and others in the international community to help with border control and verification to dissuade traffickers and smugglers.

    Taylor said he'd been trying for years to do just that, to discredit rumours about Liberia. He turned to Foreign Minister Captan and said, 'Take this stuff on. This is about diamonds and deforestation.'

    Taylor continued: Reverend Jackson, one of our problems, we've lost the friendship we had with the US government, because we know Washington can stop this. Most people know it's not true. Noting that Liberia needs millions of dollars in investment, Taylor said the international community had shunned Liberia. There was no real forestry industry. The company rumoured to be involved in the deforestation has been operating in Liberia for many years. Instead of undermining the company, let's get to the bottom of this, demanded Taylor. With no big friends in Washington, Taylor lamented, it's hard to fight the rumours."

    Which was the forestry company, Mr Taylor?

  • We had - I have forgotten the name of the - it was a forestry company run by a Chinese group out of Buchanan. I just don't recall the name right now.

  • Very well. Let's not delay on that:

    "Later in the meeting Jackson referred to an op-ed piece published by United States Senator Gregg which said that the Government of Liberia should be overthrown. This article had come up during the first session of the afternoon. Taylor recognised that it had not been said on the floor of the Senate and that, in any event, a Senator's remarks do not express US foreign policy, but he questioned why the State Department had not chosen to say that Gregg's remarks did not reflect the administration's policy towards Liberia.

    In a quick aside, referring to a news report, Taylor noted that a resolution to increase UNAMSIL to 13,000 troops had just been introduced in the UNSC, UN Security Council, about five minutes ago. He then veered back to the topic: Deal with us directly. Hit me on these issues. Don't talk to me through the State Department's spokesman. We need to talk directly.

    Guns, diamonds, support to the RUF - rumours and misinterpretation (and Taylor says his hands are clean).

    On gun-running, Taylor said the US should be able to tell what's really going on because it has satellites beaming down on Liberia and Sierra Leone. A recent incident supports this notion. The other day, there were trucks transporting hostages to the border to hand them over. Taylor alleged that Ambassador Myrick had called and said there were hostages on their way and Taylor assumed this was based on satellite images. Taylor further alleged that the satellites showed that the Sierra Leonean Army has Nigerian tanks."

    Mr Taylor, is that true?

  • Very true. We were shocked. In fact, as we negotiated for the release of the hostages, we were there on pins and needles waiting for a response. Ambassador Bismarck Myrick, the US ambassador, called my Minister of State and said, "Some of the hostages are on the truck on their way right now, you can inform the President." And we say, but how did he get to know when we're sitting here waiting for the results. And we got to know later, actually, they had a dedicated - what they call a dedicated line of satellite imagery at the time and focused on the movement of the hostages. So they got to know before - so I'm saying to them, "Well, if you have this kind of" - which we know they had that kind of thing - "you should be able to tell us more." But they told us, from the minute the hostages boarded the trucks, the United States ambassador called and informed the government that, yes, they are actually moving.

  • "Taylor claimed four ECOMOG Nigerians are smuggling diamonds out of Sierra Leone and President Kabbah, members of parliament, and many others know it."

    Where did you get that information from?

  • These are all the reports. There were reports about Khobe and others. You know, these were general reports that the Nigerians - the senior commanders at the time were involved in diamonds. These are all news reports. I'm saying to them.

  • "It's not just the RUF boys. The Nigerians have taken over. In Liberia, there are also a lot of ex-ECOMOG Nigerians about" - I assume that should be 2,000 in Monrovia - "that are involved in nefarious activities.

    Taylor speculated that the RUF might be getting arms or stealing them from these Nigerians or from Guineans. Problems with smuggling from Guinea got so bad that Liberia had at one point closed the border between the two countries. But the only hypothesis anybody seems willing to investigate is that guns are arriving through Robertsfield. What about Guinea? What about Cote d'Ivoire? Instead, everybody just keep saying Robertsfield. 'Say something repeatedly and it eventually takes on the air of fact,' said Taylor.

    Taylor said, 'Liberia does not have any tanks, much less Nigerian tanks, despite rumours to the contrary.' 'Using serial numbers,' Taylor said, 'we ought to be able to trace or locate tanks stolen from the Nigerians.'

    Hostage release - I'll do my best, but I don't control the RUF; talking about war crimes is not helpful.

    Taylor said he can't guarantee the hostages will be freed, because the RUF are out of control. 'You'd have to take more than drugs to take on the UN.' Kabbah knows that Taylor and Sankoh have not been getting along for a while. Sankoh himself said Taylor had called Sam Bockarie to Liberia to join forces against Sankoh. Speaking of Sankoh, Taylor said, 'We had tough differences.'"

    Had you, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, it started off in 1999 really, and we can go all the way back to 1991, but let's just speak about recent times. The Lome agreement, when I arrived in July of 1997, there were two tough days in getting that agreement, and there were some very tough exchanges and I was very, very forceful in dealing with him, that's why I say that we've had tough differences, beginning with that particular time and even going into after Lome in getting the disarmament process started. There were some very, very firm statements made by me to Sankoh to get that process started, and this is why it is very clear when these hostages are taken nobody asked me, I said point blank: We're not going to tie these hostages' release to Sankoh. These hostages must be released. So we had been having some very tough times since about July 1999, not forgetting the '91/'92 incident that led to the Top 20, Top 40 and Top Final. But we'd had some very tough times.

  • "Taylor says it also doesn't make sense that Sam Bockarie, who ran the RUF for two years while Sankoh was in jail, would come to Liberia for training (with mercenaries). 'This is disinformation', Taylor claimed, 'and if we had friends we'd be able to combat it.'

    Taylor noted that Human Rights Watch is talking about the need to set up a war crimes tribunal now that the RUF had reneged on Lome. Taylor said this is not helpful to getting the hostages released. Jackson assured Taylor that the US government had not yet taken a position on forming a tribunal; neither had the Nigerians. Delinking the release of the hostages from any conditions allows wriggle room to raise this later, noted Jackson.

    Johnny Paul Koroma - one shrewd little bugger.

    Jackson interjected: 'What about Johnny Paul Koroma?' Taylor called him one shrewd little bugger."

    Is that your assessment of him?

  • Yes, I said that. I can explain what I mean later, but I said that.

  • "Taylor said Koroma was never happy that Sankoh had signed the Lome agreement for all of them but he had no choice, as he was under detention. According to Taylor, Koroma's men would only have kidnapped the UN (at Okra Hills in August) if Koroma had given the order. Taylor said prior to then he had not met Koroma."

    Is that true?

  • I had never, ever Johnny Paul Koroma, so those witnesses that they're talking about here - this is me talking in 2000.

  • May 2000. I had never met Johnny Paul Koroma for someone to say that Johnny Paul Koroma came to Liberia, never. Never met him before then.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, when you told the Reverend Jackson and other US representatives that in May 2000, did you know that three years later an indictment would be unveiled against you?

