International Justice Monitor

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Defense Continues Cross Examination of TF1 590

This is nota transcript of the actual proceeding

Def: We were speakingabout meetings with the assistant US attorney, you toldus the first meetingwas July 2007. When was your secondmeeting?

Wit: In 2007.

Def: What month?

Wit: December, I think so.

Def: And the third?

Wit: I met this year?

Def: In May 2008?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And before that, when did you meet with them, you said you met with them on 4 occasions?

Wit: I told you three to four times.

Def: And then you insisted it was 4 times, what is the date of the 4th meeting?

Wit: I met with them in Miami in the US, last year.

Def: When?

Wit: November, December

Def: When you met in July 2007, was that in the European country?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Next you met with them in Miami?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did you fly with the lawyer in country you reside?

Witr: Yes.

Def: THenthere was a meeting May, in the US or in Europe?

Wit: Country where I currently reside.

Def: Was it 3 or 4 meetings?

Wit: No, I don’t think so.

Def: 3 occasions in Europe and one in USA?

Wit: Yes.

Def: What was date of next meeting of country you reside?

Wit: 2007.

Def: What month?

Wit: I don’t remember.

Def: The first date I have contact is April 18th 2007, document “my Liberia experience” dated April 18.

Wit: Correct

Def: How did that document come into being?

Wit: I gave to my attorney, to discuss my experience in Liberia, he was working on something, so he called me andasked me about the story I explained to him andasked if I was interested in having contact withspecial court, I gave him that authority.

Def: Anthony is who?

Judge: Attorney.

Wit: My lawyer, Attorney.

Def: This document was that dictated by you?

Wit: I wrote it myself and gave it to my attorney. I wrote it after I got contact from the special court, we spoke over telephone, and they asked for my email address, they sent me a message to clarify what I said on the phone.

Def: Who first got in touch withwho? Did the Special court get in touch with you?

Wit: My attorney got in touch with special court, he was coordinating my rights, I’ve tried to go over this issue, people will talk with me, then contacted.

Def: Did you instruct your attorney to contact the special court?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So you created this document “My Liberia experience” and you did that with help of your attorney?

Wit: No, I wrote it by myself.

Def: It was submitted by the prosecution in these proceedings, via email?

Wit; Correct.

Def: Thereafter, you were contacted by an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA)

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was that a surprise?

Wit: It was my lawyer who contacted them

Def: Did your lawyer contact US authorities to become a witness in proceedings there?

Wit:Yes.

Def: Youmet with AUSA in July 2007?

Wit: Correct

Def: when you met in July, did youprovide them with a copy of My Liberia experience?

Wit: yes.

Def: So this document is in possession of prosecutors here and in the US?

Wit:correct.

Def: So it would appear that there is a degree of contact between prosecutors here and the US.

Wit: This is separate cases.

Def: Are you telling us that there is No contact between prosecutors in this case and in the US?

Pros: This calls for speculation from the witness

Judge: This is cross examination, witness can say he doesn’t know.

Def: As far as you are aware, is there any contact between prosecutors in this case and the US?

Wit: I have different knowledge then what you are saying. This is a different case, I don’t know.

Def: Look at this photograph please. When did you first see this photograph?

Wit: Last week.

Def: Who showed you this photograph?

Wit: Mr. Bangura.

Def: Were you told it was a photo of Taylor in custody in the US?

Wit: No.

Def: Were you unaware?

Wit: I know him well, just like I can do his father.

def: You didn’t realize that this was a photograph provided to prosecutors in this case from prosecutors in other case?

Wit: yes.

Def: you are totally unaware of contact between the two sets of prosecutions?

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: One of the representative from the US was from Immigration and customs?

Wit: repeat?

Def: Do you recall you were questioned by immigration service?

Wit: Yes.

Def: So we know there was an AUSA, a representative of FBI and representative of immigration?

Wit: Correct.

Def: and we know we have you creating this document on April 18, 2007?

Wit: Correct.

Def: We next have a meeting between you and AUSA in Europe in July 2007?

Wit: I first met AUSA in the US and not in country I reside in.

Def: When was that?

Wit: It was in 2007

Def: Month?

Wit: November or December.

Def: According to youthere is a meetingin July 2007, was there a meeting with AUSA before that date?

Problem with video

Wit: Yes sir.

Def: In the US?

Wit: silence

Def: Why are you having difficulty?

Wit: I want to give the right answer so I want to think about it.

Def: That was in the US?

Wit: no

Def: Next date is in November 2007 when youmeet with Mr. Bangura?

Wit: Yes.

Def: in November 2007 you alsomeet with AUSA?

Wit: Correct.

Def: You meet with them in Miami?

Wit: Yes.

Def: The next date is May 17th when youmeet with Bangura again?

Wit: Correct

Def: Where?

Wit: In country where i reside

Def: Then you met with AUSA in May?

Wit: Correct.

Def: before meeting with Bangura or after?

Wit: After

Def: May 17 you meet with Mr Bangura, thereafter you met with AUSA?

Wit: Yes.

Def: June 9 you arrive in the Hague?

Wit: Correct

Def: youspend June 9 and10 with Bangura?

