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

In an earlier part of the clip that's in evidence that I didn't - we didn't play, it's explained that this man Osman was captured at age 17 in Magburaka, taken to Kono to mine the diamond fields.

One of the Defence witnesses, Charles Ngebeh corroborates exactly what you just heard on this tape. The Defence witness was asked on direct examination by the Defence on 23 March, page 3783, excuse me, bottom of 3782, "Did you ever see anybody being forced to mine in the Tongo area?"

He said, "Yes, they used to force civilians to mine. That is how they used to get them."

And he was asked: "And how would they make sure that the civilians did what they wanted?"

He said, "they monitored them."

He was asked, "What if a civilian said I don't want to come and mine for you? What would the soldiers then do?"

And Mr Ngebeh, the Defence witness said, "If you're unlucky they were kill you. If you were lucky, they would beat you up. That's the advice. They would take you by force. That was the options that they gave."

The reason they are called blood diamonds is because of the things that happened to people like this boy Osman and people like Ibrahim Fofanah that we saw just as I began this afternoon who had both his hands cut off, what he said is exactly true: It's because of the diamonds that the war was sponsored, the diamonds were going to Charles Taylor and Charles Taylor was sponsoring, fuelling the conflict, and fueling the atrocities that were committed.

Earlier this morning, Ms Hollis talked about Charles Taylor promising that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. He said that and there was a question from Justice Sow about that. Charles Taylor said that back in 1990, in about October 1990, when ECOMOG had entered Liberia, denying him Monrovia, denying him the presidency. Witnesses in this case who actually heard that include Isaac Mongor, Foday Lansana, the Reverend Tamba Teh who I'm sure your Honours recall he was the man who talked about witnessing about 100 people being killed by small boys and then having their heads cut off. And he talked about how Sam Bockarie tried to recruit him as a reverend to be a member of the RUF, to be their chaplain, and Mr Teh, actually very, very cleverly in that situation, what do you do, he said, "I'll accept if you make me a field marshal," a remark that Sam Bockarie found so funny he fell down on the ground laughing.

And he said even my chief, Charles Taylor, is not a field marshal, Tamba Teh heard "the bitterness of war" quote. Karmoh Kanneh, Eagle, heard "the bitterness of war" quote. TF1-358, who was the doctor, he was protected, but he was the doctor from treat, he heard the Freetown quote. Osman Jalloh, an amputee, another amputee, besides Mustapha Mansaray, they both heard the Freetown quote and as Ms Hollis said they are corroborated by both Defence witnesses DCT-068 and Issa Sesay who said they themselves heard Charles Taylor promise that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war.

The Defence case, which I now want to comment on, provided, and this is not meant to criticise in any way the Defence strategies or preparation, they certainly had resources and was given generous time by your Honours to prepare and was well prepared, but pretty much every witness that was called added to the evidence of guilt, the guilt of Charles Taylor.

Many of the witnesses contradicted Charles Taylor in their testimony. Charles Taylor himself was in many ways one of the best witnesses for the Prosecution because of the many admissions and the many times he was caught in clear lies in his testimony. And one area where he clearly contradicted himself on one of the very key issues in this case is on his interactions with Sam Bockarie and particularly the first time that he met Sam Bockarie. If you recall the Prosecution evidence is, as I mentioned a little while ago, that while Bockarie had tried to go with JPK's diamonds to see Taylor, he wasn't able to actually see him for security reasons, and then he was brought by Varmuyan Sherif. Taylor sent Varmuyan Sherif, who testified here, to get him. And we know that Varmuyan Sherif went on the day of the Kailahun massacre, Varmuyan Sherif described what happened at that roundabout, Sam Bockarie killing the first prisoners and then ordering the rest of the 62, I forget the exact number, of prisoners killed. It's corroborated by Defence witnesses.

It's corroborated by Musa Fayia who talked about the terror as all of them felt as groups of five prisoners were brought out and were executed, about how one man had to kill his own father, he was ordered by Bockarie to kill his own father. There has been some various dates about when exactly in 1998 that was but it was clearly a short time after the intervention and I believe there is testimony that it was after Daru Barracks fell, which was early March 1998, and Musa Fayia puts the date at 28 March, that this occurred. Varmuyan Sherif brought Sam Bockarie on that day to see Charles Taylor.

