12:00 Defense questions Mongor on RUF arms and ammunition from Libya and Burkina Faso

9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video and audio from the courtroom): Court is in session.

Defense counsel Terry Munyard continues the cross-examination of prosecution witness Isaac Mongor:

Def: When we broke off yesterday, we were looking at [references page of a document]. May I inquire of the prosecution about the interview notes – we were given a file of handwritten notes by Ms. Hollis – it doesn’t contain handwritten notes from all of the interviews. Were the other interviews typed directly into the computer?

Prosecutor Nick Koumjian: There are no handwritten notes from the proofing sessions. We asked the investigators for all handwritten notes. It’s our belief that we’ve given all handwritten notes.

Def: I would ask that this be double-checked.

Pros: At the proofing sessions where I was present there were no handwritten notes.

Def: Mr. Mongor, look at paragraph 52. You see it?

Wit: I see it.

Def: Who is Jonathan Passawe?

Wit: General adjutant to Foday Sankoh.

Def: How long had he been in that post?

Wit: He held the position for a long time.

Def: Did you know him well?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And you knew well the difficulty the RUF were in from 1993 to 1998, in terms of the inability to get arms or ammunition from Liberia. Where else was the RUF getting its arms and ammunition from?

Wit: If my memory serves me well, I said we also got arms and ammunition from Guinea. And at that time we were doing cross-border business with them. It was just a small quantity of ammunition from them.

Def: Yesterday you said you got no arms or ammunition from Liberia from 1993-1998 by any method?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In 1996, you were in a very senior position in the RUF?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Who was it that Sankoh was sending Passawe to see in Ghana to buy arms and ammunition?

Wit: He was to go to go get money.

Def: To buy arms and ammunition?

Wit: Yes.

Def: From whom did he get the money?

Wit: Sankoh’s friend.

Def: When in 1996 did Passawe travel to Ghana, or was sent there?

Wit: He and Foday Sankoh went to the Abidjan peace accord. They were there when he was sent.

Def: Do you know when that was in 1996, the Abidjan peace accord period?

Wit: I can’t remember the month.

Def: Did Sankoh have contact with the Libyans in Ghana?

Wit: I can’t tell. I don’t know about that.

Def: You know perfectly well that Sankoh was dealing with the Libyans in Ghana in 1996, getting money from them for arms.

Wit: I don’t know much about that that I can recall now.

Def: You were one of the top commanders?

Wit: Yes, I have not disagreed with that.

Def: One of the top half dozen or so commanders – so you would know where the RUF was getting its supplies and money for supplies?

Wit: I didn’t know everything because of my position.

Def: [shows witness a two-page document, shares copies with the judges and prosecution]: Look at this document. It’s headed: “RUF Sierra Leone”, dated June 26, 1996, and is said to be “from: Corporal Foday S. Sankoh”. On the second page, you see it’s signed at the bottom, “F.S. – Corporal Foday S. Sankoh, leader RUF SL”. You see those initials?

Wit: I see a signature.

Def: That is Sankoh’s signature?

Wit: The other signature that I see here is not his?

Def: Which other?

Wit: The particular signature I see here.

Def: You’re not a handwriting expert?

Wit: No.

Def: Let’s go back to the first page: It’s addressed to “Brother Mohamed Turibi, Libyan Government, Ghana” I want to thank you for the money for the purchase of needed materials. I wish to let you know that my business partners are here with me. Attached are a list of materials and their costs. I now need 1 and a half million dollars. My representative will elaborate. These materials will be given to me at discount rates… will cover in addition of all costs for airlifting these materials…Airlifting will be done before payment. I’m urgently appealing to you for your usual cooperation in providing the money – to be at hand with me so that we can get the materials quickly” Then it’s signed. Who is Capt. Philip S. Palmer?

Wit: He was one of the RUF men.

Def: What was his position?

Wit: Philip Palmer – I knew him to be a soldier with Sankoh.

Def: What was his position with Sankoh?

Wit: He was with Sankoh – at any time Sankoh went somewhere, he went with him.

Def: His driver, his bag carrier, what?

Wit: He was with him.

Def: He was a man who did arms deals for Sankoh, wasn’t he?

Wit: I don’t know him for that particular function.

Def: You’re in the top command of the RUF. Help us with whom Sankoh used to get money for arms, or for ammunition.