  • "But as a Good Samaritan, Taylor negotiated the hostage release and brought Koroma to Liberia for the first time. Koroma lost credibility after Okra Hills, but now he has worked himself back in as an ally of Kabbah. Taylor called Koroma a very weak man, but said we should be wary of him because he and the SLA are now completely re-armed."

    Did that concern you?

  • Yes, yes. Let's look at what happened. Koroma comes in, he's not happy that Sankoh signed this agreement. We work out an agreement that the SLA is brought back, okay, as a part of the Sierra Leone Army. That's what I mean by he's one shrewd little bugger. Koroma then had figured out once the SLA was a part of the government, he was in control because he controlled the army - the Sierra Leonean army. So what he did immediately, which was a good move, was to ally himself with Kabbah. Immediately from October when he arrived in Freetown, he and Kabbah got very close. This is what I'm referring to when I say he's weak, but he had now gathered strength. And who is being armed right now? The Sierra Leone Army. And who is really, really in control? Even though Kabbah is President, Koroma now is outside. But the Sierra Leonean army look up to Koroma as their actual leader.

  • "On the other hand Koroma has now balanced the equation, and Taylor predicts as a result there will not be any fighting in Freetown. Koroma will demand a place at the bargaining table and will begin pushing for higher stakes for himself. Taylor said, 'I'm not talking about the hostages. I believe they will be released. The hostage taking was a stupid thing, it should never have happened.'

    Taylor then turned to the post-hostage release phase of the crisis. He has heard of ECOMOG plans to add another 5,000 troops. All ECOWAS countries would contribute, there would not be a fighting over force composition. ECOMOG has a tradition of creating this kind of force, as seen in Liberia in the last decade. Jackson wondered if Taylor had talked to Obasanjo, as he had been very clear with Jackson, during their May 18 May meeting, about the composition of additional troops to Sierra Leone. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeter noted the meeting of ECOWAS defence ministers, 17 to 18 May, which recommended either the formation of ECOMOG II, or adding troops to UNAMSIL, but in neither case only if they have a peace enforcement mandate.

    Taylor said this would be a vast misuse of forces. 18,000 (13,000 UNAMSIL plus 5,000 ECOMOG) is too large a force. On peace enforcement, Taylor noted: 'It is impossible to forcefully disarm guerillas in the bush. What must be created is an environment where combatants feel it is safe to disarm.'"

    Now, did you honestly believe that, Mr Taylor?

  • So help us, if you honestly believed that, why, as alleged, were you seeking to destabilise the situation by pumping arms into Sierra Leone? Do you follow?

  • I follow. I just never was involved in that. That's what makes the whole thing just a story.

  • Now let's move on. Given what's alleged about you, about your record on human rights:

    "Jackson asked Taylor about Star Radio. Taylor said, 'There's very little you can do.' Jackson said he was just asking, then underscored that free speech a big deal and it is a huge deal in a democracy. Taylor then explained that Star Radio is a very unique situation and he repeated explanations for its closure that have been reported previously. Taylor noted Star Radio also operates on the internet and there is 'Not one good thing ever abut this government.' (PAO" - can you assist as to what that means, Mr Taylor?

  • No, I can't.

  • "... not true) Taylor implied Star Radio could possibly resume broadcasting, saying that if it is turned to a new group (possibilities mentioned, University, Electoral Commission) they could apply for a licence."

    Had you closed down that radio station, Mr Taylor.

  • For so many reasons. I'll just give two quickly. Star Radio was operating outside of Liberian law. It was a radio station that had been given by the United States government for the purposes of the election to, quote unquote, level the playing field. Our argument was that: Fine, after elections, turn it over to somebody, University or whatever. Under the laws of Liberia as a foreign entity and you having ownership of this radio station, you cannot operate it in Liberia. That was principally the thing. And I said if you turn it over to any other person, a Liberian group that under the laws of Liberia could be licensed, it could operate. Other than that, no.

  • "Jeter then told Taylor that deforestation was a real concern. Jeter hoped Ambassador Myrick and other international observers would be allowed free access to investigate allegations, under a proactive rumour control programme as suggested earlier by Special Envoy Jackson. Taylor replied that he wanted to protect the environment, but that his government needed financing, not just words from environmental advocates. He would love to set aside 1 to 2 million acres for preservation along the lines of the US National Forest. He said that if someone does investigate the devastating clear-cutting accusations, they could only do so if they visit all of Liberia's wooded areas and not just pick on OTC (Oriental Timber Company)".

  • That's it.

  • "Taylor then got a bit animated, as did Foreign Minister Captan and NPP's Cyril Allen, decrying the attacks as a conspiracy against OTC, which had made the first major investment in Liberia under Taylor."

    Is that true?

  • That is true. That is true. In fact, the company that I said I could not recall is OTC. OTC had investigated $250 million into Liberia. The whole point of this problem with deforestation, it was simple. OTC was one of the first major companies to invest. Such investment added income to the Liberian government. They were trying to starve off the government from any source of revenues, and they went after OTC. What was OTC doing? They built, for the first time in Liberia, a $50 million plywood and veneer factory in Liberia. First thing on the ground. We had set three years as the end of the export of round logs out of Liberia. We were going to break down wood in Liberia for furniture, we were doing plywood, we were doing veneer and everything that would have provided thousands of jobs for the Liberian people instead of exporting just cut round timber out of Liberia. 250 million altogether, and this was the company that they went after to destroy to starve my government from any revenue. So I just said - and we got upset in that meeting. What's this issue about deforestation you people are talking about? Let's bring in the experts. Let's go through it. They wouldn't do it.

  • "Jeter then said that on arms we know for a fact that arms have been moved on a Ukrainian transport that landed in Burkina Faso, unloaded there, then went on to Robertsfield. This information had been presented to the United Nations Security Council by the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria alleging the Ukrainian involvement. Taylor said, 'We were never confronted' about this, and that 'We want our date in Court.'"

    Have you ever been confronted with that, Mr Taylor?

  • Never. I said it in that meeting in 2000.

  • "On diamonds, Jeter noted efforts to help the Government of Sierra Leone restructure its diamonds trade and marketing. Taylor asked if diamonds are smuggled from Guinea. Jeter said, 'Probably, yes.' Taylor asked why everyone made an issue of diamonds in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but not in Guinea. He said he wouldn't deny for a minute that diamond smuggling occurs in Liberia, but he was irritated by accusations that 'Charles Taylor and his carpetbaggers are surviving on this illegal trade.' Taylor then said he wanted our help on this, emphasising that 'We will cooperate 100 per cent to get this under control in all countries.' He then repeated his lament of having no friends in Washington.

    Jackson then counselled Taylor to take these accusations one by one and address them, emphasising dialogue. Taylor again said, 'That's why we need friends, to have our day in court. If you have charges against me, tell me. We're never given an opportunity to defend ourselves.' Taylor then mentioned that Foreign Minister Captan had a copy of an intelligence report, about $12 million in arms off-loaded involving former Roosevelt Johnson and Charles Breeze, saying the idea that Taylor would ally himself with his former enemy's close friend was ridiculous."

