Cross-Examination of Witness Albert Hindowa Saidu

2:30: (3:00 with 30 minutes delay in video and audio)

Judge: Now Mr. Anya, your cross-examination if any.

Def: Thank you Madam President. Good afternoon Mr. Witness. Now, when you attended secondary school were you taught in English or Krio?

Wit: English

Def: What about primary school?

Wit: English

Def: What about Bunumbu Teachers College?

Wit: English

Def: What about SAIDAC?

Wit: English

Def: Is it fair to say you read and writen English well?

Wit: I can read and write but not very well

Def: But when they speak nglish to you you understand right?

Wit: Yes

Def: But in all your years in school, you were taught in English right?

Wit: Yes

DEf: You said earlier on that you considered yourself part of the High Command right?

Wit: No, i said i was a senior officer

Def: The fact that you were a senior officer allowed to have information about RUF operations?

Wit: Yes

DEf: And you said nothing was hidden from you in the RUF structure?

Wit: Those that were available to me were not hidden from me

Def: But information about where the arms came from was not hidden?

Wit: Yes

Def: And food supplies?

Wit: yes i knew some of the places

dDef: You are saying some of the places but earlier on you said the only source was from Taylor right?

Wit: No i said we also got food from Guinea

Def: But you said the only source of rice was from Taylor?

Wit: No i said that was one of the sources

Def: So RUF got supplies from Guinea?

Wit: It was not supply, we bought food there

DEf: But the source was Guinea?

Wit: It was not all the time

Def: fact is you bought food from Guinea?

Wit: Yes

Def: Besides the two source, where else?

Wit: No other place

Def: And you will know if there was another source?

Wit: Well i will not say i’ll do

Def: You knew where they got medicines from?

Wit: Yes

Def: You also kne about RUF diamond transactions?

Wit: yes, the ones i knew about

Def: But you were close to senior RUF security like Ben and Banya?

Wit: yes

Def: Same for Jackson Swarray?

Wit: Yes

 Def: And they told you what was happening?

Wit: Yes, the ones that were necessary for them to tell me

Def: When was the last time you spoke to Harris Momoh?

Wit: It has been a long time

Def: Remember talking about CO Harrios?

Wit: His middle initial is B?

Wit: Yes

Def: You said at some point he was your commanding officer?

Wit: yes, in Koindu

Def: How long were you in Koindu?

Wit: Nine months

Def: What year?

Wit: 1998

Def: All nine months in 1998?

Wit: yes

Def: You went to primary school with Harris Momoh?

Wit: yes

Def: And secondary school?

Wit: Yes

Def: And Bunumbu college

Wit: yes

Def: And secondary school in Bunumbu?

Wit: Yes

Def: When was the last time you saw him?

Wit: I saw him early 2008

Def: You mean this year?

Wit: Yes

DEf: Where?

Wit: He came from Freetown going to Kenema so he met me in Bo

Def: Did you speak to him?

WitT; Yes, he was in a vehicle and he greeted me.

def: You told us of your nickname Abor?

Wit: yes

Def: And it was given to you by your colleagues in the jungle?

Wiut: Yes

Def: And a second nick name uprising?

Wiut: Yes

Def: And Son’s scarecity?

Wit: No

Def; And the Abor nick name was given to you along the Sierra Leone/Liberia border?

Wit: No

Def: When did you first have contact with anybody from the OTP?

Wit: I think it was March 2007

Def: And how did that contact take place?

Wit: I got a call on my phone that somebody wanted to see me

Def: And what did you do?

Wit: I asked and the person said he was from the special court and so i should see him at  a guest house. I did not go there

Def: Did you eventually go to meet the person?

Wit: Yes

Def: How long after the call did you go?

Wit: 3 days

Def: Where were you?

Wit: Bo

Def: Where did you meet this person?

Wit: Bo

Def: Was it one person or more than one?

Wit: I met one person

Def: Was it a male or female?

Wit: man

Def: Is his first nane Kevin?

Wit: No

Def: Chuck?

Wit: yes

Def: Did he talk you about Taylor?

Wit: He did not talk to me directly about Taylor

Def: Did he speak to you about being a witness?

Wit: yes

 Def: In which case?

Wit: For Taylor

Def: When the meeting started, did he ask you to tell him everything you knew about Taylor?

Wit: yes, he told me to give a brief summary of what i knew of Taylor and the RUF

Def: Did he tell you how he came upon your name and number?