Now, on the first day of his testimony, after years of preparing for this trial, Charles Taylor himself admitted that he - before he left office in 2003 he ordered the collection of documents having this trial in mind - having this case in mind. And the Prosecution called its last witness at 30th of January 2008, Taylor began testifying 14 July. Almost six months, five-plus months of preparation, and on the first day of his testimony, Charles Taylor is asked when he first met Sam Bockarie. He testified then he remembered it was right after the Head of State meeting which he would put then at the last quarter of 97 to early 1998, that he had ordered another Mosquito, Christopher Varmoh, Liberian Mosquito, to bring Bockarie. He was very clear on that. And yet, as the Defence - as his direct examination went on, some months or a month or so later, the story changed and the only explanation is Charles Taylor said, well, I corrected it. But he clearly changed his story. And then it became well, I met Sam Bockarie for the first time in September 1998 and I met him in October and I met him in November when I sent -- arranged for his travel to Burkina Faso with Musa Cisse.

Well, why the change after so much preparation? How can Charles Taylor possibly get that wrong? Well, I think the change was because he had decided, in between, that he had to come up with a new story to fit exhibit D-7 - so if that could be put on the screen, please - which became one of the centrepieces of his defence and this was a letter from his ambassador, Tragen Wantee, in Guinea, Conakry, to Taylor where he talked about being approached by Eddie Kanneh who had some information about dissidents in Guinea against Taylor, and who said he wanted to visit with six other members of his organisation. The Defence, Charles Taylor, backed up by his protege, Issa Sesay - perhaps a better word really is puppet, Issa Sesay - tried to say that this letter shows that the RUF decided that Sam Bockarie decided he wanted to get in touch with Taylor so he would send Eddie Kanneh to Conakry to get in touch with Taylor at the Liberian embassy in Conakry.

Well, I don't think we need to look at a map but you know, your Honours, from the map of Sierra Leone that Kailahun is very, very far from Conakry. It's actually much closer to Monrovia. Furthermore, we know from even the Defence case, the RUF had offices in Ivory Coast and the RUF had regular radio communications with Musa Cisse's house, Taylor's chief of protocol. Nothing would stop the RUF. The RUF had previously had radio contact with Taylor, even Taylor admits that. Nothing would stop Charles Taylor from sending - Sam Bockarie from sending a radio message. Furthermore, the evidence is even from Sesay that at that time Taylor fully allowed the border open and they could pass and they could go to Monrovia. So what sense would it make to send Eddie Kanneh all the way to Conakry, Guinea, the capital of an enemy country to the RUF, where just a couple of years earlier Isatu Kallon and others had been arrested while travelling through Guinea, why would you send Eddie Kanneh all the way there when Issa Sesay says in April he goes to Monrovia, that's where he says he loses the diamonds and this letter is dated August.

So what sense would it make to send Eddie Kanneh to Conakry when you can send him to Monrovia? Issa Sesay himself went to Monrovia, and then he said when he didn't come back Bockarie sent somebody else to go investigate his loss of the diamonds. The RUF could travel to Monrovia when they wanted, they could have called Musa Cisse on the radio, it doesn't make any sense, it's just the Defence trying to twist Charles Taylor and Issa Sesay trying to twist this document. And if we go down the document a bit, you'll see that what the letter says, from the ambassador says, is that Eddie Kanneh, it says the Major Who holds a Guinean GSM mobile number and he gives that, said that he had contact with a Guinean government official, excuse me. Let's go down further, it says, on the second line in the last paragraph, reiterated his plan of travelling to Liberia along with six other members of his organisation and would cross into Sierra Leone to join their men after his meeting with the Liberian leader. Then it says, "He named one Sidikie Janneh and Brigadier Bockarie, Mosquito, both Sierra Leone nationals, including one Sherif, assistant director of the SSS, as contact persons in the country."

Well, what this letter corroborates is the testimony of Varmuyan Sherif. Why would any - it's clear Varmuyan sheriff assistant director of the SSS doesn't need permission to travel into Liberia; he's already there. He's Taylor's assistant director of the SSS.

And he's listed as a contact person along with Sam Bockarie because we know that Sam Bockarie went to Monrovia with Varmuyan Sherif way back soon after the intervention in early 1998.

