2:30 (3:00 with the delay in video and audio): Proceedings continue following the lunch break.
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah continues his cross-examination of prosecution witness Alimamy Bobson Sesay:
Def: One of the issues we discussed before the break was the question of whether several wives were accused of witchcraft. I put to you an accusation that you killed your wife?
Def: At some point in your advance to Freetown in late 1998, was there infighting between Superman and Saj Musa?
Wit: Yes, but I was not present.
Def: There was communication about it?
Def: Some of the reasons for this fight had to do with who was supposed to command who?
Wit: I did not know any further detail. They only said there was a problem between them regarding an RUF who was executed who killed an SLA. Saj reacted and killed the RUF.
Def: And this infighting took place in Korombola?
Wit: Yes, in Koindugu.
Def: And Saj ordered his men to open fire on Superman’s group?
Wit: It was a mixed team.
Def: The RUF soldier you mentioned was killed for raping somebody?
Wit: I don’t have any further information. They said Saj killed an RUF who killed an SLA.
Def: Where were you at this time?
Wit: In Col. Eddie Town.
Def: And before that, you were at Rosos?
Def: You were at Col. Eddie Town through Dec 1998?
Def: Were you accused of having killed one of your wives?
Wit: No accusation of that nature was ever made against me. Some of us were demoted after our men were ambushed.
Def: At any time before Saj Musa’s death, did he order your execution for killing your bush wife?
Wit: It never happened.
Def: Do you know Andrew Kengbe (ph)?
Wit: I knew him at Pademba Road.
Def: He was a prisoner with you?
Wit: Yes, he was one of the RUF there before me.
Def: He was an RUF radio operator?
Wit: I can’t recall seeing him anywhere. He worked under me as a deputy pastor in the prison.
Def: Did you know him to be an RUF radio operator?
Def: Did you have any discussions with him at Pademba Road?
Wit: Yes. As I said, we discussed church affairs, and there was a time we had a revolation in the church about the execution of my wife.
Def: Can you explain this slowly. Which wife?
Wit: The one that happened when we were withdrawing from Freetown, with relation to the witchcraft. The young man said I would have died.
Def: You’re saying someone had a vision of what happened to you?
Wit: Yes, it was a small boy who had this revelation.
Def: Are you sure it wasn’t about you killing one of your bush wives in 1998?
Wit: I never killed a bush wife. Keforkeh did the execution.
Def: If Andrew Kengbe were to come before this court and say Saj Musa ordered your execution because you killed your bush wife, he’d be lying?
Wit: That’s a big big lie. It was after January 6. Saj Musa was not even alive then.
Def: We have a big difference here.
Wit: I don’t know where Kengbe had his revelation.
Def: If he comes before this court and says you killed this young lady, he’d be lying?
Wit: He would be lying. He was not with us.
Def: If he said he was an RUF radio operator, he’d be mistaken?
Wit: I would not say that, because a lot of people were trained. But if he says Saj Musa ordered my execution, he’d be lying.
Def: [references document] This is a record of disbursements on your behalf by the Office of the Prosecutor. It’s 17 pages long. The first entry is November 11, 2003: 5,000 Leones for lost wages. You agree with that?
Def: You can see the dates of your 31 interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor. Nov 24: It says 20,000 Leones were spent for medical expenses on your behalf. You agree?
Def: On the same day they bought you lunch for 10,000 Leones. Did they buy you lunch?
Def: Entry #4, April 10, 2004: transportation, 5,000 Leones. We have no record of you being interviewed that day. Why were they paying your transportation that day?
Wit: As far as I can recall, I was in the prison. They took me for an interview, but didn’t interview me.
Def: They gave you money to pay your way back to prison?
Wit: I never requested money. They said it was a transport allowance.
Def: You were not released from prison until 21 August 2004, but they gave you this allowance although you were being transported under guard to and from Special Court premises?
Wit: Yes. Maybe this is how they do it. I did not request it. The court has its procedures.
