5:00 – “Zigzag” Marzah: Taylor ordered me to cut open pregnant women, kill babies and amputate limbs

2:37 (3:07 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in open session:

The witness is brought back into the courtroom.

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

Pros: I want to clarify some things you said this morning. You spoke of taking ammunition to Sierra Leone. You said it was the following night we took off because we couldn’t have gone during the day. Can you explain why that wasn’t possible?

Wit: Charles Taylor told me that operations during the day could be monitored by satellite, so we couldn’t move during the day.

Pros: Later you mentioned that there was no ammo in my Jeep, and that people would see you and there would be no embarrassment through Charles Taylor’s directive.

Wit: There were ammos in the trucks. Ordinary officers stopped the vehicles to know what was in there. But when they saw me, they knew I was Taylor’s chief of operations, and nobody would stop my convoy. When they saw me at the checkpoints, no officers would check the cars, because they new that I was traveling on Charles Taylor’s orders.

Pros: You spoke of an operation after formation of the Jungle Fire Unit. You mentioned an operation. What was it called?

Wit: “No Baby on Target”. It meant we should have no pity on women and children.

Pros: Was Taylor ever present for any execution that you witnessed?

Wit: He was not present, but they were his instructions. I did what he said. After implementing his orders, I gave him my report.

Pros: Are you familiar with the faction ULIMO-J?

Wit: No. Since our arrival on December 24, 1989, I never mixed up with any other unit. I was always in the NPFL.

Pros: Have you heard the name ULIMO-J?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Do you recall a woman from ULIMO-J, if anything happened to her.

Wit: It was not from ULIMO-J per se. In 1995 there was a lady arrested at a ceremony at White Flower. Upon arrival in Monrovia with Charles Taylor during the period of the interim government, our president, Charles Taylor, was serving at the mansion. There were six presidents serving in the president’s mansion. He sent us to get a pregnant woman for a ceremony.

Pros: What happened to the pregnant woman.

Wit: George Boley and Kennedy were at the mansion serving with the government. He ordered us to find a pregnant woman from central Monrovia. He was living at White Flower. The lady was used as a ceremony in this way. It think the pregnancy was 6-7 months. By Taylor’s orders, I went with Yeaten and some bodyguards. We arrested this woman and put her in a car with tinted glass. Ben took the woman inside the fence of Taylor’s old White Flower. After two days, I saw Ben with a white sheep. He took it into the fence. We took the woman on the third day and went to the beach behind White Flower. Bodyguards had dug a pit and placed two empty drums in the pit. We stripped the woman naked and placed her in the pit. Yeaten, Joe Tuah, Momoh Gibba and some bodyguards were there. They were standing by. The woman was pleading with Taylor. Charles Taylor said “forget it”. We put sand over her and it was level with the ground. Sand covered her totally. When the woman was completely covered, they brought the white sheep. He held the sheep by the horn and we all fought over the sheep over her. This was a ceremony for his government.

Pros: When the woman was placed in the pit, was her head below the ground or above the ground.

Wit: There were two metal drums.

Judge Doherty: Was her head over or under the ground.

Wit: Her head was below the ground. The ground was over her head.

Pros: The woman was buried alive?

Wit: Yes?

Pros: Where was Charles Taylor?

Wit: Taylor was the first person who took some sand and put it in the hole.

Pros: You told us about a Death Squad. Are you familiar with Camp Carter?

Wit: Carter Camp in Harbel (sp?). Carter Camp massacre was done by Taylor through Yeaten. Yeaten said they were civilians at Camp Carter working with the AFL at Camp Shefflin. He said none of those people should live. Ben came to my house – I was sick. Mosquito – Christopher Varmoh, a small boy, carried out the execution with Joe Tuah (and others). All the people there were executed. The people killed were more than 600 at Carter Camp. The same thing happened at Depot (sp?) Road.

Pros: Do you know if that massacre at Camp Carter was blamed on anyone else?

Wit: Yes. After that massacre, he left the blame on the AFL, then Prince Johnson.

Pros: Do you know how the blame was put on the AFL?