So trying to distort this letter, Charles Taylor changes his testimony on this very key issue of when he met Sam Bockarie.

But then a key part of Taylor's defence is that these three meetings he admits to or three times that Sam Bockarie travelled to Monrovia, I believe on a couple of occasions he said he met him twice at least in September he met him twice, on these meetings he said they were for peace, and Taylor testified that everyone knew about it, the United Nations was informed, the Government of Sierra Leone, ECOMOG, Nigeria, everyone knew about these trips of Sam Bockarie. However, the Defence has not produced one single document documenting these trips of Sam Bockarie to Monrovia. It's because they were clandestine. Sam Bockarie, we know, was on the UN travel ban list that was instituted in October 1997. There is no evidence of any UN document saying that the United Nations was aware of Bockarie's travel. There is no evidence of Sierra Leone being aware. There is no evidence of anything in Charles Taylor's papers, an aide-memoire, a photograph, a correspondence, nothing, about these meetings, it's because they were clandestine. We don't even have - the presidential papers is 300 pages, could we have please on the screen D-320(A)? And this talks about all of Taylor's various activities throughout 1998 but nowhere in that document is there any mention of any of these three meetings. D-320(A) is a photograph, please.

If you look at the presidential papers, on - there is - on page 305 to 306 in paragraphs 21 to 23, there appears a final communique of a meeting of ECOWAS heads of state in Abuja, from 30 to 31 October 1998. Remember, Taylor according to his testimony has already met twice with Bockarie and while this communique in paragraphs 21 to 23 talks about Sierra Leone, there is no mention of Charles Taylor meeting with the rebels, Sam Bockarie or with the RUF, or with the AFRC. Even more conspicuous, looking at the presidential papers, D-141, page 292, there we have the policy statement of the Government of the Republic of Liberia on allegations against Liberia for involvement in the Sierra Leone crisis, and it's dated the 29th of December 1998. In the midst of the December offensive, as the AFRC/RUF forces are on the doorstep of Freetown, Charles Taylor's government issues this policy statement, and in paragraph 10 it says, listing the actions he's taken for peace, "Maintained an open line of contact and direct dialogue with President Kabbah aimed at building confidence between Liberia and Sierra Leone." In paragraph 11, he says, "Dispatched at least four high level presidential delegations to Freetown to hold talks with President Kabbah and Sierra Leone officials."

Well, why, in this document, is there no mention of I also met with the rebel leaders, with the RUF, with Sam Bockarie? It's not in there. And it's not in a single document that the Defence produced although we were told that Charles Taylor had tens of thousands of documents in his archives. They didn't - the Defence has not produced a single document regarding these meetings with Sam Bockarie. And when Charles Taylor was asked about what was discussed, he could only give the very vaguest answers, you know, peace, implementing Abidjan, he couldn't give any specifics with all these meetings with the rebel leader who clearly was engaging then in offensive actions and atrocities and preparing a bigger offensive, this of course would have been after the June 1998 Fitti-Fatta mission. Not a single document. Charles Taylor could not give us any details about what his discussions with Sam Bockarie were all about. It's because in truth he was meeting with Bockarie, he met with Bockarie more than he admitted and he was planning war. That's why we don't have any notes of these meetings.

Is the photograph ready? Please. Just to show what kind of meetings are documented in the presidential papers, the Defence presented as an exhibit in this case a photograph of Charles Taylor having lunch with the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter. This was apparently to support the Defence contention that Charles Taylor's plate was full and it appears that there's something on his plate in this photograph, but your Honours, the evidence of the Defence is contradictory because while Charles Taylor had time to have lunch with Sepp Blatter and he also had time to meet with Bockarie over and over again, he clearly had time to plan war and to profit - and to profit from the war in Sierra Leone. And that's what the evidence shows he did.

Why isn't there a picture of Sam Bockarie in these presidential papers and his meeting with him? There is a picture of Taylor meeting President Kabbah but there is no picture of Taylor with Bockarie.

Even the meeting with Naomi Campbell is mentioned in the presidential papers and meeting Mia Farrow and Imran Khan, whose name is misspelled, Charles Taylor talks about that in his document when he talks about returning from the trip to Burkina Faso, South Africa and other countries and says that when he talked to these Hollywood stars they expressed great interest in his country and a desire to visit him.

