2:30 (3:00 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in session following the lunch break.
Defense counsel Terry Munyard says he has no further questions for Isaac Mongor on cross-examination.
Prosecutor Nick Koumjian will re-examine the witness. He says he has just a few questions.
Pros: You were asked before the lunch break, that you had an interview with Mr. Streeter and Mr. Werner. I want to ask about interviews previous to that, starting 23 December 2006. The first paragraph: Mongor was at a meeting of RUF commanders where Bockarie said the Pa (Taylor) said the RUF should attack [various towns]. Is that what you told the investigator?
Wit: I said that.
Pros: Now I want to ask about the same interview where you said the attack on Freetown was “an AFRC project”, we see: “An example would be the attacking of Kono in late 1998. That decision was made by Taylor, not Bockarie. At Nov 1998 meeting in Beudu, Bockarie discussed plans to attack Kono, Joru, Makeni and Freetown.” Did you say that?
Pros: Did Bockarie discuss a plan with you and all RUF commanders made by him and Taylor to attack these towns, including Freetown?
Pros: Do you feel pressure?
Pros: Did Bockarie tell you he had discussed this with Taylor?
Def: The link in that passage says Taylor planned the attack on Kono, not all those other towns. That isn’t a proper summary of the text.
Pros: The last question before the objection: Was this a plan that Bockarie said he had discussed with Taylor?
Judge Doherty: I’ll allow the question.
Pros: Did you hear Bockarie say that he had discussed with Taylor a plan to attack those towns?
Pros: You mentioned that just before your arrest in 2000, a delegation came from Liberia. You said you knew Joe Tuah. Did you know him before?
Pros: How did you know him?
Wit: From the time I was with the NPFL. He was artillery commander.
Pros: You said you told him at that time about Liberians in Sierra Leone plotting against Taylor?
Pros: Why did you tell Joe Tuah about that?
Wit: Because the RUF and NPFL were brothers. So if I heard something like that, I deemed it necessary to explain it to Tuah so they would be aware.
Pros: You talked about getting an order from Bockarie at Beudu to attack Joru and then Zimmi. Then later you talked about getting an order to attack Freetown?
Wit: Yes. I should have reinforcements to go to Freetown?
Pros: When was it that Bockarie made the order for you to move to Freetown, picking up reinforcements on the way?
Wit: At that time, it was January, when I had attacked Joru and I had been there three days. I received an order to go to Kailahun and get people there and then in Kono, and then to go to Freetown.
Pros: When you got that order from Bockarie, was that before or after January 6, when Gullit’s forces had entered Freetown?
Wit: They had not entered Freetown. They were in Waterloo. I was to meet them there so that we would enter.
Pros: [distributes a document to the defense and judges]
Judge Doherty: Does this relate to the cross-examination?
Pros: Yes, it relates to MFI-18 (a document introduced by the defense)
Judge Sebutinde: Is this a new document at this stage, for re-examination?
Pros: Yes, it relates to the cross-examination, but we can withhold the document and introduce it at another stage, through another witness. I can move to another topic.
Pros: [references another document from the defense bundle] At the bottom of this page, the interview notes: “Mongor remembers killings in numerous places in Kono District. In Kissi Town, a lot of people were killed and houses burned. Mongor was involved, and there was indiscriminate killing of civilians. So you told the investagator in September 2006 that you were involved in indiscriminate killings?
Pros: You’ve talked about many RUF crimes, and your own role in some of those crimes. You’ve also told us you attend church now. Do you ever speak to your neighbors and fellow congregants about your role in the RUF?
Wit: Yes, I gave a testimony in church.
Def: How does this arise out of cross-examination?
Pros: On cross-examination, there were questions about the crimes and his participation in church.
Def: Specifically on a Sunday and why he wouldn’t be working and collecting lost wages.
Judge Doherty: It appears you’re putting two things together in a way that doesn’t arise from the cross-examination.
Pros: You were asked on Friday about the time you were arrested by Special Forces and detained in Liberia and cut in the head with a machete?
Pros: Were you under the power of these Special Forces at that time?
Wit: yes, I was in jail.
Pros: How did you get released from jail?
Wit: The radio operator there called me and later called the commanders. He said Taylor sent a message that they should release me. They sent some people to ensure I was released.
