Cross-Examination of Radio Operator Foday Lansana Continues

The Hague

February 25, 2008 

Defense counsel Morris Anyah continued his cross-examination of Prosecution Witness Foday Lansana. During the day Lansana seemed restless at times, frequently stretching his arms and at times even yawning. 

Anyah’s questions focused on the following topics:

Promises made by the OTP
• Anyah continued where he left off yesterday, questioning Lansana about promises that were made to him by the representatives of the OTP (Office of the Prosecution) during the time he was in Pademba Road Prison. For example, he asked: “So if Momoh Rogers were to come to this Court and said he would have talked to you about the promises the representatives of the OTP made to you for testifying in this Court, he would be lying?” Lansana answered affirmatively.  Anyah further mentioned two names of persons who would give similar testimony: Sheik Nabbie and Sheku Coomber.
• Anyah then extensively questioned Lansana about money for his suit provided by OTP  so Lansana could wear it for his first interview with the OTP’s representatives.
• In May 2000 Lansana was put in prison. On 11 April 2006 he was convicted for murder and conspiracy to murder and received a 10 year sentence. He was scheduled for release on 8 March 2009. The Chief Prosecutor wrote a letter to the then-President of Sierra Leone for the early release of Lansana. Anyah quoted from this letter and asked if Lansana knew about it. Lansana stated he had no knowledge of the letter, that a human rights lawyer appealed on his behalf and he thought his early release was part of a general pardon that was issued accordingly.
• Anyah established that the OTP and Lansana discussed his safety and that of his family; money for the education of his children; and school uniforms for his children.

Time of arrest
• Anyah stated that Lansana was brought to Pademba Road Prison on 8 May 2000. Lansana denied this, according to him it was 9 May 2000.

Events, names and places
• Anyah asserted that everything Lansana said during the last three days of his testimony were stories Lansana heard in prison from other inmates and that none of it actually happened. This included questioning the following: that in 1990 Lansana was with the NPFL; that in October 1990 he met with Charles Taylor; that in 1991 he was with Foday Sankoh; that in 1993 he was in the company of Mohamed Tarawalli aka Zino; that in 1998 he was with Dennis Mingo aka Superman; that in December 1999 he was in Monrovia where he met Ibrahim Bah and Benjamin Yeaten.  Lansana denied this and stated that it had all actually happened to him.

Taylor’s speech at the Coca Cola Factory
• Anyah asked Lansana several questions with regard to the speech Charles Taylor gave to the Special Forces at the Coca Cola Factory. The Witness stated in an OTP document that he was present when Charles Taylor phoned the BBC correspondent Robin White with regard to the attack by the Alpha Planes. However, in other documents, Lansana explained that he heard the speech over the radio. In the statement to OTP investigators on 18 January 2007 it is written that Lansana learned about this radio communication from NPFL fighters. Anyah asked whether the statement Lansana made before this Court was untrue. Lansana replied that he was present when Charles Taylor addressed the Special Forces, but was not present when Taylor spoke on the satellite phone with the BBC, because this happened later in the day. Anyah: So the document of the Prosecution is incorrect? Lansana: Yes. 

Ranks, names and girlfriends
• Anyah established that the highest rank of Lansana was lieutenant colonel. Lansana was promoted by Sam Bockarie through Dennis Mingo.
• In the statement of his interview with representatives of the OTP, Lansana denied ever having participated in combat. To Lansana’s explanation that this particular question referred to the beginning of the war in 1991/1992, Anyah stated that the question was general: “Did you partake in combat?”. In answer to questions by Anyah, Lansana stated that there was another person in the RUF with the name Foday Lansana. This Foday Lansana was not a radio operator, he was in the infantry and also known as Major Gueh. He died in Makeni in 1998, ambushed by government troops.
• When asked if the Witness has written proof that he was a member of the RUF, Lansana answered negatively, but claimed that others can testify to his RUF identity. At the time of the disarmament he surrendered all his logbooks and radio.
• Lansana testified that the radio operator Alice Pyne was at the time his girlfriend. When the Defense asked Lansana about her present whereabouts, Prosecutor Christopher Santora requested the Court to enter into private session, which was granted. When the Court goes into private session, the public may remain in the public gallery, but the sound system is disconnected. (A closed session will not allow the public to be present at all.) During this time Taylor conferred extensively with both his Counsels Anya and Munyard. After about 20 minutes the private session ended and the sound system was again connected to the public gallery.

Performance as a radio operator and radio monitor
• Anyah established several time spans when Lansana either did not work as a radio operator or did not function well as such.
• From April 1991 – April 1992, when the NPFL was ordered out of Sierra Leone, Lansana was on probation and as such did not operate radio communications.
• Between 1996 and 1997 in Kangari Hills Lansana was released from his assignment as a radio operator and was confined to monitoring conversations due to his problems with the Mende language (spoken by most RUF Commanders) and other languages. Lansana was restricted to monitoring radio messages in the northern province and was not assigned with monitoring messages between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
• From May 1997 – February 1998 Lansana was not assigned with monitoring radio messages, but was assigned to being a protocol officer.

No doubt the Defense will use this information to convince the Court that someone who can not function properly as a radio communications officer due to lack of understanding of the languages in which the messages are transferred, can most certainly not testify to messages containing information that would allegedly link Taylor to the crimes that have been committed.

At 4.30 p.m. Presiding Judge Doherty adjourned the Court until tomorrow at 9.30 a.m.