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

Now, your Honours will see it's a handwritten letter headed, "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone," and it's dated the 26th of June 1996. We see that it's from the leader, Foday S Sankoh. Now, let's just pause again there for a moment. Now, remember the Prosecution theory, Taylor is the boss of the RUF. So why Sankoh here in this letter styling himself as the leader? But in any event, let's put that to one side. We see that this is a letter addressed to brother Mohammed Talibi, Libyan Arab People's Jamahiriya, Accra, Ghana, subject, follow-up request.

"I want to thank you and the other brothers back home again, very much, for the half million United States dollars which I received through you for the purchase of needed material to pursue the military mission. However, I wish to let you all be informed that my business partners for these materials are here with me and we have had extensive discussions on this subject. Attached to this letter you will find a list of materials, arms and ammunition, and their costs for your serious and urgent attention. I now need one and a half million United States dollars in order to purchase twice the listed materials for effective and smooth operation."

He then goes on to mention that he's sending someone in order to further explain, and then over the page, please:

"The airlifting of these materials through our controlled territory will be done before any payment for this mission is done by me. This is why I am urgently appealing to you and the other brothers back home for your usual cooperation in providing this time the one and a half million United States dollars to be at hand with me so that my business partners and my representatives can proceed for these materials very quickly for fast and smooth operation."

Let's just put this letter, because we consider this to be of some significance, in its context, its proper context. This is June 1996. So it's five months before the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord. It means, then, that whilst the negotiations were going on, this duplicitous man was making other plans. And it's quite clear that Sankoh had no intention to abide by the terms of the Abidjan Peace Accord, and we have to ask in due course and will, whether, in fact, he had any intention of abiding by the terms of the Lome agreement.

Secondly, why is there no mention of Taylor in this letter? Recalling, of course, that golden thread, fashioned in Libya, including among its operatives, Gaddafi, a person who will have to loosen the purse strings for this one and a half million, and Burkina Faso. So why no mention of the other pillar of that triumvirate, Charles Taylor, why not?

Thirdly, who are these business representatives? Now, remember the theory is Taylor is there to provide for the RUF's needs, so who are these unidentified business representatives? It means, then, of course, that Sankoh and hence the RUF had access through other sources, other than Charles Taylor, to obtaining war materials. That is clear. And when we come in due course to think about the Magburaka shipment, which we will, and also the shipment which came into Sierra Leone at the back end of 1998, we need to bear this important point in mind: Sankoh had his own sources. It is a fact.

Now, you will recall, Madam President, your Honours, that there was a second Mohammed Talibi letter. That is exhibit P-272. And Madam Court Manager, I hope that everything is up and running now. Are we still experiencing difficulties?

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