Defense commences cross-examination of witness Samuel Kargbo.
Def: Mr. Witness, I am going to ask you certain questions relating to the testimony you have given before this Court. I want you to answer the questions slowly and if there is anything that you don’t understand, feel free to tell me and I’ll rephrase the question. Now, can we go through the document that you have just read, that is, the minutes of the family reunion meeting that was held between the AFRC and the RUF . You said you went to school up to Form 3. At what age did you leave school?
Wit: At 19
Def: So it’s right that you can write and read English, right?
def: So these minutes of the family reunion meeting, can you tell me who wrote these minutes?
Wit: Well, Leatherboot prepared this document and gave it to us one to two weeks after the meeting.
Def: And you still have a copy of it?
Def: Can you tell us what the need was for reconciliation between Sankoh and JPK?
Wit: Well, when they came to town, they didnt go to each other’s lodge.
Def: Let me stop you there. What time is that?
Wit: From the time they both came to town in 1999. I can’t remember the right month.
Def: What part of 1999, was it middle or end?
Wit: Within the last four months of the end of 1999.
Def: And they travelled back to Freetown from Monrovia, right?
Wit: Well, I can’t tell, because I was at westside when they came. So I can’t tell.
Def: You’d been in Monrovia taking part in these discussions that involved Sankoh, JPK and the westside boys?
Wit: I was not in any meeting with Sankoh in Monrovia. I was in Sierra Leone when he went to Monrovia.
Def: Were you aware that the two of them had met in Monrovia to work together?
Wit: I only knew that when we went to Freetown and were at JPK’s lodge.
Def: And this was in the last few months of 1999?
Def: Did JPK tell you that he had joined Sankoh and they were now calling themselves the alliance for peace?
Wit: No, he did not tell me. It was even through a colleague that I knew they met in Liberia.
Def: As a member of the Supreme Council, are you not aware that on October 2, the two of them made an announcement that they were now the alliance for peace?
Wit: I did know about that.
Def: Where were you on that day?
Wit: West Side
Def: Why were you there?
Wit: Because the governmenmt asked us out of Solar Hotel and forced us to go to westside.
Def: Was this the government of national unity?
Wit: No, that government was not yet formed.
Def: When did they form that government?
Wit: When JPK and Sankoh came.
Def: But it was in place by April 2000?
Def: What groups comprised the government of national unity?
Wit: It was mostly comprised of SLPP and APC. We only had one ministry.
Def: Did you feel agrieved?
Def: Is that why you were involved in a coup attempt?
Pros: Objection. That question was not raised in examination.
Judge: Counsel is allowed to ask that question
Wit: I was not involved in a coup attempt. It was an allegation.
Def: But you were agrieved that you had one appointment only right?
Wit: Yes but i stayed away from RUF leadership.
Def: Why would you keep yourself from the RUF leadership when there was a family reunion meeting?
Wit: Because Leatherboot who was onetime SLA wanted us to come together.
Def: So did you put your grievance aside because of this meeting?
Wit: We tried to do so because we wanted peace but things didn’t work because the RUF guys didn’t want things that way. We tried on a few occasions to talk with Sankoh.
Def: What happened as a result of your not been able to reconcile your differences with the RUF?
Wit: sankoh never went to JPK and vice versa. We also decided to stay away.
Def: By April of 2000, you also had a grievance against the SLPP right?
Wit: My only grievance was that they took me out of a job and made me to suffer. I later realised that my salary was still running when I was dismissed. So I was only loyal to JPK.
Def: Are you a man who nurses grievances?
Wit: I am a Christian and I don’t nurse grudges. I pray for forgiveness.
Def: Now lets just go back to what you said a few moments ago. You said your only grievance was when they dismissed you. When did they dismiss you?
Def: You lost your job then, and in 2000, you had your only grievance, so you are a man who nurses grievances over the years right?
Def: So you spend time praying for people who wrong you?
def: Is that the truth?
Def: In April 2000, you had a family reunion with the two groups, present at the meeting among others is Mrs. Susan Lahai. What faction did she belong to?
Def: And what was the RUF’s attitude to the SLPP with whom they shared the governmemnt?
Wit: I can’t tell
Def: You are at the meeting, what was the attitude of the RUF towards the SLPP?
Wit: Personally, I didnt know but at the meeting, Mike Lamin spoke like he had some grudge but personally, I didn’t know.
Def: Why was Suzan Lahai the Honourable?
Wit: The RUF had appointed her as Minister but I didn’t get the details by then.
Def: was she honourable because of her being minister or her membership of the group?
Wit: Well, I didnt know how they gave their titles.