Charles Taylor's testimony was full of contradictions, both internally and with the other Defence witnesses, and some of them have already been mentioned but I'll just - by my colleagues - but I'll just mention some others. He was asked three times in this Court in direct examination if he knew Sanjivan Ruprah and he said, no, I don't know him. Sanjivan Ruprah, it turns out, he had appointed as his ambassador at large. Sanjivan Ruprah is an admitted arms dealer tied to the Victor Bout network in the United Arab Emirates at the time. He admitted that to the panel of experts that interviewed him, and that's a document in evidence. And Charles Taylor we showed in evidence authorised transfers of well over a million dollars to the bank accounts of Sanjivan Ruprah and yet three times he told your Honours, "I don't know him." He lied.

And then he made - many of Charles Taylor's most blatant lies were when he was trying to discredit the Prosecution witnesses because these witnesses were telling the truth and they were implicating him and revealing the secrets of his link to the RUF so when TF1-579 talked about a link between Taylor and the UNITA rebels in Angola he was asked by his counsel about that, "Did you know Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA?" And he said, "No, I didn't know him." Forgetting that months earlier he had testified on direct that Savimbi was a very good friend, according to Taylor, that they knew each other from, I believe, Cote d'Ivoire and he was a very good friend.

When the testimony of King Perry Kamara, key witness especially about Freetown, was put to Taylor, where King Perry Kamara said Taylor had given a satellite phone to Issa Sesay, Taylor said, no, he didn't give a satellite phone to Issa Sesay, forgetting that he had earlier testified he did. When AB Sesay was testifying, critical evidence about going to Monrovia in 1999 and a meeting that he had with Charles Taylor in his presence where Charles Taylor was telling Bazzy, I believe, and other AFRC officers who were there about how he had assisted them in the operations in 1998 in Freetown, how he had organised SLA officers to come back into Sierra Leone, which of course we know from the evidence that was what Foday Kallon was doing for him - for the RUF taking AFRC officers from Liberia back to Sierra Leone before he was killed. Charles Taylor, it was put to him one of the things AB Sesay said is he remembered that Taylor also said, "Oh, Sam Bockarie is helping us now in Lofa."

And AB Sesay said, yeah, at that time, it was on the radio at that time about Mosquito Spray. And Taylor said, oh, this meeting, no, the meeting with JPK, that AB Sesay's talking about, August 1999, Mosquito Spray was not then. It was in 1998. Well, he forgot that he himself had testified that Mosquito Spray was August of 1999. He said it again on 26 November, page 32577, and it's also -- we have a document in evidence of a BBC News report where it shows that in fact it was the first week of August of 1999 that a man called the radio when rebels were in Lofa County saying he was Mosquito Spray. And why would he say Mosquito Spray? It's because he was fighting against Mosquito, Sam Bockarie, just like AB Sesay said and other witnesses, the RUF was doing Taylor's fighting, helping him in Lofa.

He testified that - testimony was put to Charles Taylor of TF1-567 identifying the SOD uniforms of people that accompanied Zigzag Marzah to Buedu and Taylor then said, no, he never even heard of an SOD unit, a special operations division of the Liberian police. Of course, the President of the country knew about that unit. Yanks Smythe a Defence witness, John Vincent another Defence witness, they both knew what the SOD was and it's even mentioned in a document that the Defence put into evidence, it's a human rights report, D-45, on page 6, talks about the special operations division.

When the testimony, another critical piece of evidence, was put in - put to Taylor, that is the testimony of TF1-516, he was a radio operator who said that he recalled when Ebony told Toyota, that is, if I'm getting it right, Taylor told Sankoh, to make use of the peace accord, that is Abidjan Peace Accord which he was supposed to attend in Yamoussoukro, to move outside to get more dancing materials, well, when that was put to Taylor, he said, "But look at where he puts me."

Because TF1-516 said the call came from Gbarnga, he said, "I am not in Gbarnga, I moved to Monrovia in 1995, I'm on the Council of State. He says, you know, the only way we can catch these little lies, what am I doing in Gbarnga in 1996? Someone is calling me on a radio in 1996?" He says, "It's a blatant, blatant lie."

