9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video/audio): Court is in session.
Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura continues the direct examination of protected witness TF1-516:
Pros: Before we continue from where we left off, I want to go back to a few issues on matters we’ve already dealt with. You said that we looked at a code chart used when Issa Sesay was leader of the RUF. How does that chart compare with the period when Bockarie was leader? Was there a different one then?
Wit: Yes. The ranks given to certain top-ranking officers. At the time Bockarie was in power, certain officers whose names are stated in the chart did not yet have the ranks indicated there, which they got when Sesay was in power.
Pros: Was the chart otherwise different?
Wit: Some of the phrases in the chart displayed yesterday were not included in the chart when Bockarie was in power.
Pros: Can you explain some of these? [chart is provided to the witness by a court officer] Just refer us to pages by their reference numbers.
Wit: [references page and line] At the time Bockarie was leader, Issa Sesay was not a General.
Pros: You said some phrases were different. Could you show us some of those?
Wit: [references page and lines] “I have”, “I will”, “I am” and “Where”. Before this time there were no indications like this in the code.
Pros: During whose regime were these codes introduced?
Wit: Gen. Issa Sesay’s regime.
Pros: Do you note any part of this code chart different than that in Bockarie’s time?
Wit: [references page and lines] Beginning from line 15, downwards to “did”. They were not introduced into the code before. They came into the code when the signal unit commander realized that using two-word letters created some kind of insecurity.
Pros: What word is on line 15?
Wit: “as”, ending at the line “did”
Pros: For clarity, we’re dealing with the line that has the word “as” to the line that has “did”?
Pros: The reason was?
Wit: The signal unit commander realized that using two and three-letter words were creating insecurity. We had representations given to these words to give four numbers for just two letters.
Pros: Was this the first time that they were introduced into the chart?
Wit: This was not the only code. There were many codes. The code that was current was called the New Testament, and the one no longer in use was called the Old Testament.
Judge Sebutinde: During which regime was this introduced?
Wit: During Issa Sesay’s regime. The introduction of this code came into being when the RUF united with the AFRC. When we moved out, the radio operators were assigned to the radio stations of the SLAs, and they showed us a good number of the messages we used to transmit in the jungle. So the commander strategized another method to have two and three letter words coded.
Pros: Were some of the codes the same?
Wit: Yes, the military terminology stayed the same, but some of the representations changed. For example “525” was not “launching sound” as it is here. There was still the term “launching sound”, but with another code. [references page]
Pros: You pointed earlier to page [references page]. You were going to say something about the code for the leader. The three letters for the leader there, was that the same as before?
Pros: And the codes for the commanders listed, were they the same as before?
Wit: No, they were changed.
Pros: Yesterday you mentioned the name of a person you said was a chief at Foya, Pa Taylor. What do you mean, “chief”?
Wit: He was a local chief. I was just trying to explain the local house where Fifty was staying. He was the chief of Foya.
Pros: What did they mean by “chief”?
Wit: That he was a noble man on that land and had authority over people on that land.
Pros: Yesterday, in talking about mining in 1995-1996 at Wiema, I asked you about how you knew mining was going on in that area. You said you knew about it, but did not give a specific response.
Wit: In 1995-1996, mining was going on around Wiema (sp?), and that was in the Peyama axis. Bockarie was in charge of it. Bockarie reported to Sankoh in Zagoda. I monitored the radio. Bockarie sent radio messages to Sankoh, and I was in Zagoda. I worked with Zedman, who was Station Commander, and Zedman reported to Sankoh.
Pros: I asked whether you had information about the activities going on at Wiema…
Def: Could counsel note the place in yesterday’s transcript?
Pros: I can do that. [To witness] I asked whether you had information on the activities in Wiema, and you said captured civilians were forced to mine, and that armed men organized the security for the mining. You said Bockarie was the overall commander. My question now is how did you know that civilians were captured and taken to Wiema.
Def: Bockarie used to make reports to Sankoh through the radio. When the mining was going on, Sankoh paid much attention to that particular station. I used to serve duty. Those were stations I communicated with when I was in Zagoda.
Pros: When you were on duty, did you see any such message?
Pros: You were talking about mining in Kono. You said you went to Kono during the AFRC period. You said there was a man called Capt. Moriba assigned by Bockarie and Sesay in charge of RUF mining, and that there were certain pits that were government pits. How did you know that Moriba was assigned by Bockarie and Sesay?