Def: Entry #5: May 19, 2004: We have no record of an interview that day, but it says they paid you 5,000 Leones for meals. Were you interviewed that day?
Wit: This happened long ago. Sometimes I would go to the court, and they’d say, “no interview”. If I was there they gave me food.
Def: Were you interviewed that day?
Wit: I don’t recall.
Def: May 20, 2004: were you interviewed that day?
Wit: Whenever I’d go to the court, they had their documentation. They’d pick me up when they needed me. When they brought a meal, I signed.
Def: Were you interviewed on May 20, 2004?
Wit: I don’t remember.
Def: Do you remember receiving 7,000 Leones?
Wit: I cannot dispute that.
Def: Friday, Oct. 1, 2004: medical attention and return transportation: 5,000 Leones. Were you taken to the Special Court for medical attention?
Wit: I am not disputing the content of the documents.
Def: Oct. 6, 2004: payment for meal while attending the Special Court. There are no records of you being interviewed on either date in October. Were you interviewed?
Wit: I don’t recall the dates. I don’t dispute these records.
Def: March 1, 31, 2005 and April 4, 2006. There’s almost a whole year between entry number 10 and entry number 11. You see that?
Def: Did you receive 15,000 Leones for lunch and transportation from the prosecution on March 1, 2005?
Wit: I’m not disputing anything in these records.
Judge Sebutinde: A simple yes will do.
Def: You were interviewed on March 1, 2005 and on March 31, 2005. Did you receive 35,000 Leones that day?
Def: To cover transport from the provinces to meet with the prosecutor?
Def: Look at entry #21, it has the date 12 May 2005. The next date we have a record of is May 8, 2007. No records of you meeting with them during 2006. You see that?
Def: Let’s go back to the other document and look at the amounts paid to you during 2006. Entries 11-58, beginning April 4, 2006, are all payments made in the year 2006 and we don’t have one record of an interview on any of those dates. What were they meeting with you about for these meetings and spending this money on you in 2006?
Wit: I was under their control. They would call and say we need this, or we need that, and I should come help. They had relocated me. Most times I went, they did not use me and I just went home.
Def: We don’t have one interview note from any of these days. Let’s look at entry #13: June 8, 2006. Category: information. 15,000 Leones. “Paid for three days’ meals: June 6, 7, 8.” Entry #12 says you were paid 5,000 Leones for breakfast on June 6. On June 8, they gave you money for three days meals, including June 6, June 7 when they did not meet you at all, and on June 8. Were they giving you money to eat on days you were not meeting them?
Wit: No. Whatever they needed – information or anything – I would go there.
Def: But on June 6 they gave you 5,000 Leones for breakfast. Two days later they also gave you money for food that day. Do you see anything wrong with that?
Wit: I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Def: When we started with your cross-examination last Thursday, we started with a document from the Witness and Victim Section. [references document] The money they spent on you from WVS is separate from that spent by the prosecution. Since March 14, 2005, all of your expenses were covered by WVS. The prosecution is also paying you twice for meals on the same days. Is there something unusual about paying someone for breakfast on June 6, then more money on June 8 for June 6 again?
Wit: Sometimes they would pay me in advance. Sometimes they would take me to places like Hastings to show them the places.
Def: [references more meal payments in June 2005] Two payments for the same day?
Wit: They did the buying. If I was there all day, they gave me breakfast in the morning. Everything in that court premises is expenses.
Def: You were paid 10,000 Leones for transport the following day. What kind of work were you doing in 2006?
Wit: I was still with my church. I helped with businesses run by my sisters and my brother.
Def: Are you saying you were employed by your church?
Wit: Yes, I used to get salary from Flaming. Even where I am now I get a salary.
Def: And you did business on the side with your family?
Def: How much did you make on an average day in 2006?
Wit: I would have some other businesses. Apart from the church, which gave me 150,000 monthly. I have some money in the bank paid for by the army. I bought treasury bearer bonds and I have some profit from that.