Wit: yes

Def: Is there a meeting with Americans you haven’t told us about?

Wit: I don’t remember.

Def: You didn’t mention to Bangura that you mentioned you met with Americans on three occasions

Wit: Interrupted

Def: You didn’t mention it once?

Wit: I don’t remember

Def: So all the contact with Bangura you failed to mention that you are giving evidence in Florida?

Wit: That is the truth.

Def: That is a lie, and you know it.

Wit: No.

Def: Were you present with conversations between prosecution and your lawyer?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Were you present when your lawyer said to Mr. Bangura that my client is in contact with the Americans?

Wit: No.

Def: has your lawyer told Bangura you are in contact with Americans?

Wit: I’m not aware of that?

Def: And you are telling us the truth?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When you met with the Americans, was what you told them taped or written?

Wit: Written

Def: So there is a record of all three meetings you have had with them?

Wit: Correct

Def: Were you asked to read through a document and sign it?

Wit: ???

Def: Like a statement and sign it?

Wit: I identified pictures…(interrupted)

Def: I’m only talking aboutcontact with Americans…

Judge: This is the witnesses own statement

Def: were you on any occasion asked to read through an account of your experience and asked to sign it?

Wit: yes.

Def: On how many occasions?

Wit: After every meeting.

Def: So there are three signed statements by you given to the Americans which you signed

Wit: This is not what I understood. I signed different signatures of different things, document or pictures identified.

Def: How many statements have you provided to the Americans which you signed

Wit: One

Def: When did yousign that document?

Wit: Our first meeting

Def: In ssubsequent meetings did youprovide furtherstatements?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Did you read andsign those statement?

Wit: I read it and said yes or no

Def: You signed statement July 2007 to Americans, was a written statement a record of what you told the Americans which you signed?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When you met with them in November 2007 was another statement read back to you which you signed?

Wit: I did not sign it, it was oral statement, after that they reread the statement and then I could clarify if they are my words

Def: Did you  a further document in November 2007

Wit: Pictures were shown to me and were signed

Def: in May 2008, did yousign a statement?

Wit: No.

Def: What took place?

Wit: They asked me questions

Def: Were answers written?

Wit: they were taking notes

Def: Were you asked to sign the notes

Wit: No.

Def: Was it a lengthily interview?

Wit: Yes, last about 2 hours

Def: So there should be records of three lengthily conversations and on each of those occasions were you talking about these events?

Wit: i was talking about my general experience

Def: Which is what you told us.

Wit: It could be.

Def: I’m not interested in could be’s, were they the same events that you spoke about with Americans

Wit: I can’t distinguish, I can tell anyone about my experience

Def: Was that same period the same events that you spoke to Americans about?

Wit: I told the Americans about the treatment I received by Taylor

Def: Were they the same events Feb 1998 and May 1999

Wit: thank you, at last

Def: you were asked about Charles Taylor?

Wit: By whom?

Def: By the Americans.

Wit: yes

Def: DId you talk about Charles Taylor?

Wit: Of course

Def: Did you speak to them about Taylor on all three occasions

Wit: no sir.

Def: Did they ask you about the former president

Wit: No sir

Def: Did you tell the Americans about the Arabsbeing Mr. Taylor’s diamondmerchant?

Wit: Correct

Def: Did you tell them that you were aware of arm shipments going through Vangimato Sierra Leone

Wit: I told them that Taylor and Mosquito and Victor and arab guys, I explained that to them

Def: So you spoke to them about former president?

Wit:silence

Def: Don’t be coy

Wit: this was about my general knowledge

Def: You spoke a lot about the former president

Wit: I think you are trying to confuse me

Pros: The question has been asked and answered

Def: You are suggesting you met Mr. Taylor and diamonds and arabs, you spoke about other things, didn’t you?

Wit:I spoke with them,

Def: Did they ask you about Mr Taylor, the former president?

Wit: Not directly sir

Def: How did they indirectly ask you?

Wit: After, when we were arrested the treatment we underwent, that story I explained andI had to include Mr. Taylor

Def: You’ve told them what you told us?

Wit: A lot of what I said

Def: So there are differences?

Wit: there might be.

def: That is why I would like to see those statements, would you have difficulty providing us copies of statements?

Wit: yes.

Wit: I don’t know the administration

Def: Do youobject to showing us copies of the statements?

Wit: I do, for security reasons?

Def: How would it effect your security?

Wit: That is notmy responsibility.

Def: Is there something in those statements which you want to hide from this court

Wit: No

Def: Do you haveobjection to us seeing those statements?

Wit: I don’tthink I have that authority.

Def:Just asking you is there anything in those statements that you don’t want us to see?

Wit: That is not my problem, ask the Americans.

Def: You know that your lawyer is sitting in the public gallery, if he has copies then do you mind him giving us copies?

Wit: This is ridiculous.

Def: there is nothing ridiculous at all, if your lawyer has copies then can we go to him and get copies?

Judge: Do you have objections?

Wit: Yes, I can’tgive authority

Def: So you have something to hide?

Wit: I have nothing to hide

Def: Why don’t you want us to see those statements?