Wit: For NPFL not to be blamed for that instruction, the blame was cast on AFL. Because you cannot go and say it was NPFL that massacred, or the civilians would turn against us.

Pros: Do you know how they made it look like it was the AFL?

Wit: I don’t know. I only heard over the radio that the NPFL massacred, I heard Taylor say it was the AFL.

Pros: After that you said he went to my area…

Wit: I said Benjamin Yeaten came to my area with Paul Weah, my commander, which is when I learned of the massacre for the second time. I was sick and wasn’t there.

Pros: Have you ever been to Kammantahun?

Wit: Yes, I passed through Kammantahun when Superman, Abu Keita went to visit me in Vahun.

Pros: Do you know what year it was?

Wit: No.

Pros: It was during the time you were fighting LURD?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: What happened when you passed through Kammantahun?

Wit: I was based in Vahun. Later, when Superman and Abu Keita came because Yeaten sent for them. He said I should go from Vahun to Kammantahun. That is where Superman and Abu Keita came to me and we went to battle LURD. Ben left Vahun, and Peanut Butter entered from… On our return, I left Peanut Butter behind and I went ahead. I knew the Gbandi and ___ civilians there. Ben went there with his bodyguards and started executing the people. Ben was asking me how was Superman’s operations. I told him Superman was fighting well. Ben said “be careful”. The next day he killed 80 or more people. He executed some with rusty iron rods and passed it through their stomachs. Sometimes he would line up 4-5 human beings and hit them over the head. I was at the front when I heard. Heavy D, one of my bodyguards told be what Yeaten had done. When I saw it, I was disturbed. I couldn’t eat. I saw Peanut Butter coming from the front line. He thought I did the massacre and he went on to Monrovia. He told Taylor that Zigzag had killed all the civilians. Taylor yelled at him that he did not have to tell stories from the front lines in front of people. My wife called me and said my name was all over Monrovia – that I had killed all of these people. I told her I was panic-stricken, the way the people, even the children were killed. I went to Monrovia the next day and went to White Flower. Taylor gave me a red Yamaha motorcycle. I told him that it wasn’t me who committed the massacre.

Pros: Who is Peanut Butter?

Wit: Adolphus Dolo, now a Junior Senator from Nimba County.

Pros: You said someone gave you a red motorbike.

Wit: I said Charles Taylor. He said “my son, forget what happened. Peanut Butter doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. He gave a car to Benjamin Yeaten (and cars to others).

Pros: Why did you think Taylor gave you the motorcycle and others the vehicle.

Wit: For us not to say that Ben carried out the massacre.

Pros: Who was Superman?

Wit: Superman was a little boy, a Liberian. But when we entered Freetown for the second phase, they were there as senior commander.

Pros: What ultimately happened to Superman?

Wit: At the end, when we were transporting weapons from Sierra Leone to Vahun, after the UN had disarmed, my assignment was not there. Morris Kallon, Issa, and some other RUF, they went that day with some weapons. They took a paper and gave it to Ben. They said it was from the internet, that Superman had gone to Guinea and connived with Lansana Conté.

Pros: Do you know what year this happened?

Wit: When Issa was in control of the RUF. I’m not educated.

Pros: You said “they gave a paper to Ben”. Who gave it to Ben?

Wit: It was Issa. They said they got it from the internet.

Pros: After they gave the document to Ben, what happened?

Wit: We were in Vahun. Superman, Abu Keita. One evening, Ben called me. Some of us boarded a jeep and left all of Superman’s bodyguards in Vahun. While we were going in this jeep, Superman had another doctor assigned to him. Ben told me we should execute that man on orders of Taylor.

Pros: You said Ben said “we should take his hand for FOC”. What did FOC mean>

Wit: This middle finger, he used it for juju. Afterwards, Ben told us that when we execute Superman, we should take that hand to Taylor. That was for a ceremony.

Pros: What is an FOC?

Wit: When we talk about FOC in Liberian English, it is something used to identify something to prove the killing or destruction.

Pros: Was Superman killed?

