9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video and audio): Court is in session.
Before resuming the questioning of the witness, two new interpreters are being sworn in before the court.
Defense counsel Terry Munyard continues the cross-examination of prosecution witness Isaac Mongor.
Def: I’m first going to ask about money this morning. [references documents] I have a correction to make. Throughout last week, I’d said you’d been interviewed on 24 separate dates. Now I count 26 separate interviews. You told us when I first started asking you questions, you said you’d been given money on each of the dates you were interviewed?
Def: We already looked at 28 Aug, prior to your first interview. The first interview was 30 Aug. The next interview, where you received 50,000 Leones for transport, meals and lost wages. For the third interview on 3 Sept, and also on 8 Sept, you received this same amount. You were also interviewed on the 5th and 6th of September, but there are no sums recorded for those interviews. On 17 September you were interviewed, but there’s no receipt for that date. Fri, Sep 29, 2006, transport and lost wages: 15,000 Leones – no meals. Was there ever a time you were interviewed where they didn’t give you money on the same day, but at a later date, or did you always get it the same day?
Wit: I can’t recall. The one you spoke about, I don’t think I was given the money the same day?
Def: How can you remember the 17th of September 2006 – that on that date you weren’t given money on the day?
Wit: As we go along, maybe I will reflect and recall about the money issues you are talking about.
Def: How can you remember this now – that on 17 September 2006 you weren’t given money on the same day?
Wit: I can’t recall that day specifically. I recall there were days where they didn’t give me money.
Def: Can you recall saying in the past eight minutes saying that every time you were interviewed there, you were paid?
Def: Are you now saying you got that wrong?
Wit: It was not a large amount, but I think they were always giving me money. I think it was about two times I wasn’t given me money – it was given me later.
Def: Are you saying there were two occasions they gave you the money later, or two times they gave you no money.
Wit: They gave me the money later.
Def: After 17 Sep, the next time you were interviewed was 1 Oct 2006. On 29 Sep you’re given 15,000 Leones, although that wasn’t a date on which you were interviewed. You were interviewed two days later on Sun, 1 Oct. But if you look, that relates to 23 Sep, when you were given 40,000 Leones for transport, meals and lost wages. You were interviewed a number of times in the intervening period [lists dates]. Were there four occasions… Were there three occasions on which you can think that you weren’t paid at all, or is your position that you just don’t know now?
Wit: I can’t recall now.
Def: 20,000 Leones for meals, transport, lost wages on another Sunday. You said last week that you wouldn’t lose wages on Sunday?
Wit: I don’t sell on Sunday.
Def: So is that a mystery to you, why they would pay you for lost wages?
Wit: Maybe that is their procedure.
Def: Another Sunday, Feb 4, when you were interviewed on Feb 7: meals, transport and lost wages. Then you were interviewed on Feb 8, but there’s no payment specific to that date in this document. Wed, 21 Feb 2007 – “monies for interview with witness management unit/investigations” – did you have interviews with the Witness Management Unit on the 21st and 22nd of February 2007 that you can now remember?
Wit: The people who are there – all I know is that they are Special Court workers. I can’t tell the difference between them.
Def: [Munyard consults with Co-counsel Morris Anyah] Can you remember being interviewed on two consecutive days in late February last year by somebody in the prosecution?
Wit: I can’t recall that now.
Def: We don’t have any interviews for either of those dates. If you were interviewed on those days, then that brings the total number to 28. The next box is Mon, 26 Feb 2006 – and it’s described as reimbursement to witness for clarification provided to Witness Management Unit – 20,000 Leones. We don’t have any interview notes from that date – if you were interviewed, that would be 29 total dates.
Judge Doherty: When you asked about 26 February, I didn’t hear a reply from the witness. In fairness, he should be allowed to answer.
Def: If you look at box 11, the date is Mon, 26 February 2007 – you were given 20,000 Leones for meals, transport and lost wages – the reason is clarification provided to Witness Management Unit. Do you remember being paid on that date?
Wit: I can’t recall the date now.
Def: But do you agree that the document suggests that you were paid money for an interview on Mon, 26 Feb 2007.
Pros: There’s an ambiguity in the grammar here – and it’s unfair to ask the witness to interpret this grammar relating to the internal workings of the Prosecution. WMU reimbursed the witness, but did not do the clarification.
Def: It appears that you were paid by the Witness Management Unit on the same date for your expenses during a clarification interview. Do you agree?
Wit: Yes, I agree that I received money. But I can’t recall the date now.
Def: Can I invite the prosecution to provide the records of these interviews?
Pros: We have provided all records from all interviews with this witness.
Def: On 29 Nov 2007, you were given 30,000 Leones for “communication”. This is nine months after the previous payment. In the meantime you were interviewed twice in June and twice in July 2007. So that is four separate dates between the payment records. Do you have any memory of not being paid for four interviews in the middle of last year?
Wit: I can’t recall now about those dates.
Def: In Nov 2007, you were interviewed. 5 Dec 2007, you received another 30,000 Leones for communication. You were interviewed the previous day. Do you know what “communication” means here?
Wit: I recall that the 30,000 was for me to buy a top-up card for my phone.
Def: Also on 5 Dec 2007, 120,000 Leones for communication. Was that also for top-up cards?
Wit: I received that money.
Def: What was it for?
Wit: I had requested for communication business, so they gave it to me.
Def: What do you mean, communication business?
Wit: The 120,000 Leones was given to me. I used some for communication business – to buy top-ups for my phone. The remaining – I used it for meals.
Def: Can you remember how much you spent on top-ups?
Wit: I can’t recall the exact amount now. I’m sure I was sure I was given money for top-ups.
Def: Can you remember the date when you came to The Hague this year?
Wit: I came here in January – that was the time I came.
Def: Any idea now whether it was early Jan, late Jan?
Wit: It was late January.
Def: [references document again] This is a further sum that was expended in relation to you by the Victim and Witness Service, a body of the court separate from the prosecution. You were brought under the protection of the court on 10 Mar 2007, and since then you’ve been paid a total as follows: a subsistence allowance of 7 million Leones. Did you move house at all on or around 10 March 2007?
Def: Was your rent paid for on or after that date?
Wit: It was the court that paid. I did not pay myself.
Def: As well as having your rent paid for, were you also provided money for food for you and your family?
Def: The court gave you an allowance to pay for food for you and your family since last March?
Def: We see “medical”: over 200,000 Leones. Was that for you or your family, or both?
Wit: For me and my family.
Def: Childcare: 660,000 Leones. Were you paying for childcare before 10 March 2007 or not?
Wit: You mean before coming to the court.
Def: These are all since 10 March 2007 that these payments were made. I’m trying to find out if these constitute a benefit for you that you hadn’t had before. If you hadn’t had to pay for childcare before that time, then receiving 660,000 Leones would be a benefit?
Wit: No. I was paying for childcare.
Def: Before March 2007?
Def: So after that date the court paid for childcare?
Def: So you no longer had to find that sum out of your own pocket?
Def: “Transportation: 285,000 Leones.” Can you give us some understanding of your transportation costs after March 2007. What were your transport needs?
Wit: I think those were the monies given me for transportation.
Def: What transportation was involved?
Wit: Sometimes I went to the provinces. Sometimes I used a taxi or poda-podas to go to the prosecutions.
Def: To assist the prosecution, or for your personal reasons?
Wit: I did not go on behalf of the prosecution. I went to visit my other family members.
Def: And the court paid for that?
Def: So you didn’t have to pay out of your own pocket?
Def: So that was a benefit?
Wit: The court told me I should inform them if I was to go anywhere.
Def: We see 1,039 dollars for “rent, maintenance and utility bills”. Now you already told me in relation to the seven million Leones above that this was for rent. So does it follow that figure up above relate to food only?
Def: And the grand total there is over 14 million Leones. Out of that, the medical expenses, childcare, some of the transportation and the food payments are all a benefit to you, weren’t they?
Wit: They were things I used to do before. I did it before. I was now under their auspices. I was not objecting to it.
Def: Do you see the heading “miscellaneous”: over two million Leones. Can you give us an idea of what you were given money for that didn’t fall under the headings we’ve looked at thus far?
Wit: I lost my phone at one time. At that time, they couldn’t contact me. So they assisted me with a new phone.
