12:02 Former Liberian President Moses Blah takes the witness stand after Karmoh Kanneh finishes his testimony

9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video and audio): Court is in session.

Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp and Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths are both present in the courtroom ahead of the anticipated calling of the next witness, Charles Taylor’s former vice president, Moses Blah. Blah is expected to be called once Karmoh Kanneh completes his testimony.

Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continues his cross-examination of prosecution witness Karmoh Kanneh:

Def: Yesterday when we broke off, we were looking at what you told prosecutors about the killing of B.S. Massaquoi. [references document] “Witness states that killing took place in Kenema around the time of the intervention. Witness was present with [others]. Jungle was not present.” Did you tell the prosecution that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: “Witness thinks Massaquoi was killed because he aided the escape of Momoh and Kpaka (ph) – two other Kenema residents who were being detained.” Did you tell them that?

Wit: No.

Def: What did you tell them?

Wit: I didn’t tell them that he helped their escape.

Def: Then let’s look at the hand-written notes, presumably taken while you were speaking. [references document] “B.S. Massaquoi killing?” That suggests that someone asked you what you knew about the B.S. Massaquoi killing. Am I right?

Wit: Yes.

Def; Who was the first person to mention B.S. Massaquoi in this interview? Had you already mentioned B.S. Massaquoi in your conversation with the prosecutors?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When did you previously mention B.S. Massaquoi?

Wit: I can’t recall the date now.

Def: The only reference to the B.S. Massaquoi is this passage we’re looking at. He’s never mentioned in earlier or later interviews with you. How did the subject come up for the first time?

Wit: I’d like you to make the questions a little shorter.

Def: When did you first tell the prosecution that you knew something about a man named B.S. Massaquoi and his killing?

Wit: I can’t recall the date. You have the documents and can look at them.

Def: We are looking at the document for 1 November last year. You have now told us that before you discussed it at this point in this interview, he had already been mentioned. Was that in the same interview, or a previous interview?

Wit: I cannot confirm if they did it about B.S. Massaquoi’s death. That would be on the paper. Whatever you see on the paper would be the correct time.

Def: There is no other paper. So we need to know from you when he was mentioned before this. You say you can’t remember when that was?

Wit: Not at all. It’s on the document and you should look there.

Def: Who was the first person to mention B.S. Massaquoi: you or someone from the prosecution?

Wit: I don’t think that they knew B.S. Massaquoi. It could be me.

Def: Why did you want to tell them about the killing. What was the relevance?

Wit: It must have been when they were asking about Kenema, and maybe I called the name.

Def: Although you called the name at an earlier stage, it is not written?

Wit: This is the statement. I only answered questions asked of me.

Def: So it was the prosecution who first mentioned him?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Def: “B.S. Massaquoi killing?…Occured at Kenema Town around the intervention. Present were Bockarie, witness, Kanneh, [others]…Q: Why was he killed? A: He aided the escape of Momoh and Kpaka.” Now you just said that you hadn’t said that. Do you stand by that?

Wit: I didn’t tell them that.

Def: So this is another invention by the prosecutors?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When it was read back to you, what was your reaction?

Wit: I did not say anything. Maybe I didn’t get it when they read it.

Def: Another thing you didn’t get?

Wit: Not at all.

Def: When it was read back to you in the proofing sessions here in April?

Wit: That’s what I’m talking about.

Def: I was initially referring to your evidence that at the end of every interview, the notes were read back to you. When it was read back to you at the end of the interview, do you recall that?

Wit: Yes, I can still recall. But where it was compiled I was not present.

Def: Did they read it back to you?

Wit: Yes.

Def; Why didn’t you correct it?

Wit: I did not think about that to tell them.

Def: And again when it was read back to you in April, why didn’t you correct it then?

Wit: Maybe it was a mistake; I did not hear it clearly.

Def: You’ve also said that when B.S. Massaquoi was taken away, he was shot and that there was colleague with you named Manoweh (ph). Why didn’t you tell the prosecutors at the time that you gave these names that Manoweh was present?

Wit: It escaped my memory at the time.

Def: You gave a great deal of evidence about this killing last Friday – more than just who was present. Did you tell the prosecution much more than I’ve read this morning from these pages? “Occurred at Kenema…present were SB, witness, Junior Vandy, Capt. Demorah Musa (ph), and Eddie Kanneh…Jungle not present…killed for aiding escape.” Did you tell the prosecution more when you were first being interviewed about it in November?

Wit: Maybe they asked me more about it this time than that time. It depends on the questions asked of you.

Def: Is what I’ve read to you all you told them in November, or did you tell them more that hasn’t been recorded.

Wit: What you’ve read is what I told them. The only problem is where it states about the escape.

Def: Moving to something else: this is the meeting in December 1998 at Bockarie’s house. You gave us evidence last Friday about “Operation Free The Leader” and you told us last week that “Bockarie told us this plan was designed in Monrovia with Mr. Taylor.” Did you tell the prosecutors that when you were giving them a lot of detail about that meeting in November?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Let’s look at what’s been recorded. [references document] I will summarize these paragraphs. Para 48: You went through the names of the people at the meeting. Para 49: Witness states that Bockarie had arrived back from Burkina Faso with materials. Para 50: Discussion of a major operation called “Free the Leader”. Purpose was to take Freetown and free the leader. Para 51: Discussion of 2-flank entry into Freetown. Para 52: Jungle told them that Taylor said there could be no success without money, so they were to hit the main mining areas first. Para 53: Some suggested getting additional manpower from Liberia, but Bockarie rejected this. Para 54: Pademba Road as target. Para 55: Plan was to execute Kabbah and make Foday Sankoh president. Para 56: After meeting, Jungle spoke with Taylor about the meeting. That’s all you told the prosecutors about this in November. No reference there that this plan was designed in Monrovia with Taylor. If that’s the truth, why didn’t you tell prosecutors last November?

Wit: This says that Taylor was involved in this mission: that Jungle said that Taylor told him nothing succeeded without money so we should take the mining areas first. So that proves that Taylor was involved.

Def: Let’s look at the hand-written note. [references document] “Q: Did Jungle or CO Lion say anything about CT. A: Jungle said CT said there would be no success without money. That was why we should hit the mining areas first.” There’s nothing there about Taylor designing the whole plan?

Wit: If someone says to hit the important mining area, what do you think is different from “plan”?

Def: “There was to be a future meeting between Issa and the front-line commanders to discuss this plan, the 2-flank entry.” Did that meeting occur?

Wit: I cannot tell you whether the meeting was held, but the mission went on.

Def: So this meeting didn’t happen?

Judge Doherty: That’s not what he said.

Def: I’ll move on. Are you someone who reads or has read to you UN Security Council Resolutions?

[Brief interruption in video and audio]

Wit: …it could be VOA or BBC or some other station.

Def: So you listened to these programs?

Wit: Yes, at that time.

Def: What is VOA?

Wit: Voice of America.

Def: That’s one of the stations you listened to?

Wit: Only if I met the news.

Def: And when you refer to FM, are you talking about a particular program, or the FM band?

Wit: There are FM radio stations: BBC, VOA and other radio stations. There are a lot of local stations.

Def: Were you doing that regularly in the year 2000?

Wit: No, not frequently, because I had other duties.

Def: What were they?

Wit: I had military operations or other arrangements to attend to. I had my own personal arrangements to attend to.

Def: You don’t have military operations now?

Wit: No.

Def: So that doesn’t prevent you listening to the radio?

Wit: I have some personal operations that would not just allow me to listen to the radio. It’s my choice to listen to the radio or not.

Def: There is nothing to prevent you from listening to the radio this year?

Wit: There are a lot of things: even the batteries, or even the radio you listen to – I would have to buy it.

Def: When in 2000 did you make this trip at which you met Bockarie at his house?

Wit: At that time in 2000, it was almost at the end.

Def: Wasn’t this at the time you were involved with the cease-fire monitoring commission?

Wit: After the cease-fire monitoring.

Def: [references document] “Witness later taken by Yeaten to Monrovia and Sesay arrived the next day. Sesay went to see Taylor to get 50,000 dollars and ammunition…witness saw the money in a bag…went to Kono but cease-fire had been signed…received order not to let disarmament in Kailahun…witness put everything in place for disarmament…UN commander Daniel Opande thanked him.” It was peace time. So this trip to Monrovia when you say you met Bockarie occurred earlier in 2000 than the end.

Wit: It was the end. It was after May. At that time there was no cease fire any more. When we went for that mission, everything had broken down.

Def: Are you saying the prosecution got everything wrong that I just read?

Pros: I object. That was a long piece of information. He should focus the question.

Judge Sebutinde: You’ve gone through this once before and I don’t think the witness disagreed with anything. I, along with the witness, don’t understand the question.

Def: What you’ve just told us [references transcript] was that you met Bockarie after May. You said after you went there, “there was no cease-fire anymore. Before we went for that mission everything had broken down.”

Def: [references document] “Ammo and money taken to Kono, but it was peace time and most areas had disarmed.”

Wit: That’s what I said.

Def: Then why did you say there was no cease fire?

Wit: I said cease-fire monitoring, not cease-fire. Please listen carefully.

Def: You started by saying cease-fire monitoring, but then said “at that time there was no cease-fire anymore.” That’s different from what’s in paragraph seven, where you agreed you told the prosecution that it was peace time when the money and ammo were taken to Kono.

Wit: That’s right.

Def: I’ll move on. You’ve previously told the prosecution that Bockarie told you Taylor was concerned he might hand him over to the Sierra Leone government?

Wit: Taylor was worried about the Special Court.

Def: You’ve never mentioned the Special Court for Sierra Leone in any of your interviews?

Wit: I disagree.

Def: You appreciate that if I’m wrong on that the prosecution will point out my error. When you were interviewed by the prosecution, were you given money for your expenses in attending the interview?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Every time you were interviewed?

Wit: Every time they were responsible for my transport fare and feeding.

Def: Are you saying they actually gave you the money?

Wit: No. When I would come, they pay my transport. I would pay from my pocket and when I would come, they would reimburse.

Def: When you were first interviewed in February 2007, did you have expenses?

Wit: When they met me in Kenema? Yes.

Def: Did you have expenses?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were interviewed on 27 March in Freetown. Did that involve you in any personal expenditure which was then reimbursed?

Wit: To go to Freetown involves money.

Def: Were you given money for those expenses?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Were you working then?

Wit: What type of work?

Def: Any kind?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did the fact that you’d gone to see the prosecution result in a loss of earnings at that time?

Wit: I would not say that one made me to lose money because I was willing to go and testify. But my transport fare was refunded to me.

Def: [references document] This is a record of monies spent by the prosecution in connection with your giving information to them. There are a number of receipts listed here. The first three deal with November 2007. Then there’s a receipt for 8 December 2007 for transport. You were interviewed in October 31 and 1 November. The payments on 1 November related to those interviews?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You said there were reimbursed expenses in February and March last year, but there’s no record here of you being given anything by the prosecution at the end of February last year?

Wit: Whatever is on the document. Everything was listed.

Judge Doherty: Were you given anything by the prosecution at the end of February last year?

Wit: Before answering, I would like to know where the meeting was held.

Def: These are the two initial interviews: 28 February and 27 March 2007. For the moment, we’re focused on 28 February in Kenema.

Wit: Yes. The first time they met with me I had money from them.

Def: We have no record of that. On 8 December you were paid 20,000 Leones for transport. You’d finished being interviewed on 1 November, then about five weeks later, you were paid for transport. In fact there are two receipts, one for 20,000 and another for 22,000 for transport/lost wages. Were you seen by the prosecution in December 2008?

Wit: I don’t think December 2008 has reached yet.

Def: December 2007?

Wit: What I want to say about this: whenever we would meet, they would give me some money because I would pay transport to come.

Def: What was it you were doing with the prosecution in December 2007? Were you being interviewed?

Wit: I believe that whatever we were doing is on the document. I did not record it. Whatever we did is documented.

Def: We don’t have any documents of any interviews from December 2007. That’s why I’m asking you.

Wit: You should know the reason why the money was given to me. You cannot just see someone and give him money because he is handsome.

Judge Doherty: There’s no record of an interview of an interview in December 2007, but there are records of two payments.

Wit: I cannot recall if I saw them in December 2007.

Def: Did you ever go see them and not give them information?

Wit: If they invited me for an interview, I must have given them information. I did not keep records.

Def: Monday 4 February 2008, you were given 15,000 for a cell top-up card for communication with your family. Do you remember being given that?

Wit: They bought it for me. They would write down the amount for whatever was bought for me.

Def: [references another document] This is a memorandum of the witness expenses incurred in relation to you by a department of the court called the Witness and Victims Section, or WVS. “Witness attendance allowance – to date a total 816,000 Leones; medical expenses, [another category], and miscellaneous expenses. Grand total is over 2.5 million Leones since 25 March last year. What is witness attendance allowance?

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: Did you get a weekly or monthly amount of money to live on?

Wit: [laughs] No.

Def: What does this mean?

Wit: My understanding is that any time I met with them, I paid my transport costs and return. I was based in Kailahun and was mining. Whenever they invited me I would come and they were responsible for my transportation. Whenever I was with them, they would give me 16,000 Leones on a daily basis.

Def: Who did?

Wit: WVS office. Every day I was with them, they would give me 16,000 Leones. Even when I was invited for…

Def: For further what?

Wit: Further?

Judge Sebutinde: You said a word we didn’t catch.

Wit: I said they gave me 16,000 Leones every day I was with them.

Def: Do you think the 816,000 Leones is that money – the 16,000 per day?

Wit: I cannot tell you.

Def: They’ve not given us more information. You told us yesterday that you arrived here sometime in April?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Are you absolutely sure about that?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Were you here in February?

Wit: I arrived here in April.

Def: I want to ask you about a matter that I’m told involves you. Is this the case: that the WVS staff here in The Netherlands discovered soft drugs brought by you to The Netherlands from Freetown?

Wit: Which type of drugs?

Def: I was told soft drugs.

Wit: I don’t know about that.

Def: Have you been spoken to by two ladies in WVS about bringing soft drugs to The Netherlands from Freetown?

Wit: Yes. People have been telling me that.

Def: Which people have been telling you what?

Wit: The people you mentioned, two ladies, yes.

Def: I’m not asking about two ladies asking you about drugs found in your possession. Were soft drugs found in your possession?

Wit: No.

Def: Madame President, when this information was originally given to us, the TF1 number given to us was the same as this one, but in a different sequence. We’ve inquired from the prosecution that this was the witness in question in this document. That’s why I’m being tentative here. We’ve attempted to clarify whether it was this witness or a different witness with the same three numbers in a different order. Could the prosecution assist?

Judge Doherty: Ms. Bailey?

Prosecutor Julia Bailey: I just need to confer. [prosecution team confers] Can we make a request that we be shown the document that Mr. Munyard has?

Def: Certainly. I think it was sent by the prosecution. I was told by a member of the prosecution that it was WVS who got the numbers wrong in that document.

[prosecution team reviews document, confers]

Pros: We can confirm that 517 should be 571. But this document does not show that these drugs were found in the possession of the witness.

Def: [to witness]: When you said that two ladies talked to you about drugs, what did they say?

Wit: They invited me into their office. It was a woman and one white man. They interviewed me and told me they heard that when I was traveling that I had brought marijuana with me. I told them no, it was wrong information. I told them I did not smoke. I told them they could check in my room. I did not bring marijuana with me and I do not smoke it.

Def: Let me read this. Was the man called Mr. Rash [ph]?

Wit: Rash?

Def: Mr. Alex?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was there a lady called Nancy who was interpreting?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The report we have says that “This afternoon I discussed the issue of the soft drugs brought from Freetown. Client mentioned he didn’t bring soft drugs to The Netherlands for other clients. Client is not a smoker.” There is nothing in this report that suggests you did not bring soft drugs from Freetown. Did you deny to Mr. Alex that you had brought soft drugs to The Netherlands from Freetown?

