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

Now, your Honours, what can we properly conclude from the evidence we've just considered? What does that withdrawal, what does that testimony we have just referred to tell us about what had happened to the relationship between Taylor and Sankoh in or about June of 1992 at the time of the withdrawal? It tells us that the golden thread was broken. It tells us that the JCE, allegedly created in Libya, had come to an end. That's what it tells us.

If any such JCE had been formed, that is.

And we submit that thereafter, following that breach, Sankoh and Taylor did not have any contact again until August 1999, after the signing of the Lome agreement.

In our submission, from those years, 1992 or so, down to 1999, August, there is no evidence of Taylor and Sankoh meeting. I appreciate that the Prosecution would have this Court believe that there was radio contact between the two during that intervening period. We submit that is a lie. We submit there was no such radio or telephonic contact during that period. We submit there was a breach in or about June of 1999 - 1992, which was never healed. That was the end of any contact between the two.

How can we test that proposition? I ask your Honours to consider this: We know that sometime in or about 1996, Sankoh went to Cote d'Ivoire, to borrow a phrase from Mr Koumjian, look at a map. Cote d'Ivoire shares a fairly lengthy border with Liberia. Now, you would have thought, given the golden thread, what should Mr Sankoh do once he gets to the safety of Cote d'Ivoire? He no longer has ULIMO to block him from going to see his boss. You'd expect him to nip over the border, hey boss, we are in difficulties back in Sierra Leone, you know. RUF are in jungles, NPRC governments has given us a hard time, what can you do to help?

We know at no stage during that period spent by Sankoh in Cote d'Ivoire did he cross the border and enter Liberia. There is no evidence. And the obvious question is: Why not? We know he was travelling to other places because, guess where he got arrested? Nigeria. Why is he going to Nigeria when his boss is just next door? Why? In our submission, this absence of contact over a significant period is significant. It is inexplicable given the nature of the Prosecution's case. So from the start of the indictment period, the two main co-conspirators, going back to Libya, don't have any contact, even when they have the opportunity. Why not? And in that context, can I mention something to which I will return as I promised this afternoon? During that period, why is he writing to Mohammed Talibi in Accra rather than to Taylor? Why not? And, remember, he's got his writer in Cote d'Ivoire because we know who wrote the Mohammed Talibi letters so he's got his scribe there. Whilst he's getting his scribe to write off to Mohammed Talibi, why doesn't he say to him, "Drop a line to our friend Charlie over the border?" Why not? Why not? This is totally inexplicable given the nature of this allegation. It just does not make sense. It's another of those instances where we say, unless credible answers can be given to those questions, then the Prosecution have a problem in reaching that high standard of satisfying you so that you are sure, otherwise known as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Can't happen.

Proposition number 5. Once the NPFL had been withdrawn, Foday Sankoh was undoubtedly in straitened circumstances and he was forced as a result to change the tactics of the RUF. We know that it was at or about this time that the decision was made to resort to jungle warfare, surviving on captured weapons. We've had much evidence of that. Also we know that it was during this period, the salute reports which have been placed before this Court consistently record contact being made with ULIMO. At whose suggestion? Not Charles Taylor. At Sankoh's suggestion. Using money given to Bockarie by Sankoh to trade with ULIMO. There are repeated references to that.

And so that's how the RUF were surviving.

Madam President, I note the time and sadly for a brief moment, we have to go again into private session to refer to some testimony.

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