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

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Mr Taylor, yesterday when we concluded for the day we were looking at the resolution which came at the end of the first annual inter-parliamentary conference of member states of the Mano River Union, a conference held in May of 1999. Do you recall that?

  • Now, did you attend that conference, Mr Taylor?

  • And did you address the conference?

  • Can we look, please - can we take up the bundle of documents for week 35 and can I invite attention behind divider 20, please. Now, Mr Taylor, for my purposes, I would like to ignore the statement of appreciation to the address of the Malien parliamentary delegation and go straight to the document behind it, yes?

  • Is this the speech you gave, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, we see that it's dated 27 May 1999:

    "Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you distinguished delegates to this august gathering of members of parliament from the Mano River Union countries, which the national legislature of Liberia is privileged to host.

    I understand that this is the first time that a meeting of this kind is convening and that the purpose of your meeting is to review and assess the sociopolitical situation prevailing in our sub-region and what roles you can play in promoting cooperation, resolving conflict and enhancing peace and security. It is a laudable idea indeed.

    With the realisation of these endeavours, you accentuate our sense of oneness, resuscitate our spirit of mutuality and energise our resolve for the attainment of those noble pursuits that lent themselves to the conceptionalisation of the Mano River Union. No doubt, posterity will pass kind and favourable judgments on your actions here today.

    I am sure in your deliberations you will be influenced by the prevailing concerns in our sub-region, particularly the crisis in our sister Republic of Sierra Leone and the need to foster greater understanding and cooperation among our member states not only of the Mano River Union but of ECOWAS as well.

    We have been informed that our brothers and sisters from Sierra Leone could not be here today. This is indeed regrettable, and it is our hope that they will be able to join us in future meetings.

    For and on behalf of the government and people of Liberia, it warms my heart to welcome all of you to Liberia and most relevantly into this historic hall of African unity, wishing for you the sublime guidance of the almighty as you embark upon your deliberations.

    Distinguished Sons and Daughters of Africa, you are assembled in the shadows of former President William VS Tubman and Richard R Tolbert of Liberia, Sir Milton Margai and Siaka P Stevens of Sierra Leone and Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, two of whom bequeathed the legacy of the Mano River Union to us, committing the government and peoples of Republics of Liberia, Sierra Leone and later Guinea to the enhancement of economic, cultural and security cooperation.

    Though we are tragically separated by boundary lines of colonial inheritance, those stalwart sons of Africa endeavoured to dissipate the rigours of those barriers by the creation of a framework for the free flow of peoples, goods and services, successes have been recorded in the areas of telecommunications, maritime affairs, commerce and trade.

    Political stability was ensured by the exchange of security information and cooperation."

    Can I pause there, Mr Taylor.

  • What are we talking about there, "the exchange of security information and cooperation"?

  • Well, between the three countries years before, Stevens, Ahmed Sekou Toure and Tubman, even coming to Tolbert, had a real exchange of information and we had no crisis in any of those countries.

  • Now, did such exchange of security information continue under the Doe and Taylor regimes?

  • Yes. We did have that exchange, yes.

  • And what did it, in practical terms, involve?

  • For example, if there were, for example, a dissident from - that was declared a dissident from one country coming into the other country, that government would be informed. We would not tolerate the presence of that dissident. We would either expel them. Or if there were a serious charge where, say, if there was a writ for his arrest or something of that sort, we would conduct the arrest and pursue the issue of extradition.

  • And did that level of cooperation continue throughout your administration?

  • Yes, it did continue. We did exchange information. We did not have a serious issue, but the last one that I can recall was the issue involving Victor King from Sierra Leone that came, but we always had this.

  • What was that incident?

  • Well, when we go back to February of 1998, the intervention, Victor King, the air force commander, was on board one of two helicopters that came into Spriggs Payne Airport in Liberia. And after sustained conversations, he was sent back to Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, he was executed.

  • And that's an example, are you suggesting, of the kind of cooperation being mentioned here?

  • I see.

    "Consequently, a stable environment conducive to economic growth and development was fostered. A bond of kinship, endemic only to our distinct African sociology was engendered. The Mano River Union translated into the beacon of a new sense of African consciousness. It bespoke of the ability of Africans to recognise our unique oneness and transform our diversities into ingenuities, our difficulties into challenges and our similarities into bulwarks of strength.

    This is why we believe that the spirit of goodwill, fraternity and concord, which will characterise your deliberations over the next few days, could serve as a concrete basis upon which our relations can be strengthened and sustained. As our countries share membership in several organisations such as the Mano River Union, ECOWAS and the OAU, it is my firm belief that your meeting here in Monrovia will further enhance African solidarity and brotherhood and above all make us realise that ultimately only Africans can solve Africa's problems.

    It is in this light that I commend you, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, for this initiative and the role each of you is playing in helping to resolve the issues facing our sub-region. Your being here today is a clear indication of your desire to foster understanding, peace and goodwill, not only in our sub-region but throughout Africa and yea the world.

    By these actions, you are demonstrating to the world that genuine peace can only be attained when nations and leaders are willing to sit together and with sincerity deliberate upon the issues affecting the relations, for in the absence of peace, nothing else can be achieved. Therefore, peace through dialogue and cooperation must become a yardstick by which we measure advances in our relationships.

    Embedded in you parliamentarians is the power of the people. You are closest to their hopes, desires and aspirations. Your enterprise must be to save the union and its representations. I challenge you to begin with a precise focus on legislation that would give realisation to the concept of the West African citizenship and ensure the economic empowerment and improvement of our people.

    Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, one century ago, wise people dreamed and worked for the freedom of the African continent. This self-selected band comprised people of African descent, some of them living in the diaspora and others living on the continent. They shared common concerns, an embryonic vision for an African continent, free from the yoke of colonialism and free to determine their own future within the global family of nations.

    The vision of such men as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, William VS Tubman, Modibo Keita, Milton Margai, amongst others, that Africa could not be free until apartheid and all vestiges of colonial rule were finally vanquished became a reality in 1994 when South Africa, the last enclave of colonial or minority rule achieved majority rule.

    African independence was achieved through the strenuous efforts of generations of nationalists, political leaders and outstanding individuals. A hundred years later, modern Africa must continue to count on such individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders with extraordinary abilities.

    As in the past, Africa's wise people, while firmly rooted in the cultural heritage of our continent, must continue the long and sometimes agonising joining from the village to national, continental and international prominence.

    We must be prepared to play our roles well for the sake of Africa's well being, while remaining both the carriers and the fruits of Africa's struggle as we transition into the new millennium. Africa's journey towards well being remains far from finished. Indeed, the times are heavy ladened with stress, sufferings and sorrows. Therefore, Africa's wise people, blessed with clear vision, must be drawn together anew in the ongoing struggle for peace and reconciliation and development.

    In many areas around the world the last decade of the 20th century has been particularly challenging. This era has been characterised by political turmoil and ethnic and tribal conflict, and in the case of Africa this situation is being compounded by the debt crisis, which has had a crippling effect on the economies of our countries. Indeed, we must only see this as a transitional period in the life of our continent. To move forward to a democratic and economically strong society is not going to be an easy task.

    The experience of conflicts and wars reveals the difficulties of this transition. My deepest concern is that Africa should transform this process by resolving its conflicts in order to start reconstruction of our continent. Many people seem to want to give up too early and think that we as a people just cannot make it in the march to democracy and development. Some are even willing to go back to the old regimes of yesteryear because of the difficulties and losses being faced during this transitional period. Others may want to exploit our conflicts as an opportunity to further divide us.

    We cannot, and must not, turn back the hand of time. After all, the difficult transitional period is not unique to Africa. As Africans, we must chart our own course to democracy. We must know that we are in the wilderness of conflicts and deprivation, but this is only temporary. We need not die in the wilderness. There is a land of promise before us.

    My brothers and sisters, you are meeting at a time when mutual suspicion is rife and threats to regional peace and security abounds. Your convocation is being evoked at a time when Liberia is grappling with the aftermath of a civil war, whilst Sierra Leone is being decimated and destroyed by war.

    Providence has shuffled its deck of fate and in your hands have been placed the urgency of providing hope in the midst of hopelessness, eschewing divisiveness and embracing oneness, fostering economic growth and development, and eradicating poverty and disease, securing for ourselves and our children a better tomorrow.

    Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Republics of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, except for geopolitical reasons, are but one country. We share common borders. Our children attend schools in each other's countries, not to mention the common ethnic background of many of our citizens. How, then, can we not accept the fact that maintaining peace in our sub-region is the best that we can do for the betterment of all us all?

    As I again welcome you, let me assure you that we in Liberia are prepared and shall do everything in our power to ensure the peace and security of the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Sierra Leone, for we are convinced that our own peace can only be assured if our brothers and sisters next door are at peace.

    May your deliberations be fruitful, and I wish you God's blessings."

    Mr Taylor, I have to ask: That last paragraph, "... our own peace can only be assured if our brothers and sisters next door are at peace," was that a genuine sentiment?

  • Very genuine, yes.

  • Let's move on, shall we, to this extent: Now, the idea, as you explained yesterday, behind this inter-parliamentary meeting, was to foster, as I understand it, greater cooperation between the three states of the Mano River Union. Is that right?

  • That is right.

  • Now help us, did that project bear fruit?

  • Yes, following this there were other discussions. But we were getting deeper engulfed in conflict, but it is still continuing today. So I would say it did bear fruit.

  • It's still continuing today?

  • Can I ask, please, Mr President, that that document, "Speech delivered by President Charles Taylor on the occasion marking the official opening of the inter-parliamentary meeting of the Mano River Union on 27 May 1999" be marked for identification MFI-251.

  • Yes, that document is marked for identification MFI-251.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, moving on. Now, throughout 1999, Mr Taylor, we've been chasing correspondence between your government and the Secretary-General regarding the destruction of arms in Liberia. Is that right?

  • That is right.

  • Now, we've already looked at some of that correspondence. Now, in or about June of that year did you make further contact with the Secretary-General, or he with you?

  • Yes, we made contact with the Secretary-General.

  • And for what purpose?

  • Following the long exchanges of views and discussions and debate, finally at the very beginning of June Liberia formally in June decides that it is going to participate in the destruction of all of the arms that were gathered during the disarmament period. And so the Government of Liberia in a formal communication informed the Secretary-General through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the decision of the Government of Liberia to destroy the arms.

  • And having notified the Secretary-General of that decision, did he respond?

  • Have a look behind divider 23, please. Now, the first page behind that divider is self-explanatory. I'd like us to go to the second page, please, and look at the letter itself. Do you have it?

  • Now, we see that it's a letter from the Secretary-General of the United Nations addressed to you - no, addressed to your Foreign Minister?

  • It is dated 17 June 1999 and it reads as follows:

    "Excellency, I have the honour to refer to your later dated 3 June 1999 in which you informed me of your government's decision to destroy all the arms and ammunition collected during the 1996-1997 disarmament process. In the same letter you requested technical assistance from the United Nations.

    The United Nations welcomes your government's decision to destroy the arms and ammunition. Accordingly, we are now in the process of assembling a small team of experts who will travel shortly to Monrovia to assist your government. Their duties will be in accordance with the meeting that took place in Monrovia on 10 June between your government and the executive secretary of ECOWAS, Mr Lansana Kouyate, with the participation of the deputy chief military observer of UNOMSIL.

    My representative for the United Nations office in Liberia, Mr Felix Downes-Thomas, will provide your government with further details concerning the arrival date of the United Nations military experts."

    And the normal salutations follow thereafter, and it's signed by Kofi A Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, yes?

  • Can I ask, please, Mr President, that that letter from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Monie Captan, Liberian Foreign Minister, dated 17 June 1999 recording the decision of the Government of Liberia to destroy arms and ammunition collected during the disarmament process, be marked for identification MFI-252, please.

  • Yes. That letter will be marked for identification MFI-252.

  • I note there's another document behind that divider. It's in French about sending a team. Is that relevant, or should we ignore that?

  • I think we can ignore that. I certainly - my French isn't good enough to make sense of it in any event, so I think we can ignore it.

  • All right. Thank you. We'll just mark that letter from Kofi Annan, then, MFI-252.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we are engaged here in a process of tidying up one or two matters. And moving on and with that in mind, in June 1999 did you see President Obasanjo of Nigeria?

  • Can you help us as to roughly when that was?

  • Well, actually, I saw Obasanjo twice in June. The last time was the very, very last week of June that he visited me in Monrovia following what I said - I had visited him in earlier June when I was en route to Libya. So by the final week in June he paid a visit to me in Monrovia.

  • And as we have noted on earlier occasions, such meetings normally conclude with the issue of a joint communique, don't they?

  • Was this meeting any different?

  • And so was such a communique issued?

  • Yes, there was a communique issued.

  • Have a look behind divider 29, please. Can I indicate, Mr President, as one will see, we're looking at a familiar document; a code cable sent by Mr Downes-Thomas, and you will see that there are two attachments to it. I've included both attachments for completeness, but for our purposes I'm merely interested in the communique.

  • I understand. Thank you, Mr Griffiths.

  • Can we have a look at the communique which follows behind that then, please, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, we see that it's entitled, "Joint communique on the visit of His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Liberia on June 25, 1999.

    His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo paid a one-day working visit to the Republic of Liberia on Friday, 25 June 1999, at the invitation of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Liberia. On arrival, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his entourage received a warm and cordial reception, befitting the close ties and friendships binding the two countries.

    The two Heads of State reviewed matters of mutual interest and concern to the two countries and thereafter engaged themselves in full and frank exchange of views on contemporary world affairs in general, as well as on inter-African affairs in particular. The two Heads of State also expressed their satisfaction with the cordial and excellent relations which have always existed between the two countries.

    President Obasanjo noted that technical discussions on the modalities for the destruction of arms and ammunition collected from erstwhile warring factions during the disarmament exercise in Liberia have commenced amongst ECOWAS, the United Nations and the Government of Liberia. The Nigerian leader also observed that the decision of the Government of Liberia to destroy these arms and ammunition, and the successful completion of that exercise, would contribute immensely to sub-regional peace and security. President Obasanjo also commended efforts of the Government of Liberia to consolidate peace through the pursuit of national reconciliation.

    On Liberia-Nigeria relations the two President renewed their determination to encourage, promote and foster economic, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to the expeditious and full implementation of all agreements and other related instruments for cooperation in various fields concluded between the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the government of the Republic of Liberia.

    With regard to the 21 January 1987 agreement on economic, scientific and technical cooperation, President Taylor and President Obasanjo decided that the Nigerian-Liberian joint commission meets at the earliest possible time to draw up an action programme of implementation.

    On world affairs the two Heads of State agreed that urgent reforms are needed in the present international economic and sociopolitical order to make the United Nations system more democratic as well as improve the position of developing countries in the fields of trade, credit flows and debt relief."