Wit: I only know that during the war, it was Sankoh himself who went to collect his arms and ammunition to bring into Sierra Leone. I never saw him ask somebody to collect arms and ammunition for him. I wasn’t in Abidjan.

Def: But that you weren’t there didn’t prevent you from telling us you thought Sankoh sent Passawe to Ghana. Not being there never prevented you from telling the prosecution many things.

Pros: That’s argumentative.

Def: You’ve given information to the prosecution about many things where you weren’t there.

Pros: Still argumentative.

Judge Doherty: I agree. Put specifics, not the general.

Def: You said you knew that Sankoh collected his arms and ammunition himself. You said you never sent him send someone. Did you go to Abidjan?

Wit: No.

Def: So how could you tell the prosecution last July that Sankoh send Passawe someplace that you think is Ghana to get money for ammunition?

Wit: I came to know that at the time Sankoh returned, and when he was explaining what happened there. He said he sent his brother to Ghana to get some money for us to buy ammunition, but that he hadn’t returned. He explained to us what happened there. At that time, I saw Philip Palmer. They all came together in the helicopter.

Def: Who came together with Sankoh and Palmer?

Wit: Sankoh, Palmer, and the foreign minister for Abidjan – they all came together in that helicopter.

Def: What happened to Passawe?

Wit: He did not come with them.

Def: What were you told happened with him?

Wit: They said they had sent him to his friend to get money so that they would buy ammunition. We also explained our own situation, about the attacks we were under from our enemies.

Def: Then what happened to Passawe?

Wit: He did not return to Abidjan. He went to Liberia and stayed there until Lomé. That’s when Sankoh went to Liberia and they came together to Sierra Leone.

Def: In the interview notes, you said that Passawe “converted the money to his own use”. He stole it?

Wit: I’m not saying that he stole it.

Def: What does “converted it for his own use” mean?

Wit: He was a big man – one of the authorities – a General. If he went and received money and then used it on his own business, I don’t want to refer to it as thieving. Maybe he had a reason.

Def: What does “converted it for his own use” mean?

Wit: He used it for his own business, not in the interest of the movement?

Def: How much?

Wit: I didn’t know the amount.

Def: You just said that Sankoh told you all of this when he returned – how he’d sent Passawe to Ghana for money. Wouldn’t you want to know how much of the RUF’s money he’d gone off with?

Wit: It was not the issue of the money I wanted to know about. I wanted to know about the ammunition. I don’t know the amount and I did not ask. I don’t think there was any need to ask.

Def: Did you have any idea how much?

Wit: I don’t have any idea.

Def: Are we talking perhaps about half a million or one and a half million US dollars?

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: On your account, Passawe was afraid to return to Sierra Leone?

Wit: Yes, he was afraid to come back.

Def: He’d committed a grievous offense against the movement?

Wit: Yes.

Def: For which someone would normally be executed by the RUF?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In fact, what happened to him is that he was appointed Secretary General of the RUF after this?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did that make sense to you?

Wit: Yes, because it was Sankoh who brought him from Liberia and asked everyone to forget what he’d done. So I wouldn’t have talked against it.

Def: [references document]: Look at para. 53: “After the peace accord, Passawe met with Sankoh in Liberia and they came to Sierra Leone, where Passawe was appointed Secretary General” You’re talking about Abidjan peace accord?

Wit: No, he didn’t come back. It was after that last peace accord.

Def: Did you tell investigators that you were talking about two different peace accords some three years apart?

Wit: I talked about the second peace accord.

Def: Did you tell the investigators you weren’t talking about Abidjan, but rather Lomé, when you said that Sankoh met with Passawe in Liberia, then brought him back to Sierra Leone?

Wit: I did not make it specific, but I know that I was talking about after the other peace accord that I saw Passawe, when he brought him back and made him Secretary General. I did not specify the peace accord to the investigators.

Def: [references a different document] You were interviewed on Feb 4, 2007. This is interview number 13 for you. “Clarification by the witness of 1 Oct 2006 statement” Then it says: “Johnny Paul Koroma indicated that he told Taylor how things were going. Koroma asked Taylor to connect him to Libya because he wanted arms and ammunition from there.” That’s what you told investigators?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So the junta was trying to get arms from Libya?

Wit: Yes, if we were able to get the contact there.

Def: You know perfectly well that Sankoh and the RUF was in contact seeking either arms or money for arms during the 1990s, don’t you?

