Defense Continues Cross-Examination of Kormoh Kanneh

May 12, 2008 12:00-1:30pm (12:30 with delay). Court is in session. This does not represent a verbatim transcript of the testimony.

Def: Mr. Kanneh, you were telling us about your schooling, your first name Karmoh, does that have any meaning?

Wit: well, it is no Karmoh, it’s a name, it’s Karmoh

Def: Does it imply that you are an Islamic teacher?

Wit: That is the difference I was telling you about, the Karmoh is a name.

Def: I’m going to try to deal with evidence in proper time sequence, can we go to Feb 2007, you go to see the office of the prosecutor in Freetown?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What did you go to see them about?

Wit: February 2007, they invited me.

Def: How did the invitation first occur?

Wit: They called me through communication.

Def: How was it that the Special Court invited you, because you approached them or someone gave them your name?

Wit: Before I came to Freetown they went and met me, I did not volunteer.

Def: Did they tell you how they came to look for you?

Wit: No.

Def: Were you curious?

Wit: I was not curious to know about that

Def Where were you first interviewed?

WIt: First met in Kenema.

Def: What did they want you to talk about?

Wit: They asked me if I had any idea about the war, if I was a member, and I said yes, and how the war was fought.

Def: Did they tell you which case they were investigating?

Wit: Mr. Taylor.

Def: Did they make it clear that they wanted you to tell them everything about Mr. Taylor.  So you knew they wanted all the information about your dealings with Charles Taylor?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was it suggested that they wanted to interview you about another case?

Wit: Before, they talked to me about Charles Taylor, they asked what I did in the RUF.

Def: It was only the Charles Taylor case they were asking about?

Wit: They also asked me about the RUF case.

Def: But their main interest was what you could tell them about Taylor?

WIt: Yes.

Def: What language did the interview take place in?

Wit: English with an interpreter.

Def: Did you understand any of the English?

Wit: No.

Def: You have heard English spoken?

Wit: I was taught but didn’t speak it.

Def: was the written record read back to you for you to correct?

Wit: Yes, sir. Whatever, they would read it.

Def: Was that the case every time you were interviewed?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Was there an interpreter present at every interview from February 2007 until recently?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And each time you had opportunity to correct or add to it.

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Shown tab 4, Please confirm the date of this interview, and if you look to the left does it give a date?

Wit: March 10, 2008.

Def: Is there another date to the left?

Wit: March 3, 2008.

Def: What does the next line say?

Wit: I can see TF1571.

Def: Can you read the two letters?

Wit: ID

Def: What letter does that begin with? Can you try to read it out?

Wit: No, I can spell it but can’t pronounce it.

Def: Do you know who that is?

Wit: Kormoh Kanneh.

Def: What about the next line?

Wit: No sir.

Def: Ignore the first two words, what are the second two words?

Wit: No. First letters are [witness struggling] SKA

Def: Have you ever seen your name in English?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Says investigator Steven Streeter, have you met him before the 8th of March 2008?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Continuing reading, have you met Chris Santuro before?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You knew both of these men?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And there was an interpreter, had you met him before?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Page starts with this, the witness was asked to clarify and expand upon previous interviews, do you remember now in this interview 2 months ago, you were being asked to give more detail?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: And when it says to clarify, it means to make it clear, they are giving you another opportunity to get the detail right?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Can you turn to page 47089 of your interview?

Wit: [Turning the page]

Def: Is this your position? If I asked you look at these lines you couldn’t read them?

Wit: Yes.

Def: I will read what you told prosecutors on that occasion. Begin reading: March 2008 — Witness asked about his activity after posting at Bayima access, he stated he worked with cease fire monitoring commission.

Wit: No.

Def: Did you tell the prosecutors this?

Wit: No.

Def: Why didn’t you correct them?

Wit: That date is not correct.

Def: Why didn’t you correct them with the wrong date?

Wit: Well, that could have been a mistake on my own part.

Def: If it was a mistake, why didn’t you say you got that wrong?

Wit: It was not in March. If I knew I was going to appear I would have written everything down.

Def: Next sentence, he moved to Freetown with the cease fire monitoring commission, did you tell them that?

Wit: No, I was not in Bo.

Def: Were you in Bo at all?

Wit: No.

Def: So they have that wrong?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Why didn’t you correct them?

Wit: That too is a mistake on my part.

Def: Next sentence” he states that he left Freetown and returned to Bo three days before the May the 8th incident including the protest at Foday Sankoh’s residence.

Wit: Yes.

Def: So if you returned to Bo then it suggests that you had been there?

Wit: Yes, I’ve been in Bo. it took three days before the May incident happened.

Def: He fled Bo and went to Kenema after hearing the Government was looking for RUF people?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Witness then went to Tongo.

Wit: Yes,

Def: Sent to Pendembuon orders of Sesay?

Wit: Yes.

Def: the Witness stated that he was fighting in Guinea in late 2001.

Wit: the date was the problem, it was in 2000.

Def: When they read it back to you why didn’t you correct them?

Wit: That is a mistake on my part. I don’t recall saying that. They did read everything back, I said that during my statement that I was in Bairo. And Bairo is in Guinea but not on this operation.

Def: They couldn’t have just got the year wrong because you told us that you were fighting in Liberia and Guinea for no more than two weeks, this isn’t wrong because of the wrong year, it was a much shorter time?

Wit: No, the time is 2 months.

Def: No the time was two weeks at most?

Wit: Yes, I’m not denying that, it was two weeks time.

Def: Either you have it very wrong or those recording your answers have it very wrong?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Turn to Tab 6. Sorry, Tab 7. This is where you were interviewed on April 23, 2008. Were you in the Hague at this time?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Do you remember who interviewed you on that occasion?

Wit: I can recall, Aunti Julia.

Def: Is it the lady smiling across the court room from me?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What about uncle Chris?

Wit: he was there.

Def: Turn to page 00571. I was you to look at paragraph 7 [reading from Tab 7]: The ammunition and the $50,000 were taken to Kono but it was peace time andmost areas had disarmed. Sesay called the witness to Kono and he was not to allow disarm to take place, because Taylor gave him directions….should I break this down, or did you tell the prosecutors that?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: This is correct?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was there an interpreter present?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Par. 8: the witness returned to base and told officers the suggestion of Sesay because it would tarnish their reputation.

Wit: yes.

Def: The witness put everything in place for disarmament.

Wit: Yes.

Def: par 9: Sesay wascross with the witness saying he sabotaged the order of Taylor.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Witness told Sesay he would not allow any soldier to take part.

Wit: Yes.

Def: While in Pendembu witness heard that there were still soldiers arming, and it went ahead and many RUF perished. Witness was upset and left RUf for good.

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: If your evidence today is correct it is wrong to say that you left the RUF for good?

Wit: No.

Def: You told us this morning that you stayed with RUF until elections when it became a political party

Pros: Objection, he said he was with the RUFP

Judge: There is a time gap.

Pros: He was with RUFP until 2002.

Judge: Is it clear when RUF went to the RUFP?

Pros. No evidence.

Judge: Entitled to to continue.

Def: Nothing happened to me, so I stood by ground. You were then asked by Aunt Julia, did you remain with the RUF? You said, yes. Until the end of disarmament I was with the RUF until 2002. Did you leave RUF in 2002? Answer: Yes, because we lost the elections. So you were being asked about continued membership of RUF, and youtold the Court you were with them until 2002? You left in 2002 because you lost the election, right?

Wit: [long pause]. Yes, sir. No let him repeat the question.

Def: Why did you tell the Prosecutors 3 weeks ago that while in Pendembu and you were very upset and left the RUF for good, if in fact you remained with RUF until 2002?

Wit: (nervously laughing). Yes. Well in 2002 I indicated that I did not resign from RUF, I left the zone of the RUF zone, but I was still an RUF until after the elections when we lost the power. It was “P” because it was RUFP. After disarmament I left the RUF zone.

Def: You were asked did you remainwith the RUF? Do you remember what reply you gave her?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: What was that?

Wit: I was still with RUFP, but then I moved right up to elections.

Def’; That is not right, you said you were remained with the RUF. You did not say you became part of the RUFP, why didn’t you tell Ms. Bailey?

Wit: Because just after the disarmament there was no longer an RUF, I indicated RUFP, there had been an addition of P.

Def: You didn’t say there was no RUF in 2002, why didn’t you tell her that?

Wit: I said it, I said that a P had been added.

Def: I’m reading from transcript that you gave this morning. When you were asked did you leave the RUF in 2002, your answer was “yes, because at that time we lost the elections.”

Wit: Yes.

Def: Lets go back to Tab 7 from April 23, where it says “witness was very upset and left the RUF for good,” did you tell them that? [Wit: nervous laughter].

Wit: I couldn’t have said that, I didn’t mean that. I was a commander. If disarmament had no completed how could I have left the RUF, I was a commander.

Def: Did you start with the ceasefire monitoring committee in January or March 2000?

Wit: January.

Def: were ceasefire monitors in place?

Wit: They were there South East and North.

Def: Did that include the border with Liberia?

