Defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths continues cross-examination of prosecution witness Varmuyan Sherif.
Defense points to a document, an old prosecution interview with the witness. Witness describes how the NPFL burned alive his father’s two wives. Def: So your father was very anti-NPFL, hated Taylor?
Def: Your family generally hated Taylor?
Wit: That’s true.
Def: Your family was very angry that you had gone to work for the man responsible?
Wit: That’s true.
Def: It caused you great anguish?
Wit: That’s true.
Def: While working for Taylor, you were trying to come to terms with this? What am I doing working for this monster?
Def: Didn’t your family constantly remind you?
Def: Did you have difficulty coming to terms with that?
Wit: I came to terms with that because I wanted peace. I told them to put the old things aside, and I had to work with Taylor to bring peace.
Def: Did your family say to you, how can you work for this man you used to fight?
Wit: They said it.
Def: When LURD attacked Liberia, containing many former ULIMO, did your family say to you, look you’re fighting for Taylor against your former friends?
Wit: They said that. I said Taylor was democratically elected and I had to work with him.
Def: I suggest this conflict made you clinically mad.
Wit: Not true. I was in jail for six months, then Taylor sent me to fight LURD. I had two brothers who died with LURD.
Def: Do you know Amos Morris?
Def: How well?
Wit: I captured him in Lofa, from the NPFL. Later I used him as my driver. To the present day he is still my driver.
Def: Do you have reason to distrust him?
Wit: I trust him, he is truthful.
Def: Would he have reason to lie about you?
Def: If such a man said that at this period you were walking around Monrovia naked, yelling at yourself, would he be lying?
Wit: That’s not true.
Def: Didn’t Taylor give you money to treat your mental illness in Mali?
Def: Did you not go to Mali?
Def: Did you know Musa Cisse before he died?
Wit: Yes, he took me for his son. He was very trusted by Taylor. He said whenever I had a problem to let him know.
Def: Didn’t Cisse arrange to take you to Mali for treatment?
Wit: Not true.
Def: Weren’t you treated by a native doctor in Mali, a Mandingo man?
Def: Didn’t that doctor take you back to Liberia, though you hadn’t fully recovered?
Wit: No. Why would Taylor give more than 500 bags of ammunition to distribute in Lofa and have me fight on his behalf?
Def: You received further treatment in Liberia from a Saudi Arabian man?
Wit: Not true.
Def: Have you ever been to the Middle East for military training?
Def: In those five years you say you were learning Arabic, were you not in the Middle East for military training?
Wit: No, I was learning Arabic in Kakata. You can ask anyone there.
Def: Aren’t you deceiving the court by claiming to have gone to school until 1990?
Wit: Not true. I knew nothing about military matters.
Def: Isn’t it your military training in the Middle East that allowed you to rise through the ranks in ULIMO so quickly?
Wit: No, it was because of military success on the front. It was guerilla war.
Def: Weren’t you moved from the SSS to immigration because of your mental illness?
Def: At immigration, did you have the call sign 309?
Def: Weren’t you moved there due to your mental illness?
Def: Have you received treatment for mental illness in any part of the world?
Wit: Just for common headaches, even here at The Hague. With paracetemol it goes away.
Def: So there will be no medical records of your treatment for medical illness anywhere?
Wit: If you say my head was hurting, I would say yes. Sometimes I was sick and went to the hospital. If you’re talking about medical illness, no.
Def: When was the last time you saw Taylor in person?
Wit: Prior to his departure. He sent for me and Musa. He said thank you for what you have proven to me. You have proven you are someone I can trust. He gave me 10,000 US dollars cash, and 5,000 US dollars for me to give to one of the brigade commanders.
Def: When Taylor stepped down, as part of that agreement he went to Nigeria?
Def: Did you not visit him there?
Wit: I visited him in Nigeria.
Def: You told me the last time was at the Executive Mansion. Why did you say that?
Wit: I thought you meant the last time while he was president.
Def: So the last time you saw him was in Nigeria?
Wit: He invited me and Roland Duo. We spent a week with Yeaten in Togo, then went to Taylor in Calabar.
Def: Earlier you said the last time you’d seen him at White Flower. Why didn’t you tell us about Nigeria earlier?
Wit: I didn’t understand what you were referring to. I thought you said when he was Liberian president. My last meeting with him as president was in White Flower.
Def: Did you tell the office of the prosecutor about Nigeria?
Wit: I didn’t because I cannot remember everything that happened. If you ask me to explain everything, we will be here for five months. There’s always more information that can come to my memory. Every day I could give new detail.
Def: Didn’t you think it was important that the last time you saw Taylor was in Nigeria?
Wit: I explained already, it slipped from my memory.
Court is now adjourning for half an hour. Proceedings will resume at 11:00. With the half-hour delay in video and audio to the media center, our live-blog account will continue at 11:30 (10:30 in Sierra Leone and Liberia).