Wit: I don’t know whether he had direct contact with Libya.

Def: Did you know anything at all about arms from Libya?

Wit; I don’t know about arms from Libya.

Def: Or money from Libya?

Wit: I don’t know about money from Libya.

Def: You say you know nothing about arms or money from Libya?

Wit: I don’t know about that.

Def: [references another document] “Witness gave following additional information in February 2008 in The Hague” Then it says: “In discussing the Magburaka plane shipment, witness said shipment received included two single-barrel AA guns with ammunition and GMG ammunition, but did not include any AK-47 ammunition, which limited the military benefit of the shipment.” You said that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “He understood the shipment was from Libya.” Did you tell them that?

Wit: I told them that.

Def: So why was it that not five minutes ago you told this court you didn’t know about any arms from Libya?

Wit: Because you were talking about the RUF. This shipment was not for the RUF. It was Johnny Paul through whom this shipment came. When you are talking about the RUF and Libya, I don’t know about that.

Def: I asked “do you know anything at all about arms from Libya” You said you didn’t.

Pros: Do be fair, you should begin reading earlier.

Def: “You know perfectly well that Sankoh was seeking arms or money for arms from Libya… you know anything at all about arms from Libya? Answer: I don’t know anything at all about arms from Libya”. When was the Magburaka plane shipment, if you were there at all to see it?

Wit: It was in 1998.

Def: Why didn’t you say, when I asked whether you knew anything about arms from Libya, that you received arms in 1998?

Wit: Because you were talking about Foday Sankoh’s business. We were discussing Sankoh and Passawe, so I did not think about that. I’m aware we had arms shipment from Liberia at Magburaka. If you were going to ask me about it, I was going to talk about it. You have now asked me and I said yes.

Def: We weren’t talking about Passawe when I asked you about whether you know anything at all about arms from Liberia. We were looking at what you’d said about the junta and Johnny Paul Koroma. We’d moved on from Mr. Passawe.

Wit; Yes, we moved on.

Def: Why have you just told us you were waiting to tell us about the arms from Libya, but we were talking about Passawe?

Pros: That’s not fair to the witness. There were three questions about Sankoh in a row.

Judge Doherty: The witness has explained why he said this. I don’t see value in pursuing this.

Def: So those arms in the Magburaka airdrop came from Libya?

Wit: Yes.

Def: That is something you know yourself?

Wit: That was what they told me.

Def: Who is “they”?

Wit: I mean the head of state by then, JPK.

Def: This must be – if it’s 1998, it must be January if he’s head of state, or do you call him head of state after the intervention in February?

Wit: After the intervention I still regarded him as head of state.

Def: [references another document] This is an interview on Jan 28, 2007, interview number 12 with you. It says: “Apart from the delivery at Magburaka airfield, he maintains he knew of no supplies coming to the RUF from Liberia from 1995 to 1998.” Is that what you told investigators?

[brief interruption in audio]

Def: Let’s go back to the previous page we were just looking at. You said it was arranged with the help of Mr. Taylor and came through Liberia, so you’ve now got it coming from Libya but through Liberia?

Wit: Yes, it came to Liberia through the help of Mr. Taylor before it came to Sierra Leone.

Def: Look please at [references another page]

[Five-minute interruption in video and audio]

Def: This morning you told the court that the airdrop in Magburaka was in 1998. Do you remember saying that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In this paragraph here you say it was before the…

[brief interruption in video and audio]

Def: Paragraph 78: “Witness did not know where the plane came from, but knew that the RUF/AFRC were expecting materials from Burkina Faso.” Did you say that?

Wit: I didn’t talk about Burkina Faso.

Def: So the investigator and lawyer have got that wrong?

Wit: How can I talk about Libya and then talk about Burkina Faso? I was talking about Libya.

Def: This was July 2007. You told them Libya, and they managed to write down a country that doesn’t even sound like “Libya”?

Wit: I would not talk about Libya and then later I come and talk about Burkina Faso again. I want to believe, even the person who was interviewing me…

[Five-minute interruption in video and audio]

Wit: I can’t say it was for some reason. If I say it was for some reason, it means I have some things in mind for telling him not to correct it. Maybe it was possible that it was a mistake and I should have told the investigator.

Def: This is the 16th time you were interviewed. How do you remember what went on there when you can’t even remember who was interviewing you?

Wit: I can’t understand the way you are saying it. I have so many other things in mind. I cannot tell you specifically the things I recall.