    "... make the United Nations system more democratic", Mr Taylor, what's that a reference to?

  • Well, when you - we were talking about the Security Council in particular. At this time Africa was pushing very, very hard to get a seat on the council, because when you look at the council and the undemocratic nature that we were discussing, you have a total of 15 members on the Security Council; five permanent members that have veto powers. But of our concern was the fact that one permanent member on the Security Council can even veto the rest of the 14, and the discussion of third world and non-aligned countries, we were very concerned about Africa's representation in a permanent seat on the council to look at it, because we felt that it was undemocratic that one permanent member of the council is capable of vetoing the other 14 and that there was discussions that were leading to other countries not being considered for permanent membership on the council. This is the nature of the discussion.

  • Yes. Let's take up at paragraph 1.7, please:

    "On African affairs the two Heads of State expressed concern over the proliferation of conflicts on the continent and reaffirmed their full commitment to regional and sub-regional initiatives designed to manage, curb and resolve these conflicts.

    The two leaders appealed to all African states to quickly put behind them all conflicts and wars so that they can devote greater energy and resources to the urgent task of economic development which will enhance the well-being of African peoples and position Africa to effectively face the challenges of the next millennium.

    On the crisis in the sister Republic of Sierra Leone, the two Heads of State welcomed the ongoing negotiations in Lome, Togo, to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and urged the negotiating parties to achieve an early and final settlement of the Sierra Leone crisis. President Taylor and President Obasanjo were unanimous that peace in Sierra Leone can only be achieved in a climate of mutual confidence and respect. They particularly stressed that no member state of ECOWAS should encourage, support or commit acts of subversion, hostility or aggression against the government and people of Sierra Leone. The two leaders also agreed to intensify their efforts, as well as to consult each other more closely to bring the civil war in Sierra Leone to a speedy and permanent end.

    President Taylor and President Obasanjo expressed their confidence and commended the tireless efforts of the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Gnassingbe Eyadema, to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Sierra Leone.

    Finally, the two leaders praised the efforts of the gallant men and women of ECOMOG in restoring peace to Liberia and ongoing initiatives to resolve the conflicts and restore peace to Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. They therefore called on the larger international community to further support their efforts by providing the necessary logistics and financial resources to enable ECOMOG to accomplish, in the shortest possible time, its peacekeeping mission in the sister Republic of Sierra Leone.

    At the end of his visit, President Obasanjo expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the government and people of Liberia for the warm and fraternal welcome accorded him and his entourage throughout the visit and looked forward to a return visit by President Taylor. This invitation was accepted, and the date of the state visit will be arranged through diplomatic channels."

    And it's signed by both you and President Obasanjo, yes, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, can I take up with you, please, one or two details about that. Now, would a communique like this - even though it involved only yourself and President Obasanjo, would it be distributed to other ECOWAS member states?

  • They would get it, I would call it, yes. "Distributed" is another way of putting it, but they would necessarily get it through their embassies accredited near the capital of Monrovia.

  • So would, for example, President Kabbah have had sight of this document?

  • And the other matter I wanted to ask you about is this. Two of the topics discussed during the course of this visit by President Obasanjo was: Firstly, the destruction of the arms collected during the disarmament process in Liberia, and secondly, the need to resolve conflicts and not support conflict in the sub-region, yes?

  • Now, as you've indicated earlier, Mr Taylor, following the destruction of the arms in August of - beginning in July of 1999 Liberia was invaded from Guinea, yes?

  • And you have indicated to us on more than one occasion that you perceive some sinister design behind the correlation of those two events, yes?

  • Now help us. During the course of this meeting with President Obasanjo, did he suggest to you any perception of such a sinister motive behind the destruction of the weapons by Liberia?

  • No, no, he did not. If we put some little meat on this, counsel, remember now Obasanjo is just coming in and he's not in office very long. He's just coming into the picture and he's now trying to really get his feet wet, so to speak, by getting acquainted with the issues. I think this is the one of the main reasons why he rushes to Monrovia. He is in office, what? I think April/May or thereabouts, and so he comes down. So he's not really, I think, fully briefed on all of the issues and would not necessarily know about any sinister move.

  • Before we move on can I ask, please, that that joint communique following the visit of President Obasanjo to Liberia on 25 June 1999 be marked for identification MFI-253, please.

  • That document is marked MFI-253.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, as I've already indicated, one of the themes running through '99 is the destruction of the weapons?

  • Now, in July of 1999 did you have cause to meet with the Secretary-General of the United Nations?

  • And what was the purpose of that meeting?

  • Well, immediately following the signing of the Lome agreement on Sierra Leone, which occurred around 7 July. On 8 July the Secretary-General paid a one-day visit to Liberia and met with me in Monrovia.

  • So did that involve you rushing back from Lome for that meeting?

  • And what topic was discussed between you both?

  • Well, the whole peace process in Sierra Leone, the agreement that had just been signed in Lome. He had just come - in fact, he came through Freetown on to Monrovia, where we discussed - in fact, President Kabbah apparently too had to rush back to meet with Secretary-General Annan. And so we talked about the tough time that we had in Lome in getting the agreement, and also he commented on President Kabbah's own impression of my own contribution during those discussions. So it basically settled around Lome and the peace agreement.

  • Right. Could you have a look behind divider 33 in that volume, please. Now, again a particular document, a code cable, which attaches a note of the Secretary-General's meeting with you, yes?

  • And if we go over the page to the second page behind that divider, yes?

  • We see that we have here a note of the Secretary-General's meeting with you in Monrovia on 8 July 1999 at 4.35 p.m. Is that right?

  • Present at that meeting was the Secretary-General. Remind us: Mr Fall, who is he?

  • Fall is Assistant Secretary-General from Senegal.

  • Mr Downes-Thomas, who we've become acquainted with. Ms Lindenmayer, who's that?

  • This - she was present. She appeared to be something like a close personal assistant to the Secretary-General. She took notes during the meeting.

  • And Eckhard?

  • Yes, an official of the United Nations.

  • I don't know him, but he was present.

  • And also we see you were present with miscellaneous officials, yes?

  • "Summary.

    The discussion focused on the peace agreement in Sierra Leone and the consolidation of peace in Liberia. President Taylor stressed the need for the Secretary-General to do all he could to solicit international assistance for Liberia.

    Discussion.

    President Taylor welcomed the Secretary-General saying it was a good time to be in the sub-region. Africa was entering the new millennium blessed with an African as head of the United Nations and as head of the Commonwealth. It was good that the Secretary-General had come to Liberia just after the signing of the peace agreement in Lome. Under tough conditions, an agreement had been pulled together. Now that there was peace, Liberia would strongly advise Mr Sankoh to return to Freetown and establish himself there rather than in Abuja. Liberia would be naming a career ambassador to stay on top of the situation and would send a high-power delegation to President Kabbah to discuss security aspects, such as setting up a hotline between himself and the President. Liberia would do everything to make this process work."

    Now, did such a high-powered delegation go to Sierra Leone, Mr Taylor?

  • That delegation comprised the late former Liberian Secretary of State D Musuleng-Cooper.

  • Was the hotline, was it set up?

  • Well, not "hot" as you would know in other countries, but we established regular communication. That's what we're referring to here.

  • "President Taylor noted that there were still different perceptions about the methods used to deal with problems but 'no leader on the planet would any longer support any form of atrocities'. Liberia had condemned such practices in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone had opted for peace. The sub-region had gone to a great extent to support peace. Those instructed by ECOWAS to find peace had found it. Now the region expected the international community to respect its wishes. There was great concern that the international community would not support the process officially and would also engage in unofficial activities that would undermine the process. It was best not to say any more but to leave it at that."

    Well, I'd like you to say a bit more about that, please. What were you hinting at there?

  • The 7 July agreement in Lome was backed by ECOWAS 100 per cent, was backed by the OAU, the AU that was present, it had its representatives there. And all of the Heads of State at that meeting left with the impression that members of the "international community", mostly western countries, did not like certain aspects of that agreement and hinted to us that they would work against it. One involved the amnesty that was granted to participants of the war and some other aspects as to the position in government, they did not support it, and all of the Heads of State knew that we would be running into some subsequent problems from those members of the international community, so to speak.

  • And so you informed the Secretary-General of that, did you?

  • Right away. This is the next day, and I'm sure other leaders that he met may have hinted this to him also.

  • Over the page:

    "President Taylor praised the excellent job being carried out by the United Nations peace building support office in Liberia. Mr Downes-Thomas was in a tough position, having to work so closely with the government. President Taylor stressed that Mr Downes-Thomas was very effective in getting his points across in private, instead of running to the media."

    Was that true?

  • That was true.

  • "President Taylor informed the Secretary-General that Liberia was moving forward towards destruction of the weapons that had been collected. He had studied the report and would accept the recommendations in area 1. Cambodia, with its few arms, and Mali, with its good show, had gotten significant international attention and support with the destruction of arms used in those conflicts. What Liberia was about to do would be ten times larger and the country wanted its share of the limelight."

    It's share of the limelight, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes. Yes, limelight, but, I mean, he understood what we were talking about.

  • Which was?

  • Recognition of what had happened. This is why we talk about limelight, because it is through this wide publication of this process that would encourage other members of the international community to take Liberia seriously and come in and assist us. It was not just a matter, "Oh, guess what, we burnt some arms." But through this process, they would see the seriousness that we attached to peace and stability and this would be an encouragement to helping us.

  • "Overall, with peace in Sierra Leone, the destruction of weapons in Liberia and a resolution of the Roosevelt Johnson case, this would help the Secretary-General's office solicit contributions from the international community. By the grace of God, there had not been a collapse in the process. The notion that withholding aid would enhance the democratic process was foolish. It was possible that if he had not been elected, Liberia would have gone up in smoke. He wanted the Secretary-General to do everything he could to help. Liberia was receiving no direct government-to-government assistance. NGOs were providing some aid. And while this was helpful, it was also true that NGOs sometimes unknowingly got involved in political matters, and that was unacceptable. But as was said in Africa, a beggar did not have many choices.

    President Taylor said he would visit New York in September for his 'few minutes at the podium' of the General Assembly. He reiterated that he was happy to welcome the Secretary-General to Liberia and thankful to God that all was well for the moment.

    The Secretary-General thanked President Taylor for receiving him and for this opportunity to see the progress being made in Liberia. He had always maintained that for Africa to develop, it was necessary to resolve its conflicts. Nations needed to create an environment that would attract investment. All his efforts - his contacts with the private sector, his report to the Security Council on conflict and development - were geared toward this end.

    With respect to the agreement signed in Lome, it was good that everyone had pooled their efforts. President Kabbah was grateful to President Taylor for his efforts, as well as those of President Obasanjo and Eyadema and all others involved."

    Pause. Now, before coming to Liberia on 8 July, where had the Secretary-General been?

  • He came from Freetown.

  • And as far as you're aware, who had he met in Freetown?

  • And so this meeting with you, does it follow hot on the heels of that meeting with Kabbah?

  • And he's conveying to you, is he not, that President Kabbah is grateful to you for your efforts, that's in Lome; is that right?

  • "Collective pressure was critical in such situations. The parties involved had to be shown they had nowhere else to turn. The Secretary-General pledged to try to get the international community to support the economic development of the region. Hopefully, the spirit of Lome could be sustained in the years to come. For example, Liberia could help resuscitate the Mano River process. The three relevant Presidents might want to consider meeting periodically, even without an agenda, simply to talk. This would help suspicions melt away.

    With respect to the destruction of weapons used in the Liberian conflict, the Secretary-General said this was a good decision that would send a powerful message to the region. The United Nations would help Liberia get its day in the sun.

    With respect to assistance from the international community, the Secretary-General agreed with President Taylor that the international community had been slow to respond. In some cases, the international community had approaches that were not appropriate, in particular for countries emerging from conflict. For example, after the massacres in Rwanda, there was a problem with the disbursement of $15 billion from the World Bank because of the country's debts. Today there was a need to be more flexible and the Bretton Woods institutions, as a result of the Asian crisis, were getting the message, making it possible to engage them more honestly. Mr Camdessus and Mr Wolfensohn were good personal friends and the Secretary-General general pledged to do what he could in an environment in which the donor community was being much more stingy. President Taylor noted that Kosovo was not helping. The Secretary-General said donors had promised not to divert funds to Kosovo, but one could never be sure. Donors looked at the total amount of their foreign aid, forgetting that large portions of that aid went to only a few countries. As for the United Nations agencies and UNOL would continue their support. He had stressed to the agencies that none of them had a programme in Liberia, rather the government had a programme and the United Nations was there to help. That was the spirit of United Nations reform. A commitment to working together would continue to underpin the organisation's ongoing support for Liberia."

    Then we see under follow-up action that the DPKO, DPA, DDA and OCHA were to be informed about Liberia's decision to destroy the weapons and to discuss assistance to Liberia with the World Bank and the IMF. And, Mr Taylor, in due course, did the Secretary-General make contact with the World Bank and the IMF on Liberia's behalf?

  • Yes, subsequent to this, he wrote the World Bank, Wolfensohn and Camdessus of the IMF. He did write them.

  • He did write to them?

  • Can I ask, please, Mr President, that that note of the Secretary-General's meeting with President Taylor held in Monrovia on 8 July 1999 be marked for identification, please, MFI-254.

  • Marked MFI-254.

  • Now, thereafter, Mr Taylor, in July, as you've earlier mentioned to us, the destruction of the arms and ammunition collected during disarmament began, did it not?

  • And did it begin on 26 July, Independence Day?

  • Yes, it did.

  • And on the following day, did you receive any communication in respect of that decision?

  • Yes. On 27 July, we received a letter from the Secretary-General thanking us for carrying out the symbolic burning of the first batch of arms and he thanked us for those actions.

  • Have a look behind divider 42 in that same bundle, please. Now, we see that the letter is dated 23 July 1999 and it reads as follows:

    "Excellency, I should like to extend my profound congratulations on the destruction of weapons and ammunition which is underway in Monrovia. Allow me also to congratulate you on celebrating the 152nd anniversary of Liberian independence in such a memorable and visionary way.

    The active participation of the United Nations in the actual destruction of these weapons, and the presence of many Heads of State and government representatives at this ceremony, symbolise the international community's support for your act of statesmanship in ordering the disposal of the weapons. This decision also represents an important step towards curbing the proliferation of small arms in the region, and it is a clear expression of your determination to move the country towards reconstruction.

    As you told the participants in the ceremony, Liberians desire to close the recent dark period of national tragedy. Please be assured that the United Nations will continue to assist you in fulfilling that wish so that peace and stability can return to a country and region whose people have endured suffering and hardship for too long."

    And the usual salutations follow.

