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

The evidence shows that Ibrahim Fofanah was correct. He wouldn't have had his hands amputated if not for the diamonds. Diamonds played a critical part in the war in Sierra Leone and Charles Taylor himself told journalists from Le Monde, one who testified in this trial, in November 2000, an exhibit in this case, P-33, he said, "Yes, I think the war in Sierra Leone is a war for diamonds." But then Taylor told the journalist, "This war is taking place because the British want those diamonds."

He said that Liberia had its own diamonds, but the evidence is that Liberian diamonds, while they exist, have never existed in the quantity or the quality of Sierra Leone diamonds. They don't have the same quality, and the first witness who testified in this case, Ian Smillie talked about that, that Liberian diamonds were never more than about 10 per cent of the export value of Sierra Leone diamonds.

Charles Taylor himself corroborated that because he testified on the 26th of November, page 32625, that, "annually, Liberia during my presidency did not take in more than I would say ten million a year, if any, I mean, if that amount, for diamonds."

So even according to Taylor, Liberian diamonds were never close to the production of Sierra Leone, which we have evidence in, for example, the year 2005, $142 million worth of diamonds were exported officially from Sierra Leone in that year. The evidence shows that Taylor was at the apex of the diamond business for Sierra Leone and Taylor recognised the importance of diamonds. Issa Sesay, when he testified, he talked about Sam Bockarie going to Liberia where he sought refuge with his Papay, Charles Taylor, that when Bockarie left with hundreds of fighters who were integrated into Taylor's forces, that Taylor then closed the border and according to Issa Sesay that was very effective, contrary to Charles Taylor's sometimes line that the border could not be closed.

According to Issa Sesay, it was closed and in fact, one RUF I believe it was Pa Rogers, one of the RUF that tried to go speak to Bockarie's bodyguards was beaten by Liberian securities and sent back. But, Sesay said there was a single exception to that border closure and that is that Charles Taylor allowed Ibrahim Bah to pass through the border, and what was brought out in Sesay's examination is he came with trucks, open trucks, full of mining equipment.

So while at this time in 1999, this may be very late 1999 early 2000, Charles - early 2000, Charles Taylor closed the border to Issa Sesay's group to protect Sam Bockarie at that time, he still allowed Ibrahim Bah to bring in the mining equipment because that increased his own profits from the diamonds of Sierra Leone. That's further corroborated by an exhibit, the Defence admitted, D-3, which is a list of radio logbook, and in the message on page 8779, dated the 12th of January 2000, it's a message from Bah to Smile, who we know from the evidence is Foday Sankoh.

So Bah told Foday Sankoh, "Info Monrovia to pick us up at the border today or latest tomorrow to speed up our movement." Showing again that Bah was working with Taylor.

Diamonds were -- the relationship between Charles Taylor and the diamonds of Sierra Leone were a secret. Both the RUF and Charles Taylor tried to maintain that secret. I'd ask that the Court officer please bring up exhibit P-579, and after that, P-481. While 579 is coming up, let me just remind the Court about P-481. That's an article about - my colleague Ms Hollis mentioned this morning - the arrest of Sorious Samura and the mistreatment of Sorious Samura and other journalists who were in Liberia to make a documentary and the documentary was exploring the link between Charles Taylor and the diamond business of the RUF.

So, first, I see P-579 is on the screen. 579 was a report to Issa Sesay, and in the report, the person writing to him talks about international journalists "suspected of investigating the diamond business of the RUF and its link to President Taylor," and it talks about the need to do something about that, to stop it.

So just as Issa Sesay tried to prevent journalists and the RUF in Kono from investigating the link, it doesn't say - it says the link to Charles Taylor, stopped from investigating the link to Charles Taylor, President Taylor, so Taylor tried to prevent journalists in Liberia from investigating that link, and that's why he arrested Sorious Samura and the other journalists, and that's why he even goes to the extent of telling this ridiculous story, which again was mentioned by my colleague, that the reason he arrested him he claimed was because he had information that the camera contained a beam that would cause cancer. And then when he was asked by Ms Hollis, well, who gave you that information, he didn't want to say.