Def: I’ve made a mistake – this was interview number 18. Are you saying you remember the interviewer reading to you “Burkina Faso”, but that for some reason you didn’t correct him or her?

Wit: I’m saying maybe it didn’t occur to me.

Def: Just now you said “how could I say Burkina Faso when I’d said Libya”?

Wit: Yes, because I was confused just now.

Def: “He thinks Ibrahim Bah was involved in bringing the plane.” Did you tell them that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The arms and ammo from Burkina Faso? Do you understand what that was from Burkina Faso?

Judge Doherty: Are you putting to him that the arms were from Burkina Faso? The series of questions was about whether the words Burkina Faso or the word Libya was used.

Def: “Witness did not know where the plane came from, but knew they were expecting materials from Burkina Faso. He thinks Ibrahim Bah was involved.” Did you tell them that Bah was arranging to bring arms from Libya or from Burkina Faso?

Wit: He arranged things from both sides. I spoke about Burk…Libya, that he made the arrangements, at the time he came to Freetown.

Def: Which country had he arranged for the arms and ammo to come from?

Wit: The arrangement was – the first one was from Libya, when they brought the AAs.

Def: The Magburaka air shipment?

Wit: Yes. That one was from Libya, and the aircraft left and passed through Liberia through the help of Taylor and came to Magburaka. Ibrahim Bah came to JPK and they made the arrangements before he left.

Def: Were you there when this happened?

Wit: I went with Ibrahim Bah – we took him to JPK’s house. After we all spoke together they had a closed-door meeting. Later JPK told us of the arrangements.

Def: So the answer to my question is “no, I wasn’t there”, because it was in a closed-door session?

Pros: The question was not so specific.

Def: Were you there when Bah and JPK made the arrangements for the arms from Liberia.

Wit: I was in JPK’s compound but not in the room where they were talking.

Def: [references another paragraph] “Before the arrival of the plane, the RUF had made arrangements for arms to come from Burkina Faso. The contract was renewed by JPK.” You told them that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Which contract was renewed by JPK?

Wit: He renewed the contract by talking to Ibrahim Bah, so that he will be able to bring arms and ammunition for the movement.

Def: Before the arrival of the plane, this is the plane at Magburaka?

Wit: Before we received the first supply that came.

Def: Are you referring to the plane at Magburaka?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “The RUF had an arrangement…when they joined the AFRC, the contract was renewed by JPK” So these are the arms that were brought by that plane in Magburaka?

Wit: No, that was not it.

Def: It was another contract?

Wit: Yes, after he had spoken with the man and the man agreed to carry on. But he did not bring any consignment until the time we were pushed out.

Def: Did he then bring a consignment from Burkina Faso?

Wit: After we were pushed out of Freetown, I did not know about any further ammunition from Burkina Faso. More ammuntition came, but I didn’t know whether it came from there.

Def: You just said he did not bring any consignment further “until we were pushed out”. So after you were pushed out, did he bring any consignment?

Wit: No, none that I am aware of with regard to the contract with JPK.

Def: We’re talking about a contract between JPK and Bah for arms from Burkina Faso?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In July 2007 you told interviewers that the Magburaka airdrop came from Burkina Faso, because Bah had an arrangement with the RUF, renewed with JPK, and that that’s where the arms in Magburaka came from?

Wit: No, that’s not where they came from.

Def: Are you aware of any arms or ammunition from Burkina Faso after you were pushed out?

Wit: I can’t recall now.

Def: Try harder. Was there any time after you were pushed out that you were aware that any members of the RUF and/or AFRC obtained arms as a result of any contact in Burkina Faso?

Wit: I can’t recall it now. I don’t think I have it in mind now.

Def: Do you remember when you first started giving evidence about an occasion when Bockarie and SYB Rogers had been to a hotel in Burkina Faso and they showed you photos of the hotel?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Does that jog your memory?

Wit: I said that, but I can’t recall whether I said arms and ammunition came to the RUF-controlled areas from that place. I don’t disagree with the fact they went there.

Def: What is it they went to Burkina Faso for?

Wit: Bockarie told me that he had received a call to go to Taylor, and at that time he went with SYB Rogers and some other times. He said the Pa, Mr. Taylor, made a connection between Bockarie and Libyan leader.

Def: Did you mean Libyan leader, or Burkina Faso leader?

