Cross-examination of Witness Samuel Kargbo
2 June 9:30 (10.00 video)
Defense continues cross-examination of witness Samuel Kargbo
Def: [reads testimony of Witness] Did you actually join the SLPP early 2003?
Def: What are you saying in your testimony then?
Wit: I was trying to say something else.
Def: You are saying that you were not joining the SLPP, and that they dumped arms in your garden because of that?
Def: What was it they were saying about the arms dump?
Wit: I do not understand.
Def: Was the allegation that you were stalling arms or that you were in a coup to overthrow the government?
Wit: That was the allegation, but as they did not see any arms it was not important.
Def: I put two alternatives to you. Which one is it?
Wit: I did not know what they had in mind. I did not know what it meant.
Def: Did you learn what the government was you accusing of; that you were planning a coup?
Wit: Only in January 2003: I learned about it in the newspaper.
Def: Who else was involved in the coup according to the government?
Pros: Objection, it is not important who else took part in the coup in this trial.
Def: I would like to know this in the light of the credibility of the witness, further I’m entitled to find out whether it was a single hand coup or other SLA men were involved.
Judge: I allow the question. Please answer.
Wit: I did not know anybody of the people that were also accused according to the newspaper. Other SLA members were declared wanted. I just learned from the newspaper announcement that they were.
Def: Do you know Gunbold?
Wit: Yes, I know him.
Def: Do you know his real name?
Wit: I do not know.
Def: Was he a SLA soldier?
Wit: I do not know.
Def: Do you know Captain Hindelo?
Wit: Yes, I know him. He was once an officer.
Def: He was ex-SLA?
Wit: I don not know. He was an officer in SLA.
Def: Do you know Heartgay?
Wit: I do not know him.
Def: Master Sergeant?
Wit: I do not know him.
Wit: I do not know him.
Def: So, you only know Gunbold and captain Hindelo. Where were you at the time you found out about this?
Def: Why you were in hiding?
Wit: I heard that police was searching for me. I was arrested and taken to Patemba road. This was in May 2002. It was said that I lead the men against them. I was released within 3 days. From that time I decided to go into hiding.
Def: So, you have a reputation that you are involved in actions against the government?
Wit: No, It was through you client that all wicked things happened. People did not have trust in us anymore. The defense minister at that time had an evil plan against the soldiers. I was a victim from those plans.
Def: So, Taylor was responsible for the wicked actions of the SLPP?
Wit: I was talking about the RUF. I was a victim. However, I always pray for those who were wrong to me.
Def: Let me put it to you again that you are a man who nurses grudges?
Pros: Objection, this question has been asked at the witness several times in different manners. The witness has already answered the question.
Judge: I will allow it.
Def: Lets go back to the wicked SLPP government, who made allegations against you in 2003. That government did not contain RUF members?
Wit: I do not know. Because at that time I left. I do not know.
Def: The names that I mentioned, Gunbold etc. Where these names also named in the alleged coup?
Def: What were the circumstances of you return to Sierra Leone?
Wit: I wanted to return to come back for the wicked things Taylor did and to do my best for the country.
Def: Did you came before the new power went into force; before the election of the new government?
Wit: I went after the election and the new government was in place.
Def: Where you already in touch with the prosecution when you returned to Sierra Leone.
Wit: No because I did not trust anybody.
Def: Where were you staying?
Wit: In an isolated area.
Def: Inside or outside?
Def: Did they contact you or did you contact them?
Wit: Well, they contacted me. As they understood from friends that I came around. They came and I accepted to meet them.
Def: So you had friends who put them in touch with you?
Wit: I don not understand.
Def: You stated that you the first contact with the prosecution went through friends that you had. Are saying that those friends of you were a sort of intermediars?
Wit: That is what I learned later. I did not know them.
Def: How can they be friends if you did not know them?
Wit: I will explain this to you. The first contact was with the investigator; he called me. I ignored the call and switched off the phone. He called again. He said not to fear. I did not want to see him. I asked him how he got my number. He said a friend of me had given it, but he did not want to give the name of the friend. After the call I went to the investigator.
Def: Why did you meet him?
Wit: Just as a security.
Def: You took part in the NPRC coup?
Wit: Yes, I took part.
Def: Not everyone took part?
Wit: Well, after the coup everyone joined it. I believed that all of us agreed to that government then.
Def: Date of coup in 1992?
Wit: April 29.