And the Court ordered him to give that information, he claimed it was a CIA and French intelligence, which once again shows Charles Taylor's schizophrenic attitude towards the United States and particularly its intelligence agencies because he testified, Charles Taylor, from his evidence, that the CIA helped him escape from prison and Charles Taylor from his evidence, he talked about the CIA providing radios to the NPFL in the early days, one of Charles Taylor's witnesses, Yanks Smythe, testified that there were three radio stations, he talked about, one in Gbarnga, one in Danane, where Musa Cisse lived and the third, he said was called Ginger 3 who was a white woman an American accent that he said was in Abidjan and he said he thought at the embassy.

So Charles Taylor also testified he was a great friend of the United States, he believed in close friendship between Liberia and America, he was, he told us, a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist. His opponents, the people that eventually overthrew him, the groups that morphed into LURD, the LURD group, were Muslims. Taylor was supported by conservative United States Christians like pat Robertson who he let in on a gold deal in Liberia, he hired former American officials including the assistant Secretary of State for African affairs as his lobbyists, like Herman Cohen and people like Lester Hyman. He paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars, so Taylor goes back and forth in this schizophrenic defence as far as whether he's a great friend of the United States or the United States is out to get him.

What he doesn't explain is why the United States would be out to get a guy of his background, a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, a friend of the United States, unless in fact it's true he was killing people in four different countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire and destabilising the entire region.

In this case, 25 different witnesses have talked about Charles Taylor receiving diamonds from the RUF and I'm not going to go through all of that evidence. Despite the fact that it's a secret and despite the fact that some of those who played key roles are dead, like Daniel Tamba, killed by Taylor, Foday Sankoh, who died in custody, and Sam Bockarie, killed by Charles Taylor, 25 witnesses have talked about the link between Charles Taylor and diamonds going to Charles Taylor. Just a couple I want to mention in passing but I think are interesting. Karmoh Kanneh, known by the name Eagle in the RUF, he talked about diamonds going through Daniel Tamba, Jungle, during the junta period, that diamonds were mined in Tongo Fields and Sam Bockarie would give them to Daniel Tamba to take to Charles Taylor. On the 8th of May, page 931, he talks about one package containing 43 pieces of diamonds. And he said he heard Sam Bockarie call Charles Taylor on a satellite phone and tell him that he was giving the diamonds to Jungle to take with him.

His evidence is corroborated not just by other insiders but I had also corroborated by one of the victims from Tongo Fields, and that was Mr Abdul Conteh. I don't know if your Honours remember him but he was an older gentleman who was forced by the RUF to participate in a committee that had to get civilians to mine and he was one of the two witnesses that I recall that broke down crying when your Honours thanked them for coming to testify. He and Mr Jalloh, who was all dressed in white. Mr Conteh was not, Mr Conteh is not an amputee, Mr Jalloh was. And Mr Conteh said that he remembered back in Tongo feels he had befriended an RUF commander named Eagle, he didn't know his real name but then he was asked to describe him and he physically described Karmoh Kanneh and what he's told the Court on 29 September, page 17545 to 6 he said, about Eagle:

"So he told me that they were not only supported by Sankoh but also Charles Taylor, and that all the diamonds that they were getting in that place were sent to Liberia to him. It was there they were getting their ammunition."

So crime victim Abdul Conteh told you that and that's corroborated by many witnesses about ammunition coming even during the junta time, especially Daniel Tamba, Jungle, bringing ammunition to Sam Bockarie in Kenema.

There was two witnesses in particular, TF1-375, who I think met the truck where it was broken down and there was another witness, now I'm sorry I've forgotten which one, who talked about meeting the truck or vice versa, I forget. The truck was sent with the ammunition and they had transfer the ammunition because the truck broke down bringing to Kenema, to Bockarie.

Many other witnesses talked about diamonds going to Charles Taylor. And in addition to the witnesses, the RUF documents that have been seized corroborate this evidence.

Several witnesses talked about, and the court has heard a lot of testimony in this case, about diamonds taken from Johnny Paul Koroma. There is evidence that 1832 diamonds were taken from Johnny Paul Koroma when he got to Buedu by Issa Sesay and given to Sam Bockarie and that these were taken to Taylor. TF1-371 on 28 January testified to that and TF1-567 on 2 July 2008 testified to that. The documents corroborated. What the documents show in fact is that Sam Bockarie took those diamonds and went to Monrovia. He tried to give them to Taylor but he was told that it was - he shouldn't directly see Taylor because it was a security risk for Taylor to be seen with him at that time. I'd ask if we could look quickly at exhibit D-8, page 3.