    Could I ask, please, Mr President, that that letter from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to President Taylor congratulating him on the commencement of the destruction of weapons and ammunition dated 27 July 1999 be marked for identification MFI-255, please.

  • That document is marked for identification MFI-255.

  • Now thereafter, Mr Taylor, did the destruction of the weapons continue?

  • Yes, most of the month of August. The team was involved in the destruction of the weapons throughout the month of August.

  • Yes. And did you continue to liaise with the United Nations in that regard?

  • Yes, we did. Responsible for this process in Liberia was the special representative, and I think this is one of the months that he sent probably more coded messages than anything. Because every day or every other day that destructions were carried out, he would file reports with the United Nations and we would be supplied copies of those reports on a daily - or maybe every other - skip day or two of destruction because there were several - the entire month - I can say maybe about six, seven, eight different times during that month there were large amounts of destruction, and memos followed every destruction.

  • Yes. Have a look behind divider 34, please, the next divider.

  • Sorry, 34. My fault. Do we have it, 34?

  • What we see here, Mr Taylor, is a code cable dated 12 July 1999 attaching a letter from your Foreign Minister, yes?

  • Let's have a look at the letter quickly, please:

    "12 July 1999. Mr Secretary-General, I am pleased to present my compliments and to express the gratitude of the Government of the Republic of Liberia for your timely response to our request for technical assist for the destruction of arms and ammunition collected during the disarmament process in Liberia.

    As you are aware, a tripartite committee constituting the Government of Liberia, ECOWAS and the United Nations has worked out the modalities for the implementation of the government's decision for the destruction of the arms. The committee has submitted a report which includes the technical details for the method of destruction, a programme, and a budget.

    Considering government's present financial position and its desire to complete the destruction by 26 July, the Government of Liberia wishes to request that the United Nations provide, or seek funding, for the implementation of the destruction exercise. Copies of the relevant reports have been made available to the United Nations peace building office in Liberia."

    And that is signed by your --

  • Foreign Minister.

  • By your Foreign Minister, yes?

  • Now, could I ask, please, that that letter dated 12 July 1999 from Monie Captan to the Secretary-General be marked for identification MFI-256.

  • Marked MFI-256.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you will recall that following that meeting you held with Kofi Annan on 8 July, amongst the follow-up actions discussed was that the Secretary-General would discuss assistance to Liberia with the World Bank and the IMF. Do you remember that?

  • And you will recall in those notes mention being made of Mr Camdessus and Mr Wolfensohn, yes?

  • Wolfensohn was the President of the World Bank, and Camdessus the International Monetary Fund.

  • Now, did the Secretary-General make good on that promise?

  • Yes, he wrote both agencies requesting assistance for Liberia.

  • Have a look behind divider 44, please. What do we see there, Mr Taylor?

  • This is the letter from the Secretary-General to Michel Camdessus.

  • And he's the managing director of the IMF?

  • And it's dated 30 July --

  • I'm sorry, yes, Ms Hollis.

  • Thank you, Mr President. Perhaps we could find out if this is part of the accused's archives. It doesn't appear to be sent to him and he doesn't appear to be cc'd on this. So in order to establish even the lower level of foundation, we don't think that's been done yet.

  • Yes, do you wish to reply to that objection, Mr Griffiths?

  • I'll deal with the matter through the witness:

  • Mr Taylor, where has this letter come from?

  • This letter was supplied to us by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia following the Secretary-General's promise in our discussions on 8 July that he would pursue this. We were given copies of the two letters that had been sent, both to the World Bank and the IMF, in recognition of the fact that the Secretary-General had fulfilled his promise to my government.

  • Now, just so that we're clear, at a meeting between you and the Secretary-General on 8 July he mentioned by name two individuals he would be writing to on your behalf, did he not?

  • He mentioned Mr Michel Camdessus, did he not?

  • And he mentioned Mr Wolfensohn, did he not?

  • And he indicated that the purpose of him writing would be to seek assistance for Liberia?

  • Yes. That being the case, Mr Taylor, did it surprise you when you were provided with copies of those letters by the United Nations?

  • Let's have a look at the letter behind divider 44, shall we. Now, we see it bears the letterhead of the Secretary-General. It is dated 30 July 1999 and it is addressed to Mr Michel Camdessus, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC:

    "Dear Michel, I'm writing to you with some thoughts and proposals arising from the experience of my recent visit to West Africa.

    I need not remind you of how complex the task of post-conflict peace building can be and how daunting it can seem to those who must carry it out. The challenges involved - including the disarmament, demobilisation and the reintegration of combatants; the rehabilitation of infrastructure; the creation of democratic institutions; and reconciliation among former antagonists, often following terrible communal violence - all require substantial resources and intricate synchronisation. Each element affects the other, for good and bad, and the process is extremely fragile, much more difficult than waging war.

    I believe that it is the responsibility of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to strongly support the good faith efforts of peoples and nations to resolve conflicts and restore stability to their societies. Such efforts are now being undertaken in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which are among the countries I have just visited. Their poverty is evident on nearly every street. But even more apparent, the faces of the people who looked to me help revealed their dignity and hopes for lasting peace. We must respond, in the time honoured tradition of the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, in a spirit of solidarity, recognising that such countries cannot make their way of dire straits on their own.

    I consider that it would be valuable to set up a group comprising the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Group to study how best we can be more supportive of countries such as Sierra Leone that are emerging from conflict. We should at the same time assist countries like Guinea, which become flooded with refugees as a result of in stability in the region.

    I am concerned that without the kind of financial and organisational support which organisations like ours can bring to bear on such situations, fragile peace may be threatened and attempts to achieve stability might falter. I believe that it should be possible to develop a way of assisting such countries in a flexible and creative manner. Specifically we might want to consider organising a meeting of the United Nations Development Group, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to explore how we can bring into our plans and programmes greater flexibility for countries in such situations in Africa and elsewhere. The lack of international funding can slow the pace of post-conflict peace building, and yet the slow pace of post-conflict peace building is often cited as a reason to withhold or delay international funding.

    Finally, we might also discuss cooperation between the BWIs" - what's that, Mr Taylor?

  • Bretton Woods institutions.

  • "- and the United Nations system in specific programme areas, such as demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration. Macro-economic questions are closely linked to such specific programme issues, and it is crucial that we do not permit a gap to develop between them.

    It would be tragic indeed if we did not take advantage of the current momentum, when some very important steps are being made towards peace and stability in West Africa. The return to civilian rule in Nigeria, the peace agreement for Sierra Leone, the consolidation of peace in Liberia - each of these cases shows that African leaders and their peoples are taking responsibility for the well-being of their societies, as we have often called on them to do. As they fulfil their obligations, I look forward to exploring with you how we can fulfil ours."

    Now, if we go behind the next divider, Mr Taylor, we'll see that the Secretary-General wrote in the same terms - in identical terms, in fact - on the same date to Mr James D Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, yes?

  • Now tell us, Mr Taylor, did those entreaties on your behalf by the Secretary-General bear fruit?

  • Yes, it did bear some fruits later.

  • A donors' conference was organised on behalf of Liberia where donor countries met and promised assistance to the country.

  • Did it materialise?

  • These are conferences - not - a few countries did, but not in terms of direct assistance. What they did was to fund non-governmental organisations and other agencies, but no direct assistance to government. But we considered that some form of adherence to their promises.

  • Mr President, can I inquire, I did mark for identification that code cable attaching the letter from the Foreign Minister Monie Captan, didn't I?

  • Yes.

  • Can I now ask then, please, bearing in mind that these two letters are in identical terms, that they be marked for identification MFI-257A and B.

  • Yes, those two letters are marked for identification MFI-257A and B respectively.

  • Just getting back to your previous question about the code cable, the letter was marked.

  • I'm not asking for the code cable to be marked, just the letter.

  • That's what I thought, yes.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, let us - we've already discussed on more than one occasion the ongoing communications between your government and the United Nations regarding the destruction of those arms and ammunition, yes?

  • Now, were the United Nations provided with progress reports as to the development of that process?

  • And who provided them with such progress reports?

  • The special representative of the Secretary-General.

  • Have a look behind divider 46, please. Yes?

  • Okay. Let's look at these documents together. The first document is an outgoing fax, is that right?

  • Dated 2 August 1999?

  • Addressed to Mr Downes-Thomas?

  • And you see it's copied to Joshi, UNOMSIL, Freetown. Who's he?

  • He's - as it says here, he's a UNOMSIL officer in Freetown.

  • And we see that the request is:

    "Please update on how far the military small arms technical experts have gone in their work and also indicate when they are likely to finish and leave Liberia. We require this information as soon as possible."

    Let's go over the page. That's followed by a note from Elizabeth Lindenmayer, who had been present at that meeting on 8 July, if you recall?

  • "The Secretary-General has seen the information which Mr Downes-Thomas has sent you regarding the progress in the destruction of weapons in Liberia. He has also noted that equipment has been requested from FALD to complete the process."

    Can you help us with "FALD"?

  • I think he may be referring here to Fall. I don't know why he said F-A-L-D.

  • "The Secretary-General would be grateful if you could indicate to him: (1), the estimated time required to complete the process; and (2), the estimated date of completion, taking into account the time required to obtain and deliver the necessary equipment.

    As you know, the Secretary-General attaches great importance to this process and does not wish it to drag on. We would like everything to be done to expedite it and wishes to be kept closely informed of developments in the area."

    Over the page, please. And we see overleaf another code available from the United Nations special representative in Monrovia, Mr Downes-Thomas, to United Nations headquarters in New York. "Subject: Destruction of weapons". Then we see:

    "Please be informed that as of 31 July, progress on the destruction of weapons is as follows:

    Small arms destroyed by burning, 1,500

    Small arms destroyed by cutting machine, 2,000

    Small arms disabled/destroyed mechanically, 2,500

    Heavy machine guns, multi-launcher rockets systems

    destroyed by gas cutting, 500

    So a total number of weapons destroyed, 6,500

    Progress on destruction of small arms ammunition by burning.

    Number of rounds destroyed on:

    25 July, 65,680

    27 July, 150,000

    28 July, 291,080

    30 July, 257,370

    31 July, 227,720

    Total number of rounds destroyed - 991,850

    And the revised estimates of the total number of arms and ammunitions to be destroyed follow:

    18,000 small arms

    1,000 mortar and heavy machine guns

    3 million rounds

    FALD has been advised that in connection with the destruction of arms, the following are needed urgently:" Including plastic explosive, detonation cord, safety fuses, electric detonators, non-electric detonators, cap blasting machine or exploding Dynamo condenser, and various other such material.

    Mr President, could I ask, please, that those documents be marked for one identification number, given that they all relate to the same topic, so they would become MFI-258, and can we call it progress report on arms destruction dated 2 August 1999.

  • Yes, those documents as described are marked for identification MFI-258.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, earlier in your testimony you had told us about your efforts to bring together Johnny Paul Koroma and Foday Sankoh following the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement, yes?

  • Now, was that a matter that you discussed with the Secretary-General of the United Nations?

  • Yes, I did discuss that with the Secretary-General.

  • Well, the full context of this is in September to be exact following the situation in August - in August really, the situation at Okra Hills in Sierra Leone, we finally succeed in bringing Johnny Paul Koroma into Liberia in terms of exchanging him with the hostages that the West Side Boys had taken.

    Now, following the Lome agreement in July Foday Sankoh moves around a little bit, but he ends up in Liberia in September while Johnny Paul Koroma is already in Liberia.

    Now, the committee is working with me on this matter, but we also have the United Nations engaged in this process and so upon the arrival of Foday Sankoh in Monrovia following the Lome agreement and the bringing in of Johnny Paul Koroma I called the Secretary-General to encourage the United Nations to even be more involved in this process as I was working with these two men to bring peace between them in line with our colleagues in ECOWAS that I wanted him to - I wanted the United Nations involved in this process in being able to get these men together and move them on to Freetown.

    So I called the Secretary-General and we had a discussion on this and that discussion was, as all discussions on telephone, were noted and sent back to me where I requested the Secretary-General to be involved in this process, the United Nations should stay engaged in this process of getting Foday Sankoh back to Freetown along with Johnny Paul Koroma and not just leave it with ECOWAS.

  • And you say notes were made of that conversation?

  • Definitely, by the Secretary-General's office and, because the conversation was between us, we were provided copies of the conversational notes between he and myself.

  • Have a look behind divider 51.

    Whilst we're doing that, Mr President, can I assist to this extent: FALD, Field Administration and Logistics Division of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

  • Thank you, Mr Griffiths.

  • What are we looking at here, Mr Taylor?

  • These are the summary notes of the conversation between the Secretary-General and myself upon the arrival of Foday Sankoh in Monrovia.

  • Now we see it's headed "Notes of the Secretary-General's telephone conversation with the President of Liberia" timed at 1.15 p.m. on Thursday 30 September 1999:

    "Sierra Leone. Summary. President Taylor sought United Nations involvement in the return to Sierra Leone of Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma on 2 to 3 October. The Secretary-General replied that he would consult his colleagues and revert to President Taylor, possibly through Mr Downes-Thomas."

  • Perhaps before you reach the discussion part of these notes we'll take the morning adjournment and we'll resume at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Yes, please continue, Mr Griffiths.

  • May it please your Honours:

  • Mr Taylor, we were looking at the document behind divider 51 before we adjourned.

  • And just to remind ourselves, these are notes of a conversation held on Thursday 30 September 1999, a telephone conversation between yourself and the Secretary-General Kofi Annan?

  • Yes. That is correct.

  • And we had just reached the subheading "Discussion":

    "President Taylor reported substantial progress on Sierra Leone. He had now brought Johnny Paul Koroma and Foday Sankoh together in Monrovia and all the arrangements were set for their departure for Freetown. Their families would not be transported with them and would move directly from their current locations to Freetown, rather than travelling via Monrovia.

    President Taylor believed that it was time that the international community became involved in the process of seeing them off to Sierra Leone. They were ready to fly in 48 to 72 hours, that is, on Saturday the 2nd or Sunday the 3rd October. President Taylor had spoken to the chairman of ECOWAS and had asked that the ECOWAS executive secretary be present. President Eyadema of Togo would send his Defence or Foreign Minister to Monrovia. Since the United Nations had been involved in transporting Foday Sankoh from Freetown to Lome, it should be part of the group which would convey him and Johnny Paul Koroma back to Freetown."

    Now, pausing there. Just to deal with a couple of matters, Mr Taylor. Why did you consider it important for the international community to become involved in the process of seeing them off? That's a fairly straightforward thing, so why was it necessary for the international community to be involved?

