12:00 (12:30 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in session.
Prosecutor Nick Koumjian continues his examination of witness Isaac Mongor:
Pros: We were discussing the time of the incident where Superman used the tactic of having soldiers pretend to surrender. Was this before or after the Jan 1999 invasion of Freetown?
Wit: It occurred before that time.
Pros: So you’re saying it happened between February 1998 and the January 1999 invasion of Freetown?
Wit: Yes, after we had left Freetown.
Pros: The incidents you described where ECOMOG uniforms were used – do you recall particular places where this happened.
Wit: At Mile 91. Zino did that.
Pros: When was this?
Wit: It happened in 1995.
Pros: Going back to the incident with Superman in Kabala. You said those with white bands pretended to surrender. What did they do when the firing started?
Wit: They too joined in the firing.
Pros: Where were their weapons?
Wit: Strung on their backs.
Pros: You told us about following the events of Freetown by Gullit’s forces. Did you learn of any strategy there to confuse the enemy?
Wit: Yes, they too used a strategy. They let the civilians to tie white headbands and sing, and walk in from of the soldiers.
Pros: Whose idea was it for the civilians to tie the headbands?
Wit: It was the idea of the fighters. They put the civilians in front, singing for peace. The gunmen were in the back. That’s how they entered town.
Pros: How did you learn about the strategy?
Wit: We too used to do it. The men who entered Freetown told me.
Pros: When you were with the RUF, were the soldiers of the RUF paid?
Wit: No, we were not paid.
Pros: How did the soldiers get what they wanted and needed?
Wit: Whatever we wanted, we got it from the civilians. Where we would attack, whatever the civilians had, we would take it from them.
Pros: You told us about being in Kono after leaving Freetown. Did this looting of property from civilians take place during that time?
Pros: When you were with the NPFL, were the soldiers in the NPFL paid?
Wit: From the beginning, the NPFL was not paying the soldiers.
Pros: Did you see any looting take place by NPFL soldiers?
Wit: Yes, the things we were using, we looted from civilians. Even Mr. Taylor – some of his vehicles were looted.
Pros: How did you know that Taylor was using looted vehicles?
Wit: Because the vehicles which we captured from the front lines were brought to him. Some of those vehicles were part of his convoy.
Pros: I want to ask about how civilians were used by the RUF. In the mining for diamonds, were civilians compensated in any way?
Wit: Later on, they said the mining was a two-part system, where the gravel is divided into two – one pile for the soldiers and one for the civilians. But any diamond found in the civilian piles was given to the soldiers.
Pros: So were they compensated?
Wit: Just food.
Pros: Did the RUF ever engage in any construction projects that you know of?
Wit: No, we were not engaged in any of those things.
Pros: When you went to Beudu, did you ever witness any projects being undertaken there?
Wit: Yes, they were preparing an airfield. The civilians were working there.
Pros: To your knowledge, were the civilians compensated for this?
Wit: No, in the RUF, we had nothing like payment. The only thing we did was provide food for them. But they were not paid money.
Pros: What other kind of work did the civilians do for the RUF?
Wit: They used to cultivate farms for the RUF, harvest palm oil, harvesting coffee.
Pros: Did you ever use civilians for any tasks in your job as a frontline commander?
Pros: How would civilians work for the frontline commanders?
Wit: If I wanted a hut to sleep, the G5 would give me civilians to erect my hut.
Pros: How did the RUF move ammunition?
Wit: While we were in the jungle, the civilians would carry the ammunition. We hadn’t vehicles, so we used the civilians.
Pros: In all of these tasks, did the civilians have a choice about whether to work for the RUF?
Wit: No, they had no option.
Pros: Regarding SBUs, you said you were training soldiers at Camp Nama. What were the ages of the youngest soldiers you were training?
Wit: About 10.
Pros: Do you recall the names of any of the young children you trained at Camp Nama?
Wit: Kona Lakbo, Old Pa Harris, Base Marine. Those are the ones I can recall.
Pros: How old was Old Pa Harris when you trained him?
Wit: Almost ten years.
Pros: Base Marine?
Wit: Around 9, going to 10.
Pros: How were the SBUs used in the RUF?
Wit: The SBUs were fighting.
Pros: How did they perform as fighters?
Wit: They were at the forefront, fighting. We used them also to be at the checkpoints so that they could push back fighters who wanted to retreat from the frontline.
Pros: Why were SBU’s used for this task?
Wit: The reason was that the SBUs were brave – more than most of the adults. So we used them to ensure that they would capture most of the men retreating from the frontline, and they would bring them back to the frontline. The others were used at the frontline.
Pros: During the time you were with the RUF, did the recruitment of SBUs continue?
Wit: It continued to the end of the war.
Pros: How did SBUs come to be part of the RUF?