Wit: Several times I sent messages from Moriba to Bockarie about diamonds, called “parcels” – and Bockarie instructed him to bring the parcels to Kenema. At one time, before Moriba’s appointment, there was a trip to Kono by Bockarie together with Sesay. From there, Moriba was assigned, and Moriba was referred to as the mining commander. It always said that he was the mining commander in the preamble of the messages we sent. He said himself that he had been appointed.
Pros: You said there were government pits. How do you know?
Wit: In Bakundu, where we carried out private mining, there was a government pit just next to ours. Moriba used to pay visits there.
Pros: How did you know that civilians were forced to mine?
Wit: I used to see civilians taken from the street by Moriba’s armed men and made to mine.
Pros: You said yesterday that when gravel was extracted, there were two equal shares, one for the labor and one for the government. You said it was unlike where Moriba was in control. You said in that area, the diamonds went into one single pot. What did you mean?
Wit: Gravel from government pits was not shared at all. Moriba took the diamonds from those pits to Bockarie. A number of times, Moriba came to the station to tell Bockarie in Kenema that he had got some stones and would bring them to Kenema.
Pros: I asked about mining for the government, and you said civilians were collected from all angles to mine there, willy nilly. You said whether you like it or not, you must work. How do you know this?
Wit: Sometimes miners were working in private pits and government soldiers took them to work in the government pits. I saw it myself in Bakundu.
Pros: You said yesterday that those in charge of mining, the authorities of the mining unit, would flog the miners mercilessly. I asked if you saw someone being thrashed, but it wasn’t clear. How did you know that miners were thrashed by members of the mining unit?
Wit: I saw it for myself in Kono, in Koidu. It was at Bakundu, and sometimes I paid visits to Number 11, Small Sefadu, [others]. I saw miners at Bakundu who had mined all day in a private pit and were about to go home. The armed men under Moriba came and told them to work in the government pit. They were commanded under gun by the armed men and forced to move into the government pit. You could see they were unhappy with the instruction. They were afraid of the gun. The security used the arms to create panic in them to obey the instructions.
Pros: I asked about how mining was organized in Bakundu in relation to government pits. You said that at government pits, civilians were forced to mine there. You said that the mining unit had units at government pits in all areas. How did you know this?
Wit: Capt. Moriba was in charge of mining for the RUF. He had so many RUF soldiers assigned to him to ensure that the mining was carried out. In Bakundu it was the same kind of situation. Moriba relied on civilians to do the mining.
Pros: How did you know that the system in Bakundu, where you were, the same situation occurred elsewhere that civilians were forced to mine?
Wit: I was mining in Bakundu, but I used to pay visits to other mining areas: Number 11, Small Sefadu, Ndomahina Street
Pros; What did you gather there?
Wit: At the government pits, civilians were forced to mine. The mining unit personnel were deployed in all of those locations. I met them taking civilians to mine in Number 11 and Small Sefadu.
Pros: I asked you yesterday what happened to the diamonds found in the government pits. You said they were reported to the overall mining commander, who at the time of the AFRC regime was Capt. Moriba. You said Moriba was to report to Sam Bockarie. You said it was the routine, because Bockarie was the head. What do you mean, that was the routine?
Wit: That is why he was sent to Kono, to bring diamonds to Bockarie. At the time he was assigned there, his duty was to mine and take diamonds to Bockarie.
Pros: How do you know those were his duties?
Wit: A number of times he came to me to communicate to Bockarie about the stones. It was my duty as a radio officer.
Pros: We discussed mining in Kono after the intervention period. You said that when ECOMOG was removed from Kono, sometime in late 1998, the mining unit returned from Kailahun to Kono. You said Capt. Kennedy was now the mining commander. You said that Sam Bockarie ordered Kennedy to establish the mining unit in Kono. You said that the mining unit was based in Kokuima, a section of Koidu Town. How did you know of Kennedy’s appointment?
Wit: Capt. Kennedy had a particular radio set assigned to him. And he made so many calls on that radio about the mining. His operator was Augustine. I was in Sengema before going to Beudu. From Beudu, I used to communicate with Augustine.
Pros: What did that indicate about Kennedy?
Wit: About diamonds. Bockarie at several times ordered Kennedy to report to his location with the diamonds. That was through the radio. Bockarie’s location was Beudu. That happened until a certain time in 1998 when Kennedy was involved in certain malpractices. He was mercilessly beaten and removed. Intelligence officers accused Kennedy of taking diamonds. He was turned over to the MP and flogged. The intelligence officers sent information about Kennedy through the radio to Bockarie. The information was in the incoming message book.
Pros: When was this that Kennedy was involved in malpractice?
Wit: I think sometime in 1999.