  • Well, these were discussions amongst all of us on the Committee of Six that - remember now I'm not acting on my own. We've discussed that as mediator I should do everything that I can to keep the UN engaged, because as soon as they disengage then probably you run into problems. To keep them engaged and this is why I called him and kept his special representative on the ground engaged to make sure that if we had to call upon the UN system for any additional help it would not be a question of, "Oh, we didn't know what you guys were doing in ECOWAS."

  • Now we've also looked at, have we not, the United States' involvement in the transporting of Foday Sankoh to Lome. We looked at that yesterday, do you recall?

  • Involving in transporting Foday Sankoh from Freetown to Lome, we discussed that yesterday?

  • Over the page, please:

    "In response to a question from the Secretary-General, President Taylor said that he had not yet spoken directly to President Obasanjo, although he was on board with the plan. President Taylor would ask him to make an aircraft available; it could possibly fly via Lome to collect the Togolese Defence Minister, then stop in Monrovia en route to Freetown. President Taylor had been in frequent telephone contact with President Kabbah, who was completely involved in the plan."

    Is that true?

  • So let us put all of this together then, shall we. According to this note, Mr Taylor, the Secretary-General knows about this?

  • President Obasanjo knows about this?

  • President Kabbah knows about this?

  • By inference, the ECOWAS executive secretary knows about this?

  • President Eyadema of Togo knows about this?

  • "The Secretary-General said that he would consult his advisers and get back to President Taylor either directly or through Mr Downes-Thomas."

    Did he get back to you?

  • That - in fact what he did was, he authorised Downes-Thomas to accompany Foday Sankoh to Freetown as part of the UN's involvement.

  • And did Downes-Thomas accompany them to Freetown?

  • Yes, he was on board the plane, yes.

  • "The Secretary-General expressed regret that President Taylor had not been able to attend the General Assembly. President Taylor explained that this would have been too expensive. He hoped that now that the situation in Sierra Leone was being brought under control, it would be possible for the sanctions on Liberia to be removed. The Secretary-General said that the United Nations would work with President Taylor on this."

    Now, before we complete this, looking at this document, Mr Taylor, you will recall that the notes of the conversation or the meeting you had with the Secretary-General on 8 July concluded with some follow-up remarks. Do you remember that?

  • Which included, for example, an expressed intent on the part of the Secretary-General to contact the IMF and the World Bank on behalf of Liberia?

  • I mention that for this reason: You will see here in this note, under the follow-up section, handwritten redacted internal decision-making processes, yes?

  • Well, the general discussions were on the IMF and World Bank, but the mechanism - there are some other mechanisms that were not for public consumption that were not included in this particular telephone conversation. Some little personal things that you talk about that are not official are not part of this.

  • I see. So that has been edited, has it?

  • Can I ask, please, Mr President, that this note of a telephone conversation between the Secretary-General of the United Nations and President Taylor, dated Thursday 30 September 1999, be marked for identification MFI-259, please.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, can you help us with this: Roughly when did the process of the destruction of the arms and ammunition collected during the demobilisation and disarmament process in Liberia - when did that conclude, roughly?

  • The official conclusion date - and I'm saying official because even though there were little things going - was in October when the official date was announced as the end of the destruction period. In October of 1999, that was the official date, even though minor things were still going on, but that was the official date. It was announced in Monrovia, it was announced - in fact there was an official statement from New York, the United Nations, commemorating this end to the process of destruction.

  • Now, how do you know that there was an official statement from New York?

  • It concerns Liberia, we were provided a copy of the official statement from New York by the special representative of the Secretary-General concerning the arms that were being destroyed by Liberia.

  • And did you have a copy of that document in your archives?

  • Have a look behind divider 53, please. Do you have the document?

  • Turn to the second page of that document, please. Do we see there "Statement attributable to the spokesman of the Secretary-General"?

  • "Weapons disposal in Liberia.

    The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the successful completion, today" - and we see the date is 18 October 1999 - "of the weapons destruction programme in Liberia.

    The exercise which begun on 25 July has involved the destruction of over 19,000 small and heavy calibre weapons and more than 3 million rounds of ammunition collected by the United Nations and ECOMOG during the disarmament exercise of 1996 to 1997.

    The Secretary-General strongly believes that the weapons disposal in Liberia represents an important step towards curbing the dangerous proliferation of weapons in West Africa and towards enhancing confidence and cooperation among the countries and peoples of the region.

    The Secretary-General expresses deep appreciation to all those who worked closely and tirelessly together to ensure the successful completion of this milestone exercise, in particular the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President Taylor, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and its monitoring group ECOMOG, the United Nations community, as well as those member states which provided the much needed financial assistance."

    Now, can I ask, please, that that statement attributable to the spokesman of the Secretary-General on weapons disposal in Liberia, dated 18 October 1999, be marked for identification MFI-260, please.

  • Marked MFI-260.

  • Right. Now, we are going to move on to a different subject now, Mr Taylor, and so can I ask that we put away those documents now and we won't be needing to refer to any of these files for a little while.

    Now, Mr Taylor, as you are aware, a number of witnesses have come before the Court and made various allegations about you, yes?

  • Now, it's important that you have an opportunity of dealing specifically with the allegations made against you by these individuals; do you follow?

  • So what I propose to embark upon now is to go through those witnesses who made allegations about you to give you an opportunity of answering them; do you follow me?

  • Now, the first such witness I want to deal with is a man called Suwandi Camara, TF1-448, who gave evidence before this tribunal in open session. Do you recall him?

  • Now, on 7 February 2008, that man gave evidence to this effect - and I'm looking at page 3429, line 9 of the transcript. He was examined in chief by Mr Werner of counsel, and that testimony unfolded in this way:

    "Q. Do you know when they left to go to Burkina Faso?

    A. I cannot remember the month, but it was in 1990. The

    beginning of the year, maybe the third or fourth month of

    the year. Maybe at the beginning of the year.

    Q. Now, Mr Witness, you told us about Mataba, and you told

    us that you met Kukoi Samba Sanyang in Mataba. Did you see

    anyone else in Mataba.

    A. Yes, I saw some people in Mataba.

    Q. Who did you see?

    A. The man who is sitting - who is facing the trial,

    Charles Taylor. That was the first time I saw him. Kukoi

    was the person who introduced him to me. I also met Foday.

    That was my first time to see him before he left Libya,

    Foday Sankoh, but these are people who I did not greet one

    another, but because of the relationship they have with my

    leader, my leader told me these are ..."

    Then there was a problem with the translation the witness continued on page 3430:

    "... I said I used to go to Kukoi in Mataba. I used to go

    to Kukoi in Mataba. That was the first time - that was the

    first time for me to see the guy, the man who is facing

    trial here, Charles Taylor. That was the first time for me

    to see him. That was also my first time to see Foday

    Sankoh with my naked eyes."

    Now, Kukoi Samba Sanyang is who?

  • Kukoi Samba Sanyang is the leader of SOFA, the Gambian

    movement that was in Libya.

  • And is he known by any other name?

  • Now, what this witness was clearly suggesting, Mr Taylor, was that he was introduced to you by Dr Manneh. Did that happen?

  • That never happened. That's a lie. He did not introduce - he would not have been in a position to be introduced to me.

  • He, as an element of Manneh's group just coming to Libya to - what would be the purpose? He would just not be at that level. He is not an officer, an element introduced to a leader. In fact, I doubt if he would even be at the Mataba. So that's not true. It's not possible.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you have already told us in testimony that there were people being trained in Libya from various parts of the world, yes?

  • And from various parts of Africa?

  • Including your soldiers who had been brought from Liberia and also various refugee camps in Cote d'Ivoire. Is that right?

  • In terms of those people being trained in Libya - trained - with whom did you have contact?

  • Only leaders of our condition. Dr Manneh, had contact with Dr Manneh; I had contact with Ali Kabbah; I had contact with other - with a representative - I don't quite remember his name - from Ghana and other countries around Africa. Only the leaders I would have contact with.

  • Now, I want to emphasise the word "those receiving training". Did you have contact with any of them?

  • You say "those receiving training", you are talking about from the other countries?

  • No. With anybody receiving training. Let's start from the general and move to the particular. Did you have contact with anyone receiving training in Libya?

  • Did you have contacts with the Gambians receiving training in Libya?

  • No. In fact, the Gambians, to the best of my knowledge, were not receiving training. They were already - they had fought, they were revolutionaries. I did not have any contact with them in training, no.

  • What about Sierra Leoneans?

  • No, had no contact with Sierra Leoneans, except for - well, you say "training". No, did not have any contact with Sierra Leoneans.

  • What about the Liberians receiving training in Libya?

  • Of course. Those were my men. I had contact with my men, yes.

  • Now, although it's unclear on the face of the testimony of this witness, this witness is also suggesting - and I return to page 3429 of the transcript:

    "... the man who is sitting - who is facing the trial, Charles Taylor. I also met Foday. That was my first time to see him before we left Libya, Foday Sankoh."

    And he goes on to say:

    "That was the first time - that was the first time for me to see the guy, the man who is facing trial here, Charles Taylor. That was the first time for me to see him. That was also my first time to see Foday Sankoh with my naked eyes."

    Now, just in case it's suggested at a later stage, were you introduced by Dr Manneh to this man at the same time as he was introducing Foday Sankoh? Do you follow me?

  • I follow your question. I was never introduced by Dr Manneh to this man, Suwandi Camara, at all. And it could not have happened, because there was not a Foday Sankoh that Dr Manneh could have introduced me to this man in the presence of. No.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, it's important that we clarify these issues, so let me ask you some further questions on this. When that man, Suwandi Camara, appeared in this Court, did you recognise him?

  • No, I did not recognise him. I did not.

  • Now, dealing further with that, you've already indicated you did not meet that man in Libya?

  • Did you see that man in Liberia?

  • Suwandi Camara, no. I don't recall the face of Suwandi. Amongst the people that came from The Gambia, only those that worked closely around me, serving me, I knew. A lot of the other Gambians I did not know.

  • Did you see him, for example, in Burkina Faso?

  • No, I did not meet him in Burkina Faso, no.

  • Did you meet Foday Sankoh in Libya?

  • No, I did not at all. Did not know of him in Libya, no.

  • Now, you've indicate in the past that there were Gambians who assisted in the Liberian revolution?

  • Now, help me, one of those mentioned was a man called Yanks Smythe?

  • Who later became Liberian Ambassador to Libya?

  • When did you first meet Yanks Smythe?

  • I first met Yanks Smythe in Liberia. In fact, first in Burkina Faso and then they came on to Liberia. I did not even meet him in Libya.

  • Now, when you said earlier that the Gambians were not receiving training in Libya, what are you saying?

  • Well, it's important - I think we've gone through this before - but to understand, there is a difference between the Mataba and the training camps. The Mataba are the offices where leaders of different revolutionary movements met in the City of Tripoli. The training camps are about, I would say 25, 30 miles or so, or even more, away from the city at a place that we've seen on the map here called Tajura. Now, these people that were there, their leaders would be in - I mean, at the Mataba and the elements would be in the training camp. Now, as far as I am concerned, in my meeting with Dr Manneh the Gambians had staged an unsuccessful coup attempt against Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, and Dr Manneh and the rest had fled many years ago and had gone to Libya.

    Now, so the men that he had in Libya did not require training - military training because they were already - they had been trained before, had been involved in a revolution, and were just there because of political reasons and probably protection. So they were not involved in training. So my interaction with Manneh were there - in fact, most of the men that Manneh had there were in fact serving as security guards at the Mataba. I remembered a few of them that were there, but they were not - from what Manneh had told me, they were not involved in training.

  • Now I am going back to the testimony of this witness. The witness continued, page 3430 of the transcript:

    "Q. And do you remember, when did you see for the first

    time Charles Taylor in the Mataba?

    A. It was in the beginning of 1990. That was my second

    time in 1990 when I saw this man.

    Q. Do you remember, when did you see Foday Sankoh in

    Mataba?

    A. That was also in the beginning of 1990.

  • Mr Werner, the question you asked this

    witness was, 'When did you first see for the first time

    Charles Taylor in Mataba?' and the answer he gave, 'I saw

    him in the beginning of 1990 for the second time.' Are you

    satisfied with that answer?

  • I will attempt to clarify:

    Q. So, Mr Witness, again, when was the first time, not the

    second time, the first time that you saw Charles Taylor in

    Mataba, if you can remember?

    A. I said to see him the first time was my second time

    when I visited Kukoi in 1990, the beginning of 1990.

  • I am sorry, it may just be me, but I am

    confused by that answer when you set it against the fist

    answer that Justice Sebutinde referred to a moment ago. I

    wonder could we try, please, to have some clarification.

    Q. Mr Witness, you said that you saw Charles Taylor for

    the first time the second time you visited Kukoi Samba

    Sanyang, is that correct?

    A. Yes, that is what I said.

    Q. Could you explain what you mean when you said that?

    A. I said he came and he greeted my leader Kukoi Samba

    Sanyang. After he left, when he was going, my leader,

    Kukoi Samba Sanyang, told me, 'This man is Charles Taylor.'

    Q. Thank you, Mr Witness. Now, did your leader, Kukoi

    Samba Sanyang, tell you anything about Charles Taylor in

    Mataba?

    A. What he told me about him, that the group in Liberia

    which are in Libya with the training, he is their leader.

    Q. I'm not sure about the sense of that. When you say he

    told me about him, that he is in Liberia, which are in

    Libya in this training, what do you mean?"

    Then the witness eventually goes on to say, "I said I don't say a group in Liberia, a Liberian group in Libya. The Liberian group in Libya, he was their leader." And then he goes on to say, "And that's Charles Taylor."

    So let's deal with the detail of that, Mr Taylor. 1990, the man is being specific, at the beginning of 1990 he claims he meets with his leader and thereafter, when you leave, his leader says, "Guess what, that was Charles Taylor." You have any recollection of that, Mr Taylor?

  • I don't have any recollection. It just never happened. It just never happened. But then you know, there is something peculiar about this. The beginning of 1990, okay, let's assume that we are talking about the first quarter, not even January, let's put to the to the first quarter of 1990, if this man had been in Libya, if this man had been in Libya for any time, so to speak, he would have known that there was a Liberian group in Libya. I mean, because by the beginning of 1990 the Liberian group is preparing to leave. So when did he get into Libya?

  • Now, hold on a second, Mr Taylor, when did the invasion of Liberia --

  • 1989. I mean, excuse me, 1989. So if he says that he saw me in 1990.

  • Beginning of 1990. Where are you in the beginning of 1990?

  • But that's what makes this man crazy because the beginning of 1990, the combat in Liberia is already going on. The combat is already going on. We attack Liberia on the 25 December 1989. So where is he meeting me in the Mataba?

  • Beginning of 1990, Mr Taylor. I mean, did you, for example, pay a quick flying visit back to Libya just for old times sake to say hi to Dr Manneh?