Wit: Yes.

def: How

Wit: He said it was one radio operator who gave him my name and number

Def: And did you know the radio operator?

Wit: Yes

Def: have you seen him recently?

Wit: No

Def; When was the last time you saw him?

Wit: 2007

Def: Month?

Wit: I cant remember

Def: Is that radio operator also a witness for the prosecution?

Wit: Yes

Def: He or she?

Wit: he

Def: When you met him, did the two of you talk about being witnesses against Taylor?

Wit: No we did not discuss that.

Def: he told you he will be a witness in this case?

Wit: yes

Def: Did he tell you whether he received any money from OTP for that?

Wit: No

Def: Did you know at that time where the trial will take place?

Wit: No

Def: Is the radio operator your friend?

Wit: Yes

Def: Are you mende by tribe?

Wit: yes

Def: Is the operator also mende?

Wit: He speaks mende but dont know his tribe

‘Def: How long did your first meeting with CHick last?

Wit: About 3 hours

Wit: Did you tell him a summary of your experiences during the war?

Wit: yes

Def; Did you tell him about your trips to Liberia?

Wit: No

DEf: And your trip to Gbanga in 1992?

Wit: I cant recall. It was just a summary

Def: Did you tell him about your trip to Foya?

Wit: No

Def: And your trip to Vahun?

Wit: I cant remember that

Def: But you remember telling him when you met him in March 2007?

Wit: I cant remember

Def: When next did you meet with Chuck?

Wit: Well since we met in Bo i did not see him again

Def: Were you employed in March 2007?

Wit: I was a student

Def: You said you graduated in 2007?

Wit: Yes

Def: Which month?

Wit: After my On Job Training (OJT), I finally left there at the end of Oct. 2007

Def: Did you do the OJT outside the institution?

Wit: Yes, outsdie Bo

Def: How long was it?

Wit: 3 months

Def: Were you paid fort this?

Wit: I was not paid

Def: Is it fair to say when you were a student you were not working?

Wit: Yes

Def: How long were you at SAIDAC?

Wit: 3 years

Def: It is true then that from 2004 to you graduation, you were not working?

Wit: Yes

Def: 2005, in July, did you meet with other members of the Special Court in Bo?

Wit: yes

Def: Somebody by the name of Michael Williams for Issa Sesay?

Wit: yes

Def: July 13?

Wit: I cant remember the exact date

Def: There was another person present by the name of Dennis Conteh?

Wit: I cant recall that name

Def: Was another person present in that meeting?

Wit: Yes, 3 of them met me

Def: How did they contact you in the first instance?

Wit: They met me at SAIDAC

Def: And they spoke to you about Issa Sesay?

Wit: Yes

Def: And you told them the truth about Issa?

Wit: yes

DEf: And you discussions with them pertaned to events during the war?

Wit: Yes

Def: When you met with CHuck, did you tell him you had met with Sesay’s team?

Wit: yes

Def: Few months after you met with Chuck, less than a year ago, you met again with Sesay’s investigators right?

Wit: Yes

Def: There was James Hayaat?

Wit: yes

Def: Who else was there?

Wit: I only met with James

Def: That meeting took place at the Special Court?

Wit: It was not in the Special Coury premnises

Def: But it was in Freetown?

Wit: yes

Def: When you met with James, did you tell him that you had met with Chuck?

Wit: Yes

Def: When you met with Michael Williams from Sesay’s team, did you believe you were being approached to be witness for Sesay?

Wit: yes

Def: When you met with Chuck, you believed they were considering you to be witness against Taylor?

Wit: Yes

Def: When you met James Hayaat later, you also understood he was considering you to be a witness for Sesay right?

Wit: yes

Def: You are aware that Taylor is on trial at SCSL?

Wit: Yes

Def: You told us about Kallon right?

Wit: Yes

Def: he was your commander right?

Wit: yes

Def: You know where he is?

Wit: Yes, at SCSL

Def; And Gbao?

Wit: Yes, SCSL

Def: When was the last time you saw those three men?

Wit: That was before they were indicted. A long time ago

Def: You know what an indictment is right?

Wit: Yes

DEf: If i say they were indicted in March 2003, will that sound right?

Wiut: I cant say the date

Def: Have you ever gone to the SCSL detention in Freetown?

Wit: No

Def: Have you ever gone to Pademba road to visit anybody?

Wit: No

Def: When you spoke with Williams on Sesay’s behalf, and June with James Hayaat, did you mention anything about Sesay and diamonds?

