Court has resumed following the lunch break.
Defense counsel Terry Munyard resumes his cross-examination of Stephen Ellis:
Def: Let me ask about the Special Task Force (STF). Are you aware of them?
Wit: I’m not.
Def: A group of some 3,000 Liberians under Gen Bropleh and employed by the Sierra Leonean government of Tejan Kabbah?
Wit: I’m aware of Bropleh, but not that he was in the employ of Tejan Kabbah.
Defense has no further questions.
Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura now has the opportunity to re-examine Dr. Ellis:
Pros: You testified yesterday about Liberian legislation allowing forced labor in Liberia and that the latest version of those regulations were in the 1940s?
Wit: There was a distinction made between the coastal counties and hinterlands. Broadly, this was a distinction between citizens and subjects. In 1963 and 1964 the hinterland territories were dissolved and brought into the joint state. The regulations on forced labor ended then and no longer applied at the time the Liberian civil war began.
Pros: And in Sierra Leone, to your knowledge, was any such legislation in existence in 1991 when the war began in 1991.
Wit: There was no legislation of that nature by 1991.
Pros: Yesterday you said with regard to the economy of Liberia during the Doe regime in Liberia, you agreed that members of the Doe government engaged in embezzlement, correct?
Wit: Yes. The government engaged in embezzlement on a massive scale, but Doe was uneducated and it was not he alone who benefitted within the government.
Pros: And ordinary people did not benefit from aid to Doe’s government?
Pros: And under the rule of Taylor, was there any change in this regard. Did the people better benefit from the country’s resources than had been the case under Doe?
Wit: It’s hard to answer. The whole country had suffered greatly during the war. A lot had happened in between. Even the population patterns had changed. Large numbers of rural Liberians moved to Monrovia and large numbers of people fled as refugees. By 1997 people were coming back on a large scale into Lofa County. It’s impossible to answer precisely to say whether the population was better off under Taylor or Doe.
Pros: You said that Taylor operated a parallel system through a clique of people around him running the country in an unofficial way.
Pros: You used the term “hollow shell” to talk about ministries. Can you explain further?
Wit: Yes. There were a number of ministries and organs of administration with few powers or funds. The duties were implemented by unofficial individuals who owed loyalty to Taylor. They were like Potemkin villages.
Pros: Regarding Africans who went to Libya before 1989, you agreed some had gone to seek refuge. Was that the case for most of the Africans going to Libya?
Wit: In recent years, there’s been a large number of people in sub-Saharan Africa going to seek work in Libya – essentially as economic migrants. What I was referring to was rather different – relatively small numbers of individuals going to Libya for ideological or military training, some sponsored by the Libyan government. Those are small numbers.
Pros: Those people included those who started the war in Liberia.
Wit: Yes. In my report, I refer to that very specifically. Two documents were given two me by a very senior member of the NPFL – lists of names of people trained in Libya before 1989. By 2000, many of them were dead. Many of the survivors were key Taylor allies, including Benjamin Yeaten.
Pros: Can you please spell the following for the record – they came up in questioning by the defense?
Wit: President Babangida; Abacha; Benoni Urey.
Pros: You mention fighting April 6, 1996 fighting in Monrovia, instigated by the NPFL. You said Taylor and Alhaji Kromah tried to take power militarily? Who was Kromah?
Wit: He was one of the founders of ULIMO, and then the leader of ULIMO-K. There was a transitional government of warlords including Kromah.
Pros: You mentioned Benjamin Yeaten. Who is he?
Wit: He’s one of the Liberians who received training in Libya before 1989 – a confidante of Taylor. Under Taylor, he became Director of the Special Security Services. He was one of his senior security officials. I mentioned the December 1997 murder of Sam Dokie. He was last seen alive in the custody of Benjamin Yeaten, and it appears that Yeaten was responsible for the murder.
Prosecution has no further questions for Dr. Ellis.
The prosecution moves to introduce into evidence all documents discussed during the evidence of Stephen Ellis.
Defense objects to admission into evidence of a news report from IRIN News, a press release without value. Prosecution argues that it is up to the judges to determine the weight of the document. Judge Doherty: this is a question of weight and the document is admissible.
Defense objects to admission into evidence of a report by the NGO Global Witness called “Taylor Made”. The report covers the Liberian timber trade and Liberian shipping and corporate registry. The report is said to demonstrate links between the accused and the RUF, but fails to establish that there were such links. (Defense counsel Terry Munyard goes through the report to argue that references to alleged links fall short of demonstrating these.) The report makes unsupported allegations and its facts are irrelevant to the content of this trial. Prosecution replies: the report is a source consulted by the witness; to understand and appreciate his findings, those sources he cited should be admitted into evidence. The report makes extensive references to links between the accused and the RUF. It is up to the court to weigh the report’s value. The report helps in explaining some of the prosecution’s theories of the case. It provides a wider context for other facts. After the judges confer, Presiding Judge Doherty provides their ruling: We note the detailed objections of the defense. The document is relevant and admissible, and its credibility and weight will be determined at the end of the trial.
The defense did not object to admission into evidence of any other documents.
Presiding Judge Doherty has thanked the witness for his testimony and dismissed him from the stand.