9:42 (10:12 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in session.
Charles Taylor is now present in the courtroom. The witness is also present.
Lead Counsel Courtenay Griffiths continues cross-examination of Joseph D. “Zigzag” Marzah:
Def: Yesterday you recall I asked you about atrocities you committed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Def: Why didn’t you mention a single word of these things you did in all the interviews conducted with investigators. Why didn’t you mention anything about killing pregnant women, babies and committing hundreds of executions?
Wit: Before I came I never knew I was going to sit here and explain. It is now coming to my mind.
Def: Why did you not mention a word of any of the accounts you gave yesterday to any of the lawyers or investigators?
Prosecution objects: That is not based on the record, and is not the truth. Defense says such information has not been disclosed. Prosecutor Nick Koumjian replies that there have been such disclosures to the defense where these atrocities were disclosed.
Judge Doherty: The matter can be raised in re-examination, but don’t mislead the witness.
Wit: I was so disappointed that all my explanations were not disclosed to the lawyers. The Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers we slaughtered at Taylor’s orders – that was not disclosed here yesterday.
Def: In any interview with the OTP, did you mention you had opened up pregnant women’s stomachs with a knife?
Wit: It was an instruction from my leader, Charles Taylor.
Judge Doherty: When did you tell the Office of the Prosecutor?
Wit: I can’t recall the date, but I have been explaining to them in Freetown up to here. They have most of my statements but they did not bring more out.
Def: You did mention that you committed such an atrocity?
Def: Did you tell any investigator or prosecutor that you yourself had killed babies?
Wit: That’s the same question. I still answer yes. There was a unit called “No Baby on Target”. Yes.
Def: You did tell them that you killed babies on the instructions of Charles Taylor?
Wit: Yes, I told them. After Taylor formed the unit “No Baby on Target”, no living thing was to be pitied.
Def: Did you say to the investigators, “I, Zigzag Marzah, killed babies on the instructions of Charles Taylor”?
Wit: Yes, yes, yes.
Def: Did you tell them you had executed hundreds of people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone?
Wit: Yes, I told them above a hundred. I told them the instructions I received from Taylor and all I did.
Def: The only references of all such behavior I have here are a stick in a woman’s vagina, a woman buried in sand, and rapes. No killings, no slitting open pregnant women, no killing babies. Why?
Wit: I explained it all. That’s a question for the prosecution.
Def: You told them about all of them.
Wit: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Def: Did you tell the man over there (Prosecutor Koumjian).
Wit: Not him alone. Yes.
Def: You told Koumjian about killing babies, pregnant women, killings?
Def: None of this has been disclosed to me. If there’s a record of this witness saying any such thing to Mr. Koumjian, I would like to see it.
Prosecutor Koumjian: We complied with all disclosure obligations. The witness did not make that statement, in my presence (about cutting open pregnant women).
Def: Who is Stinga?
Wit: Stinga was my advisor in Jungle Fire.
Def: You were introduced to investigators for the prosecution by a man called Stinga, who is he?
Wit: A soldier who fought for Taylor.
Def: He introduced you to prosecution investigators?
Def: Who is Stinga?
Wit: Stinga was one of the soldiers. All of us fought under Taylor. He was assigned with me. I left him in Monrovia and went back to my hometown in Nimba.
Def: I’m going to hand out copies of transcripts of prosecution interviews conducted with you over the past few years. (Copies are distributed to prosecution, witness and judges.)
Def: Can you read?
Wit: I do not read and I can’t write.
Def: I will read to you the passages I’m interested in. (Refers to a document.) This is notes by investigators who spoke to you on January 31, 2006. Do you recall that you first spoke to prosecutors about two years ago?
Wit: I can’t read and write, so I don’t know.
Def: I’m just asking about the date.
Wit: I can’t recall the date, but I can recall all that I said to the prosecutors. The prosecutor sitting over there was not the only person that was treating things with me.
Def: It says, “The witness was introduced by Stinga.” Is that Stinga, your colleague in the army?
Wit: He was a soldier assigned under me, but he was not my friend. He was my colleague.
Def: When had you worked with him?
Wit: We’d been together for a long time during Taylor’s regime. I can’t recall how many years.
Def: How did it come about that Stinga introduced you to the prosecution? Did you approach him, or did he approach you?
