Taylor Taken to Hospital But Proceedings Continue

The Hague

February 26, 2008

Beginning at 9.30 a.m., Defense Counsel Morris Anyah continued his cross-examination of radio operator Foday Lansana. After about 20 minutes, Charles Taylor interrupted Anyah and conferred with him and Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths. Griffiths then announced that Taylor was not feeling well and needed medical attention. Griffiths told the Court he had been given instructions by Taylor so that it would be no injustice to continue the cross-examination in his absence. Subsequently, Taylor was taken from the Court room and the cross-examination continued.

At 11.30 a.m., the Court adjourned until 12.00 p.m. When proceedings resumed, Presiding Judge Doherty asked Griffiths for an update on Taylor’s medical condition. Griffiths informed the Court that Taylor had been examined by the doctor present at the Court, who then had contacted the Prison’s doctor who is in possession of Taylor’s medical records. Subsequently, Taylor was taken to the hospital, where he would stay at least until 2.30 this afternoon.  After completion of cross-examination and redirect, the Court adjourned until 2.30 p.m. when Presiding Judge Doherty again inquired with Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths after Taylor’s health. Griffiths informed the Court that various tests had been carried out, nothing identifiable was wrong with him. He said that Taylor was anxious to return to Court but the medical staff wanted to keep him in the hospital for the day. Griffiths suggested to adjourn the Court until tomorrow morning. The Prosecution had no objection to the Defense’s request.

Subsequently, Presiding Judge Doherty adjourned the Court until tomorrow 9.30 when Prosecution Witness TF1-362 will take the stand. It has been announced that this Witness will testify in closed session, however it is possible that the Witness will waive this right and give testimony in open session.

Cross-examination continues

Anyah’s cross-examination sought to highlight testimony favorable to the Defense, emphasize inaccuracies in Lansana’s statements, point out his prior inconsistent statements to the OTP, and demonstrate that funds were paid by the OTP to Lansana. 

• Anyah asked Lansana to confirm his statement from the day before, that in the period 1998 – 2000 he did not monitor radio communications between Sierra Leone and Liberia, and thus was not aware of any communications between Charles Taylor, Sam Bockarie, Foday Sankoh and Benjamin Yeaten during this period. Lansana confirmed this point.
• Lansana testified that in December 1999 he met with Benjamin Yeaten in an NPFL guesthouse, but Anyah noted that since August 1999 there was no entity called NPFL. Lansana explained that when referencing NPFL in December 1999 he meant a military wing of the then-government of Liberia.
• In his statement to the OTP on November 21, 2003, Lansara indicated that he monitored some but not all communications between the RUF and NPFL.
• Anyah asserted that Lansana knew the group that attacked Freetown on 6 January 1999 was from Rosos because he had heard this at Pademba Road Prison. Lansana denied this.
• A radio operator (Martin Moinama) was a prosecution witness in the trial of Foday Sankoh in 1998. During the attack on Freetown on 6 January 1999 he was killed. Lansana stated in his testimony last Friday that he overheard radio communications in which Sam Bockarie instructed Alex Tamba Brima (aka “Gullit”) to execute Moinama as a traitor. Gullit had this order carried out by Alhaji Conteh. Lansana later heard the execution confirmed by others. Anyah argued that Lansana was not present at this radio communication, but that this was another thing he had heard in Pademba Road Prison, this time from Alhaji Conteh (aka Black Jesus), the assassin, who was an inmate with Lansana.
• Anyah took Lansana through 9 payments from the OTP to Lansana for a total of 572.000 Leons. These payments were for meals, medical care and other things. Lansana stated that for meals and medicine he signed for, he was not given cash, but the meals and medicine were given to him.
• Lansana agreed to having received 5.952.00 Leons as a subsistence allowance, in addition to that, 203.000 Leons for medical care, 644.000 Leons for child care, 500.000 Leons for transportation, 926.200 Leons for miscellaneous and US $ 3.328 for rent, maintenance and utilities.

Redirect Examination

• Prosecutor Christopher Santora asked why Lansana was afraid for his own safety in Pademba Road Prison. Lansana answered that in 2003, Martin Moinama’s death was his number one objection to testify before this Court. According to him, his ex-colleagues and other RUF members monitored each step he took out of the Pademba Road Prison. Also inside the prison were many ex-combatants and he was afraid he might be poisoned or otherwise harmed. In 2003, Konteh was also in Pademba Road Prison.
• Regarding the meeting in the Coca Cola Factory and the BBC broadcast, Lansana clarified that he was present when Charles Taylor spoke with the Special Force Commanders in the radio room. He was not with Taylor when Taylor was on the satellite phone with the BBC. Lansana stated this in two sessions preparing for his testimony in this trial on 2 and 5 February 2008.
• As to his testimony regarding being in a refugee camp in Guinea, Lansana clarified that during the interviews by the OTP in 2003 and 2004 he was answering to specific questions of the investigators, while in The Hague he was asked to systematically tell what had happened to him from the day he left university until the day of his arrest in 1990 and it wasn’t until then that his time spent in Guinea came up.
• Lansana testified on cross-examination that in 1991 in Kailahun he did not have complete access to military information transmitted by radio. Lansana confirmed that he was not a direct operator, but that he was with colleagues who shared these messages with him and he was present when the contents of these messages were discussed.
• In April/May 1992, Charles Taylor recalled the NPFL fighters to Liberia when Lansana was in Buedu. The message to evacuate the NPFL fighters was transmitted first from Taylor’s radio operator to the radio operator in Buedu. Subsequently all the generals were assembled in Buedu, and Taylor spoke to them over the radio.  All generals were assigned with a specific task. After this message had been transmitted, Oliver Varney was in Kailahun. His task was to read this message to all the NPFL soldiers in Kailahun.

Submission of exhibits
• Two handwritten documents were submitted by the Prosecution and accepted by the Court, despite objections by the Defense.
• A tape with a BBC radio interview with Sam Bockarie and the transcript of this interview were submitted by the Prosecution and accepted by the Court, despite the Defense’s objection that Lansana’s testimony is the only proof that the tape recording has the actual voice of Sam Bockarie.