    What's that about?

  • There was this famous intelligence report that I had brought, along with Roosevelt Johnson, some $12 million worth of arms and ammunition in Liberia and I'm saying to them, "But you're crazy. We threw Roosevelt Johnson out of Liberia in 1998 in the famous attack on Monrovia. How can you then come back and say that Roosevelt Johnson, along with the Government of Liberia, are bringing in arms into Robertsfield? What craziness is this, that the man that is at war with my government and I are involved in bringing in arms to the country?" Typical, typical intelligence. But it's not intelligence. This is what you call disinformation. But it is just flooded out there, and like the report sent from Mark Doyle when he spoke to US officials in Monrovia, they have a - "You have a public relations problem, deal with it."

    So, I mean, most of this stuff as you're seeing here in this report, and I have to emphasise this, about Jackson saying he counsels Taylor, "Take these accusations one by one," these issues are not issues for courtrooms. What these countries do, they come up with an idea. They throw it out there. They may have no knowledge of the facts involved, and they leave you to fight it out, and after some time, they get it. So if you've got friends some place, they will say, "Well, wait a minute guys. This is not right." If Washington or maybe London or Paris back you, they will say, "Listen, cut thing out. It's wrong. Don't publish it any more." Other than that, it continues.

    And it is not intended to reach to these levels. These are diplomatic tricks that are played. It's a part of a whole intelligence collection process that helps you to find out maybe that which you don't know. If somebody jumps and says what you want to hear, then it becomes something that you use, and this is the process that is going on here.

  • "Taylor repeated that he would like to have a chance to refute such allegation. 'You should be talking to us, not talking at us.' An agitated NPP chairman, Cyril Allen, jumped in noting that the accusations against OTC on deforestation were out of context and unnecessary, forgetting that Taylor himself had raised this issue. 'They had nothing to do with Sierra Leone. When meetings are set up, a line should be drawn about what is discussed.' Jackson noted that this was a difficult setting, but since we had this opportunity for open dialogue, we should use it. Allen said that bringing up OTC was not friendly and another example of rumour mongering. Taylor interjected, 'I think the observations have been made. It is not bad. There are problems we have to deal with.' He added, 'I want to rebuild this relationship. It is the absence of bringing it up that keeps us from moving ahead.' He then noted that Liberia is turning out to be a linchpin on lots of activities in West Africa. He said he hoped that things would work out in Sierra Leone, then noted, 'Don't let Cote d'Ivoire break up. That's a bigger case.' Taylor emphasised his good relations with Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and others. He said that if Liberia's economy was stronger, he would we able to become ECOWAS chairman in a few months, but without resources, he could not take on the responsibility. Jackson then reinforced the need for ongoing dialogue that did not side step or avoid issues due to diplomatic niceties.

    Turning the conversation again to Sierra Leone, John T Richardson noted that it is quite clear that the SLA and the Kamajors had re-armed during the crisis, but the US government is constantly calling for the RUF to disarm. Richardson emphasised that disarmament of all parties had to be simultaneous. Jeter retorted that prior to 1 May, the vast majority of DDR participants were SLA or Kamajors. Jeter reminded that it had been the RUF which had disarmed UNAMSIL Guineans when they first arrived, an early and clear violation.

    Taylor turned to the upcoming ECOWAS summit in Nigeria. He re-emphasised that the release of the hostages has to happen. It will happen. He noted that Kabbah is the person under the Lome Accords who has to enforce them. At the 9 May ECOWAS summit on Sierra Leone, Kabbah's position was that he couldn't control the mobs that ended up ransacking Sankoh's house on 8 May. Taylor said Kabbah should have taken responsibility and that he should have been able to stop the crowds.

    Taylor then noted that Kabbah's lack of control was worrisome, as Liberian opposition groups ULIMO-J and K are all now in Freetown."

    Is that true?

  • What do you mean they were in Freetown?

  • Well, we're talking about 2000. They were all part of that whole Kabbah set-up. Remember, ULIMO-J and K had been - they were part of the Special Task Force, the STF. They were all there. They were part of the Sierra Leonean government. And once Kabbah brought the SLA back, you had brought back the SLA. And then a part of the SLA were, what, the STF. So my problem now, I still have ULIMO-J and K as a part of the Sierra Leonean army and the STF, just as you have right now. There's still Liberians in the Sierra Leonean armed forces, as we sit in this Court.

  • "If Kabbah can't control mobs, how can he control Taylor's opponents?

    Shortly before the meeting ended, Taylor mentioned there would be a follow-on meeting of a small group with RUF commander Sam Bockarie who had just arrived at the Executive Mansion. Bockarie told reporters waiting in the hallway when he arrived that he had been summoned.

    At the end of the two-hour session, Special Envoy Jackson led the group in prayer.

    Comment.

    Taylor's message was predictable but unbelievable. He doesn't control the RUF, he is not involved in gun-running, diamond smuggling or deforestation. He obviously does retain some influence with at least some portions of the RUF and with newly re-armed Johnny Paul Koroma. Taylor is also effectively engaged on the UN hostage release, and we should encourage him. He seems to think he will succeed.

    If he does, we should press Taylor on efforts to seriously investigate the rumours that plague him. We need also to be watchful for his influence on Bockarie and Koroma. With Sankoh sidelined and Kabbah weak, Taylor may use one or both to increase his influence in Sierra Leone."

    Now, Mr Taylor, the note of the conversation as per that comment expresses a degree of scepticism about your position, don't you agree?

  • I agree. And fear. Scepticism and fear. I agree.

  • And was that scepticism and fear justified?

  • No, it was not. It was not. But, you see, these are things - you know, we're in a court of law. These are the political decisions that affect small countries. You go to a major meeting and this - at the end of the meeting, here is a class ified comment by - made by maybe an analyst. This is at the end of it. And the analyst says, "Well, we don't believe Taylor, but we think he's doing his best. We have to be careful. We can't let him get any influence over these people, what they talk about, we need also to be watchful of his influence on Bockarie and Koroma. With Sankoh sidelined and Kabbah weak, Taylor may use one or both to increase" - now, these things, really, over time affect governments.

    And whether this analysis on the part of this analyst is correct or not, it affects foreign policy, it affects the policy towards you as an individual, and this is only a comment being made, well, which is an assessment by maybe an individual. And these are some of the problems that little countries have. I still have it. And years going on, people will read it, well, after this meeting, this was our assessment. This assessment for me is totally wrong.

  • Putting the comment aside, Mr Taylor, this record of the meeting with Jackson on 19 May, is it a fair account of what transpired?

  • That's putting the comment at the end to one side, yes?

  • That is correct, yes.

  • Very well. Let's leave that topic, shall we. Now, Mr Taylor, what I now ask for your assistance with is this: Do you recall Thursday last when we were dealing with the issue of diamonds, yes?

  • Now, before I move on --

  • Just before you go on, do you want to mark that?