Wit: Yes, I cannot tell, it was not my area of responsibility.

Def: I’m asking you this question because a lot of evidence you gave are things you were told about. Were you given to understand that cease fire being monitored along the border of Liberia?

Wit: Yes, people had been assigned there.

Def: Are these local people or UNEMSIL or other UN backed monitors?

Wit: There was UN, RUF, and all entities were there.

Def: I’d like to go Back to When you star with the RUF in 1991. You say you were captured and trained at Gisiru, and are you able to tell us when it was you were pushed out of Sierra Leone and into Liberia?

Wit: September/October, during rainy season.

Judge: Which year?

wit: 1991.

Def: How long were you in Liberia? After being pushed out from Sierra Leone.

Wit: I was in Liberia for up to 6 months.

Def: Where were you based?

Wit: In Mano river (Monrovia?).

Def: Were you ever in Bomi Hills?

Wit: Yes sir. We were there for some days, not too long there.

Def: Are you talking about a week?

Wit: Less then one week.

Def: Now you told us last week that while you were in Boma hills you were addressed by Charles Taylor? Was that the first time seeing him?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was that an important event for you?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Is it something you have a clear memory of?

Wit: Yes sir.

Def: What did he say when he addressed you?

Wit: He gave us words of courage, that the war had not ended yet, we should not be worried.

Def: Was this something in your mind when you were first interviewed by the prosecutors and you told them about your time at Bomi hills?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: You knew from the first interview was what they wanted to know was your involvement with Charles Taylor, didn’t you?

Wit: yes, sir.

Def: Turn to Tab 2: Your second interview on 27, March 2007–Magnus Lamin interviewed you.

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: What language?

Wit: English.

Def: [reading from interview] Did you tell the Prosecution this? “While at Guru, the Sierra Leone army attacked them, witness and others retreated into Liberia and were based in Bomi hills”

Wit: No, sir.

Def: What do they have wrong?

Wit: It was not the enemy that attacked us. We attacked. We were pushed to the Liberian border, they pushed us to the border.

Def: The last sentence “they were not the ones we pushed to the Liberian border” did you push people to the border?

Wit: The enemy pushed us to the Liberian border.

Def: That is what the sentence says. “Whilst at bomi hills they were looked after by the NPFL”

Wit: Yes.

Def: Foday Sankoh was based at Bomi Hills.

Wit: He came and met us there.

Def: Did you tell the Prosecutors that Sankoh was based there at that time?

Wit: No, sir. He and Taylor met us.

Def: Why didn’t you tell them you got that wrong?

Wit: Well it was today that you read it out this way that I picked out the mistakes. My head is not a computer.

Def: My head is not a computer, have you heard someone else say that?

Wit: No.

Def: It is your own expression?

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: “commander at NPFL was witness captor One-man-One[?}, they were at Bomi Hills for a week when they regrouped.

Wit: yes.

Def: They got new armaments from NPFL andstruck back into Sierra Leone.

Wit: Yes.

Def: Then you chase Sierra Leone army, and that is all you said to them about Bomi Hills.

Wit: Yes, sir.

Def: Why didn’t you tell them that Charles Taylor addressed us?

Wit: I only had to respond to questions, I was not asked any question about that.

Def: You are being asked to tell the Prosecution everything you knew about Charles Taylor?

Wit: They asked me, and I said yes sir.

Def: So why didn’t you tell them that at Bomi hills was the first time you saw him?

Wit: They did not ask if Charles Taylor was there, they asked me about Foday Sankoh. Even you just want me to answer the questions you ask.

Def: Do you agree that sometimes you give other information?

Wit: well, any question that you ask me I give you a response

Def: You are intelligent enough to tell the Prosecutor that this was your first meeting with Charles Taylor?

Wit: If they would have asked me about Charles Taylor I would have responded.

Def: It takes until March of this year that you tell the Prosecution that you saw Charles Taylor at Bomi hills, and yet it was always in your mind?

Wit: Well, it was in my mind, but that was the day he asked me, they did not ask me about it.

Def: By March of this year, had you spoken to anyone who was a witness in this case, and about the evidence you were going to give?

Wit: No, sir.

Def: When did you arrive in the Hague?

Wit: April 9, 2008.

Def: Before you left Sierra Leone had you been living with or close to people who were witnesses in this case?

Wit: No. I did not know anybody who was a witness for this case.

Def: You’ve also told us that at some point you became a member of Black Kodefa [?]

Wit: Yes.

Def: When were you put into that unit?

Wit: It was the time we withdrew from Sierra Leone, when we went to Bomi HIlls, please repeat the date? End of 1991, that was the time I joined Black Kadafah.

