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

So again the invaders make clear that the new rulers, it's a combined effort, a combined force that's taken over Sierra Leone and that is the RUF and the AFRC together. The entire transcript of that interview is in evidence, that's document P-279(A), I believe, is the transcript.

Another interesting part of that broadcast, which I won't play but you may recall that at one point Robin White asks FAT Sesay, "What about Lungi, where there are lots and lots of ECOMOG troops?"

And what FAT Sesay said on the 6th of January, he said, "The motion is on the way to capture Lungi."

He hasn't gotten the report yet from the commander.

Well, it wasn't Gullit's group, it wasn't Bazzy, it wasn't the SLAs in the city that were attacking Lungi. Who was he talking about? What he was talking about was there had been an agreement as we know from Issa Sesay, from his testimony, an order from Sam Bockarie, in order to make the invasion successful, he had tried to take Lungi, the attack that Superman led on Port Loko was an attempt to take Lungi. It wasn't, thank God, successful. But the RUF occupied parts of the city for four days, parts of Port Loko, but were unable to capture it. Then they moved down and attacked Waterloo.

If we could have P-2 - 111, please and the screen? There has been a lot of evidence in this case about a man named Gibril Massaquoi. And Issa Sesay talked a lot about him. And there was evidence that he was responsible for - he was, for example, for capturing a large number of schoolgirls and I believe it was Port Loko around the time of the Sierra Rutile invasion that he killed many many Vanguards early in the war. And we see in this document, P-111, it's a news report about the events of 6 January and if we go down the page a bit, thank you - it says that "earlier, Gibril Massaquoi, a senior rebel leader, telephoned the BBC to give the rebels' view of the conflict. He said rebel armed forces and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone were in complete control of the city and taking over the reins of government."

Again we see both the AFRC and the RUF inside the city, both agree the RUF is part of the operation. There is no question they were.

Your Honours, I would also like to point out that in the evidence, there is testimony from three witnesses that during that invasion, Sam Bockarie made a trip to Liberia and that comes from TF1-371 who said Bockarie went in January 1999, and then it comes from Abu Keita and TF1-516. What's very interesting is that Abu Keita says Bockarie brought back jeans. TF1-516 says Bockarie brought back bales of jeans but when they unloaded it underneath the jeans was ammunition.

Finally, your Honours, the evidence that makes it absolutely -- that also is unrefuted agreed to by both sides or witnesses at least for both sides, that makes it absolutely clear that there was cooperation and collaboration between the RUF and the AFRC in this attack is the evidence that after Gullit was pushed out of the city, Gullit and Sesay reorganised and they attacked again Tombo. TF1-567, in an attempt to get back to the city they went the other way around the peninsula, the other way on the road and attacked Tombo. TF1-567, on the 2nd of July, said at page 12924:

"When we were in Waterloo Issa Sesay planned another attack to attack Tombo."

And then he was asked on page 12925 who took part in this attack: "Gullit's group and Issa Sesay's group."

AB Sesay actually was one of those that took part in the attack and he testified in detail about how that operation was planned by Sesay, that it was done with the ammunition that Sesay brought back from Makeni, which we know that was ammunition that was either directly from Liberia or ammunition captured from the ammunition that Bockarie brought back from Liberia, we know that from Issa Sesay's testimony, because he said the RUF had no ammunition before Bockarie came back from Liberia. And AB Sesay said in that operation, Gullit participated, Superman, RUF Rambo, Rambo Red Goat, Five-Five, and O-five. When Issa Sesay was asked about that in cross-examination, he first denied it and he said no, didn't have any knowledge of this attack. However, then, he was reminded of his prior testimony, and then he agreed that, in fact, in February 1999, the RUF and the AFRC were working together to attack Freetown.

The exact question was: "So Mr Sesay, in February 1999 when the RUF knew about what had happened in Freetown, the city had been burnt, people had been killed and amputated, the RUF continued to work with Gullit and made a second attempt to get back to Freetown, in a coordinated attack with the AFRC forces, correct?"

And Issa Sesay answered: "Well, yes, that did happen, but it was a failed attack."

Failed attack or successful attack, what's clear is it was a coordinated attack between the RUF and the AFRC. What had happened between February and January 6th? Nothing. If anything, there has been some evidence the Defence has tried to say the AFRC was upset with the RUF for not reinforcing them but not upset enough not to join together again in trying to wreak more havoc upon the people of Freetown.

Well, what was Sam -- what was Charles Taylor's - it's a shame he's not here - Charles Taylor's reaction to the events of Freetown? Remember, he said he had been - he claims he has been meeting Sam Bockarie for peace in September, October and November of 1999 and that Bockarie returned in December from Burkina Faso, we know with truckloads full of ammunition that launched this offensive. Well, Sam. We know that Charles Taylor told us, told your Honours that he loved Sam Bockarie and that later that year, the end of 1999, he allowed him, when Bockarie fell out with Sankoh, to come to Liberia, and at a time when Taylor says Liberians were reduced to begging, he gave Sam Bockarie a thousand dollars a month salary, a car and a compound with four houses. That's what Charles Taylor admits to doing for the man that made - that ordered all of these burnings and amputations and killings to take place.

In fact, there is evidence, more radio operator, Mohammed Kabbah, I believe, who was with Bockarie the day of the invasion, the morning, when Bockarie received the news that Gullit's forces had entered the city, and he said that Sam Bockarie went off with his satellite phone and he made a telephone call to Charles Taylor. He said Bockarie called Taylor and he was smiling, he couldn't hear what Bockarie was saying - what Taylor was saying, but he just saw Sam Bockarie was smiling and saying, yes, sir, yes, sir. Clearly reporting the good news to Charles Taylor that the plans to invade Freetown had been successful.

He was successful even though the RUF didn't take Freetown. It was successful in reducing the will of the international community, and particularly those countries that were contributing their own blood and money to ECOMOG, to try to come to some kind of peace, and it led to the Lome Accord. That offensive left the RUF, most importantly for Charles Taylor, in control of the diamond areas of Freetown, in control of Tongo Fields, which Akim Turay had taken under Sam Bockarie's orders in that December 1999 offensive, and in control of Koidu and all of Kono District captured by Issa Sesay in that offensive. And that control over the diamond fields was cemented by the Lome Accord which left the RUF in control of those areas and which leads me now, unless there are questions, to the next topic which is how Charles Taylor profited from the diamonds of Sierra Leone at the cost of the blood of the people of Freetown and other places.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech