1:21 Prosecution finishes direct examination of Moses Blah; court adjourns early at request of defense

12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio): Chief Prosecutor Stephen Rapp is continues his direct examination of former Liberian President Moses Blah.

Pros: [shows witness and the court a fifth photo] Do you recognize anyone in this photo?

Wit: On the left, former President Taylor. On the right is Mr. Musa Cisse, and at the extreme right is Joe Montgomery. And the lady with the red…I will have to think about her name.

Pros: To be clear, what is Musa Cisse wearing?

Wit: A white shirt and a gray suit.

Pros: [shows witness a sixth photo] Do you recognize anyone?

Wit: Yes. Here is the aid d’camp to Taylor – Momoh Gibba – in the military suit. And here is President Taylor. And this is Njaye, and this man here is from Côte d’Ivoire – he used to be Charge d’Affaires for Côte d’Ivoire – I don’t know his name. On the right is Joe Montgomery.

Pros: What were the nationalities of Gibba and Njaye?

Wit: Gibba is a Liberian and Njaye is Gambian.

Pros: [shows a seventh photo] Do you recognize anyone?

Wit: I see Cyril Allen, the former chairman of the National Patriotic Party, former President Taylor, then, of course, Moses Blah.

Pros: When was this?

Wit: I can’t remember. The way I see it, it was out of Monrovia like Gbarnga, Ganta.

Pros: What position were you in at the time?

Wit: By then I was vice president of Liberia. I had this shirt when I was vice president.

Pros; I see this wooden stick in Taylor’s hand. What is that?

Wit: A walking stick. It’s for older people.

Pros: I see carving on it. Is there any significance to that?

Wit: I wouldn’t know. Some leaders and big military people have their own reasons for holding a walking stick. I have mine, but no reason except for support to my leg.

[The seven photographs are marked for identification at the request of the prosecution.]

Pros: In your testimony, you’ve indicated you followed the news on BBC. Do you remember hearing any reports about the invasion of Freetown?

Wit: Yes, I remember that Freetown was being attacked. I remember.

Pros: [requests that a document be placed before the witness – a BBC News article: “Freetown bears the scars”] Would you look at this document? [witness reads silently] Is this consistent with the reports you heard over the BBC?

Wit: Yes, I remember the reporter named here, Mark Doyle.

[Document is marked for identification at the request of the prosecution.]

Pros: You mentioned to us that you visited Sierra Leone after you became president of Liberia. Was that visit reported on in the press?

Wit: Yes, I held a press conference in Sierra Leone and even before I left, we had a press conference in Monrovia.

Pros: [requests that a document be placed before the witness – an article from the Sierra Leone News Archive] Would you take a look at this document? [witness reads silently] Is this news report consistent with your recollection of your visit?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Who is shown in the picture?

Wit: Former President Blah and former President Kabbah of Sierra Leone. We were trying to embrace each other.

[Document is marked for identification at prosecution request.]

Pros: Is the report accurate when it reflects what you said to Kabbah?

Wit: Yes.

Pros; You indicated in your testimony that you also followed Liberian newspapers. Have you been shown any articles that you can identify and remember?

Wit: No, not until I see. There were a lot of articles.

Pros: [requests that a document be shown to the witness – an article from the “Daily Times”] Do you recall seeing this newspaper before?

Wit: Yes, I have seen this paper before in Liberia – way back in 1998.

Pros: Do you remember when you saw any of the stories from that newspaper?

Wit: Yes.

[Document is marked for identification at the request of the prosecution.]

Judge Sebutinde: I’m not sure which of the stories you want to draw our attention to.

Pros: Do you remember the stories with regard to guns and rice being traded for diamonds?

Wit: Yes.

[brief interruption in video and audio]

Pros: …this story “NPFL burns 200 Alive”?

Wit: Yes, I read the story in the newspaper.

Pros: Do you remember anything about the event reported in the newspaper?

Wit: I remember it was the time the enemy…

[brief disruption in audio and video]

Pros: …newspaper before? This issue?

Wit: Yes, I remember.

Pros: Do you recall any of these articles specifically?

Wit: Yes, it has to do with this ambush in River Cess, in which a businessman died. He was killed and one of our commanders escaped unharmed and went into the bush for about a week. He was later discovered and brought to safety. It started in Grand Gedeh, one evening when I was there for inspection. It was dark and they wanted me to escort them to River Cess as inspector. I said it was not safe and told them that headlights would bring an ambush. I told them my jeep needed to be repaired. I went to Tapeta to go to the garage. The next morning I heard about the ambush. It was a terrible ambush. It was between River Cess and Grand Bassa in the oil palm plantation….

[brief disruption in video and audio]

Wit: …to the president. And he had all rights to command me to do all things within his powers.

Pros: Were you familiar with the constitution of the country of Liberia?

Wit: I must be familiar with it. I was vice president and president of the Senate of Liberia.

Pros: [asks that a document be shown to the witness – the Liberian Constitution] Are you familiar with this document?

Wit: Yes, the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.

Pros: Is it the constitution that was in effect when you were vice-president and president?

Wit: This is the law of Liberia – the laws that govern the structure of the state. It describes the division of powers. These are the various laws that guide the country.

Pros: I see on the last page: October 1983. Was this constitution still in effect when you were vice-president and president of Liberia?

Wit: I didn’t see this, but this is the law. The guidelines you see out of this laws and drawn from the constitution of Liberia. It is still the constitution, but a lot of changes went on, but not much.

[Document is marked for identification at the request of the prosecution.]

Pros: [requests that another document be placed before the witness: “Liberian codes, revised”] Can you go to the document, six pages from the back…Are you familiar with the Special Security Service of Liberia?

Wit: I’m familiar with the law that established the Special Security Service of Liberia.

Pros: Does this appear to be the law that you’re familiar with?

Wit: Yes, under our laws the appointment and duties of the director are spelled out here. This is correct, these are his duties.

[Document is marked for identification at the request of the prosecution.]

Pros: Was this law in effect when you were president?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Was it in effect when Charles Taylor was president?

Wit: Exactly.

Pros: I have one final question. Why did you decide to provide information to the Special Court for Sierra Leone?

Wit: Because I decided to comply with the international court. I took this decision on my own that I must comply with the court. And also, if it had to do with the National Patriotic Front and I came a long way from the start to the front, I must have had knowledge of things that happened in the country in these times, so I saw it necessary to do these things.

Prosecutor Rapp says he has no further questions for the witness.

Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths: Before I begin, I have an application to make. During the short adjournment this morning I was given an 18-page autopsy report from the prosecution on the death of Sam Bockarie. I have not had an opportunity to look at this document before. Seeing as the death of Sam Bockarie was central in this witness’s testimony, I would request that the court adjourn early so that I may have an opportunity to read through this document in detail, and then begin the cross-examination on Monday morning.

Pros: I’m informed by my case manager that this document was first disclosed to the defense in February 2007. It was only brought again to the attention of the defense this morning in light of Rule 68 and the possibility that it may contradict the witness’s evidence. But I have no objection to the application if the defense requires more time.

Judge Doherty: As there is no objection, we will grant the application and the court will adjourn early. The counsel for the defense was not counsel at the time the document was served.

12:51 (1:21 with the delay in video and audio): Court adjourns.

Proceedings will resume Monday morning at 9:30 as the defense begins its cross-examination of Moses Blah.


  1. The Prosecution is grabbing for straws with Blah’s testimony. He testified 90% percent more about events in Liberia then what he knew about Sierra Leone. Things are looking better for Mr. Taylor everyday.

  2. Webmaster,

    There has been no expert analysis on this trial for sometime now. Please let us have an opinion on how your experts feel the Prosecution is doing so far. As can be seen from this site the majority of bloggers feel the Prosecution has been week todate.

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