Pros: In the cross-examination, you were asked about the RUF disciplinary system and you said it didn’t work very well. You said that no RUF was disciplined for killing civilians?
Pros: Did the RUF ever discipline anyone for stealing diamonds?
Wit: If you stole diamonds, they will kill you. They beat someone to death once.
Pros: You talked about a series of killings where civilians were killed simply because they were in an area occupied by your enemies, or they fled from an area under enemy control. Was that a pattern in the RUF?
Pros: How did fighting with the NPFL compare to this pattern in the RUF?
Wit: It was something that used to happen in the NPFL, even before it came over to the RUF.
Pros: You were asked by the defense if Foday Sankoh ever called you “Uncle” and you said no. What did Bockarie call you?
Wit: He used to call me “Big Brother” because I’m older than him, and because I trained Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay and others. They were the vanguards.
Pros: I have no further questions.
Judge Doherty: The judges have no questions. We thank you for your testimony…
Pros: Should we enter documents while the witness is still on the stand?
Judge Doherty: Yes.
Prosecution moves that all exhibits (two prosecution and one defense) all be moved into evidence.
Def: We would prefer our exhibits to have a defense marking. The statement from Foday Sankoh, I have no difficulty with that. Can I be reminded of which one was MFI-16?
Pros: MFI-16 was a report from Issa Sesay, signed by his adjutant, to Sam Bockarie.
Def: I object. The way in which I understood this witness was looking at this document was that he sat there and read through it. On the face of it, he did not appear to be familiar with the document at that stage. It seems to me that this is not the appropriate person through whom to introduce this document. I’m reminded by Mr. Anyah that there was a question here about the signature. I don’t believe that this witness was able to say that he knew the signature of the adjutant. There’s a lack of foundation.
Pros: This is very important to us. Defense has argued two standards for admissibility: one for defense and one for the prosecution. The document the defense has offered, the witness said he didn’t recognize the signature as that of Foday Sankoh and the witness was not familiar with the contents. The same applies to another document seen in closed session. The standards of this court and other international tribunals, the standard for admissibility, the issue is relevance. One way to judge it is whether a witness has seen it before. As this court and others have ruled, in cases of this nature because of the complexity [and other factors] the court will admit documents that are relevant and then weighed according to reliability later. If you like, we will submit this argument in writing.
Judge Sebutinde: Can you tell us where in the transcript this was introduced?
Def: Let me just not that regarding MFI-18, the prosecution moved to introduce it and I didn’t object.
Pros: But the defense read that document into the record after the witness couldn’t identify the signature. It would skirt the rules of admissibility to do so if the defense never intended to introduce the document into evidence. [Referencing prosecution document] This is relevant because it talks about the attack that occurred in late 1998. It corroborates this witness’s testimony. It’s relevant and it should be admitted not because he identified it. The court will have to determine its reliability at the end of the case.
[Judges are conferring.]
Judge Julia Sebutinde: I’m still looking for the right point in the transcript.
[Prosecutor Nick Koumjian identifies the location in the transcript. Defense counsel Terry Munyard also assists, offering the judges his hard copy.]
[Judges read and confer for about 5-10 minutes.]
Judge Sebutinde: We’re looking at the record of 11 March. Mr. Koumjian, you asked that the witness to be shown the document. I asked if this was already and exhibit and you said it wasn’t but was identified with another witness. You then asked the witness who the adjutant was at the time. Defense then objected whether you were asking that the witness recall this, or just read the document. The witness said he knew the name, but couldn’t think of it at the time – then you abandoned the document.
Pros: I didn’t abandon it. I was asking about the operations described in the document.
Judge Sebutinde: But no longer in reference to the document.
Pros: I asked about the events in the sequence described in this document. This document corroborates the testimony of this witness.
Def: I can’t see on the screen where the right place in the transcript is. [Court officer assists.]
Judge Sebutinde: The presiding judge said to you that reading the document was not enough to tender an exhibit. She said the witness should recognize the exhibit – that it wasn’t just enough for you to read it out, that he either had to recognize it or in some other form, adopt it. Judge Lussick asked why you were tendering the document through this witness. You said that the document was relevant. I said: you have not asked the witness if he knows what the document is. Then you asked him if he knew what the document is. The witness said that it was a report to Bockarie. Then defense interrupted. Judge Doherty said it appeared that the witness was just reading the document. Then you said you had no further questions on the document. In other words, the witness told the court what the document was, as anyone else could, reading it. There we have it.
