Court Resumes after Mid-Morning Break. Prosecution Completes Examination and Defense Starts Cross-Examination of Witness TFI-539

12:00(12:30 with 30 mins delay in video an audio):

Mr. Koumjin, it will appear the answer has been recorded, so you can proceed on.

Pros: Thank you your honour, Mr. Witness, do you know what happened to the ammunition that you brough to Buedu in that convoy?

Wit: When i came, i made no movement because as soon as i arriveed, i was taken to the dungoen. So i dont know what happened to them.

Pros: What happened next after the failure to get the tanks over the Moa River?

Wit: When we failed in that drive, there was some confusion at the river. Morris Kallon cocked his rifle and said he will shoot at the driver because the SLA liked to betray. I told Bockarie to talk to Kallon not to kill the driver. The driver was not shot. We tied a Monkey jackon a big stick and tied it to the tank and removed it. Because we were unsuccessful, Bockarie called some of us, gave us more man power and ammunition and said we should go to Segbweme where we already had troops under Momoh Rogers’s command. He said he had information that ECOMOG soldiers were coming to over-run our position.

Pros: What happened in Segbwema.

Wit: As we got there, in less that three days, ECOMOG advanced with a seven barrel tank to move us out of Segbwema since it was a vital ground that will link to Kenema, Tongo and Manowa. The operation was difficult for ECOMOG except when they will attack by air. There is a bridge in Sedgwema that separates the town. We almost lost the town but because of the bravemen we had like Major Sorie Ba, that made even the seven barrel tank that they brough they could not take it back. The driver of the tank was killed. I entered the tank to move it from the bridge but the clutch plate was not functioning. I adviced the radio man to call Bockarie and inform him that that was the situation. Inspite of the fact that ECOMOG were using heavy mottars against us, we could not use the tank so he authorised us to burn it down. We did that. So that was why ECOMOG were unsuccessful and so they withdrew to Daru. The smoke of the tank on fire prevented the jet from bombing the town.,

Pros: What was the next fighting that you saw?

Wit: Aftet ECOMOG lost that operation, it was then that Bockarie called a forum. I was one of the men who went back, to Pendembu where we planned to attack Kenema.

Pros: What was the plan?

Wit: We planned to capture Kenema, but the ECOMOG in Kenema, their fall position was in Manowa and that was difficult for us. When Akim was coming from Tongo, another troop will block Blama highway so as to stop any reinfiorcement. Rambo will sent an ambush at Largo. Then our own group, will move with one of the tanks to campture Manor Junction. We were not successful because the commander in charge did not allow us to use the tank the way it was to be used. He gave the wrong command which realeased a bomd, which killed about 15 of our men, including Kailondo.

Pros: After this failed attempt, what was the next military operation that you were part of?

Wit: We withdrew back to Segbwema and Bockarie asked us to hit Daru barracks where ECOMOG was. We came and organized ourselves, including Issa Sesa and i was his adviser on that operation. We attacked Daru barracks at 2AM. It was not easy. They had serious fire power. We sustained heavy casualy, We could not succeed. We withdrew to Segwema. Two days later, the Lome accord was signed. Sankoh went over BBC and announced that all under RUF command should cease hostilities.

Pros: When the accord was signed, what was your assignment?

Wit: Issa told me that now that the accord is signed, he called Momoh Rogers, Francis Musa and other senior officers around. He said now that you have all heard what Sankoh has said, it will be adviceable for us to listen. he said he was goung back to Kono to inform the other guys. I joined him, with Hon. Hector and we moved Kono. When we arrived in Kono, he made me the IO, ie the Intelligence Office in charge of Second Brigade.

Pros: What forces controlled Kono at that time?

Wit: It was RUF/SLA. Issa’s base was established there. The commander was a vanguard called Martin George.

Pros: Did Issa stay in Kono or did he go somewhere else?

Wit: He stayed in Kono observing the diamond mining. The last time i saw Bockarie in Kono was when he came with the two arabs that had met me at Yeaten’s place in Liberia. That was the last time i saw Bockarie.

Pros: Did Issa leave Kono to go somewhere?

