2:00 “Zigzag” Marzah: Taylor sent weapons and ammunition to RUF in exchange for diamonds, ordered me to execute Issa Sesay

12:00 (12:30 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in session after the mid-morning break.

Prosecutor Nick Koumjian continues the direct examination of Joseph D. “Zigzag” Marzah:

Pros: When we stopped, you mentioned a time it was impossible for you to travel to Sierra Leone because of ULIMO in Lofa. During that time, did you receive an order related to Sierra Leone?

Wit: At the time, ULIMO was in Lofa. We were still in Gbarnga. That was Taylor’s headquarters. Taylor instructed me to take a Nissan pickup and 1,600 US dollars to buy kola nuts – to establish a relationship at the border line in Nimba County. I made two trips with kola nuts and established a relationship with a Mandingo woman, whose husband was a customs officer for Guinea. When I met him, called Bangura, I gave him kola nuts. He helped me load the car to take the kola nuts to Kissidougou. Tiagen Wantee was with the Special Forces.

Pros: You made two trips after establishing this relationship? Did you ever bring anything through Guinea?

Wit: Yes, it was from those trips that he was convinced. Each time then I would carry ammunition for Charles Taylor, like rockets. I would put them under the kola nuts. I would give Bangura kola nuts and he would escort me to Kissidougou. The Mandingo friend of Musa Sesay, Tiagen Wantee would collect the kola nuts and take them to the Liberian embassy in Guinea. The first two trips were to establish a relationship with the security. The rest of the 8 or 11 trips, I had ammo with me. Bangura took me to Kissidougou. Then the Liberian ambassador, a Special Forces man, would come with Musa Sesay’s friends, to take the kola nuts and weapons to the Liberian embassy in Conakry.

Pros: Did you have any information about the ultimate destination of the ammunition? Was it only to go to the embassy in Conakry?

Wit: The man called Jungle knew the jungle between Guinea and Sierra Leone. He had that mission with Tiagen Wantee.

Pros: Where in Gbarnga did you get the ammunition and rockets?

Wit: From Charles Taylor’s mansion, where the ammunition was stored in his house.

Pros: After ULIMO disarmed, did you make any trips to Sierra Leone?

Wit: Plenty times. At that time the road was free for me.

Pros: Can you give us an estimate of how many times.

Wit: More than 20-30 to 40 trips. I carried arms, ammos – including artillery pieces, chasers. One of Taylor’s friends, a white guy with a big stomach used to bring artillery pieces so many times.

Pros: Can you describe these chasers?

Wit: It had a long barrel. It had small rockets, with cloth at both ends.

Pros: What was a chaser for?

Wit: The chaser was for jet bombers. At that time ECOMOG troops were in Freetown. The chasers were for jet bombers who were giving us a hard time.

Pros: Did you have orders to go to Sierra Leone?

Wit: I took direct instructions from Charles Taylor. There was a government that had a constitution that governed the country. Everything we did was at his orders.

Pros: Where did the ammunition and rockets come from?

Wit: Mostly, some were kept in his house at White Flower. At times when the Russian cargo plane came at a late hour, sometimes we went to the airport. I would take some directly to Sierra Leone at the orders of Charles Taylor.

Pros: When you were in Sierra Leone, did you ever see diamonds?

Wit: Many times. I escorted many diamonds to Charles Taylor. He himself can tell you that if he tells the truth.

Pros: Were you alone when you did that?

Wit: There were many officials. Maybe 2-3 people were in his private office when I gave Taylor the diamonds.

Pros: Did you ever escort anyone else carrying diamonds?

Wit: I escorted diamonds 10-15 times. There was a large passort-sized shaped like a human head. I went with Mosquito – Sam Bockarie – and Joe Tuah. We took the diamond to White Flower to Charles Taylor. I saw it there again.

Pros: Can you show us how big the diamond was?

Wit: (shows on his fingers – court management measures)

Court Management: It’s about 5 centimeters.

Wit: It was wide.

Pros: What did Bockarie do with this diamond when he showed it to you in Sierra Leone.

Wit: When he showed it to him, I said if Taylor sees this diamond he will be particularly happy. At that time we used to call him “father”. When we took it along, Charles Taylor was impressed. He even gave us some money. We took enough ammunition back to Sierra Leone.

Witness is still describing the shape of the diamond. Prosecution asks witness to draw the shape. Defense has no objection.

Pros: Mr. witness, draw the shape of the diamond in the same size it actually was.

[Witness draws. Court manager takes drawing to prosecution, the defense and the judges.]

Pros: When you say passport-sized, are you talking about the book or part of it.

Wit: I’m talking about the picture in the book.

Pros: It looks like you have drawn a head with a box below it. Which part is the diamond?

Wit: (shows on the drawing, projected for the whole court to see) The whole thing stuck together is the diamond.

Pros: Is the size you drew on the paper the actual size of the diamond?

Wit: The diamond was larger than this. It was big. It was just like a real human being.

Pros: Were you present when Bockarie gave the diamond to Taylor?

Wit: (laughs) He hand delivered it in my presence. After delivering it, he offered an envelope to each and every one of us.