Wit: It happened one time, when I saw Stinga come to my village in Nimba. He said there was an issue about the atrocities. He said, I wouldn’t want you to be arrested, so it would be nice if you spoke to prosecutors. So he took me to Monrovia, when I came around the prosecutors.
Def: You went because you were afraid of being prosecuted yourself?
Wit: I wasn’t afraid. I was taking instructions from my leader, Taylor.
Def: Why did you friend say to you “I wouldn’t want you to be arrested?”
Wit: Yes. At this time, Taylor promised us that no African leader was going to be arrested. I was surprised when they arrested him. So I went and spoke to prosecutors.
Def: Because you didn’t want to be charged yourself?
Def: Were you told by the prosecutors you wouldn’t be prosecuted if you spoke with the prosecutors?
Def: Are you sure?
Def: Were you told you wouldn’t be asked about what you did, so long as you spoke about Taylor?
Wit: I didn’t do things on my own. All soldiers took direct instructions from Taylor.
Def: Were you told that “we won’t ask about things you did if you tell us what Charles Taylor did”?
Wit: I didn’t do things on my own.
Judge Doherty: Please rephrase the question.
Def: Did anyone say anything to you that “If you tell us about Charles Taylor, we’re not really interested in what you did?”
Wit: No, they didn’t.
Def: Were you told, “If you provide us information, we will look after you financially”?
Def: (refers to document) “The witness was sober.” Do you take drugs?
Def: Do you have a problem with drink?
Wit: I don’t take that. I have a serious problem that I incurred from a rocket. My ear is injured. I can’t drink or take drugs.
Def: You spoke of atrocities you committed in Sierra Leone. You remember?
Wit: I can remember some. Through questions I can remember some or even more.
Def: (references another page) “Zigzag sent situation reports to Taylor and Sankoh every day. At first just to Taylor, before the RUF was named. After that, Zigzag reported to Sankoh, who reported to Taylor. Zigzag would report on progress on both sides. He did not report physical or sexual violence against civilians because he did not see it.” Did you tell investigators that?
Wit: The question is too long.
Def: Did you tell investigators you didn’t report physical sexual violence because you didn’t see it?
Wit: I made information about the raping of women and when Mosquito took action against the soldiers.
Def: In this passage, you’re dealing with making regular reports to Taylor – up to five a day. And you told prosecutors you didn’t see physical or sexual violence. How could you say that when you were doing that yourself?
Wit: I used to focus on what happened at the battlefront. The sexual violence existed in the NPFL as in the RUF. There were so many activities, I can’t recall all of them.
Def: Is it your position that Mr. Taylor ordered these atrocities to be carried out?
Wit: Yes, without his instructions, if you did things your own way, you would be executed.
Def: Did Taylor take steps to curb behavior by ill-disciplined soldiers on the ground.
Wit: No. Only those who didn’t follow his instructions were executed.
Def: (refers to another page) “Zigzag advised, members of Special Forces lost interest in fighting in Liberia and concentrated more on looting, raping, etc. Because of this, Taylor deployed SBUs to arrest and detain or discipline Special Forces members, excluding Benjamin Yeaten. This order was written to all NPFL commanders, signed by Taylor.” Is that true?
Wit: The only power that he gave to the SBU was that any Special Forces on the front who were raping and looting were OK. If they did those things away from the front, you would be taken care of.
Def: Did Taylor issue written documents seeking to discipline Special Forces for their misbehavior?
Wit: I didn’t see a document. They mentioned that SBUs had been deployed. Special Forces were not fighting and were in the rear – the SBUs disciplined them. Those at the front raped, looted and executed at Taylor’s orders.
Def: Did Taylor issue a written document?
Wit: I don’t know about paper business. I followed Taylor’s spoken orders.
Def: Then why did you tell prosecutors this in September 2006 – that there was a written order?
Wit: Maybe they misquoted me. I told them I’m not educated and that I’m only taking instructions from Charles Taylor.
Def: During the NPFL incursion into Liberia, were any steps taken by commanding officers to curb ill-discipline on the ground?
Wit: It was only under Prince Johnson that raping and looting were not allowed. Since Taylor arrived, the looting, stealing and harassing started.
Def: Prince Johnson was at the battlefront with his troops?
Wit: He was a physical man. He was at the battlefront. There were no special forces.
Def: He was the kind of commander who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty along with his men?
Wit: Yes. Prince Johnson was effective. He didn’t take nonsense from any soldier. For that reason, the country embraced him. The villages gave him food.