Pros: That’s a fair summary of what happened. I would just re-state my argument, which is fundamental. We do not agree that a witness has to identify a document in any way. This has been the standard for the defense. [Koumjian cites examples of documents introduced by the defense.] The case law is clear: identification is a question for weight, not admissibility. Weight is to be determined at the conclusion of the case.
[Judges confer for about five minutes.]
Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty: We have considered the submissions and the transcript. We do not require written submissions. We note that the witness recognized the type of report that the document is, though he may not have recognized the specific document. He also recognized it as the kind of document that would have to be submitted. We find that the document is relevant, and we admit it.
[All documents (two prosecution and one defense) are entered into evidence.]
Judge Doherty: [to witness] I will again thank you for…
Def: Before the witness leaves the jurisdiction, can I raise one matter that came up this morning. When looking at the disbursement receipts, I’ve since been able to pull up the dates of all the disclosures. There was a great deal that was disclosed on Feb 21, 2007. But there’s nothing recorded in our systems pertaining to other days – Feb 21 and 22. Could the prosecution just double-check that there were no records on those days? I know the prosecution has said all notes were disclosed.
Pros: We’ve double checked this. There are no interviews for those dates. The reimbursement does not necessarily come on the same day as the interview.
Judge Doherty: I’m going to release the witness. The prosecution is aware of their obligations, and I trust they will comply if there is a problem.
Def: I would invite the prosecution to look again at box ten, where it says, “monies supplied during interview”. That would suggest there was an interview on that date. But we defer to the court in releasing the witness.
Judge Doherty: I thank you for coming to the court and for your evidence. You’re free now to leave the court.
Wit: Thank you, my lord
Isaac Mongor leaves the stand.
Pros: My colleague, Mr. Bangura will call the next witness.
Defense counsel Morris Anyah: I will undertake the examination of this witness for the defense.
Prosecutor Mohammed Bangura: The next witness will testify in English with no need for translation. This witness was granted protective measures by this court on 13 March 2008 and he will testify using a pseudonym, behind a screen, and with image distortion.
[Blinds to public gallery are lowered to block view of the entrance of the next witness and a screen is placed around the witness stand. The judges and defense, including Charles Taylor, will still be able to see the witness. With the witness in place behind the screen, blocking view to the public gallery, the blinds are raised.]
The witness is sworn in on the Bible.
Through a series of questions from Prosecutor Mohammed Bangura, the witness relates the following in a very soft, scratchy voice:
Wit: My actual date of birth is December 26, 1973. I also go by November 26, 1982. After disarmament in 2002 I decided to go back to school. I was to take a basic certificate examination. I had to change my date of birth in order to be allowed to take the exam.
Def: I interrupt to say counsel is trying to rehabilitate before there’s been an impeachment. It’s one thing for counsel to elicit an alias date of birth, but he should not be rehabilitated before impeachment.
Judge Doherty: I see no reason he should not give this evidence.
Pros: You talked about taking an exam?
Wit: The principal stated that I was above the age and if I was to take the exam, I should move down a little bit. So he entered November 26, 1982. He said I should always use that date. I’ve used it since then.
Pros: What do you do for a living?
Wit: I’m a teacher.
Pros: [to judges] I’m going to go into questions that would identify the witness – about aliases. I’m going to apply that the witness be allowed to answer in writing.
Def: No objection.
Pros: Apart from your normal name, do you go by any aliases?
Def: We ought to have the witness’s real name on the record.
Pros: That defeats the purpose of the witness going by a pseudonym. We have statements that will be discussed that reference the aliases.
Judge Lussick: Can you give another example of a witness who hasn’t been required to give their names to this court?
Pros: The records are replete with…
[Judges confer, prosecution team confers.]
Def: I see the witness is writing already.
Judge Lussick: There’s some misunderstanding here. Are you saying you don’t want to give this witness’s name at all?
Pros: Certainly not. I’m saying that as a practice, once a witness goes by a pseudonym, it is not the case that the name is taken in court.
