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

It was all open session, Madam President.

Despite the fact that there's all these screens in front of me the one that it appears on is at the far end of the bench. I will go from my hard copy here. 6765. I'll start at line 9. I'm very grateful to Ms Punt who has fund it on a screen much closer to home.

I'll start at line 9.

"Judge Sebutinde: Mr Koumjian, as I understand it, we're dealing with prior inconsistent statements. I, for one, have not had a satisfactory answer to the numerous questions by Mr Munyard around this issue. Every time he asks the question we get a slightly different answer from what he's asked, and I would like to get an answer to this prior inconsistency."

And I then go back to what he told the interviewer in February - and - February 2007, when he was trying to find out what you meant in October 2006. That's to say, Charles Taylor - I don't know anything about Charles Taylor's involvement. He's asked again in February 2007, and bottom of the page, line 26:

"Q. Why did you tell the interviewer in February 2007, when he asked you what you meant in 2006 October when you told him, 'I don't know about Charles Taylor's involvement in the decision to attack Freetown in January 1999', why did you tell the investigator that when he asked you for the second time, that by that you meant you understood the Freetown invasion was largely an AFRC project?

A. I think when you said it was the AFRC that planned that to enter Freetown, but I was able to make it explicit to you that the AFRC were unable to enter Freetown without the help of the RUF because the enemy did occupy the other areas where we attacked them before SAJ Musa's group were able to get a free access to enter.

Justice Sebutinde: Mr Mongor, I think you're avoiding the question. Nobody asked you to tell us the logistics of who entered or when they entered. For the nth time: Why did you tell in 2007 the investigators what you told them, that it was largely an AFRC project?

The witness: The reason why I told them that is because if you look at the group that moved for the Freetown invasion, many of them were AFRC men who were soldiers. They refused to wait for the RUF group to join them. They were just doing it by themselves."

Now, I then move on to something else, line 24:

"Q. There came a time, did there not, in November 2007 when you tell them, the investigators, that Sam Bockarie told you he'd had a meeting with Charles Taylor and a plan had been developed to attack Koidu, Makeni, Kenema and other strategic areas prior to advancing to Freetown. Why did you tell them that in November 2007 when you'd been saying on several occasions before that you didn't know about Charles Taylor's involvement in the decision to attack Freetown?

A. This was the time I said they had not asked me anything concerning the plans and I did say that it was when Sam Bockarie came with the ammunition, he explained to us the things that they discussed with regards our advancement.

Q. But they asked you about Charles Taylor's involvement in the decision to attack Freetown on a number of occasions before November 2007. What made you change your story in November 2007?

A. It was because I knew and I later realised something about the plans that Sam Bockarie brought with regards to the advancement that I later told the investigators.

Q. Are you saying you'd forgotten about what Sam Bockarie told you of Charles Taylor's big idea to attack Freetown when you were questioned in 2006 and 2007, and that you suddenly remembered in November 2007? Is that what you meant by, 'I later realised something about the plans that Bockarie brought'?

A. Yes. I am a human being. I am liable to forget. And you cannot say what I'm saying I will sit in one place and explain everything about it because it's history."

And then this:

"Q. Were you being pressed in November 2007 to give the Prosecutors more than you had given them on this subject before?

A. Well, I have told you, yes, the Prosecution would want more information.

Q. Yes. Were you being pressed?

A. Yes. When they asked me over and over.

Q. And did you feel that you had to give them more than you had already given them to satisfy them?

A. Well, it was not something to satisfy them that I was to say but it was because it came to my mind that I told them at that time."

Now, just pausing there, do you accept for one moment that he had forgotten until he was being pressed and asked over and over that he'd forgotten before November 2007? Before a date, I remind the Court, when this trial should have been well underway and anyone who was being interviewed as a prospective witness probably had been aware that they were likely, especially someone who has been interviewed since 2006, likely to be coming to The Hague at some point in 2007. We know the reasons. We don't need to go into that, why it didn't happen.

"A. It came to my mind that I told them at that time.

Q. Did you have a shaky heart in November 2007 when you were being interviewed again?

A. Well, I have so many other things, so many problems that disturbed me, but I cannot say that it was because of that at that time that my mind was shaky but I am a human being. I normally have problems I think about."


"Interview number 19, it was. Did you worry, Mr Mongor, that you were being interviewed now for the 19th time and they still - and that they really needed something more out of you or that you might be in trouble yourself?

A. I have my mind on so many other things. I think about so many things, my Lord. I'm a human being. I will have something in my mind as I'm sitting here, then maybe I'll forget about it and start thinking about some other things. You will not tell me as a human being that it is always that you have a steady mind."

I then - I'm not going to read all this out. I, then, in summary form, I asked him - I pointed out that the week before, he said he didn't know that the RUF accused were on trial but then had changed his account later. And over the page, line 7.

"Q. Do you recall whether I first asked you that you said, 'no, I didn't know they were on trial'?"

