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

I'm grateful. It's exhibit P-272. And, again, we would submit that this is an exhibit which bears fruitful, detailed analysis. Again, we see it's a handwritten letter dated the 4th of December. Pause there. 4th of December would be just after the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord, and as we will see in due course, it's after Sankoh had made the helicopter trip to Sierra Leone. It's from - and remember, this we were told, this letter was written in the Cote d'Ivoire, and I've already mentioned the absence of any suggestion or evidence that whilst in the Cote d'Ivoire Sankoh met with Taylor. We then see this. It's from Corporal Foday Sankoh, leader of the RUF SL Abidjan, La Cote d'Ivoire, to brother Mohammed Talibi, People's Bureau of Libyan Arab People's Jamahiriya, Accra, Ghana. Subject: Urgent information.

"I received the $29,000 United States through Mr Daniel Kallon."

Pause. In our final brief, we have set out the important and critical role played by this Daniel Kallon and his wife, Isatu Kallon, Mamie I. We see here mention of him and we would submit confirmation of his role, because let's just pause and think about it for a moment. If you're Foday Sankoh, you would really have to trust someone to allow them to take safe passage of $29,000 US. That gives us a reflection of what - how important the role was played by this Daniel Kallon, "for which I am really very grateful to you and the other brothers back home. We have signed the peace accord on November the 29th, 1996, just so as to relieve our movement of the enormous pressure from the international community while I will use this opportunity to transact my business in getting our fighting materials freely and easily."

I've mentioned the use of that word "my" before. We see it here repeated. Why? But more than that, remember, round about this time, late 1996, the RUF were under serious pressure. Camp Zogoda having fallen, and so on and so forth.

"I have already finished negotiations with my business partners" - there we have that reference again - "my business partners. And I have so far paid $300,000 US. Our agreement is that they should receive $700,000 US from me in Sierra Leone upon their arrival with the material into my controlled territory."

I pause again. Now, where did that $300,000 US paid by Sankoh come from? Bearing in mind, I repeat myself, he's just over the border from Charles Taylor, so where did it come from? And hold on a minute. Why have we not heard from a single witness about Charles Taylor handing over what in these terms is an enormous sum to Foday Sankoh whilst he's in Cote d'Ivoire? Why not? Why is there this absence of proof on such a critical matter?

But it continues: "The total cost of the material is $2 million US. The balance amount will be paid when the operation is completed. I am therefore asking you and your brothers to urgently provide the needed $700,000 US so that I will be in a position to live up to my commitment to my business partners who will be coming very soon with these materials -- coming very soon with these materials. As I have always learned from you people, there is some money with the Burkinabe government, for the provision of our needed materials, but as you might have known by now, that government have really not shown any keen interest in assisting us as a movement."

Pause again. That's another prong of the triumvirate, Blaise Compaore in Burkina Faso. And remember, this is an aspect of the golden thread. So what is Sankoh doing saying this? "They really have not shown any keen interest in assisting us as a movement. I even had conversation with Commandant Diendere these few days but with no positive results. I would therefore suggest that you prepare a letter for me to meet President Compaore on this issue, as we never received anything from them, and even my delegates at Ouagadougou have returned ever since to my location here. Please advise on this issue."

Pause again. What Sankoh is saying there is, I'm going to approach Blaise Compaore for assistance, but hold on a minute, why not approach your main benefactor, Charles Taylor? Why is there no mention at this point in the letter, and also, guess what, I'm going to go to Charles Taylor as well and see what assistance he can provide to us? No mention of it. Nothing whatsoever. Why?

"When I went in last week" - now, this is a reference to the helicopter trip - "when I went in last week I was able to organise serious mining operations in precious minerals which I believe will help us to generate the needed foreign exchange for our mission."

Now, recall evidence to the effect that in the early part of the invasion of Sierra Leone, Foday Sankoh was dead against the idea of the RUF being involved in diamond mining. There is evidence before this Court of diamonds being captured but the evidence, the preponderance of the evidence, we would suggest, is to the effect that organised diamond mining within the RUF took place after this date. So this is December 1996.

And on that note, why is he saying, "When I went in last week, I was able to organise serious mining operations"? Why isn't he saying, "Well, my brother, Charles Taylor, has already been involved in diamond mining and so I've decided, given his lead, given that, I have to look to Charles Taylor in Liberia as the blueprint for everything I do. Why doesn't he say in the letter, well my brother Charles Taylor has been involved in diamond mining before, and I'm just getting involved now myself? Why not?

"For now, I am highly in need of this US $700,000 in order to go in and be waiting for the arrival of my business partners. Please help me in this great hour of need and I promise not to let you down." And then he gives the name of someone, "who will give you the rest of my message. My best regards to you and your family."

Now, I said to your Honours that this letter is of some significance. What it shows is this: At the - sometimes towards the end of 1996, Foday Sankoh, on behalf of the RUF, was busy seeking funding from the Libyans to finalise the purchase of a large quantity of arms. It would appear on the face of these two letters that he was doing it independently of Charles Taylor, using his own business contacts.

Now, recall that between nine to perhaps 11 months later, what happens? We have the Magburaka shipment. And remember the evidence from Issa Sesay that that shipment had been organised by Foday Sankoh before his arrest, and it had been waiting in Burkina Faso, the country named in the letter, to be delivered. Do you remember that evidence? Now, putting all of that together, who purchased the arms which arrive in Magburaka? Who did? I'm going to come back to that shipment later but we would submit, clearly on the face of these two letters, Foday Sankoh was engineering this for himself without any assistance, without any collaboration from Charles Taylor.

Now, before I leave this particular topic, unfortunately, Madam President, I'm just going to have to inconvenience the public gallery for a very short time, some evidence from a protected witness which I think would be best given in private session. It's a fairly short passage. It shouldn't last more than three to four minutes.

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