Def: Can you remember meeting the prosecutors for the first time in November?
Def: Was the government of Momo [ph] overthrown?
Def: Did the people elect that government?
Def: Why did you overthrow the government?
Wit: Because it was security. I did not know of the coup. I was part of the plans. When I came it was because I had to arrange a pass for my family.
Def: In 1996, you were still in the army, but you were court marshalled and jailed?
Def: Was that a sign that you were taken part in the coup?
Wit: Correction, it was not a court marshalled. We called it different, it was because of a COS order. Me and five other SLA members were punished.
Def: You were not court marshalled, but you were jailed?
Wit: Yes, but it was a COS order.
Def: Who did you blame for that?
Wit: Well, for the most part of it I blame the selfish and wicked officers at that time.
Def: For the most part; for the lesser part you blame the SLPP government?
Wit: Yes, because they were in power at that time.
Def: Had you in fact done anything wrong?
Wit: Please repeat that.
Def: You ended up dismissed from the army and jailed; had you done anything wrong that could justify that?
Wit: That is why I used the expression that the officers were selfish. There were a lot of bad things happening and the officers did not do anything. For instance sergeant Bright was killed. Even when this happened nothing was done. Then we were jailed, but even when I was dismissed I received a salary. So, I did not do anything that justified it!
Def: You took part in AFRC coup?
Wit: Well, it was not a coup. It was a demonstration.
Def: A Demonstration of what?
Wit: Well, we were protesting against the killing of the soldiers. But the officers they all ran away and no one could stand against us.
Def: What do you mean that soldiers were killed and nothing was said about it?
Wit: Well, it happened.
Def: Could you indicate where did it happen and how many soldiers were killed?
Wit: I do not know the number, but it were hundreds of soldiers. Many soldiers were also in prison. I can not tell you the exact number.
Def: What was the fight between the Gamajures [ph] and the Sierra Leone army?
Wit: It was because of the wicked acts of Taylors RUF, they were burning and trashing. That is why people lost confidence in us.
Def: Why was the battle?
Wit: Because of the wicked RUF; they were killing people of Sierra Leone.
Def: Were the Gamajures killing people on behalf of RUF?
Wit: RUF had military uniforms and they were saying that they were SLA. And that is why nobody had confidence in the army anymore.
Def: About the demonstration: was it a demonstration because you were not happy with the officers?
Wit: Yes, but the SLPP government run away.
Def: Why did they run away?
Wit: Because they know the wicked things occurred.
Def: Do you remember saying that Sarkolo [ph] went to your home and that he said that an action against the government must be taken and he named it a coup?
Wit: He misunderstood: it was a demonstration.
Def: What expression you used in that conversation?
Wit: I said I was willing tot participate in the demonstration
Def: What expression did you use against prosecution?
Wit: In the beginning it was called a demonstration and after it was called coup. So I could have named it a coup, but it was a demonstration.
Def: How did other people name it?
Wit: JPK made an announcement after a few days. If it was a coup, it could have been done directly. We were not aiming at overthrowing the government.
Def: What form did it take?
Wit: We went to the prison and took the soldiers out.
Def: How did you manage to take them out?
Wit: We used arms and got the soldiers out.
Def: What did you do then?
Wit: We went to the barracks.
Def: What did you do then?
Wit: We tried to safeguard a place in the city, because The Gamajuras were there.
Def: So you only released prisoners form Patumba road and returned to the barracks?
Def: And president Gabo and the rest were fleeing to Gabon because of this demonstration?
Def: And then you felt that you had no other option than that you and the rest had to take over the government?
Wit: Yes, after two weeks we did that. But we did not want to fill up the government.
Def: So the only intention for the demonstration was to release the soldiers?
Wit: Yes, we did not kill anybody, no ministers etc.
Def: But you were going tot kill members of the prior government!
Wit: No. We only arrested the officers.
Def: JPK persuaded you not to kill officers you stated.
Def: So it was a violent demonstration.
Wit: No, it was not violent.
Def: Were you and the others part of the SLA football team?
Wit: No, I was dismissed of the army and before that I never took part in the football team.
Def: What about the others?
Wit: Well, not all of them were in the team.
Def: Do you remember talking about the football team?
Judge: So if I’m not mistaken you were dismissed from the army in May 1997?
Wit: No, in 1996.
Judge: So during the demonstration you were not in the army?