  • I'm going to mark it for identification. So record of discussions with Reverend Jesse Jackson, unclassified, released in full, of a meeting on 19 May 2000, may that be marked for identification, please, MFI-291.

  • Yes, that's marked MFI-291.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, do you recall last Friday when we were dealing - last Thursday when we were dealing with the issue of diamonds?

  • You made mention of a report from your Minister of Mines?

  • That is correct, yes. That is a report that was compiled for me in 2001, if I recollect properly, 2001, of all the meetings. He had travelled to Belgium to meet with the World Diamond Council in looking at the issues of trying to get Liberia Kimberley compliant and those meetings - there were several of them in different countries and a report was done for me - it was in 2001 - about the different efforts and what would happen.

  • Mr Taylor, just to complete then - well, there's one other topic we need to deal with. Just to complete the issue of diamonds, can we look in the same binder behind divider 110, please. Do you have it?

  • Let's deal with this then. So we see that it's addressed to you and dated 1 March 2001, yes?

  • "Dear Mr President:

    We have the honour most respectfully to inform you that pursuant to the panel of experts appointed pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolution 1301 (2000) paragraph 19 in relation to Sierra Leone and the alleged conflict diamonds through Liberia, we have held several meetings with the Diamonds High Council, official representative of the Belgian diamond industry accompanied by His Excellency Othello Brandy, Liberia's ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, and report the following:

    1. Only the HRD has statistics on the flow of diamonds from Liberia and have subsequently prepared a report on conflict diamonds with the Liberian statistics to the World Diamond Council and the United Nations.

    Our review of HRD progress report on conflict diamonds shows significant reduction of diamond exports from Liberia to HRD since 1999. The report is very clear that Liberia has been exporting diamonds to Belgium, starting in 1966 before Sierra Leone starting in 1979 at predictable quanties and prices. That rough diamonds coming to HRD since early 1990s show high volume and high or very low quality which the HRD from experience can compare to Russia and Angola diamonds."

    What do you understand by that, Mr Taylor?

  • A lot of the diamonds that were going in under the so-called name of Liberia were not Liberian diamonds. These were diamonds smuggled out of Russia and Angola, and for some reason people were passing them through in Belgium as Liberian diamonds. So the percentage was very high, but these were not actually Liberian diamonds and they were just saying Liberian diamonds, Liberian diamonds.

  • "That since the certification scheme for Angola and Sierra Leone went into effect late last year, the diamond imports from Liberia and Sierra Leone have dropped to more predictable capacity" --

  • I don't know if anyone can assist me with the other two words?

  • It might be "which would".

  • Yes, that would make sense. "... which would indicate that the statistics before 1999 was full of falsification. We do not have access to figures from other worldwide diamond centres in Israel, India, the USA, Switzerland, Britain, Johannesburg, Dubai and other emerging markets.

    During our discussions with HRD, we discussed and agreed that Liberia is on track in kimberlite exploitation and would certainly want prosperity from its diamonds as a producing country in an important way than being subject to sanctions as recommended and sponsored by the United States and Great Britain on the Security Council.

    5. That since diamonds purchased by businessmen from all countries are valued and packaged based on carat, colour, cut and clarity, we would welcome openness in buying and exporting from Liberia for the moment: (a), with appointed diamond traders by the World Diamond Council; and (b), before the eyes of the UN representative in our trading centre in Monrovia."

    Was there a diamond trading centre in Monrovia, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, we set up one for clarity, yes.

  • "The objective of this proactive process is to create a closed loop between Liberia and importing countries in order to match our exports with import statistics and create a complete audit trail of Liberian diamonds and guarantee the Liberian exports to contain no conflict diamonds until the UN global solution is found.

    The UN General Assembly in resolution 55/56 of 1 December 2000 mandated" - and again, can you help us what that mandate was, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, the only mandate I can recall at that time was to become Kimberley compliant. That's the mandate. But these words here, I don't know.

  • That's what it says. "... mandated the expansion of the Kimberley Process, which is being attended by diamond producing countries, processors and traders. Our absence at these meetings has hurt us. We have been briefed by the HRD on these meetings with strong recommendations that our participation will keep us proactive and limit the damaging reports that continue to circulate unanswered. We are closing the communique of Windhoek, 16 February 2001, and schedule of further meetings for your perusal.

    Our best defence to international propaganda, which come to far reaching conclusions concerning alleged smuggling of Sierra Leone diamonds to Liberia, is to develop political and technical data based on: (a), pre-conflict data; and (b), present production. The Ministry must be supported in these efforts with equipment. The information gathered must be also be independently verifiable to give it the transparency we need. It would seem, Mr President, that were we to fail in these attempts, the UN, (US and Britain) would want to impose the kind of sanctions which would be interpreted that only certain diamond bearing countries have a right to mine."

    Pause there. Mr Taylor, what action did you take on that recommendation from your minister?

  • We made funds available, and all of the conferences thereafter we were present and participated.

  • "In view of the comments and observations from our meeting and visit to the HRD, we recommend the following:

    1. We are proposing that our visit to the HRD be reported to the UN Security Council as being proactive in correcting the condemnatory and prejudicial tone of reports from the US and Britain on the Security Council."

    Did you do that?

  • "2. That Liberia will henceforth attend all World Diamond Congress and participate in the world-wide diamond certification scheme being worked out by the World Diamond Council under the 'expanded' Kimberley Process as mandated by the United Nations General Council resolution 55/56 of 1 December 2000 as a member of and signature to the final communique.

    3. That Liberia will request the assistance of the HRD to assist the government in putting an effective certificate of origin regime in place which should create the transparency for the flow of official Liberian diamonds to create an audit trail.

    This request should be made to the United Nations to specify help from HRD to establish the certification process.

    4. That government will aid the Ministry immediately to begin field monitoring and documenting production. Government of Liberia is to ask the United Nations for independent verification of production figures.

    5. That the government should take steps now to licence two reputable diamond traders from the High Diamond Council to begin a system of control with absolute transparency."

    Was that done?

  • That is done too, yes.

  • "6. That after touring and observing the diamond exchange in Antwerp, we recommend that Liberia adopts a similar system of controlling and regulating our diamond sales. This will require the setting occupy of a centralised one stop shop (housed within the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy or the Central Bank of Liberia) providing centralised services, including appraising of individual diamond parcels, financial assessment and payment of taxes to the Government of Liberia, custom verification and finally, repackaging with the attached certificate needed for export."

    And then the usual salutations. Now, Mr Taylor, was such a one stop shop set up?

  • Yes, that's the whole Kimberley Process. We put that into motion and we had designated at that time, not the ministry, but that the Central Bank would take that, yes.

  • Now, for your assistance, Mr Taylor, your minister also provided behind that covering letter various annexes, did he not?

  • And so if we look behind, we see the Kimberley Process roadmap, annex A, yes?

  • At annex B, the Kimberley Process task force?

  • Then behind that, minutes of the task force meeting held on 16 February 2001?

  • Then the final communique of the Kimberley Process meeting and technical workshop, yes?

  • Yes. In Namibia, yes.

