12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio from the courtroom): Court is back in session following the mid-morning break.
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty: I set a procedural matter for this afternoon, and note that the prosecution has filed a confidential document. We have in mind to deal with both matters this afternoon.
[Prosecution and defense both agree.]
Defense counsel Morris Anyah continues the cross-examination of prosecution witness TF1-516:
Def: We were talking about your time in Gbarnga. We know you arrived there sometime after June 1999. You said you took pictures of the farm, but not at that particular time. I was trying to establish how long you stayed there. Yeaten gave you a tour of the complex?
Wit: Not that very day we left Foya. It was another time.
Def: How many times did you come back to Gbarnga after the first time?
Wit: I came with him from Kolahun when he said there was a conference. Sometimes flying from Voinjama, we landed at the field there to refuel to go to Monrovia. Sometimes we drove, and spent the night in Yeaten’s house, then left the next day. Another time we went there, and sent for his jeep from Monrovia. When he got sick in 2000 once, we slept in the farm and went to Monrovia.
Def: About six times?
Wit: We did not take a tour the first time.
Def: If you remove the instances where you just landed to refuel, would it be fair to say you went there about six times during your time in Liberia?
Wit: Really, I slept there twice.
Def: And Yeaten took you on a tour?
Def: [references document] You told the prosecution: “Helicopter took Yeaten and witness, et al, to Gbarnga, Liberia, to Taylor’s farm. On the side of the helicopter was written ATU 003. [lists other helicopters he rode on] Witness took pictures of the farm but doesn’t know if he still has them.” Is this suggesting that you took pictures on the day or your arrival?
Wit: Not on the day of my arrival.
Def: Was it the day of arrival he gave you the tour?
Def: Can you describe Taylor’s farm in Gbarnga?
Wit: Yes. They stated that the part of the town going toward Zorzor was the old Gbarnga. The president’s farm was toward Kakata, in new Gbarnga. There were fish ponds from the road to deep in the farm. There were numerous bats above the ponds. Fifty even shot some of those bats with a single-barrel gun he had.
Def: How big was the farm?
Wit: It was big. I saw machines plowing. They said they just harvested beans.
Def: Beans? Rice was planted on the farm.
Wit: There was a new area that was just being tilled.
Prosecution: Defense counsel is testifying.
Def: I can rephrase it as a question. I put to you that it was rice planted there. Do you agree?
Wit: Rice was planted. That other part I went, they said they just harvested beans. After disarmament, most of the materials I had went astray.
Def: You said you saw beans in Gbarnga?
Judge Doherty: He said he was told.
Prosecution: The witness clearly said he was told. Defense is arguing with the witness.
Def: I asked you to describe the farm. Are those things you’ve said so far, about Yeaten shooting the birds and the ponds and the beans – did you see them or were you told?
Wit: I saw the birds and the ponds with my own eyes. On the side of the farm there were fields. There were some ATU guards…
Def: Did you see beans, or did someone tell you about them?
Wit: I saw a machine tilling the soil and they told me they had just harvested beans.
Def: I’m telling you that is a lie because it was rice. Do you agree?
Wit: I disagree.
Def: I put to you that there were not birds on that farm, but horses.
Wit: I saw horses. Those birds were wildlife. There were many. Yeaten shot some of them and took them to the house.
Def: Do you know what a dam is? Did you see a dam there?
Wit: Those dug holes they said were fish ponds.
Judge Doherty: Did you see a dam?
Def: Let’s use football fields as an estimate of the size of the farm. How many football fields was the farm?
Wit: If it includes all those ponds, it’s a very big size. I can’t estimate with precision.
Def: Did you see a nursery with some plants in it?
Wit: What I saw is what I have explained.
Def: And the second most powerful man in Liberia took you on this tour?
Def: Did you see Charles Taylor in Gbarnga?
Wit: I saw Charles Taylor once.
Def: Under what circumstances.
Wit: We took off from Kolahun in 2000, sometime in the rainy season. Fifty said there was going to be a conference. There was another big structure between the farm and the field. We saw a heavy convoy with armed men. There were Sierra Leoneans like Keimo Kai (sp?) and Bob Tie (sp?). They said that is the president. That day, after the conference, we returned to Kolahun.
Def: How many times did you meet Taylor on the farm?
Wit: Once. I saw him.
Def: Were you introduced to him?
Def: What you mean by met is that you saw him?
Prosecution: It’s clear that the witness has made a distinction between saw and see. The witness has consistently said “see”.