  • No, no, no. By the beginning of 1990 I am stuck in Bin-Houye on the border between Liberia and la Cote d'Ivoire waiting to go in with my men. I do not leave that area until about late March or the beginning of April, slip into Burkina Faso and then come back and enter Liberia in April of 1990. So it's - there is no way I am in Mataba. There is no way I am in Libya at this particular - and there is no way that any Liberian is in Libya at the beginning of 1990. This is purely not true.

  • Mr Taylor, please, can you help us as to what reason you may have had to be in Libya at the beginning of 1990, having already had your men trained and having already begun an uprising in Liberia? What need would you have, help us, to be in Libya at that time?

  • No need whatsoever. My preoccupation at this period, and this is what he says the beginning, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, let's take the beginning as being the first quarter, January, February and March, I am not anywhere but in la Cote d'Ivoire waiting in the town to try to enter Liberia. I am not in any other place on this planet but in la Cote d'Ivoire.

  • Let's proceed further with the evidence of this man. On that same date, 7 February 2008, at page 3433 of the transcript he said this:

    "This Ali Kabbah, he was the leader of the Sierra Leonean group in Libya, but he took some money from the Libyan government, which money was given to him for the purpose of the group, the Sierra Leonean group in Libya. He came to Burkina Faso, but when he came to Burkina that was the last time they hear from him. What they heard was he ran away. That time was the time I met Foday. By that time he was not considered as the leader, but he was the coordinator of the Sierra Leoneans in Libya."

    Now you are shaking your head, Mr Taylor. Why?

  • Yeah, but where did he meet Foday? In Burkina or at the Mataba? Because what I am seeing here, he is saying that he came to Burkina Faso, but when he came to Burkina that was the time they heard from him, what they heard was he ran away. "That time was the time I met Foday." But I thought we just heard that he met Foday at the Mataba, so what time did he really meet Foday again?

  • No point in asking me, Mr Taylor. I am just putting what the witness has said to give you an opportunity of dealing with it?

  • Yes, and so I mean this man doesn't know what he's talking about. He said before in previous something that you just read at that at the Mataba - he was introduced to me at the Mataba and that was the first time we met and that was the first time he had met Foday also. But now I'm seeing here that he is now for the first time meeting Foday again while they are in Burkina Faso.

    So you know these boys, I don't know what prompted them to do these things, but there is no way that this particular man, I mean, could have been anywhere around this Mataba, what he is talking about. These things are total fabrications. Total.

  • Now, when in that same answer he mentions that Ali Kabbah was the leader of the Sierra Leonean group in Libya, is that true or false?

  • Ali Kabbah was the leader of the Sierra Leonean group in Libya.

  • As such, who would be at the Mataba, Ali Kabbah or Foday Sankoh?

  • Oh, it would definitely be Ali Kabbah. No personnel, no trainee, none in Libya ever set foot to the Mataba. None. Whether you were from Liberia or whether you were from Timbuktu you did not go to the Mataba. The Mataba was for leaders and no element came from that camp to the Mataba.

  • And just to complete this passage, having given that answer his testimony continued in this way:

    "Q. Thank you, Mr Witness. Now, you said that you saw

    Charles Taylor in Mataba. Now, did you see him again in

    Libya?

    A. Yes. After I saw him two times in Libya, before they

    left to come to Burkina.

    Q. Who left to come to Burkina?

    A. Charles Taylor and his people left Libya to come to

    Burkina, likewise our people leave Libya to come to

    Burkina."

    Then there was some confusion as to his answer and he is asked.

    "Q. Did you say anything about Foday Sankoh in your

    answer?

    A. I said Charles Taylor and his people left Libya to

    Burkina. He left with Liberians to Burkina. Foday Sankoh

    also left with the Sierra Leonean group to Burkina. We

    also, Dr Manneh, his group - Dr Manneh and his group also

    left Libya to Burkina. But the first group I was not

    among."

    Now, on the face of that answer, Mr Taylor, this man is suggesting that the Liberians, the Sierra Leoneans and the Gambians left Libya together to go to Burkina. True or false?

  • Totally, totally false. Totally false.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, we need to deal with this matter properly because you appreciate the allegation against you is that you were party to a design to bring terror to the sub-region in West Africa and that you were you were in cahoots with these Sierra Leoneans and these Gambians, yes?

  • That is true.

  • And so on the face of it this witness is suggesting that there was a coordinated movement of those three groups from Libya to Burkina Faso?

  • Which fits in of course with the design alleged by the Prosecution. Did anything like that occur?

  • There was no such thing like this that occurred. Not anything of the sort, no.

  • I mean, did you, for example, coordinate such a movement with Dr Manneh and the coordinator, Foday Sankoh?

  • No. As a matter of fact, to the best of my knowledge, and I'm sure if we can get any of the Gambians in here, there was not one Sierra Leonean - not one Sierra Leonean in Burkina Faso. Not one. The only people that were in Burkina Faso were the Gambians. And Dr Manneh had come to Burkina Faso not along with the Liberian group. Dr Manneh was a well known revolutionary who had launched a revolutionary far in advance of Charles Taylor and had travelled widely and knew Burkina Faso even before I got there.

    But I will just add one thing for the judges. Look, if Sierra Leoneans had been in Burkina Faso, when I went back and asked Dr Manneh to provide - to help to provide some security for me, why would I leave them behind and they were supposed to be trained? Why would I leave Sierra Leoneans behind in Burkina Faso? Why didn't they come along with the Gambians to help to provide security for me also? They were just not there at all.

  • Now, we know from evidence placed before this tribunal that Sierra Leonean Special Forces trained in Libya included one Mohamed Tarawalli?

  • And one Rashid Mansaray, yes?

  • Did you ever meet them in Libya?

  • Did you ever meet them in Burkina Faso?

  • Did you ever meet them in Liberia?

  • Mr Taylor, how many men did Ali Kabbah, who you accept you met - how many men did he have in Libya being trained?

  • I do not know. I cannot help. We did not discuss numbers. I knew he had men there, but I never got into the numbers.

  • Now, let's move on with the testimony of this man. He went on to say on the following day of his testimony, 8 February 2008, at page 3446 of the transcript:

    "A. I mean the Gambians and Liberians. I saw some people

    coming going and coming. Even the man sitting down,

    Charles Taylor, he used to go and come.

    Q. Go and come where, Mr Witness?

    A. Coming from Liberia, coming to Burkina.

    Q. Now, you said that the Gambians used to go from Liberia

    to Burkina, from Burkina to Liberia. Why did the Gambians

    do that?

    A. I said what I knew. That is, my leaders, what I heard

    from my leader, what he told me - sometimes maybe you can

    see it in my statements. I said my leader told me that he

    and Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh, they made a meeting in

    Burkina that they will help him in his war. If he

    succeeds, he will also help them in their war because at

    that time we are very powerless."

    Now, Mr Taylor, let us examine this answer, shall we. Now, bear in mind, and let us remind ourselves, that the allegation is that the agreement to terrorise the population of Sierra Leone was made in Libya. We now have this witness saying that agreement is made in Burkina Faso. Now, help me. First of all, taking them in turn so we can look at the lucky dip choice that we have, was there such an agreement made in Libya?

  • There was no such agreement made in Libya.

  • As this witness suggests, was there such an agreement made in Burkina Faso?

  • There was no such agreement made in Burkina Faso.

  • Now, also note: The witness claims that you were coming backwards and forwards from Liberia to Burkina Faso, and also the Gambians were coming backwards and forwards between Liberia and Burkina Faso. Is that true?

  • That's a lie. That is a blatant lie. Look, I will tell this Court: I went to Burkina Faso. I, Charles Taylor, asked Dr Manneh to give me some assistance with security after the famous incident with Prince Johnson that has been mentioned in testimony in this Court where Prince Johnson had been broken away and formed the Independent National Patriotic Front. That request was granted by Dr Manneh for the men to come to provide security for me as another revolutionary leader. That's how most of them came around me. One became aide-de-camp; Yanks, radio operator, and all of this. When they landed in Liberia they did not - and I say did not - return to Burkina Faso for any reason. The Gambians remained in Liberia. There was no going up and down. They remained in Liberia with me until Dr Manneh left. Some of them left with him and later some stayed with me. They never moved between those two countries, no.

  • Now, dealing still with that answer:

    "If he succeeds he will also help them in their war, because at that time we are powerless."

    Now, Mr Taylor, did you have the capacity to help Dr Manneh and Sankoh in the way suggested by this witness?

  • Not at all. Not at all. We all went to Libya looking for help. And what - I had no means to help even myself. That is not true.

  • Now, the witness continues:

    "Q. Mr Witness, when you said, 'My leader told me that he

    and Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh, they made meeting in

    Burkina that they will help him', who are the 'they'?

    A. That is we, the Gambians, will collaborate with him and

    Sierra Leoneans will collaborate with Charles Taylor to

    help him, his Liberian war.

  • Can we have a date for this latest piece of

    hearsay, please?

  • I do not think the witness had finished his

    answer.

  • Let the witness finish first, please.

    Continue with your answer, Mr Witness.

  • He said we should help Charles Taylor in his

    war. If he succeeds in this war, he will also help us in

    return so that we can also go back to our country, because

    we are people who are very powerless at that time. In

    terms of human resources in terms of money, we were not

    very powerful.

    Q. Mr Witness, just to be clear, you say 'If he succeeds

    in this war', who is the 'he'?

    A. I mean Charles Taylor. And he will also help us in

    return.

    Q. Who are 'us'?

    A. I said we, the Gambians, and Sierra Leoneans for our

    war, to make it clear.

  • Mr Werner, you haven't dealt with the

    time.

    Q. When did this meeting take place?

    A. I said this meeting was held before I came to Burkina.

    He said they did the meeting in Burkina. That was their

    agreement.

    Q. And were you told when this meeting took place?

    A. The meeting was held in Burkina in Ouagadougou.

    Q. The question was when - not where - but when this

    meeting took place?

    A. No, I cannot remember the day and the month because

    that time I was not there.

    Q. What, if anything, happened after that?

    A. I left and went to The Gambia. The 16 people I left

    with from Libya to Burkina, I went to The Gambia. I went

    to accomplish the mission to mobilise the people to read

    the security situation, I left Ouagadougou."

    Now, Mr Taylor, just for completeness sake, was there such a meeting in Ouagadougou?

  • There was no such meeting in Ouagadougou of me telling someone, "You help me and I will help you", and all this type of nonsense. There was no such meeting. I had known Manneh from Libya. So if Manneh and I had to hold any discussions, we would have held discussions in Libya. We didn't have to come to Burkina Faso to hold another separate set of meetings. In fact, Manneh had no idea, no idea, that he would have had to give me some assistance in Liberia. None whatsoever. Because one of the things that - when we started our revolution in Liberia, we were very, in fact, very cautious and the last group that I really wanted involved in Liberia were the Gambians. And the reason being, once we started our operations in - on the 25th, by the first, second week in January of 1990, they had synthesised the reason for this attack in Liberia as one, you know, to destabilise West Africa, so to speak, and this was put together by Kairaba Jawara, the President of the Gambia, who was then serving as chairman of ECOWAS.

    And so I was going - doing everything not to get the Gambians involved because I knew that the Gambians were in Burkina Faso. But it was only after this Prince Johnson incident where I became concerned that my security was at threat, I had asked them to only provide security protection for me. And that is why this lie about Gambians moving up and down, that would not happen because the Gambians, while they were in Burkina Faso, they did not move all over the place. They were very quiet, and in Liberia I wanted it kept very quiet. This is why I did not want them involved in combat or anything like that. So it is totally untrue.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, let's go on with the account given by this man. He went on to say on that same day, 8 February 2008, page 3451 of the transcript:

    "Q. So, Mr Witness, please tell us again. When you came

    back to Burkina Faso, what was the situation that you

    observed?

    A. Tell him that I said when I got to Burkina from Gambia,

    the 16 people that I had left behind that I travelled with

    from Libya to Burkina, I did not see them again in

    Ouagadougou in Burkina. That became a surprise to me, and

    when I came and asked our leader - and that is Dr Manneh -

    he told me that Charles Taylor came to Burkina and he has

    travelled with these 16 people.

    Q. To where, Mr Witness?

    A. He took them to Liberia.

    Q. And did Dr Manneh tell you why Charles Taylor took

    these 16 people to Liberia?

    A. He went with the 16 people to Liberia. As I told you

    before, we were supposed to do communication training at

    Burkina but when I arrived, the time I arrived at Burkina,

    I found that he has already decided to give those 16 people

    to Charles Taylor to go with them to Liberia and said they

    were going to do their communication training there.

    Q. Mr Witness, when you say 'he has already decided to

    give those 16 people to Charles Taylor', who are you

    talking about?

    A. That is Dr Manneh, our leader. He gave those 16 people

    to Charles Taylor."

    What do you say about that, Mr Taylor?

  • But the Gambians that went to Liberia were more than 16. But what concerns me even more here is the fact that he is saying people were supposed to go to Liberia for communication training. Who was in Liberia to train them in communication? If anybody was going to receive - we received our training in Libya, so I don't even know if this man was in Libya. As he is saying it here, okay, the fact of the matter is the Gambians that were in Burkina Faso - I don't know what Manneh he is meeting again, because Manneh came to Liberia in April of 1990. Manneh came to Liberia. So I don't know who he is meeting here, saying that he is meeting Manneh. The fact of the matter is the Gambians did come to Liberia in April 1990 and Manneh moved straight to Buchanan. We had already taken Buchanan.

  • And when Manneh came to Liberia, did he come by himself?

  • No, no. He came with about six or seven individuals.

  • Now, no total, Mr Taylor, how many Gambians became involved, through your request to Dr Manneh, in the Liberian revolution?

  • Oh, I'll put the number about 20, 25. There were not that many. There were not that many.

  • Do you know where this figure of 16 mentioned by this witness comes from?

  • No, I don't he where he got that 16 from. I think he is saying that the 16 of his group. But the Gambians that went to Liberia: About 25, I would put it to.

  • And help me, Mr Taylor. The training received in Libya, did that cover communications?

  • And you said that the Gambians that - when you met with Dr Manneh in Libya, the Gambians weren't receiving training; they had already been trained?

  • Trained in what, as far as you were aware?

  • Military science. Full military science. They had fought a war. They had been involved in fighting, so they had the experience in combat.

  • And as far as you were aware, the training they had received in Libya, had that included communications training?

  • Wait a minute. I don't quite understand your question.

  • The training which the Gambians - you told us that the Gambians had already been trained when you arrived in Libya, yes?

  • If I want to, my - what I said was that the Gambians had already been trained, they had participated in a revolution. But while I met them in Libya, they were not involved in training.

  • They were not involved in training, yes?

  • But had they received training in Libya, to your knowledge?

