2:00 Witness confirms absence of senior RUF commanders in Freetown in January 1999, admits participation in murder, rape and looting

12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio): Proceedings resume following the mid-morning break.

Defense Counsel Morris Anyah continues the cross-examination of prosecution witness Alimamy Bobson Sesay:

Def: Beyond the executions, I propose a second factor that contributed to the invasion of Freetown. Saj Musa and others wanted to reinstate the army upon the invasion of Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references document] You told the prosecution: “He told us we are coming to Freetown to reinstate the army.” You told the prosecution this in November 2003?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references another document] This is from a series of interviews you gave them March and April in 2005. “After the announcement on the radio about the arrest of 24 SLA officers in Freetown, Saj called a meeting, and said since they had executed the officers, they should move directly to Freetown and reinstate the army.” That’s what you said?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So again we see these two reasons: the execution of the army, and reinstatement of the army?

Wit: He said we should reinstate the army.

Def: At the time, that was a reason to invade Freetown?

Wit: yes.

Def: None of this had anything to do with the RUF, did it?

Wit: It had something to do with them. In the execution, there were 24 officers. You will see the names of other people, including Foday Sankoh who was in prison there. It also had something to do with them.

Def: These two documents are your own words. Do you see any mention there about Sankoh as a factor as being a reason for the invasion?

Wit: Mosquito went on the radio and said if they are executing our members, we will invade. Saj Musa said we should reinstate the army.

Def: What Bockarie said is not my focus. The reasons given by Musa had nothing to do with the RUF. Do you agree?

Wit: I disagree. We were all together. If we left Col. Eddie Town and did not weaken the other areas, like in Kono, ECOMOG would have beaten us in Freetown. It was an organized advance.

Def: Let’s look at the movements you took to Freetown. Let’s start with Camp Rosos. There were not many RUF there?

Wit: They were there. There were not as many of them as of us, but they were there.

Def: You told the prosecution that there were no senior RUF commanders at Camp Rosos?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You said that after the infighting at Koinadugu, there was the issue that they should all be arrested, but we decided against that?

Wit: Yes. That’s what Saj Musa said because he fought Superman.

Def: Who were the senior RUF commanders in your group at Col. Eddie Town?

Wit: We did not have them until 05 came with Captain Stagger (ph) and others.

Def: It was only when he came? Who else came who was a senior RUF commander?

Wit: They had leftenants among them. They were all officers who came. Stagger was the most senior man who came.

Def: The most senior RUF man who joined you there was a captain?

Wit: Yes.

Def: As you made your way to Freetown, you went through Mange Bureh?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And Maray Kulay (ph?)?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Any RUF senior commanders with you there?

Wit: Alfred Brown was there, a major.

Def: But he was not a fighter?

Wit: He had the radio set with the fighting forces.

Def: Did he command fighting forces?

Wit: I did not see him command groups. But he was moving with the fighting force.

Def: Which other senior RUF commander was with you in Lunsar, on the way to Freetown, in December 1998?

Wit: Stagger was the most senior. He was sent ahead.

Judge Sebutinde: You were asked which other RUF commander was there.

Wit: There were other Leftenants.

Def: None were higher than a captain?

Wit: In the fighting area, yes.

Def: When you went through Mile 38, Magbuntuso, and Newtown, and on to Waterloo, was there any RUF commander higher than Captain Stagger at this time?

Wit: No. They’re the same ones we still went ahead with. There were Leftenants, Regimental Sargeant Majors.

Def: When Saj Musa was killed at Benguema, was there anyone higher than a Captain from the RUF among your number?

Wit: No.

Def: Gullit took over after Saj Musa passed?

Wit: Yes.

Def: He gave the final command to march into Freetown?

Wit: Yes, as he had communicated with other senior commanders at the rear.

Def: When was the first time in all these movements that Gullit radioed the RUF to receive reinforcements?

Wit: In the mountains around Hastings.

Def: That was the first time?

Wit: That was the second time. The first time was at Koba Water.

Def: You told us that Saj Musa died on the morning of Dec. 24, 1998?

Wit: Yes.

Def: On what date were you in Hastings between December 24 and January 6?

Wit: From December 25. We celebrated Christmas there.

Def: Who did Gullit call from Koba Water?

Wit: He first called Mosquito. He told him that the troops are prepared, but wanted reinforcements.

Def: When he called from Hastings hills area, did he also call Mosquito?

