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

We travelled extensively. We visited more than 20 countries, countries in West Africa, but other countries that were associated in some way or another with diamonds or weapons. Included South Africa, Israel, several European countries, North America, obviously, and others. More than 20, more than 20 countries. We spoke to government officials. In some cases it was ministries of foreign affairs, in other cases it was economic ministries, customs officials.

We spoke to people in the industry. We spoke extensively to people in the diamond industry and we spoke to industry bodies such as the World Diamond Council or the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, but we spoke to individual companies as well, large ones like De Beers, and we spoke to individual diamond dealers and people who had been diggers on the ground in places like Sierra Leone and other West African countries. We spoke to traders, diamond exporters. So we spoke to the industry at length and from top to bottom.

We spoke to a lot of military people. We spoke to people in the military in Sierra Leone. We spoke to the minister of defence in Liberia. We spoke to UNAMSIL officials in Sierra Leone. We spoke to intelligence agencies. We spoke to a number of intelligence agencies in the United States, in the United Kingdom, to the French in Sierra Leone and elsewhere.

We spoke to the media. We found that the media often had very good leads on stories. Sometimes it was large international - prominent international media outlets or individuals. In other cases it was people who were stringers or reporters in Sierra Leone or Liberia. In some cases people spoke to us - took very great risks in speaking to us.

We spoke to aid agencies, multilateral, bilateral aid agencies and diplomats in African countries. We spoke to civil society organisations in Sierra Leone, in Liberia. We looked at a lot of material, a lot of written material. We were shown material that had been found in Foday Sankoh's house in Sierra Leone after it was - after he was arrested. We were shown material from the Sierra Leone police. We were given material by journalists. We visited air traffic control operations in several countries and saw flight logs of aircraft movement.

I'm trying to think whether I've left something out. We spoke probably - we probably did three or four hundred individual interviews but many of those interviews contained - I mean they were with many people. For example, I spoke to a number of Lebanese diamond dealers in Kenema that would probably account in our logs for one meeting, but there was something like 35 or 40 diamond dealers there and I met with them for more than two hours. So I certainly got more than one view. The same thing with church leaders. We met with church leaders in Liberia.

We met with a group of Kono chiefs. Because the war was - because the situation in Kono District was so terrible during the war and while we were there many of the leaders had fled and were in Freetown or in other parts of the country. We interviewed chiefs not one by one but as a group and they often had detailed information about what was going on in their areas. People would be arriving with information on a fairly regular basis. So we spoke to a very wide cross-section of people at very high levels. We spoke to the President of Sierra Leone, we spoke to the President of Liberia, we spoke to ministers in several governments in several countries.

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