Wit: I said Bockarie told me Taylor connected him with the Burkina Faso president.

Def: And what was the point of this connection?

Wit: He connected him because of materials – arms and ammunition.

Def: So that was the purpose of Bockarie and SYB Rogers going to Burkina Faso – to get arms and ammunition?

Wit: They went to establish the contact, but did not immediately get arms and ammo.

Def: They came back with a large amount of materials?

Wit: Yes, but they did not bring them from Burkina Faso. He did not tell me that where they went was where they got them from.

Def: I want to move on to a number of separate points.

Judge Sebutinde: Let’s hear the logical conclusion of this. Where did Bockarie tell him he got the arms and ammunition from?

Wit: He got them from Liberia, from Mr. Taylor.

Def: Although he’d just been on a trip to Burkina Faso, just before he got these materials?

Wit: He didn’t get them from there. It was for those ammunitions that he went to Liberia. Taylor connected him with the Burkina Faso president about materials. But the ones Taylor called him for, those are the ones that they gave to him when he returned, and those are the ones that they brought.

Def: How were they going to pay for arms from Burkina Faso, if they were going to persuade the president of Burkina Faso to give them any?

Wit: The point of the trip was to establish contact to discuss the issue of materials.

Def: If the Burkina leader was going to give them arms, how were they going to pay for them?

Wit: If he had given them arms and ammunition, we would have used diamonds to pay for them.

Def: And who was going to take the diamonds to him?

Wit: We had got the arms and ammunition. Bockarie would have gone there.

Def: Isn’t that what actually happened, that when Bockarie and SYB Rogers went to Burkina Faso, they were able to exchange materials in exchange for diamonds?

Wit: I told you that a call came from Liberia first, and that is why Bockarie and the RUF delegation went to Liberia. Taylor arranged for them to go to Burkina Faso and talk to the president. So that if we needed arms and ammunition people would go to Liberia and then Burkina Faso to get arms and ammunition. But on that trip, they didn’t have something to buy the ammunition and come back.

Def: I want to ask about a series of issues. Is it right that Bockarie never used the radio to talk to Charles Taylor?

Wit: What did you say?

Def: You say Bockarie never used the radio to speak to Charles Taylor?

Wit: I don’t think I had said he never used to talk to Taylor over radio.

Def: Are you saying he did talk to him on the radio?

Wit: I don’t think I have said here that Mosquito ever spoke to Taylor by radio.

Def: I’m not asking what you said. Is it your position that Bockarie never used to speak to Taylor over the radio?

Wit: He did talk to Taylor by radio.

Def: How often?

Wit: I can’t recall for me to tell you now. I think it used to happen at the time the man was submitting his reports. When he was making his reports, he himself did not go on the radio to talk about RUF activities. Those ones were passed over to the radio man for them to be able to decode them, to send them. But there were other discussions that they did. At the time he got the satellite phone, he was now communicated with him by phone.

Def: I asked about radio.

Wit: I know, but I’m taking about all communication. Satellite phone is also for communication. I made clear about the radio. The field reports he did not give himself – he would pass the written documents to radio operators.

Def: Did you ever overhear a radio conversation between Bockarie and Taylor?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How many times?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Def: Many times?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Def: Try please. I’m asking did you yourself ever overhear Bockarie on the radio with Taylor?

Wit: I have listened. I listened to their conversation?

Def: How many times? Often? All the time? Give us an idea.

Wit: I can’t give you any kind of rough idea now, but I know they used to communicate and he was making reports concerning RUF positions to Mr. Taylor.

Def: I’m asking you how many times you say you overheard them, not how many times they communicated.

Wit: I can’t say.

Def: More than once?

Wit: I can’t give you any number?

Def: You would know if it was more than once or only once?

Wit: I wouldn’t know. I don’t know that.

Def: When you gave evidence in March, do remember telling the court about the events just before the invasion of Sierra Leone, when you went to visit Mr. Taylor in Voinjama?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Do you remember saying that when you got there, Sankoh and Taylor were in the house with some special forces, and they invited you inside? And you said you were able to talk to Taylor that night? And Taylor thanked you for the job you’d done?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You remember saying he did not just stop there. He said we were to come fight in Sierra Leone. We should keep the ball rolling? He said all this to you directly in this house in a personal conversation?

Wit: Yes.

Court is now adjourning for the mid-morning break. The session will continue at 12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio).