4:45 Cross-examination of RUF radio operator continues; court returns to private session to discuss prosecution application regarding redaction of transcript

2:56 (3:26 with the delay in video and audio): Court is back in open session.

Judge Doherty: Please proceed Mr. Anyah.

Defense counsel Morris Anyah continues his cross-examination of protected prosecution witness TF1-516.

Def: I was asking questions before lunch about the notebook. [witness is shown the notebook] We looked at the record during the break, and I would like an answer about the missing pages in the document. Did you tear out the missing pages from this document, yes or no?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Were they up to 50 in number?

Wit: Some pages have been removed.

Def: More than half the book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What were the contents of what was removed?

Wit: Some were plain sheets that were used. Some were messages in code that were transcribed. Others were private messages.

Def: There were RUF messages torn out of that book?

Wit: Messages were transmitted during the time of the RUF?

Def: What was torn out – some of them were messages about the RUF?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Why did you tear out the pages you tore out?

Wit: They were of no use.

Def: But you left two pages pertaining to messages from Benjamin Yeaten, yes? [refers to pages] Mr. Bangura asked you questions about this message, which you said was from Yeaten?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And the next page is also said to be General Fifty?

Wit: Yes.

Def: They’re the only two messages from Fifty in the whole book?

Wit: Yes. There were other messages in this book handed to Sahr James. I was not the only one who removed pages. Certain pages were plain sheets.

Def: Are you saying the book has fewer pages it had than when you gave it to Zedman?

Wit: Yes.

Def: But you’d torn out some yourself before then?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So from when you handed the book to Zedman until now, somebody has torn out pages from this book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When you gave it to him, did the book have more than two messages from Gen. Fifty?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Def: I’m asking if whether there were more than two messages from Yeaten in this book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And it had more than two from Yeaten when you gave it to Zedman?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Def: How many messages were from General Fifty in this book originally?

Wit: They were not all messages from General Fifty.

Def: How many pages in this book were about other commanders when you had the full book with you?

Wit: I can’t be precise on the number, but I recall other messages transmitted from…

Def: I’m not asking about other messages. How many messages related to the RUF? What percentage?

Wit: About 10 %

Def: Only 10% of your operational book?

Wit: When I talk about operational, I’m not just talking about issues relating to fighting. It’s also about knowledge of communication from when I first joined the unit.

Def: You’re making the distinction between radio communication and other RUF information like codes?

Wit: Other RUF information concerning messages.

Def: For example, they would tell you how to code the messages, and the different kinds of messages? Those types of information?

Wit: Yes, and besides I was not supplied stationary, so I used this book to write whatever I heard on the radio.

Def: Are you saying 10% was radio communications?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And the other 90% were other RUF information?

Wit: Relating to RUF communications, yes.

Def: And personal information?

Wit: Yes.

Def: How many other pages concerning radio communications are missing from that book?

Wit: I’ve counted the number of pages present in this book.

Def: Did you understand my question?

Wit: Some other pages concerning messages were taken out of this book.

Def: You indicated that this was your operational book. This book contains only two pages with messages. How many more were there?

Wit: I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you that this book contained other pieces of information. I took out pages with the transcribed code. There were some pages removed that hadn’t any writing. We used them as plain sheets. Zedman also removed some pages.

Def: It’s you’re book. That book had more than two messages?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You’ve said there were more than the two remaining from Gen. Fifty?

Wit: Not just pertaining to Gen. Fifty.

Def: More than to pertaining to Gen. Fifty?

Wit: I have not memorized all the writings in this book, so I can’t really say.

Def: More than two?

Wit: I can’t recall the total number, but I recall other messages being received and written in this book.

Def: How do you account that in a radio operator’s operational book that had 96 pages, there are only two messages?

Wit: I used this book to receive the message in code and have it transcribed. The message was not to be transmitted to me directly, but was to be relayed to another station.

Def: Are you trying to minimize the importance of this book?

Wit: I used this in Beudu and was not restricted in any way.

Def: I’m trying to ascertain why there are only two messages.

Wit: They were the two that remained when the others were discarded. This book was used to receive and transcribe messages. Some missing pages were used to prepare messages.

Def: So someone has ripped out messages about radio communications from this book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And that person is Zedman?

Wit: He’s the one I gave the book to.

Def: How many pages did you have when you gave it to Zedman?

Wit: I don’t know the number, but there were some other messages I can recall that are not there now.

Def: There were also some other messages from Fifty?

Wit: I can’t really recall.

Def: Looking at that first page, the date of the message is September 30, 2001. You said you were in Beudu when you recorded this message?

Wit: Yes. I want you to understand the situation in which this message was received and today found in this book.

Def: I want to ask you about the accuracy of the message. You said Rebecca transferred the contents of a prior book to this book?

Wit: Yes, just the signal notes. The notes from the signal training.

Def: You told us yesterday that Rebecca transferred the contents of the prior book to this book.

Wit: I said the notes from the signals training. Those are the notes Rebecca transferred into this book.