Wit: Yes. We were all in the jeep, along with sharpshooter. We went to toilet. Ben stopped the jeep and fired twice. He said he had shot a monkey. Superman and others jumped out of the jeep to go look. Sharpshooter shot a magazine into Superman and Superman’s doctor. We severed his head, took his hand for Taylor, cut out his liver for our ceremony. We cooked and ate Superman’s liver. Ben brought us $200.

Pros: What did you do with the head?

Wit: We severed it, but did not take it to town. We drove in the car for 10-15 minutes, walked into the bush and abandoned the head there.

Pros: You said you took Superman’s liver for a ceremony at Ben’s house. What do you mean by the liver?

Wit: The human heart. I mean the human heart.

Pros: Who ate it?

Wit: I took part. Ben ate some. All of us who were on that mission.

Pros: Who gave you the $200?

Wit: Ben. He said it was Taylor who gave it to him. $200 each.

Pros: You said before that that you, Superman and Abu Keita were together in operations. Whom were you fighting?

Wit: LURD rebels.

Pros: Earlier you mentioned Jungle, Daniel Tamba. Do you know his fate?

Wit: Yes. He was one of the key men, operating under me on a directive from Charles Taylor. When Ganta fell, they sent for Jungle to Ganta. When he went there, Ben ordered Kalaba Nyande, a Sierra Leonean, to open the caliber. It entered the back of the boy’s head, and opened his skull, and he dropped dead.

Pros: Were you present, or did someone tell you?

Wit: Superman, Abu Keita, Sam Bockarie and I were all in the same group. We shared bodyguards. Ben said an enemy had killed Jungle and I should go there. I heard on the radio that the enemy was advancing on Vahun. When I went to Taylor, he gave me a pickup and ammunition.

Pros: Were you there when Jungle was killed?

Wit: No, one of the bodyguards, CO Pepe, told me. He was there.

Judge Sebutinde interrupts to say she doesn’t understand the account of Jungle’s killing.

Pros: Let’s go over this slowly. What did CO Pepe tell you about the killing of Jungle.

Wit: CO Pepe told me that the place where I was going, they had killed Jungle intentionally, and I should be careful. He told me that Jungle engaged the enemy, then Ben gave instructions to open the caliber – a heavy weapon mounted on the vehicle – behind Jungle. It hit Jungle at the back of the head and passed through his forehead.

Pros: Do you know Johnny Paul Koroma?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Do you know his fate?

Wit: I heard a few stories of Johnny Paul, but it did not happen in my presence.

Pros: Who told you about Johnny Paul.

Wit: It was a soldier named Sweet Candy, in the Navy Division.

Pros: What did Sweet Candy tell you about the fate of JPK?

Wit: Sweet Candy, during the time we were preparing for the general attack, he came to me. He said “Top Brass, you know what has happened? I saw Johnny Paul’s jacket – his name written on it.”

Pros: Had you seen that jacket before?

Wit: Yes. The second time I saw it, Sweet Candy was wearing it.

Pros: Who was wearing it the first time you saw the jacket.

Wit: It was during the invasion with one other bodyguard of Johnny Paul called Rambo.

Pros: What did Sweet Candy tell you?

Wit: He said that Taylor ordered them to execute Johnny Paul. I asked what he was talking about. He showed me with Johnny Paul’s name on it. I was not there and did not see it. He said Taylor ordered Johnny Paul’s death because of betrayal.

Pros: You’ve referred to “Ben” several times. Who is that?

Wit: Benjamin Yeaten.

Pros: You’ve referred to Salame and High Command. Who were they?

Wit: Bodyguards to Superman, Sierra Leoneans.

Pros: You told us that Sam Bockarie came with many other soldiers integrated into various units in Liberia. What happened to them?

Wit: Those soldiers – some were assigned to the ATU, the police, immigration, soldiers, the militia. Some were taken by Charles Taylor’s friend out of the country. They said they were going to train them for artillery. Others were at the base, they were having sex with them in their butts. Some were mixed with bodyguards and served with Yeaten.

Pros: Did they remain with Liberian services?

Wit: After Bockarie returned from Burkina and started fighting in Ivory Coast. Those who had returned to Liberia, some of them died at the front lines.

Pros: Who was ___ Dagolelah (sp?)

