10:00 a.m. Judge Anyah continues cross-examination of the witness
Def: Looks at notes about “Called for Cadet training”. Yesterday I read you a statement about SBUs and I asked you a question about what appeared to be your definition of SBUs – it says “children without their parents captured on the front line had to be taken care of. They were called SBUs” – you said you did not include in this paragraph SBUs that were sent for training. On page 2 of this statement, in the middle of the page, after you had given the various units in the RUF at that time, if you go further team, “SBUs holds under G2 – G2 has connection between military and civilians. When children are left, G2 screens them and passes them to G5 for protection (fear or harassment or labour) they were not used to fight. There was no unit of small boys to fight.” When you told us that at the training centre at Kandungu, there were boys, who also took part in fighting, that was an error, right?
Def: Why does the Sisay team have you saying here that there were no small boys to fight?
Wit: I don’t know how, but only the smallest boys did not fight but as long as you were a child fit enough you were fighting so I am surprised to see that there was no SBU unit, if you asked people they would say yes
Def: You say two things, training and fighting – what do you say, were these people you call SBUs saved to fight or what?
Wit: Some of them but the ones who were at the training base that the commanders took, they would be at the front lines and if they could fight they would fight.
Def: Tell us why they have you saying that there was no unit of small boys to fight?
Wit: I did not say that.
Def: So these notes are an error?
Wit: It could be an error on their part but I did not say so.
Def: When the notes were transcribed, including another note about you – “children were not forced to be anywhere or do anything”, that was also a mistake?
Wit: Generally, children who were in the revolution, trained as SB unit, or who were not trained, either under G2 of G5, were taken back home because they would not fight on the front line, but those who would fight, were taken to the frontline, and those who would fight would fight.
Def: Did you tell them this?
Wit: I cannot recall.
Def: I would like to talk about the meeting, which you call the secret forum, which took place in November/December – yesterday I asked you questions about this meeting but yesterday I did not have the hand-written notes and perhaps we could consider what you told the Sisay team…when you look at those notes, to where it says Pendembo with a question mark, this is what it has you saying about Pendembo – visiting Issa Sesay and how you stayed in Buedu before going to Kono – the brackets are significant because this note taker has an interesting way of taking notes and segwe into issues – it says “I heard it over the radio, it was a punishment, he didn’t stay there for a week, the combatants pleaded on his behalf to withdraw him from the frontline”, then the interview puts in parenthesis “visit to Buedu” – “I visited Buedu twice a month, Issa Sesay was in Pendembo only a week” – the transcript says “(diamonds)”.
Wit: I was in Koindu, I don’t really know what he problem was
Def: I said that I knew Issa Sesay was punished but I didn’t know why it was punished, and I didn’t know about the diamond thing, it was an issue between Sam Bockarie and himself.
Def: The statement confirms that you were in Koindu.
Wit: I was in Koindu, yes.
Def: The notes say that “the issue arose about this forum” – “I saw jungle another time, at a meeting convened at a secret location”, Defense reads out statements from yesterday. It was a meeting concerning Issa Sesay and the agenda was around Issa Sesay and the pressure on the RUF/AFRC by the ECOMOG and the way forward and how we would have nice things. This is what you told us yesterday, yes?
Def: Where you said there was a delegation from Liberia including Colonel Jungle and General Ibrahim?
Def: But you are quoted as telling the Issa Sesay team that you were in Koindu when this meeting took place?
Wit: It was not for this meeting that I was in Koindu – that Issa Sesay’s punishment was sent to Koindu, I don’t know if there was a meeting for that, only heard that he had been sent to the frontline.
– Prosecution intervenes asking clarification on the witness’ mention of Pendembo.
– Judge asks to clarify
Wit: It was the time that Issa Sesay was sent to the front line.
Def: I said I was in Koindu when I heard that they had sent Issa Sesay to Pendembu to the frontline.