Pros: What was in the envelope that was handed to you by Charles Taylor?

Wit: Money – US dollars. Taylor called the G4, Moses Duoh and Kai. Kai had the key to the ammo warehouse attached to Taylor’s house.

Pros: To get the ammunition, did you have to have a paper signed by Charles Taylor?

Wit: Most times, yes.

Pros: After giving the diamond to Taylor, where did Sam Bockarie go?

Wit: After we had given the diamond to Taylor, we spent a day in Monrovia. The following day I escorted him to Buedu with large amounts of ammunition, including belt-fed GMG ammunition.

Pros: Did you ever see Bockarie return to Liberia with diamonds?

Wit: Before we returned, Issa brought some diamonds in a jar the size of this glass. We took it to Taylor

Pros: What happened then?

Wit: Taylor called Musa Sesay. He said these boys are doing extremely well. It would be good to send you to go to Burkina Faso to sign for ammunition for themselves. Bockarie, Mike Lamin, Eddie Kanneh went to Burkina Faso.

Pros: Did Bockarie ever come back to Monrovia after he left for that trip?

Wit: Yes, they returned after a week and five days. When they returned, Eddie Kanneh brought some pictures for me of where they went.

[brief interruption in audio]

Wit: Bockarie received a call on his phone. A satellite phone. [names make and model of phone] He rushed to where I was sitting down. He said “let’s go”. We left and went to White Flower. Joe Tuah [and others] were there. They said your ammos have arrived. We went to the airport. I saw the Russian cargo plane that came with enough ammo and arms. We couldn’t take it all to Monrovia that night. Two days later, we took two trucks – a pickup and a jeep – to escort the first trip.

Pros: Let’s go over that slowly. You said when Bockarie came back from receive the phone call, you said he said “Top Brass”, what is that?

Wit: That’s me.

Pros: Then you went where?

Wit: We went to White Flower. Benjamin Yeaten was there [with others]. Then we went to Roberts International airport and I saw the Russian plane with ammunition.

Pros: What kind of ammunition was in the plane?

Wit: AK rounds, GMG rounds [lists others also]

Pros: What are GPMG barrels?

Wit: That’s a gun.

Pros: What are LAR rounds?

Wit: Rounds for a rifle.

Pros: You said you couldn’t take everything to White Flower that night. What did you use to transport ammunition to White Flower?

Wit: Taylor had so many trucks in Monrovia. Two were assigned to me. Other trucks from [other commanders] were there too that night. We offloaded the plane and stored the materials in the cargo warehouse at the airport.

Pros: How many trucks carried ammunition from the airport that night?

Wit: Five or six, if I’m not mistaken.

Pros: Can you say how big the trucks were?

Wit: No, I can’t really say, but they were big. I had a Max truck, a yellow truck.

Pros: Did this appear to be a lot of ammunition to you?

Wit: Yes. The chaser that came with Taylor’s friends, the four white guys – there were many times. Even the other plane that came at the second to last time, that had the accident on the runway with our ammos, we were able to produce 8-9 trucks.

Pros: Let’s concentrate on this one delivery. Was Sam Bockarie at the airport when the ammunition was being unloaded?

Wit: Bockarie and I were in the same car, the same Jeep. We were in Monrovia city in a nightclub when we received the call that the plane had arrived with the ammo.

Pros: The next day after the ammunition delivery, what did you do?

Wit: We were happy the following day. We spent two days in the city, then it was the following night that we took off because we couldn’t have left during the day.

Pros: When you say “we took off”, who was traveling with you?

Wit: At the time that we took the first trip from White Flower with the…[brief interruption in audio]

Wit: We took ammo to White Flower. After two days, the following night, we took off in two trucks.

Pros: What happened to the ammunition that came from that plane that you were not able to take to Sierra Leone with Sam Bockarie in the two yellow trucks?

Wit: There was plenty ammunition. After the first trip, I think I spent 2-3 weeks in Sierra Leone, then I made about 4-5 more trips with the trucks, the pick-up and the Jeep.

Pros: You made 4-5 more trips to Sierra Leone after that first trip?

Wit: Yes.

[Video/audio feed from the courtroom is interrupted.]

Defense has made an objection – it is not clear what the objection was (due to the technical difficulties).

Judge Doherty to the witness: When did the cargo plane come?

Wit: I was chief of operations for Charles Taylor. I had so much on my hands – Sierra Leone and Guinea, and so many things. I cannot recall all the dates.

Pros: You mentioned Sam Bockarie being in Sierra Leone. Did Bockarie stay in Sierra Leone, or did he ever leave the country.

Wit: Bockarie and Issa had a conflict. We went to take Bockarie to Monrovia. He was at my house. Taylor leased a house for him. For him to prepare to go to Burkina Faso to go to the Ivory Coast war.

Pros: Was he alone when he came?

Wit: There were many. All those vehicles were full of human beings when he came to Monrovia. Some of them were taken by Taylor’s friend – a white man with a big belly – for them to go into training in order for Babylon to fall.

Pros: What unit were you in at the time?

Wit: I was chief of operations at the Executive Mansion. I wasn’t in a unit, but received salary through the SSS.