Wit: He was Taylor’s vice president, and started advocating for Taylor to go to America to negotiate. Taylor said Dagolelah should be dealt with. He was tied up outside Yeaten’s house and beaten almost to death. He later died in Ivory Coast as a result of the beating. I took part in the beating, at Taylor’s instruction.

Pros: When was the last time you met Charles Taylor?

Wit: At the time LURD entered Monrovia. We were protecting two bridges. He sent for us. When we went to White Flower, we saw some international press members who wanted to interview him. So we entered the back of the house. He shook our hands and said we should keep courage. He said we should keep our grounds. I said to him, “Chief Taylor, if it is possible for Monie Captan and Kadiatu to bring materials, we can get rid of these people.” But Captan never returned.

Pros: Where did the meeting take place?

Wit: In his fence. The international press were standing across the road.

Pros: You were inside the grounds of the house, but outside the house?

Wit: In his house, in his parlor.

Pros: Who was there?

Wit: I went with Benjamin Yeaten. There were many commanders. We were expecting that the ammos had arrived.

Pros: Were the people invited to the meeting ordinary soldiers?

Wit: No colonels – more senior officers.

Pros: Did he shake your hand and pat you on the shoulder?

Wit: Yes. He said we should keep courage and maybe Monie Captan would soon arrive. But Captan didn’t arrive before UNMIL took control of the airport.

Pros: You told us about killing people at Taylor’s orders. What did Charles Taylor call you?

Wit: “My son”, or “Zigzag Marzah”. He told me to keep courage, that our friends would help us to control these four countries.

Prosecution has no further questions for the witness.

Courtenay Griffiths begins the cross-examination.

Def: You personally have executed hundreds of people for Charles Taylor?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How many?

Wit: They can’t be counted now because it happened many times.

Def: I’m not asking you to tell me about all occasions. How many have you personally killed?

Wit: If we check it thoroughly, it would be over 100 at Charles Taylor’s orders.

Def: Hundreds of people?

Wit: More than that.

Def: Thousands?

Wit: I don’t know. We could go over it bit by bit and talk about each.

Def: You personally killed babies.

Wit: Yes, by Charles Taylor’s orders. During which time he formed the unit called “No Baby on Target”

Def: How did you kill those babies?

Wit: It’s not hard. You hit them against the wall, throw them in a pit, or in the river, and they are dead. And then you give the report to Charles Taylor.

Def: What’s the youngest baby you personally killed?

Wit: I mean the ones in the woman’s belly, 2 year olds, 3 year olds.

Def: You used to cut women open with pen knives?

Wit: Ask our chief, Charles Taylor, who gave us orders.

Def: Have you personally cut oen the belly of a pregnant woman?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How many times?

Wit: After the fall of Gbarnga, over seven women were gutted, because he said nobody should be pitied. There were many others. So many pregnant women were gutted.

Def: When you were doing all of these things, did you have any pang of conscience at all?

Wit: Yes, I had conscience, but I followed instructions. If you did not carry out Taylor’s instructions, you would be executed.

Def: You had no difficulty committing any of these crimes?

Wit: I did what Taylor told me to do.

Def: Did you have any kind of mental or emotional difficulty committing these crimes?

Wit: No way. I stayed in my normal position as Zigzag Marzah.

Def: Are you a sadist?

Wit: I served my chief, Charles Taylor.

Def: On every occasion you killed a baby, did Charles Taylor stand there and say to do it?

Wit: He wasn’t there. It was his order and I reported to him afterwards.

Def: What were the specific instructions from Taylor?

Wit: Whoever didn’t follow the orders would be executed.

Def: What were the specific instructions given to you by Charles Taylor to commit these offenses?

Wit: At times when the enemies were embarrassing his territories, he would release such instructions.

Def: Tell us of an occasion when Charles Taylor ordered you to cut open a pregnant woman.

Wit: Yes, it happened. When we were fighting in Gbarnga, one lady came. She was almost at the moment of delivery. We sent a message about her. Over the base radio, he said, “the thing that is in her gut, we should take it out of her – it is an enemy”.

Def: What year?