Well, except the next witness the Defence called, was Yanks Smythe, who was a member of the SSS and one of the things that slipped out in his testimony is that in the incident at the 30th of October, I believe it was, 1996, 30th of October 1996, you'll recall there was an attempted -- what Taylor said was an attempted assassination at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia. There was a time that ECOMOG rescued him from the bathroom in the mansion, and Yanks Smythe testified that after the assassination, Charles Taylor, who all of our evidence is clear is not a person who puts himself on the front line anywhere, he sends little boys and children to fight for him, Charles Taylor moved back to Gbarnga. So exactly corresponding to what TF1-516 said because the Abidjan Accord was at the end of November. So after the 30th of October, Yanks Smythe has Charles Taylor moving back to Gbarnga where he would have exactly been when TF1-516 said the radio message came from Gbarnga to tell Foday Sankoh to take advantage of the peace accord to get more ammunition. Which is exactly what Charles Taylor advised Issa Sesay to do with Lome.

One Prosecution witness, Denis Koker talked about seeing Taylor's Navy Rangers in yellow shirts - if we could have up P-493(E), please? Let me just skip for a moment while that's coming up, another key piece of evidence of course was Isaac Mongor talking about how Foday Sankoh was -- briefed Charles Taylor on the radio about Operation Stop Election. And Taylor said it wasn't a bad idea. This is where the RUF became first got famous for its amputations, when they were amputating the thumbs or hands of people who had voted because they had ink on their hands. And Charles Taylor, trying to discredit that testimony, said he never spoke on the radio, he never would get on a field radio and speak, but the Defence called a witness, Edward Zaymay, who himself was an NPFL commander and said he himself spoke to Charles Taylor on the radio, and he also heard Charles Taylor talking to ECOMOG officers on the radio.

Now, Denis Koker testified that he saw Taylor's men, Navy Rangers in yellow shirts bring ammunition - excuse me, I got that one. Yeah, that's right, excuse me. In July 1998, and Taylor said, that's ridiculous, he never heard of Navy Ranger T-shirts and, "Nobody goes to war with a yellow T-shirt."

And yet here we have a document, it's a photograph of what Taylor himself recognised as Benjamin Yeaten surrounded by people with yellow Navy Ranger T-shirts. Benjamin Yeaten, Taylor's director of security, the man he put in charge of all the militias. Taylor also said that he never had a bank account with $100,000, that he told the Liberian people he would resign if anyone anywhere in the world found a bank account that he had with $100,000. And undoubtedly Taylor was probably relying on the fact that it's actually quite easy in the international world to hide money in other people's names, and in a document the Defence recently had admitted, one of the cables, points out that the Liberian government is either unable or unwilling to enforce the financial sanctions against Taylor but in that - despite Taylor's claim that no one would ever find a document, a bank account, with $100,000 in his name. If we could have P-405, please, the first page, evidence was presented in this Court of documents from a bank account at the Liberian Bank of Development and Investment, LBDI, and in that limited information that was available it showed that between December 1999 and April 2001, $14,492,268 was deposited into that account. It also showed that there were transfers into that account from the ROC, which Taylor admitted was the Embassy of Taiwan, $3 million, and a transfer from the Oriental Timber Company, managed by Guus Kouwenhoven, of I believe, $2 million, was transferred into that, account, and if we see now the document is on the screen, it says, clearly, this is a Charles -- Taylor, Charles G, chequing account personal and we had the signature page, signature card, for that account, which Taylor acknowledged was his signature.

Another thing that Charles Taylor talked about is that he tried to say he was not in any way a military man despite the fact that he was called Major, during the Doe coup, and he was in the barracks while people were being killed on the street. In fact, Taylor said he was against that because he thought it was going to embarrass him if people were continued to be killed on the street. I thought it was very revealing that his concern was not with those being killed but that it might affect his reputation. He said he'd never been trained and he said on 31 August page 2009, if we could please prepare P-387, P-395(A), (B) and (C), and P-396. He said on 31 August:

"There have been photos of me in military uniform and I think it's important to note here that the wearing of that uniform doesn't mean I have been a soldier. I have never been on a soldier but on 26 July all Presidents of Liberia on inspection of the honour guard wear military uniform. That's why I was in uniform."

I'm not - does anyone have the photograph? I don't have it on my screen.

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