12:00 Cross-examination of former RUF radio operator continues

9:51 (10:21) Court is back in open session.

Defense counsel Morris Anyah resumes his cross-examination of protected prosecution witness TF1-516:

Def: Yesterday, we discussed the question of whether the call sign names for Sam Bockarie’s radios changed over time, and whether there were three radios: Bravo Zulu 4, Marvel, and Planet One, or whether there was initially a station called BZ4, then later the other two instead of BZ4. [references document] This is the list of the interview dates between you and the Office of the Prosecutor – the 20 meetings. Do you agree that it was only when you were here in The Hague that you mentioned, in your last interview, that BZ4 was the same radio call sign that later became Planet One?

Wit: Yes. I had been making explanations. The investigators would say, “no, we just need the main points”. I was answering their questions.

Def: But you spoke about this in October 2007 and in March you went over that interview line by line. You did not offer corrections. Let’s look at what I showed you yesterday. [references document] “Witness pointed out he had previously said that BZ4 was a base station. Marvel and Planet One were mobile.” This is what you said in October 2007. One month ago, you went paragraph by paragraph through this statement and you did not correct that distinction. [references document] These are notes from a meeting a month ago. “Clarification interview”. If you go through page by page, you will see references to paragraphs of your October interview. [references page number of document] You did not correct the distinction that BZ4 is the same radio call sign as Planet One. It’s only in the last few days in March that you told them.

Wit: I had stated before this time that the call signs of those radio sets underwent changes. They were changing.

Def: Why didn’t you emphasize it and refuse to sign the page?

Wit: I was never asked such a question.

Def: [shows a document to the prosecution, judges and witness]

Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura: I would like to take a second look at the document. [Prosecutors look at the document again.]

Def: Have you seen that photograph before?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What is it?

Wit: It’s the house Sam Bockarie lived in in Buedu.

Def: Under what circumstances have you seen the photo.

Wit: I was shown a similar photo, if not this one, back in Freetown. I was asked to identify the house and I said it was Bockarie’s house.

Def: There was a communications room with a computer?

Wit: Yes.

Def: There was a room with a computer, radios and satellite phones?

Wit: When I was there, jet bombers were flying. It was risky to have radios in the room.

Def: When the prosecution showed you this photo last October, you pointed out a location in the house where you said the satellite phone, radios and computer were located?

Wit: I did not say the radios were there.

Def: Did you say there was a radio in the structure?

Wit: No.

Def: Did you tell them where a satellite phone and computer were located?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Can you take a pen, circle the room, and put TF1-516 next to it?

Wit: It was this verandah room.

Def: Can you circle the room where the phone and satellite phone were and write TF1-516 next to it?

Wit: Yes. [marks photo, which is put on the court’s overhead projector]

Def: Let’s see what you told the prosecution when you spoke with them about that room. [references document] I would ask the court to mark the document for identification as a defense exhibit. I have blocked out a signature on the photograph, and I don’t know if it is problematic to make it public with that signature.

Pros: In addition to the signature, there is a number at the top. We would suggest that it be blackened out as well. Other than that, we are satisfied with the document.

Def: [references document] “Witness was shown the photo, and identified the individual as Mosquito. He identified the location as the house in Buedu and identified where the radios, satellite phone and computer”. Radios, plural. What radios were located in that room in Sam Bockarie’s house?

Wit: Bockarie had a variety of radios with him. Whenever we had mechanical difficulties, he brought us a replacement. The radio sets in use were mounted under a tree, and in a vehicle. The jet bombers were flying.

Def: Did you tell the prosecution that Bockarie had inoperative radios?

Wit: No.

Def: When I asked you whether radios were located in that house, you said no.

Wit: There’s a difference between radios operated in that room and present in that room.

Def: Did you make that distinction to the prosecution?

Wit: No.

Def: What of the computer. Was it just being stored there?

Wit: Martin would use the computer when needed.

Def: But the radios were not operated in there?

Wit: No.

Judge Sebutinde: The photograph mentioned in the statement, is that the photo we’re looking at? It refers to an individual that we don’t see in this photograph.

Def: There’s an ERN number on the photograph. [reads identification number] In the document, there are responses from the witness to various photos. This is what the prosecution showed him. It says he identified the individual as Mosquito. Granted there are many individuals.

Wit: This was not the photo. There were other photos.

Def: You clearly said that this was the photo showing Bockarie’s house in Buedu.

Wit: Yes. But it is not the photo where I identified individuals such as Zigzag Marzah.

Def: You said there were no radios in the room?

Wit: Radios were in the room. When we had mechanical difficulties, we would get a new one from there.