Def: At this time you were living in accommodation provided by the Special Court?
Def: You did not have to pay rent?
Def: The Special Court was feeding you?
Wit; They gave me a weekly allowance.
Def: These sums given you for meals and breakfasts are in addition to the sums for weekly allowance?
Wit: No. When I went there, they paid for my transportation.
Def: Let’s focus on meals. It is correct, is it not, that you received a feeding allowance?
Def: My point is that whenever the Office of the Prosecutor brought you for interviews, they also gave you money for food?
Wit: They provided food and transportation costs.
Def: That was in addition to what WVS was giving you?
Wit; I didn’t request it.
Def: I’m not asking if you requested it. I’m asking if it was in addition to what WVS gave you?
Wit: No. They bought the food. I signed for it. They brought food from the canteen and would ask me to sign a document.
Def: On a date you did not go to the Special Court premises, you ate based on the allowance they gave you?
Def: So the allowance given from WVS was different from what was given to you at the Special Court?
Wit: They provided transportation and food.
Def: If you look at April 4, 2006, all entries from 11 to 63 (Nov 6, 2007): for all of those entries, none of those dates correspond to interview dates. We have no records of you meeting with them on any of these dates. What were you doing with them during all of these meetings?
Wit: I would be at my house and they would invite me. Sometimes they wanted me to show them a place, or ask me if I knew a person. Maybe someone wanted me to take them to West Side. We would then go there.
Def: Look at entry number 63. It says you were given 60,000 for “information: purchase of information”. What information were they buying?
Wit: It was to go somewhere, Karina or some other places. It costs money to go there.
Def: It doesn’t say transport. It says “purchase of information”. What information were they purchasing or purchasing for you? What was purchased for 60,000 Leones?
Wit: They did not buy anything from me. They would ask if I knew a certain commander, and if so, would ask me to go there.
Def: Have they ever given you money for information?
Wit: I cannot recall. They would send me to a particular place to get information and they would pay my transportation.
Def: Look at entry number 47: it says you were given 30,000 Leones for “meals provided to witness during clarification interviews” for three days of interviews. Do you recall receiving 30,000 Leones that day?
Wit: I’m not disputing that.
Def: Let’s start on 30 October. What were they paying you money for?
Wit: They did not pay me money. But when they called me to the court, they provided for my transportation. They were not paying me.
Def: My question was were you interviewed on 30 October 2006?
Wit: I’m disputing that fact because they used to call me constantly.
Def: Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps they meant 30 August, not October through 2 September. There’s no reference to an interview on 30 August. How is it they are paying you for meals for three days and we do not have records of interviews these days?
Wit: That could be in their knowledge.
Def: On certain occasions, they provided you with a new mobile phone?
Wit: I cannot recall, although they would top-up my credit. I cannot recall them buying a mobile phone.
Def: Look at entry # 52: 145,000 Leones for communication. The reason given “witness was provided with new mobile phone. Existing phone was constantly faulty.” You recall receiving this new phone?
Def: On the last page, there is a grand total of all these payments made to you. Do you see the sum of 1,037,000 Leones from a total of 64 payments?
Def: Last week you agreed that one US dollar has a street value of 3,000 Leones. This comes to about 345 US dollars, do you agree?
Wit: I agree.
Def: [references another document] This document is from the internet, a United Nations document. It is titled “Social Indicators”. Countries are listed, beginning with Afghanistan. It speaks of per capita GDP. Each column has a title above it, showing the country, the year 2006, and then the per capita GDP in US dollars, [others]. Let’s find Sierra Leone on this. You see Sierra Leone?
Def: Do you see the figure 318 US dollars there?
Def: This is saying that the average purchasing power of a Sierra Leonean in 2006 was 318 dollars. Are you aware of that?
Wit: No. This is not my area.
Pros: Objection. It’s not clear the witness even understands this terminology.
Def: If you took the average Sierra Leonean and asked him how much he made in 2006, would it be about 300 dollars?