Wit: they are different issues. We are talking about different judicial system

Def: You are under oath to tell the truth, why don’t you want us to see them?

Pros: I believe the proposition is not whether they can see, what witness has understood is that he does not havethe authority, not that witness doesn’t want the court to see those statements

Judge: There are possibly two or three steps involved. 1) will you give permission 2) will the American authorities give permission.

Def: Do you have in your possession copies of your statements?

Wit: No

Def: Does your lawyer have copies in the Hague?

Wit: I can’t tell

Pros: My friend is getting into issue of privilege, the witness is not in position to waive this privilege, we are talking about contact with his lawyer

Judge: The witness answered it.

Def: Who is paying for your lawyer? The Americans?

Wit: the country I reside in, I have that privilege, I have a right to an attorney

Def: So the country pays for him to be present?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Not the Americans?

Wit: no sir.

Def: Will you be giving evidence in the trial of Chucky Taylor?

Pros: I object, relevance?

Def: This witness, based on what he told us, it appears, he has given evidence during that one year period, if he is to give evidence to that effect then it is highly relevant in light of further questions I will ask.

Def: Will you be giving evidence against Chucky Taylor in the US?

Wit: Please sir, youare tryingto expose my identity.

Pros: The witness has some legitimate concern, this session is public and the witness may be exposed, we don’;t know what measure are there for protection

Judge: How might his identity be exposed? He is behind a screen

Pros: It is clear that this person will be a witness in another trial.

Judge: Who knows who this person is?

Pros: We are edging into unsafe territory

Judge: Do you know if there are protective measures in the US?

Pros: I know nothing

Judge: He will be giving evidence in public? How will he be exposed? Our duty is to this court, we’ve done everything to protect this witness, I don’t see how this witness can be identified if he answers this question

Pros: That is the objection to relevance, if counsel is trying to leak what might say in another proceeding, this line of question has relevance issues. I’m worried about his safety in these proceedings. But there is also an issue of relevance.

Def: Will you be giving evidence against Chucky Taylor in the US?

Wit: If asked, then yes.

Def: Have youbeen offered any incentive?

Wit: Sorry?

Def: Have youbeen offered any incentive?

Wit: They interviewed me, I don’t have any final information.

Judge: Do you understand?

Def: Have you been offered any incentive to give evidence

Wit: They are still gathering evidence

Def: Have you been offered to be relocated to the US?

Wit: I am comfortable where I live

Def: Are you here on a dry run? Are you here on a practice session before you give evidence on Chucky Taylor

Wit: I think this court is a serious matter, I’m not here to practice

Def: Are you here so that the American authorities can assess how you

(Interruption in the video)

Def: When in 1998 you fled from Kenima, why was that?

Wit: Kenima was about to be attacked by Nigerian led forces and the (unclear)

Def: Who occupied Kenima?

Wit: RUF and AFRC

Def: When did RUF first occupy Kenima?

Wit: 1997

Def: Between 1991-1997 were you living in Kenima?

Wit: That is my town.

Def: Between 1991 and 1997 were you living there?

Wit: yes.

Def: During that time you were not affected by the war?

Wit: I was, but not directly.

Def: Did the war come to Kenima at all between 1991-1997, prior to 1997, had the RUF not occupied Kenima?

Wit: Not before then.

Def: So in what month in 1997?

Wit: Just after RUFcame all over Sierra Leone

Def: Give me a month when they came to Kenima

Wit: May 1997

Def: So can we take your account to be this, up until May 1997, you did not live under RUF rule?

Wit: I was a civilian in Sierra Leone. I was in town before RUF came to town

Def: Prior to May 1997, are you telling us that you had never lived under RUF rule?

Wit: I did.

Def: When

Wit: In 1997

Def: Before May 1997, bearing in mind the war started in 1991, did you at any time live under RUF rule?

Wit: No sir.

Def: So before May you had never had any contact with the rebels?

Wit: Correct

def: no contact with the RUF?

Wit: Correct

Def: the war had not touched you

Wit: I was in Sierra Leone and there was war, I couldn’t continue my education because of the war, if you live in a country where there is war you are part of that problem.

Def: So the very first fighting you experienced was Feb 1998?

Wit: No,

Def: When?

Wit: Before I could run away.

Def: Give me a year

Wit: in 1995 there was also fighting around Kenima area?

Def: Who?

Wit: RUFagainst the government forces

Def: so in 1995, did you come in contact with rebels?

Wit: No.

Def: They didn’t effect you?

Wit: All major roads cut off by rebels there were ambushes, we suffered from the activities

Def: Even on what you’ve told us, you lived under RUFrule may 1997-Feb 1998, correct?

Wit:Correct

Def: For ten months you lived under RUF rule?

Wit: I could say that sir

Def: At that time, you would have been about 25?

Wit: Correct

Def: You would have been at your prime fighting age to be recruited into the RUF

Wit: There were people younger than me

Def: During that 10 month period, did the RUF attempt to recruit you?

Wit: No sir.

Def: They only tried to recruit you once youwere in Liberia?

Wit: Correct, they intimidated me and everyone in Sierra Leone, everyone could say they had some form of intimidation by RUF

Def: I’m asking about being recruited between May 1991-Feb 1998?

Wit: not in Sierra Leone

Def: During that period what were you doing?

Wit: Doing business, I did rice and diamond mining

Def: When you were involved in rice business, did the RUF take your stock away?

Wit: No sir.

Def: When you were mining, were you being forced to mine by the RUF?

Wit: No sir

Def: Were the diamonds taken by the RUF?

Wit: No

Def: So during that 10 month period, life continued, in terms of your business, uninterrupted.

Wit: my business was interrupted.  Sometimes they took my goods, I had to pay money at the check points.

Def: Did you see any evidence of the RUFforcing people to mine around Kenima at that time?

Wit: There used to be, around Tongo or Kenah

Def: Did you see it?

Wit: I heard people say so.

Def: Did you see it?

Wit: no sir

Def: In your village you were mining without intervention?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And where you were mining you didn’t see forced labor?

Wit: I have to explain, I’m talking about my mining in my village, there used to be some RUF or AFRC who could go and say this is government mining, but not my personal, I was never forced mining. But I saw people who they did that to. My relatives, my extended brothers.

Def: Like who?

Judge: Don’t give names

Def: Cousins?

Wit: yes, extended family members could be my son of my grandfather, my grandfather had many wives I had lots of cousins.

Def: Who was the RUF commander during those 10 months?

Wit: Mosquito was there

Def: He was a commander in Kenima?

Wit: I don’t know about RUF administration, there were different commanders, they could do anything to youthey were really aggressive.

Def: Did you see mosquito in Kenima between May 1997-1998?

Wit: yes.

Def: What vehicle was he driving?

Wit: Mosquito could drive anything he wanted

Def: What kind?

Wit: Jeeps, whatsoever

Def: What make?

Wit; I can’t tell.

Def: Which other commanders did you know of in Kenima?

Wit: I don’t know the particular commander in charge, we would see them with their guns and the AFRC soldiers. They could do anything to you

Def: Any other name?

Wit: Menowa, Dennis, there were a lot of them, there were a lot of RUFs, I was not involved in them, they were very frightening. These guys were rebels

Def: Why didn’t you leave?

Wit: Sierra Leone was my country, my parents were there, my wife, my children, it is my country.

Def: Why suddenly decide to leave when ECOMOG attack?

Wit: because there were rumors they were coming and they were fighting, you could not just get up and go, that day I run away I saw thousands of people doing the same thing, you could hear firing and bombing andterrible things, they were killing prominent people.

Def: What caused youto leave?

Wit: RUF were killing people indiscriminately, otherpeople were being kidnapped, they wouldkill people on the streets, so I had an opportunity to leavewhen thousands were fleeing.

Def: If the RUF were behaving in such a despicablemanner, why did it take so long to leave?

Wit: It was a critical decisions, it was my first time to move out of Sierra Leone, it was painful.

Def: Your brother was a policeman in Tongo, was he involved in the mining?

Wit: He was a police officer

Def: Did he provide you with protectionwithyour mining business?

Wit: He was a police officer

Def: Was he in Tongo when you left?

Wit: wewere all scattered.

Def: Did your police brother leave?

Wit: Yes

Def: Where did he go?

Wit: When Kenimawas attacked everyone scattered.

Def: Where did he go?

Wit: I don’t know

Pros: The witness said he doesn’t know where his brother went

Def: Did you find out where he went?

Wit: Have you ever been in a place where there is war?

Judge: Did you find out where your brother went?

Def: So you had no contact with hm? Did you not say to him “where did you go?”

Wit: I dont think I asked him, there are a lot of stories, they thought I was killed because thousands were killed in kenima.

Def: So you never asked him?

Wit: No.

Def: So you tell us that when you left you were arrested on Feb 27, 1998

Wit: Correct

Def: Who arrested you?

Wit: SOD and some members of the RUF

Def: Where were you detained?

Wit: Centerof the town they askedus to go to a meetingI never went to that meeting,

Def: When you say you were arrested, were you put under armed guards?

Wit: They took us to the office, they said we should go to a meeting but we knew what happened when you are brought to their places.

Def: Where was your pregnant wife?

Wit: In Vahu

Def: So you were the onlyperson to be detained, for how long?

Wit: Around 30 minutes to 1 hour

Def: you were under arrest?

Wit: I escaped

Def: How?

Wit: Because there were many people, so I didn’t follow the group.

Def: Where did you find your wife?

Wit: I came home, the

Def: when you fled from Kenima there were thousands fleeing with you, and when you arrived in Liberia you met thousands of refugees, some in camps run by NGOs, correct?

Wit: People were coming and they were finding open space to live, it was not that much organized.

Judge: Please note the time Court is adjourned

Court is Back in Session 2:30pm June 16, 2008

This is not a transcript of the proceedings

Def: Handing Judge an email that he received this afternoon

Judge: I gather Mr. Bangura has not had notice.

Def: I’m deliberately being vague

Judge (reading e-mail)

(Silent discussion between the judges)

Judge: We read the message

Def: I’m deliberately being secretive, this document raises a number of issues that we should discuss in the absenceof the witness.