  • Before their revolution, no, I have no knowledge of that. I have no knowledge of that.

  • But did you provide Gambians with training in communications in Liberia?

  • No, I did not. In fact, Yanks Smythe who was the radio operator for me amongst the Gambians that came knew how to operate radios and received only minor technical assistance because of a special piece of radio equipment that we had received.

  • And did Yanks Smythe have a code name?

  • Oh, yes, he was called Butterfly. That was his code name, Butterfly.

  • I'm still dealing with the evidence of this man. On that same day, 8 February 2008, at page 3456 of the transcript he goes on to say this:

    "Q. When you say that the soldiers who came together, who

    were these soldiers?

    A. These were his, members of his delegation. I don't

    know how to say it. His protocol were among those people.

    The senior soldiers were among those delegates, junior

    soldiers were also amongst his delegates with whom he came

    from Liberia, he, Charles Taylor.

    Q. And when you say that they were taking things out and

    taking them to the plane, what are you talking about?

    A. I said at first where we were standing we did not know

    what things were, but when we were coming out going to the

    plane, when his people were taking things on board in the

    plane, we joined them to take these things to the plane.

    This was then I came to know these were guns, arms and

    ammunition because I and the five other people helped them

    to take those arms and ammunitions to the plane and among

    us some Burkina soldiers were at the airport at the time.

    Q. Mr Witness, when you say when his people were taking

    things on board in the plane, his people, whose people?

    A. These were Charles Taylor's people who he came with.

    Q. What if anything happened after that, Mr Witness?

    A. When we take these things to the plane Charles Taylor,

    himself, came with his delegation and boarded the plane.

    After we also joined them in the plane.

    Q. And what if anything happened after that, Mr Witness?

    A. After that, the plane took us to a country called

    Cote d'Ivoire to an airfield in the provinces called Man.

  • Man, your Honours, M-A-N, and Cote d'Ivoire,

    the country:

    Q. And what happened, Mr Witness, when this plane landed

    in Man in Cote d'Ivoire?

    A. When the plane landed at Cote d'Ivoire in Man, I and

    the five ex-soldiers, we joined Charles Taylor's soldiers

    to take out the arms and ammunition from the plane and put

    them in a truck.

    Q. If what if anything happened after that, Mr Witness?

    A. When we put the arms and ammunitions in the truck,

    after we finished doing that, then the plane and some of

    the Burkina soldiers who escorted the plane returned back

    with the plane and we joined Charles Taylor's convoy and

    went with him to Liberia. We went by Danane. It's a

    village called Danane in Cote d'Ivoire. When we left

    Danane we came to Loguato border, which was the border

    between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire."

    Then Mr Verner gives the spelling of Danane and Loguato.

    "Q. And, Mr Witness, what if anything happened after that?

    A. After that we continue with Charles Taylor's convoy to

    his town where - the town he was in control, which was his

    headquarters.

    Q. Do you know the name of those headquarters?

    A. His headquarters were at Gbarnga. This was central

    part of Liberia."

    And he goes on to say how they arrived in the evening. So, Mr Taylor, just so that we are clear, you are supposed to have gone to Burkina Faso where, assisted by some Burkinabe soldiers and also by this man, you loaded arms and ammunition onto a plane, flew them to an airfield in Cote d'Ivoire, transshiped them onto a truck and then took them to Gbarnga. True or false?

  • Well, let's put it in some context because during the early part of the revolution I did get assistance from the Burkinabe government, but let's put this whole statement into context.

    This gentleman, if I am understanding him properly, and I stand corrected, is saying that at the time he comes to Liberia, he boards a plane with me and these weapons go to Gbarnga. Well, let's go back into the records. When do I move to Gbarnga? Surely not in 1990. So at the time that this man is talking about - you see these boys do things where they get some information.

  • Well, let me assist you, Mr Taylor. From our reading of the transcript of the evidence of this witness, he claims that this incident took place in October or November 1991.

  • But that's - October/November 1991, I did, yes - I did bring material from Burkina Faso, but he would not have been on the plane.

  • Because he was - I don't even know if he was in Liberia, but Gambians did not travel with me. I admit that during the early part Burkina Faso did give some little assistance. But Gambians did not move. So this is what he heard that - if he was in Liberia, and again I don't doubt that he could have been in Liberia, I didn't know all of the Gambians that were there, but he would not have gone back with me. So what he is dealing with, he is dealing with conversations on the ground: Oh well, this thing came from Burkina Faso, came through Man and on the way. But he would not have been on the plane. That's where he is lying. He would not have been on the plane.

  • How can you be sure about that?

  • Because I would not travel with a Gambian back from Liberia to Burkina Faso because the Gambians that were in Liberia were being kept in Liberia very quietly. Even Dr Manneh would not go backward and forward with me like that, no.

  • And why were you keeping them quiet in Liberia?

  • Because I did not want them there in the first instance because it was misinterpreted by Dawda Jawara.

  • Now, did you confirm, Mr Taylor, that in or about October/ November 1991 you did receive assistance in the terms of arms and ammunition from Burkina Faso?

  • What I am able to confirm are two things. In 1991, about mid-1991, Gbarnga becomes my headquarters. So he is right about that. About mid-1991. What I do confirm again is that, yes, I did receive some assistance from Burkina Faso I would say in late '91. I can't be sure that it was October or November, but I can confirm that we did receive some material in 1991, late, yes.

  • And was that material transported by aeroplane?

  • Yes, it was transported by airplane. It did come into Man. And we did drive into Danane and on to Gbarnga, yes.

  • So you can confirm the route taken and the means of transport?

  • And the final destination?

  • So help us. How would this man know all of those details to get them right, do you follow me?

  • Yes. It's very simple. It's very simple. The chief is going to Burkina Faso, he leaves Gbarnga, that's the route that had been taken so many occasions. So it's very simple amongst the security personnel and the Gambians that were there to know that the chief went and the chief is back and what he brought. That would be very simple, because right there working with me, Yanks is there, General Domingo is there, General Jackson the aide-de-camp is there. So there are Gambians around me. And a lot of the security people around would know when I leave the country and they would know when I come.

    So this information that he is giving, while the information is right, where he goes wrong is he is not on the plane, he's lying. He hears it. Now, what he hears is true, but what I'm doubting here is his presence. He is definitely not on the plane. He is not in the convoy. That's the point.

  • Right. Let's go on and deal with another aspect of the testimony of this witness, 8 February 2008, page 3460 of the transcript:

    "Q. Now, Mr Witness, when you say SSS, do you know what

    SSS stands for?

    A. SSS, I know it. I know how Liberians call it there,

    Special Security Service who were - I can say they are the

    elite forces among the soldiers, the high class, the ones

    who work with the President.

    Q. And just to come back once again, you said again that,

    'When it comes under the government of Charles Taylor.'

    What was your understanding of the government of

    Charles Taylor at that time?

    A. Let me tell you this. Let me tell you this was not a

    government. It was a government that was put in place by

    Charles Taylor himself. Then there was a rebel war, not a

    government that was elected by people. But during the war,

    Charles Taylor formed a government because he has

    ministers, has protocols and many other things, senior army

    leaders.

    Q. Mr Witness, you said that Charles Taylor has protocols.

    Who were his protocols?

    A. Let me tell you. I can remember the senior protocol

    officer whose name is Musa Cisse. Among the protocols I

    know other person - another lady whose name is Lydia. He

    has many protocols but these were the ones I can remember.

    I can remember their names."

    And then Mr Verner spells the names.

    "Q. And, Mr Witness, did you say Lilia?

    A. Lydia.

    Q. Now, Mr Witness, you said as well that Taylor had

    senior army officers. Who were these senior army officers.

    A. I will start with our own people, among our Gambia

    people. General Jackson was among, he was a special

    bodyguard to Charles Taylor himself. General Musa was

    among. Musang Yai, he is also a special bodyguard to

    Charles Taylor. They were all Gambians. General Abdulai

    Bah, he was a senior soldier. General Yeaten. Now I will

    go to the Liberians. He was then SSS chief of staff."

    Justice Sebutinde then asked, "Is this the same Yeaten spelling that we have had before?" Mr Verner clarifies it's the same spelling.

    Now, let's go through that slowly now, please. What are we to understand by the term "a protocol", Mr Taylor?

  • That is the individual responsible for ushering in visitors and arranging the programme of the President.

  • Right. Did you have a protocol officer called Musa Cisse?

  • Did you have a protocol officer, a lady called Lydia?

  • Do you know of a Lydia?

  • Did such a Lydia have a role within the greater Liberia administration?

  • What was that role?

  • She was special assistant to me at the time.

  • So she was a special assistant, not a protocol?

  • What's the difference?

  • Well, the special assistant is in meetings - takes special notes of meetings, get them organised for records.

  • Now, was General Jackson a bodyguard to you?

  • General Jackson was senior aide-de-camp. He was a Gambian, General Jackson. Mande, so Gambian. He was aide-de-camp - senior aide-de-camp.

  • Was he a bodyguard to you?

  • No, because - I'm answering this because an aide-de-camp is not considered a bodyguard. No, he was not. He was aide-de-camp.

  • And was he Gambian?

  • Yes, Musa N'jie was also an aide-de-camp.

  • Musang Yai, who we've seen?

  • Who remained even after you became President?

  • What happened to General Jackson?

  • General Jackson was killed in the 1996 attack on May in the Executive Mansion. General Jackson was killed during that attack.

  • Musang Yai, Y-A-I?

  • No, no, no. Well, we - it's - maybe that's the way the interpreter wrote it, but it's N'jie. It's Musa N'jie.

  • Okay. I am looking at what's written on the transcript. And just so that we are clear, because it may be that we can clarify things for further reference, the passage reads as follows:

    "Q. General Jackson was among - he was a special bodyguard

    to Charles Taylor himself. General Musa was among. Musang

    Yai..."

  • Well, if we go strictly by the transcript, I don't know anyone with this spelling and pronunciation. I know a Musa N'jie. It's spell with an N-'-J-I-E. I don't know - if we follow this transcript, I don't know - in fact, not that I just don't know. There is no such person with this name. And I can - if it's associated with Musa N'jie, there is a Musa N'jie.

  • Right. So perhaps we might want to make a mental note that that is a reference to Musa N'jie, spelt N-'-J-I-E?

  • If that is accepted, that's the person that I know. There is a Musa N'jie.

  • I don't have the transcript here, Mr Griffiths. What does the transcript spell it as?

  • The transcript page 3461, line 7, spells it at M-U-S-A-N-G, separate word, Y-A-I.

  • I see. And Mr Taylor is saying that it should be N-J-I-E.

  • Musa N'jie. And in the context of the answer, there appears to be some force in that suggestion. So all I am suggesting is that perhaps we ought to make a mental note that in due course that is a reference to Musa N'jie.

  • We are trying to get into the transcript. I think the spelling in the transcript is definitely a fabrication. I don't recall anything or any name spelt like that. Musang Yai? I don't recall any witness saying any such name:

  • Mr Taylor, help me. The man who was an aide-de-camp to you, General Musa?

  • Spell N'jie for me?

  • And how do you spell Musa?

  • Well, it's spelled two - either M-U-S-A or M-O-U-S-S-A.

  • All I am suggesting, your Honours, is that in the context of the question and the answer as given, it would appear that perhaps we ought to correct that spelling, and that is a reference to Musa N'jie. I don't know if that assists?

  • I think we'd better leave Mr Taylor's evidence as it is, because I am not sure whether the witness was saying the same name or not.

  • And frankly speaking, I think it's the obligation of counsel leading the evidence to ensure that the names they wish to be on the record are correctly spelt. Even the next day after the transcript has come out, it remains the duty of the lawyers to correct those spellings. If they don't correct them, that is the evidence we have.

  • Now, going back to this passage, Mr Taylor: "He is also a special bodyguard to Charles Taylor. They were all Gambians." Now, pause there. What role did the Gambians who you requested Dr Manneh's assistance in terms of, what role did they play with regard to you?

  • Well, in all frankness, they played a dual role. They were like special securities around me and they had titles, like aide-de-camp, this, but they were special securities around me.

  • So when, in the context of this answer, the witness is suggesting that a number of Gambians were playing bodyguard roles in respect of you, is that true or false?

  • Special bodyguard role, I would say that's true. That's true.

  • General Abdulai Bah?

  • No, General Bah was not amongst the special bodyguards. General Bah was the most senior Gambian military officer that everyone fell under, Abdulai Bah. But he was not the - he did not serve a bodyguard function to me, no.

  • He didn't?

  • Now, just so that we are clear about this, Mr Taylor - and I take the learned Justice's admonition on board - this Abdulai Bah, is it the same or a different person from Ibrahim Bah?

  • That is a different person. There's an Ibrahim Bah; this is Abdulai Bah.

  • This is a different person altogether?

  • Okay. Yes. Now, let's go on to another aspect of this witness's evidence. 8 February, 2008, page 3465:

    "Q. Mr Witness, you said that he - and you were talking

    about Ibrahim Bah - and Abdulai Bah are the same. What do

    you mean when you said that? Could you explain to us?

    A. What I was saying is that Abdulai Bah, a person of his

    own, is also a human being. He is a member of SOFA. He

    was the one who was acting as SOFA's chief of staff.

    Ibrahim Bah was a member of SOFA. He is also a member of

    kafoo. He is also a member of SOFA. These two people -

    these two people are all citizens of Casamance, but they

    have relatives in the Gambia. These two people were all

    members of SOFA group in Libya. I am giving you two names

    of different people.

    Q. Thank you for that clarification, Mr Witness. Now, at

    the time of this meeting, the Gambian meeting, if you know

    what, if anything, was Ibrahim Bah doing in Liberia?

    A. Let me tell you. Then Ibrahim Bah, he used to go to

    Sierra Leone and come back. Ibrahim Bah, when Foday Sankoh

    started his war in Sierra Leone, he was a citizen of Gambia

    who was given by Charles Taylor to join the war in

    Sierra Leone. This was - then I know that Ibrahim Bah used

    to go to Sierra Leone. He used to go there, spend some

    time there and comes back to Liberia."

    Now, starting at the beginning of that, Mr Werner's question:

    "Q. You were talking about Ibrahim Bah, you said that he,

    and you were talking about Ibrahim Bah, and Abdulai Bah are

    the same. Are they?"

  • They are not the same. They are two different people.

  • Now, the witness goes on to say: "What I am saying is that Abdulai Bah, he is a member of SOFA." Okay. First of all, what is SOFA?

  • I don't know the words, but SOFA is the name of the organisation that Dr Manneh headed. I don't know what S-O-F-A really means, but they just called it SOFA. SOFA is Dr Manneh's organisation that he headed. It was the organisation that was used when they launched their unsuccessful operation against Jawara.