Wit: I cannot judge. Everyone has his own way of getting his living.
Def: [to the judges] I would like to make a formal request for any prosecution interview records in 2006.
Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra: This witness testified in the RUF trial from 5-10 July 2006, and there was preparation for that trial.
Def: The dates I referenced go all the way into December 2006.
Prosecutor Nick Koumjian: We recognize that counsel has made the request, and we understand the disclosure obligations. We will double-check.
Def: I asked you about what you would say the average Sierra Leonean made in 2006.
Wit: I cannot say I have studied it. Some people are business people with profit and things are OK for them. I cannot say this is what average Sierra Leoneans used to earn.
[Defense requests that a number of documents he’s used be marked for identification, and Presiding Judge Doherty orders this done.]
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah confers with Charles Taylor for about 2 minutes, then says he has no further questions.
Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra begins the reexamination of Alimamy Bobson Sesay:
Pros: You were referred to a previous statement during the cross-examination. [references document] I want to read this paragraph to you again: “We went back to the hotel after the closed-door meeting. Later a vehicle came to take Johnny Paul Koroma to the Executive Mansion. We went with him. Taylor told us to come together with the RUF.” Do you recall if the investigators conducting the interview asked you what you meant by “we had some discussion with Charles Taylor”?
Pros: Were you asked in the interview if Taylor said anything else?
Wit: No, they did not ask me.
Pros: In your testimony in court, you were asked if Charles Taylor was a mediator between the AFRC and RUF. You said: “It was because he had hands in the AFRC/RUF fighters. That’s why we were taken to Liberia.” Later you explained, “it was because they knew that Taylor had direct hands in the AFRC/RUF” that he was chosen as mediator. What do you mean he had “direct hands in the AFRC/RUF”?
Wit: Going back to 1991, he said Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. The war started soon after. When Mosquito confirmed to us that things started coming in, that showed to me, that yes, he had direct links. And KBC also explained what had happened in Liberia. So it clearly showed to us. And the discussion with him in Liberia – he told us – that he had hands in it.
Pros: What did it clearly show you?
Wit: When we were in Kono, we had run out of ammunition completely. But then Mosquito called us to pick up ammunition that came from Liberia. So when we were at the West Side, we knew Taylor would be able to mediate, because he was the only person with control over men in the West Africa region.
Pros: Mediating between whom?
Wit: Between the AFRC and RUF.
Pros: [references another document] Do you recall looking at this article shown to you?
Pros: “But it was the AFRC which came very close to gaining control of the capital once more in the attempted insurrection in January.” You recall that after Counsel read this part of the article to you, he asked whether you agree that the invasion of Freetown in January 1999 was exclusively an AFRC affair, and in your response you disagreed with what was in that article?
Pros: I’m going to show you another article. [Shows witness a BBC report from January 6, 1999.] I’m going to read to you the third paragraph: “In an interview with the BBC, Sam Bockarie said his troops numbered around 5,000 men. Asked what it would take to stop the fighting, he said he wanted to ask the Nigerian government to hand back rebel leaders…Gibril Massaquoi called the BBC…said that the AFRC and RUF were in complete control of the city.” Who is Sam Bockarie?
Pros: When he said his troops numbered around 5,000 men, do you know who “his troops” were?
Pros: Who was he referring to?
Wit: The joint forces of the SLA and the RUF who took over Freetown.
Pros: Who was commanding those troops at the time in Freetown?
Wit: Tamba Alex Brima, Gullit.
Pros: Did you know who Gibril Massaquoi was?
Wit: Yes, he was a senior RUF commander.
Pros: Do you agree with what he said in this article?
Wit: Yes, because he was close to Gullit at State House.
[Prosecution asks that the document be marked for identification and Judge Doherty orders this done.]
Pros: Yesterday you were asked whether after May 1997 you encountered any soldier who said he was currently a member of the NPFL. You said the RUF had people with them, but they all said they were RUF. What do you mean?