Wit: yes

 Def: What did you say?

Wit: I didnt talk about that with Williams

Def: What about with James Hayaat?

Wit: He asked me why Issa Sesay was sent to the front line. I said it was because he lost diamonds in Liberia

Def: Is this the same incident you spoke about earlier on today?

Wit: yes

Def: It was also in this meeting that issues regarding the relationship between the RUF and AFRC were discussed?

Wit: I did not discuss this with James

Def: The meeting that took place in 1998, somewhere between Buedu and Dawa, called by Bockarie, attended by Jungle and Ibrahim, you said there were two items on the agenda, Issa and the diamond and the pressure on the RUF/AFRC right?

Wit: Yes

Def: There was a high table right?

Wit: yes

Def: Its about the diamond and Issa that you recall talking to James Hayaat about right?

Wit: yes

Def: Mr. Witness, there is a document here regarding the meetinsg you had with Issa Sesay’s representatives. Look at page 9, see the heading Issa in Pendembu. This is what they say you told them. You said Issa and Bockarie had a problem in Buedu. You say because of this, Issa was sent to the front line as punishment. Issa escaped and went to Pedembu. You said when Issa went to the frontline, the commanders told him to go to Pendembu and they’ll keep him informed when Bockarie asked about him. This is what you told them right?

Wit: Yes

Def: Did you hear any mention of diamonds in what i just read?

Wit: I have not seen anything on that and thats my doubt.

Def: Did you hear anything in what i read about a Liberian delegation or a secret forum?

Wit: No

Def: Did you hear Gbao’s name in what i read?

Wit: No

Def: And you stated that you did not know what the problem was?

Wit: Yes

Def: There is no mention of Rashid Sandy?

Wit: No

Def: You went on to tell them that you thought of Issa as the father of the combatants right?

Wit: Yes

Def: Did you tell them that you love Issa for his care for other people?

Wit: yes’

Def: You went on to tell them that you remember President Kabbah praising Issa for his work for peace right?

Wit: yes

Def: This is the same Issa you told us eventually became the CDS of the RUF right?

Wit: Acting CDS, yes

Def: You told us that in 1990, you heard a BBC broadcast involving Robin White?

Wit: Yes

Def: You heard this braod cast and Taylor saying Sierra Leone will taste the bitterness of war. Where were you then?

Wit: Bunumbu

Def: What were you doing in Bunumbu when you heard this announcement?

Wit: I was a final year student

Def: You were over 22 years right?

Def: you know what month in 1990 you heard this?

Wit: No

Def: The following year, you said on May 2nd, you were captured right?

Wit: yes

Def: sent for training at Pendembu?

Wit: Yes

Def: This was the camp where you said people like Sam Tua frequented right?

Wit: Yes

 Def: And you gave the names of certain instructors right?

Wit: yes

Def: There was Big Darlinag, CO After the War, Yamortor, all of them Liberians?

Wit: Yes

Def: In all you interviews with the OTP, did you mention any of those names?

Wit: yes

Def: When?

Wit: the last interview i had with them in Freetown.

Def: When did you last interview in Freetown take place?

Wit: I think it was between the end of October to November

Def: Could we go to Tab No. 2, just the first page. These are notes retained by the OTP concerning meetings they had with you in Oct-Nov. 2007. Do all these sound right?

Wit: Yes

Def: Ant the interviews took place at the OTP conference room?

Wit: Yes

Def: And you can see the nemes of those present?

Wit: Yes

Def: And at the bottom of page, you see signatures and dates?

Wit: Yes

 Def: And the signature above is yours right?

Wit: yes

 Def: And you signed each and every page?

Wit: yes

Def: And you only signed the pages when the statement was read to you right?

Wit: Yes

Def: lets see if you mentioned your Liberian instructors. In the first page, paragraph 1 and 2, you speak of your experiences at Target C with Kallon. You also told the OTP how you were abducted and taken to the training camp in Pendembu. No where in this statement do you mention these Liberian instructors. Correct me if i am mistaken. What do you say?

Wit: They did not ask me to give the names of instructors. What they asked me was what i spoke about?

Def: Why did you tell me a few minutes ago that you gave the names?

Wit: I gave the names to the prosecutors in Freetown. What they asked me is what i answered.

Def: Lets talk about Pendembu and your training. On Tuiesday, you mentioned certain categories at the training base like SBUs, WAKs?

Wit: yes

Def: And these people were trained to fight?