Def: What else?
Wit: I think I requested sometimes – when my father was sick and admitted to hospital, they gave me some money.
Def: For what?
Wit: I asked them to assist me because my father was sick.
Def: Doesn’t your father’s visit to hospital come under the category “medical”?
Def: So what is miscellaneous apart from the new phone?
Wit: There were so many things. Some I might have forgotten. I can’t recall all of them now. Even at the time my father was in Liberia and sick, I informed them and even at that time, when I was about to travel there, they helped me with money.
Def: That would be “transportation”?
Def: Not miscellaneous. Is there anything else you can think of apart from the mobile phone that would account for the expenditure of over two million Leones?
Wit: I might have forgotten.
Judge Doherty: The arithmetic here doesn’t seem to add up – those figures don’t add up to 14 million Leones.
Def: There’s a section: “other expenditures”…
Judge Sebutinde: By my calculation it’s just slightly more than this total of 14,317,000 Leones.
Def: Do you agree that you received a considerable benefit through cooperation with the prosecution?
Wit: Yes, I received money from them.
Def: A considerable benefit to you?
Wit: No, I don’t want to agree with you. I have been taking care of my family before.
Def: But since you began cooperation, a lot of the money you would have had to spend out of your own pocket has been given to you?
Wit: Yes, I agree.
Def: [references a document – a letter from 12 Dec 2006] It’s from Christopher Staker, the Acting Prosecutor, addressed to you. It reads: As the acting prosecutor, I would like to assure you that I have not laid any criminal charges, nor do I intend to bring charges against you. I trust this will help put your mind at ease…” You remember receiving this letter?
Def: How did you receive it?
Wit: They invited me at the court and I went there. That’s where I received it – inside the court compound.
Def: Did you know they were about to give you the letter?
Wit: I didn’t know.
Def: Did you know that you weren’t going to be charged before this court with criminal offenses. Did they tell you before this?
Wit: They told me they had nothing against me, then they wrote this letter.
Def: Was this information they gave you before the first interview when you started telling them things?
Wit: You mean the information regarding this letter?
Def: I do.
Wit: Yes, the person who first spoke to me, who tried to ensure that I speak with the prosecution, he assured me of that before I first came to the court.
Def: In March, in your evidence, you told this court that the invasion of Freetown on 6 Jan 1999 was essentially Charles Taylor’s idea. You agree?
Wit: I said that.
Def: So it was all down to Charles Taylor, was it? The idea that Freetown should be attacked in early Jan 1999?
Wit: It was a plan that they arranged that we should attack all the other places we attacked and Freetown. That was the plan Mosquito brought the time he came from Monrovia. He called us to a meeting and explained that to us.
Def: Are you sure it wasn’t in fact a project of the AFRC – the attack on Freetown?
Wit: The AFRC people went there, but the plan brought by Mosquito from Taylor was to attack all the other places and to attack Freetown. They did not select a specific group to go to Freetown.
Def: Whose idea was it?
Wit: The plan I have told you about was a plan that Mosquito brought from Monrovia. He told us he discussed it with Taylor. He brought ammunition.
Def: I put to you on Friday that the relationship between the AFRC and RUF was difficult, do you recall? And you would not agree with that?
Pros: He was asked about the period of the coup, as I recall.
Wit: Yes, it was because you were talking about the start. You were talking about the beginning.
Pros: You’ve just heard Mr. Koumjian’s intervention and that’s why you’re saying this now.
Def: There were problems from start to finish?
Wit: There were problems, but not too serious. Even when two forces are together there are misunderstandings.
Def: Do you agree that there were problems in the relationship between those two groups from the outset to the end.
Wit: Yes, there were problems. Not from the beginning, because at the time they invited us, we were doing things in common. We didn’t have problems.
Def: You told us in March that Ibrahim Bah had to come to Freetown to urge the AFRC and RUF to work together?
Def: Did you hear a radio broadcast in which Foday Sankoh told the RUF that they should accept the offer of the AFRC and work with them?
Wit: I didn’t hear it.
Def: Did you hear about it?
Wit: I heard an instruction that came to Sam Bockarie. He said it was the Pa who gave him the instruction.