Pros: I agree that there are a lot of issues that need to be discussed.

Judge: I will ask that you leave the court so we can discuss some procedural issues, I’m not sure how long it will take.

Def: I’m wondering if we should have this discussion in private session?

(Judges conferring)

Judge: Please indicate our reasons

Def: Maybe we don’t need private session if I exercise discretion, note the time and date of the e-mail, top left, I first became aware of the existence of this when I returned to court, despite the fact that protective measures are in place, the timing suggest that others outside of the court are aware of the identity of the witness giving evidence, your honors will see the wording of the last sentence

Judge: This should be in private session, because the person who wrote this email will hear what you are saying and confirm the email.

Judge: Please put the court in private session ( 17 minutes)

back in Open session

def; Did you requestsuch measures to protect your identity?

Wit: yes.

def: Are you intending to give evidence without such protection?

Wit: I’m here sir

Def: Are you giving evidence without protective measures.

Wit: I hope so

Def: So you will be giving evidence in the US without protective measures?

Wit; They have their own witness protection program sir.

Def: Will you be giving evidence whereby your name and identity will not be disguised?

Wit: I do not know sir.

Def: have you told them in the US that you will not give evidence unless your identity is protected?

Wit: I said my security

Def; Have you told them that I will will not give evidence unless my identity is kept anonymous?

Wit: We have no gonei n that direction yet. I told them I need my security

Def: Help us, why have you not raised that with them given your concerns?

Wit: I discussed with them several times.

Pros: It appears that the witness has raised matters re his security with the people in the US and that covers matters of identity protection

Judge: I don’t feel like this answers the question, I wish to have a clear answer

Def: Can we take things slowly, have you said to the US “I will not give evidence if my name is made public”?

Wit: No sir.

Def: Have you said “I will not give evidence if my face is shown to the public”?

Wit: I have emphasized my security reasons

Def: I’m being very specific have you said to the authorities, “i will not give evidence if my face is shown to the public”?

Wit: I have not said that precisely.

Def: Did you say to the prosecution in this case, “I will not give evidence if my name is made public”

Wit: yes

Def: Did you say in this case “I will not give evidence if my face is made public?”

Wit: yes, sir

def: Why did you say that to the prosecution in this case, but not to the prosecution in the US?

Wit: I asked abouts security reasons and they explained to me the alternatives

Def: Why have you not made that a stipulation in the US?

Wit: they are working on it

Def: Is  youridentity anonymous in the US?

Wit: yes sir.

Def: Who told you that?

Wit: authorities

Def: So they told you that you would be anonymous?

Wit: Yes.

Def: When did they tell you that?

Wit: In our last meeting

Def; in what circumstances did that arise?

Wit: About my security concerns

Def: But you didn’t say “I’m not going to give evidence”

Wit: Please sir, this is very critical, they have not tell me , they’ve told me my identity is secure

Def: Have you been specifically told that your name is not public

Wit: Yes.

Def: You told us that you have met with other Sierra Leonean refugees when crossed into liberia?

Wit: Correct

Def: And youwere aware of presence of lawrge refugee camp?

Wit: Yes.

Def: Was there a camp near Kolahon?

Wit: yes.

Def; Did you knwo about that camp when you crossed into Liberia?

Wit: No

Def: When aware?

 Wit: When I was in Vangima

Def: You took refuge in that camp when Vongima was attacked

Wit: Before it was attacked sir.

Def: That camp was being run by NGOs?

Wit: Yes.

Def: And it is right that those camps are afforded a degree of security that was not available outside of the camp?

Wit: Correct

Def: So that Liberian security personnel, RUF personnel could not enter that camp carrying arms?

Wit: correct

Def: And within that camp free food and med was provided?

Wit: Correct

Def: How long did you stay there?

Wit: a month or two

def: While there you received identification papers denoting you as a refugee

Wit: Correct

Def: The grant of such papers would have allowed you to remain in that camp

Wit: Correct

Def: You could have stayed indefinitely?

Wit: I was allowed to move around

def: You could have indefinitely?

Wit: yes

Def: You could have stayed, and it afforded a measure of security, do you agree?

Wit: yes

Def: Why did you  leave to travel to Monrovia?

Wit: Because my family was in Vagima, because of the harassment, I came to see my family was ok, and then I couldn’t go back to Kolahun, and we were afraid and we were running for war, and it was better to find good security

Def: Who were you running from when you left Vongima?

Wit: I was running from the intimidation in Vongima

Wit: the security forces, the RUF, SODs’

Def:  If you were running to us monrovia?

Wit: There were lots of people

Def: If they are the ones harassing you, why run into their arms?

Wit:  it was good to leave that environment, we were avoiding those two fighting forces.

Def: You knew there was safety in the refugee camp, why not head fort he camp, why head for Monrovia?

Wit:  Before Vongima was attacked we were subjected to raids and looting, the situation became worse when Vongima was attacked, lot of people who stayed there were killed.

Def: Those who attacked Vongima, were they anti President Charles Taylor forces?

Wit: I don’t know, I never saw them, I was not there when Vongima was attacked, I was in Kulohan.