Wit: If you went and attacked a place, and if you captured the place. You would take the SBUs from the captured people, because you knew their use. Whenever you saw people of that age, you would capture and bring them to be trained.
Pros: Did they have a choice? Did they choose to join the RUF?
Wit: No, they had no choice.
Pros: Regarding women: how did women come to be with the RUF troops?
Wit: Some of the women were trained an became RUF soldiers. Some of them were taken by the RUF soldiers, the fighters, to be their wives. That’s how the women were with the RUF.
Pros: When the RUF attacked a village, what would happen with the women in a village?
Wit: When we attacked any village, we turned the women in our wives. Some were sent to be trained as soldiers to fight.
Pros: Did the women have a choice?
Wit: No, they had no choice.
Pros: You talked about how commanders had more choice in choosing women. Did you ever see a case where women were traded among soldiers?
Wit: Yes, it happened. You, the junior man, if your senior commander wanted the woman, he would take the woman from you.
Pros: Did the woman have any role in deciding which commander to be with?
Wit: No, she had no choice.
Pros: When the RUF entered a village and captured civilians, did you ever hear of anyone being asked if they were married?
Wit: Yes, they would ask. And they would say they were married even if they weren’t. Some men denied being husbands, because they didn’t want to be killed.
Pros: You talked about being in Kailahun District. What was the situation of women at RUF locations in Kailahun?
Wit: Some were the wives of the RUF fighters. The RUF soldiers turned them into their wives. Some were trained to become soldiers.
Pros: I will ask about your knowledge of specific killings of civilians by the RUF. Were you arrested at one time in 1993 near Kailahun town?
Wit: Yes, they arrested me once, saying I had connived. The enemies were advancing on the RUF position. They were to take me to Giehun, about ten miles away.
Pros: What happened in Giehun?
Wit: It was the place where Sam Bockarie was doing killings. Foday Sankoh’s girlfriend, Janet, hailed from that town. She was arrested – they said she’d connived with the government troops, the government soldiers. So they started arresting to all her relatives. They arrested people from that town and the surrounding villages. That’s where Mosquito was based, and the same place where they were killed.
Pros: What happened to Janet?
Wit: She and her child were arrested. They were detained in a house. After some time, she was taken out to be killed. But then they took out her son, for the two of them to have sex before they could be killed.
Pros: Who was that who forced that to happen?
Wit: Mosquito, Sam Bockarie.
Pros: You mentioned that Bockarie had arrested civilians from Giehun and the surrounding area. What happened to them?
Wit: They were killed at a bridge in Giehun.
Pros: How do you know this?
Wit: I went there.
Pros: Did you see them being killed?
Wit: I saw them being taken to the bridge. They were shot and fell into the river. The corpses were there.
Pros: During the time of the junta, were you aware of anything happening outside of Kenema?
Wit: Yes, outside of Kenema Mosquito gave an order where some civilians were killed. Going toward Tongo Field, civilians were killed.
Pros: How do you know about that?
Wit: When I came from Freetown to Kenema to Mosquito – one of my men who was at the place explained everything to me.
Pros: Do you recall when this happened?
Wit: It was before we left Freetown.
Pros: During the time of the AFRC/RUF presence in Freetown?
Pros: Early in that period, or later in the period?
Wit: It was close to the intervention.
Pros: Besides Momoh, did anyone else tell you they had witnessed this?
Wit: Momoh was my man who was there. The only other people I saw who were shot too were RUF soldiers in the hospital because they were accused of looting.
Pros: Who shot them?
Wit: Mosquito shot them in the legs. They said they went to the women’s society bando bush and looted their property. The people complained to Mosquito. The two men whose legs were shot were captured. Later, Mosquito learned that the men he shot were not the ones who did it.
Pros: Did you talk to soldiers involved in killing civilians?
Wit: Yes, I talked to the soldiers in the hospital. They said the civilians were suspected of being informants for the Kamajors.
Pros: How many civilians were killed in this incident?
Wit: I didn’t ask them for any figure.
Pros: Who was it who ordered the killings?
Pros: Do you have knowledge of another incident involving Mosquito in Kailahun?
Wit: Mosquito killed those people – he said they were Kamajors. But according to information I got, they said those people were those who had run away because of the war, trying to return to their home. They came in a group and were men, so they accused them of being Kamajors and they were killed.
Pros: Where did this occur?
Wit: In Kailahun town, right in the town.
Pros: When did this occur?
Wit: The killing took place during the time of peace. But when they said those people were spies, were Kamajors. Later one of my friends, Vandi Kossiah, told me those people were not Kamajors – in fact one of his uncles was among that group and was killed.
Pros: When did this happen – before or after certain events?
Wit: It happened before were dislodged from Freetown. At that time Mosquito had retreated and gone to Kailahun. It happened before the intervention.