  • And as you see, bearing in mind what you told us earlier about this Abdulai Bah, he was acting as SOFA's chief of staff, is that true?

  • Yes, he was the most senior Gambian military personnel. All Gambians reported to Abdulai Bah.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, going back to that answer: "He is also a member of kafoo." What's kafoo?

  • Really I don't know. I don't even know any group called kafoo. The Gambians that were there were SOFA under Dr Manneh. Even Abdulai Bah reported to Manneh.

  • Now, he goes on to speak of you giving Ibrahim Bah effectively to Foday Sankoh. Did you?

  • No, no. How would I give Ibrahim Bah to Foday Sankoh? No. That just never happened. I want to believe that Ibrahim Bah could have known Foday Sankoh because in Libya, amongst the elements - Ibrahim Bah was really nothing. Ibrahim Bah was just an ordinary officer. In fact the senior people from the Gambia were Abdulai, General Mande Jackson, General N'jie, and General Domingo. These were the senior people. Even Ibrahim Bah was a junior personnel when they came. In fact Ibrahim Bah did not even work directly with me. That's how junior he was. He was not assigned to me as a special bodyguard and even this guy was not assigned to me as a special bodyguard.

  • Which guy?

  • Suwandi Camara was not assigned to me and I don't think he claims it in his text. The junior people, what we did was to take the most senior people that were special bodyguards around me. Yanks who had been a former school teacher, very educated. Yanks, Domingo, these were the senior people, but the junior people were not close to me. I did not really know a lot of them, no.

  • And so far as Bah travelling backwards and forwards to Sierra Leone, what do you say about that?

  • Well, the best I can say, within that window that we had contact with Foday Sankoh, I cannot confirm or deny that he could have gone to Sierra Leone. He very well could have.

  • No, no, no. "He very well could have", what I am talking about is more specific; him going backwards and forwards?

  • I don't know. I really wouldn't know.

  • Perhaps we will leave it there, Mr Griffiths.

  • We will adjourn for lunch now and we will reconvene at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Yes, please continue, Mr Griffiths.

  • May it please your Honours:

  • Mr Taylor, before lunch I was putting to you evidence given by one Suwandi Camara which directly affects you, yes?

  • Now, moving on. Now, he went on to say, did this witness, on 8 February 2008 at page 3483:

    "A. In the context of SBU's, I'm referring to the SBU

    company that came there for training, I cannot say their

    number.

    Q. And to clarify, what were the age group of these SBU

    companies?

    A. The youngsters that came there, the commander of SBU,

    Supoon, was not more - at the time I know him, his age

    was not more than 16 years. These people, these SBUs, many

    - in many occasion, their age is 15 years, 14 years, 13

    years, that is what my estimate can give me.

    Q. Do you know how to spell Supoon?

    A. I will try. I don't know whether I'll be able to do it

    correctly, but I will try. S-U-P-O-O-N.

    Q. And who was Supoon?

    A. He was SBU commander. He was the SBU commander. He

    was working at the mansion ground. Charles Taylor's

    mansion ground.

    Q. When did you see Supoon for the first time?

    A. When I know Supoon was 1991. The first time I arrived

    in Liberia, I know Supoon.

    Q. And, if any, what was his rank at that time?

    A. He was at that time called brigadier general.

    Q. How old was he when you met him, when you saw him for

    the first time?

    A. I believe he could be 15 to 16 years, but I don't think

    he is 16 years.

    Q. Did he report to anyone, Supoon?

    A. Supoon was at Charles Taylor's mansion ground and I

    believe Supoon's report used to be given to Charles Taylor

    himself, to my belief, because Supoon is a commander of his

    own and at that time, wherever Charles was going, Supoon

    used to be among his convoy."

    Now, Mr Taylor, do you know anyone called Supoon?

  • No, I do not.

  • Do you know someone who was - who was the head of the SBUs?

  • We did not have a military SBU in the NPFL.

  • Were there youngsters in the NPFL?

  • Well, there were some teenagers that were soldiers of age but not military personnel under that particular age.

  • Persons under that particular age, how did you style them?

  • Well, people that were under the age of 18 were not trained as military personnel in the NPFL.

  • What were they used for?

  • Well, they were family members associated with soldiers that went with them from - that helped to take care of them in their homes and were used by them, cooking for them, but they were not recruits of the NPFL.

  • Did they have a commander?

  • No, no, no, they did not have any command structure. If you had a bigger brother, you follow him, you were with him, but there was no fixed command structure of any group calling itself SBU.

  • Mr Griffiths, what does the phrase "teenagers who were soldiers of age" mean?

  • That was an answer you gave at line 12, Mr Taylor, at page 94 of today's transcript. What did you mean by that?

  • I said teenagers of --

  • The record has you as saying "there were some teenagers who were soldiers of age but not military personnel."

  • No, no, then they got it wrong. How would you be a teenager - a soldier of age but not military? No, I said, people that were under 18 were not considered as military personnel. We had teenage individuals, 18, 19, that were military people, yes. Then he put it in wrongly.

  • Right. I'm going on to another matter.

  • Excuse me, counsel, before you go further, if I understood a reading back there relating to the year 1991 when this gentleman says - claims that he - this is his first time to Liberia and he is meeting Supoon. You just read it. I can scroll back.

  • Yes. This was:

    "Q. He was SBU commander. He was the SBU commander. He

    was working at the mansion ground, Charles Taylor's mansion

    ground. When did you see Supoon for the first time?

    A. When I know Supoon was 1991. The first time I arrived

    in Liberia, I know Supoon."

  • Well, that's an interesting twist then. That's an interesting twist because, if this gentleman came to Liberia in 1991, when I know - I know that the Gambians that came, then there is - maybe that's why I don't know this man, and then there is something wrong mere, because the Gambians that came to Liberia came with me in 1990 along with Dr Manneh. So who this man is, it may just maybe take another Gambian to - I don't dispute that. If he came into Liberia for the first time in 1991, then he is a year late. Where is he coming from? Where is he coming from? He may be a Gambian, but he may just maybe be a friend of somebody that comes in. That's why I don't know him, okay? Because the Gambians came in 1990 with Dr Manneh and he want to be coming in April, May of 1990.

    So I don't - that's why I don't know this man. And it just struck me when I saw the year, "when I first came to Liberia in 1991," I don't know how he got into Liberia. Maybe one of these Gambians may have been a relative of his and he came later, but - I mean, I see why I don't know him. So this year, 1991, he is setting out as the first time he comes to Liberia. So I just thought to mention that.

  • Very well. Thank you. We're grateful for that. Moving on. The witness also went on to say this, Mr Taylor, and this is page 3487 of the transcript of 8 February 2008:

    "Q. What, if anything, happened in the base, in Gbatala

    base at the end of three months' training?

    A. In many occasions, before these recruits are passed

    out, we used to inform our leader, General Yeaten, SSS

    commander. When we inform him, he used to inform Charles

    Taylor. Charles Taylor used to come to the base to visit

    the recruits, their passing out day. He used to bring - he

    used to bring cattle and some food for the recruits. And

    when they are passing out, he used to attend the passing

    out parade, and that is Charles Taylor. He used to talk to

    the recruits.

    Q. How do you know that, Mr Witness?

    A. I said I was a training instructor in the base. What

    happens is the base is what I am telling you.

  • Mr Werner, what is it that Mr Taylor used

    to bring for the recruits exactly? Was it cattle and food?

  • I will attempt to clarify that:

    Q. Mr Witness, just before you go on, can you go over that

    again and explain during the passing out day what Mr Taylor

    used to bring to the recruits?

    A. I said he used to bring - he used to give us cattle,

    sometimes two, three. He used to bring it to the base. He

    used to bring rice also, oil, onion were to be used to cook

    - for cooking. Sometimes when he is coming, he used to

    come advance commander's badge which he was going to give

    to the various units, and he attends the passing out parade

    that used to be there. I mean, Charles Taylor himself used

    to be present and he used to speak to the children before

    we dispersed, dispatch them to their various units.

    Q. Mr Witness, I asked you how did you know that, and you

    said that you were a training instructor at the base, and

    that what happened there, that is what you are telling us.

    Did you see Charles Taylor at Cobra base, Gbatala?

    A. On many occasions. Not three times, four times, five

    times, because the battalions we train at that base was

    more than ten.

    Q. You said you saw Charles Taylor many times yourself at

    Gbatala during the passing out. So what did you see

    exactly?

    A. He comes there. When Charles Taylor comes there, when

    we do the parade for him, after the disperse of the parade,

    already he used to address the children, the recruits.

    Charles Taylor - and he doesn't only address them. He used

    to bring along badges which are distributed between the

    children which were used to be to stick to their uniforms.

    Because of happiness - because of happiness, we used to

    sing songs and dance. And, in fact, Charles Taylor himself

    sometimes danced with us. After, when he goes home, then

    various unit commanders will come and take their people to

    their units.

    Q. Before you told us about SBUs. Now, when you spoke

    about Charles Taylor coming, you said that he used to

    address the children. What did you mean when you said 'the

    children'?

    A. The children are the recruits. That were the

    recruits."

    Very well, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, first of all, was there a training base at Gbatala?

  • Was it called Cobra base?

  • Are you aware of the identities of training instructors at that base?

  • No. There were many I knew had a couple of Special Forces training there, but I did not know all of the training instructors there, no.

  • Now, this witness appears to be suggesting that he was a training instructor at that base. Are you in a position to say whether that be true or false?

  • No, I'm not in a position to say true or false, but I do have some - I wouldn't know who was there, but there's some questions that comes to mind. If this man - this man was one of the Gambians that was trained and would have come to Liberia, he would have come earlier than 1991. If he came at the time he claims he came in 1991 and he went to Cobra base, then he is lying as an instructor because the military people that are with Dr Manneh came with me in 1990.

    So he may have visited there and maybe one of the Gambians - in fact Domingo trained down there and some of the military people that we knew. In fact the chief of staff that was mentioned, Abdulai Bah, was trained there.

    So my own thinking is that this guy probably went to the base, you understand me, because Gambians were there, but as an instructor I don't think so because to become an instructor at this base you would have had to be one of the Special Forces. You understand me? Because this was a base that trained some of our best people. And for him - for me not to know him, it simply means among the Gambians he was not a senior military officer. So he may have visited the base to visit with his brothers, but I doubt very much if he was an instructor.

  • This witness goes on to suggest that in effect children were being trained at that camp, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, but he mixes it up. No, because as I'm reading the text he is saying recruits and children. I am not sure as to whether he is distinguishing between recruits and children or he's using children to mean all of the personnel. I don't know, because there were no children trained in Gbatala or no other base.

    In fact the year he is talking about, 1991, some of our best came out of there including one that became General Cassius Jacob was trained by this particular time. In 1991 our best training class came out and most of them became commanders in the field.

  • Now help us. When did this training base at Gbatala first open?

  • Gbatala opened I would say - I moved to Gbarnga in '91. I would say late '91, early '92. I would say about late '91, early 1992 because this was one of the first things that we did. Now we were beginning to look for commanders of the future and it was a very, very, very well put together base. Not to forget that there are NPFL training bases - total number of training bases I would say could range to 15 or 20 bases around the country.

    Now we created Gbatala as something like a Special Forces base. There were no kids, nothing. These were the best - what we did at Gbatala, we went around throughout the NPFL and most of the people that trained at Gbatala at this time were not ordinary green recruits, no, no, no, no, no. Some of the best fighting men in the field that showed promise were the people that were brought to Gbatala and I say one of them that I remember very well that came out to become a senior commander was Cassius Jacob. So these were not green individuals. By green I mean you were just looking for fresh people, no. These were men that had been fighting and had shown promise and were brought to Gbatala and were trained by some of our best.

  • But he is quite clearly saying here, Mr Taylor - this is why I want you to have the opportunity to address it - that it was children who were being trained at Gbatala?

  • What do you say about that?

  • That is a blatant lie and there will be witnesses to prove that it is a lie. It is a lie.

  • And he goes on in fact to embellish that account by saying that you would bring along cattle and food and the like it would appear as some reward at their passing out ceremony, the children?

  • Not children. I attended on most of these bases when there's a major graduation. That turnout he is talking about is graduation. A major graduation let's say with this special group, I would go and on that day as an appreciation for what they have done I will probably carry something, we would have a big - I will let them cook for everybody and they will eat.

    This boy was around - apparently he was around and he picked up a lot of side information, but most of this other stuff I want to believe he observed, okay, this particular graduation because his brothers were there like Abdulai Bah and senior people and probably just to make people believe that he is so important. But this boy, I want to bet anything that he is not a military personnel.

  • So do you accept, Mr Taylor, because I want the record to be clear about this, that you would on such graduation occasions perhaps bring cattle, rice, oil and the like as suggested by the witness?

  • And that you would on occasions dance with them?

  • No. There's no dancing. At a graduation they are showing the commander in chief what they have learned. It is not a festival. There is no dancing. At the parade they will show different tactics, what they learned. They will do demonstration of tactics. They will use wooden - pieces of wood as guns and they will demonstrate. I will come in and as an appreciation for a jolly ceremony I would probably bring a cow and say, "Well, this is available." They will kill it, cook and everybody will eat as an act of appreciation for what - there's no dancing and whatchamacallit. Maybe they will dance after doing the eating, because I'm not even there when they cook and eat. No, there's no dancing.

  • Very well. Let's move on and deal with another aspect of his testimony. This is 11 February 2008, page 3514 of the transcript:

    "Q. So what if anything happened, Mr Witness, when you

    gathered and had a meeting and informed Jackson?

    A. Jackson informed Charles Taylor. When he informed

    Charles - when he inform him - when he informed Charles

    Taylor then Jackson told us that Charles Taylor said that

    he communicated with RUF soldiers in Sierra Leone so that

    they can give reinforcement to Mustapha to come to Gbarnga.

    Q. And what if anything happened after that, Mr Witness?

    A. After that RUF soldiers who first came to give Mustapha

    reinforcement to come to Gbarnga to open the road for him

    to Gbarnga.

    Q. How did you know that RUF soldiers came to give

    Mustapha reinforcement to come to Gbarnga?

    A. Tell him that when the day that communication was done

    when Jackson was doing the communication we went to

    Gbarnga. He also responded that the old man told him that

    he was informed the RUF soldiers to give reinforcements to

    Mustapha Jallow to come to Gbarnga.

  • I'm a little confused. I understood this

    meeting followed the death of Mustapha Jallow and we are

    now having Mustapha Jallow reinforced.

  • Your Honour, I believe that he said the alleged

    death but I will try --

  • You say the alleged death? We are still

    not clear if it is alleged or actual.

  • I said that was not true. He was not dead.

    Mustapha was not killed.

  • Now I understand. We could have had that

    a little earlier.