Def: By what right were you taking part in the demonstration as you were not part of the army?
Wit: Because I was a victim and colleagues of mine were demonstrating.
Def: The coach of the football team was leader of the demonstration. Were many of the other 16 also members of the football team?
Wit: As I said, I was not in the army at that time. If sergeant Sarkolo was alive he could state the names. I was a civilian.
Def: Did you find out that others were members of the football team?
Wit: I only knew few of the others and did not know if they are members of the football team.
Def: At the barracks you arrested senior officers and put them in guard room?
Def: And just after Mr. Buri made the announcement that the government was overthrown?
Wit: I did not know.
Def: You said previously that the head of state had escaped, what did you mean?
Wit: They knew the wicked things that they had done against the soldiers, so as soon as they heard of the demonstration they fled.
Def: So Buri was not supposed to make any statement?
Wit: No, he was not.
Def: So the population was to sit there and wonder?
Wit: I don not understand.
Def: How long did it take before Buri made the announcement about the fact the government had fled?
Wit: It did not take too long: about mid-day.
Def: How long after the return in the barracks was it that Buri made the announcement?
Wit: About 10 we were back in the barracks. Buri made the announcement before mid-day. Most of us were at the barracks.
Def: The announcement was that the government was overthrown?
Wit: I did not hear the announcement. Sarkolo said me to arrest him.
Def: I’m going to read a previous statement from you. Less than two weeks ago you were saying that Buri said that the government was overthrown.
Wit: Sarkolo said to arrest him and than I knew. We were in the barracks waiting on any senior man of the government to come and to talk to us.
Def: You knew that they all fled?
Wit: After some time. In one to two week we found out that they fled. But a few remained.
Def: It was in fact a coup.
Wit: We used arms to free our colleagues. On May 25 it was just a demonstration.
Def: I would like to go back to the early part of the testimony. You remember that Gio’s [ph] joined the army, they live in the border area did they?
Wit: I do not know where they life exactly.
Def: Do you know a men George Harris?
Wit: Yes, Harrison George.
DEF: He told that the leader of the Gio’s was Harmolah [ph]?
Def: Have you never heard of Sodenkoh [ph]?
Wit: No. He was captured and taken to us.
Def: Have you ever heard of Ali Gabeh [ph]?
Def: You told that the Gio’s used to eat people, remember?
Def: Why did you mention that?
Wit: The people from the bushes explained that to us. When we cleared the bushed they told us.
Def: Why did you tell the court?
Wit: It was vital information to the court.
Def: It was important to the prosecution?
Def: You were interviewed on Freetown last year twice, do you remember?
Def: Do you remember that they were quite long?
Def: You did not tell them the information then.
Wit: I reflect to the questions as they come. I can forget things. I did not recall that particular thing then.
Def: Where were you when you were interviewed the next time in May this year?
Wit: I was here in Holland.
Def: You did not tell it then either.
Wit: Well, I did not recall at that time. I am a human being. I reflected later.
Def: In May you were interviewed another two times as proofing.
Def: You did not mention it there.
Wit: I van not recall.
Judge: Did the prosecution go through you previous statements?
Def: The prosecution went page by page through you statements. However, you stated just two weeks ago that in 1992-1993 Gio’s were engaging in cannibalism.
Wit: Tat is because the questions that you are asking me are reflecting my mind.
Def: How is it possible that you suddenly remember that Gios’ were engaging in cannibalism?
Wit: It was because of your questions. It was when I came to court that I remembered it.
Def: Why was it that you couldn’t remember that until the last series of proofing sessions?
Wit: I have said so many things. It was difficult to recollect.
Def: This is a very crucial piece of information. Did they prosecution ask you whether you are aware of any acts of cannibalism?
Wit: I cannot recall. I am not aware of that question being asked.
Def: Did it pop into you mind or was it result of question?
Wit: Because of question.
Def: Was it because of question by prosecution?
D: Did you state anything about Zizag Mazah before eastern this year?
W: I heard his name but I do not know him.
D: Have ever met?
D: What is his reputation?
W: He was leader of the death squad.
D: Did you hear anything on radio about his statement in court?
W: No I have not heard. I did not know.
D: Nobody told you that Zizag Mazah talked here about cannibalism?
D: No, no one told.
D: You stated that you saw decapitated heads and parts of bodies after the RUF was there. Was the SLA army not also murdering and positioning body parts along the road?