Pros: Just before the intervention, or many months before the intervention?
Wit: It was many months after it happened that the intervention happened.
Pros: The intervention was in February 1998. How many months before that was it?
Wit: Mosquito had already gone to Kailahun.
Pros: Can you estimate when it happened?
Wit: We were still in Freetown. Mosquito had already left for Kailahun.
Pros: Do you know how many people were killed?
Wit: They said they killed 69 people in Kailahun.
Pros: Who was Vandi Kossiah?
Wit: A relative to one of those killed.
Pros: How did you know him?
Wit: I knew him as a member of the RUF and before that a member of the NPFL. He was a driver and he was driving for Foday Sankoh at the early stage of the war.
Pros: You told us that after the intervention, you went to the Kono district. Do you recall any killing of civilians at that time?
Wit: Yes, I can recall that there were killings in the Kono District, in Koidu Town, and outside Koidu Town.
Pros: Can you tell us about these incidents?
Wit: Yes, some people were killed in Koidu Town, who were considered to be spies who came from the Guinea border and entered Koidu Town. Superman shot them at the Hill Station, in Koidu Town.
Pros: What kind of people were these civilians?
Wit: We had women, men, children among them who were carrying loads on their heads.
Pros: What were the ages of the children?
Wit: Some could be 11-12 years old.
Pros: You said the execution was at Hill Station – where is that?
Wit: Koidu Town.
Pros: Did you witness the executions?
Wit: Yes, I was there.
Pros: Who ordered the executions?
Wit: It was Superman.
Pros: What month was this?
Wit: It was the month we entered Koidu Town, after we were dislodged from Freetown.
Pros: You said the people were suspected of being spies. For what reason?
Wit: Yes, because before we entered Koidu, we fought against the Kamajors before we could capture the town. So the direction towards which the Kamajors retreated was the same direction from which these people came. So we said they were with the Kamajors.
Pros: You said Superman ordered this killing. Earlier you said Superman was promoted in 1998. Was he promoted by Bockarie before or after these killings?
Wit: It was after the killings and after Koidu Town was burned down. That’s when Superman and Morris Kallon were promoted.
Pros: How many civilians were killed?
Wit: 12-13 at Hill Station.
Pros: You just mentioned Morris Kallon. Were you present with Morris Kallon when any fighting took place around Koidu Town?
Wit: Morris Kallon was there.
Pros: What did you witness regarding Morris Kallon?
Wit: Before we got to Koidu Town, we realized that Koidu Town had already been set on fire. In face, human beings had been burned inside their houses. We saw some people that had gone toward the Guinea route, a place later called Superman Ground. I spoke to Morris Kallon, and he told me he received orders from Bockarie, that as long as the men were advancing they should burn the town. Kallon told boys to help burn houses in exchange for promotions. Kallon promoted them, and he himself was promoted.
Pros: Did you yourself see the results of the burning?
Wit: I saw the houses myself.
Pros: Could you tell whether the fires were recent?
Wit: The fire that was set on some houses had already subsided. In the areas where the fire was still blazing, nobody could go close to see.
Pros: Did you look inside any of the burned houses?
Pros: What did you see?
Wit: I saw that people’s properties were burned totally. I saw some human beings who died in their houses – they got roasted.
Pros: The boys Kallon sent to burn the houses, which force were they with?
Pros: Were they promoted?
Pros: What happened to Morris Kallon and the position he held after this?
Wit: He was also promoted, by Sam Bockarie.
Pros: Were you ever present in Kissi Town?
Pros: Where is Kissi Town?
Wit: It’s behind Koidu Town, on the road leading toward the Guinea border. Kono District.
Pros: Did you observe any killing in Kissi Town?
Wit: At that time, ECOMOG had pushed us out of Koidu Town. We were occupying Superman Ground at the time.
Pros: Did this incident happen after the intervention and before your reassignment in 1998?
Wit: Yes, it happened in that time in 1998.
Pros: What happened in Kissi Town?
Wit: We carried out an attack on Kissi Town because Kamajors were occupying that area. We attacked the Kamajors and even the people we met with the Kamajors. We killed them all because we considered them to be enemies.
Pros: Were any civilians in Kissi Town saved?
Wit: We spared no one. We considered them to be Kamajors.
Pros: What were their sexes and ages?
Wit: Women, men, children.
Pros: About how many people were captured and killed in Kissi Town?
Wit: I can’t give a specific number, but there were many.
Pros: Are you aware of killings that occurred in Tombudu?
Wit: 1998, after the retreat from Freetown.
Pros: Who was the commander in that area?
Wit: Savage. He was one of the SLA soldiers. They were the AFRC soldiers.
Pros: Were there any RUF present in Tombudu with Savage?
Wit: Yes, RUF were there with Savage.