Wit: I can’t recall the dates and years, but I recall the events themselves.

Def: Give an example of when Taylor gave an order to kill a baby.

Wit: Yes. After we captured Gbarnga. He formed a unit called “No Baby on Target”. He said we should execute any baby we saw. After we did that, he gave us money.

Def: Did he give orders to others like this?

Wit: I can’t give accounts of others.

Def: Who was present when you were given such orders?

Wit: Benjamin Yeaten, Joe Tuah, Yeaten’s driver. Many of us received the orders.

Def: Do you now regret doing any of that wickedness?

Wit: Regret for what? I was taking instructions to protect my property and family. Refusing Taylor’s instructions meant that your family and property were destroyed.

Def: Do you regret any of that?

Wit: I regret nothing. I don’t regret an inch.

Def: You were with Taylor from the outset when Nimba County was invaded?

Wit: Yes. We entered in December 1989. Taylor entered in 1990.

Def: You were there when Taylor stepped down and left the country.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Despite all these terrible things he asked you to do, you stayed with him from start to finish?

Wit: I will say the truth and nothing but the truth. Yes. To save my life and property.

Def: On those occasions you were sent to Guinea, why didn’t you just leave?

Wit: No, I can’t run away and leave my family there. I have 24 living children. Apart from that I have over 373 acres of land. It was better I took the instructions.

Def: At least your 24 children lived.

Wit: Yes, and I’m expecting more.

Def: The executions took place in Liberia?

Wit: Most of them took place in Sierra Leone – others in Guinea and also Liberia.

Def: Where in Sierra Leone?

Wit: From Koindu, as far as the Waterloo, when we invaded the city.

Def: So you were part of the invasion of Freetown?

Wit: Yes. There was no RUF. From Freetown to Liberia there was one organization, all answering to Taylor.

Def: You took part in the invasion of Freetown?

Wit: Yes, I was wounded there.

Def: You entered Freetown?

Wit: I was not a bird to fly, or an animal to go through the bush. I entered there in a vehicle, through the instructions of Mr. Taylor.

Def: Give me the dates when you carried out these executions in Sierra Leone.

Wit: I cannot recall those dates, but can explain the things I did. When I explain it, all will be convinced.

Def: Was it at the start of the invasion of Sierra Leone?

Wit: Before and during the invasion.

Def: Executions carried out by you in Sierra Leone, were those before the invasion of Sierra Leone from Liberia.

Wit: Some were before the invasion, to set an example. The NPFL actions extended into Sierra Leone. The NPFL and RUF were not different.

Def: I’m now only interested in Sierra Leone. You have committed atrocities in more than one country?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Would it be fair to say that you have committed atrocities in more than one country?

Wit: It was a directive from Charles Taylor. I did it. I did the worst in Guinea, but more in Sierra Leone. Not much in Liberia. In Liberia I mostly focused on fighting forces.

Def: Concentrating on the horrible things you did in Sierra Leone: where in Sierra Leone have you committed such horrible crimes?

Wit: Koindu – the executions started there. Beudu, Kailahun Town, Pendembu, [others] Magburaka, Waterloo, the invasion of Freetown.

Def: You were part of the retreat from Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did you engage in amputations?

Wit: Yes. It was an instruction from Charles Taylor, so that the forces would be afraid of the unit.

Def: Did Charles Taylor give you a direct instruction to cut off peoples’ limbs?

Wit: Yes. No operation went forward without his instructions.

Def: By what means did he communicate that to you?

Wit: At first we had base radios and jungle radios. In 1998, he started issuing us with satellite phones. I started talking to him directly then, and with Benjamin Yeaten.

Def: Did you speak to Charles Taylor on the radio or the phone and he said “Zigzag, chop off people’s limbs”?

Wit: Yes. I was at the front. I had communications from him directly.

Def: At the front in which country?

Wit: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.

Def: Are you saying that Charles Taylor told you on the radio or phone on multiple occasions to cut off people’s limbs?

Wit: So many times.

Court is adjourning for the day. The defense cross-examination of Joseph “Zigzag” Marzah will continue tomorrow morning at 9:30.