Actually, your Honours, just to save time I think I'll just read from my excerpts from the document so it doesn't take so long for them to come up because I'm going to read from several documents. D-8, if your Honours recall, is a briefing, minutes of a forum where Foday Sankoh returned to Sierra Leone and they had a forum where he was briefed about what had happened in his absence. The first subject was the 1832 diamonds taken from Johnny Paul Koroma and the 115 diamonds taken from Gullit by Sesay and Lamin.

On page 3 of that document, the speaker says, "Mosquito informed me that he wanted us to contact the other brothers in Monrovia, although he had already made some contacts with them, but he needs some of the gemstones to give to the leader in Monrovia to facilitate these contacts."

If we go to page 5 of that document, there is a part that's transcribed that appears very clearly and you'll understand why soon, that it says, "the adjutant general", that this must have been Rashid Sandy who was then the adjutant general of the RUF and in the middle about five lines down after he begins speaking, he says, "General Ibrahim arrived the same day. There and then we all agreed to move to Monrovia to meet the Big Brother."

When he's saying the same day he means the day the diamonds were taken from Johnny Paul Koroma, and do you recall TF1-597 who was one of the SLAs with Johnny Paul Koroma who was himself beaten by Sesay's bodyguards and had his own diamonds taken, said that General Ibrahim, an SSS from Liberia, were there that day, the day that the diamonds were taken by Bockarie from Johnny Paul Koroma, the document goes on and says, "In this way we met at Koindu where we checked the 1832 pieces of diamonds in nine plastics which was intact. In lieu of this, Bra" - meaning Bockarie - "told Benjamin" - meaning Yeaten - "that they had something that they want to present to Big Brother in Monrovia so that he will help us."

Then if you go to page 5, the - or maybe it's page 6, excuse me, the top of page 6, he then says, "Bra asked me, he said, 'Rash, provide one operator and one bodyguard including Jungle. I will be leaving tonight for Monrovia to meet Pa Musa.' During that journey we narrowly escaped ECOMOG patrols and arrived at Pa Musa's residence. We informed him about what we have at hand and our intentions. He agreed with us and said he will brief the Big Brother about our present stance but when Pa Musa met with Big Brother" - who clearly is Taylor - "and explained about our mission he said, 'no, Mosquito should not come for security reasons.'"

Then skipping down the page, he then says, quoting Bockarie, "He said we should write a letter and hand over the 18" - sorry, quoting Musa Cisse, Taylor's chief of protocol - "he said we should write a letter and hand over the 1832 pieces in nine plastics to the Papay. Bra approved the letter. General Ibrahim, Mamuna and Jungle went to Liberia. When Pa Rogers and others went to Gbarnga later those - these diamonds were shown to him. Big Brother told them he is going to reserve them until you, Pa Sankoh, return."

Then if we could look at P-67. At page 6 - 9675, just to save time, I'll begin reading unless your Honours wish me to stop. At that point in this document, it states: "A large quantity of diamonds taken from JPK and his bodyguards were given to General Ibrahim and Sister Mamuna for them to travel with the parcels directly to President Taylor."

Again corroborating D-8 exactly.

Then P-63, please, at page 15489, eight lines from the bottom, it says this: "The CDS" - we know that that's Sam Bockarie, chief of defence staff - "congratulated Colonel Jungle and General" - it says Abraham, but we know it's Ibrahim - "for delivering the parcels that were given to them for our father across." Charles Taylor was the father of the RUF. "The CDS said and the father was keeping the parcel until they got more so to be able to purchase a reasonable quantity of whatever they want."

Your Honours, going back in time a bit to the Magburaka shipment, during the junta, in October 1997, we received a lot of evidence in this case, that in October 1997, a plane landed at the Magburaka airfield with a lot of ammunition, two very large AA guns, and there is evidence from Prosecution and Defence witness Issa Sesay, another plane was supposed to come but because ECOMOG had bombed the airfield, the second plane did not arrive.