Wit: Yes, he called Issa and Mosquito.

Def: No reinforcements had arrived by then?

Wit: Yes, they were pushing from Kono and other areas, but were encountering obstacles on their way.

Def: When did he next call for reinforcements?

Wit: At State House in Freetown.

Def: Whom did he call?

Wit: Bockarie and also Issa.

Def: You had secured State House, and were in desperate need of reinforcements?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And yet, no reinforcements had arrived?

Wit: Yes. They said they had delay on the way, in Makeni and again at Masiaka. They said when they cleared those areas, they would come. But everywhere they cleared, they left manpower so that the enemy would not retake it and attack us from the rear.

Def: You lost State House because there were no reinforcements?

Wit: Yes, and we were running out of ammunition?

Def: Were there any RUF higher than captain among your number?

Wit: Yes. Gibril Massaquoi was there. We freed him from Pademba Road.

Def: But he did not accompany you to Freetown. You freed him from jail?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Who was the most senior RUF commander who accompanied you into Freetown?

Wti: Captain Stagger?

Def: Did any senior RUF commander come and join you while you had custody of State House?

Wit: No.

Def: I didn’t think so…I withdraw that comment. When did the reinforcements finally arrive?

Wit: When we were around Eastern Police in the third week of January.

Def: You were on your retreat?

Wit: Yes. ECOMOG was pushing, penetrating our areas.

Def: Did you go to receive the reinforcements yourself?

Wit: Yes. I went with Col. Eddie. In Allen Town.

Def: Jui Bridge?

Wit: Yes, around there.

Def: There were 50 of them?

Wit: Yes.

Def: That is all the reinforcement you received to hold on to Freetown?

Wit: Yes. At the battlefront, 50 men were a very good reinforcement.

Def: These reinforcements were led by Rambo Red Goat?

Wit: Yes.

Def: He was SLA?

Wit: Yes.

Def: On last Tuesday, you made reference to there being fear of Saj Musa. You were asked how you knew about the communication. You said that you were at State House when Gullit mounted the set and called Rambo. Rambo said they had come as far as Hastings, but they had some fear in them regarding Saj. They still did not believe Saj was dead. The next day, the prosecution asked you about this. You say: “He said they had some fear in them regarding Saj…according to Rambo, he said they had some fear because there was some confusion between Saj and Superman…that maybe some infighting could occur…but in spite of that they will still release some men to join us in Freetown…they said even though they feared Saj was still present, they would send the reinforcement.” These were your responses?

Wti: Yes.

Def: Is it fair to say that the number of reinforcements that came with Rambo Red Goat were fewer than would have been the case if they did not fear Saj Musa being alive?

Wit: It was RUF Rambo who said this to Gullit. I don’t know whether that reflected the thinking of the other troops.

Def: This issue of reinforcements is important because you say SLA Rambo came with RUF Rambo.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did you ever tell the prosecution that SLA Rambo never came to Freetown with reinforcements?

Wit: No no no no.

Def: Are you sure?

Wit: I’m sure.

Def: Is it possible you told them that SLA Rambo came by himself because the others feared Saj Musa still being alive?

Wit: No. After RUF Rambo called Gullit and told him about this issue, when Rambo Red Goat came with his reinforcement, he said that he should have come with more manpower. What I said was that RUF Rambo did not come. He stayed at Hastings.

Def: Let’s stay with SLA Rambo – Red Goat. Did you tell the prosecution before that only he showed up without the other men?

Wit: No. I can’t remember telling them that.

Def: Have you told them before that only when you retreated to Waterloo that you saw the reinforcements that should have come?

Wit: My God, I told them that at Waterloo I saw Issa and the others. I never said Rambo Red Goat came alone.

Def: Rambo Red Goat is now a chaplain?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references document] These are notes from the prosecution regarding a meeting with you in November 2003. You were asked about whether Issa Sesay called you during the advance on Freetown. You said, yes, he kept informing, but he said he and his troops were hesitant to join the attack on Freetown because of Saj Musa. When we were retreating, we saw them at Waterloo. We planned another attack through Tombu. This suggests that your reinforcements were in Waterloo?

Wit: Yes, part of the troop.

Def: That is when you planned the second attack on Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references another document] These are notes from November __, 2003. You say: “We again started retreating and ECOMOG was pressuring us…retreated to Ferry Junction…got information there that RUF was to join us…our morale was high again, thinking that the RUF was coming to join us so we could attack ECOMOG forces…we sent some troops to Jui to collect the RUF forces to come join us…when they returned, we only saw one, Col. Rambo…”

[brief interruption in video/audio feed]

Def: The issue is not whether they saw Col. Rambo, Rambo Red Goat. The point is that the RUF men stayed away. Do you agree?

Wit: I disagree.

Def: You still say these 50 men came with you to reinforce you in Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Where did you meet Issa Sesay.

Wit: He came when we had the meeting about retaking Freetown using the Tombu axis.

Def: [references document] This another TRC document: a list of the high-level commanders in the RUF. You see all the names, starting with Foday Sankoh?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When I call a name, tell me whether that person was in Freetown during the invasion of Freetown.

[Anyah reads through a list of RUF commanders.]

Wit: Yes, Gibril Massaquoi.

Def: But he did not come with you; you freed him from prison?

Wit: Yes.

[Anyah, smiling, continues reading through the list of senior RUF commanders. Witness says none of those he knows were in Freetown. Some he doesn’t know.]

Def: Last week you mentioned a dispute between Saj Musa and Sam Bockarie?

Wit: Yes.

Def: It got to the point where Saj Musa referred to Mosquito as an SBU?

Wit: Yes.

Def: It was an insulting comment?

Wit: It was an insult. They insulted each other.

Def: Bockarie was what, 26 years old at this time?

Wit: I didn’t know his age at the time.

Def: You once told the prosecution that Bockarie said he was about 26 years old. Do you remember saying that?

Wit: Yes, and he said he would continue fighting up until he was 40.

Def: This disagreement between Bockarie and Musa – are you aware that Musa said he would not take orders from Bockarie after this conversation?

Wit: Yes, he said that.

Def: And Bockarie said he would not send reinforcements?

Wit: I won’t dispute that.

Def: And upon your retreat, when you encountered Issa Sesay around Benguema, there were still distinct lines of leadership between the AFRC and RUF?

Wit: Cordiality was restored. At that time we were able to come together.

Judge Doherty: The question was whether there were distinct lines of leadership.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Issa Sesay was not reporting to Gullit?

Wit: He had command over Gullit.

Def: But at this point these were two groups working together against a common enemy: the Kabbah government?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Let’s talk briefly about diamonds. You mentioned that Superman was responsible for stocks. What were those?

Wit: When they brought the diamonds, they put diamonds in an envelope. From there, they would take them to Superman. He told Bazzy all this was going to Sam Bockarie to get ammunition for the troops.

Def: All of this was told to you by Superman?

Wit: Yes, because he showed Bazzy, Bomb Blast and others what stock came.

Def: Did you ever accompany any stocks to Bockarie in Buedu?

Wit: No.

Def: Do you know what Bockarie did with the stocks?

Wit: Superman said it was for him to get arms and ammunition.

Def: Last week you said you knew that the arms and ammunition came from Liberia?

Wit: That is what Superman said.

Def: Did you ever hear conversations between either Superman or Bockarie and the president of Liberia?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So this is second-hand information?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You said there were no diamond transactions between Koroma and Taylor?

Wit; I did not say that. I said I did not know about any diamond transaction.

Def: In any event, you told the prosecution in a statement that there were no diamond transactions that you knew of between Johnny Paul Koroma and Charles Taylor?

Wit: I can agree to that. It was not to my knowledge.

Def: How many civilians did you kill between 1991 and 2000?

Wit: It would be after 1998. I think I killed more than 60. More than that. Some places I wasn’t able to count. From 1998-1999.

Def: Let’s start in 1997. You said that in August, there was a student demonstration demanding that the junta forces leave power. You said the AFRC junta decided to suppress this demonstration?

Wit: It was an AFRC/RUF combined team.

Def: This was a brutal suppression?

Wit: Yes. According to the information that came. We had our area where we went.

Def: Are you now distancing yourself from what happened?

Wit: No, I’m not excluding myself. We heard they were armed.

Def: You were with troops who opened fire on the students?

Wit: Yes, I shot with my colleagues.

Def: Did any students die?

Wit: Two died in our area.

Def: You said many women were raped?

Wit: Yes, some of my men at Cockerill were talking about it.

Def: Did you rape any women?

Wit: I did not rape on that particular day.

Def: What days did you rape?

Wit: I captured a woman in Kono. We would sleep together. It was against her will. She had to agree because I had a gun.

Def: Was she young, about 16?

Wit: Yes, she was a young girl.

Def: Your bush wife?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Besides her, did you rape other women between 1997 and June 2000, did you rape any women besides this 16 year old girl?

Wit: I captured a young girl in Freetown. We had sex.

Def: How old was she?

Wit: Around 15-16. She was tall, but she was young.

Def: You used to train SBUs, about 10 years old?

Wti: Yes.

Def: In several places you made these young boys amputate people’s arms?

Wit: Yes, we had orders from the commanders. I passed on the command.

Def: I’m asking what you did. Did you make these small boys cut off people’s hands?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You opened fire on civilians in mosques?

Wit: Yes.

Def: In one incident, in Bombali district, you personally participated in the burning of 8 people in a house in Karina?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Last week, Counsel always asked if you knew there were persons in the burning houses, and you said you would not go to look. You remember saying that?

Wit: Yes, but I also said we heard screaming.

Def: Did you burn people in houses in Kaganbenbe (ph)?

Wit: No, it was there that we had the order to attack Karina.

Def: That’s when you burned people in houses?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You abducted about 30 women in Karina?

Wit: Yes.

Def: One had a baby snatched from her and killed?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How did you feel when all this was happening?

Wit: I was not feeling good, but it was an order. If you refuse, you will face the consequences from the commander. We had to execute the order.

Def: In Kukuna, you personally opened fire on civilians, killing some of them?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You used to go on food-finding missions?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You used to take the property of civilians without your consent?

Wit: yes.

Def: They could not refuse because you had a gun?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You participated in Operation Pay Yourself?

Wit: Yes, when we were retreating from Freetown, together with the commanders.

Def: And in Operation Spare No Soul?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were based in Krombola (ph) at one point?

Wit: I was never based there.

Def: Was there a time you were supposed to be executed for killing a woman?

Wit: No no no. I cannot recall anything like that.

Def: Did you kill one of the wives you had by beating her to death and stripping her naked?

Wit: No, that is wrong.

Def: Did you ever insert an AK-47 into the vagina of a young lady?

Wit: NO!

Def: But did you ever kill a wife for which you were accused?

Wit: When we were retreating from Freetown, my wife whom I brought from Freetown confessed to being a witch. Keforkeh ordered her and six others executed. I had nothing to do with it. I did not participate in the execution.

Def: She was your wife?

Wit: She was my bush wife. I captured her in Freetown.

Def: How old was she?

Wit: Around 15-16.

Def: She was killed for suspected witchcraft?

Wit: I said she confessed in partaking in witchery. She even named other people. Keforkeh himself conducted the execution.

Def: You stripped this lady naked, and fired an AK-47 into her vagina. Do you agree?

Wit: I did not do it. If I did, I would have told the court. I’ve told the court about other things I did.

Def: And you did it because you suspected her of sleeping with another commander?

Wit: No.

Def: Once this incident happened, Saj Musa sent a message to all AFRC checkpoints that you should be executed?

Wit: That’s a big big lie. This was during the withdrawal from Freetown.

Def: You escaped from where this happened and went to join Gullit. True or false?

Wit: It never happened. I was never based in the same place as Saj Musa. It was in Col. Eddie Town that Saj Musa came.

Prosecutor Alagendra: Can I request that Counsel state where and when this was supposed to happen.

Def: I don’t have to lay that foundation on cross-examination.

Judge Doherty: I would like to be clear about some of the other times.

Def: This incident with this young wife of yours was on the retreat from Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You stand by your evidence that you did not personally kill a wife of yours: beating and shooting her to death.

Wit: I stand by it.

Def: What was the highest rank you attained in the army?

Wit: I retired as a sergeant.

Def: In 2006?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You told us that Gullit restructured the SLAs with him?

Wit: That was the jungle time. You asked about the army, officially. In the jungle, my highest rank was major.

Def: you were a major?

Wit: Yes, in the jungle.

Def: And you were ADC to Hassan Papa Bangura?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You accompanied him everywhere?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Right before the Freetown invasion, Gullit restructured the battalions?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You had the fighting name of Ice T., given to you for bravery in fighting?

Wit: Yes.

Def: At any point in time, did Gullit make you a commander of troops on a permanent basis?

Wit: On certain operations I had command.

Court is now adjourning for the lunch break. Proceedings will resume at 2:30 (3:00 with the delay in video and audio).