Def: He was in a position to supervise and control the behavior of his soldiers?
Def: By contrast, Taylor was not at the front lines?
Wit: Sometimes he came to the front lines, but no activity was done by him.
Def: (references document) “During Johnson period, no soldier raped, looted, harassed civilians. When Johnson left to form NPFL, soldiers began those activities on their own, in part because Taylor wasn’t at the front.” Did you say that?
Wit: I told them. I told them that Taylor ordered things.
Def: There was a difference between Johnson and Taylor in terms of how closely they supervised their men?
Wit: At times Johnson was not at the front, but we were afraid of him. When Taylor came to the front and appreciated the destruction, that encouraged us to carry on with them.
Def: (references document) “Johnson was military commander – told fighters don’t loot, rape – you are here to help the people.”
Def: You agree?
Wit: During Prince Johnson’s administration there was full instruction – no man would have been brave to do such things.
Def: (references document) “Witness stated that during 1990-1991 in Liberia, any soldier that raped would be killed – any soldier that looted would have his hand cut it off.” Is that true?
Wit: Yes, but not 1991. After Johnson left, all of these activities started during Taylor’s administration.
Def: (references document) “Witness stated that his group in Liberia in 1989 only targeted the military and did not loot or engage in criminal activity.” You said that?
Wit: I told prosecutors that during Johnson’s administration that from Dec 24 to Johnson’s departure, there was no looting or raping – we only targeted armed men.
Def: Are you aware of RUF commanders seeking to control misbehavior by RUF members?
Wit: The same instruction from Taylor extended within the RUF. So when a civilian brought a complaint, no serious action were taken. They were enslaved for farming.
Def: Are you aware of RUF commanders seeking to control, for example, people who raped?
Wit: It happened once during Bockarie’s administration. Some civilians came and complained that they had raped their wives. Bockarie said he would take action, but in my presence he never took action against any soldier.
Def: (references document) “Reason why the 5 RUF were executed by Bockarie – they went on their own patrol in a village. Bockarie executed the soldiers at once when he received the complaint.” True?
Wit: That was when Sankoh was in power. That was when they raped Mosquito’s girlfriend. That’s why he killed them.
Def: Why doesn’t it say that here – that they killed him because she was his girlfriend.
Wit: It’s a mistake in the statement.
Def: Why does it say “women” – plural if it was just Mosquito’s girlfriend.
Wit: Girls were with Mosquito’s girlfriend. There were so many other rapes.
Def: Did you have a bush wife in Beudu?
Def: How old was she?
Wit: She was having two kids from Magburaka. They called her Hawa. Then in Kono I had a girl called Sebetu. She had a child for me.
Def: Did either of those two willingly become your partner?
Wit: Yes. Mosquito approached the lady, Sebetu for me. She is now in Freetown. She has our son. Sometimes she visits me in Liberia.
Def: Was she given to you like a bag of rice?
Wit: She was wooed to be my friend and she accepted it.
Def: Was it Charles Taylor who ordered the use of forced labor?
Wit: Yes, I can tell you the reason.
Def: You say, Taylor ordered that forced labor should be used?
Wit: That’s a question for Taylor, not me.
Def: Did you receive such an order?
Wit: Mosquito received an order to use civilians to work for us.
Def: Were you there when Taylor gave the order?
Wit: When I tell you I am one of the living people of the NPFL, what do you think?
Def: Were you present when the order was given by Taylor to use forced labor?
Def: (references document) “Zigzag is not aware of any order coming from Taylor regarding forcing civilians to work. However, when this was done, there was no consequence”. Is this true?
Prosecution objects: Context of statement is about NPFL in Liberia.
Judge Doherty: Are you making a general statement?
Def: Mr. Marzah, did you say to the investigators that you were not aware of aware of any order coming from Taylor regarding forced labor?
Wit: I told them the same NPFL structure extended to the RUF. They were the same body.
Def: Did you tell them you were not aware of any order coming from Taylor regarding forced labor?
Wit: I can’t remember that. But I know what happened.
Def: If you are saying you overheard an order from Taylor to Mosquito, how could you have made a statement like that to prosecutors?
Judge Doherty: You’re asking about the RUF, and the statement is about the NPFL in Liberia.
Def: The answer would not have been recorded in the way it was if there was an order from Taylor to Bockarie.
Def: Why did you give that information to investigators given that you were present when Taylor ordered Mosquito otherwise?