Def: So you didn’t need Ibrahim Bah to come and tell you to work together?
Wit: We still needed somebody to give us advice even though the Pa told us to work together.
Def: Did anybody in the RUF ever tell you that Sankoh had been interested in a prison cell, and that the interview had been played over the radio – I think the BBC – telling the RUF to work with the AFRC?
Wit: I did not hear a broadcast. It was Bockarie who said he received a message from the Pa, that we should join the AFRC.
Def: Listen to the question. We understand you didn’t hear the broadcast. Did anyone in the RUF tell you that Foday Sankoh had made a broadcast over commercial radio saying the RUF should accept the invitation and join the AFRC?
Wit: I did not hear a BBC broadcast and nobody told me about a BBC broadcast.
Def: Not one single broadcast.
Wit: I did not hear that from anybody.
Def: Was there a level of mistrust between the two groups after the RUF joined the AFRC?
Wit: It was the first time when I received the instruction to come and meet those men.
Judge Doherty: The question was, was there some mistrust between the RUF and AFRC after they joined?
Wit: I don’t think he said sometimes, the way I understood it. Maybe he was talking about the time we met.
Def: Once the RUF joined the AFRC and became the junta, was there some level of mistrust between the two organizations?
Wit: I never had that feeling.
Def: [references document] This is an interview with you – the investigator was Shelley Burston and the attorney was Alain Werner. The day we’re looking at is June 14, 2007. Interview starts at 14:32, complete interview done in English. Can you recall now? You know Mr. Werner?
Wit: Yes, if I see him, I will know him.
Def: The gentlemen to your right – you recognize him?
Wit: Alain, you are talking about.
Def: That’s Alain Werner listed here. Do you recall being interviewed by him and a lady?
Wit: Yes, I can recall.
Def: And the whole interview was conducted in English?
Wit: I agree.
Def: Did they make sure you understood their questions?
Def: In common with 24 other interviews out of the 29, it was conducted in English. You were satisfied you understood what they were asking you?
Wit: I understood.
Def: [references document] “Before the AFRC coup in 1997 the witness had requested ammunition from the RUF by radioing Bockarie in Beudu. Bockarie said Jungle had already gone to see Papay (Taylor) and that witness should hang on. Bockarie later told witness that Jungle had returned with ammunition. When Bockarie told him, witness was already in Freetown, in 1997. Witness thinks Jungle brought the information after the coup. When the ammunition did arrive in Beudu…” When did the ammunition arrive in Beudu?
Wit: I can’t tell you the time now. At the time I requested ammunition I was in the jungle. When it arrived, I had joined the brothers – the AFRC. I can’t recall the specific date.
Def: “When ammunition arrived in Beudu, the RUF top command…” Are you in the RUF top command?
Def: “…the RUF did not tell the AFRC about this delivery because some level of mistrust still existed between the two.” Did you say that?
Def: Then why did you tell us a moment ago that there was no mistrust.
Wit: I said that I didn’t have the feeling that I feared somebody.
Def: Why did you tell the judges that there was no distrust between the RUF and AFRC.
Pros: I would refer to the transcript: “Question: Once the RUF joined the AFRC, was there some level of mistrust? A: Well, I never had that feeling.”
Def: Why did you tell the court that this morning, and yet back in June of last year you were saying to the investigators that when the ammunition did arrive in Beudu, the RUF top command did not tell the AFRC, as some level of mistrust existed between the AFRC and RUF?
Wit: Yes, I said that.
Wit: Concerning the ammunition…
Judge Doherty: We’re talking about the mistrust.
Wit: When the ammunition came, Bockarie did not release it, for it to reach us in Freetown. That is why I said that. I said maybe he never had trust, and that was why he didn’t send the ammunition.
Def: So why did you tell the judges this morning that once the RUF had joined the AFRC that you did not believe there was some level of distrust between them?
Wit: I said it because within myself, as long as I was together with the people, I had no fear in me. I never had such a feeling.
Def: I didn’t ask about your feelings. I asked about the two groups.
Wit: I understand.
Def: I asked if you were in the RUF top command.
Wit: Yes, you asked me.
Def: Look at that the words on the page. “Jungle had come back to Beudu with some 50 boxes of ammunition” That was at the time the AFRC had invited the RUF to join them?