Pros: Were these men assigned to the SSS?

Wit: Some of them, and some of them were sent to the ATU and other units.

Pros: Did you ever receive an instruction about Issa Sesay?

Wit: Taylor sent me to bring Bockarie because Taylor didn’t want to have the fight with Issa.

Pros: Did you receive any orders about Issa Sesay after you brought Bockarie to Issa Sesay?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Who gave you the order?

Wit: From time immemorial, I took orders from Charles Taylor. When I was in Kono, some UN men were there with papers for Issa to sign. I called Taylor, who told me to execute Issa. I told him I was in the middle of all these people and couldn’t do it there. Taylor told me to bring him to Kailahun and execute him there. When I left Kono, I left the vehicle at Mafa River, and went to Pendembu. I waited for Issa there in order to execute him. Later, Taylor called to say that he ordered Issa to Beudu, that I was to execute him on the way, when he passed through. But Issa never came. Taylor said I would send him no more ammunition. I spent two weeks in Kailahun, waiting to execute Issa Sesay.

Pros: Do you know what the papers were about that Issa Sesay was supposed to sign?

Wit: I don’t know what the documents were. Some white guys went there with some UN people, for Issa to sign some documents. I asked what they were for – they said for the peace agreement. When the white men were there, I went into Issa’s room so they don’t hear that I’m a Liberian man. I later called Taylor to tell him about the peace agreement. He told me Issa had connived and I should execute him. I said I couldn’t do it there. I waited in Kailahun for two weeks, but Issa never came. Then Taylor called and said Issa had already connived and he would never get ammunition again.

Judge Sebutinde: What does the witness mean by “connived”?

Wit: It means he has already associated himself with the UN people and will no longer cooperate with us. For that reason, he said, Issa should be executed.

Pros: Can you give us an idea of what year this took place, when Taylor gave you the order to execute Issa Sesay?

Wit: That was the last trip that I made to Freetown. I think it was the end of 2002 or something like that. I was having more problems on my hands.

Pros: Do you recall when you got this order if the RUF had completely disarmed?

Wit: At that time they said they disarmed the RUF, but we still had our arms undercover in Kono and Kailahun. RUF was not properly disarmed. Those disarmed were from Makeni, Tongo. But in Kono and Kailahun, we were still in possession of weapons.

Pros: It was after the disarmament process began?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Did you receive orders from Taylor to execute people that you were able to fulfill?

Wit: Yes, plenty. I can tell you of 1-15 times.

Pros: Can you tell us about executions you carried out at Taylor’s orders?

Wit: The first time he told me wherever the AFL was based and civilians were supporting them, I should not spare them. The executions started in Liberia. There is no difference between RUF and NPFL. I started executing from Gray, Tapeta to… I can remember the EMG battalion was a special bodyguard assigned to Taylor. After the fall of Gbarnga… The order came to form the Death Squad Unit and the Small Boy Unit under the commander Zupon (sp?). I am one of the key players of the NPFL from the beginning to the end. After the fall of Gbarnga, the EMG battalion abandoned the war and the enemy entered. So they were there, putting peoples’ children in the sea. Taylor made me commander of the Death Squad Unit, but Benjamin Yeaten was in overall command. Taylor told me if it was true that the EMG unit was killing and harassing people, then I should execute them. We saw them throwing babies in the river. So I shot into them. I killed 50. We started marching into Bong County then. When we got to Gbarnga, we started the Jungle Fire Unit. Taylor ordered me to kill the civilians behind there, Bela Funai (sp?). We executed everybody, babies, women, old men. There were so many executions. I can’t remember them all.

Pros: You said Taylor gave you an order regarding civilians in that area. What did “I don’t want to see any of them” mean to you?

Wit: He said they collaborated with ULIMO. He said they should be executed and we should get rid of every one of them.

Pros: Was that order carried out?

Wit: Yes. From Gbarnga to Bella Tueh (sp?) There were so many flies crawling over the corpses.

Pros: What ages?

Wit: Some were pregnant women, we killed them with pen knives. We took babies and knocked their heads against the wall. There were many, many.

Pros: Tell us about other executions you carried out at the orders of Taylor.

Wit: There was the day that Prince Johnson captured Doe – I was at Gbarnga. There was a heavy noise around the fence of Taylor’s residence. He gave instructions to Ben Yeaten – asked if it would be alright for Prince Johnson to come there. Others told him it would be a problem if Prince Johnson came. Taylor said to go to Fena Junction, to Louisiana (?), to ambush Prince Johnson there and take Doe from him. Doe was not yet dead. It was a horrid operation the next day. We saw a group coming from Prince Johnson’s base – we thought Johnson himself was among the group. There were about four cars. We surrounded them. Yeaten then called Taylor and told him that Johnson was not with the group. Taylor said to execute them. Yeaten told us Taylor said we should execute them with knives. There were about 72 of them. We executed them with knives that same day. Those who survived went back to Johnson and told him. At that time, he executed Doe. There were so many executions. I cannot mention them all. Here’s the man sitting himself.

Court is adjourning for lunch for one hour. Court will resume at 2:30. With the half-hour delay in video and audio, this summary will resume at 3:00.