Wit: It was when Mosquito Spray cut off our supply route, when they attacked Lofa county. Bockarie sent a message that all our fighters in Kono should move to clear the Ulimo from Foya. He said that was an order he received frrom Taylor. that was the only time Issa moved from Kono with those troops.

Pros: Who was Mosquito Spray?

Wit: he was a ULIMO, the commander of the LURD rebels.

Pros: Was that before or after the Lome accord?

Wit: After the accord was signed.

Pros: Did Issa return to Kono?

Wit: yes

Pros: How long did it take before he returned?

Wit: Two weeks

Pros: Did he return alone?

Wit: He returned with the twin barrel at Buedu with some troops.

Pros: Were there any other persons that you recognized with him when he returned?

Wit: yes, he had reinforcements from Buedu, together with some SSS men that he brought from Foya.

Pros: Did you know the names of the SSS men?

Wit: I can recall like Capt. Dennis, i can recall the men that were always with us, Jungle, he was one of the men, and one Colonel from Liberia, called Martin, his ncik name was Lion.

Pros: Do you know during the operations you were involved in after you came to Sierra Leone, do you know if any of the ammunitions you picked up in Burkina Faso were among?

Wit: Some RPG bombs, the twin barrel, Issa brought the ammunition to Kono. Some 7.62 Milimiter guns.

Pros: Where did you see Issa with the ammunition?

Wit: he took them from Buedu, together with the twin barrel and brought them to Kono with more manpower.

Pros:In the operation at Mono Junction, you talked about some tank fire, you described piercing and explosive bombs, had you seen those types in Liberia?

Wit: It was only at the time we brought them from Burkina Faso. That was when i saw them. I only saw the ammunitions again when we left Segbwema to hit Mano Junction. We also used them to hit Daru.

Pros: When did you leave Kono?

Wit: That was the time Issa came from Buedu. he came and said the SLA who are in Makeni do not listen to Sankoh’s orders. He siad Sankoh had asked them to take JS Momoh to Buedu but Brig. Mani hjad refused. He said we should attack the SLA in makeni. I adviced him that we should resolve the issue amicably. he said i was not supposed to advise him on what to do. he went ahead and they attacked Makeni anfd dislodged the SLA. I was afraid because i was an SLA in RUF territory. So i left Kono, went through Magburaka and surrendered to ECOMOG in Mile 1991.

Pros: Do you remember when that was?

Wit: End of 1991

Pros: I have no further questions.

Judge: Mr. Munyard, your cross-examination.

Def: Thank you your honour. Mr. Witness, i want to ask you how you came into contact with the OTP of the Special Court?

Wit: I can recall that somebody had come to the court, during his explanation, my name came up and it was that veryu person that went with some men asking me. I was scared because i didnt want anyone to associate me with that. That was how i came into contact with the court. And they met me in Kono.

Def: So somebody else mentioned your name and they met you in Kono, did you make contact with them or they made contact with you?

Wit: I already said an ex-combatant made a statement and he directed them to me. His name was Alfred Sesay.

Def: He is not the person who put the prosecution in contact with you right?

Wit: he was a police man, he got the court in contact with me. I was scared because i didnt want to be associated with the court. he took his time to explain to me. He is now in England.

def: And the person who gave your name to the court, was he your friend?

Wit: No, he was an ex-combatant. he was RUF. he knew me when i worked with the RUF. he gave my name to the court.

Def: Did he tell you he was going to give your name to the court?

Wit: No he did not tell me. That was why i was scared. I just wanted to live my life quietly.

Def: Alfread Sesay of the S.L police came and met you in Kono?

Wit: he met the ex-combatant that i mentioned. he met me at Old yengema road.

Pros: did he interview you at Old Yengema road?

Wit: yes

Def: was anybody else present?

Wit: there was another person because they went with a white Land Rover, and a white man.

Def: was he making notes of what you were telling him?

Wit: At the begining, he was not writing anything.

Def: Did he write later on?

Wit: yes i saw him writing.

Def: So this is the first time that they met you?

Wit: yes

Def: In Kono?

Wit: yes

Def: can you help us how long that interview lasted?