Def: Who the people were who set up Black Kadafah?

Wit: It was Mr. Taylor and Foday Sankoh.

Def: Who told you this?

Wit: From where we arranged, before we moved.

Def: Who told you that it was Mr. Taylor’s idea?

Wit: He called formation, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Sankoh were there.

Judge: Who called a formation?

Wit: Mr. Sankoh and Mr. Taylor.

Def: If this is a formation that they spoke to?

Wit: yes, sir.

Def: Is this the same occasion when Mr. Taylor encouraged you to keep on fighting?

Wit: This was the only time I saw Mr. Taylor

Def: I don’t think you ever saw him?

Wit: I saw him.

Def: Did you tell the Prosecution, that it was Mr. Taylor and Mr. Sankoh’s idea to set up black Kadafah.

Pros: When?

Def: I was trying to deal with thetime scale. When you were telling the prosecution, did you tell the prosecution that he had come up with the unit of Black Kadafah?

Wit: If they had asked me a question about that I would have said it. I only responded to questions they asked me. Whatever you don’t see if because I wasn’t asked a question relating to that.

Def: Tab 4 page 47083: Interview on 8th and 10th of March this year: On the second page, par. 5: “The witness asked about his first knowledge or contact with Charles Taylor, answer: when base was established at Bomi hills, Charles Taylor addressed the soldiers at the base…”

Wit: If we continued that he would pay us?

Judge: Counsel asked what you said?

Def: Witness stated that he became away of Taylor in late 1991 and base was established in Bomi Hills

Wit: Yes sir

Def: Charles encouraged them to continue fighting….

Wit: Yes.

Def: “The RUF fighters who came to Bomi Hills were divided into two groups,” what question were you asked that led you to give that answer?

Wit: I can’t recall now the question.

Def: Do you think you told them that thing was because they asked you what happened to you after Bomi Hills? Is that likely?

Wit: They asked me why we went to Bomi Hills, What did we do next, and after Bomi hills.

Def: And what you said here “some were sent to attack Bo waterside, others were put into a group Black Kadafah,” Do you remember?

Wit: No. It was in Bomi Hills that we arranged the groups and went to Monrovia.

Def: You described leadership of Black Kadafah, who were the leaders and what was the purpose?

Wit: yes.

Def: Why didn’t you tell them it was the idea of Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh?

Wit: They did not ask me about that. I only responded to questions asked to me.

Def: You must have volunteered the information about Black Kadafah?

Wit: No, they did not ask me about that. they did not ask if it was Mr. Taylor that put us together.

Def: Others went somewhere else?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Go back to Tab 2, look at page 30684: [reading from transcript] “While at bomi hills they were looked after by NPFL…the commander was one-man-one, you stayed and were regrouped, you got new armament and went back to Sierra Leone, witness states they attacked Bo waterside access…” When you told Prosecution about this you don’t mention the Black Kadafah at all?

Wit: No. You can’t make the same statement again. I responded to questions asked to me.

Def: You say you attacked Bo waterside access. But you told Pros in March that was another group and you were engaged elsewhere?

Wit: I did not indicate it that way. Please repeat.

Wit: I did not say I was part of the attack. We divided the group into two, I did not mean to say I was part of the Bo waterside group.

Def: You are being asked to tell them about involvement in RUF?

Wit: I did not…they asked questions, how did this happen…that is what was documented.

Def: You could have told them you went to Bo Waterside if they asked the question “what happened next?”

Wit: I did not say that. It was in the 6 months…in that statement (unclear)

Def: But you were telling them about your activities, weren’t you?

Wit: If they asked me about my activities I told them.

Def: Why didn’t you tell them in this interview of March 2007, you giving them an account of your activities with the RUF, why didn’t you tell them then about Black Kadafah and others attacked Bo Waterside access, if you were not involved in that attack?

Wit: No, I was not involved in it.

Judge: That is not the question, why did you not tell the interviewers about Black Kadafah and it was another group that attacked Bo Waterside access?

Wit: They did not ask me about it.

Def: What were you asked?

Wit: Which one?

Def: Witness says “they attacked Bo Waterside Access”

Wit: I said we were divided into two and we went Monrovia…you are going too fast.

Judge: Witness go back to your answer.

Wit: I said the group had already been divided, the other one came to Bo Waterside and the other Monrovia, we were all fighting the same thing, we were the same movement, we are one group, we do not say “we did, and they did.”

Judge: I note the time.

Def: Just one other question.

Judge: Is Gophar in Sierra Leone?

Wit: Yes.

Judge: We will not take a lunch time adjournment