Def: Were the attackers from ULIMO?

Wit: I dont know, when Vongima was attacked they were just called dissidents

Def: Were they Lurd?

Wit: I dont know

Def: Are you familiar with this name?

Wit: notuntil I came to the country where I live

 

Def: Who are ULIMO?

Wit: They are the anti Taylor forces.

Def: You are aware, that ULIMO forces controlled LOFA county, right?

Wit: when I was in Liberia

Def: were you aware that ULIMO were anti Taylor forces?

Wit: yes

Def: Were you aware that they were composed of Mandingos?

Wit yes sir (video interruption)

Wit: I only knew ULIMO was in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Def: Were in Sierra Leone were ULIMO?

Wit: Kenima

Def: When

Wit: Early 1990s

Def: How long did they stay?

Wit: by then I was not too familiar with ULIMO, but everyone knew they were in Sierra Leone.

def: Is your evidence that ULIMO controlled in the mid 1990s?

Wit: I don’t know.

def: And you knew that they controlled Lofacounty?

Wit: yes

Def; You knew there were elections in Liberia July 1997

Wit: Yes.

Def: So when you fled to Liberia, you knew Taylor was the president?

Wit: Yes

Def: you knew that Liberia was in the process was disarming the ULIMO forces in Lofa?

Wit: I came there was no war.

Def: Youknew there were efforts to disarm former ULIMO fighterrs?

Wit; I knew disarmament happened there

Def you also mentioned Varuma Sheriff

Wit: yes.

Def: He was a ULIMO commander

Wit: Correct

Def: and he

Def: Because of that status in ULIMO he was respected in Vongima?

Wit: yes

Def: amongst former ULIMO combatants?

Wit: yes

Def: Vongima main town in Lofa?

Wit:  Yes.

Def: This was a strategic place correct?

Wit: yes.

Def: it is walking distance from Guinea border?

Wit: Yes

Def: Couple of hours?

Wit: Correct

Def: How long take to walk from Vongima to Sierra Leone border?

Wit:  I never walked, by vehicle 8 hours

Def: so Vongima was a frontier town

Wit:

Def: Consequence of proximity was that it was lawless?

Wit: in principal, no sir.

Def: It was a major trading and market place for lootedgoods from Sierra Leone?

Wit: I dont know.

Def: youwere a business man because ofit’s location it was an important trading point?

Wit: It could be.

 Def: Was it?

Wit: I don’t know

Def: I’m talking generally, for example, were youaware of arms being sold around Vongima by former ULIMO fighters?

Wit: No sir

Def: Were you aware of Sharif’s involvement in such business?

Wit: No sir.

Def: Did you speak to former ULIMOfighters?

Wit: there were a lot of people there, common to see someone who had experience of war.

Def: During that period, ulimo still had power in Vongima in 1998?

Wit: No, not when I was there. there was SOD, AFL, RUF, some SSS, and sometimes the ATUs

def: So when you told us on friday that ULIMO  that ULIMO was strong what did you mean?

Wit: I said Sharif, he was respected

Def: what you told us was that er was a split in Vongima and there was strong ULIMO influence?

Wit: I said, the Mondingo people were supporters of the (unclear), Vongima separated into two positions with two ethnic groups and different political ideas.

Def: And the strong political influence was ULIMO

Wit: This is how you identify the people

Def: And they were anti taylor?

Wit: Not all of them. Sherif was working for the Taylor government former ULIMO members were in the Liberian police, so I don’t know, how I could say about them

Def: When you fled Kenima, how much money did you have?

Wit: I had a million leone

Def: So when you left Sierra Leone you had over 1 million Leones

Wit: from business from kenima

Def: What kind of business

Wit: I was mining and buying and selling commodities

Def: Who were you selling diamonds to?

Wit: Anywhere

Def: Who?

Wit: people who had diamond offices

Wit: Like anyone? I got license from the government and could sell it to anyone.

Def: how did you manage to take that money out of sierra Leone without the RUF soldiers taking it from you?

Wit: When we were traveling my wife was pregnant and we had a small bag and tied on her side, you would just think she was pregnant.

def: and then, you had to bribe to cross ino  Liberia?

Wit: yes sir

Def; how much?

Wit: I dont remember exactly

Def; How much did it cost to enter Liberia?

Wit: There was no specific  amount of money, you could give a nice shoe we were desperate, we were going somewhere to be safe.

Def: It’s my fault for going too quickly, how many people were traveling in your party fleeing kenimah, yourself? Your wife? three brothers?

Wit:  correct, and a lady called aunti and her husband

Def: So you had 7 people in yourparty?

Wit: no sir.

Def: I was not responsible for 7 people

Def: How many

Wit: 5 people

Def: So when you got to the Liberian border you had to pay bribes for 5 people?

Wit: for us to go across, they were not looking at kids,

Def: in any event, did you pay money to cross into Liberia?

Wit:  They tookproperty from me, my stereo tape, and some money of course

Def: How much money?

Wit: I can’t remember

Def: What is a stereo tape?

Wit: it’s an instrument to play music

Def: a tape player?

Wit: yes.

Def: so they also took money, how much?