Pros: During the mining in the post-intervention period, you said you were not in Kono?
Pros: How did you follow what was going on in that period regarding mining?
Wit: Through the radio. We had people coming through to Kailahun, buying materials and going back, and we talked to them. On the radio, the operator Augustine gave us detailed information on the mining.
Pros: I asked yesterday where mining was going on in the district. You said all over Kono. Including Koindu…
Wit: Not Koindu, which is in Kailahun District. Koidu.
Pros: You said mining was centralized. What did you mean by this?
Wit: At this time, it was only mining organized by the RUF that was going on.
Pros: How was it organized?
Wit: The mining unit was the only body doing mining in Kono. Augustine used to tell me that it was difficult to find civilians around. He said civilians were being forced to mine.
Pros: How was this different from the AFRC period when you were there?
Wit: In the AFRC period there were civilians all around and doing private mining. After the intervention, the civilians had fled. Civilians were brought from Kailahun to mine in Kono, under the mining unit.
Pros: When did the civilians flee?
Wit: In early 1998. I think sometime in March or April.
Pros: You said the RUF took Kono again. When was this?
Wit: It was 1998, late 1998.
Pros: It was after this period that mining became organized in the manner you describe?
Pros: Who was brought from Kailahun?
Wit: Before this time there was a mining unit in Kailahun. The mining unit was said to have gone to Giema to mine, but I didn’t see it. That mining unit was taken from Kailahun to Kono. They were commanded by the RUF to mine. They were in the mining unit of the RUF. The mining unit comprises RUF soldiers with arms and civilian miners.
Pros: The people brought over, were they considered members of the RUF?
Wit: They were civilians.
Pros: You said Kennedy reported to Bockarie on the proceeds of the mining in Kono. How often did he report?
Wit: When gravel was extracted and washed, he would inform Bockarie about diamonds and Bockarie would tell him to report to Beudu. Sometimes it was after a month, sometimes after two weeks.
Pros: How did you know this?
Wit: I used to see him in Beudu. I saw him there. I know him very well. There’s a man called Eddie Kanneh. Kennedy would report on the radio that he was coming to Beudu. Bockarie would then call Base 1 and talk to Fifty, informing him about the movement of Eddie Kanneh to his location with diamonds.
Pros: When Kennedy came from Kono, how do you know he brought diamonds to Bockarie?
Wit: He had already sent a message that he was bringing diamonds. So we deduced that was why he was there.
Pros; What happened to those diamonds?
Wit: Bockarie would send Eddie Kanneh with the diamonds to Liberia. He would first talk to Base 1 and sometimes 020. We sent radio messages before Kanneh’s departure. When Kanneh arrived in Monrovia, he would call from Base 1 and sometimes from 020 to say he had arrived.
Pros; Did you send any of those messages to Base 1 and 020 about the movement of Eddie Kanneh?
Pros: How many times?
Wit: I can’t say exactly. But I sent messages to 020 and Base 1.
Pros: Can you recall what was in those messages?
Wit: That Eddie Kanneh was moving with parcels to meet with the chief.
Pros; Do you know who Eddie Kanneh went to see in Monrovia?
Wit: Bockarie said to me in Beudu that Kanneh was going to see the chief, Charles Taylor.
Pros: When did he tell you this?
Wit: So many times. When Kanneh left, Bockarie would inquire constantly about Eddie Kanneh’s movements.
Pros: What period are we talking about here?
Pros: Was it only Eddie Kanneh who traveled to Liberia with diamonds?
Wit: Sometimes Bockarie traveled with Captain Kennedy. The two of them went to Monrovia, Capt. Kennedy and Sam Bockarie. I was there when they took off. When they arrived at call sign 020, the station at Beudu was contacted.
Pros: How do you know they were taking diamonds?
Wit: Kennedy reported to Bockarie that he had some diamonds. Bockarie ordered Kennedy to Beudu. When he arrived, they left for Monrovia. Bockarie said they were going to meet his chief, Charles Taylor.
Pros: Do you recall others going with diamonds?
Wit: Sam Bockarie would travel to Monrovia to Kennedy and Eddie Kanneh.
Pros: How often did he travel to Monrovia with Eddie Kanneh?
Wit: Not as often as Eddie Kanneh traveling alone to Monrovia.
Pros: Of the three, who traveled most often to Monrovia with diamonds?
Wit: Eddie Kanneh. When Capt. Kennedy came to Beudu, that would effect the movement of Kanneh to Monrovia.
Pros: How often did Kennedy come, triggering a trip by Kanneh to Monrovia?
Wit: Bockarie would instruct Kennedy to report with the diamonds after Kennedy reported on them.
Judge Doherty: How often?
Wit: Sometimes after two weeks; sometimes after one month.
Pros: You left for Liberia in mid-1999?
Pros: Did you hear about mining in Kono then?
Wit: We were on the same frequencies, so I still got information on mining. I used to communicate with the same operators about mining. In 2000 it was operator “Elevation”, who was working with Issa Sesay.
Pros; You said Bockarie left Sierra Leone at the end of 1999. Did mining continue?
Wit: (laughs) Yes, sir.
Pros: Who was in charge of mining?
Wit: Amara Peletu (sp?)
Pros: Where was Sesay based?
Wit: A section of Kono called Lebanon.
Pros: What was the situation with mining in Kono.
Wit: There was mining all over Kono. I got information on the radio from operator Elevation. He was in Lebanon, in Koidu Town, with Issa Sesay.
Pros: What did you learn about mining at the time?
Wit: Mining activities were more intensified at the time. Operators were giving information more regularly about big big diamonds. One Col. Oso got a 50-carat diamond. There was a 400-carat diamond. Elevation informed me on the radio.
Pros: Did Elevation call you to talk to you about diamonds or was this information that you monitored?
Wit: I inquired to know about the activity. I was interested in the mining activity, so I used to ask him to tell me. He would explain what was going on.
Pros: When Issa Sesay took over, did diamonds continue to be sent to Monrovia?
Wit: Yes. Eddie Kanneh still came. There were communications about his movements. I was in Foya when Kanneh came together with some white men.
Pros: What did you understand about these people?
Wit: Kanneh said the white men were traders going to talk to Gen. Issa. They were diamond traders.
Pros: Who was Kanneh coming to see when he went to Monrovia during the time of Sesay?
Wit: The chief, Charles Taylor. Before his movements, I received communications from his station to say that Kanneh was coming with a parcel to see the chief.
Pros: Up until when were there communications about the movement of diamonds to Liberia?
Wit: Up until the last day I was in Vahun, in late 2001. When LURD captured Foya, Kanneh used the Vahun route to reach Monrovia. At one point he met me in Vahun. In Vahun he was to proceed to Monrovia.
Pros: How did you know Kanneh had diamonds?
Wit: It was never a secret about Kanneh and the diamonds. Bockarie said openly that Kanneh took diamonds to the chief.
Pros: On this occasion in Vahun, did you know beforehand that Kanneh was going to Monrovia?
Wit: Yes. When Kanneh came to Foya, Superman took some diamonds from Kanneh. Kanneh came to the radio room and told me to send a message to Issa that Superman had been taken. Superman heard this and rushed in, saying not to send the message. Kanneh later sent a note to Issa in Kono. Issa came to Foya and I had to escape because Kanneh told Issa that I refused to send the message.
Pros: What happened when Issa came to Foya?
Wit: He came with other authorities. I was accused. I was under threat from Superman if I had sent the message. I had no alternative but to leave, and that’s what I did.
Pros: How was mining organized at the time under Issa?
Wit: We had RUF soldiers crossing into Lofa and talking to us. I also used to pay visits to Sierra Leone. While in Liberia I used to come to Sierra Leone and return. I remember one time traveling with Gen. Fifty to the ferry to meet with Gen. Issa Sesay.
Pros: What did the men say about mining in Kono?
Wit: That there was mining all over Kono. They had a “two-pile system”. One pile was for the government and one for the labor. Those men who were in Kono at the time explained the situation to me. I got this information while I was in Liberia.
Pros: Who was actually extracting gravel from the pits?
Wit: It was open. But the gravel was to be shared between the RUF and the organizer. There was a tendency that when a diamond found in the government pile, your own pile would be taken.
Pros: When we talked about mining in the period when Bockarie was leader and Kennedy was in Kono, you talked about government pits and that mining in those pits was exclusively for the benefit of the RUF. After Sesay became leader, was that system maintained?
Wit: The overall commander, Amara Peletu, had a personal pit. At that time there was not only mining in Kono, but Tongo as well. KS Banya was mining commander there.
Judge Doherty: Was it the same system?
Pros: You said civilians were forced to mine in the government pits under the old system. What was the new system under Sesay?
Wit: There were still pits called government, RUF pits where civilians were forced to mine.
Pros: How did you know this?
Wit: I got this information from the radio. It was an open secret.
Pros; Who transmitted the information to whom?
Wit: Sometimes Fifty (Benjamin Yeaten) inquired to know what was happening with the mining in Kono.