Both TF1-371 and TF1-597 talked about Johnny Paul Koroma putting together these diamonds for the shipment and also Karmoh Kanneh, Eagle, talked about that, that the diamonds that were - diamonds were sent to Charles Taylor in order to arrange that shipment in October 1997. Now, that date of October 1997 is also important to understand another small bit of evidence that was admitted in this case to corroborate Charles Taylor's role in taking diamonds from Sierra Leone. And this is the evidence that, on the 25th of September, 1997, at a dinner a - after a dinner, Charles Taylor arranged for rough diamonds to be given to Naomi Campbell in South Africa. What those who are not familiar with the case may not understand is the significance of the timing of that evidence, and the fact that these were rough diamonds. As I've mentioned earlier, it's true, of course, that Liberia produces diamonds, but Charles Taylor testified before your Honours under oath that he had nothing to do with the diamond business. In fact, Taylor was so desperate to distance himself from diamonds he claimed he didn't even know which parts of Sierra Leone had diamonds. He had never heard that Kono was the diamond area of Sierra Leone, never heard of which parts of Sierra Leone the diamonds existed in. And when asked if he ever had anything to do with the diamond business in Liberia or ever sold diamonds he said, no. Had he ever possessed diamonds, he said only in his personal jewellery, which we know would be polished and cut diamonds, and neither Sierra Leone nor Liberia cut or polished diamonds. They produced rough, uncut diamonds.

So the testimony of three witnesses who were called when the Prosecution was allowed to reopen did two things. First, it proved again that Charles Taylor is lying. It corroborates the 25 Prosecution witnesses, and in fact, Charles Taylor did possess rough diamonds. He even was travelling with rough diamonds on the 25th of September 1997. And it's very important to understand the significance to look at that journey that he took and the timing of that journey. All of this is pretty much laid out in the Defence exhibit D-141, the presidential papers. This is a book Charles Taylor had published about his first - I believe it says up to the 1997 from his election up to the end of 1998. They were his presidential papers, all about what he was doing during that period of time and it's very, very useful. What we see from those presidential papers, page 203 to 207, Taylor talks about this trip, and while he went first to South Africa, he later went to Libya and he went to Burkina Faso. His last stop on the trip, he said, was Burkina Faso, where he discussed the Sierra Leone issue with Blaise Compaoré, well, the evidence from the witnesses is the arms shipment from Magburaka was flown from Burkina Faso and there is some evidence these were Libyan arms that were taken to Burkina Faso and then flown to Sierra Leone.

So on the 25th of September, just weeks before, Charles Taylor is in South Africa. According to the presidential papers he's back in Liberia on the 3rd of October. Just weeks later, the Magburaka shipment arrives. The evidence from these three witnesses shows that on this trip, Charles Taylor is carrying rough diamonds. It's not our position that he gave all his diamonds, that he was planning to meet Naomi Campbell or give diamonds to anyone that was a perchance coincidence but what's clear is he was carrying diamonds and we say a whole lot of them in order to arrange this shipment. The evidence of all three of these witnesses corroborates that.

And let me talk about - first of all, I'd like to speak about - briefly about Carole White. She was an agent for Naomi Campbell who was there that night. She said that during the dinner, and there is no doubt she was there, she produced her passport with the stamps, Naomi Campbell says she was there, she was her agent. She was there at the dinner and said that during the dinner, Naomi turned to her and said that Charles Taylor is giving me a gift of diamonds - and I'm not quoting I'm going from memory, so your Honours have it - and that Charles Taylor then was smiling nodding his head and saying, yes, yes and that then they went back to where they were staying in Pretoria, I believe at the presidential guesthouse and Naomi Campbell was anxiously waiting for those diamonds to arrive.

In the cross-examination of Carole White, the Defence made three main points, and I'd like to address all of them. First, Carole White was absolutely open about the fact that she is involved in litigation against Naomi Campbell. There is a contract dispute between the two of them, and there is money at stake in that contract dispute. When Carole White was asked on cross-examination, is she testifying here because of that lawsuit, she said, how could it possibly be relevant to the lawsuit? And logically, that is absolutely clear. A court in New York or wherever that lawsuit is being heard is no more likely to litigate whether Naomi Campbell got rough blood diamonds in 1997 than this Court would have been to allow questions of these witnesses about who about is correct in the contract dispute. Who was telling the truth about whether there was a promise to pay or whatever the contract dispute is about. Your Honours were not interested, we are not interested in knowing about the contract dispute, it's not relevant to this trial, and absolutely clearly, no court in another country is going to litigate what happened in 1997 and admit that in a civil lawsuit involving a contract. It's not going to be relevant.