Wit: I can’t remember exactly?

Def: so when you finally arrived, you paid for transport because your wife couldn’t walk?

Wit: correct

Def: And you paid for food and shelter?

Wit: No sir.

Def:  When you arrived, how much money did you have left in Vongima?

Wit: about $1 million leones.

Def:  S o you arrived Feb 22, 1998, and you went on to say that within a couple of months you built up a business in the center of Vongima?

Wit: correct

Def:  how many people did you employ within 2 months

Wit: me, my brothers and my wife

Def: what were you selling

Wit: cigarette, plum wine, beers, lighter etc.

Def: where did you get this from?

Wit: In Vongima there was a market, people came from everywhere, when they bring this good you could buy the goodsfrom the market

Def: How many people could you cater for on these premises?

Wit: a lotof people

Def: how many?

Wit: more than 20 or 30 people

Def: would it be fair to say that your place within a couple of months was the favorite waterhole in Vongima?

Wit: yes.

Def: How is it that you a refugee, within 2 months, you are able to reach such a prominent position

Wit: I ‘m smart and I had a bit of money

Def:  so you became the “Rockefeller” of Vongima?

Wit: I was not the best.

Def:  Def: Did you serve food?

Wit: My wife used to make this banana cake, casava

Def: So it was food as well

Wit: yes.

Def: and this was a place, frequented by the big wigs, such as Sharif and Mosquito.

Wit: I never said they were my customer

Def: And it was during this course of them imbibing on your premises, caused you to garner all of this information?

Wit: Sorry?

Def: Your knowledge came about as a result of gossip between your customers whilst on your premises

Wit: correct

Def: arm shipments came through gossip?

Wit: Sir, I believe, some of the security were not disciplined, so if they come they talk, I had no authority over them.

Def:  Your knowledge about arms movements, that knowledge you arrived at through gossip through securities?

Wit: What I knew, I had my skill and I was making my living.

Def: How long did you spend in Vongima (you arrived Feb 27, 1998)?

Wit: I was there for about a year and probably some months

Def: So between feb 1998- about March 1999, you were running this business?

Wit: correct

def: During that period, did you see any arms shipments?

Wit: I saw, yes sir.

Def: Did you see any?

Wit:  I saw in one occasion I saw the airplane,

def: Were you present beside the airplane unpacking the boxes to know what was inside?

Wit: I never saw what was inside

Wit: I saw the aircraft and the RUF and AFL and SODs, I never saw an open box

Def: Did you see diamonds?

Wit: They were arabs

Def: So did you see any Rufsoldiers withdiamonds?

Wit: no, they were secret.

Def; You recall when Mosquito came from Sierra Leone

Wit: when he came from Vongima I saw him two times, frist from Sierra Leoneto Monrovia with Chucky Taylor and compari including this arab like guys

Def: during that 12-13 month period you saw mosquito two times?

Wit; Yes

Def: month?

Wit: September

Def: youhad not travelled with mosquito to vongima?

Wit: no sir

Def: all you can say is that you were told by someone that mosquito was on his way to Monrovia, but you cant say for certain he went to Monrovia?

Wit: I saw his body guards and they explain about Sierra Leone and sometimes we had radio, they come and explain something then it is true. If mosquito in vongima his body guards come to my place andexplain what they are doing then that is true. When they went to Monrovia and come back they used to come to my place and I saw people who had this contact, the bought drinks with the money, I saw foreign wine and foreign cigarettes, so evidence they are telling the trips.

Def: You can not say for certain that Mosquito went to Monrovia

Wit: I can

Def: based on what you were told?

Wit: And what I saw

Def: there came a time when you decided to flee from Vongima to Monrovia

Wit: Correct

Def: Who was with you?

Wit: My wife my daughter and my wife’s sister, her boyfriend and my younger brothers, one of them

Def: You got as far as St. Paul Bridge

Wit: Yes

Def: Where you met up with the ATU?

Wit: Correct

Def: you were separated from your wife, and while separated, Chucky Taylor executed how many men?

Wit: 4 men including my sister in law’s boyfriend

Def: and cut off their heads?

Wit: Correct

Def: You were thereafter detained by ATU and take on to Batala?

Wit: To Banga to Batala

Def: From your description, Batala was a torture camp?

Wit: Correct

Def: built for torture?

Wit; Correct

Def: holes dug in the ground cemented and filled with water where people were detained

Wit: Correct

Def: dimension of the holes, are we talking about a coffin?

Wit: Correct

Def: Was it as deep as bench before your honors?

Wit: that is too high, it was about 2 ft

Def: Was it long enough for a human to lay flat?

Wit: no sir

Def: so a human being knees would be up, was it possible for you to stretch out?

Wit: no sir

Def: you escaped from that purgatory on the first night?

Wit: not the first night, I spent there a night and a day

Def: Of the group of men who were separated at the bridge, how many taken to Batala?

Wit: about 10-15 sir.

Def:How many men were separated out by the ATU?

Wit: there were a lot of people, we were more than 50

Def: of that 50, how many taken to Batala

Wit: I don’t know.