  • And then, Mr Taylor, before that we find a graph, yes?

  • Now, the lines on this graph, do they demonstrate diamond production in various producer countries?

  • Now, looking at the graph for Liberia which is labelled at the top, yes?

  • We see that production appears to plateau in 1998?

  • Indeed, by the end of the first quarter of '98 it dips?

  • There's a rise in '99?

  • And by April of 1999 there's a huge peak in production?

  • And then a dramatic drop by 2000?

  • So that by April 2000 production is below that of Guinea, yes?

  • And below that of the Ivory Coast?

  • And also what we note is at or about the same time as we have that dramatic reduction in Liberian production, which has a steep reduction between April '99 and January 2000 - do you see where I mean?

  • There is a peak in production from Guinea, yes?

  • Was Guinea a diamond exporting country as well?

  • So can you assist as to that peak in Guinean production, which reaches a peak by February, it would appear, 2000?

  • Well, let's put this in some perspective then. This drop that you mentioned, let's look at this, beginning with the increase in 1999 where it peaks of about - going towards 2000. That's the period that the Russian and Angolan diamonds are all carried as part of Liberian diamonds. So that's that massive peak. The drop comes into place when Sierra Leone, okay, and Angola become Kimberley certified. As a result, okay, the Angolan diamonds that are going as Liberian diamonds no longer are going as Liberian diamonds, so there is that drop. Now, this very deep drop from about 2000 or going on about - in fact, this is a little over 2000, this is the period that there is a Security Council resolution that banned the trade of Liberian diamonds. This is the period that we do not export at all where we fall below Ivory Coast; you understand? That's why we fall below the Ivory Coast. While this is going on, the Sierra Leonean diamonds that used to come through Liberia for the US dollars and whatnot begin to go through Guinea, and so that's why you see Guinea begins to rise, because Guinea is not a major diamond producing country.

  • Well, help us with this, Mr Taylor. The evidence which has been placed before this Court by, inter alia, among other people, Varmuyan Sherif and others of diamonds being taken to you in mayonnaise jars in or about 1998 - do you recall that testimony?

  • Now we have figures for '98, '99 which appear to plateau and in fact a fairly steep drop in April 1999; do you see that?

  • Now help us, Mr Taylor. Can you see the kind of traffic suggested by Prosecution witnesses reflected in this graph?

  • No. No, but don't let's - you know, these things are - you know, when they come up, we just have mention it. This so-called - let's just crosscheck one bit of information. This so-called mayonnaise jar of diamonds, which is not the case in 1998, if we remember very well, in 2003 there is Sam Bockarie returning to Liberia with a mayonnaise jar of diamonds. So if one concludes that Sam Bockarie entered in 1998, according to Varmuyan Sherif, with a mayonnaise jar of diamonds, he still has it. And even though he's outside in 2003, there's another witness that says, while he's coming back from Ivory Coast, he returns with a mayonnaise jar of diamonds. So this is all not true. So this drop is real. There are no diamonds running in and out by no mayonnaise jars full, that kind of stuff. That's not true.

  • Very well. Now, I'm going to move on from that, Mr Taylor.

  • Could I ask, please, that that document, Report by Jenkins Dunbar, Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, to President Charles Taylor, dated 1 March 2001, be marked for identification, please, MFI-292.

  • That document is marked accordingly.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I'm conscious of the time and my promise that we would conclude today. Now, before we go back to deal with events leading up to your arrest in 2003, are there any other outstanding matters that you'd like to clear up at this stage?

  • Well, just - you know, just one. There's one intelligence report that I think the Court and these judges ought to see because - in fact, two. There are two. You have another Dutch or Belgian, depending, I can't speak their language, report. But also, the former Prosecutor of this Court, David Crane, who started this whole bandwagon, David Crane wrote the Government of Liberia and assembled asking them to provide a massive amount of information, documentation and everything to the Prosecution to substantiate its case following the indictment but before my arrest. I think that was back in 2004 or thereabout. And so in looking at all of these intelligence reports, we didn't - the Defence would never have had access to the kind of money to get these governments to participate.

    You have this other major intelligence report that was released to us by the Prosecution and David Crane's letter also. One would wonder why they did not use it, but I think it's important for my life and my defence that these documents be brought before this Court, that this treasure-trove of information that they were supposed to obtain, okay, through that request was never brought before this Court. I think we should because that has to do with my own defence and clearing me that if they had all this important information from the Government of Liberia, all these major intelligence agencies, since they chose not to bring it, I think we should. Now, I know we have time on our side, but my life is on the line too.

  • Very well, Mr Taylor. Now, there is two issues that you raise there. One, a letter from David Crane.

  • To the Government of Liberia, then the Ministry of Justice, requesting all kinds of information, regarding to monies, regarding to anything to substantiate the allegations levelled against me by him.

  • What's the date of that letter, Mr Taylor?

  • And have you seen that letter?

  • Well, I'm seeking to deal with matters sequentially, so we'll come to the letter in due course. But you mentioned one other matter, Mr Taylor. What's that?

  • That's another intelligence report that was obtained through the OTP that deals with, again, the issue of diamonds, the issue of arms and all these issues of insecurity that were sought by the Prosecution to validate their claims against me. And I think this report was done by a major western government.

  • Which government?

  • Well, the way I see the topic - the title of the report - the word looks Dutch to me - bijlage. It looks Dutch to me. It could be Belgium, or whatever these people - but it's either by the Dutch or the Belgian, but the word, I think we can verify which country it is.

  • Can you help me with a spelling of the word?

  • Bijlage, B-I-L-J - you know, they spell their things differently. I don't know. But it deals with talking to all of the principal people mentioned in this case. It deals with interviews with Ibrahim Bah, Bah who is supposed to work for me and he's interviewed --

  • Who by?

  • By this intelligence agency where they state that he's interviewed by the Americans, okay. It talks about Eddie Kanneh. It talks about all of the individuals that are supposed to be associated with me. An entire investigation was done, okay, and I'm sure it took them a long time to do it, similar to the other investigation that was presented before this Court done by the Belgian government.

    Now, I keep saying - and I don't want to appear as though I'm fluttering here - that it could be Dutch or some Belgian name, but it's not French, so I could probably think it's Dutch, but that word looks like Dutch to me, but I could be wrong about it.

  • Very well, Mr Taylor. Can we have a look, please --

  • We do want to put on the record our objection to the introduction of this material through 89(C) by this witness. Certainly there has been no foundation laid that meets the requirements that were imposed on the Prosecution, but it does not even meet the very relaxed requirements that have been imposed during the accused's testimony, which were initially that it had to be part of his archive, his official archive, as the President. So we suggest there is no adequate foundation.

  • Yes, I accept the - I understand the thrust of your objection, but I don't think this Court ever said that the document to be admissible pursuant to 89(C) had to be part of his archives. It helps if it is part of his archives, but it doesn't have to be.

  • Our understanding is, there has to be a connection to this witness other than a name and a report. He has no connection to this document.

