4:10 Prosecution re-examines Varmuyan Sherif

Prosecutor Brenda Hollis re-examines witness Varmuyan Sherif: 

Pros: (Referencing a prior statement:) You were asked about LURD control in Lofa County.  You had said LURD took control of Voinjama, Kolahun and Zorzor.  You also said Foya was controlled by Taylor’s forces from 1997-2003.  Is that correct?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You were asked about this in the context of LURD control of the border to Sierra Leone.  Please show on the map where Voinjama, Kolahun and Zorzor are located.  (Witness does so.)  Please show the judges where Foya is located.  (Witness does so.)

Wit: Foya connects Mendekoma and Beudu.

Pros: Defense also read a paragraph in which you said that Guinea backed LURD after Taylor attacks on Guinea.  You said in this statement that in 2000 Taylor contacted the RUF to come attack Guinea.  Taylor gave the RUF bases in Foya and Kolahun.  The AFL was also attacking Guinea from two other fronts.  There were three major fronts in Lofa.  You named the commanders of the Taylor commanders and described where they attacked in Guinea.  (Prosecutor reads details.)  A fourth front was in Sierra Leone to attack Guinea.  Are these the four fronts you’re talking about?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You were asked about mental illness.  At one point you said that to you, mental illness is telling the individual that they are crazy.  Please tell the court what you mean by the word crazy.

Wit: When Taylor was preparing the mission to attack Guinea, I did not want to be part of the attack on Guinea.  I would be fighting my own family.  I made myself stupid so they could forget about me.  Later I could defend attacks from Guinea.  I had my senses and knew what I was doing.  I was not crazy.

Pros: So a person is crazy when you are not yourself?

Wit: It means you do not have your senses.  At the time, if I did not look like someone who did not have his senses, he would send me to participate in the attack on Guinea.  I said I was not feeling well.  Every time he sent someone to ask at my house, my mother said I was not feeling well.

Pros: Today you said that in April 2007, because of threats you and your family were relocated out of LIberia. 

Wit: Yes.

Pros: And you received a temporary leave from your job at the SSS.

Wit: Yes.  I asked the Special Court to meet with Madame Sirleaf to allow me to testify at the Special Court.

Pros: Defense asked about ECOMOG control in Liberia from 1990-2000.  You said you were in Kakata in 1990.  Did you have any meetings with ECOMOG there?

Wit: No.  I was just a student.

Pros: You fled Kakata and moved to your mother’s village in Sierra Leone.  During that time, did you have meetings with ECOMOG?

Wit: No.  I was a civilian.  I didn’t know anything about the military.  I didn’t see them.

Pros: While you were in Sierra Leone, did you ever meet with ECOMOG?

Wit: No.

Pros: You said you entered Liberia in 1992?

Wit: Yes, in Klay – on Camp Johnson Road.

Pros: During 1992 did you have any meetings with ECOMOG?

Wit: When Monrovia was attacked in October 1993, ECOMOG asked for ULIMO assistance.  Both NPFL and INPFL wanted to overthrow the interim government.  We assisted in  the city.

Pros: In 1992 did you have any meetings with ECOMOG?

Wit: Only at the buffer zone on the Po river, to make sure there were no problems.

Pros: Where were you based in 1994?

Wit: I was general supervisor.  I was moving to Lofa during the fighting against RUF and NPFL.

Pros: Did you have any meetings with ECOMOG in 1994?

Wit: When there were problems in the buffer zone, sometimes they would complain.  We had many meetings.  ECOMOG asked our assistance in Monrovia in 1993-94 during the government of Amos Sawyer to help defend the city.

Pros: I would like to ask about the area in Liberia controlled by ULIMO.  (Shows map to witness and the court.)  I want to ask about each county you circled.  What year did ULIMO gain control over Grand Cape Mount?

Wit: End 1992 to 1993, ULIMO controlled Grand Cape Mount.  When ULIMO split, ULIMO-J controlled it.

Pros: In what year did ULIMO gain control over Gbarpolu?

Wit: 1993.

Pros: What year did ULIMO gain control over Lofa?

Wit: We entered in 1993, but we were attacked by the Lofa Defense Force, NPFL and RUF. 

Pros: You had control over part of Bomi County too?

Wit: We had total control over Bomi.  It was later controlled by ULIMO-J. 

Pros: During your earlier answers to defense counsel’s questions, you asked whether you agreed you went on your assignment to get Bockarie wearing the SSS uniform.  Why did you wear that uniform?

Wit: The uniform commanded respect and didn’t make me heavy.

Pros: Defense asked about whether you had difficulty crossing the border to Sierra Leone.  Did you encounter any checkpoints at the border.

Wit: I was the first government official to visit that area after the elections.  Except for the ECOMOG checkpoints in Monrovia, there were no other checkpoints.

Pros: On the Sierra Leone side, was there a checkpoint?

Wit: There was an RUF checkpoint manned by junior officers.

Pros: Defense asked you about ECOMOG roadblocks or checkpoints.  You mentioned that ECOMOG were at “15 Gate”.  On the map, please show where 15 Gate is located? (Witness points to a point to a point on the road just outside Monrovia.)  About half-way between Careysburg and Kakata?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: During defense questioning, you were asked to show the court the size of the mayonaise jar that Bockarie took from his coat.  At one point you indicated the “length of your palm”.  Height or width?

Wit: From the wrist to fingertips.

Pros: Is that the height or width?

Wit: That’s the height.

Pros: Do you know how many inches or centimeters that is.  Do you have an estimate?

Wit: No.

Defense suggests measuring the witness’s palm.  Judges agree.  The measurement is 20 centimeters.

Pros: I want to ask about some of your testimony last week.  You were asked about Bockarie having diamonds, and you seeing them in Voinjama.  You said at one point that you needed more information from Bockarie’s bodyguard later regarding the diamond issue.  You wanted the bodyguard to give you details about the diamonds.  What details, if any, did this bodyguard give you?

Wit: That Bockarie had diamonds.  I did not stop there.  I sent some of my bodyguards to Sierra Leone.  Most people sent from Liberia were sent to the diamond areas.  That’s why Liberia was sending him weapons.  I saw Eddie Kanneh, RUF diamond agent.  I concluded that Taylor was involved in the diamond business.  I didn’t see him discuss diamonds with Bockarie. 

Pros: You were asked about a visit to see Yeaten in Togo, then to see Taylor in Calabar.  You said Yeaten communicated with Taylor, and sat on the ground during the communication.  Please explain what you meant.

Wit: I went with Roland Duo to see Yeaten.  While talking with Taylor, I left the chair to sit on the ground.  I asked why.  Yeaten said that “when I’m communicating with my father” I see him standing over me. 

Pros: Initially, defense referred you to a question (in a prior statement) about Taylor and the RUF.    Let’s look at the specific question asked of you before the answer that defense reviewed.  Question: When Taylor came into power, what was the first thing you saw in relation to Taylor’s relationship with the RUF.  You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: In response, you said “He personally calle me”…when ECOMOG removed the government that overthrew Tejan Kabbah. 

Prosecution ends re-examination of this witness and moves to admit exhibits used during the questioning into evidence.

Defense objects to entering the map of supply routes from Liberia to Sierra Leone.  Defense says the map is mis-labelled as “RUF supply routes”.  The heading is prejudicial and should be erased.  Prosecution argues that the witness specifically said these were routes used to supply the RUF.  The map should be admissible as captioned.

The judges are conferring amongst themselves. 

Judge Sebutinde: This map will be admitted in its current form.  The contents will be weighed together with the testimony.