Examination continued after lunch of RUF commander, Mustapha Marvin Mansaray, in open court. Charles Taylor, dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and blue tie, sat quietly often taking notes. The witness continued his testimony without a jacket. He laid his folded eye glasses on the table in front of him, where he rested his hands for much of the testimony.
The witness started by explaining that the RUF-SL movement had a joint security investigation panel. If any fighter or commander violated a law of the RUF, this panel would come together as one body and investigate the violator. This was called the joint security board of investigations. The IDU (internal defense unit) representative would be on that investigation panel, the IO (intelligence office) investigation officer would be there, the G-5 (soldiers in charge of civilians) and military police would be there, plus representatives of other units. The G-5 were there for the civilians. They were there with the civilians in case a fighter wanted to do something bad to the civilians, and they would report the problems of the civilains to the commanders.
Pros: Who did the IDU report to?
Wit: We had different commanders. IDU reported to our commander who was the overall IDU commander in the movement. His name was Augustine Gbao. He became the IDU commander from March 1996 to the time of the disarmament.
Pros: Did Gbao have any other position between March 1996 and disarmament?
Wit: He was the chief security officer forRUF-SL movement between 1996 and time of disarmament in Sierra Leone.
Pros: Before Gbao became chief security officer and overall commander, who was the IDU reporting to?
(Problem with technology – didn’t get answer)
Pros: Who did the IO report to?
Wit: What year are you talking about?
Pros: 1996 and disarmament.
Wit: IO reported to Chief Security Officer, which was Augustine Gbao.
Pros: Before 1996, who did IO report to?
Wit: They had their own command structure. The reported to the Revolutionary Leader, Foday Sankoh.
Pros: Between 1996 and disarmament, who did the G-5 report to?
Wit: G5 too had their own structure, but Augustine Gbao was the overall joint chief security officer in the RUF.
Pros. Who did the military police report to?
Wit: They reported to their commander and the commander in town would report to the chief security officer, Augustine Gbao.
Pros: Who did the joint security board of investigations report to?
(Problems with technology – could not get answer)
Pros: You talked about a report, who was it submitted to?
Wit: To the chief security officer, Augustine Gbao.
Pros: What would the report contain?
Wit: If anyone had been brought before the investigation panel, if we found him guilty we would recommend whether the officer should be demoted, which would be written in the report, or if he was to be put in a guard room, or go to the front line. Those are some of the recommendations that we made as joint security board of investigation when an offier would commit a crime.
Pros: What did Augustine Gbao do with the reports submitted to him?
Wit: It was his duty to submit it to the field commander, Sam Bockarie. Bockarie was in this position between November 1996 to December 1999.
Pros: What was Sam Bockarie’s role once he recieved the report?
Wit: According to the rules and regulations, it was his role to approve the recommendations.
Pros: Between 1996 to the end of 1999, do you know how many reports he approved of the joint security board of investigations?
Wit: He would not approve many of the reports sent to him.
Pros: What would happen if he didn’t approve the recommendations?
Wit: The fighter, junior officer or commander who committed the crime would be set free.
Pros: Who would bring the complaint to the Board before the investigations?
Wit: At times if a soldier a fighter or commander committed a crime, the MP (military police) would bring a report to the investigation board. That is why we called it joint security board – the IDU, the IO, the MP, the G-5, wherever we were – any violator we came across, be it an RUF fighter or commander or civilian who had gone against the rules and regulations of the RUF, it was our duty to bring that person to the investigation board. So we were all responsible for sending reports of any violator within the RUF. The time I joined the joint security board, when Foday Sankoh was there, and until 1996, civilians were able to make reports.
Wit: When he (Sam Bockarie?) was in command, all he was interested in was to fight the war. But most of the crimes were committed by himself and his body guards too. So even if he heard about the report, that crimes had been committed against civilians, he had no interest to bring the soldiers to justice. So from the time he took over until the time he left, the joint security operation was not really focussed on crimes committed against civilians.
Pros: Do you know why civilians did not bring complaints to the Board during Sam Bockarie’s time?
Def: Objected that the prosecution didn’t establish foundation for witness to give opinion on “civilians” – this is too broad. The question has to be more specific.
Pros: This witness is testifying generally about the workings of the joint security board.
Judge: He is being asked to speak on what was in the mind of several thousand people. You must lay a foundation.
Pros: You testified you were based in Bumpeh Perri in 1991 for the RUF. Was there an overall commander based there?
Wit: Yes. Dixon Wolo.
Pros: What were your duties?