  • There has to be some connection, yes, but I understood you to say we had ruled that it has to be part of his archives.

  • You had ruled earlier that if it was part of his archive and he had read it, then it was admissible, even though that was a lesser standard than the Prosecution had been held to. In this instance, it's not even part of his archive. So we suggest that there is no connection here sufficient for introduction through a witness under 89(C).

  • All right. What do you say to that objection, Mr Griffiths?

  • Mr President, we submit that the witness has laid sufficient foundation for the introduction of this document. In our submission, the first principal of admissibility is relevance, relevance to an issue before the tribunal of fact.

    Now, as far as this is concerned, the Prosecution have named Ibrahim Bah as a co-conspiracy in the JCE alleged in the indictment. Consequently, where there is material available emanating, as in this particular case, from the Prosecution themselves which throws light upon those issues, and I give that as but one example, it seems to me, where the accused has had an opportunity, as quite properly and rightfully he should in the circumstances, to examine that material, he should be at liberty, if, as he submits, it points to his innocence, to place that material before the Court. And in our submission, any attempt to exclude from the gaze of this Court such relevant material, in our submission, is an attempt, and I say this quite bluntly, to mislead the tribunal of fact and, consequently, we submit this material is admissible through Mr Taylor.

  • Yes, we will just pause there.

  • Mr President, I know you've talked about reply, but in light of the language that was used, implying that the Prosecution is trying to mislead this tribunal, we do have a right to put a response on to the record. You will note that my objection was very clear. That there was no foundation to put it in through a witness which was a big issue, which has been a big issue in this case, at least in the Prosecution case. There are other means by which they can attempt to put it in. The rules do not go away because it is the accused testifying. It is not an attempt to mislead, but it certainly is an explication of our understanding of the requirements of the means by which evidence can be placed before your Honours. And in this instance, 89(C) through a witness and our suggestion is not sufficient foundation.

  • I understood your submission before. We'll pause there for a moment.

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • The majority of us think that the Defence has established that there is sufficient connection of these documents with the witness and that his evidence given so far on the documents goes to the relevance of the documents. We hold that sufficient foundation has been laid and we will allow your questions to continue, Mr Griffiths.

  • I'm grateful:

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I want you to have an opportunity to comment on the contents of these documents.

  • Because, frankly, not all of the contents of the documents are favourable to you. Now, can we look, please, behind divider 4 in disclosure for week 37, please. Can I inquire whether everyone has this document?

  • Now, I'm helpfully assisted by my learned friend, Mr Anyah, who has conducted some research and explains that the word bijlage is a Dutch word and means appendix. Now, we see on the first appendix that it's numbered 003, Mr Taylor, yes?

  • That is correct.

  • Now, let's turn to the first page of it, please, over the page. Do you have it?

  • Now, this is why I suggest, Mr Taylor, you need to have an opportunity to address this, in case in due course you are asked about these issues.

  • "CT" - Charles Taylor - "has to have a share in every logging company that wants to operate in Liberia - the money goes to his private budget from which he operates the ATU."

    Quite an allegation, Mr Taylor. What do you say?

  • I say it's false. And, in fact, if this were true, the legislature of the Government of Liberia through the general accounting office would have noted this. Monies for the payment of the ATU were all approved by the national legislature under a special programme, like is going on in Liberia right now. What happens is that in order to get the level of professionalism that you need in security, and even some of the individuals coming into Liberia right now, salaries are paid over and above local salaries to encourage people to do right. So this is approved by the national legislature. So this intelligence is wrong.

  • "Logging companies make regular payments. A common method of payment is to pay a portion in cash and a portion in weaponry. 50/50 not uncommon."

    True?

  • "Charles Taylor's brother, Bob Taylor, is on the board of the FDA, he runs everything."

    True?

  • No, that's not true. My brother Bob Taylor is the managing director of the company. He serves as secretary to the board, but there is a separate board of directors that is in line with the laws of Liberia. He is not the chairman or any senior member of the board. He's secretary to the board.

  • Which board?

  • The board of the FDA, the Forestry Development Authority.

  • I'm going to skip the next one, but you may be asked about it in due course. Let's go to the Koffi Woods bullet point.

  • I think that looks as though it might have enough substance in it to take us over the lunch hour, so it might be appropriate to adjourn now. We'll adjourn for lunch and come back at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Mr Taylor, before lunch we were looking at a document. Before we return to that document, can I just deal with another issue which arose this morning.

    Your Honours, I have the original of that item.

  • Thanks. Is that something you said the Prosecution has seen or not seen?

  • We have not seen it, Mr President.

  • Now, what I propose, Mr President is now that the original is available, that that be the item marked for identification. I don't know if we need to give it an additional number. I would doubt that that is necessary.

  • Well, I think it might be, because we gave the original copies two numbers. It's going to lead to confusion. But we can give it a number. These are just - the numbers are just to identify the various documents. It doesn't mean that you are compelled to tender everything that's been marked for identification.

  • Well, can we - would this be a convenient way of doing it, Mr President: To mark it as MFI-290 C.

  • All right. We note the original photograph, then, is marked for identification MFI-290C.

  • The original didn't seem to bring us any closer to ascertaining the date that it was taken.

  • No, but I will cause further inquiries to be made:

  • Mr Taylor, with can we go back to this document now then, please. And we had reached the sixth bullet point on that first page.

    "Koffi Woods is also on the board of the FDA. He controls the hammer ('stamp' in the shape of an 'S') at Buchanan for OTC from the mansion. One hundred ATU officers are currently deployed at Buchanan to make sure that all logs that are exported are done with mansion approval to ensure that Charles Taylor is not ripped off."

    Is that true?

  • That is not true.

  • Was there a hundred ATU officers based at Buchanan for that purpose?

  • Was there a hundred ATU officers at Buchanan for whatever purpose?

  • Not quite a hundred. There were ATU officers in the Buchanan area, yes.

  • Just below that do you see, "Aziz Nassour used to pay for the arms that were brought in for Sam Bockarie." What do you know about that?"

  • Now, that name Aziz Nassour, we've encountered that last Thursday, did we not?

  • In relation to diamonds?

  • Now, help us. Were you aware of a relationship between him and Sam Bockarie?

  • Just below that: "The shipment in May came from Bulgaria. OTC provided the vessel, but it was orchestrated by Fawaz and MWPI." Taking things in stages, what does MWPI stand for?

  • I really don't know. But this is the name of a timber company working there. I do not know the - what the meaning of this acronym is. I really have no idea.

  • He's a timber - he is a logger in Liberia. One of the loggers.

  • Were you using timber companies to bring in shipments of arms from Bulgaria?

  • Not at all. And that's a part of this very investigation that shows that there were no such thing. If I may just remind the Court, this investigation is also a part of that investigation that was - that cleared up this whole issue of arms being brought by sea into the ports in Liberia as contained in the Dutch case, that Dutch trial of Guus Kouwenhoven or something he's called, the Dutchman tried for war crimes along - that is supposed to be a co-conspirator. So there is no such thing.