– Judge: please proceed
Def: If I understand you correctly, you are speaking of two meetings: one for punishment of Issa Sesay to be sent to the frontline, and the other at which you said you were present where you met Jungle and Ibrahim
Wit: No, I said that I only heard that Sam Bockarie had sent Issa Sesay to the frontline in Pendembo, but I did not say whether they held a meeting for him
Def: The meeting you said yesterday was between Dawa and Buedu in a secret location and you said that Issa Sesay was sent as punishment to the frontline
Wit: I did not conclude from the meeting that Issa Sesay was sent to the frontline – I only said that Issa Sesay was an agenda item in the meeting in the secret location but not that he was sent at that meeting
Def: Page 9 tab 10 it says Issay and Pendembo and you say “I don’t know what the problem was but after the ECOMOG intervention Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay had a problem and because of this Bockarie wanted Issa Sesay to the frontline, he was hiding from Bockarie in Pendembo, Bockarie wanted him to be on the frontline in the camps, but the commanders of the frontline told him to go to Pendembo where it would be safer.” You are saying there was a problem between Bockarie and Issa Sesay in Buedu and Bockarie wanted him sent to the frontline.
Def: We have established that Pendembo is in the vicinity of the frontline, yes?
Def: And that Bockarie wanted Issa Sesay to be sent there as punishment?
Def: Let me read from the handwritten notes: it has “Pendembo? As I heard over the radio, it was punishment, he didn’t stay there over a week, the combatants pleaded on his behalf to remove him from the frontline. Maybe it was supposed to be a punishment for 6 months, he was only there for a week [diamonds] I was only in Pendembo once.” This confirms that he was sent as punishment?
Def: And that it was vicinity of the frontlines?
Def: This confirms that you did not know what the problem between Bockarie and Issa Sesay was?
Def: This confirms that you were in Koindu and heard it over the radio, yes?
Def: Yesterday you told us about a meeting between Buedu and Dawa?
Def: And now you are saying that this was not the same meeting when Issa Sesay was punished and sent to the frontlines?
Def: Let’s look at the same statement from late last year (page 7). It reads, “the witness attended shortly after his birthday in april 1998 a secret meeting that was held in the bush between Buedu and Dawa. There was [sic] approximately 100 officers present at this meeting and most of the RUF vanguards were there. Bockarie, Momo, Collins, Colley, Superman, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, SYB Rogers, Isay, Vando, Dane, Ebony, Z-man, Amarapeleto, CO Rasheed, were all there. Some AFRC were also there like JEK and Gullit. Jungle was also there with a Liberian general, but I could not remember the name of the general.” It says “the meeting was because Issa Sesay had dropped some diamonds in Liberia.” You told the Prosecution that this meeting took place?
Def: And you told the Prosecution that you had been sent to the meeting and that this was when Issa Sesay was sent as a punishment?
Def: And you say it was because of diamonds, he had dropped some diamonds in Liberia?
Wit: No, I did not say so.
Def: Why did you say this?
Wit: The punishment when he was sent to the frontline, that was when he was in Koindu, but this one when he dropped the diamonds, I was at that meeting.
Def: The notes clearly say that it was at this meeting that the decision was made to send him to the frontline. And this is consistent with what you have told us in Court.
Wit: I did not tell them so, I clearly spelled it out and even to Issa Sesay’s Defense, it is there, there were two different issues.
Def: Why did you tell the Issa Sesay that you did not know what the problem was when this is saying this was about diamonds
Wit: There was a problem between Issa Sesay and Bockarie, I did not know what the problem was, it was an individual problem between them. This was a general problem for all the RUF, which is why they all went there. We were not on the frontline at this time, it was only when I was in Koindu that they sent Issa Sesay to the frontline.
– Judge: Are you saying that the notes are untrue?
Wit: Yes. After the meeting, during this meeting, saying that Issa Sesay was going to the frontline, that was not at this meeting, that was an issue between Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay. But it might be a mistake on the part of the Prosecution.
Def: I am putting it to you that you are lying when you say you are speaking about two incidents.
Wit: I am not telling lies, what I saw happen is what I am talking about.
Def: I put it to you that when you spoke with the Issa Defense team and you did not mention Colonel Jungle and Ibrahim because you said you were not at the meeting, that this was the more accurate story.
Wit: I did not say to the Prosecution about Jungle’s business and whether I attended the meeting. What they were asking me about what the answer I was rendering.
Def: What I am putting it to you, is that when you are speak of Jungle and a Liberian delegation sent by Charles Taylor, you are lying.
Wit: I am not lying because I went there myself and it was in Buedu.
Def: When you say you were at this meeting and there were over 100 officers, this is a bold-faced lie.
Wit: It is not a lie, even NCOs and second ranked officers and staff sergeants and different brigades and battalions were there because it was an RUF problem, not an individual problem, because it was diamonds that took the revolution forward to it was a serious issue.
Def: But you were not at that meeting, do you agree?
Wit: I was there.
Def: Yesterday, you were attempting to make the distinction between Issa Sesay’s case and this case. But whether it is the Taylor case or the Issa Sesay case, the information you are giving was still about the RUF?
Wit: It was connected from outside from Liberia to Sierra Leone. That was what the Prosecution told me, that they have got information that I know about information about Taylor interfering into the Sierra Leone war. That Taylor is an outsider and that one was dealing with another country to another country, that was what they said. They said they would consult the Issa Sesay Defense and they confirmed it to me that they met the Issa Sesay Defense and that they finalised it and I should not worry and they would take care.
Wit: Are you saying that they called you after the interview?
Wit: I am surprised that Issa Sesay’s file came out here. Taylor was an outsider, Issa Sesay an insider. I thought they were separate cases.
Def: I want to know what you have to say. When you are speaking about Issa Sesay or Taylor, you are speaking about the RUF?
Wit: The same RUF and NPFL. There were two forces I was talking about in Taylor’s case. In Issa Sesay case it is only one, RUF. For Taylor it was RUF and NPFL.
Def: When you spoke of the RUF in Taylor’s case it was the same one as for the Issa Sesay case.
Wit: Yes, but it was purely on an internal basis.
Def: Whether it was internal or external, you were speaking about the same RUF?
Def: And, you were speaking about your experiences with the RUF when you spoke to both sets of investigators, yes?
Wit: My experience that I had about Issa Sesay in the RUF and the experience I had with Taylor and the RUF, these are two different issues.
Def: Let me break it down, when you spoke to Issa Sesay’s team, you were speaking about your experience in the RUF?
Def: When you were speaking to Taylor’s team, you were speaking of your experience in the RUF?
Wit: The RUF and the NPFL, yes.
Def: What you told these teams is about your experience with the RUF?
Wit: Yes, Issa Sesay’s team.
Def: And Taylor’s team?
Wit: Yes. All that I saw the NPFL did, that is what I told them.
Def: And yesterday when I read to you from the statement, there were notes that you told them about Gbao, that derived from your experience with the RUF, correct?
Wit: Yes, because Gbao was dealing with civilians, I never saw him with a gun, that is why I said that.
Def: How you told them that you loved Issa Sesay and how he took care of civilians, that derived from your experience with the RUF?
Wit: Yes, just like how the two of us met and operated in the RUF?
Def: And in your statement you say that civilians were treated fairly well, that there was no forced labour in Kailahun, that was derived from your experience with the RUF?
Wit: How they treated civilians, I was talking about Issa Sesay not the RUF, only how Issa Sesay was treating civilians.
Def: When you are quoted as saying on page 11, “we are operating in a self-reliant struggle”, you are talking about the RUF?
Wit: Yes, in terms of farming, we were cultivating our own farms, using civilians to cultivate farms for us.
Def: When you talk about the ___missing text____ how important farming was. That was about your experience with the RUF?
Wit: Yes ___missing text___.
Def: Again, speaking of the RUF in Kailahun…”the RUF was working normally in Kailahun, people were living normal lives, RUF discipline was paramount” – you were speaking of the RUF?
Wit: Yes, that was when the war started, there was no harassment anymore, they were doing things by themselves. Yes.
Def: Do you see that there is a stark contradiction between the picture of the RUF that is painted by the Issa Sesay investigators and what you told us Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Wit: The Issa Sesay Defense were mainly particular about Issa Sesay as an individual, not about the entire RUF, but about what Issa Sesay was doing and that was the statement I was giving them.
Def: That’s not my question. I have read the paragraphs pertain not just to Issa Sesay but to the RUF as a whole. I am asking you if you don’t see any inconsistency between how you paint the two pictures.
Wit: The Issa Sesay team was asking me about Issa Sesay in the RUF.
Def: But both teams were asking you about one and the same RUF, right?