Def: What were the call signs of the radios in the room.

Wit: They had no call signs.

Def: When BZ4 was no longer operational, did they store it in that room?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Is BZ4 not just a call sign?

Wit: Even the axis where it was located was referred to as BZ4. Let’s say we’re operating a Thompson set with a call sign and it broke – then we replaced it, say with a Yesue – it still had that same call sign.

Def: There were different operators operating Planet One?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Where was the radio called Lemon located?

Wit: Not in this house. It was on the other side of the town. We had another private area called Signal Base. That’s where Lemon was?

Def: Did you tell the prosecution that?

Wit: I told them there was a radio with call sign lemon.

Def: The first time you told them about it was two and a half weeks ago?

Wit: I stated it to them.

Def: Only two and a half weeks ago.

Wit: OK, yes.

Def: You’re saying it was not in the same area as Planet One?

Wit; Capt. Prince Taylor was its commander.

Def: You never told the prosecution any of that?

Wit: That it was not mounted in Bockarie’s house?

Def: That it was commanded by Prince Taylor?

Wit: I stated it.

Def: In March?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references document] This is where you made distinctions to them about the radios for the first time, here in The Hague. “The name BZ4 and Planet One referred to the same radio in Buedu…The name changed after the capture of two vehicles…the name changed but it was still the same radio…prior statements are incorrect when they refer to Planet One before the name change…Marvel was a separate radio that was usually in fixed location.” You’ve been saying was a mobile radio, and two weeks ago you told them it was usually fixed, “but could be made mobile…there was a third radio called radio for welfare purposes.” You raised Lemon in the context of Planet One?

Wit; Marvel was the call sign of a radio fixed in a vehicle that could move, and the vehicle would usually be parked in a particular location. The drivers would move the vehicle around to charge the battery and bring it back to its fixed location.

Def: Let’s get back to the issue of whether Marvel was exclusively a mobile set. You’ve told us it was, but two weeks ago you told the prosecution that it was usually in a fixed location and would sometimes be used as a mobile unit.

Pros: The defense is misstating what the witness said.

Def: This witness has said here for the last week that Marvel was a mobile set. I’m showing him a statement from two plus weeks ago where he said Marvel was predominantly stationary.

Judge Doherty: I’ll allow the question.

Def: You’ve told us all last week and up to yesterday, that Marvel was mobile?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You told the prosecution in March that Marvel “was usually in fixed location, but could also be made mobile in a vehicle”. Yes or no?

Wit; Yes, but a radio is mounted on a vehicle. When that vehicle is not in motion, is that not a fixed location? I was there. You were not there, that’s why you’re having difficulty understanding.

Def: When a vehicle stops it is stationary, and when it moves, it’s a mobile radio?

Wit: Yes. When Bockarie moved, he could take it with him. When he came back, it was parked at the base.

Def: Where were you during the invasion of Freetown?

Wit: In Buedu.

Def: Have you told the prosecution before that you were in Liberia at the time?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references document] This is from August 14, 2006: “Source never took part in the Freetown invasion. By then he has been posted in Liberia as a radio operator.” Six months ago, they went through this statement with you, last November. [references document] “Review of interview notes…” and it refers to that interview. “…witness reviewed these notes and indicated he did not have any corrections.” Last November you read what you said about being in Liberia, and you did not correct it?

Wit: It’s not made here, but I later corrected it. There was another attack in Freetown where Sankoh was shot in his leg. I thought that was the attack investigators were referring to, not the attack that Gullit and others took part in.

Def: It says “Freetown invasion” and the first thing you thought of was when Sankoh was shot in the foot?

Wit: Yes, I was already in Liberia.

Def: What is the junta period?

Wit: From when the AFRC took over until the last day of the peace signing.

Def: What is the ECOMOG intervention?

Wit: When the AFRC overthrew the legitimate government, ECOMOG came to reinstate the democratically elected government to power. That was the intervention.

Def: So the junta period is May 1997-February 1998?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And when you hear “Freetown invasion”, you think of Sankoh being shot?

Wit: It says invasion here, but they said “Freetown attack”. I later corrected it.

Def: There’s something else I want to ask about here. [references document] Yesterday we talked about Gullit and your alleged time with King Perry in Kono between 1997 and 1998 – and you confirmed retreating with Gullit to Buedu?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “Source said he was not aware when and how Gullit returned to Kono.” After this retreat, you never went back to Kono during your time with the RUF?

Wit: I paid a visit, but did not go there on assignment.

Def: Are you referring to 2001 when you went to mine for diamonds for yourself?

Wit: Yes. It was not possible though. I did not even spend a month in Tongo. I was beaten and injured.

