Defense is asking the witness, Ian Smillie (IS) about a reference to the 1999 Lome Peace Accord in his hand-written notes from the October 2000 meeting with President Taylor. Notes state “T. was instrumental in the Lome Accord. He brought Johnny Paul and Foday Sankoh to go to Lome.” Typed notes state that Taylor claimed playing an instrumental role at Lome, and having taken Johnny Paul Koroma and Sankoh to Lome. Defense puts it to the witness that Taylor was really saying he had brought Johnny Paul Koroma and Sankoh to Liberia ahead of Lome, in order to create peace. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous for Taylor to claim taking Johnny Paul Koroma to Lome when Johnny Paul Koroma was never at Lome?
IS: This is my recollection.
Defense: Do you think this means your notes are inaccurate in describing what Taylor is saying on this point?
IS: It is possible on this point. Notes were short-hand.
Defense is now asking about a reference in the typed notes about what US Ambassador Miner (ph.) told you about a meeting that US Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering showed Taylor evidence of diamond smuggling through Liberia. In the meeting between the panel and Taylor, Taylor denied the account of the U.S. ambassador – Smillie’s notes say that Taylor’s claim was blatantly untrue. Witness says he understood “July” to mean the Pickering-Taylor meeting took place in July 2000. Defense has established that Pickering was no longer Undersecretary of State in July 2000.
Def: You had a negative attitude towards Taylor at the time, didn’t you?
IS: We were suspicious.
Def: You weren’t prepared to believe him?
IS: I tried to record faithfully what he said.
Def: What did you do to confirm, qualify or correct the account the US ambassador had given you about the Taylor-Pickering meeting.
IS: We received information in meetings in Washington, including at the State Department.
Defense has established that the panel didn’t obtain notes from Pickering’s meeting with Taylor. IS’s notes show that Pickering confronted Taylor with an allegation that he had “personally seen evidence” that Taylor was trafficking in Sierra Leonean diamonds. Why didn’t you approach Pickering?
IS: We approached his department and got information from the State Department.
Defense: Did you request a meeting with Pickering?
Defense is now pressing Smillie on why they only picked eight diamond invoices to investigate (mentioned in yesterday’s testimony) out of thousands. Witness admits that selection of 8 invoices at random is not a scientific method. Witness says that the panel’s mandate was to find patterns in the diamond trade and he’s confident in its findings. Defense asks why they proceeded in such an “amateur” way. Witness defends the panel’s work.