W: I was not anywhere where that happened. I was never present.
D: Do you know Alimany Bobsin [ph]?
W: Yes, he was SLA.
D: Did he retreat from Freetwon after the intervention?
W: Yes, but he was not with me. I saw him in Liberia.
D: What is your nickname?
D: Also called Jangler?
D: Go the ARFC action. When was JPK installed?
W: One to two weeks later. I did not recall exactly.
D: When did RUF agreed to join you?
W: They joined within a week, before the government announcement. However, they were present before that.
D: So, the RUF was part of the government?
W: No, they joined before the announcement.
D: So, in the middle of June they were part of the government?
D: And JPK spoke to Foday Sankoh? How did he got his number?
W: JPK called him when he was in Nigeria.
D: He called him on a land line?
D: And all the Supreme council was present?
W: It was not yet formed but we were all present.
D: It was Hassan Kontheys [ph] office, he was not there. Who else was present?
W: All were present who participated in the demonstration.
D: The 17 of you plus JPK and control; officer?
D: So, there was no need for Taylor to encourage RUF and AFRC cooperation.
W: I do not understand.
D: Previously you stated that Taylor took effort for the cooperation. This was not necessary as the phone call with Sankoh already dealt with that.
W: This was previously.
D: Fopday Sankoph sent someone for a meeting?
Interruption in sound and video
W: It was one to two weeks before the government was put into place.
D: And the Liberian government recognised it?
W: Mr Taylor had recognised us.
D: JPK was seeking recognising in the middle of June. Was it your understanding that it was because of the call that they recognised?
W: Taylor was the godfather of the RUF and the president of Liberia.
D: Do you know a woman called Ruth Sando Perri [ph]?
W: This is the first time that I hear that name.
D: She was the head of government at the time of the telephone conversation between JPK and Taylor.
W: I thought Taylor was the head of state.
D: I suggest that you invented the story of the telephone call.
W: No it is not an invention.
D: At that time the transitional government was still running. So it is impossible that Taylor recognised it on their behalf. He was not head of state.
W: As I just said. The chairman JPK told us that Taylor had been called and he recognised us.
Def: Did he say where Taylor was.
Wit: I knew that he was in Monrovia, Liberia.
Def: Did he explain that he talked with him at the execution mansion?
W: No. I only knew that JPK used a landline.
D: When Gabriel Masekoi [ph] turned up did he just have phone numbers?
W: I only knew about the phone numbers.
D: Did JPK said he had a letter from Foday Sankoh for different leaders in Africa?
D. Jerry Rollings ]ph] of Ghana was of particular interest. Did he turn up with his phone number?
W: No, only with Mr. Taylor and other leaders, like Mai Massara [ph], Niger.
D: Have you ever been in touch with Jerry Rollings?
W: No, but the football team went to Ghana. During that trip Sesay [ph] was in contact with him.
D: JPK wanted to have the support of Rollings?
W: He never told us.
D: To get some chronically knowledge. Where were the ECOMOC forces placed in Sierre Leone.
Wit: Their base was at Juiy.
Def: What did they do as a result of the demonstration?
Wit: They tried to stop the demonstration, but they did not succeed. They all returned to their base at Juiy.
D: Was there firing between the groups?
D: So you did not protest against officers only, but you were also engaged in a fire fight?
W: No, they fired at us. And we fired back.
D: And it was ECOMOC who helped the president escape.
W: I don not know.
D: Please turn to a document at page 4, MFI 16. These are minutes of the first meeting of AFRC. We already looked at those who were present. Captain SAJ Mussa, he was second in command?
D: Who was second in command?
W: Foday Sankoh, but he was in house arrest in Nigeria.
D: Where did SAJ Mussa come?
W: He was the third person.
D: If you look at second page, in paragraph 1 opening remarks, paragraph 2 he emphasizes the looting has to be stopped. Who was doing the looting?
W: Complaint were coming to the chairman. That is why he gave this advice.
D: Was that because of a lack of discipline?
W: There was discipline. That is why he ordered it.
D: Reverend Prat [ph] was stated to be released. Who was he?
W: We did not know who released the reverend, he was very important in the army. He was to be arrested again.
D: Was he regarded like the senior officers in the army; to be kept under control?
W: I do not understand.
Judge: The question has been translated wrongly as “regarded” is translated here as “guard”. I suggest you continue after the break. We will have a twelve o clock break. Resume court at twelve.