Wit: Mosquito was an NPFL soldier. What we did in the NPFL by Taylor’s instruction extended with the RUF.
Def: Even Benjamin Yeaten was subjected to disciplinary action by Charles Taylor, wasn’t he?
Wit: He was the chief security to Taylor.
Def: Even he was disciplined by Taylor?
Wit: The only time he was disciplined was in Gbarnga, when he failed to follow Taylor’s instruction. That’s when he was detained.
Def: What was that all about?
Wit: I don’t exactly recall. It had to do with executions. They were going to execute him.
Def: (references document) “Zigzag stated Taylor ordered Yeaten’s arrest in 1992 because there was an order to carry supplies to Sierra Leone. Yeaten intercepted the supply and distributed them to his men. He said the enemies were coming close to his territory, and he would not allow the arms to be carried to the RUF when he needed them. When this was reported to Taylor, Taylor ordered Yeaten to be arrested and executed.” Is that true?
Def: Doesn’t this demonstrate, that even at the highest level of Liberian administration, there was a great deal of ill-discipline, wasn’t there?
Wit: Those who were disciplined would be executed. Those who executed with Taylor’s awareness went away with no action against them.
Def: Even Yeaten, head of the SSS, acted with ill-discipline. Do you agree?
Wit: It only happened once, in Gbarnga.
Def: Does this show an example of a senior officer, Yeaten, acting in an ill-disciplined way?
Wit: Yeaten did so many things that were not proper. Later, Taylor called us for a meeting in the Executive Mansion and said whatever Yeaten did, he knew about.
Def: Liberia and Sierra Leone were in chaos. It opened opportunities for people like you and Yeaten to make money?
Wit: I don’t understand.
Def: Did you sell ULIMO weapons to the RUF to line your own pockets?
Def: Do you know anyone who privately sold arms to the RUF?
Wit: RUF were taking direct supplies from the NPFL of Charles Taylor.
Def: Moving to another topic. Yesterday, I asked about the Freetown invasion, you said you were not a bird and as an infantryman, you’d entered Freetown?
Def: (references document) “Witness stated that while convalescing in Monrovia, the AFRC/RUF rebels invaded Freetown in Jan. 1999. Two days before, Taylor called him and asked if he was medically fit to invade and capture Freetown. Witness told Taylor that condition of leg disallowed him from going.” Were you in Freetown at the time of the invasion, or were you in Monrovia?
Wit: That paragraph is not correct.
Prosecution objects: Yesterday witness spoke about an invasion – the one that made JP leader. It’s not clear he was referring to January 1999.
Def: I was clear in my question yesterday. This is a perfectly valid question.
Judge Doherty: Defense is allowed to ask about this, and prosecution can clarify it on re-examination.
Def: In Jan 1999, were you in Freetown, or were you convalescing in Monrovia?
Wit: The invasion in which Johnny Paul and Eddie Kanneh retreated with us to Beudu. I don’t know about 1999.
Def: Were you there for the retreat?
Wit: I was wounded in my ear. I was there. We carried out the invasion, doing the fighting before I received this rocket wound.
Def: Were you convalescing in Monrovia in Jan 1999?
Wit: The one you’re talking about, it happened around Guinea area in 1999. In Freetown I received this rocket wound.
Def: At the time of the Freetown invasion in 1999, were you convalescing in Monrovia?
Wit: I don’t know the years. The invasion that caused JPK and Eddie Kanneh to retreat.
Def: Was there a January in any year that you were convalescing in Monrovia while there was an invasion in Freetown?
Def: On March 13, 2006, you said this to the Prosecution. Were you in Monrovia, or were you in Freetown, invading?
Wit: I was ordered by Taylor that there were some groups to join the RUF. I should take some ammos and help them take the mansion. During the move I was injured in my ear. I wasn’t aware how they retreated. When I went back I saw Eddie Kanneh and others in Beudu.
Def: I’ll try one last time. You’re deliberately refusing to answer the question because you are lying. Were you in Monrovia or Freetown in Jan 1999?
Wit: I only know about the invasion in which I took part. I’m telling the truth.
Def: In January 1999, were you convalescing in Monrovia or were you in Freetown?
Wit: I don’t know the year, but I took part in the invasion in Freetown.
Def: You lied to us yesterday because you forgot what you told investigators earlier.
Wit: I can’t tell lies.
Def: You were a Gio by birth?
Def: How do you get on with Krahn people?
Wit: The only problem with the Krahn and the Gio – Doe carried out atrocities against us. So when we saw Charles Taylor we were happy to revenge. The whole thing is over now.
Def: Do you know what a cannibal is?
Wit: That English is too big.
Def: What do you call someone who eats other human beings?
Wit: It’s a human being. The one that wants to kill you and your family, you kill and eat them for revenge.
Def: You have eaten your enemies on more than one occasion?
Wit: Yes. By the instruction of Charles Taylor because of my poro society. When he approved of it, I carried on.
Def: (references document) This is from an interview from July 2, 2007: “Witness states, Samuel Doe was a Krahn, so when witness and his men went to Krahn counties, they would kill all the people and eat them in the belief that this would rid the country of the Krahn race.” Did you say that?
Def: Was it the truth?
Def: When you first invaded Liberia?
Def: When the NPFL first entered Nimba County, is this when you were eating Krahn people?
Wit: No. We fought in the county during Taylor’s period. He said because Charles Julu had eaten our own people. When Taylor came, we went to the counties for revenge. During Taylor’s regime from 93-94, at the time Taylor was in Gbarnga, and we were in Grand Gedeh.
Def: Let’s look at the context in which this paragraph appears. Earlier, you say the people in Nimba were happy to join Taylor when he came because Doe had killed many Gio, including women and children – taken to Monrovia and loaded in containers taken to sea and dumped there. And then you talk about eating Krahn. Are you saying Taylor ordered you to eat Krahns?
Wit: Yes. Any activity in which you did not take action was appreciated by him. Doe butchered Nimba children.
Def: According to you, at the time the NPFL entered Liberia, you were under the command of Prince Johnson, who didn’t allow this kind of thing. So who told you to eat Krahns?
Wit: Johnson did not stay long. Taylor came when we were in Teaplay (sp?) We should take revenge.
Judge Doherty: The question was who told you to eat Krahns?
Wit: Charles Taylor.
Def: Did Taylor order you to eat people?
Wti: Yes, to set an example for the people to be afraid.
Wit: It happened when we were disarming the ECOMOG. He said we should eat them. Even the UN white people – he said we could use them as pork to eat. The Nigerians and other people we should kill them and do anything we wanted to do with them.
Def: Taylor ordered you to eat Nigerians and white people?
Def: How was the order given? Over radio?
Wit: He said when there is no food, we should live by them.
Def: How many ECOMOG soldiers did you eat?
Wit: We ate a few, but not many, but about 68 were executed. The UN troops – the whites – after we took them to Vahun, Yeaten’s base. Yeaten executed them.
Def: Did you cook them as well?
Wit: Yes, I participated.
Def: How do you prepare a human being for a pot?
Wit: I’m sorry there is no way to demonstrate here. We slit your throat, butcher you, throw the head and intestines away. We put your flesh in a pot and cook you. Your two palms – we put them together, and clean inside your intestines. It’s a hard bone. Charles Taylor knows that.
Def: Do white people or Krahns taste better?
Wit: I like them best, but there was no way to do things your own way.
Def: That wasn’t the only instance you ate human flesh. You ate Superman’s heart?
Wit: Yes, in Yeaten’s yard.
Def: Did Taylor tell you to eat Superman’s heart?
Wit: Yes. Ask him yourself.
Def: Where were you when Taylor told you to eat Superman’s heart?
Wit: After he had passed the instruction. In his security meeting, he said whatever instruction was given by Ben should be executed. Taylor said we should bring him the hand and eat the heart. Ben gave Taylor Superman’s hand.
Def: So it wasn’t Taylor who told you, it was Benjamin Yeaten?
Wit: It was Taylor.
Def: Where were you when he gave you the instruction to eat Superman’s heart?
Wit: In Monrovia. We had already executed Superman.
Def: Where in Monrovia was it that Taylor stood in front of you and said “Zigzag, I want you to eat Superman’s heart.”
Prosecution objects that the description assumes things that the witness has not stated.
Def: Where were you when Taylor ever said to you “Zigzag, I want you to eat a human being.”
Wit: It happened twice before Gbarnga fell. He told me anywhere there are human beings, you should eat them. They are no longer human beings. I couldn’t eat them raw. We cooked them with pepper and salt and barbequed them.
Court is now adjourning for the mid-morning break.