Judge Doherty: I agree.
Def: [references document] “Witness was at that farm numerous times and saw Taylor several times. On one occasion he was introduced to Taylor by Yeaten.” Do you see that?
Wit: I said I saw Taylor and I said yes. I explained the instances when I met him.
Def: You made a clear distinction between “saw” and “met”. Now the prosecution is saying that Yeaten introduced you to him?
Wit: It was at the Executive Mansion.
Def: This paragraph mentions “farm”.
Wit; I spoke about refueling at the farm and all the times I saw Taylor. I met Taylor in Monrovia.
Def: Do you recall telling us last week of the episode at the Executive Mansion when you saw Taylor at the muster parade. Are you know adding to that that you met him?
Wit: I said I met him once in Gbarnga and once at the Executive Mansion ground. I saw him there.
Def: You saw him?
Wit: Yeaten introduced me.
Def: Let’s stay in Gbarnga. Prosecution has you on record as saying that Yeaten introduced you, a radio operator, to the president. Is the prosecution mistaken?
Wit: In Gbarnga? Maybe. I was explaining all the incidents when I met him.
Def: How long did you stay in Gbarnga the first time?
Wit: I can’t remember really.
Def: Was it the next day that you left?
Def: In December you are assigned to Monrovia?
Wit: I was not assigned to Monrovia. I moved with Fifty.
Def: You’re trying to say you were not based in Monrovia. There are statements where you say you were “permanently based in Monrovia.” [references document] “Yeaten ordered witness to remain in Monrovia. After that, he was essentially based in Monrovia, although he still frequently went to the field with Yeaten. Witness was assigned to Yeaten.”
Wit: I was with Yeaten wherever he went. I was assigned to him. The number of days he was in Monrovia, I was still with him.
Def: In the same interview: “From late December 1999 to May 2001, witness was based in Monrovia but frequently traveled with Yeaten to the frontlines.” Right?
Def: You had been to Monrovia about three times before December 1999?
Wit: Yes. At first, my radio had a technical problem. Yeaten sent me to Monrovia to get it fixed. I returned that same day.
Def: Did you go alone or with Yeaten to Monrovia on those three occasions before December 1999?
Wit: I was with Yeaten.
Def: Those three trips?
Wit: There were so many trips, I can’t count them all.
Def: Those three trips?
Wit: They were quick trips. Sometimes he would leave me in Monrovia 1-2 months.
Def: From June 1999 through December 1999, when Yeaten ordered you to Monrovia, where did you sleep?
Wit: In Monrovia?
Def: From June 1999 to December 1999, where did you sleep in the evenings?
Wit: Not in one fixed place. We were on the frontline. Sometimes we slept on the road.
Judge Lussick: Please mend your manners and get control of yourself.
Def: Would it be fair to say that during this period you slept at the frontlines?
Def: Where were the frontlines?
Wit: In Lofa. [lists many locations] Fifty would bring replenishment to the front.
Def: These frequent trips you’ve referred to from the front to Monrovia, you told the prosecution pre-trial that they were about three. How many do you say they were now?
Wit: The first time was to get my radio fixed. From that time, I traveled with him persistently to Monrovia and back.
Def: You took this radio set from Buedu?
Def: Yeaten took that set from you shortly after your arrival?
Wit: He took it and gave me another.
Def: You told the prosecution that you had to use Life’s radio.
Wit: That was the radio given to me. Life came later.
Def: [references document] “When witness was assigned to Yeaten in June 1999, but in December, Yeaten gave witness’s radio to ___. Thereafter, the witness had to use the set of Life.” So when you said Life wasn’t there at the time, you were mistaken?
Wit: I didn’t say Life wasn’t there.
Def: [reads from transcript] You said Life came later.
Wit: Before he came to Yeaten’s radio station, he was in Kolahun.
Def: I proposed to you that Yeaten gave you Life’s radio. Now it says Life was there because his radio was given to you?
Wit: It was later that Life came.
Def: I put to you that you’re lying because you want to make yourself the exclusive radio operator for Yeaten.
Wit: I disagree.
Def: We know your radio was taken from you by Yeaten. We were trying to count how many trips you took with Yeaten to Monrovia before December 1999. You said once you stayed at Yeaten’s premises in Monrovia?
Wit: Not in the actual house where he lived. There was a small house with a room for sleeping, which I shared with a wounded soldier named Col. Sherif. The other room was a radio room.
Def: You stayed at Yeaten’s compound?
Def: You also slept in that structure?