Def: “Witness thinks Jungle was in Monrovia when the coup happened. The ammunition arrived in Beudu when witness was in Freetown.” It was not until the RUF had joined the AFRC?
Wit: Yes, because I did not see the ammunition when I was with the men.
Def: “When the ammunition did arrive in Beudu, the RUF top command [including you] did not tell the AFRC they had received this ammunition, as some level of distrust existed between the AFRC and RUF”?
Wit: I was in the top command, but I did not have authority over the ammunition. The person with authority over the ammunition did not have that belief. That’s why he didn’t reveal the secret.
Def: This makes plain that you were already in Freetown with the AFRC as a member of the junta when you were told about Jungle coming to Beudu with the ammunition. And the RUF top command did not tell the AFRC about that ammunition because of the mistrust. Is that right?
Wit: I never had authority of the ammunition. The person who had control over the ammunition did not disclose it. When he refused to disclose it, it was not my place then to go and talk about it.
Def: So the RUF were keeping their own stash of ammunition without telling their AFRC brothers about it?
Def: At the time of the AFRC/RUF junta, what was your relationship with Saj Musa like?
Wit: I was not that used to Saj Musa, but we were all living in the same area around Hill Station. I recall one time he came and distributed fish to us living in that area. The only time I met with him again was at meetings, sometimes at JP’s place.
Def: You didn’t get on with him?
Wit: I had no problems with Saj Musa.
Def: Is that true?
Wit: I don’t recall that I had problems with Saj Musa.
Def: You didn’t think that by the time of the intervention that Saj Musa wouldn’t work with the RUF, didn’t you?
Wit: At the time we were pushed out, Saj Musa did not join us. At that time everybody was finding their own way. I did not have in mind that he would not work with us. In Freetown we were all working together. Even during the retreat, we expected him to join us, but he took a different route.
Def: Weren’t you relieved that you learned that Saj Musa had been killed in the explosion at Benguema barracks because you felt he wouldn’t work with the RUF?
Wit: Yes, I felt relieved.
Def: For that reason?
Def: By the time you left Freetown, Saj Musa regarded the RUF as an unruly, untrained lot, as opposed to himself and others who had been in the Sierra Leonean army?
Wit: Maybe that’s what he thought, but he never said it to us.
Def: But that was your view – that this was how Saj Musa saw the RUF?
Wit: Maybe that was how he felt.
Def: That’s how you saw it?
Wit: I said maybe that’s what he felt.
Judge Doherty: Did you say Saj Musa didn’t voice his opinion to “me” or to “us”?
Wit: To “us”.
Def: When you were first being interviewed by the prosecution, was it your position that you didn’t really know anything about Charles Taylor’s role, if any, in the invasion of Freetwon on 6 Jan 1999?
Wit: Yes, maybe I said that.
Def: And is that right, that you didn’t really know anything about Taylor’s role, if any?
Wit: I did not know initially, but later I came to know.
Def: When is “later”?
Wit: When communication started going on.
Def: I’m not talking about when these things were happening. I’m talking about your interviews with the prosecution. When you were first interviewed in 2006, you couldn’t really tell them anything about Taylor’s involvement in the invasion of Freetown in Jan 1999 because you didn’t know anything about it. Do you agree?
Wit: I want you to ask that question again.
Def: You start to be interviewed at the end of August 2006. You’re then interviewed many times in 2006 and 2007. When the prosecution first started to ask about Taylor’s involvement, if any, in the invasion of Freetown in 1999, you told them you didn’t know anything about it.
Def: And that was the truth?
Wit: That is what I said.
Def: What you first told them – that you had no knowledge about Taylor and Freetown – was true, wasn’t it?
Wit: I told them that.
Def: Later on, you started to tell them a story along the lines of the evidence you gave in March: namely that Taylor told Bockarie that you should attack all these other towns and then Freetown?
Def: Why did you tell them that Taylor planned the invasion, when earlier you’d said you didn’t know anything about that?
Wit: Yes, I said that.
Def: Why did you change your story, having originally said you knew nothing about Taylor’s involvement in Freetown 1999?