Pros: What would he inquire about?
Wit: One time there was fighting around Kono and civilians were killed. I handed that message to Fifty. He responded that Sesay was on the ground and would take care of the situation.
Pros; Who did the message come from?
Wit: A radio station in Tombodu, Kono. The operator was Ibrahim.
Pros: What year was this?
Wit: It was in 2000.
Pros: What did Ibrahim report?
Wit: That the Kamajors attacked that location and came with some civilians who were killed during the confrontation.
Pros: Who was he sending the information to?
Wit: To Gen. Issa. I received the message in code and transcribed it for Gen. Fifty. He said Sesay would take care of that situation.
Pros: When you received such messages, was it normal to record them and show them to Gen. Fifty?
Pros: You said Gen. Fifty would send a message sometimes inquiring about the mining. What sort of inquiries?
Wit: At times he communicated himself on set.
Pros: Whose radio would he call?
Wit: Gen. Issa Sesay.
Pros: What kind of information would he get?
Wit: About how the mining was going, and what was happening on the front.
Pros: When Fifty called and asked to be advised about the situation. In the responses sent back to him, was it communicated to him that civilians were being forced to mine?
Wit: That was not officially communicated to him.
Pros: Do you know if he had knowledge of this?
Wit: I cannot tell.
Wit: [to judges] I would like to clarify a statement made yesterday.
Judge Doherty: Just a moment.
Judge Doherty: You asked the witness about civilians being thrashed or flogged. In his answer he described seeing civilians being forced to work, but it is unclear whether he saw thrashing or flogging.
Pros: Did you see incidents of thrashing?
Wit: I’m talking about massive beatings. I saw it in Kono. They used the belt that was on the AK rifle, a very solid string that was used to flog people. I saw it in Bakundu.
Pros: You have testified that you moved to Liberia in mid-1999 and worked for Benjamin Yeaten until late 2001. During that period with Yeaten, what did you consider yourself as. Which group did you consider yourself belonging to?
Wit: I was still in captivity in the hands of the RUF. I remained with them. I had no other way to go.
Pros: You mentioned the name “High Command” in your testimony as somebody introduced to Fifty by Superman. What was his name?
Wit: That is the name we called him by. I can’t recall another name.
Pros: You mentioned another operator called “Ebony”?
Wit: Sam Lamboy.
Pros: What was the name Ebony? What kind of name was that?
Wit: Just a nickname.
Pros: Do you know how he got that nickname?
Wit: He was already operating on the radio before I joined the Signal Unit.
Judge Lussick: So that answer is no?
Pros: Who was “Senegalese”?
Wit: A member of the RUF when the ECOMOG intervention took place. He was once a member of ULIMO. When the RUF joined the AFRC, Senegalese was fighting alongside the government forces. He retreated to Beudu and was commanded by Bockarie to move to Kono.
Pros: That’s all for this witness.
Wit: [to judges] I want to clarify something.
Judge Doherty: An answer you gave yesterday?
Pros: What would you like to clarify?
Wit: I was asked yesterday how many times I went to the Executive Mansion. I gave the code chart to Sky One at the Executive Mansion. I went there twice, not once.
Defense counsel Morris Anyah will conduct the cross-examination for the Taylor defense team.
Def: Where were you on March 29, 2006?
Wit: I was in Kailahun.
Def: Where were you on June 20, 2006?
Wit: I cannot recall the particular point I was on the date.
Def: Were you in Sierra Leone?
Def: Were you aware in March 2006 that Charles Taylor had been taken into custody of the Special Court?
Wit: I was not aware.
Def: Did you become aware at any point that year that Taylor had been taken into custody of the Special Court?
Wit: Sometime in the year 2006, I think that was a…
Judge Doherty: Do you understand the question?
Wit: I’m thinking where I was. I was in Kailahun.
Def: Can you tell us whether in the year 2006 you became aware of Taylor’s custody?
Wit: Yes, sometime in the rainy season, 2006.
Def: When is the rainy season?
Wit: It begins in April and ends in September.
Def: Sometime between April and September 2006, you knew that Taylor was in custody of the Special Court?
Wit: I said the rainy season. It may not have been April itself.
Def: But in the period April-September, you knew?
Wit: [pause] I was not following what was happening. I came to know that Taylor was in custody of the RUF when one Chuck Collott (ph) identified himself to me as a member of the Special Court. He was in Kailahun looking for me. That was the day I knew that Taylor was in custody.
Court is now adjourning for the mid-morning break. Proceedings will resume at 12:00 (12:30 with the half-hour delay in video/audio).