Wit: My duty at the checkpoint was that any group of people who would come, we should halt them and search them. Civilian groups would come, and they would have civilian dress on and were not armed. We would wait until they got close to us and we would shout and tell them to stop. Then we would allow them to go to the area where we occupied. We searched the civilians in 1991 when the war had just started. We searched them for property like clothing, food, and money. We would take it from them. We would take them by force, using the guns if we had to, we would take it from them.
Pros: Did civilians ever refuse to give their property to you?
Wit: Some civilians did that – they refused. If we found money on them, or food, or even their clothing, they would refuse to hand it over.
Pros: Did anything happen to civilians who refused to hand them over?
Wit: At that time, our senior commanders were armed. If a civilian refused, they would kill that person.
Pros: Which group did the senior commanders belong to?
Wit: The senior commanders were all Liberians. They were the senior commanders when the war started in April 1991. The majority of them were members of the NPFL fighters. Some were RUF-SL fighters.
Pros: During your assignment at the checkpoints in Bumpeh Perri, do you recall how many civilians were killed for not giving up their property?
Wit: If I can recall approximately because I cannot recall the exact figure, but those who were killed were around 25, or more than that — but I cannot give you an exact number because there were other checkpoints where I did not visit. It may be 25 or beyond.
Pros: When based in Bumpeh Perri, did anything else happen?
Wit: The commander in Bumpeh Perri, Dixon Wolo, used some Liberian bodyguards to take civilians to a particular bridge at the river and kill them. The river was called Masawei.
Pros: Why was Dixon Wollo taking civilians to the bridge and killing them?
Wit: He did not give any reason. He just killed them. He killed more than 100 civilians at that bridge.
pros: Anything else happen at Bumpeh Perri while you were there?
Wit: The other things that happened was that every night when he (Dixon Wolo) would come he would take the Liberian fighters and some Sierra Leonean fighters who were senior people – they would have guns with them and they would use women forcefully.
At night, they would take women from their husbands and have intercourse with them. Dixon Wolo used to do that, the NPFL and RUF fighters used to do that every night, forcing women to have sexual intercourse with them.
Pros: How do you know this?
Wit: I was with them as a junior fighter. I lived in Bumpeh Perri, I used run shifts at the checkpoints when we would set ambushes, so I would be there when they did these things.
Pros: How many women were used in this way?
Wit: For the three months we spent in Bumpeh Perri. The NPFL and RUF fighters used over 200 women in that way.
Pros: You told us that you spent one night in Kenema Soro? Anything happen?
Wit: We passed the night in the village. It was one night when I saw the RUF senior fighters and the NPFL who raped many women
Pros: Can you describe what took place?
Wit: That night, when those senior fighters would go to have sexual intercourse with the women, they would take them forcefully from their husbands. Some would say “I am pregnant”, or “I am menstruating,” and the senior fighters would say “I don’t care about that”.
Pros: You said you went to Liberia?
Wit: The soldiers were chasing us, so we crossed over to Liberia. In November when I crossed over for the first time, we were in Tinne. In November 1991 between 3rd and 4th week, the Sierra Leonean soldiers kept fighting and attacked us and we dispersed. The commander was BZT.
That very evening, we went in a vehicle and we met a muster parade with some junior RUF fighters that I knew, and some senior ones too. They said the two leaders had to come to talk to us — Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor were to come to address us. When we arrived in the evening, it was not too long when Foday Sankoh arrived. I already knew him. Then I saw another vehicle which was a Nissan patrol car – it was a grey color. Somebody came from out of the vehicle and said his names was Charles Ghankay Taylor and he had come to address all of us. He said the NPFL fighters should not treat us RUF fighters badly – they should know that they were all fighting for the same freedom. We clapped for him. And he left us there and returned. We were there together with Sankoh and others. Our leader Foday Sankoh said we too were men – we should not be allowing the Liberians to be killing us or mistreating us all the time. So he asked us to exercise some patience and fight the war. He said that his friend, Charles Taylor, would help him to continue the war — with arms and ammunition to continue the war. He said his friend would help him that very evening. In the same vehicle we came in, there were weapons in them – and in two other vehicles there were anti-aircraft guns. So we boarded the vehicle.When we got to a place 5 miles from Tinne, we were asked to alight the vehicle and to start working.
When we got near the sea formation, we planned for the enemies in Tinne. The enemies were Momo soldiers and we opened fire on them after our commanders told us to open fire on them. The momo soldiers were Sierra Leonean fighters — but it was the time of the Momo regime – they were fighting for the Sierra Leonean government. Then we captured Tinne that very day. We advanced and crossed the Mano River bridge, and entered Fairo, a chiefdom headquarter town in Pujehun district, Sierra Leone. We advanced with those weapons. Two of the artillery weapons stopped there and one of the others advanced with us. We advanced as far as Gofor.
Pros: Talking about Sulima, who were you reporting to when you were RUF clerk?
