Court resumes at 2:30pm. Defense counsel Griffiths continues cross-examination of Blah.
Def: The documenets i have referred you to, do they express the mode in Liberia at the time regarding the accusations being made against Taylor’s goivernment?
Def: Can i ask the the first document ” UN Security Council” dated 9th June, 1998, be marked for identfication, MFI-31?
Def: The next document is headed Liberia’s response to allegations of her in volevement in the Sierra Leone civil war, marked for identificatioin MFI-32. The next doc is behind divider 32…headed “UN Security Council dated …from the Permanent Representative of Liberia…Marked MFI-33…next document marked MFI-34…next document marked MFI-35. I want to move on to another topic now please. In 1999, a rebellion began against Taylor by LURD right?
Def: And LURD were responsible for committing attrocities?
Def: And they were allied to and controlled by the Guinean government right?
Def: Lets look at defense bundle behind divider one at page 20, this is a document, a briefing paper created by Human Rights Watch, page 21, it alleges that LURD got immense military support from Guinean government. Are you aware of such foreign support?
Def: As a result of this suppurt, LURD were able to control Northern Liberia, particularly in Lofa County right?
Def: And with supprt from Cote D’Voire, they emerged in the southern part of Liberia right?
Def: And at that time, Liberia had difficulty defending itself because of UN sanctions, and was therefore besieged in a small area in Monrovia right?
Def: And Monrovia was subject to mortar attacks in the events leading to Taylor’s departure from Liberia, and people were dying right?
Def: And there were three US war ships patrolling the waters, while their gunships were patroling Liberia, and there were reports that said US helicopters were dropping ammunitions to LURD rebels right?
Def: And MODEL had captured certain counties, and your home had been captured by rebels right?
Def: And Taylor went to Ghana for peace talks right?
Def: And while he was away, you spoke to officials at the US embassy?
Wit: They spoke to me?
Def: But you spoke to each other when Taylor was out of the country?
Def: Bearing in mind the American presence in and around Liberia at the time, what would you think if you were Taylor and you heard that your vice was talking to the people besieging the country, what would you think?
Wit: The best thing to do was to investiogate why i was speaking to the Americans.
Def: Please show the witness MFI-28. Please go to page 16 of that document. You’ll see that article 76 of the Liberian constitution provides what constitutes treason. In the situation in which you were speaking to the Americans, would you blame Taylor for considering it an act of treason?
Wit: I’ll blame him because he’ll need to check what i spoke to the Americans about. I answered questions to them.
Def: Did they say to you that Taylor will not be coming back to Liberia?
Def: Did they say you should take over the givernment?
Def: Did they say you will have American backing if you took over power?
Def: Prior to that time, did you have any conversations with them?
Def: Do you know why it was you that they wanted to talk to?
Wit: It was because i was the vice president and they just wanted to ask me questions. I told them the president will be returning. We did not discuss any coup d’etat
Def: Do you agree that it was insensitive to be having such conversations with people that were bent on removing your president from power?
Wit: It didnt have to do with overthrowing Taylor. They were concerned about the activities of the ATU and they wanted to know how we’ll control them.
Def: I am not saying you were planning a coup, i am just saying you should put yourself in Taylor’s shoes, didnt you think he’ll be suspicious of you when he came from Ghana?
Wit: I think he should have investigated, and not just to come and arrest your vice president. What happened is that even the ministers came to me and said i should go to radio stations and announce that the president had been indicted and i refused. I said that was betrayel. Yeaten went on radio, just an ordinary security personal to talk about the presidnet, is it right?
Def: Did you feel insulted by the fact that it was Yeaten that made that announcement?
wit: It was bad for him to go and do that while i was present.
Def: You were arrested and put under house arrest?
Def: You were allowed visitors?
Wit: It was just my wife
Def: Your wife was given assurances that the matter will be investigated by Taylor?
Wit: That was at a latter date. I’d been in jail for 10 days, it was later that my wife told me that.
Judge Sebutinde: Did you say that your wife bribed her way to see you?
Wit: yes after 10 days, but she was later allowed, but she first bribed her way.
Def: You were placed under house arrest under Joe Toeh’s house?
Wit: You consider this thing house arrest, i was tortured.
Def: How could your wife have bribed her way into that house when she will have to pass by Yeaten’s house?
Wit: There are other ways to go to the hoiuse
Def: I suggest that your wife was allowed to see you. In any event, Taylor’s governmemnt became nonviable because of the pressure from the US and the rebels. Do you agree?
Wit: I dont know how he was feeling at the time
Def: That was the context in which it was agreed that he’ll step down. Do you agree?
Wit: He will have to say that.
Def:L You will know the terms under which he had agreed to step down right?
wit: I did not know when he was leaving Liberia until the announcement was made at the mansion.
Def: Your president was leaving Liberia, you were taking over, and you did not know?
Wit: The truth is that i did not know that he was leaving on that day. Other presidents came and Taylor made the speech that he was leaving. The Chief Justice came and said i have to take over. Taylor wanted someone else to succeed him but the constitution says the vice should take over. I was confused.
Def: Your honour, please grant me leave as Mr. Taylor wants to consult with me on a matter.
Hudge Dougherty: Granted.
Def: Let me see if i can jug your memory as to what occured when you took over power. Taylor wrote a letter to the Legislature informing members that on the 11th of Aug, he’ll be resigning and you’ll be taking over according to the constitution, you didnt know about that?
Wit: I didnt know
Def: And a protocol was organized to hand over pwoer to you?
Wit: The protocols were to take the president to Nigeria?
Defg: Were you not invited to Taylor’s house where you discussed him handing over power to you?
Wit: I cant remember
Def: Was it not that a ceremony was organized where power was handed over to you infront of the four heads of state?
Wit: It happend but i didnt know it was going to happen. What happend is that there was the speaker of the house who was Taylor’s friend who was chosen and the Legislature was angry. Lots of things happened that i cant get into. He was not willing to hand over to me. I only knew when we went to the mansion and it was done in a hurry, because the other African leaders wanted to leave. he was not willing to do it.
Def: The people of Liberia are listening to this. Let me ask again. Are you saying that you only knew he was leaving on the day he left?
Def: You were aware that he was going into exile to Nigeria?
Wit: No. What i knew was that he was leaving the country but didnt know his destination. He was saying that he will fight until the last man died but he would not leave. I knew he was in Nigeria but before then, no.
Def: When did you know he was going to Nigeria?
Wit: When he had already left.
Def: When he was going with all that media attention, you didnt know where he was going?
Wit: He was leaving with four heads of state, how would i know he was going with one particular president?
Def: So it was only after the event that you knew he was in Nigeria. Is that fair?
Wit: It was fair, when he wanted to get somebody else in power when the constitution said i was to take over.
Def: Please show the witness the final document in the defense binder. This is a transcript of a CNN news report, a press conference by the presidents of Liberia and Nigeria. With this transcript, are you saying you did not know where he was going?
Wit: Taylor even at the time of his departure, he was saying that he might even go to the midddle east, etc. Maybe after putting me in jail, he didnt trust me to say where he was going. You could pity me for that.
Def: Are you saying you didnt have a clue as to where he was going until the day he left?
Wit: I knew he was going but didnt know where he was going. He was calling names of different countries he might go to.
Def: Are you saying you didnt know you will be president until the day you were sworn in?
Wit: I did not know. By the constitution, i knew but by Taylor, he wanted his friend to take over.
Def: I put it to you that you knew you’ll be presidnet and that he’ll go to Nigeria. And you also knew that the indictment will not have any effect. It was also an act of betrayal that led to his arrest and transfer to Sierra Leone by Nigeria right?
Wit: Refering to whom?
Def: It was an act of betrayal when Taylor was handed over to the Sierra leonean authorities, right?
Def: that is all i ask but there is some house keeping that i need to do with some documents. Can i ask that the material behind bundle one be marked. There are five news reports and the Human Rights Watch briefing begining at page 25. the total number of pages is 53.
Judge Dougherty: We’ll give each of those reports a,b,c letters
A brief exchange between Defense Counsel Griffiths and Judge Dougherty on number of documents:
Def/Judge: Very well. If we start at page one, that will be MFI-36a, Page 2 is the second report, MFI-36b, page 5 becomes 36c, page 6 becomes 36d, page 9 becomes 36e, page 13 becomes 36f, page 18 becomes 36g, Human Rights Watch briefing becomes 36h.
Def: The photograph has already been marked MFI-30. We can then move to behind divider three which is a four page document headed :Autopsy Report” becomes MFI-37. Behind divider four please, one page document “Affidavit of Jusu Momoh” becomes MFI-38. CNN Transcript becomes MFI-39. Finally behind divider six, headed “In the High Court of Justice…between Charles Taylor and Times Newspaper” becomes MFI-40.
Judge: And that completes your cross-examination?
Prosecution starts re-examination of witness Blah.
Pros: Thank you very much. yesterday def asked you about your medical conditions and the subpoena. you talked about your security, can you tell us what the security problems are?
Wit: Well we have problems with armed robbers in Liberia, there are several ways to enter my premises, and there is no light in Liberia, so i needed security. With the threats about me testifying through leaflets, it has become dangerous for me.
Pros; Besides the leafelets, are there any other threats?
Wit: Besides that, there are threats from two other persons. One is called Johnson who has said that i’ll be attacked in the streets or my children will be abducted if they go to school. The other person says he is taking me to court because i said that the Maritime Commission did not report any money to me or the minister of finance. Right now, there is a writ waiting for me upon my arrival at the airport. Just there days ago, two men attacked and beat my daugeter on her way from school.
Pros: Defense counsel asked you about the shipmemnt of arms from Cote D’Voire. Who held those arms for your people in Cote D’Voire
Wit: They were kept by the defense minister of Cote D’Voire.
Pros: Def put it to you that Isaac Musa was a coward and he was replaced. What positions did he hold thereafter?
Wit: He came in and he was in Kakata as some commander in the town, making sure that things were in order there.
Pros: Did he hold a position later on order than that one?
Wit: When Taylor became president, he became military adviser to the president.
Prost: The def mentioned some traininig program in Yeaten’s town, are you aware?
Wit: No it was held in a town similar to that of Yeaten’s town. Yeaten’s village is called Tiah Play and the training took place in Teeh Play. Thats where the training was taking plane
Pros: What do you know of that training progran?
Wit: The training started when i was in Cote D’Voire and there is a bush road from there to where the training was taking place. They will tell people that they were going to Cote D’Voire and they will use the bush road to go to the training ground.
Def: Now that the spellings have been clarified, can we determine where these places are on the map of Liberia?
Pris: Where in Cote D’Voire were you located during this traning.
Wit: I was in Danane and thats where i saw a group of boys who said they were going for training
Pros: So how far are these two places with similar names from each other?
Wit: They are very far from each other?
Pros. Was Taylor in Liberia at that time?
Wit: Yes he was there and Prince Johnson had gone to Teeh Play to train his own men, faking Taylor that he was fighting for him but after his training, he broke away. But there was also serious training in Gborplay where Taylor was based.
Pros: You have talked about the establishment of the headquers in Gborplay, prior to that, was he always based in Liberia?
Wit: he spent most of his time in Cote D’Voire, He came around often to check on how things were going on.
Pros: The def asked you a out cross border activities that took plavce between Liberia and Sierra Leone and later the closure of the border between the two countries. Was it possible to control borders during this time?
Wit: The border that i can say something about is with Cote D’Voire and that one with Sierra Leone was very far from me so i dont know.
Pros: Earlier today, def read some UN reports and talked about some proposal by Taylor to close the border with Liberia to put pressure on RUF, how did you know that this will bring pressure on Liberia?
Wit: It was on radio and thats how i knew about it.
Pros: In terms of your own knowledge, would it have been possible to close the border with Sierra Leone?
Wiot: I am not acquanited with the borders, but what i heard on radio was that the border was being closed between the two countries. I did not go to the border to verify. For Cote D’Voire, i can confirm that it was wide open.
Pros: You were asked about the 1996 assasination attempt against Taylor, you said Gen. Johnson was killed in that incident, what groups were fighting in that incident.
Wit: Well these were different people, from ULIMO J, the Krahns, madingoes, about seven groups. The gunmen were never caught but we concluded that it was ULIMIO J that did this.
Pros; So was there a later conflict with ULIMO J
Pros: What part did ULIMO J fight on?
Wit: ULIMO K had come to our side and so ULIMO J was isolated.
Pros: How long was ULIMO K on the side of Taylor
Wit: For a long time, until when their leader Koroma was scared of the fighting in Liberai, he went by foot to Guinea. It was for less than two years.
Prso: Do you know what Zulu was accused of when he was investigated?
Wit: He was a lawless fellow. I realised that when i was inspector General. he did many illegal things. He was also a commander in Naama area. Thats in Bong County.
Pros: Who conducted the investigation?
Wit:I would not know. H ran away and wanted to cause problems and Taylor said he’ll handle him himself.
Ptos: Def also asked about the guy who raped a 13 year old girl?
Wit: Yes, that was John Warner and i said i did not know about it.
Pros: Were you involved in high level meetings involving investigation of NPFL
Wit: for criminal matters, yes, but military matters, i was not involved.
Pros: Were you present at any meetings when Taylor gave orders to his men regarding operations in Sierra Leone?
Wit: My radio operator told me about a few people who were fighting in Sierra leone.
Pros: When Sankoh came with his report about Taylor’s men in Sierra leone, were you invited to that meeting?
Pros: Were you present in meetings regarding secret operations or arms operations?
Pros: What about when you were ambassador to Libya and Tunisia?
Wit: No. I know that Ghadafi told me to tell Taylor to stay away from Sankoh because that might put him into problems with the int. community.
Prso; Did you have any discussions with Taylor regarding the invasion of Freetown?
Pros: When you were VP were you involved in high level meetings involving operational matters?
Wit: No. I was involved in meetings dealing with state matters where there were problems in some counties.
Pros: Were you involved in any meetings regardimng the situation in S.L when you were VP?
Def: What about issues regarding arms and ammunition?
Wit: No. I was involved in state matters regarding the senate, etc.
Pros; did Taylor ever discuss diamonds with you?
Pros; Would you have expected him to have such discussions with you?
Wit: Yes but he never did
Pros: Def asked you about ex-combatants and housiong in Liberia. I recall you saying in your testimnony that excombatants blocked the streets in Sinkor area. Is that so?
Wit: yes they are there all over the place up to this day begging all over the place
Pros: You are talking about the present and lets go to the past, did such problens take place in the area you specified?
Wit: they were there but no body will know where they lived. I did not see the house that was provided for them by goivernment.
Pros: Def asked you about free speech during Taylor’s regime. Do you know Star Radio?
Wit: Yes. They were closed down in 2000 and they are only coming back now. They were anti to government and so government decided to close it down.
Pros: Are you familiar with Radio Veritas?
Pros: Do you know what happend to them in 2000.
Pros: What about New Democrat?
Pros: Do you know Sueh Dede, do you know who he was in Taylor’s regime?
Wit: His father had a position in Traylor’s government and he was a child soldier behind his father, moving around and causing problems. He was a little boy but his father had a bad reputation.
Pros: Do you know a journalist called Sorioius Samnura?
Pros: Do you remember a group of journalists coming to Monrovia in 2000, from CNN, BBC, etc.
Wit: Yes, a lot of journalists came when i was VP.
Pros: Do you know a situation of foreign journalits detained in Liberia in 2000?
Wit: Yes, they were held but later released. I dont know the details. I cant tell why they were detained.
Pros: During the time of Taylor’s presidency, what bands did radios transmit on?
Wit: They transmitted on FM.
Pros: Prior to the Taylor presidency, were there short wave radios?
Wit: Yes, government wanted to close the government radio and replace it with Taylor radio but the people said no.
Pros: Are you familiar with the Liberian communication network?
Wit: Yes, its is ELBC. It is the Liberian Broadcasting Corporation, but we call it EL.
Judge: Mr. Rapp, we are almost out of time and so what do you think?
Pros: Well i have about 30 mins more of redirect and we have exhibits to tender.
Judge: In that case we’ll adjourne and resume tomorrow morning.
Court adjourned at 4:30pm.
I did not believe anything Mr. Blah said, even if some of it was the true. Because he was lying most of the time. Everyone in the world knew that the American goverement was behind the coup of Taylor when he was at the peace meeting and everyone in the world knew that Taylor was going to Nigeria when he step down. How did the Vice Pres. soon to been President did not know.
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