Wit: I denied it. I continue to deny it.

Def: What did he tell you about where these drugs were found?

Wit: I did not know if he found drugs. When I arrived, he called me and he said they heard I’d brought marijuana to The Netherlands. I said no, I hadn’t. I don’t even smoke.

Def: I have no other questions for this witness.

Prosecutor Julia Bailey will conduct the re-examination:

Pros: This morning the defense asked about the killing of B.S. Massaquoi. He showed you notes from an interview in November 2007. [references document] You said you did not tell the evidence that you never said Massaquoi aided the escape of Momoh and Kpaka. Did anyone aid their escape?

Wit: yes.

Pros: Who?

Wit: I was the number one person.

Pros: Does that relate to the evidence you gave this court last Friday?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: When you say you were the number one person, what does that mean?

Wit: Lamin Kpaka was a boy child. He was called Battle Group. He met us, he discussed with us and Manoweh. We informed him that the man had plans to kill him, so he should find a way to escape.

Pros; Who was the man who had plans to kill them?

Wit: Sam Bockarie.

Pros: What did you mean you were number one?

Wit: I took part in their escape.

Pros; Were there others who contributed to their escape?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Yesterday Mr. Munyard asked about the Dec 1998 at Sam Bockarie’s house. During the questioning, he read a list of people to you. There was a name, “Martin”. You agreed he was there. Who was Martin?

Wit: Martin was a Sierra Leonean. The satellite and computer Sam Bockarie had – he worked on them. He was an operator for Bockarie.

Pros: Do you know his full name?

Wit: That is what we called him.

Pros: My final question relates to Saj Musa. Mr. Munyard read a portion of an interview you had on 1 November with prosecutors on that particular issue. I’m going to read to you from March 2008 interview notes. [references document] Did you say this to prosecutors: “During meeting Bockarie referred to Saj Musa as a traitor and those on the mission should go all out to get rid of him…Bockarie said Musa should not live to tell the story…Gullit and Bockarie had been friendly since the overthrow…Gullit and Bockarie had been conniving…those at the meeting were told by Bockarie that Gullit had been given the job of getting rid of Musa during the operation…Bockarie said they could only get rid of Musa in an operation as it was easier this way.”?

Wit: Yes [to all]

Pros: I have no further questions.

Judge Doherty thanks and excuses the witness. The witness leaves the stand.

Pros: I have some documents to tender into evidence.

With one exception, defense has no objection to any of documents and Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty orders that the items marked for identification be entered into evidence.

Defense objects to prosecution request to enter a UN Security Council resolution into evidence because it was not introduced through the witness. Prosecution responds that the document demonstrates that the Special Court for Sierra Leone had been contemplated in 2000, contrary to the defense point during cross-examination that the court had not existed at the time the witness claimed Taylor had been concerned about it.

Judge Sebutinde: But you had a chance to ask about this document on re-examination and you didn’t.

Pros: There would have been no point because on cross-examination the witness said he was unfamiliar with Security Council documents. But the document is relevant to the evidence of this witness.

[Judges confer for 5-10 minutes.]

Presiding Judge Teresa Doherty has ruled, but due to interruptions in the video and audio feed, it is not clear what that ruling was.

Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp calls the next witness, former Liberian President Moses Blah. Blah takes the stand, wearing a dark suit, light shirt, purple tie, and gold tie clip. He swears on the Bible to tell the truth.

Prosecutor Rapp asks a series of short questions and the witness relates the following, in English:

Wit: My name is Moses Zeh Blah. I’m Liberian. I’m a retired president of Liberia. I was president for about two months, August-October 11 2003. I was born in Tapeta, lower Nimba County, Liberia. I’m of the Gio tribe. The Gio live in Nimba County, in Ivory Coast and Liberia. I went to school 1958 through 1967. I attended Tapeta primary and secondary schools. I completed secondary school, then went to LAMCO Vocational School. That’s the Liberian-American Mining Company. I was trained as a general mechanic and operation of a pellet plant to turn iron ore into iron in a blast furnace. I was there for about two years. I completed the course and worked there. I obtained a diploma as a general mechanic. I worked for LAMCO for about a year and a half. I worked in the pellet plant, in the operation room. The LAMCO plant is in Burkina, Liberia. I was there until 1977. After LAMCO, I retired because of the heat in the plant. I traveled to Germany to visit a brother and decided to study briefly at a language institute in Hamburg and I studied German, English and French. I was there for about a year. After that I came to Liberia in 1980. When I came, there was war in 1980. The new government had taken place.