Wit; They said they wanted me to tell the truth. I said Bockarie brought the plan. It was he and the Pa who discussed attacking all the other areas and then Freetown. That was the time I told them: this is the truth.
Def: So why didn’t you tell prosecutors about that when they first interviewed you?
Wit; I did not initially tell them. Later, when they asked me, they said they wanted me to say the truth. I told them I don’t want to lie. This plan came from Taylor. Bockarie brought the plan.
Def: So before you were ever interviewed by the prosecution, you knew Taylor planned the attack?
Def: And when they first interviewed you, were you telling them lies?
Wit: I did not tell them at all.
Def: When they first asked about Taylor and Freetown?
Wit: At first I did not tell them the truth, but later I came out plain to them.
Def: Explain to the judges why you lied to the prosecution in the early stages of your interviews.
Wit: I myself thought that those things were strategies the people used. Alhough they told me that had nothing to do with me, I thought it was something they would use to arrest me for something. Later I told them the truth. I told them the plan came from Liberia, brought by Mosquito.
Def: Let’s look at what you just said [reads back answer]. In September 2006 you were given a letter granting you immunity from prosecution?
Def: Did you think the letter might not be worth the paper it was written on?
Wit: It was worth it. I’m a human being. I needed to think. I had my own ways to feel about it.
Def: So you were still worried, despite the promise of immunity, that they might charge you with an offense and you might end up on trial before this court?
Wit: Sometimes I had the feelings in mind. Sometimes I would think, “I did not do anything.” Sometimes I wasn’t sure. Sometimes I had a free mind, and sometimes I thought it was going to end up this way.
Def: Are you saying that throughout 2006, you were still worried about prosecution?
Wit: I was cooperating with them. They had assured me, but at the same time, I had a shaky heart.
Def: And because of your shaky heart, you decided not to tell the truth about some things?
Wit: It was when I started. When they assured me, I decided to give in and tell the truth. Whether anything was going to happen to me, let it happen. Whether they were going to kill me, I wanted peace for me and for them.
Def: In how many interviews did you lie?
Wit: I don’t remember. At this interview, I decided to tell the truth.
Def: You were worried that they would still prosecute you, and you decided to give them more information they wanted to hear so that they wouldn’t prosecute you?
Wit: No, not what they wanted to hear. For the sake of peace. I was not trying to satisfy them at all.
Def: Did you feel at any stage that you were being pressed by them?
Wit; What is the press?
Def: You understood last week, because you said you weren’t being pressed by them. Did you feel pressed at any stage?
Wit: When you talk about press, I take it that it’s just like when you press someone to say something to satisfy you. That was not the case. That’s not what they were doing to me. At times they did ask the same question again.
Def: Do you recall that last week you said I should stop pressing you?
Wit: Yes, when you were asking me over and over and over.
Def: Was there a time when they made clear to you that you must have more information than you were giving them?
Wit; They wanted more information on me based on the roles I played and the things I knew about.
Def: Sum up the lies in the first interviews for the judges. Give them some examples.
Wit: I can’t recall now, except what we’re discussing now: the J6. I told you, initially I did not tell them the plans – that Taylor made the plans. If you think there is any other that you think I did not say initially. You come up with it and I will identify it for the court.
Def: Tell the court how it was to your advantage not to tell them the truth about Taylor’s involvement in the attack on Freetown.
Wit: I don’t know any advantage.
Def: You had a shaky heart, even after the interview letter, that they might still prosecute you. You said you devised strategies to protect against them charging you. How did it protect you to tell them you didn’t know about Taylor’s involvement in Freetown, Jan 1999.
Wit: I want to make clear: I did not tell you they were going to give me a letter. They did not tell me in advance. I told you the person who first spoke with me that what I was going to tell them did not mean that the court had something against me.
Def: How did it help you not to tell them about Taylor’s involvement in the invasion of Freetown.
Wit: It did not help me in any way. It was not something I was going to benefit from.
Def: So why lie?
Wit: I did not lie.
Def: You’ve told us you did lie.
Wit: I said I did not make up my mind to tell them. But later I made up my mind to tell the truth.
Court is now adjourning for the mid-morning break. The proceedings will resume at 12:00 (12:30 with the video/audio delay).