Pros: I will object the word interview. he has said he was cooperating with the court.

Def: The witness is clearly describing an interview

Judge: Please continue

Def: What were you telling Alfread about when he was writing?

Wit: he was just taking down my particulars

Def: What else were you telling him on that first occassion?

Wit: I was busy to talk to hyim for long. I told him to get back to me later

Def: did he get back to you?

Wit: yes, after sometime, almost a month

def: Did he take more notes on the second occassion?

Wit: yes, but he did not write down any notes. he just asked me when i nwill be able to go to Freetown and i told him i was working and will only leave when i was on leave.

Def: Did you eventually go and see him in Freetiwn?

Wit: It did not just happen immediately. It took some time before we got intouch.

Pros: did you eventually go to Freetown?

Wit: yes

Def: How long from the first time he met yopu did you go and see him in Freetown?

Wit: Over three months

Pros: Were you aware that he wanted information from you about involvement with Taylor?

Wit: They had already discussed that with Mr. Sesay even before he got intouch with me. He finally cajoled me and said i should not fear. he told me that there will be no problem. he said they will even hide my identity from the public., he told me to fee free to explain myself.

Def: So you were aware he wanted to know every thing about your dealings with Taylor?

Wit: he did not directly ask about my dealings with Taylor. he wanted to know what i did during the war.

Def: They had already discussed before right, so they wanted to know your dealings with Taylor?

Wit: he did not say so specifically. he wanted to know my role in the war. It was during my explanation that i told them all i knew.

Def: Hide your identity from the public in what?

Wit: I told Mr. Sesay that id dint want to be associated with the court. he told me that it was not a crime and that if things came to the worse, they will hide my identity.

Def: Did he tell you they were trying to get information from people to prosecute Taylor?

Wit: No he did not

def: When did you discover that you will be a witness against Taylor?

Wit: When he finally got me to explain myself, it was during my explanation that he knew i had dealings with Liberia. he told me that if i knew i had dealings in Liberia, he said he knew if i had much information, he will put it aside and at the appropriate time, he will call on me.

DEf: Meaning, in your first meeting with him, you told him about Liberia?

Wit: No, i had fear in me and so did not want to disclose much.

def: During your visit to Freetown, he told you he wanted information from you to prosecute Taylor?

Wit: he said after he will call me when it got to the appropriate time.

Judge: Were you aware whose trial you might give evidence in?

Wit: It was only after he had got the information from me, that was when he said when Taylor is indicted, he will call on me. And indeed, when they had got Taylor, he called me again. That was the time i met with the other investigator, Mr. David.

Def: When you met Mr. Sesay in Freetown, were you reimbursed for transport and loss of wages?

Wit: No, at the initial stage, nothing like that.

Prois: When you first met him in Freetown, were you reimbursed?

Wit: No. It was when he asked whether it was possible for me to leave my job and come to Freetown, so he will write something on paper. When i came, he reimbursed me the transportation.

Def: And loss of wages?

Wit: No, it was the transport i used.

Def: was that the first time you met him in Freetown when he wrote things on papar?

Wit: That was my third meeting with him in Freetown.

Def: Are you saying the first two meetings were also in Freetown?

Wit: They did not give me anything in Kono. The first time i came to Freetown, that was when i came on duty for my organization that i was working with, i came the second time, i also saw him, then when i came the third time, i went to their office and that was when i met th other man. That was when they reimbursed my transportation cost.

Def: And so it was only the third time they reimbursed you?

Wit: yes

Def: On the first meeting in Freetown, did they write down what you said?

Wit: No

Def: On all other occassions after the third time, did they reimburse you?

Wit: yes

Def: Do the 23 and 24th of March 2006 ring any bell to you?

Wit: I cant remember

Def: Can you remembered being interviewed at the Special Court on two consecutive days?

Wit: yes

Def: And do you remember about two months later, being interview on three consecutuve days in June 2006?

Wit: I cant recall.

Def: After the two day interview that you recall, how long after that were you interviewd again?

Wit: Like i am telling you, i was too busy, i was engaged, i cant recall the specific date.

