Prosecution Concludes Re-Examination of former Vice President Blah

9:30am: Court resumes in open session as prosecution continues the re-examination of former vice president Blah.

Judge Dougherty. I notice some changes in representation. If there are no other matters, the court is called to session.

Pros: Good morning witness. yesterday, def asked if you were aware of Taylor’s radio communications with rebels in S.L. As inspector general, were you aware of who Taylor had communications with?

Wit: Taylor had several means of communications but i did not listen specifically to his communications with RUF rebels.

Pros: As ambassador to Libya and Tunisia, are you aware of who he communicated with?

Wit: he had different means of communication and when he used them, i didnt listen to then except for the long range radio that we used during the war.

Pros: As VP, did yoy have access to know with whom he communicated by radio or telephone?

Wit: He talked to anybdoy he wanted to talk to, he called Ghadafi, he talked to me, and different people. He will communicate with me when i am on a mission.

Pros: Just to be clear, did you know with whom he communicated other than you?

Wit: He did with Ghadafi and other people.

Pros: Def put to you the name of Eli Selibe who was minister of finance, do you know when he served?

Wit: he was finance minister and president of the national bank, that was ah, ah ah…2000/2001.

Prs: Was that as finance minster or president of the bank?

Wit: He was president of the bank. To my knowlege, he was finance minsiter in 1997/98

Pros: Do you know what happened to him?

Wit: He left the bank during the second war. He was living in Ghana. In 2001, Taylor sent for him to come back, he did, after that, i didnt know where he went to.

Pros: Do you know when Bestman served as finance minsiter?

Wit: He served in 2002, he was later removed.

Pros: Do you know what happenbed to him?

Wit: No

Pros: What about Borngoray, how do you know him?

Wit: He was a very strong man going to war, i cant tell his position. He was at the front fighting in Tapata. He was never my bodyguard. All my bodyguards are still with me, some in university now. Borngoray was very close to Yeaten. They were like brothers.

Pros: Do you know where he is now?

wit: He is in Liberia

Pros: Def asked you what you would have done in Taylor’s shows in the case of Isaac Gray?

Wit: I will make sure i investigate any allegations and not be my own judge

Pros: Def refered to your detention as house arrest. What were the conditions under which you were detained?

Wit: I was detained in jail, it was not a house arrest. I was in one room that was locked all over, protected by gunmen, threatening, etc.I was not free.

Pros: How many days were you there?

Wit: 11 days. The only time i stepped out was when i was called to go to the executive mansion.

Pros: What behaviour made the ATU notorious?

Wit: They did what they wanted to do, attacked people in the streets and took what they had, they had no regard for other persons.

Prso: Who did they work for?

Wit: Taylor

Pros: What did Yeaten say in the radio address when Taylor was in Ghana?

Pros; He said Taylor was out of the country and anybody who went out of the way to do anything will meet the weight of the military. He said they will feel the military vibration.

Pros: The defense referred you to several documents yesterday, lets go to MFI-31, which is a Security Council document, lets go to page 3 of the document, directing you attention to 13…follwing the expulsion of the Junta in Freetown, says ECOMOG advanced to Kailahun where the junta had retreated, lets go to 15, where you aware of the events described in 15?

Wit: No

Pros: You indicated yesterday that you were aware of the reports that came out when these things happened in Sierra Leone?

Wit: yes i saw them in newspapers but that does not mean i agreed that these things happened because i was not there. It gets confusing with these papers because they write all kinds of things.

Pros: In terms of the contents of this paragraph, this was when you were ambassdor to Libya, were you aware of the exodus of people from civilians to Liberia and Guinea?

Wit: I was not there but i heard of these.

Pros: The report talks about attrocities that took place in Sierra Leone, how do they compare to what you heard?

Wit: These are all things that i heard from people and read in papers. These were newspapers that were sent to me.

Pros: Lets move to the Human Rights Watch Report of 2003 in the defense bundle. The arms shipment that is mentioned in the report, is this the shipment you have told us about?

Wit: Yes, this was intercepted by the peacekeepers

Pros; Do you know what Taylor’s plans were for the use of the weapons?

Wit: Except when he said he had no intention to leave the country and that he’ll fight till the last person is dead. That coincided with the interception of the weapon.

Pros: On 6th of July 2003, did you believe that Taylor was going to resign and leave Liberia?

Wit: It was not clear. I was not sure he’ll leave.

Pros: Lets get MFI-18 which is a CNN article on the interception of the weapons, lets look at page 2. How does this news in this article compare to what was on the ground?

Wit: I was not sure of whether i’ll be president before he left. He wanted to violate the constitution and appoint the speaker of the house. Taylor did not even trust Nigeria and so he was not sure he wanted to go.  He thought it was all a trick. There was no formal information that i’ll be president. I was just calleed to the executive mansion and was sworn in.

Pros: Why did you believe he was leaving on that particular day for Liberia?

Wit: I was just called and sworn in. Immediately after that, i saw the four heads of state who were talking with him in his office. That was when i knew he was leaving on that day. We all just rushed to the airpport from the mansion. Thats how he left Monrovia.

Pros: Were you a member of any secret society to which Taylor belonged?

Wit: I was invited to join a secret Poro society and i refused. I am a Christian and i dont join societies. Everybody in government joined the society except me.

Pros: What is a poro society?

Wit: It is a society of men but since i was not a member, i could’nt know what it was all about. It was a society joined by certain tribes. It is difficult to see what is in there except you join. The only symbol you see is the mark on the back.

Judge Sebutinde: Why did you say you could not join it because you are a Christian?

Wit: It is incompatible with Christianity.

Judge: How is it incompatible?

Wit: It has its own rules, like spilling blood, so i avoided it. I believe in the Bible.

Judge: You said you were invited, who invited you?

Wit: Taylor, he instruced me but i dodged him always.

Pros: Thank you your honour, that will conclude my redirect examination.

Judge: I have a question for you coming out of MFI-24 reporting your visit to Sierra Lone and what you said to President Kabba. It says you expressed regret for your country’s role in the country’s war. What were you regretting?

Wit: About the war in the country. I said here that Liberians fought in Sierra Leone. They confirmed it to me. So i told him that once i am president, it will not happoen.

Judge: What exactly did you mean by your country’s role?

Wit: Sending people to fight alongside RUF, like going to Kuwait which was a place in Sierra Leone.

Judge: Who had sent these Liberians to fight?

Wit: According to Sankoh, Taylor had sent his men and they were killing his citizens.

Judge: Was it true that he sent these men?

Wit: Well yes, the men who fought there told me. They said it.

Judge Dougherty: I have one or two questioons. You have described to us seeing Bockarie’s body at the back of the jeep. Can you tell us what time of the day you saw it?

Wit: Like 10:00am.

Judge: What was visibility like?

Wit: I didnt take a clear look but he was in the pick up. I saw him.

Judge: Any questions on issues arising from the bench?

Def: The people who fought in Sierra Leone, you were talking about 1991/92 right?

Wit: Yes

Pros: How did you identify Bockarie’s body?

Wit: I saw him the previous day when he ate at my house. So i knew the uniform he had on.

Judge: Please purse for some procedural issues.

Pros; We have some exhibits that we like to move into evidence. The registry has readily prepared a list of Prosecution MFIs. We’ll move the admission of MFI-16.

def: Let me assist my colleague in this regard. As far as we are concerned, we have no problem with these exhibits. May be that will shorten the process.

Pros; Thank you very much.

This concludes Mr. Blah’s testimony before the Special Court for Sierra Leone.