And he agrees, "Yes, I recall."

"Q. When you were interviewed in November 2007, were you told that the RUF trial was taking place?

A. Even if it happened, I can't recall now whether they said it and that I heard it."

I then asked for a document to be put on the screen, and you'll pick it up at line 24, that we had very recently been handed. And I read from the question, line 24".

"Q. It's the Special Court of Sierra Leone Office of the Prosecutor interview notes, dated the 29th of November 2007, being interviewed by an investigator S Streeter, the language is in English, and the Prosecutor, who is present in the interview, Alain Werner."

Over the page, line 2. Actually we don't need to know about the time of the interview. Line 6.

"It would be 1310 in 24 hour clock.

"Q. 'Alain Werner discussed'" - I'm going to read out the initials in full - "'Alain Werner discussed trial date and assured the witness knew the process involved in trial transport, accommodations, et cetera.'"

That bears out my point that by that time he would have been advised about the arrangements that would be made for him to come to give evidence in this trial. Line 13:

"Q. Now this is the end of November, last year. It's not very many months ago. Can you remember when you went to be interviewed then by Mr Werner and another that they were talking to you about transport and all the processes involved in your giving evidence in the trial?

A. I think so.

Q. 'Alain Werner explained that RUF Prosecution was complete.' Can you remember Mr Werner telling you the Prosecution part of the RUF trial was now complete?

A. Maybe he said but I forgot."

Again I'm not going to bother with the rest of that. If I go over the page, line 6:

"Q. And you knew perfectly well that the RUF accused were on trial because you'd been visiting the detention yard in 2005 and 2006, hadn't you?

A. I'd gone there.

Q. Let's go back to the page."

I repeated what Mr Werner had said.

"Q. Did he not only tell you that the Prosecution part of the RUF trial was over, but the information they were seeking now concerns the Taylor Prosecution? Did he tell you that?

A. Yes. As you're explaining now I recall, yes."

He then went on to say he didn't think he'd taken part in the RUF prosecution, and he said that he didn't think he'd been asked questions with a view to being a Prosecution witness in the RUF case.

Over the page, and this, I suggest, is very telling indeed. Because this is the interview where he starts to say that Charles Taylor, contrary to everything he'd said in the past, Charles Taylor was the brains behind the Freetown invasion. I quote to him line 2 from the note.

"Q. 'Alain Werner explained that the information being sought now,' that's November 2007, 'concerns the Taylor prosecution. Alain Werner explained to the witness,' that's you," to the witness, and I'm pointing out to him that's him, "'that as a top level commander he would be privy to more information than he has disclosed so far.'

A. Yes. They told me they've heard some information concerning me so that was why they called me to explain as part of the high command."

And then I point out: "It doesn't say there that they told you they had information concerning you."

He then says, "They had information."

Line 14 - sorry, line 15:

"Q. What was the information?

A. I only know they had information that I was part of the high command and I was someone who had been with the NPFL before and the RUF, so I should be able to give some more -- some information concerning the two parts."

Another telling answer. Then I put to him:

"Q. This is interview 19. They knew perfectly well before then you'd been part of the high command, because that's what you'd been telling them."

And of course, pausing there why else had he been given a letter of immunity the year before?

"A. Yes, I've not denied that, I told them that."

And then, he persists in saying there was information. Over the page:

"Q. What was the information they had on you?

A. I can't know that now but I've told you they said I was one of the RUF high command and they asked me whether I was and I agreed."

Line 7:

"A. They had known but suppose I'd come and if I was called by somebody, I come, they ask if I'm one of the high command and I said no. How would you believe that?"

Then line 13:

"Q. Alain Werner explained to you that as a top level commander you would be privy to more information that you disclosed to the Prosecution in the 18 previous interviews, that's what he was telling you, wasn't it?"

I had to repeat that. And then you see, he answers, line 23:

"A. Yes, he told me.

Q. They wanted you to give them something you hadn't given them already, is that right?

A. Maybe it was not something that I'd not given to them before, but maybe they wanted me to add to what I had given them before."

And then I put to him that he'd added to it by making up a pack of lies about Mr Taylor.

Now, standing back from this witness, standing back and looking at every stage of his evidence, he changes his story fundamentally. Look at the facts, look at the financial support, look at the payments for loss of earnings when he wasn't even working, look at the financial inducements, look at the pressure, look at the fear on him, look at his shaky heart even though he had in his hand a letter of immunity from Prosecution, and look at the contradictions, the inconsistencies, the lies, the implausibility, and in our submission, no reasonable court could possibly rely upon a word that a witness like that was saying. He is but one example. There are others, there are certainly others. We have referred to some of them in our final brief in that final section. We have referred to others in other parts of the final brief. But in our submission, if this Court was to place any reliance at all on witnesses of this sort, then the tide of justice in this International Criminal Court is at a very low ebb indeed.

Madam President, those are my submissions.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech