5:00 – Defense digs into discrepancies in Mongor’s prior statements, raises questions about prosecution investigators’ tactics

Court is back in session following the lunch break.

 Defense counsel Terry Munyard continues the cross-examination of prosecution witness Isaac Mongor:

Def: [references document] Back to the passage we were looking at before lunch. It doesn’t include a word about Operation Stop Election, does it?

Wit: It does not talk about it.

Def: When the notes were read back to you, did they contain anything you told the interviewer about Operation Stop Election.

Wit: That I did not hear it when he read it to me?

Def: How do you remember this now?

Judge Doherty: He’s asking you a question, Mr. Munyard.

Def: When the interviewer read the notes back to you, you told us he corrected something at the beginning of that interview – about communicating with Taylor. Do you remember?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You told him on this one occasion you heard Sankoh talking to Taylor about this Operation Stop Election. Did he read back what you had told him about Operation Stop Election?

Wit: I did not hear him read it back.

Def: So what did you say?

Wit: I said that Foday Sankoh made mention of Operation Stop Election when they were conversing.

Def: You mean you pointed out to him a mistake in his recording what you had told him?

Wit: I told him I did not hear you say anything about Operation Stop Election when he was reading his notes.

Def: So what did he say?

Wit: In the interviews, when one thing is discussed, another topic is discussed. So he asked another question.

Def: Please concentrate on the question you are asked.

Prosecution: Defense is arguing with the witness.

Def: When you pointed out to him that he failed to write about Operation Stop Election, what did he say?

Wit: He didn’t say anything to me.

Def: He didn’t say anything?

Wit: I told him that we were called to the meeting for Operation Stop Election and about the conversation between Sankoh and Taylor.

Def: What did he say when you pointed out the mistake in his notes?

Wit: I told him and I saw him take a piece of paper and he wrote what I said. And from that point he did not ask any other thing about that. Then he proceeded to another topic.

Def: He wrote down your account of the conversation about the operation?

Wit: Yes, he wrote it down.

Def: So you told him again all about that conversation and he wrote it down?

Wit: I told him and he wrote it on paper.

Def: And then did he read that back to you?

Wit: When I told him and he wrote it, from there we proceeded to another topic.

Def: Are you saying he didn’t read back his note on the paper about Operation Stop Election?

Wit: After he had written it down, we moved to another topic.

Def: Did he read it back?

Wit: He read it.

Def: He read it back the second time he asked about the operation?

Wit: Yes. He read it back to me.

Def: You’re making this up as you go along, aren’t you? You’re inventing this, aren’t you?

Wit: I am not making up a story. But as you ask me the questions, I am recollecting certain things that happened.

Def: You’re telling this court a pack of lies about this conversation, aren’t you?

Wit: It’s not a lie.

Def: Let’s see how that page goes on. It says: Foday Sankoh advised Taylor that the RUF were cut off from supplies, and had to rely on captured ammunition. Mongor was present with Sankoh at his house off Spur Road in 2000. And then you talk about something else. Do you accept that there is nothing on this typed page about Operation Stop Election?

Wit: Yes.

Def: On the next page, you see after two lines that the interview concludes at 15:45. Do you see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Put the typed notes on one side. Do you understand that the notes are meant to be a summary, typed, of everything you told the investigator during that interview?

Wit: Yes, I remember.

Def: So these typed notes are meant to include a summary of everything that the investigator wrote down on pieces of paper that afternoon. You understand it’s meant to cover everything you told him?

Wit: Yes.

Def: At 12:00 today, we were given all the hand-written notes that relate to your interviews – all of the paper on which any investigator made notes. I suggest there is no paper here that shows that on Sept 4, 2006 you told that investigator you had overheard Sankoh and Taylor talk about Operation Stop Election.

Wit: I did not see it in the papers you showed me. I said it.

Def: It was very important, wasn’t it?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And the investigator was under a duty to make an accurate record of it?

Wit: It was his duty.

Def: Are you blaming the investigator that it never made its way into typewritten form?

Wit: It was something I told them, so it’s their fault if it’s not there.

Def: And you told this investigator about that conversation twice, didn’t you?

Wit: Two times?

Def: You told us you told him Operation Stop Election, but he didn’t write it down, so that when he read it back to you, you told him again?