Def: [references transcript] Tuesday, April 8, you were asked about the notebook. You said: Yes, it’s just a replica of what I copied myself. The book is worn out so I had to change it. Q: A girl helped, and she was called? A: Rebecca, and she wanted to be trained in signals training. That’s what you said that it was a replica?

Wit: [agitated] It was the communication note that was displayed and the question was about that note that was displayed. I explained that Rebecca reproduced the signal note displayed on the screen.

Def: Now you’re saying…

Wit: Rebecca reproduced the signal notes. It was later that this message was displayed, in the latter part of my testimony.

Def: In any event, you told us you were in Beudu when you received this message?

Wit: Yes, when operator “Life” contacted me to relay a message to Gen. Issa’s station. During my interview at one point I explained that if a message was sent to a station that was not currently on the air, it would be transmitted to any other station, and then later sent from that station to its recipient.

Def: Why couldn’t Life send this directly to Issa?

Wit: I’m telling you about my profession. When a station is not on the air. It can be relayed by another station. That message is not put in your message book, but just relayed.

Def: You only recorded it in your own personal book?

Wit: I had to find out the content of the message. It was transcribed in this book.

Def: We understand you had the right to record the message. You said that in the context of a relayed message for Elevation – that was Issa’s operator?

Wit: I received this message from operator Life, who was with Fifty. It was to be relayed…

Def: I’m not disputing that. I want to know whether Elevation was Issa Sesay’s radio operator at the time?

Wit: Elevation was in charge of Gen. Issa’s radio in Kono.

Def: He was the operator to whom you relayed the message?

Wit: I relayed it to Gen Issa’s station.

Def: To which operator?

Wit: I have to think, because Elevation was not the only operator with Gen. Issa. I was told to relay it to Gen. Issa’s station and that is what I did.

Def: You said that in the context of a relayed message that you relay, you as the operator did not have to record the message you were receiving in your station’s log book. True or false?

Wit: Log book is different from the message book.

Def: Message book then.

Wit: I have no right to record that message in that commander’s message book. All messages for that commander had to be recorded in that book.

Def: I understand. From what you’re saying, for example when you worked for Bockarie in Beudu, only messages for Bockarie were recorded in his message book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So there would be no point in putting messages there that did not pertain to Bockarie?

Wit: No.

Def: Any operator not at the radio who did not relay messages or monitor the frequencies, would only be able to know… I withdraw the question. If a radio operator in Beudu was not working at a particular time and came back to the base or a mobile station. If that operator read the message book for Sam Bockarie, he would only read messages for Sam Bockarie, yes?

Wit: Are you talking about his station?

Def: Yes. A message for Sesay would not be recorded in Bockarie’s message book, right?

Wit: Let me make that clear…

Def: It’s a yes or no question. In Bockarie’s message book, you would not find messages directed to Sesay?

Wit: If they were together and say Col. Sesay is also on that ground, Bockarie’s, that message would be put in another book and given to Sesay.

Def: But would not be put in Bockarie’s book?

Wit: Let me explain about relayed messages…

Def: Let’s look at this particular message on this page. You told us that that message came from Base 1?

Wit: From Fifty’s radio station, from operator Life. Fifty was not always at Base 1. He could move to Monrovia and use Base 1, Voinjama, or Vahun.

Def: Let’s assume you received this message from operator Life. And the message was for Issa Sesay, and Sesay was not at your location?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were in Beudu?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Then you sent the message to Issa Sesay’s radio station?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And Elevation was in charge of that station?

Wit: He was the Station Sergeant, but not the only operator. Not all messages were received by him alone.

Def: You said that when you received messages not directed to the commander where you were based, in this case Bockarie, you would not record messages in his message book.

Wit: At this time Bockarie had long left. Matthew Barbue was there. This relaying of messages was a sort of service rendered to a fellow operator.

Def: I stand corrected. Bockarie had left at that point. Ordinarily you would not record this message in Barbue’s message book.

Wit: At all not, since it was not for him.

Def: If somebody picked up Barbue’s message book, they would only see messages for him?

Wit: There could be an operator who wrote other messages in that book.

Def: You said when commanding officers were in the same location: for example if Sesay and Bockarie were together, messages for Sesay would be recorded in a separate book?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Under what circumstances would you find messages for one commander in another commander’s message book.

Wit: When commanders were summoned to Beudu, messages for them were recorded in Bockarie’s book.

Def: Let’s look at this message. Do the contents of this message accurately reflect how you recall the message being when it was in your first book?

Judge Doherty: Are you asking if this message was in an old book?

Def: He said Rebecca transcribed it.

Judge Doherty: The codes.

Judge Sebutinde: Parts of this book were copied by Rebecca and parts are original, written by him. That’s how I understand it. This message was not re-written by Rebecca. Is that correct?

Wit: Yes. And when the message came it was not like this, but was in code.

Def: I know it was a coded message. Does this message accurately reflect what you wrote down about the message from Yeaten to Sesay?

Wit: Let me explain..

Def: Yes or no?

