June 2 Daily Summary – Defense Attempts to Undermine Samuel Kargbo’s Testimony by Noting Prior Inconsistent Statements

The Hague

June 2, 2008

Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continued his cross-examination of prosecution witness Samuel Kargbo, a member of the AFRC and RUF Supreme Council. Munyard noted that Kargbo’s testimony before the Special Court differed from his previous witness statements to the Prosecution. Munyard also stressed that the Prosecution had given Kargbo the opportunity to correct his statements on more than one occasion.  Throughout the day, the video and audio feed from the proceedings malfunctioned. For a complete account of the day’s proceedings, please see the official transcript.

Defense questions Kargbo’s participation in coup against SLPP

Kargbo testified about the April 29, 1992, AFRC coup against the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government in Sierra Leone. Kargbo stated repeatedly that the coup was actually a “demonstration” that did not involve violence or the murder of any members of government. Munyard questioned Kargbo about his motivation for participating in the coup, and Kargbo stated that he blamed the SLPP and the wicked “RUF” for his time in jail and discharge from the army. Throughout the day, Munyard quoted Kargbo’s prior statements referring to the incident as a coup and noting that Kargbo agreed to participate in the proposed coup.

New testimony regarding cannibalism

Similar to the Defense team’s strategy with other witnesses, Munyard questioned Kargbo about his recent testimony before the Special Court about cannibalism. Munyard asked Kargbo why it was only two weeks prior to his testimony today that Kargbo stated that Gios engaged in cannibalism. Kargbo conceded that his testimony regarding cannibalism was the result of questioning from the Prosecution. Although Munyard questioned Kargbo about whether anyone told Kargbo about ZigZag Marzah’s recent testimony regarding cannibalism, Kargbo denied any knowledge of Zigzag Marzah’s statements. The Defense team has questioned numerous recent witnesses regarding their statements to the Special Court regarding cannibalism.

Inconsistent prior statements

Munyard spent a large portion of the day reviewing the minutes of the first meeting of the AFRC and RUF Supreme Council. Kargbo testified that the governments of Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Niger recognized the Supreme Council government. Munyard noted that minutes from the Supreme Council meeting did not include information about recognition of the Supreme Council government by Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Niger and questioned Kargbo about why such information would not be included in the Supreme Council minutes. Munyard implied that Kargbo’s statements did not make sense, asking whether it was pointless to have the recognition of these countries if such recognition was to be kept secret.

Munyard noted that Kargbo failed to correct prior inconsistent statements to the Prosecution regarding a number of issues, including who delivered telephone numbers of West African leaders to the Supreme Council, whether Foday Sankoh used a landline or a satellite phone during certain conversations with Taylor, which individuals traveled to Liberia as delegates to meet with Taylor for Supreme Council recognition, and Kargbo’s duties as a Supreme Council member. Munyard questioned Kargbo persistently about whether his prior statements to the Prosecution in Freetown were read back to him so that Kargbo could correct any inaccuracies. Kargbo admitted that the Prosecution read his statements back to him, although Kargbo noted that one such statement was read back to him the day after he gave his statement. Kargbo stated that it was the Prosecution’s mistake and noted that “humans make mistakes,” but Munyard emphasized that it was a mistake on Kargbo’s part if he did not correct any inaccuracies when his statements were read back to him. Munyard also emphasized that Kargbo had a later opportunity to review his prior statements when he went over those statements line-by-line a few weeks ago in The Hague. Munyard noted that Kargbo in fact made certain corrections, reiterating that Kargbo had two opportunities to correct his errors and failed to do so.

Munyard also questioned Kargbo about diamond mining during the junta and the presence of diamonds at Supreme Council meetings. Kargbo testified that Rambo, Five-Five and SAJ Musa, among others, showed diamonds at Supreme Council meetings.

At this point Court is adjourned until tomorrow 9.30 a.m.