Def: Was she not one of the politicians in the government?
Wit: She was
Def: She told participants that we have ourselves to blame for what is happening to us, because we were not united. She told you all to open a new page. She outlined reasons why you should come together. What was the misinformation being given by the SLPP to the international community?
Wit: Mrs. Lahai will be better placed to explain because she said it.
Def: Who was Dr. Paolo Bangura in that meeting?
Wit: He was one of our colleagues who had gone to the RUF side.
Def: Who is the enemy that Paolo Bangura spoke off in that meeting?
Wit: I don’t know whether he was refering to us or the SLPP.
Def: In that meeting, Mike Lamin said that Bockarie was responsible for the frictions between the two factions. Do you agree?
Wit: No, because Mike Lamin himself was responsible for some of the problems.
Def: So Mike Lamin in your view was one of the people responsible for the divisions. What did he do to contribute to that?
Wit: In my presence he had fired gun shots over my leaders head.
Def: can you point to any other example?
Wit: yes, he fought me physically when I was deputy brigade commander to give him single barrel rounds to go hunt for monkeys.
Def: What about in the previous year after the intervention, how was Mike Lamin behaving towards the AFRC?
WIT: There were are many things that I didn not witness but many SLA’s complained about him. He also shot Fonte Kanu in my presence.
Def: Page 821 of the minutes please, who is the common enemy that he talked about in the meeting?
Wit: I don’t know what he meant.
Def: So were the AFRC bitter that Sankoh did not include JPK in the Lome talks?
Def: Would you agree with SYB Rogers when he said in that meeting that JPK and SAJ Musa did not work as a team?
Wit: He was wrong
Def: So the Iranian saga was on January 1, 1998 right?
Def: So in the beginning of 1998, the relationship between the two groups was deteriorating, right?
Def: And that SAJ Musa was the target of hostilities by the RUF and that he did not get on with Bockarie, right?
Wit: Yes. Since we treated SAJ Musa as the No. 2 man to JPK. The RUF guys were not happy because they thought that was a position for Sankoh that we had given to Musa.
Def: Musa was called from abroad from which country?
Def: Do you know what he was doing?
Wit: I was not there but I heard he was in school
Def: Do you know what he was studying in UK?
Def: So no one told you he was reading law?
Def: When were the ministerial appointments made when AFRC came to power?
Wit: I cant tell the date
Def: Was Musa a trained soldier?
Wit: Yes he was in the SLA
Def: Did he also fall out with members of the AFRC?
Wit: In Freetown you mean?
Def: At anytime since he arrived in Sierra Leone to the time of his death?
Wit: No not to my knowlege.
Def: Are you aware of any senior military officers betraying the cause?
Wit: yes some of them did not retreat with us. Some of them went to Guinea. They were arrested, tried and executed. Some are still in the army.
Def: Where were you and JPK going to when you were arrested with the diamonds.
Wit: It was through the call of the Godfather of the RUF. So we wanted to go to him in Liberia when this happened.
Def: Were you trying to escape with the diamonds?
Wit: No we just wanted to go to Taylor.
Def: When you were making your way to cross out of Liberia, JPK was not making calls to Taylor, right? You wanted to escape when you were arrested, right?
Wit: No, he was talking to him.
Def: I put it to you that you were simply trying to get out of Sierra leone with the diamonds, right?
Wit: Not true
Def: You escaped Sierra Leone again in 2003 right?
Wit: Yes,because of threat to my life from the SLPP.
Def: That was the allegation of your involvement in the coup, right?
Wit: My colleagues convinced me to go and see the SLPP running mate in the elections. We met with Momodu Koroma and he tried to convince me to join the SLPP. I said no. I’ll never join SLPP. I said before joining SLPP, I’ll rather join RUF. In 2003, they searched my house that I had buried ammunitions in my house. They searched and didn’ find anything. In 2003 I got a call that they wanted to arrest me. So I decided to leave the country.
Def: Are you saying they went and searched your house because you didn’t join their party?
Def: And so they made an allegation of treason against you, right?
Wit: I think that’s why they accused me.
Def: They accused you of wanting to stage a coup against the government, right?
Wit: I never intended to do that.
Def: Are you saying they accused you of preparing to overthrow the government?
Wit: I dont know if that was their plan but I didn’t have that plan.
Def: Are you saying that you have never suggested that the SLPP and the S.L. police claimed that you were involved in an attempt to overthrow their government?
Wit: Well, yes I heard the news read on radio from my hiding place.
Judge: Mr witness we are adjourning now. We’ll only resume on June 2nd. You are still under oath and are no to discuss your evidence with anybody, right?