Wit: No. They were not asking me about Issa Sesay as an individual. Issa Sesay’s talk only came in when it was necessary. But Issa Sesay’s investigators asked me particularly about his behaviour in the RUF.
Def: And when they asked you about this, you also told them about RUF practices generally, yes?
Wit: The way Issa was behaving to the RUF, that is what I told them about, not about generally activities of Issa Sesay to the RUF.
Def: You spoke about RUF policies, practices, procedure, treatment of civilians, and not just Issa Sesay when you spoke to his investigators.
Wit: I spoke about RUF policies to the prosecutor and how they were behaving to the civilians and how they were reacting, and I told Issa Sesay’s team how he was behaving to the RUF.
Def: Do you see a different between saying women were raped, to the Prosecution, that they were raped by the RUF, and saying that civilians were living normal lives. Do you see the difference?
Wit: There should be a difference because the questions were about different things.
Def: Both teams were asking you about the RUF’s conduct towards civilians. Do you see a difference between what you said about the RUF and to Issa Sesay’s Defense team.
Wit: Yes, because Issa Sesay is not RUF, he is not the only person who makes up RUF. It was a combination of so many people. I never saw Issa Sesay rape. That is why I said it. At the time he was there he would not allow that, but when he was not there, it was a war situation, people were rapes.
Def: Following up on that question, let’s take up Gbao- is he being unfairly held by the special Court?
Wit: I wouldn’t say special Court is holding him fairly, they know whey they are holding him. I cannot Judge for the Court.
Def: But you can Judge for you, but according to you he is a harmless man. Is it fair that he is being held?
Wit: Well if the Court was asking individuals who they should arrest, people would not give his name. But because he was dealing with civilians, he was G2 and they were raping civilians and he would be called to the Court.
Def: But you are saying that you knew him for years and you have never seen him carry a gun. He is being held, do you think this is unfair?
Wit: I cannot tell for the Court, I cannot Judge at this time because he is under investigation let the Court decide.
Def: Is your evidence that you withhold your opinion?
Wit: I have no opinion, it is the Court that has an opinion for him.
Def: But you had an opinion when you spoke to the Issa Sesay team, you said he was harmless.
Wit: I don’t have an opinion for him.
Def: Do you know somebody by the name of Vermuyan Sherif?
Def: You never heard that name?
Def: You are the same person who went to Liberia over 3 times, while you were with RUF?
Wit: 3 times, not over.
Def: 3 times
Def: You’re absolutely sure it’s 3 times?
Def: Well you are looking at a diagram that was created in Court here when Sherif testified in January of this year, do you see the portion of this man that is encircled by a highlighter? [shows map]
Def: That is a map of Liberia, yes?
Wit: Yes, but I have seen Liberian towns, but I have never seen a Liberian map before.
Def: You have never seen a Liberian map before, is that your evidence?
Def: Liberia is the country next to your country Sierra Leone, yes?
Def: You are the same person who went to secondary school and teachers’ college in West Africa and that you Judge graduated from SAIDAC?
Wit: I did not study geography in school, I am not familiar with maps.
Def: Did you study history?
Wit: I studied history for my early secondary school days.
Def: You were a senior RUF officer?
Def: You frequented Buedu?
Def: How many miles from the border is Buedu?
Wit: Some parts like that Dawa crossing point, I understand that it is 3 or so miles.
Def: Are you saying that is 3 miles?
Wit: I am not sure.
Def: What if I told you it was 15 miles, would you agree?
Wit: Maybe, I don’t know how many miles it is.
Def: Do you know how far it is from Dawa crossing to Foya Tenga?
Wit: Bockarie told me it was about 3 miles.
Def: It is about 7 miles, would you agree?
Wit: Vermuya Sherif was here, he circled that portion of the map.
Well, from Bunumbu they did not tell me whether we were going directly to Banga but that we would be on the trip as escorts to Banga.
Def: Where did you start out when you went to Banga – you told us you started in Bunumbu, yes?
Wit: I was at the Bunumbu target, that was my assignment. That was were I was when I got the call that I should go to Kailahun. When we got there, we said that we were going to Banga as escorts.
Def: But in going to Banga, you told us you went to Voinjima, yes?