Judge Sebutinde: So his real name will be written down and placed under seal for the court record.
Pros: Could you write please your actual name, and if you go by any aliases, just write those.
Wit: My name is…
Pros: You don’t have to call your name! Just write them.
Judge Doherty: Have you written it?
[Paper is shown to prosecution and defense.]
Pros: Can he do it again and number them on a fresh sheet of paper?
Judge Doherty: It appears we’ll have two sheets of paper. Are both to be sealed? I’m wary about a second one.
Pros: We will put them in for identification, and may not move to enter the one that is not tendered. I don’t know how the court will deal with the one that is not tendered.
[Second paper is shown to the prosecution and defense, and the judges.]
Pros: Two pieces of paper have been written on by the witness. At this stage I would…
[Judges still reviewing the paper.]
Judge Doherty: Is that the end of this witness’s writing?
Pros: I ask the court to mark this document as an exhibit.
Def: Marked for identification, or entered as an exhibit? We would like to cross-examination first.
Judge Doherty: I will reject the application and mark it for identification.
Judge Sebutinde: He should sign it too.
Def: It should also have the date and TFI number.
Judge Lussick: What is the problem with this document now being put into evidence?
Def: It’s possible to see a scenario where he may have used additional aliases that are not reflected on this document.
Judge Lussick: Yes, but having an exhibit would not affect the strength of your cross-examination. If this is only marked for identification and not entered as an exhibit, there could be a security problem.
Def: Ordinarily I would be able to cross-examination on this. I request leave to reserve the right to cross. The chamber is at liberty to restrict circulation of the document even if it’s only marked for identification.
Judge Lussick: The document only has been given an MFI number.
Pros: You were a member of the RUF?
Wit: I was conscripted, yes.
Wit: In the dry season, in 1991.
Pros: Under what circumstances?
Wit: There was a battle between the Sierra Leonean army and certain armed men who said they were RUF. It was in Kailahun. Fighting occurred on day and the following day I was captured together with Ngevao Koroma and Sidikie Momoh by one man called Rambo.
Pros: Do you know about what month this was?
Wit: It was in March.
Pros: This was in Kailahun? Where?
Wit: At Banya’s compound.
Pros: Are you talking of Kailahun District?
Wit: The town itself.
Pros: After they captured you, you said..who captured you?
Wit: A Liberian, Rambo. There were armed men with him.
Pros: What happened then?
Wit: We were taken to a store for refugees and we were commanded to take food from there to Tongoyama. It took two weeks. Then I managed to escape back to my village together with Sidikie Momoh and Ngevao Koroma. Sidikie is my nephew and Koroma is by blood brother. The village is Dodo-Kortuma. From Kailahun to my village it’s 13 miles toward the Sierra Leone-Liberian border. I spent a month there. Then another RUF man captured me – Junior Dolo. There were some other armed men there who wanted to harm us. Dolo said we should not be harmed, but trained. We were the same boys, but there was also Gbessay Momoh. They were all RUF, but all Liberians. We were taken to the training base in Kailahun.
Judge Sebutinde: How did he know they were Liberians?
Wit: From their accent, and they told us they were Liberians.
Pros: Were you familiar with Liberian accents?
Pros: Where were you taken? [and other questions]
Wit: To the training base in Kailahun, Ahmadiyya Secondary School. We were commanded to run seven miles, to Ngiehun [also spelled Giehun] and back – it was the day we were taken there. We had to do that every morning. We were told to go in search of food. We were commanded to move to any farm to get food. We also used to go to shops to get food. They were broken into and we were commanded to get food from those shops in Kailahun. Initially there weren’t that many people. When recruits were taken from other places, the number was large: about 5,000. People were also brought from Pendembu, Kangama and Koidu.
Def: I question the clarity in the record. Prosecution is asking the witness about those four sources of recruits. It’s not clear when this refers to Ahmadiyya and when to the other base where there were 5,000 recruits.
Judge Doherty: Please clarify.
Pros: You were first taken to Ahmadiyya School?
Pros: From where were people brought?
Wit: We were there, and before our arrival, there were some other recruits. Then we were evacuated to National Secondary School campus. Then recruits came from these other four places and the number rose up to 5,000.
Court is now adjourning for the day. The proceedings will continue at 9:30 tomorrow morning.