Wit: That he did not read it back to me?

Def: Have you forgotten?

Wit: Please remind me.

Def: Do you agree that you’re making it up?

Wit: No, but maybe it has slipped my mind. I can’t recall now. Please jog my memory.

Def: You told us a short time ago that when the investigator read back the notes the first time, you pointed out he missed an important piece of information, and that he then wrote it down. But he didn’t read it back to you because he moved on. You remember saying that?

Wit: I recall.

Def: Or is it simply the case that you never told them that about Operation Stop Election because it never happened?

Wit: Operation Stop Election happened.

Def: I mean that you never heard a conversation between Sankoh and Taylor about Operation Stop Election.

Wit: It happened.

Def: And he never wrote it down because you never told him about it?

Wit: I told him. It was something that happened.

Def: Let’s look at two more pages of hand-written notes from an interview with this investigator. [Court officer places notes on overhead projector for the court to see.] This is an interview with you on September 6, 2006 – the same interviewer and same interpreter. You see your name at the top of the page?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You see a paragraph in Mr. Collott’s handwriting?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Two lines are crossed out?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Those two lines he’s crossed out, he’s initialed by the side, hasn’t he?

Wit: I see it.

Def: So that’s something that you made him change when he read the notes back to you?

Wit: I see the lines.

Def: It says something like in September 1998, Mongor was recalled to Beudu by SB.

Wit: Yes.

Def: He wrote that down and you corrected him when he read it back, so he crossed it out?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The two lines above the crossed out line read: “Kamajor society and were trying to go home – they were all executed…” You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Below the crossed out lines, you see this other passage…

Wit: Yes.

Def: [references another document shown to witness] Half way down this page, there’s a paragraph, it states “between February 1998 and June 1998…” the end says, “Kamajor society and were trying to go home – they were all executed…” And the next line has the [same other passage referenced in the written notes]. The investigator has removed the passage he crossed out when he typed the notes, presumably because you told him it was inaccurate, you agree?

Wit: I agree.

Def: He’s followed your instructions, and removed things that were not accurate?

Wit: I have not seen it in all cases in this document.

Def: [looking at next page of the hand-written notes] You see here, the first paragraph, the notes read “so many females at” and then the words “Guinea Highway” are crossed out, and the words “Superman Ground” are written in. You see it?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So you corrected him then?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And he did what you said when he corrected him?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So why is there no mention of Operation Stop Election in either the handwritten or typed notes?

Wit: The person who wrote these documents is also a human being. Maybe he misplaced some documents.

Def: [references another document] This is information you provided when you were being proofed – that is when your evidence was being discussed with you on Feb 3rd and 5th, this year. What country were you in on those days?

Wit: I was here.

Def: This was your 20th interview. You had been interviewed on 19 previous dates, and you were asked question and you gave information. Can you tell us who was present on Feb 3rd and 5th?

Wit: Yes. Mr. Nick and one other man who was an interpreter.

Def: Had you met either before?

Wit: Yes, I met them in Freetown before.

Def: Was the interpreter Mohamed Kefala, who was also present in some of the 2006 interviews?

Wit: No.

Def: Who is Mr. Nick?

Wit: He is the prosecution lawyer.

Def: Mr. Koumjian there?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Looking at the top of the page, it says additional information provided by you. “This material has not been reviewed with the witness or read back to him.” Up to that point, you’d always been interviewed in Sierra Leone, hadn’t you?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Every time you were interviewed in Sierra Leone, were the notes read back to you to ensure they were accurate?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When you were proofed on the 3rd and 5th of February this year, here in Holland, were the notes of the information you gave read back to you?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Those notes were read back to you?

Wit: Yes, they re-read it to me.

Def: You would have been very surprised if they hadn’t read them back to you to check their accuracy?

Wit: Yes, they read it back to me.

Def: You’re quite sure about that?

Wit: I’m sure that the things they heard from me, they read it back to me.

Def: [shows a page to the witness] It says here: “Jungle was an NPFL officer”. What was Jungle’s real name?

Wit: Tamba.

Def: When did you discover that?

Wit: I knew it when I recalled his name.

Def: When were you first aware of that?

Wit: It was later that I recalled his name.

Def: When did you learn his real name?

Wit: I can’t recall now if it was someone else who gave me his name.

Def: Did you know his name in 2006?

Wit: I knew it when we were calling him Jungle. That was the name we called him.

Def: So you knew it in the 1990s?

Wit: Yes, when I knew him, I knew that name.

Def: In the next paragraph: Witness remembered that not long before 1996 elections, he was called to Zagoda. Witness present in radio area when Sankoh spoke with Taylor. Zedman was present. Witness heard and recognized Taylor’s voice. Do you agree that that paragraph is very similar to the paragraph from your interview in September 2006?

Wit: There are differences.

Def: Do you agree they are broadly similar?

Wit: They are similar but not identical.

Def: The year isn’t identical. 1996 in interview number 20 and 1995 in interview number 3.

Wit: The other difference is the one that says witness was never present when Taylor and Sankoh were communicating – but this one says the witness was closer.

Def: Let’s go back then to the September 2006 interview to look at that difference you’ve claimed to identify. [references that statement] Mongor went with Sankoh to the radio room and overheard a conversation between Sankoh and Taylor. Where is the difference?

Wit: There is a difference.

Def: What’s the difference?

Wit: When it states that he was close to the radio…

Def: Where does it say that? Oh, it’s in the bottom of that paragraph. In September 2006, you said you were in the radio room and recognized Taylor’s voice.

Wit: Yes, I recognized Taylor’s voice.

Def: Isn’t the scene you described in February to Mr. Nick as 1996 very similar to what you described in 2006 as having happened in 1995?

Wit: Yes, but it was not 1995.

Def: But they are similar pictures: you, Sankoh and Zedman all in the radio area and Sankoh talking to Taylor?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What questions were asked that led you to go into this again?

Wit: They asked me whether I came to Zagoda before, while Sankoh was there, and I said yes, I went there before the elections. He received a message from Zedman…

Def: I asked what the question was.

Wit: That is what they asked me and I started explaining.

Def: When they asked you that, didn’t you tell them, “look, I already told you that when I was interviewed in Freetown”.

Wit: No.

Def: You knew Mr. Nick well enough to be able to tell him that, didn’t you?

Wit: Maybe they have their reason for asking, but I did not tell them we went through that topic. While I was talking, they wrote. Maybe I added details.

Def: Does your memory get better as time passes, or does it get worse?

Wit: At times I recall new details when we are talking.

Def: So you then say in the next paragraph: During that radio conversation Foday Sankoh first gave a report of the military situation, then discussed the upcoming elections. Sankoh described making civilians fearful and preventing their voting. Taylor said the plan was not bad. The whole conversation lasted 20-25 minutes. Then you go on to talk about other matters. You see all that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You don’t say anything in that particular section about Sankoh telling Taylor that the plan was to cut off people’s hands, do you?

Wit: I did not say that, but I said it in some other way. I said to make the operation fearful, to stop the elections. I said it in another way.

Def: What is it you told the prosecution in February that you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor?

Wit: I said when he invited the commanders…

Def: No, what did you tell the investigators that you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor.

Pros: It’s fair for the witness to answer as he has.

Def: In February, what did you tell the prosecution that you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor?

Wit: I heard Mr. Sankoh tell Mr. Taylor about the operation which we were to carry out to stop the elections. And prior to that he told him everything about what had been happening on the ground. Before he later told him about the operation – that we should carry out the operation to stop the elections. We should make the operation fearful.

Def: That’s what you heard Sankoh tell Taylor?

Wit: I’m not through yet. As I said, he said we were to stop the elections and the operation – we should make it fearful. During that operation, whosoever we captured, we should amputate that person’s arms because the government was planning to hold elections without recognizing the RUF.

Def: In other words, you’re saying you told the prosecution in February this year exactly what you told Mr. Collott in 2006. Do you agree?

Wit: Yes, I said it.

Def: Do you agree that Mr. Collott has not managed to make a record of you saying that Sankoh told Taylor about the planned amputations.

Wit: I did say it.

Def: Are you saying Mr. Collott failed to make a record…

Judge Doherty: We’ve been over that ground.

Def: [references another document] Read that paragraph to yourself and tell me when you’ve finished reading it.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Where does it say in that paragraph recorded by the prosecution that you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor about the amputations?

Wit: It is not here. The one that is here is different.

Def: Different from what you told them?

Wit: I don’t think it was a response to that particular question that I told them about the operation.

Def: The first thing that you said when I asked about this, was that you’d said it in some other way. Then a little later you said, “I’m not through yet…during that operation, whosoever we captured we should amputate their arms…” That is what you told this court just moments ago. That is not what is recorded on that page, is it?

Wit: It is not in that paragraph because that question was not asked at that particular time.

Def: Have you forgotten already the answer you gave after the judge admonished me for interrupting you? Not five minutes ago, you told the..

Prosecution: The defense is being argumentative.

Judge Doherty: Please keep to questions, Mr. Munyard.

Def: Just a few minutes ago, you told this court this: “I heard Mr. Sankoh tell Mr. Taylor about the operation we were to carry out…we should make the area fearful” I asked you whether that’s what you heard, and you said “I’m not through yet”. Then you continued, as I said – and you are talking about what you told the prosecution in February – “during that operation, whosoever we captured, we should amputate their arms…” Now, that is what you told this court probably now 10 minutes ago. That is what you said you told the prosecutors, Mr. Nick and an interpreter?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And that is not what appears in the third paragraph of this page, is it?

Wit: I can just recall that Mr. Nick, when he was reading some documents to me – I remember saying something in Krio, and he read that to me, concerning the operation and to make the operation fearful. He even asked what I meant by fearful, and I even explained in detail.

Def: You explained to who?

Wit: To the prosecution lawyer. I told him that Operation Stop Election – we were to make it fearful. I used an expression in Krio and I explained that to him, that we were to amputate the people’s hands.

Def: You said he read some documents to you. What were the documents?

Wit: He was asking me some questions. He had some documents and he was writing. He typed it. Later he read it to me. I still recall the Krio expression I used – he read it back to me.

Def: He read the notes back to you? Where?

Wit: In this country.

Def: On the day of the interview, or later?

Wit: He read it to me before I appeared in court here.

Def: How long before you appeared in court here?

Wit: It took some time, over a week before I came to the court.

Def: You began your evidence on March 10, a Monday. We broke off your evidence after that Tuesday?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When was it that Mr. Nick read this document over to you?

Wit: It was before I came to testify in court. Over a week, I think.

Def: Was it on the day of the interview, when you told him this?

Wit: Yes. I told him and he read it.

Def: Was it handwritten then?

Wit: Yes, he wrote it.

Def: So there was a handwritten note that he read to you?

Wit: He read it back.

Def: During the interview?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When he read back the third paragraph, didn’t you say to him, “Hang on a minute: I heard Sankoh tell Taylor we were going to cut hands off”?

Wit: That question was not asked.

Def: I’m not asking that. I’m asking about your account to the prosecution in February this you. You told us this afternoon that you told prosecutors in February that you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor you were going to cut hands off. When Mr. Nick read that passage back to you, it doesn’t include that at all. So did you correct him when he read that back to you?

Wit: I did not tell him that.

Def: Why not?

Wit: At that moment, he asked me some other question – that’s what I was responding to. Later he asked what I meant by fearful, then I explained in detail.

Def: Why didn’t you correct Mr. Nick?

Wit: We were still discussing another topic when he brought in that other question about what I meant by fearful.

Def: In March you told the court: When they spoke, the talk lasted 20-25 minutes, during which Sankoh explained we had been cut off. Cut off from supplies, is that right?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You go on to say the conversation included Sankoh talking about amputations. You remember saying that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Then you say Sankoh told Taylor, I will explain this to the commanders. His brother told him in reply that his plan is not a bad one. You remember saying that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: That’s the same terminology recorded here [references notes from February 2008 proofing session] If we look further down, you see where it says: Two days later there was a commander meeting in Zagoda of all the area commanders. During that meeting Sankoh told the RUF commanders they should go on the offensive to prevent the elections. Sankoh said they should cut the hands of civilians. Sankoh said they should make the civilians fearful… But this paragraph doesn’t say you overheard Sankoh telling Taylor there was a plan to cut off people’s hands, does it?

Wit: All of these were things Sankoh explained to his brother. What he told his commanders here – that he had told Taylor about the plan.