  • "CT has a bank account in Burkina Faso. It goes under the name Jean-Michel Some. The bank is the BICEO owned by all countries that using the CFA and BIB. He has had the account since 1987. Musa Cisse used to withdraw money from the account with cheques given to him by CT. CT also has a Swiss bank account that was set up by Grace Minor - it is controlled by Talal El-Ndine. Money from logs makes its way to the Swiss accounts, and it is then transferred to the BF account. The Swiss account was set up in 1993. Gaddafi was pumping money into the Swiss account during the war. Taylor, in turn, gave gifts?"

    Where is the money, Mr Taylor?

  • There was no such thing. These are the type of things that led to all of this trouble. No bank accounts. Just phantom names, phantom - there is some truth in this bullet point. I did have an account in 1987.

  • In Burkina Faso, true, long before the revolution started. I was in exile in Burkina Faso, that's true. But the rest of this stuff is all lies about Swiss bank accounts - Swiss bank accounts being set up by Grace Minor and Talal El-Ndine and Gaddafi pumping money. All lies. That's what they've been searching for until today and still haven't found them, because they never existed.

  • Was the account in Burkina Faso under the name Jean-Michel Some?

  • That is correct. It was under Jean-Michel. So, I mean, it's an alias I used at the time hiding from Samuel Doe as I launched the revolution. That is true.

  • Did Gaddafi use that account to pay sums into - to you?

  • Did Musa Cisse withdraw money from that account on your behalf?

  • Yes. I gave Musa Cisse - at times I was not there, yes, he did withdraw money from that account, yes.

  • I would say about '89, when I was released from jail in Ghana. In fact, before I was released from jail in Ghana, Musa Cisse used to - he was a countersigner to the account and he withdrew money from it.

  • Mr Griffiths, is this the same Cisse that is usually spelled C-I-S-S-E?

  • That is correct, your Honours. Some spell it with S-E-S-S-A-Y, yeah. But it's Cisse. Musa Cisse.

  • Now, Musa Cisse was a Special Forces, wasn't he?

  • No. He is listed as a Special Forces. Musa Cisse, remember, became chief of protocol for me. But he is listed as a Special Forces because he is with the group at the time. But Musa is an older man - by far older than I am - and never took any training.

  • And he's the one who was an uncle to Varmuyan Sherif?

  • Yes, he is late --

  • So that account in Burkina Faso, he was a joint signatory to that account, was he?

  • For how long did you use that account, Mr Taylor?

  • I used that account up until 1989, when I came from jail. There was hardly anything in it, and it was closed in 1989.

  • Have you ever reactivated it?

  • Did you ever have a Swiss bank account?

  • Next bullet point:

    "Joe Tuah is the assistant director of the SSS, in charge of getting the weapons. He makes sure that everything runs smoothly when he goes to the ports when the arms come in."

    True?

  • "Liberia currently has four helicopters that it uses. Two are helicopter gunships, but only one of these is operational. It's used to bring supplies to Lofa. The other two are police helicopters and are also used to bring supplies to Lofa, but need to make a re-fuelling stop on its way up and on its way back down."

    True?

  • Some true, some false. Let me tell you what's true about this. There are four helicopters: Two Mi-2s - that's what he is referring to as having to make refuelling. You cannot even fly in Liberia very long. There are two Mi-8s. The fact that we have helicopter gunships, no. These are Mi-8s. Helicopter gunships are MI-24s and Mi-25s. We only have an Mi-8. And what is also true here is that one of the Mi-8s is down, and so we don't have anything. Now depending on when this report comes out, by this time it is - we have only one operational.

  • Right. Now, based on this bullet point, you will note to date, Mr Taylor, there is nothing on this document to date it, do you follow me?

  • Now, based on the information about the helicopters, can you help us with a date after which this document must have been compiled. Do you follow me?

  • Yes. I can give a - once they say four helicopters, just dealing with four helicopters, I would put this to around 2001.

  • When you say put it to 2001, are you saying it's in 2001 or at sometime after 2001?

  • That's when you had the four helicopters?

  • By then we have four in total, yes.

  • Okay. Thank you. Next:

    "The helicopters used to be flown by Ukrainians. There used to be six men to each flight, but they left because they weren't being paid. They are supposedly back in Liberia now."

    True?

  • At one point they did leave, yes, they did --

  • We were hard-pressed - we couldn't pay them and so everything was grounded. That's true.

  • "Obasanjo sent Liberia weapons and supplies in April. The shipment came in at around 3 or 4 in the morning to Robertsfield."

    True?

  • Totally false. Obasanjo never, ever gave Liberia even a pistol. Never.

  • "All ten satellite phones were bought by Naziz. All the phones had 500 units. Sesay dropped three of the phones in the river when he was drunk."

    What do you know about that?

  • I know nothing about it. But these phones, if you remember, are contained in the Belgium report. So we are talking around, what, I think based on that Belgium report we are talking about 2000 when - 2000, 2001 when this is going on. I don't know anything about that.

  • Go over the page, please. Does the next page have the number 0000190 on the top right-hand corner?

  • Right. Let's look at this:

    "Government militias.

    All those in militias are aged ten and older."

    True or false?

  • Total nonsense. False.

  • "All the different militias report to Benjamin Yeaten who is the chief field commander of the war in Liberia."

    True or false?

  • "All logging company militias are assigned security from the army division, headed by Roland Duoh."

    True or false?

  • "The Marine division: They are headed by Melvin who has a BSE in business administration. They used to be called the Strike Force Marines, but ceased to exist and then they were reinstated. They are approximately 6,700 men and are the largest militia. They wear no uniform. They are all located in Lofa."

    True or false?

  • Some true, some false. The Marine division is headed by Melvin the last name is Sogbandi, that's S-O-G-B-A-N-D-I. He does have a BSE degree. And they are approximately some 6,000. Now at this time we're really getting into the heart of the war.

  • Which war?

  • That's the LURD war because following my - Sogbandi doesn't come back to - he obtained a BSE degree at the early part of my administration and then is made a minister. He becomes Minister of Post. The war starts and so, yeah, we are really talking about 2001, 2002 in Lofa. So I can put a bearing on it because of these I would say points when he talks about the Marines and Melvin Sogbandi and the men assigned in Lofa, we are talking about going into 2002 now. 2001, 2002.

  • "SSS: They are headed by Benjamin Yeaten, who is also the overall field commander of the war in Liberia. All the different militias report to him. The SSS wear yellow T-shirts with a red dragon."

    True or false?

  • That's false. He is not the head. The SSS is not involved in wearing yellow T shirts with red dragons. Nobody goes to war with a yellow T-shirt. This could be another unit, but that's false.

  • Well, I wanted to ask you about the yellow T shirts, Mr Taylor. Which unit was Varmuyan Sherif in?

  • Well, I thought he told us that they wore dark blue overalls?

  • That's what he said, but not overalls. The army division did not have overalls at all.