Pros: You talked earlier about an order in 1998 that each commander and deputy commander should be from a different faction. Did these killings happen when that order was in effect?
Wit: The structure had not yet been put in place. That was later.
Pros: What happened in Tombudu?
Wit: We were still in Kono District and Koidu Town. We received information about the killings in Tombudu and got so many complaints, so we sent people to arrest him and replace him. But there was fighting at the time in Koidu, so it became difficult. Later there was confusion between an RUF man, Rocky, and Savage when Rocky went to attack Savage. Later we learned that Savage went insane.
Pros: Where did Savage go after he left Tombudu?
Wit: He want to the Kabala area.
Pros: What was Rocky’s real name?
Wit: Emmanuel Williams.
Pros: Was Savage ever arrested or punished for the killings?
Pros: Did you go to Tombudu after these killings?
Pros: What did you see?
Wit: I saw the place Savage carried out the killings. The pit was referred to as Savage Pit. I saw human bones. I saw some that was already rotten and I saw that even the flesh was now moving off the bones.
Pros: You told us before about Operation Spare No Soul. Did you ever hear whether anything was done to civilians during that attack?
Wit: Yes, I think I said it here. During Operation Spare No Soul in Njaiama Nimikoro, civilians were killed and amputated. I said that some of my men I sent who joined the operation explained to me after they came back.
Pros: In all of these killings you’ve described, was anyone in the RUF ever punished for them?
Pros: Earlier, you told us about orders to make an operation fearful. Can you explain what that meant?
Wit: Yes, to make an area fearful, we should kill and burn down houses, so that even the survivors and our enemies were afraid.
Pros: Were there any other tactics used by the RUF to create terror?
Wit: Yes, they marked people on their chests, so that even when they escaped and went to the enemy side, they would be captured and killed. So they cut “RUF” on chests and sometimes on backs.
Pros: Did you witness amputations?
Wit: When the war started, I saw an amputation of a soldier when Momoh was still president. We chopped off his hand. We wrote a letter and hung it on his neck for him to take to Momoh to stop fighting us.
Pros: Were you present when that happened?
Pros: Was one hand amputated or both?
Wit: Two hands.
Pros: When did this occur?
Wit: Early 1991.
Pros: Did the RUF have checkpoints?
Pros: Was anything done at the checkpoints to cause fear for those passing by?
Wit: Yes, we would display the human skull, and put it on a stick. Sometimes we put skulls on sticks around the checkpoints.
Pros: Was there still flesh on the heads, or just bones?
Pros: How did this tactic compare with what you observed when you were a member of the NPFL in Liberia?
Wit: We also used to do it in the NPFL. We tied human heads to the bumper of a vehicle. Sometimes we used human intestines as a rope at the checkpoints.
Pros: You testified that you were in the Executive Mansion guard in the NPFL, and that you traveled with Charles Taylor?
Wit: Yes, I was one of his escorts. I went ahead with an AA gun.
Pros: On these trips with Taylor, would you pass these checkpoints with human heads and intestines displayed?
Wit: Yes, we saw them.
Pros: What did you observe about the relationship between Charles Taylor and Sam Bockarie?
Wit: Sam Bockarie and Taylor were like father and son.
Pros: Did you hear Bockarie talk about Taylor?
Wit: Yes, he talked about him with other commanders. He said that he was his father.
Pros: Who would say that he was his father?
Wit: Mosquito used to say that Charles Taylor was his father.
Pros: Were you ever present when Bockarie was communicating with Taylor, or did you ever hear about their communications?
Wit: I said that the communication went on on a daily basis. He used to give reports about all the things that happened at the battle fronts. He reported it all to Mr. Taylor. One time I came and saw all the reports he was sending to Taylor. Those were some of the daily reports about the field activities.
Pros: When was it that you saw the reports?
Wit: At the time I came to Beudu, when I was talking to him. He showed me the reports that he was sending to the Pa, Mr. Taylor.
Pros: How were Charles Taylor and Sam Bockarie communicating in 1998?
Wit: Mr. Taylor and Mosquito – Mosquito had a satellite phone that he mostly used to communicate with Taylor. I was not based in Beudu. But Bockarie had been explaining to me about his movements with Taylor. When he was talking to Taylor, my operators often listened to their conversations. Sometimes they would call me and I would come and listen.
Pros: Within the RUF, how did you refer to Charles Taylor?
Wit: We called him CIC – he was the Commander in Chief. When he became president, we called him Mr. Taylor.
Pros: What did it mean, Commander in Chief?
Wit: It means that he had command over the RUF. We took it that the RUF belonged to him. He sent somebody to help the RUF, Foday Sankoh, but he was the owner of the RUF.
Court is adjourning for the lunch break. The proceedings will continue at 2:30. With the half-hour delay in video and audio, this account will resume at 3:00.