Wit: There’s a slight difference here. It’s dated September 30. That’s the date the message was received in code form. It was not written on this particular page, but on another page in this book and transcribed. It was later written in clear form.

Def: You said it was originally written on another page in this book?

Wit: When it was received in the code, yes.

Def: The message comes in in code?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When that message came from Life, the coded version of the message was written on a different page of this notebook. You then decoded it?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You wrote the decoded version in the same notebook?

Wit: It was transcribed on that page. It remained there for so long. It was later that it was reproduced on this page, from the transcribed form on another page.

Def: When you say transcribed, coded or decoded?

Wit: Yes.

Def: We agree you wrote it in code, you transcribed it in a decoded version?

Wit: Yes, it was transcribed on the page of the coded message.

Def: This decoded version, is it accurate, reflecting the content of the coded and transcribed version?

Wit: What sort of content?

Def: Read the message. Does that accurately reflect what you transcribed?

Wit: It’s exactly what was transcribed.

Def: The next page, that message – did you also decode it?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Are there any other messages in this book that you yourself decoded?

Wit: [pause – flipping of pages heard] These two messages were transcribed and written by me. I don’t see others now. I still recall one other message which I sent about my personal well-being.

Def: The next message after the page we’ve been looking at, also to Issa Sesay, it has the date October 22, 2001?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Where were you then?

Wit: In Beudu.

Def: Have you told the prosecution before that you left Liberia in November 2001?

Wit: Yes, I said it. I said to this court during my testimony, that I retreated from Foya to Beudu with Superman and worked with Barbue. Later I was again called to Vahun and did not stay long.

Def: Did you go to Monrovia from Vahun?

Wit: Yes, but not even for 72 hours. I was still flying around with Amphibian Father. I explained all of this yesterday.

Def: [references document] On this page, it says: “witness reports remained in Liberia with Yeaten until late 2001. He was still there on September 11 during the terrorist attacks” Did you tell the prosecution that on September 11, 2001 you were in Liberia?

Wit: That was in Vahun. It was…

Def: On September 11, 2001 you were in Vahun?

Wit: Yes. I’ve said that after the retreat from Foya to Beudu, I was still moving into Liberia and back. Barbue was told to join forces with Amphibian Father. I ran the radio. I was a mobile radio operator.

Def: You testified on direct examination that at one point you were assigned to Beudu, and at another point to Gen. Fifty – that you went everywhere together. You went to Gbarnga, Monrovia, Vahun?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Issa Sesay assigned you in June 1999 to go to Liberia and you went to Foya?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Between June 1999 and the end of 2001, how many times did you go back to Sierra Leone?

Wit: So many times – I cannot give you any specific number.

Def: Up to 10 times?

Wit: I don’t want to tell lies.

Def: I’m not asking you to. From June 1999 to the end of 2001 it’s a year and a half?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were very specific about the early periods in your testimony. How many times in this period did you return back to Sierra Leone?

Wit: I can’t give any specific number, but I can describe the instances.

Def: You already explained those in direct examination. I’m looking for an approximate number.

Wit: I don’t want to give a number. I remember twice from Foya, then again when we came under in attack in Foya, we crossed to Beudu. I remember trips to the ferry, one with Christopher Varmoh, the “Liberian Mosquito”, and one time with Fifty himself. There were so many other times. [quickly recites many different movements]

Def: Let’s look at your very first interview with the prosecution. [references document] July 7, 2006: “Sent messages to and from Liberia. Because knew call signs, was sent to Liberia. By mid December 1999 to Monrovia, assigned to Yeaten by Sesay to work at Base 1 as radio operator. RUF needed someone in Liberia who spoke their codes because of language barrier. This says you were in Liberia for about a year, do you agree?

Wit: Allow me to read this part of the statement, please. [pause] More than one year. With reference to the time I went to Liberia and when I went back to Sierra Leone.

Def: Are you disputing that you went in June 1999?

Wit: No, I wasn’t there for only a year. I was still under control of Gen. Issa while in Liberia. I retreated to Beudu when we retreated from Foya.

Def: These notes say a year. What do you say about that?

Wit: I cannot say the precise number of days, months or years I was in Liberia.

Def: This paragraph also refers to “Charles Taylor’s troops” What troops are being referred to?

Wit: General Fifty was a soldier for Charles Taylor. He was not the only person I met on the ground in Liberia. There was the SSS of which Yeaten was director. There was the SOD and other armed divisions.

Judge Doherty: We still have to deal with the prosecution’s redaction application, so please just finish this question.

Def: It says you crossed into Liberia on “temporary duty”. When you testified you said Issa Sesay asked you to go and you didn’t know exactly why?

Wit: I didn’t know exactly why I was going.

Def: Did you know when you were going back to Sierra Leone?

Wit: I did not know at all.

Judge Doherty: We will now deal with Mr. Bangura’s application in private session.

Pros: Because of the nature of this, I ask that we go into private session.

[Judge Doherty announces that the court will go into private session.]

4:15 (4:45 with the video/audio delay): Court goes into private session. If it returns to open session before its scheduled adjournment in 15 minutes, this account will resume.