  • Did the SSS, or Mr Sherif for that matter, ever wear a gaudy yellow T-shirt with a red dragon on the front?

  • I don't recall seeing him with one.

  • But did the SSS ever wear such clothing?

  • No, no, not yellow at all. The SSS wore blue. The sky blue shirt, navy blue pants, that's the SSS uniform. And during the war, the Secret Service was not involved in the active combat. They had to still protect VIPs, so what would they be doing in yellow? And who goes to war in yellow? That only magnifies your position. Nobody goes to war in yellow.

  • "Delta Force: They are headed by Major Sam Cheplary. They are in Fasama in Lower Lofa. They are in total about 150."

    True or false?

  • What's false about it? Everything?

  • Everything. There is no Sam Cheplary that will lead a major force and the place he is talking about Fasama, which is in Lofa, there are two divisional commanders; either Melvin Sogbandi who is commanding the Marine division or General Roland Duoh that is commanding the Navy Special Forces division.

  • Welcome to Duoh in a moment. Next militia, "Man Moving Man Dropping." Was there a militia so named in Liberia, Mr Taylor?

  • No. There was no militia so named that I know of.

  • Headed by Major General Samuel Varney, a name we have encountered?

  • Samuel Varney was deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia. A career soldier. He was not leading any little unit. He was the number two man, the deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

  • They are about 300 men. Was he the deputy of Prince Johnson?

  • At the time of the crisis when he was - when Prince Johnson led the INPFL, yes.

  • "They are 300 men and operate on the highway between Lofa and Gbarnga." True?

  • I don't really know. 300 men in - what would they be doing between Lofa and Gbarnga? They could be 300. There are men along that highway. The whole division is there. I wouldn't place a number on it. There could be 300, there could be a thousand depending on the combat on that highway.

  • The Wild Geese. Who were they?

  • The Wild Geese was a unit. It was a fighting unit under the - I think they may have been under the Strike Force. They took that name from some movie and always thought that they were special and called themselves the Wild Geese. I don't know the movie.

  • That's the movie about a coup led by some white mercenaries in an African country?

  • I think so. But they just said that they saw a movie and the group called themselves the Wild Geese, so they felt that they could penetrate enemy lines and they just called themselves Wild Geese.

  • Well, according to this, they had a special ability; they could climb trees and spot people coming. What do you know about that?

  • That's possible. I wouldn't know the details, but if they did this I wouldn't see this as being strange because --

  • But my question, Mr Taylor, is this: Did you have a special unit who had developed this unusual skill of climbing trees?

  • No, no, no, no. I mean --

  • A "Major Sam Chepla", that name again?

  • I know Cheplay, yes. Cheplay was one of our fighting - very good commanders.

  • "Army division: Headed by Roland Duoh", true or false?

  • "Lofa Defence Force: Headed by Major General George Dwanah"?

  • That is not true. There was no Lofa Defence Force. George Dwanah, AKA Jack the Rebel, he was deputy in the Marine division headed by Melvin Sogbandi. He was not leading any group called the Lofa Defence Force.

  • Was it made up of boys from Lofa?

  • No, no, no, no. The Marine division was some - like they say here, was some 6,000 plus men. They were from all areas. They were the Marine - very, very good fighting force.

  • "RUF: Fatou Sankoh is trying to restructure the RUF from the outside. She is trying to do this with Bockarie and Charles Taylor. Bockarie is suspicious of her - he has never met her, she was new to Foday when he was jailed. She is trying to arrange a reunion, but it hasn't happened yet. Bockarie wants to be head of the RUF - he doesn't want a boss, he wants to allocate positions. He is in Burkina Faso, as is Bah."

    What do you know about this?

  • Nothing whatsoever. I don't know Fatou. And by this time if he is saying that Bockarie is in Burkina Faso, we know we are talking after 2000. So I know nothing about his desires or plans of having met this lady called Fatou.

  • "OTC came to Liberia via Guus Kouwenhoven in 2000." True or false?

  • "So Guus Kouwenhoven made the business link", did he?

  • Yes, Guus made the business contact for this multi, multi, multimillion dollar corporation to come in, yes.

  • Who is this person called Lloyd in Zimbabwe?

  • "OTC essentially buys logs from Charles Taylor and then sells them to France and China. OTC has live and strong connections in France."

    Mr Taylor, were you running a logging business whilst you were President?

  • Not at all. And if I had been running a logging business, the Liberian people would have strongly objected to it. It would be against the law. Why would I run a logging - no, never ran - all the FDA is an arm of the Government of Liberia. All monies from logging in the Republic of Liberia were reported to the Central Bank and paid into the Central Bank of Liberia. All accounts.

  • Was there a landing strip in Buchanan, Mr Taylor?

  • For small aircraft?

  • Very small, yes. Not any - in fact single engine Cessnas, yes. Nothing bigger than that.

  • Now before we turn over the page, let us inform ourselves, three lines from the bottom, the SNP stands for Sapo National Park. Now, Mr Taylor, when we go over the page now, do you recall telling us about the investment made by OTC in Liberia and that they were your biggest investors?

  • That is correct.

  • Is it right that they opened a road between Buchanan and Zwedru?

  • And that they started building that road in the year 2000?

  • And that there are a total of some 15 roads in SNP?

  • I don't know their numbers, but there were some roads built toward the park.

  • Okay. I won't bother with the rest of that.

    "OTC buyers", I am only interested in the second part of it in light of something you told us this morning. "The OTC ships wood to Malaysia. It is then made into furniture and then resold to the United States." True?

  • Unless I am asked to I am not going to deal with the next section, nor the section about people in the logging industry, unless I am asked. But over the page, please. I want us just in passing to look at a couple of names mentioned - well, Cuckoo Dennis, who is he?

  • Cuckoo Dennis is one of the - he was a military commander.

  • Now, we see when we go over the page, Musa Cisse. Name ring a bell?

  • Over the page, the number 192, are you there?

  • First bullet point, "Mossa Sessay", who is that?

  • That's the same Musa Cisse. I don't know why he calls it - it's the same Musa Cisse.

  • Did he run a company called the Maryland Group of Companies?

  • Was he the chief of protocol for the Executive Mansion?

  • Was his brother the Liberian ambassador to Saudi Arabia?

  • That is correct. Jebbeh Cisse, that is correct, yes.

  • Talal El-Ndine, you have already accepted you know him, yes?

  • Was he your business manager for foreign deals?

  • Did Bah, to your knowledge, give most of the diamond money to Talal El-Ndine?

  • I doubt it. No, not that I know of the. And you know the people have talked to all these people, Talal El-Ndine like I say is a Lebanese American that every agency in the world has spoken to. Every one, from the American government, FBI, you name it. And I am sure if he had said that he had gotten diamonds, he was never stopped, there is no travel ban on him, he is an American, right in Lebanon between Lebanon and the United States.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I want us to look at the full passage in which that appears.

    "Bah would give most of the diamond money to him. Ndine was not involved in arms shipments?"

    What is the allegation in this Court as to how arms shipments were paid for?