Wit: The commander — His name was Momodu Kescoco.
Def: Wanted to know if there was a difference between the RUF and IDU clerk?
Pros: What was your duty as RUF clerk in Sulima?
Wit: The time I said I was a clerk, my duties were to issue traveling passes to fighters who wanted to visit their family members. I had to record arms and ammunitions which were under our control. It was also my duty to take record to have the number of the civilians who we had captured from the bushes. I had to know the total number of fighters on the ground.
Pros: What were your duties with arms and ammunition?
Wit: To know how many arms were with us and to know the quantity of ammunition that was with us. If we had 20 arms, I would like that. If we had boxes of AKs, I would note those down.
Pros: Did you have arms and ammunitions in Sulima? Did you know where they came from?
Wit: The arms and ammunition which we got at Sulima – we got it from Liberia, from Tinne. I was a clerk at that time — the RUF commander himself was at Sulima, the MP commander was at Sulima too — any time we were short of arms or ammunition we would go to the overall RUF commander in Sulima. This was Rashid Mansaray. He introduced himself as one of the Special Forces for the RUF. The MP commander was Sheku Fallay but he had another name — we called him Trouble.
When we would meet the overall commander, Rashid Mansaray, he would give us a document and we would pass through Mano River bridge, and we would give the the document to another General. When they (RUF) entered into Sierra Leone in 1991 he was the overall commander for RUF in Pujehun district. So when we lost Zumi Makpele, he went to Tinne.
There were many civilians in Sulima town. They were there working for us, the RUF fighters. They were there uprooting cassava, producing garri (made from cassava) from fufu (is food that comes from cassava) they pounded rice, prepared sauce.
Pros: Were the civilians doing anything else?
Wit: Besides the food that was given to us, fighters had used them as women (for sexual intercourse).
Pros: Did the civilians work for the RUF voluntarily?
Wit: Some of them refused to do the work. Those who refused during the war received punishments. They were forced to do it. They were flogged to work. In terms of the women in 1992, I wouldn’t say whether they did it willingly. But they were there for sexual intercourse.
Pros: If the women wanted to leave at any time, were they free to do so?
Pros: you told the court that on 28 Feb 1994 you were appointed as Deputy Battalion Commander for the IDU in Pujehun. Who gave this appointment to you?
Wit: Revolutionary leader, Foday Sankoh.
(technology problems and missed some dialogue)
Pros: What were your duties as Deputy Commander in Pujehun?
Wit: My duties were to report about crimes that fighters or civilians were committing against the RUF, to investigate matters brought to me, to screen captured civilians who came from the battlefront.
Pros: What was involved in screening captured civilians?
Wit: We had used the same joint security panel – G5, MP, IO, – if civilians were captured, they would give us their name, age, place of birth, the work they were doing, and we would also ask other questions. We tried to know where he was, whether he was a fighter or a civilian, and from there send them to where we kept civilians.
Pros: Where did you have your civilians?
Wit: Civilians were in Pujehun district staying with us since 1991 up to 1995, when I left for the jungle. They were living in the villages.
Pros: You told the court that in 1995 you were assigned to Peyama as an IDU agent. Who gave you this assignment?
Wit: It was the RUF-SL leader Foday Sankoh. I reported to the Battalion IDU commander that I met in the jungle. He reported to the overall IDU commander – he was called Mohamed Bongo.
Pros: Was there an overall battalion commander that was based there?
Wit: Yes. Sam Bockarie. The other name for him was Mosquito.
Pros: During your time based in Peyama, did anything happen?
Wit: tTere was a time Sam Bockarie gave a mission to some fighters to go in search of food. On their way back they brought some civilians. The civilians carried the food. We had a company in a place called Number Nine – (Bockarie) was sent for and was told that they had captured plenty of food. Sam Bockarie went to the place where the food and civilians were. He went along with two of his bodyguards. The civilans hands were tied up. Bockarie gave orders to bodyguards and other fighters for the civilians to be put in a deep water well. The people were put into the waterwell and all of them died there. I went back and gave this information to the battalion IDU commander. He in turn told me he had received that information already.
Pros: What was your duties as an IDU agent?
Wit: At the time I was there to pass on information about whatever was bad that was happening in RUF organization.
Pros: You reported this to the battalion commander, Mohamed Bongo. And one of functions of IDU unit was to investigate complaints bought. Was there any investigation into the killing of the 10 civilians?
Wit: Sam Bockarie was not investigated.
Pros: Was there any other incident in Payema?