Wit: Yes, that is where we passed. As we went along Captain Ben was showing us the name of the towns.
Def: Can you see that this circle encircles the Sierra Leonean border?
Def: Can you see, in the middle, Lofa?
Def: And in the bottom left you see ground Cape Mound County, yes?
Def: And to the south east, Bomy, County?
Def: You have heard of ULIMO, yes?
Def: You spoke to us about them on Tuesday or Wednesday?
Wit: Yes, that they occupied the area along the Sierra Leonean border.
Def: Indeed ULIMO occupied the entire circled portion of this map. Would you agree?
Wit: Well, I don’t know, all I know is that they were along the border, across Buedu area, I don’t know if they occupied the whole area.
Def: But the important point is between 1992 and 1996, you will agree that ULIMO occupied the entire Sierra Leonean border, agree?
Wit: Yes, they were along the Sierra Leon Liberian border.
Def: They made it impossible for any supplies, arms and ammunition to cross the border?
Wit: Yes, at the time they occupied.
Def: And you told us that Kallon could not return into Sierra Leon at some point?
Def: You confirmed the years 1992 to 1996, that ULIMO occupied that border?
Wit: I did not clearly state that it was since 1992 or up to 1996. I knew that they were along the border for a long time, up to that particular time but I did not say that it was between 1992 or the exact months that they occupied it.
Def: I am saying you told them from 1992 to 1996.
– Objection from Prosecution, references unclear
– Defense points to statement as reference
Def: Do you agree that you told the Prosecution that ULIMO occupied this border from 1992 through 1996?
Wit: They started the invasion from late 1992 up to that time, yes.
Def: Yes, that’s the point, ULIMO was there. Sherrif says they were there.
– Objection from Prosecution
Def: Vermuya Sherif says they were there, do you agree?
– objection from Prosecution, he did not say 1992
– Judge intervenes, asks Prosecution what dates he thinks they say?
– Prosecution asks for a reference
– Defense says that there is confirmation from the witness and that they are happy to provide references
Def: Do you know somebody named Sowande Kamara?
Def: He was before the Court on 12th February of this year and was shown that same map and he said that ULIMO controlled the border between 1992 and 1996. Do you agree?
Wit: I was not in Liberia, I don’t know, but I know that at the time that their activities started. But I cannot confirm.
Def: Former President of Liberia Moses Blah was here on 19th of May. He said that from 1992 until June 1997, the elections, ULIMO occupied that border. Do you agree with that?
Wit: I am still saying, no, I don’t know. They know best when they occupied the border, the time when I knew they were occupying the border was between 1992 and 1993, when they were being pushed by the Sierra Leonean government.
Def: But the point is that the border was blocked from receiving supplies.
Wit: Late 1992 to 1993, ULIMO activities had started in Liberia.
Def: I am not asking you when they were started. You told us that the RUF
– Judge asks was the border cut off from late 1992 to 1993 or was it that ULIMO occupied the border?
Def: You told us that ULIMO occupied the border in late 1992, yes?
Def: In order to occupy the border, their activities must have started before, yes?
Wit: I cannot say because I was not in Liberia, I was in Sierra Leone.
Def: But you are a trained RUF fighter, for over 10 years with the RUF, and you know from fighting with the RUF that an insurgent group does not just rise up one day and occupy the border but the fighting starts up before occupying the border?
Def: So your experience should tell you that they would have begun the fighting before 1992.
Wit: Well, it could be that their first target was the border. Because when you are a guerrilla, you have to have a target. And I don’t even know when they started it.
Def: What if I told you that their first offensive started in 1993.
Wit: I don’t know, I told you I don’t know when they started.
Def: You said in your statement “from what I heard, when we were in Kailahun they tried to locate the bypasses, they entered once but they failed to return and after this attempt they could never go back”. This was your statement.
Wit: In 1996. After we had gone on the Crack Force mission in Kailahun. I remember when the Prosecution asked me, it was about 1996.
*repeats what said yesterday about this incident
Def: Are you suggesting to us that at some point before 1996, the RUF crossed that border?
Wit: I did not say that here, that before 1996 the RUF crossed the border.
So it was just that once that the RUF tried to cross the border?