Wit: When we went to Freetown, they referred to themselves as RUF. They were part of the team who came – they were ex-NPFL fighters, but they referred to themselves as RUF. The former NPFL and the STF referred to themselves as RUF.
Pros: You said there were reinforcements to the AFRC. Who did?
Wit: They were mixed. I was not able to get in touch with one of them who told me he was ex-NPFL.
Pros: You were asked about an arms and ammunition shipment to Magburaka in 1997. You said some said the arms came from Liberia and some said from Ukraine. Those people who told you that it came from Liebria, did they say who sent it?
Wit: They were saying it was Charles Taylor who is supporting us. He is the only one who likes us.
Pros: You were asked about ammunition that arrived in ____ from Kailahun. You said it was in one vehicle, and you said the ammunition was marked AFL – Armed Forces of Liberia. Do you recall how many boxes there were?
Wit: There were a few boxes of [lists various kinds of ammunition.]
Pros: Do you remember how many boxes in total?
Wit: More than 12 large boxes were loaded into the vehicle.
Pros: You were referred to another statement dated 7 November 2003. It was put to you that there was no mention of what was written on the boxes of ammunition. Do you recall if during this interview, the investigators asked you where the ammunition came from?
Wit: No, they didn’t ask me.
Pros: You were asked about where the ammunition came from that Issa Sesay brought for the attack on Tombu. You said there were rumors that it came from Liberia. What did you mean?
Wit: I was in MacDonald when the soldiers came with the ammunition. They said, “Bra has sent this ammunition.” The rumor was that Taylor sent the ammunition to Mosquito, and that Issa brought it from Makeni. We called Taylor, “Bra”.
Pros: You continued to say, “people were saying that, because we had no other place to get ammunition.” What did you mean?
Wit: We had no other place than Liberia to get ammunition.
Pros: Yesterday you said the AFRC used to receive rice into Freetown. You recall that?
Wit: A shipment of rice came during the AFRC reign.
Pros: Did you know where it came from?
Wit; I did not know.
Pros: You were asked yesterday whether you were familiar with someone with the fighting name, Striker. You said you didn’t. You said, if I called some names here, you will run. What did you mean?
Wit: Some men had bad names. As a gentleperson, you would run. We had one called the Bastard. Some had names that are not good for public hearing.
Pros: Later, you said “if I had to say everything that happened in Sierra Leone, I don’t think you would want to hear them. You yourself would be unhappy.” What did you mean?
Wit: I didn’t say in my testimony that we marked boys with “RUF” and “AFRC”, but it happened. There were other things I didn’t talk about.
Pros: Who did this to the small boys?
Wit: The RUF and AFRC.
Pros: How were these done?
Wit: With blades.
Judge Sebutinde: Are you leading new evidence?
Pros: This arose out of the witness’s answer and cross-examination.
Judge Sebutinde: Continue, if defense doesn’t object.
Def: I object.
Pros: These issues arise from clarifications arising out of the witness’s previous answer.
Judge Doherty: The line of questioning has now gone beyond clarification and is not permissible in re-examination.
Pros: You were asked today of whether you were aware that Isaac Mongor was Liberian. You said that Mongor and RUF Rambo were Liberians. You then said you wanted to add something. What did you want to add?
Wit: Mongor and others who were Liberians, I did not know them in the Sierra Leone army. They were different from the STF or the others brought into the Sierra Leone army.
Pros: When talking about the crimes you committed, you used the phrase, “minus you, plus you”.
Wit: This came from Gullit. It meant if you failed to execute the order, Gullit would have you killed. It meant that the movement would go on with you or without you.
Pros: [To the judges] I have my eye on the time. [It’s 4:30, the scheduled time for adjournment.]
Judge Doherty: How many questions do you have left?
Def: We would have no objection to prolonging the questioning and finishing this examination before the recess.
Judge Doherty: Proceed, and we’ll see.
Pros: [references document] I’m going to read to you: “Taylor said his government supports and recognizes the government of Kabbah and does not support the rebel movement in any form.” Do you agree with that statement?
Wit: I disagree.
Pros: “Taylor denied any Liberian involvement in the Sierra Leone conflict…they are there on there own.” Do you agree with what Taylor says there?
Wit: I disagree.
Pros: You said you disagreed that he supported the government of Kabbah. Why?
Wit: He said that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war….
Court official: The tape [recording of the proceedings used for the official record] needs to be changed. It will take five minutes to do so. [Proceedings are paused for a few minutes while the tape is changed.]
Pros: When Taylor said mercenaries from Liberia had always been in Sierra Leone, do you agree with him that the Liberian mercenaries were there on their own?
Wit: I can agree to part of it. But I don’t agree with all of it. The Liberian mercenaries I knew like Mongor, Rambo, Superman, they were mercenaries. There were others who supported the APC, then the NPRC government.
Pros: What don’t you agree with?
Wit: I don’t agree that they were there on their own. There were Liberians under the control of the Sierra Leone government. Those in the RUF, including Isaac Mongor, he sent them – Charles Taylor sent them.
Judge Sebutinde: You’re saying Taylor sent Mongor, Superman, Nya, Rambo and others?
Pros: [refers to another document] This is a Sierra Leone news summary from 29 April 1998. In the last paragraph: “ECOMOG task force commander has said that close to 100 Liberian mercenaries have been captured in the past week…said 50 fighters from ULIMO and 20 from the NPFL were being detained at Pademba Road… ‘this is enough evidence to show that the Liberian leader is supporting the rebels’, said Commander Kobe.” Do you agree with him?
Def: Objection. This goes beyond the scope of my cross-examination.
Pros: This comes directly out of the cross-examination: the denial of Liberian government involvement. The defense also argued that it was only the AFRC in Freetown.
Judge Doherty: My majority decision, with Justice Sebutinde dissenting, we uphold the objection.
Pros: [references list of RUF commanders in the TRC report] You were shown this document by the defense. You were asked about the presence of these commanders during the invasion of Freetown. You testified that Gibril Massaquoi maintained command after his release from Pademba. What did you mean?
Wit: He was one of the senior commanders. He had some boys with him. He maintained his command as colonel.
Judge Sebutinde: He was commanding the other prisoners who were released?
Wit: No, some of the RUF in Pademba Road were under him, and some others too.
Pros: You said that at the time Gullit was in Freetown, he was reporting to Mosquito. You also said…
Def: Objection. The testimony was about communication. I do not recall use of the word “reporting”.
Pros: I recall it and can find the reference in the transcript if your Honors will give me time.
Judge Doherty: You cannot refer to evidence in chief. Put the matter raised in cross-examination.
[Prosecution team consults.]
Pros: Do you see the name Sam Bockarie on this list of the RUF high command?
Judge Doherty: We are limited to how long we can remain in this court. We can take one more question.
Pros: The name that you see on the list, Sam Bockarie, “Mosquito”, did he have any role in the January 6 invasion of Freetown?
Wit: Yes. He gave Gullit the command to order the burning of Freetown.
Pros: What role did Issa Sesay have, if any in the January 6 invasion of Freetown?
Wit: He had constant communication, and the reinforcements came with him. It was Issa Sesay who came with the reinforcement.
Pros: Do you know what role Dennis Mingo, Superman, had, if any, in the invasion of Freetown?
Wit: He was in constant touch with us.
Pros: Did he have any other involvement?
Wit: He and Saj Musa released reinforcements to us.
Pros: What role, if any, did Morris Kallon have in the invasion in Freetown?
Wit: I don’t know.
Pros: I have no further questions.
Judge Doherty: We do not have any questions for the witness.
Judge Doherty thanks Alimamy Bobson Sesay for his testimony and excuses him.
5:00 (5:30 with the delay in video and audio): Court will adjourn for the April 30 – May 2 holiday in The Netherlands. Proceedings will resume on Monday, May 5 at 9:30.