Def: Did you go?

Wit: Yes.

Def: After you and Gullit came from Kono to Buedu, except for this time in 2001, from post-intervention in 1998 through 2001, you never went to Kono?

Wit: I paid a visit there?

Def: Why did you say you hadn’t been there?

Wit: They were asking for information on Gullit. From the time Gullit went with Bockarie from Buedu to Daru, I never set eyes on him.

Def: We’re focusing on if and when you ever went back to Kono. This says you told the prosecution you never went back to Kono.

Wit: The document has it like that. During the fighting I did not go there again. When I came back from Liberia, war was not going on any longer.

Def: DDR was upon you then?

Wit: Yes. There was no fighting at all.

Def: You said you went to Liberia in June 1999?

Wit: In the rainy season, and it was estimated to be June.

Def: You went there from Buedu?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Before you left you were working for Bockarie?

Wit: He was the RUF leader. Yes. We took instructions from Issa Sesay as well.

Def: I wanted to ask you about that. You mentioned last week [reads from transcript]: “Q: And what were the subject of those communications. A: Sam Bockarie was still in Sierra Leone in control, but Issa Sesay had authority as well, maintaining communication directly with General Fifty.” Issa Sesay was not a general at the time?

Wit: Yes. He was a brigadier general.

Def: A one-star general?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What is a four-star general?

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: You told us about Bockarie saying he had been promoted?

Wit: Yes, he told us in the muster parade. He pointed to the insignia and said, “I’m a general now.” He had a new jeep.

Def: Issa Sesay was a lesser general, and Bockarie was a superior general?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Under Bockarie’s watch, Issa Sesay would unilaterally communicate with Yeaten?

Wit: Yes. There was no boundary between those people.

Def: At this time, was Sesay based in Buedu. You told us he was based in Buedu and later in Kono?

Wit: They were not stationary. They would be here and there for 72 hours, then come and go.

Def: In the transcript it says he was permanently based in Kono.

Wit: Kono was his base, but at that time I spoke of, Bockarie was the leader.

Def: Let’s go back to the issue of who could speak with Monrovia, or “the other side”. You told us last week that Issa Sesay ordered you to Foya. This was under Bockarie’s watch?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And he would unilaterally speak with Yeaten?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What other sort of decisions did Sesay make while Bockarie was head of the RUF?

Wit: There was a Dr. Kamara in Buedu. Issa Sesay shot him dead in Bockarie’s absence. He said Kamara was guilty of using medicines for civilians instead of using it for soldiers.

Def: Did Issa Sesay order ammunition on his own without Bockarie?

Wit: There was a flow of communication between those authorities. Issa himself would go to Liberia while Bockarie was in Buedu.

Def: Were there times that Sesay made decisions behind Bockarie’s back?

Wit: Yes. They used to refer to each other as “master”.

Def: Did Bockarie ever take orders from Issa Sesay?

Wit: No, to my knowledge, but he would consult him. Issa made us understand once that he was superior in terms of arrival in the movement.

Def: So they were equals?

Wit: Not equals. But I used to see them sharing the same bench, eating from the same plate.

Def: This past March when you spoke with the prosecution [refers to document]: “Witness further explained about communication between Planet One and Base 1. He said the frequencies were pre-designated. He said at times, due to infighting between Bockarie and Sesay, not all operators knew these frequencies. Only Planet One was allowed to communicate to Base 1. Some of the senior operators did know these codes: Daf, King Perry and CO Nya, so it was possible they might have overheard some of the communications.” Did you say this?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You see where it says only Planet One was allowed to communicate with Base 1?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Planet One was Bockarie’s personal radio?

Wit: Yes.

Def: On the basis of what you told them, the communication was limited to communication between Planet One and Base 1?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Communication was exclusively between Planet One and Base 1?

Wit: I disagree. They made mention of infighting. There was a time Superman broke off from the RUF and attacked positions loyal to Sam Bockarie. Superman was regarded as an enemy to the RUF, so there were certain frequencies designated and sent to Base 1 because Superman’s operators knew the other frequencies. That was one aspect. This Planet One was in Buedu. Issa Sesay would also use Planet One.

Def: You said that Issa Sesay would use Planet One. Let me go to my initial question: communication between the RUF high command and Liberia was exclusively between Planet One and Base 1?

Wit: At that time.

Def: Only when there was infighting, the communication was reduced to Planet One to Base one?

Wit: Superman’s station was cut off from communication by means of changing the frequencies and the codes. Yes.

Def: At other times apart from this period, there were open communication lines between Base 1 and other RUF call signs?