Def: After the border had already been closed, late 1992 up to 1996, we came into an attack during the Crack Force mission, that was the time the RUF attempted to cross the border. That was the time I know about.
– Judge intervenes: it was just brought to my attention that the transcript from 9 January, Sherriff is testified as saying that from late 1993, ULIMO had total control of the border.
– Prosecution clarifies that there is another reference in the transcripts for these dates.
– Court agrees to look into these references
Def: I just read to you what, well, I paraphrased it, what the President of Liberia, Moses Blah, said about the border. I think that transcript was from 19 May 2008. Are you aware the ULIMO occupied the border from June 1997?
Wit: June 1997 I was not in the Kailahun area, that was the time the AFRC had taken over, I had gone somewhere else, so I cannot tell you about this.
Def: Do you know what was happening in the Liberia/Sierra Leonean border during 1999?
Wit: Yes, we heard about LURD rebels, it was another insurgent group we were fighting in the Lofa County.
Def: And LURD also occupied that border?
Wit: I don’t know whether they occupied the whole border area but they were within the LOFA area.
Def: Are you aware that President Charles Taylor closed the Liberia/SL border between December 1998 through the second of October 1999? Reads out what Blah said on 20th May 2008 – during December 1998 and 2nd October 1999, “the former President of Liberia says the border was closed by President Charles Taylor of Liberia. Do you agree that the border was closed?”
Wit: It was not to my knowledge, and I disagree.
Def: You disagree with President Blah?
Wit: It was not to my knowledge that the border was closed between 1998 and 1999. No, I never heard about that.
Def: How can arms and ammunitions be moving from one point to another when the border was closed from 1992 and you say 1996. Do you see a problem in this?
Wit: I don’t see a problem with this. Bockarie left RUF territory in 1999. If the border was closed, how would he was been able to enter into Liberia?
– Judge intervenes: corrects dates, reference 1996 not 1999
Wit: From late 1992 when we went into the jungle to 1994 when we finally established the north and other areas, it was in 1996 that I came back to Kailahun that I came back with the Crack Force mission that the RUF tried to locate bypasses to the border and they went but on their way back they fell into an ambush. That was why I was saying that Bockarie went in 1999 to meet Charles Taylor, what route did he take if the border was closed? During that time there were still movements going out between the RUF and the Charles Taylor government. That was a big example, the movement of Bockarie through the RUF zone, that was the time he went.
Def: You agree that you were in error yesterday when you pointed to the date of your promotion, 1998, when you said that by that date, Bockarie had left Sierra Leone.
Wit: It was not a mistake, he left Sierra Leone, but not finally, he went to bring us materials. Issa Sessay was in charge, that is when the attacks took place. He returned with a lot of materials. This is why I say that the border was open for the RUF. He was even acting in the absence of Mosquito. And it was in 1999 that Bockarie finally left the RUF territory and when he took with him his wife, family, soldiers, vehicles. So that is what I am saying. If the border was really closed tightly, Bockarie would not have been let out.
Def: I put to you that Bockarie left in 1999, which is not the time I am talking about. Do you agree that Bockarie went to Liberia for the final time in December 1999?
Wit: I don’t know the month, but it was in 1999 left. But what about 1998 when Issa Sesay signed my documents, at this time was the border closed?
Def: Let me read from a statement – “later on , when NPRC took over, we lost Kono, and went back to the border, the Koindu border, at that time the ULIMO had taken over the border there” – was it April 9th, 1992?
Wit: It was later that the RUF was pushed up to the border area.
Def: Your statement to the Court in trying to set the timeframe, you said, “at that time, ULIMO had taken over the border there”, that’s April 29th, 1992, yes?
Wit: No, it was not April 29th that they occupied the border, that is when Valentine took over. It was later, it was not in April 1992 that they occupied, it was later when the RUF was pushed to the border, they occupied the border at that time.
Def: Then why does the transcript say what it says? You said that ULIMO had taken over the border there.
Wit: It might be the interpreter because what I said is what I am still saying here. It was not April, it was late 1992 and when we went we met ULIMO on the border, and even when I am talking the interpreter is telling me to talk slower and ask me to repeat things. So it was in late 1992 that we went to the Koindu jungle, and we saw ULIMO at the border. That is what I said in the answer.
Court is adjourned for morning break.