Def: What happened?

Wit: Samuel Kanyon Doe had taken power.

Def: Did you attempt to gain employment?

Wit: Yes, I was invited by the commanding general of the army, Thomas Quiwonkpa to work at the Bureau of Reacquisition.

Def: What did that bureau do?

Wit: In charge of taking properties from officials of Tolbert’s government – the government that had been overthrown. Those properties were to be managed. That was the job, to return the properties to the proper owners.

Def: Did Quiwonkpa have a role in the coup?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Where were you assigned?

Wit: Nimba County.

Def: What were you to do?

Wit: Make sure the properties were returned to the rightful owner.

Judge Doherty: It’s time for the mid-morning break.

11:32 (12:02 with the delay in video and audio): Court adjourns. Proceedings will resume at 12:00.



  1. To Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp. I want to ask you this question and I really want you to give me the right answer. If you are bringing Former Moses Blah to testify it will be very good for us to hear from Hon. Prince Johnson. When I was in Liberia for the Liberia TRC public hearing he told me that he was with Former President Charles Taylor in Libya. For us the Liberians to know the whole truth you as Cheif Prosecutor Stephen Rapp will need to get him to come over Hage so that we can hear his own story. He said he can tell you send them to Libya.
    Is Hon. Prince Johnson protecting some people in Liberia? Is he been paid for what he did to us? Why are you bringing Moses Blah leaving Hon. Prince Johnson?
    We need to hear from him too……………………….

  2. Benjamin Yeaten, Charles Taylor, Moses Blah and Prince Johnson where all in Libya at the same time, It will have be nice of you to bring Moses Blah and Prince Johnson to The Trial of Charles Taylor at the same that. Is it because he is Hon.Senetor of Nimba County and Moses Blah is not in the Government now? If Moses Blah can remember Benjamin Yeaten he can also remember Prince Johnson.
    Moses Blah said he protect civilians. What is the diffirence between protecting civilians and recuiting young boys to finght?
    Moses Blah have told you that they moved to Tripoli, Libya, the 22 of us flew Aeroflot to Tripoli. Prince Johnson was one of he 22 that went with them.
    Please bring Hon. Prince Johnson to where Moses Blah is ring now. He is not fit to be Senetor for Liberia people.
    He is not better then all of them.

  3. I think it was also be prudent to invite President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to questioning since the court wants detail about the war in Liberia. Ellen was part of the formation of the NPFL. It won’t be justice if she left out of the question. She highly supported the struggle that brought war in the region for the first time.

  4. Yes, I agree with him. The court needs to send a subpoena for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to appear and explain about the formation of the NPFL which gave birth to the RUF.

  5. I now understand the reason why Moses Blah remained vice president up to taylor’s departure: he is an IDIOT. Our “ex-president” is not smarter than a western pet.His IQ is deplorable.

  6. I think it will be wise that Mr. Benjamin Yeaten commonly known at the time as unit 50 and also Hon. Prince Y. Johnson,be invited to the Hage also to testified while Mr. Blah is there.Because these er people who names i usually used to hear at the time,so don’t leave then out of this whole Taylor issue.

  7. I thing every man should be pay for their job well done.
    For me as an individual, I need all those war lords in Liberia to be judge accordingly. They were the want that cause the problem but when push came to suff they all stepped back and said it is Taylor.
    Leaving these people among us as Liberian we feel that the aim(s) of the UN Back court is not yet met.
    We have a saying in Liberia that says, “one single cent cannot make noise”
    God bless you all in the UN Court as God will pay you all for your job well done. Please don’t leave the fact untouched.

    Dormu S. Kollie
    Data Base Personnel
    Liberia Bio Research Center

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