Wit: That is not what I’m saying. Issa Sesay sometimes used Planet One, Marvel, and BZ4 at one point in time.

Def: Come on now. Are you saying communications between Buedu and Monrovia were between all those and Base 1?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What about Lemon?

Wit: Sometimes when the other sets were off, the operator from Lemon would come and tell us to turn them on because there was a call from the other side.

Def: You told us on Monday about when Issa Sesay was in Buedu. You said it was 1996-1997. Did you tell us that last Tuesday?

Wit: Yes indeed.

Def: He was based in Buedu 1996-1997. You were not in Buedu…you only went there in 1998?

Wit: I had gone there before that time.

Def: But after you left Kono, you only got there in 1998?

Wti: Yes.

Def: And Issa was no longer based there?

Wit: I did not say he was no longer there. After the intervention, Sesay came back to Buedu and was taking care of the frontline toward Daru Barracks. He came back with JP Koroma.

Def: When Issa Sesay was in Kono, did he communicate through another radio with Benjamin Yeaten?

Wit: Was I in Kono? When I was in Liberia, I used to receive messages directly from Sesay in Kono.

Def: What was the call sign of that station?

Wit: I can’t remember exactly. The call signs were changing rapidly.

Def: But Bockarie’s call sign only changed from BZ4 to Planet One?

Wit: Those were not the only ones.

Def: What other call signs was Bockarie’s radio use?

Wit: Those are the ones I can remember.

Def: You can’t remember the call sign of Sesay’s radio when he called Yeaten?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Issa Sesay sent you to Monrovia?

Wit: To Liberia.

Def: You said Yeaten arrived on a helicopter in Foya and took you to Gbarnga. Was this the first time you had been in Liberia, other than when you went there in 1991 for your injury?

Wit: In Buedu, I used to be part of a convoy that crossed to Foya and back to Buedu, before crossing into Liberia on assignment.

Def: Was 1999 the first time you met General Fifty?

Wit: That was the first time I knew him to be Fifty.

Def: Was that the first time you had seen Benjamin Yeaten?

Wit: That was the first time I knew him to be Benjamin Yeaten.

Def: When was the first time you set eyes on him?

Wit: That very day.

Def: Had you ever spoken to him before that day?

Wit: On the radio I used to receive messages in reference to Fifty, asking to speak to Bockarie.

Def: Had you ever heard the voice of Benjamin Yeaten?

Wit: I heard his voice in Kenema when he was speaking to Bockarie about the inauguration.

Def: In 1997?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Who was Yeaten with in Foya?

Wit: I saw him with bodyguards. I first reported to Zigzag Marzah.

Def: Part of the team of Zigzah Marzah, Jungle and Dopoe Menkarzon who brought arms and ammunition?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did Yeaten ask who you were?

Wit: Yes. When he came, Zigzag said that was who was sent. I said Sesay sent me.

Def: You are quoted in one of your statements as saying Daniel Chea saluted Yeaten, the second most powerful person in Liberia and took you to Taylor’s farm in Gbarnga?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was there a landing pad for the helicopter in Gbarnga?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was this your first time in Gbarnga?

Wti: Yes.

Def: Was Taylor there?

Wit: I can’t tell.

Def: Yeaten let you roam the farm and take pictures?

Wit: It was not at that time.

Def: When was that?

Wit: Another time, when we were traveling on land. He took me to the fish ponds.

Def: The second most powerful man in Liberia took you to the fish ponds?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Who else did you meet in Gbarnga when you arrived?

Wit: A driver.

Def: What was your purpose in going to Gbarnga?

Wit: Fifty gave me another radio to mount in a house. I had my own radio.

Def: What was the call sign for that radio?

Wit: I can’t remember, but I had a call sign wherever I went.

Def: You told us about 020 in the Executive Mansion, Base 1 was in Monrovia, Foxtrot Yankee was in Foya. What was this call sign?

Wit: I can’t recall because I only went there intermittently.

Def: You told the prosecution you spent six months in Gbarnga.

Wit: Yeaten was always moving through Lofa and to Monrovia and back, to Gbarnga and back.

Def: You went to Monrovia in December 1999?

Wit: I traveled with Yeaten to Monrovia in December 1999.

Def: Let’s look at your first statement. [references document] “In June 1999 he crossed over to Liberia on temporary duty to assist Taylor’s troops. In mid-December 1999 to Monrovia. Assigned to Yeaten by Sesay to work at Base 1.” It says it was mid-December when you went to Monrovia?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references another document]

Judge Doherty interjects that it’s time for the mid-morning break. Proceedings will resume at 12:00 (12:30 with the video/audio delay).