Secondly, there was a point made because Carole White testified that after waiting a long time for these men to come, and no one showing up, they finally went to bed and she said it was about 1 a.m., Naomi Campbell also said she had gone to bed and Carole White said that when the men eventually arrived Naomi Campbell was in her night dress. Carole White testified that she was awakened by pebbles hitting the window. She was asked by Defence counsel how did they pick your window? She said she didn't know how out of whatever number of guests or rooms there were in that guesthouse the pebbles were thrown at her window but - and that was her honest answer. But your Honours think about this from the position of people outside given the totality of the evidence. The evidence is, and this is from Naomi Campbell, they are leaving - they have the 7 a.m. call, I believe she called it, for the Blue Train the next morning and all the other guests had gone to sleep. Most people sleep with the lights out. Carole White said she was getting - she was not yet gone to sleep and she was getting ready for bed. Most people get undressed unless they are very shy on their honeymoon with the lights on.

So from the standpoint of somebody sitting outside that - standing outside that guesthouse which has locked doors which window would you try to alert the person? A dark window where people are sleeping? Or the window with the lights on? It's clear and logical, although Carole White didn't think of it because she's thinking from her own perspective inside her room. For someone outside, one light would have been on, the last person who was up, and that's the window you would try and throw the pebbles at; it's logical.

Secondly, it was put to Ms Campbell and it was said on instructions, sorry, to Ms White, Ms White said it appeared to her that Naomi Campbell was receiving some kind of communication, phone call or text message about when the men were coming. And it was put to her that Charles Taylor didn't have a phone. He couldn't send or communicate with her because he didn't have a phone on this trip. Does that make any sense? The President of Liberia, according to the presidential papers, leaves Monrovia on 20 September and he's back on 3 October, and he's going to be travelling all that time without a telephone? We heard evidence even from Taylor that he had satellite phones from very early in the war, in the jungle, or in the Gbarnga, he had satellite phones. Moreover, if you look at the presidential papers in those pages, where he talks about the trip, he talks about being met at the airport and I don't have it with me at the moment but he talks about several people including his ambassador designate and ministers meeting him at the airport. And if you look at the back of the presidential papers, there is a list of ambassadors for Liberia and the third name down is the embassy of South Africa, so there is an ambassador, Mr Witherstone or something, there is an ambassador for South Africa who meets Taylor at the airport and he doesn't have a phone? He's staying at a hotel in another city in Johannesburg, there is no telephone at the hotel for him to call?

We also know that he had, and he testified in his direct examination, his honorary consul, the convicted fraudster, Niko Shafer from South Africa, was present in South Africa. He couldn't get a phone from any of these people, none of these people? The President of Liberia is travelling and he can't communicate with anyone, he doesn't - he can't communicate with Liberia? It doesn't make any sense. It's not credible at all.

Now, then we come to the testimony of Ms Campbell, and Ms Campbell very importantly for the Prosecution acknowledges that she received on the 25th or early in the morning on the 26th of September rough diamonds, it was the first time in her life she ever saw rough diamonds and it just so happened to be the very night that she meets Charles Taylor. What a coincidence. And it just so happens that Charles Taylor is on a trip to Burkina Faso where weeks later ammunition is sent and armament to the rebels in Sierra Leone. That's the best case for the Defence. This is a pure, pure coincidence. But if you actually examine all the evidence including hers, it's quite apparent that it wasn't a coincidence. Even Naomi Campbell says that she assumed that the diamonds were from Charles Taylor but, in fact, frankly, she lied. She knew the diamonds were from Charles Taylor. In defence of Naomi Campbell, at that time, people would not know, not many people knew about blood diamond, I don't think the phrase had even been coined, not many people would have understood the link between Charles Taylor and conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone. We have never said that she did anything wrong in accepting that gift that night, but she unfortunately fell very short of her obligations by not telling the truth about it to your Honours.

What she said, what's interesting, is she admitted that she was a very reluctant witness and she said that when prosecutors from the UN as she phrased it, UN prosecutors called her, she didn't want to speak to them. She said because she feared for her family. Well, why would she fear for her family? She said because she read about Charles Taylor and all the terrible things he did on the internet. Well, why would she fear Charles Taylor if she didn't know who gave her the diamonds? It's apparent if she fears Charles Taylor it's because she knew she had evidence that would implicate him with these diamonds.

Sometimes people give a reaction that's more revealing when they are not prepared for a question, when their public relations people, for example, have not gone over possible answers to give to questions, et cetera. And we had a tape which the Defence played and the Prosecution played a portion of it, of Naomi Campbell being asked about these diamonds, when she didn't expect it. Apparently she was in New York for a fashion show and ABC asked her about it. So if we could please play P-558(A), please?

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