Wit: Yes

Def: You said their trainings were not as rigorious as the ones you received right?

Wit: yes

Def: When Sankoh called you to Zogoda and sent you for the cadet training, you also spoke of the same categories right?

Wit: I said it was those of us who were officers. I did not talk about categories of trainees.

Def: Are you saying there were no SBUs or SGUs there?

Wit: No

Def: And you were there for about a month?

Wit: yes

 Def: You told us that some senior officers took them to their houses to take care of them?

Wit: Yes

Def: And it was not voluntary?

Wit: Yes

 Def: They were forced to go right?

Wit: yes

Def: Lets see what you told Issa’s investigators about how the RUF treated young boys and girls. Tab 10 please, page 11, right above the word SBU, you have the word Youth Leaders, can you see that?

Wit: Yes

Def: And you said these youth leaders lived in the villages. They will organize man power under their own free will. SBUs, you said children in the front line without parents were called SBUs. You said commanders will sign for them so they will be accounted for. Children were not forced to be anywhere or do anything. Do you agree you said so?

Wit: Yes, the children who did not go through the training, those are the ones i am refering to. We captured children as young as 5, 6 or 7. The others went to the training bases.

Def: Are you saying that SBUs were those captured in the frontline?

Wit: Yes, any children that were captured. There were children who went to the training base. Those were commandos but we referred to all of them as SBUs.

Def: Lets go to Tab 2, page 9, para. 40, lets see what you told OTP about treatment of civilians and lets see what you told Issa’s team. You said RUF forced civilians to mine diamonds in Kono till after the disarmament. Para. 41, about food finding missions, civilians did not move freely except with a pass, para 44, you talked about RUF looting, para 43, you said that in Feb. 1998, a lot of civilians were abducted by retreating troops. A lot of women brought to Kono were raped and forced to work for them. Your boys were forced to work for their wives. Para. 44, you talk about Savage. You said abducted women were distributed by CO Foray in Kailahun. In Kono, they were expected to work for the soldiers assigned to them. Para. 47, the women knew that they had to have sex with the commanders. Did you say these?

Wit: yes

Def: Was Sam Bocoakrie on the ground when Issa promoted you?

Wit: No

Def: Where was he in Nov. 1998?

Wite was in Liberia

Def: Sankoh was not around?

Wit: Yes sir

Def: So for all poractical purposes, Issa was in charge of RUF?

Wit: Yes

Def: It was not peace time right?

Wit: yes

 Def: When he sent you to Vahun, it was for ammunition right?

Wit: yes

Def: And it was in 2000?

Wit: Yes

 Def: And they were procured for fighting purposes right?

Wit: Yes

 Def: And you told his investigators that he was only in charge at peace time and that the other fighters pressured him to fight and he refused right?

Wit: yes

Def: Lets go to page 10. More about the treatment of civilians. See the caption Farm. Gbao was in charge of the farming. Civilians were willing. Prisoners were sent to the farm and they were the only people who went there unwillingly. Page 11. Issa will cook for them. People farming for him will drink palm wine. No body was forced. he used to give them money. There was no forced labour. Civilians will volunteer to make farms. I made my own farm. These are what you told Sesay’s investigators right?

Wit: yes

Def: Were you shopping to be a witness in one of the SCSL cases?

Wit: Yes

Def: You wanted to be a witness in some proceeding right?

Wit: Yes

Def: It didnt matter which case, you wanted to tell a story right?

Wit: No

Def: Were you lookng for a way to make money?

Wit: No

Def: You knew you will get certain benefits testofying?

Wit: No

Def: Did you tell james Hayaat that you were talking to OPT?

Wit: Yes

Def: Did you tell OTP that you had met Sesay’s team?

Wit: yes, i told them in Freetown.

Def: But there is no record of you telling him that?

Wit: I told them, i told Chuck. I told them and they told me that Issa Sesay’s case was different from the Taylor case. I just gave Chuck a summary. It was when i met with them in Freetown that i gave a detailed statement.

Judge: We are concerned that we are running out of tape. We will adjourne and resume court at 9:30 tomorrow. You are again reminded Mr. Witness that you should not discuss your evidence with anybody right?

Wit: Yes my lord

Judge. We’ll adjourn court for 9:30


  1. Again as usual, another witness takes the stand. Tell dozens of stories during direct-examination,and say the opposite during cross-examination. I wounder how will the end of this case be. Well, justice is what we whish to see the world over.

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