Wit: Another time, Bockarie gave a mission to fighters to go in search of food. They brought civilians again together with two cows. I saw he brought 5 civilians under gun point. He (Sam Bockarie) took three of them and shot them and killed them with a gun. Then Sam Bockarie gave orders to people in the battalion about the other two civilians – they were tied up and a grave was dug. They were buried alive. During this, the security officers at the battalion were there — the IO commander was there, Ben Kenneh. The MP commander, Kai Suku, and Mohamed Bongo, the IDU commander — these three people were all together at the muster parade ground.
We held a joint security meeting, wrote a report against Sam Bockarie, and it was sent to Zoguda (sp). At the time Foday Sankoh, the RUF leader, had left behind Mohamed Tarawali as the field commander. We gave the report to one of his men. Tarawali called Sam Bockarie over the radio after he received the report. As security officer, I had the right to visit a radio station to know what was happening to the RUF.
After Tarawali called Sam Bockarie, he went to Zoguda. When Bockarie arrived, the field commander Tarawali asked him about the two incidents, and the civilians that he killed.
I had heard this (that Tarawali had asked Bockarie about this) through a radio communication, and through the man who took the reports to Tarawali. His name was Musa, but I don’t know his full name. He was a bodyguard to Mohamed Tarawali.
Bockarie was released and Sam Boackarie came to Payema. The next day he called a muster parade and he arrested Ben Keri, Kai Suku, Mohamed Bongo, and placed them in a jail, a guard room. It was close to muster parade ground. That morning, Sam Bockarie made several threatening remarks against the joint security members. He said he was going to kill everyone. He said we had written a report against him that he had killed people in Payema and that he had buried two people in Payema. So those three commanders spent three days in the jail, and later, some elders went to the Payema jungle and pleaded with Sam Bockerie to release the three commanders.Def: How did the witness know about this?
Judge: The prosecution better have foundation for this?
Pros: Who did elders meet with in Peyama jungle?
Wit: They were civilians and some were commanders.
Pros: Who are the elders you are referring to?
Wit: Kai Suku’s wife who was an elder woman was amongst that groups. Also Doctor Pabai(sp?) was among that group. And one star Captain Kennedy, who was pleading with Sam Bockarie. They were pleading for him to release the three commanders he had placed in the jail. This happened in my presence – it was not a secret. After the parade, they had come to meet Sam Bockarie at his house. We went to his house earlier and talked with him so he would always be pleased with us.
Pros: You said that Musa told you that Tarawali had asked Sam Bockarie about the killings. Did Musa tell you anything else?
Wit: When Musa came back to Peyama, Sam Bockarie arrested Musa. He give commands for him to be beaten before he was put in the guard room. The three commanders were not beaten.
Pros: Why did he take this action against Musa?
Wit: When Musa was beaten and placed in the guard room, Sam Bockarie said it was Musa who took the report which the security board wrote against him.
Pros: When Sam Bockarie returned after seeing Mohamed Tarawali, did you continue in your position?
Wit: In 1996, I was assigned as commander in Kailahun district, and reported to Shaku Coomber, who was the Kailahun Deputy Commander. He was reporting to Frances Musa.
Pros: What duties did you have in Boidu?
Wit: Report crimes against civilians and also I visited areas where RUF had business with Guinean people trading palm oil, bush pepper, coffee, cocoa, and kola nut. The RUF fighters and civilians were doing this business with the Guineans.
Pros: Where did the civilians get this produce from?
Wit: From plantation farms in Kailahun district – farms that we occupied.
Pros: Where were fighters getting this from?
Wit: The same plantation farms. We went into the farms and harvested them without negotiating with the civilians. We would use the proceeds for our survival. We didn’t ask them in any polite way – we just did it forcefully.
Pros: You used to visit the places where this business was taking place — did you have any functions there?
Wit: Yes. To go and observe how the soldiers an civilians were transacting the business. It was to ensure that there was no problem that could affect the movement. Well, these visits I made to the place to ensure that these transactions would only happen at these places, not at any other places.
Pros: Did civilians at times transact outside the recommended places?
Wit: Yes it used to happen. Some civilians and RUF fighters transacted business at places which were not recommended places. If you were caught transacting such a business everything would be impounded from you. Some opeople were captured and placed in a guard room.
Pros: You said civilians and fighters were trading – what did they get in return?
Wit: When I went to Boidu, the first observation that I made was that civilians and RUF fighters were transacting this, and paying commission to the RUF officers in charge of the business. When I went to Boidu it was a short period when the business was going on. It got to a point when Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay prepared a document saying that coffee, cocoa, kola nuts were government property — civilians or fighters should not sell it and take the proceeds. By government, we referred to the RUF movement as the RUF government). So Bockarie and Sesay said that they would use the proceeds to buy arms and ammunition. All those items – coffee, cocoa, kola nuts — were to be for the RUF government.
The testimony was adjourned until 9:30am tomorrow.