    Q. Now, Mr Witness, you said that RUF soldiers came to

    give Mustapha reinforcement. If you know, who came to give

    Mustapha reinforcement?

    A. Tell him that the first person who came was the

    commander of RUF. He is called General Pa Jean. He was

    the one who led the RUF soldiers to reinforce Mustapha

    Jallow to Gbarnga.

    Q. Mr Witness, what if anything happened when Pa Jean led

    RUF soldiers to reinforce Mustapha Jallow?

    A. Tell him that when Pa Jean led these soldiers to

    reinforce Mustapha they came by the bush to Gbarnga but on

    their way Pa Jean died but when they were reaching

    Waterside between Bong County and Lofa, at that time Morris

    Kallon - Morris Kallon was in charge of RUF soldiers but I

    will let you - I will clear one thing to you."

    Now, Mr Taylor, who is Mustapha Jallow?

  • Mustapha Jallow is one of the Gambian soldiers. He was a general. I know Mustapha very well.

  • And this incident described by the witness of Mustapha Jallow being reinforced by RUF combatants?

  • I have no idea what this man is talking about here about reinforcing Mustapha Jallow. I really don't know what he is talking about.

  • But he begins in this way, Mr Taylor: "Jackson told us that Charles Taylor said that he" - that's you - "communicated with RUF soldiers in Sierra Leone so that they can give reinforcement to Mustapha to come to Gbarnga."

  • You know, this is total nonsense. That's why I'm saying I don't know what he's talking about. Reinforcement to come to Gbarnga. Gbarnga is attacked in 1994. Gbarnga is attacked, so who is coming - what reinforcement would be coming to Gbarnga to do what? Gbarnga is attacked in 1994. There is no contact with the RUF.

    I really don't think - I do not know. He what he is talking about here is total foolishness. There is no such thing as Mustapha Jallow waiting for reinforcements. General M Jallow was in fact not commanding any group. He was a general. He is one of those individuals that moved around a lot doing inspection and different things. Very, very, very decent man and an older type fellow. He was not involved in day-to-day combat. So I really don't know what this boy is talking about here.

  • Well, let's break it down and see if we can make any sense out of it, Mr Taylor.

  • Can you think of any circumstance in which Gbarnga would need to be reinforced?

  • No, no, no, no. The only time Gbarnga ever came under attack was the joint attack by ULIMO and others in 1994 as --

  • Now help us. In 1994 - and I know this is terrain we've covered on more than one occasion - was the NPFL in contact with the RUF?

  • No. We were not in contact with the RUF. And in fact the areas that controlled the whole border with Sierra Leone was controlled by ULIMO as far back as 1992.

  • Now, what about this business of you having communicated with RUF soldiers?

  • Total, total nonsense. Total lie. How would I communicate with RUF soldiers? RUF is not even in the picture. We have had our day with RUF ended in 1992. ULIMO is in full control. It is ULIMO that attacked Gbarnga. To reinforce Gbarnga by the RUF, it simply means what? That the RUF has to fight from the border with Liberia, that is at Mendekoma, and the map we've gone through that. They would have to come Mendekoma, Foya, Kolahun, Voinjama, Zorzor. They would have to fight through the entire ULIMO line to reach to Gbarnga, so there is no such thing. Upon 1994 - at no other time did Gbarnga come under any attack except in 1994.

  • Now what about an RUF commander called General Pa Jean?

  • I have no knowledge of who this gentleman is and if he had been any serious general amongst the RUF and other Sierra Leoneans that came before this Court, at least if he was that important some - his name would have at least dropped somewhere. I mean, this - I don't know him. I don't know any General Pa Jean. Don't know him.

  • But he is supposed to be the commander of this reinforcement force, Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I tell you what, this boy - this is a pure, pure fabrication on the part of this boy who does not know what he is talking about and probably just called him General Pa Jean.

  • Well, the witness went on to say this, page 3518, transcript of 11 February, line 19:

    "Q. Now, what, if anything, happened after that?

    A. Tell him that when Mustapha reported at Gbarnga,

    Charles Taylor told him to go and rest for a while. So

    while he was resting, Charles Taylor made an initiation to

    attack ULIMO because at that time they had a discussion. I

    don't know whether Ghana - for the ceasefire.

    Q. Who had a discussion at that time for the ceasefire?

    A. Tell him Charles Taylor and Alhaji Kromah, the warring

    factions had a meeting. I forgot the country, whether

    Ghana or Mali.

  • Mr Werner, I don't understand. What is

    an initiation to attack? 'Charles Taylor made an

    initiation to attack ULIMO.' What is that?

  • I will try to clarify:

    Q. Mr Witness, you appear to have said that Charles Taylor

    made an initiation to attack ULIMO. What do you mean when

    you said that?

    A. This is what I am saying. After ULIMO had attacked -

    but he must plan it, because if he did not plan, they will

    say he has broken the agreement of ceasefire. This was the

    time he formed the group called LDF.

    Q. So you said after ULIMO had attacked, he must plan it.

    Who are you talking about?

    A. Can you repeat your question? That is not clear to me

    because I'm not talking about ULIMO.

    Q. The answer you gave, Mr Witness, as it appears on the

    screen, was that, 'after ULIMO had attacked, he must plan

    it, because if he did not plan, they will say he has broken

    the agreement of ceasefire.' Who are you talking about?

    A. I said ULIMO-K were responsible for Lofa, and during

    their discussion, they had a ceasefire agreement, the

    discussion between Charles Taylor and Alhaji Kromah. But

    Charles Taylor did not want Lofa to be under the

    responsibility of ULIMO. I said that it was the time he

    decided to form a group that will attack ULIMO so that his

    name could not be mentioned. This was the time he formed

    LDF. Charles Taylor formed LDF."

    Now, let's take that in more digestible bites, Mr Taylor.

  • "Now, remember, tell him that when Mustapha reported at Gbarnga." Now, remember the previous passage we looked at, RUF reinforcement are coming to Gbarnga to reinforce Mustapha Jallow, yes?

  • And you recall explaining before that ULIMO were in control of the area at this time.

  • That is correct.

  • And it's in this context that the witness says, "Charles Taylor made an initiation to attack ULIMO." Yes?

  • Now, help us, Mr Taylor. Can you explain how it is that you're initiating to attack ULIMO and at the same time asking for reinforcements from Sierra Leone for Gbarnga?

  • That's why I'm saying this man apparently is not a military man. I can see he - this boy - I see why I don't know him. He is not a military man. But when he refers to Alhaji Kromah and Charles Taylor in a meeting, this is what I keep referring to, he is talking about 1994, which makes it even --

  • How do you know that?

  • Because in 1994, Gbarnga came under attack while we are at Akosombo for the peace agreement, Gbarnga comes under attack and Gbarnga is captured. So when he talks about the attack on Gbarnga, he is speaking about 1994. Then he brings about Alhaji Kromah and he doesn't know which other country. So this Akosombo, Ghana, in 1994.

    Now, this being the case, I don't see how under the same breath he can be talking about reinforcement and making arrangement to attack ULIMO when ULIMO is already in Gbarnga. ULIMO attacked Gbarnga and captured Gbarnga in 1994 while I was away in Akosombo and we had to come back and fight for three months to regain it. So, I mean, he's got it wrong, and I don't know how these people manage to make up these things. He does not know what he is talking about. He doesn't know.

  • Mr Taylor, did you form LDF?

  • No, I did not form LDF.

  • So if you didn't form it, who did?

  • The LDF was formed by a gentleman called Francois Massaquoi. He is late now, but the deputy to him is - was a gentleman called - oh, Mike Thomas. And what the LDF was at the time - when ULIMO captured Lofa over those years, Lomas --

  • Lomas. Lomas. The individual - oh, okay, I need to clarify this for the Court. The individuals from Lofa County, the tribe in Lofa County is called the Loma tribe, which are one of our members of our team, Counsel Supuwood, is Loma.

  • How do you spell that?

  • Excuse me, your Honour. It is L-O-M-A, Loma. These are - this is the tribe. The Lomas that were behind the line in ULIMO territory and those that were in Guinea formed a group, what they say, to remove ULIMO from their soil. We could not be a part of that because we had an agreement, okay? Because the Lomas were fighting an insurgency in ULIMO.

  • You had an agreement with whom?

  • We had the Akosombo agreement. All of these peace agreements, we had the Cotonou agreement, so we could not break the agreement. But the Lomas that had stationed themselves in the forest and different things, because - and this is factual - because ULIMO-K was predominantly Mandingos and because most of them were from Guinea, the Lomas in the area decided that they would resist the Mandingos that had come from Guinea to occupy their towns and villages and secret societies, and it is the Lomas - in fact, Mike Thomas is alive and well, and I'm sure that he may have an opportunity to explain this.

  • And so when was that group, the LDF, formed?

  • Oh, I would say the LDF was formed - at least we've heard about them, I would say beginning late 1992, early '93, the LDF came into being.

  • And what does LDF stand for?

  • And for how long did they remain in existence?

  • They remained in existence until 1995 when there was the peace that came into being.

  • Now, on that same topic, that same witness, on 11 February 2008, page 3537 of the transcript, said this:

    "Q. Now, if you know from, what sources did the LDF get

    the arms and ammunition from?

    A. Tell him, the start of the war, I told you, LDF was a

    group formed by Charles Taylor himself. We used to take

    our supplies from Gbarnga. We have our arms and

    ammunition from that place.

    Q. Now, if you know, who was issuing the weapons in

    Gbarnga?

    A. Tell him that we used to take the weapons from Charles

    Taylor's mansion ground, from his armourer at his mansion

    ground. If I do not forget the man's name, he is Moses.

    Q. Now, you told us this morning that the political leader

    of the LDF was a man called Yakbawalo. Now, what, if

    anything, did you hear Yakbawalo saying publicly about the

    LDF?

    A. Tell him, yes, I heard.

    Q. What did you hear, Mr Witness?

    A. Tell him that Yakbawalo has even spoke in BBC to say

    that he is the leader of the LDF because the Lofa people

    want their freedom. That is why he led people from Lofa to

    fight against ULIMO. He said this group is not the same as

    NPFL group. I personally heard that from BBC. That

    interview, I could recall, was done in Guinea."

    Now, first of all, does the name Yakbawalo mean anything to you, Mr Taylor?

  • Nothing whatsoever. Nothing whatsoever. The leader of the LDF that I knew that came to my attention was Francois Massaquoi.

  • Now, what about this suggestion that the LDF were provided with arms and ammunition from your mansion ground in Gbarnga?

  • Well, you see, that's what's wrong with these boys. Why would Yakbawalo be speaking from Guinea if he is in Gbarnga?

  • Well, I don't understand, Mr Taylor, could you explain that?

  • These boys - this is the - this is the problem with this whole - these boys get up and destroy people by lies and rumours. Yakbawulo or Yakbawalo, whatever he is talking about here, is supposed to be speaking from Guinea as the LUF leader, but he is in Gbarnga, and - so, in fact, the way how he puts this, counsel, I stand corrected on this, when he is saying "we", he makes himself a part of the LDF. If I'm reading him properly, he says, "We used to take our arms from Gbarnga."

  • Yes.

  • So he is now making himself a part of the LDF. I don't understand this, okay? The LDF does not get any arms from Gbarnga. The LDF, I said before this Court earlier, was operating out of Lofa and some of their expatriates - I mean, their citizens in Guinea. Now, for him to say that this man is in Guinea and he is coming to Gbarnga to collect arms, that's a lie. That's not true.

    The LDF operated out of Lofa. They carried out attacks against ULIMO-K, and they got some little assistance, because in Guinea there are also the Lomas in Guinea, but in Guinea they call them Toma, okay. And I mentioned to you - to this Court some time before, that whole Guinea corridor from Nzerekore coming on through Liberia and going into Sierra Leone, I mentioned it before, is a group calling themselves the Mende Mai. These are the people that constitute the Poro, we've talked about it here, and the Sani societies in West Africa. They are like brothers and sisters. They are Lomas called Toma in Guinea. They speak the same language, and these people are traditionalists. And this whole organisation that was set up were traditional people that said they could not permit these people to come and destroy their secret societies and they started their own insurgency in ULIMO area against them. No arms came from the NPFL.

  • Just before you move away from that, Mr Griffiths, I'm not sure if we've had Mende Mai before.

    Do you have a spelling for that, Mr Taylor?

  • I'll spell it like I did before. I missed it. I think it's M-E-N-D-E, Mende; Mai, M-A-I. Mende Mai refer to a group of individuals that sit in the corridor between Guinea straight up into Sierra Leone. If I'm not mistaken, your Honour, I stand corrected, I think it's in the records.

  • Mr Taylor, I'm not sure I understand, so can I, through you, seek some clarification. So the LDF are operating within ULIMO territory, are they?

  • And you are positing that what the witness is describing are events in 1994?

  • Well, yes. Yes, I have to say so, from the description of the attack on Gbarnga and all of this, yes.

  • Now, help me with this: At that time, who controlled Lofa?

  • Oh, ULIMO. ULIMO is in full control of Lofa.

  • And help me, in which county is Gbarnga?

  • Gbarnga is in Bong County. Bong, B-O-N-G. Bong County.

  • Now help me. In order to obtain supplies from the mansion ground in Gbarnga, what would the LDF in Lofa within ULIMO territory have to do?

  • They would have to come through ULIMO territory before they get to Gbarnga.

  • And if they get material they would have to go back through ULIMO territory.

  • Now as far as you're aware, Mr Taylor, at that time was such a venture militarily possible?

  • No. It was not militarily possible. And if I remind the Court, the dividing line I have put in evidence here between ULIMO and the NPFL is the St Paul River at the so-called St Paul River Bridge. We've covered that before. And this is a huge river and it's a bridge that's the only crossing point. ULIMO is on the other side, the NPFL is on the Bong County side. So you would have to go through that bridge where there are hundreds of soldiers on both sides and the long riverbanks, it just wouldn't work. And the St Paul is the second largest river in Liberia.

  • And help me, did you have a Moses working at the mansion ground, Mr Taylor?

  • Yes, there was a Moses working at the Executive Mansion Ground, yes.

  • And what was the role assigned to that Moses?

  • Moses was one of the boys that worked in the warehouse in Gbarnga under - he worked under a gentleman called Kai Sonnie. He was - he worked under Kai Sonnie.

  • Give us a spelling for Kai Sonnie, please?

  • Kai is K-A-I. The last name is S-O-N-N-I-E.

  • And what was Kai Sonnie's role?

  • Kai Sonnie was in charge of the warehouses of food and ammunition in Gbarnga.

  • The Moses that I know that worked with Kai at that particular time was called Moses Duo who worked with Kai. I'm not sure if that's the same, but that's the Moses I know.

  • Moses?

  • Duo. That's spelled D-U-O.