Def: Your story has grown and grown over time, hasn’t it – starting in September 2006 with one conversation you told the prosecution about that doesn’t mention Operation Stop Election. Then in February this year, there’s no record of you mentioning amputations. The first time you say you overheard Sankoh tell Taylor about amputations was in March, isn’t it?

Wit: It was the first time I was close to him when I said that. Sankoh and Taylor were friends – and they could talk at any time. I’m talking about the time I was close to him.

Def: [references another document] On September 4, 2006. Look at the last paragraph: “Mongor would often be advised by Sam Bockarie…” You’ve got that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You see down from there: “Mongor never overheard or was present for any radio conversation between Taylor and either Bockarie or Sesay.” Do you agree that’s what you first said to the prosecution?

Wit: Repeat.

Def: Do you agree that in the course of the first part of that interview, you said you never overheard or were present for any radio conversation between Taylor and Bockarie?

Wit: I was never present where Bockarie and Taylor were talking.

Def: Did you ever overhear a radio conversation between them?

Wit: I heard a radio conversation between them. Bockarie and I were not in the same place at the same time. I was not near Sam Bockarie.

Def: Did you ever hear any radio conversation between Sam Bockarie and Charles Taylor.

Wit: I did not hear.

Def: In the previous paragraph, you see: Mongor used a radio operator named Sheku from 1998 to 1999. You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Then it goes on: His first operator was Foday K. Lansana from 1995-1997. The first time you mentioned him in court, you also mentioned he was known as ____?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Why didn’t you tell them then?

Wit: I gave them his real name.

Def: You were asked about lots of names during 24 interviews?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And you gave lots of nicknames for people, didn’t you?

Wit: I did not know everybody’s nicknames.

Def: Why did you tell the court his nickname?

Wit: Because I recalled it at that time.

Def: Had anyone told you or reminded you to tell us his nickname?

Wit: Nobody told me that.

Def: Do you remember that when you were interviewed in September 2006, that the interviewer took you through Taylor’s indictment? You were shown the charges against Taylor?

Wit: Yes, they explained to me.

Def: Do you see in this second paragraph that you were being asked questions about count 11? In the third paragraph on that page, a number of names start to be put to you. Do you remember being asked about a lot of names?

Wit: Yes, they asked me about people’s names.

Def: We see you were asked about Benjamin Yeaten. Then you see you were asked about Musa Cisse. “That could be Gen. Musa. Mongor never knew his surname.” You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The next name is Ibrahim Bah. It says “Mongor doesn’t know the alias, Gen. Balde”. Was the investigator calling different names and asking if you knew them?

Wit: They did not call different names?

Def: Were you asked if you knew people?

Wit: Yes, they asked if I knew this person, or the name.

Def: The names were coming from the investigator?

Wit: They called out names, but I too called out names they had not called out to me.

Def: “Christopher Varmoh, also Liberian Mosquito” You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Down from there, you see where it records: He was also often a liaison to the RUF because Taylor trusted him. You see that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: That’s what you told them?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The last two names on the next page: Saffa Nurman (sp?): “Mongor doesn’t know him”. So the investigator asked if you knew him and you said no?

Wit: Yes.

Def: They were calling the names here and asking you to comment?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Near the top, we see the name Daniel Tamba, also known as “Jungle”.

Wit: Yes.

Def: You never knew him as Daniel Tamba, did you?

Wit: I recalled the surname which is Tamba.

Def: You didn’t know his real name at all, did you?

Wit: I didn’t know his first name, but I knew his surname. But Jungle was what we commonly called him.

Def: So you knew the name Tamba at the time you were asked these questions?

Wit: The name Tamba I could recall later.

Def: This is an interview on October 8, 2006: To clarify what Daniel Tamba: “He never knew Jungle’s real name.” Is that what you told investigators in October 2006?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So you didn’t know him as Tamba?

Wit: I told them I knew the name Jungle. The real name escaped me.

Def: You said you never knew it, not that it escaped you. Today you told us at the time you knew the name Tamba. What’s going on?

Wit: The name I knew for this man was Jungle. And then you’d be with somebody and his name would escape you for a moment. But later you’d remember.

Def: But that’s not what you told them?

Wit: I told them I knew his name, but the name I could recall for him was Jungle.

Court is now adjourning for the day. The cross examination will continue tomorrow morning at 9:30.