Def: Can you remember how many times you were interviewed before you came to Holland?

Wit: I can recall again that after they interviewed me and wrote down something, i can recall that this lawyer and another lady interviewed me again, which is up to three times. This man interviewed me once and i did not see him again until now.

Def: can you remember who interviewed you before you came to Holland?

Wit: The last person who inyterviewed me was a lade called Shaymella.

Def: Was there more than one person at the interview?

Wit: Yes, somebody assisted her, but the person was a Sierra leonean man and the person was speaking Krio.

Def: And were you interviewed here in the Netherlands and who interviewed you?

Wit: This gentleman in front of me. the two gentlemen sitting here.

Def: In what language were these interviews conducted?

Wit: Mr. Sesay and Mr David, it was in Krio. Sesay spoke in Krio while David spoke in English

Def: the second interview with the lady?

Wit: They went with another man who works for the court, Mr. Lahun who was speaking Krio.

Def: What about the one conducted by Shaymala?

Wit: She was speaking English and another investigator was talkiing Krio.

Def: Is that what happened in all the interviews, where one person spoke in English and another in Krio?

Wit: yes

Def: And the last interview?

Wit: there was an interpreter.

Def: In each of these interviews, was somebody taking notes?

Wit: Except the ones who were interviewing me. But for the one in Holland, we did not take any notes. We were just discussing.

Def: Did they read the notes back to you to correct anything that was wrong?

Wit: yes

Def: did you at anytime correct what the note taker had taken down?

Wit: yes, like in the case of Shaymalla, i did some corrections.

Def: Finally, in relation to the interview, was anyone present typing or writing?

Wit: No nothing was being typed. But they read out the statement and for some areas that i said no, they struck it out with a pen.

Def: How good is your ability to understand spoken English?

Wit: I can try but not perfect

Def: How many years did you spend in school?

Wit: 12 years

Def: And you were taught in what languages?

Wit: English, Krio and sometimes French

Def: Were you given books that you worked from that were written in English?

Wit: Yes

Def: And you understand those books?

Wit: yes

Def: When you joined the army, is it right that you were sent to Nigeria for training?

Wit: I made that correction even to Shaymalla, that there were two batches of training and that i was commissioned under the Sierra Leone academy and the others were under Nigerian academy.

Judge: were you sent to the Nigerian academy?

Wit: They sent me there on a special training

Def: was it the Nigerain Group Assistace Program?

Wit: It was NATAG

Def: How long were you trained there for?

Wit: I had about three months training

Def: was the training conducted in English?

Wit: yes

 Def: did you have difficult followng the training in English?

Wit: I measured up little by little

Def: But you graduated from there right?

Wit: I went through the training but i graduated at Beguema training center. That is what i was trying to explain but you did not allow me.

Def: You graduated as a 2nd Lt right?

Wit: At Benmguema, yes

Def: And you were trained there also in English?

Wit: yes, and krio

Def: After you graduated, did you stay in the army upto the AFRC coup or did you leave the army?

Wit: I was in the army throught out upto the time i retired in 2001.

Def: Were you ever court martialed?

Wit: I was never charged even

Def: What year were you sent to join ECOMOG?

Wit: That was early 1995

Def: And in the course of your duties in Liberia, did that involve you working at the Executive Mansion?

Wit: I never worked at the executive mansion

Def: When you first talked about you experience in the army, you said that sometimes you run accross enemey check points and saw human heads, did you tell the prosecution that?

Wit: yes

Def: Was it in your interview in Sierra Leone or the one in Holland?

Wit: The one that i did  with the two lawyers here

Def: Was it something you volunteered or was it some question that they asked you like have you ever seen severed heads or limbs?

Wit: Yes, those were some of the experiences i got during the battle and that was what i answered.

Judge: Did you volunteer or were you asked?

Wit: I volunteered

Def: Why didnt you volunteer those in Sierra leone

Wit: they did not ask about my experiences in the army

Def: Were those questions asked on Friday?

Wit: yes

Def: I see the time your honour and i am about to go to something else.

Judge. We’ll then adjourne and resume at 2:30. Please adjourne court for 2:30