Def: Did you go with a group

Wit: they tied me and some other people, more than 10

Def: so about 15 slected to go to Batala?

Wit: there were just two jeeps, when in Banga there were many people there

Def: When you finally end up in Batala, how many were in the group?

Wit: about 10-15. The first night we escaped, that morning after Chucky told the ATU boys to collect the others, I could realize that some people were absent, there was another Mandingo was there

Def: When you were at St Paul’s bridge, there are Thousands of refugees?

Wit: I don’t know, a lot of people

Def: hundreds

Wit: yes.

Def: The men were separated out?

Wit; Correct

Def: then smaller number taken to Banga

Wit: yes

Def: smaller group taken to Batala

Wit: Correct

Def: why were you targetted for that treatment?

Wit: They were forcing people to go back to Vongima, they confronted me several times to fight, they ask me to train in Bonga

Def: can you explain why you in particular were selected for this treatment?

Wit: It was not just me, with my own personal thought was because I was persistently refused being a member of that ideology. These same people who were still behind us, who were intimidating us

Def: You spent almost a year under RUF rule and they didn’t recruit you?

Wit: yes

Def: You are then one of thousands who flee to Liberia

Wit: You are comparing two different situations, in Kenimah there was war, the RUF was in control over this society, they didn’tneed people, people wilingly joined. When I was in Liberia RUF lost ground so they were trying to get man power they could use civilians for different purposes, to reinforce forces, I was popular because people drank at my place, but I refused to be part of them so I was punished

Def: You were singled out because you were a prominent critic of forced recruitment?

Wit: I could never do that openly criticize, I had the responsibility to take care of my family.

Def: For several months while you are running your business in Vongima they never decide to arrest you or torture you, why is it that all of a sudden at St Paul’s bridge, chucky Taylor suddenly decides that he wants to torture this man?

Wit: In Vongima my brother was arrested, we were refugees, you probably don’t understand, in Vongima I suffered from it, my kiosk was raided

Def: Why were you p icked on to be tortured?

Wit: I’ve explained, probably it might be because I was a young man and there were at the bridge there were other guys who volunteered to go back, and we refused, and Chucky said, take these guys to the camp to they know what happens when they refuse to do what I ask. They told us to go back to Vongima, and I refused to go were I would suffer.

Def:  One thesecond night when you are place in the pit, witha grill holding you in,  which keeps you in this coffin, you can’t breath because water just below your chin.

Wit: yes, so my face was up and I could breath

Def: So you have to keep your neck up to not drink water that had decomposing body parts in it

Wit: yes.

Def: you manage to escape and manage to remain free until the morning?

Wit: yes.

Def: you were recaptured by ATU

Wit: yes,

Def: If we add up all you told us, youescaped from Liberian security in Vahu when you first entered Libera, you escaped from Batala and been recaptured?

Wit: Yes.

Def: You were put back in the pit and escaped again?

Wit; yes.

Def: how many days later?

Def: How long did you stay in the pit before you managed to escape the second time?

Wit: About the second or third day

Def: let’s examine how you came to escape on this third occasion, you were with another man?

Wit: that was my first time

Def: On the second pit escape you are placed with another man?

Wit: yes

Def: Your hands tied with plastic cuffs?

Wit: yes.

Def: During the courseof the day, one of your captures while feeding you manages to drop the metal spoon in the pit, you and your colleague manage to break the metal spoon in half and cut your bonds?

Wit: yes.

Def: So this is the 3rd time youare escaping?

Wit: no the second time

Def: How did you manage to escape so many times?

Wit: Human instinct

Def: Why weren’t you executed?

Wit: It was a blessing I had

Def: Are you hiding something as to the reason why you were arrested and detained?

Wit: Nothing

Def: Why it is you have been singled out and despite all these escaped you are here? Did youdo something?

Wit: After Iwas separated from my wife I don’t think I did anything, I was just a refugee, because I have been for several occasions to do what they want I refused, please sir we are talking about war situation, men were valued during this time if you were physically fit, this was possible, therewere thousands that were subjected to this maltreatment

Def: Were you fighting with the Comijours?

Wit: if I was I wouldn’tcome to Liberia

Judge: Answer

Wit: No

Def: Were youfighting with ULIMO or LURD

Wit: No

Def: You accept that Taylor was not in Batala, so I can’t challenge that, but I look at your account andseeking to understand whether it makes sense, and I’m simply asking you is there a reason for your arrest that you are hiding from us?

Wit: I have nothing to hide from this court. This was part of the general things that used to happen and I became a victim of that system

Def: There is a further level at which you were selected for special treatment, you were one of 3 driven all the way to Monrovia to meet Charles Taylor when he was in his Pajamas?

Wit: Correct

Def: So you arrive late at night, you out of thousands are luck enough to be given audience with the president in his house with his pajamas on

Wit: Please sir, we’ve escaped from Batalafor the second time, they took us to one town and we were inside this car shouting and we made this escape and we were desperate, when we came to Batala after second escape, Chucky said “message” could I say kill me, I’m not going to Monrovia.

Def: I’m trying to understand why you?

Wit: You have to ask Taylor.

Judge: we are over our time limit. The court is adjourned