Def: You used to live there by yourself?
Wit: I met Col. Sherif in that room. He got wounded and was sent there for treatment.
Def: You lived there for about four months?
Wit: I think you haven’t understood.
Def: Did you tell the prosecution that you lived there for about four months?
Wit: I used to sleep in that house. Yeaten used to give me money for food to buy food at a place called “Grooves”.
Def: The prosecution has written in their records that you usually lived there by yourself for about four months, then Col. Sherif came.
Wit: I was explaining and someone was writing.
Def: [references document] “While based in Monrovia, witness lived exclusively at Yeaten’s property…One room where witness lived and slept and other was the radio room, i.e. Base 1. Witness normally lived there by himself, but for about four months, a wounded RUF combatant named Col. Sherif joined him.” I see I made a mistake.
Wit: That was the place I stayed when I was in Monrovia.
Def: Yeaten’s children were living in the residence, and his two wives?
Wit: Yes, they were in the fence. I was outside the fence.
Def: Do you speak Liberian English?
Def: Very well?
Wit: Not too well because I’m a Sierra Leonean.
Def: Are you pretty good?
Wit: Not that much good.
Def: Have you gotten better or worse over time?
Wit: It was better then. I haven’t practiced.
Def: It was in this same compound that when people like Issa Sesay came, you were allowed to be present?
Def: Gibril Massoqui, Eddie Kanneh, Sam Bockarie all came and you were allowed to be present?
Def: There were Liberian radio operators in Sierra Leone with the RUF at the time?
Wit: Other operators?
Def: What about Sillay Duowr? (sp?)
Wit: He was long dead by this time. He killed himself.
Def: Did you tell that to the prosecution?
Def: CO Nya was Liberian?
Def: Also known as Foday K. Lansana. He was your trainer – at one point the overall signals commander for the RUF, he was Liberian?
Def: Besides him, there were other Liberian radio operators with the RUF?
Def: There were other operators in Monrovia, like Memunah Dean?
Def: Who was she with in Monrovia?
Wit: Musa Sesay.
Def: You had Liberian operators in Sierra Leone and Liberian operators in Monrovia. CO Nya was still in Sierra Leone?
Wit: CO Nya was in the hands of the government. He was arrested in Freetown.
Def: Nya has testified before this court, Mr. Witness. You’re saying he was arrested and taken to where?
Wit: Pademba Road Prison.
Def: He was arrested May 8, 2000?
Def: You went to Liberia in June 1999?
Def: He was arrested in Freetown in May 2000?
Wit: I’m talking about this period 2000 in Monrovia. That’s when I heard that he and others had been arrested.
Def: You arrived in Gbarnga in June 1999. You were with Yeaten for almost a whole year while there was a Liberian operator named CO Nya working with the RUF?
Wit: Nya had just come from Monrovia when he was arrested in Freetown.
Def: Nya was with you in Monrovia before his arrest?
Wit: He was not with me. After the intervention, he went to Liberia.
Def: He was in Liberia at some point when you were in Liberia?
Wit: That is not what I’m saying. There was a message to the effect that CO Nya and some others left Liberia back to Sierra Leone and they were arrested.
Def: When you were in Liberia, Memuna Dean was also in Liberia?
Def: At some point while you in Liberia, was CO Nya also in Liberia?
Wit: I did not see him?
Def: To the best of your knowledge?
Wit: When he was arrested, I was told he had come from Liberia.
Def: Besides CO Nya, were there any other Liberian radio operators working with the RUF?
Wit: Maj. Alfred Brown.
Def: CO Nya and Alfred Brown were Liberians?
Def: You had not graduated secondary school when you were sent to Liberia?
Wit: Before this time the school system in Sierra Leone was that you had to go from class one to seven. Then you had to take an exam, and if you were successful, you could go to secondary school. It was unlike after the war…
Judge Doherty: We don’t need a lecture on the education system.
Def: Before you went to Liberia, you had not graduated secondary school?
Judge Doherty: Are you agreeing with what counsel has put to you?
Def: You had just graduated secondary school when you first mentioned the prosecution?
Def: Last week, I counted three times when you said you had been arrested while with the RUF. There were two times you were arrested for being AWOL. What was the third time?
Wit: After leaving Zogoda, I had to explain why the satellite phone and fax machine were missing. I can show you marks on my body from the torture.
Def: About three times?
Wit: There were other times.
Def: Let’s focus on these. Would you agree that AWOL amounts to a failure to follow instructions?
Def: Is it tantamount to insubordination in the military?
Wit: I agree with that.
Def: So two times before you were sent to Liberia, there had been allegations of insubordination against you?
Def: As you sit there now, you don’t know why you were sent to Liberia?
Wit: I was told to go there to maintain smooth operations.
Def: What do you say is the reason they sent you of all people to Liberia? Why of all the people, CO Nya, Alfred Brown, [others]. Why did they choose you?
Wit: I was told to take the set across to maintain smooth operations. They told me there was a problem with the language barrier and effective use of the codes.
Def: There is something deeper than that. Why you who had not completed high school, when there were other Liberians, when you had never met Yeaten, with whom you were to work [references document] “Witness doesn’t know exactly why he was chosen to be the RUF radio operator in Liberia.” This was an important assignment, because you told the prosecution that at the time you were the only Sierra Leonean operator who did this for the RUF?
Wit: I was sent to the front line with Yeaten.
Def: You were the only one?
Def: To ensure smooth relations between the top commanders?
Def: Nya was more experienced and more senior than you?
Wit: Yes, but he was not in that location at that time. I was under order.
Def: You’re in Monrovia now. I asked whether you went to White Flower and you said you were in the vehicle, but didn’t go in?
Def: Last week, you corrected yourself to say that you had been to the Executive Mansion twice?
Def: You described it for us?
Def: You said it was six stories?
Def: You told us of a particular room you went to there?
Wit: Yes, the number on the door was 306 at the time I went there.
Def: It was on the fourth floor?
Def: [references document]: “He used radio facilities at Yeaten’s office at the Executive Mansion, room 306, fourth floor. Worked with Sky One, a Liberian operator. They called the room 020.” Does that suggest you were there more than twice?
Wit: That was the radio room. The time I went with Yeaten, he had a message that was transmitted from that station.
Def: We’re focusing on the frequency of your visits. Was it just two times you used radio facilities there, or more than two times?
Wit: [pause] The point is that if you are communicating on the radio, are you not using the facilities?
Def: Yes, but how many times?
Wit: I transmitted a message from 020.
Def: How many times?
Wit: The time I went with Fifty and again when I gave the chart to Sky One.
Def: Any other times?
Wit: I cannot recall the exact number. Fifty gave me messages and I transmitted them.
Def: Was it on the two occasions you went to the Executive Mansion that you used the radio facilities, or did you go more than that?
Wit: I can send three, four, five messages.
Def: Do you know that in Liberia, rooms on the ground floor start with the 100 sequence?
Def: The second floor starts with 200?
Def: You say that you were on the fourth floor, room 306?
Def: How tall is the Executive Mansion. Did you say it was a six-story building?
Wit: From what I counted that I can remember, from the university to the mansion…I did not go up the other stairs.
Def: It’s a simple question. You said in your interviews and in court that it’s a six story building?
Wit: That’s what I counted.
Def: The Executive Mansion is still in Liberia. Are you aware that it’s an eight-story building?
Wit; You know it better.
Def: It’s not what I know that matters.
Wit: Where I stood, I counted six stories. They took us to the cafeteria, just behind. You’re moving down. When I went there, Fifty told me to take him the receipt to pay.
Def: You’ve said that you really only frequented room 306?
Def: On the fourth floor?
Def: To get to the fourth floor, you enter the ground floor. What was there?
Wit: The ground was tile. I saw partitions of various rooms. There were passages.
Def: Were the secretarial staff and budget office on the ground floor?
Wit: I can’t confirm that. I was led by somebody to a particular point.
Def: Who led you?
Wit: Benjamin Yeaten.
Def: Even the time you went to explain the code book to Sky One, did Yeaten escort you?
Def: The second-most powerful man in Liberia escorted you?
Def: What’s on the second and third floor?
Wit: Partitions. We went to where we were going.
Def: On the fourth floor, what else was there besides room 306?
Wit: Next to the radio room there was a room where a mechanic worked repairing communications devices. I’ve forgotten his name. Later we were told he died.
Def: What else was on the fourth floor?
Wit; There was one office. Fifty took us to that office. It was an open office. We sat down there. Later he pointed at the…
1:30 (2:00 with the video/audio delay: interruption in video and audio – screen says “no broadcast’. The court had been scheduled to break for lunch at this time anyway. Proceedings are scheduled to resume at 2:30, but Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty indicated earlier that they will initially resume in closed session to deal with two confidential procedural matters: one raised by the defense and the other by the prosecution. This account will continue when the proceedings resume in open session.