Thursday, July 10, 2008: Prosecution continued its examination of witness Jabati Jaward in open session. The witness covered several areas in his testimony covering his work with the RUF in Sierra Leone and the Anti Terrorist Unit(ATU) in Liberia.
The RUF Black Guards
The witness was appointed as a member of the Black Guards by Foday Sankoh and the duties of the guards included:
- Providing personal security for Foday Sankoh
- Providing security for Sankoh’s residence
- Serving as guards for Sankoh’s convoys
- Serving as Sankoh’s representatives in various areas occupied by the RUF
The witness said that the Black Guards continued to operate even after the arrest of Sankoh in 1996. He said that during this time, some of them were preparing secret reports on the activities of senior RUF commanders and these reports were later handed over to Sankoh upon his release. He said some of these reports later contributed to the problems between Sankoh and Bockarie.
Detention of RUF Members after Sankoh’s Arrest in Nigeria.
The witness testified about the detention of senior RUF members after Sankoh’s arrest in NIgeria. He said that the arrested persons were accused of wanting to overthrow Sankoh. The arrest was effected by Sam Bockarie. Those arrested included Fayia Musa, Deen Jalloh, CO. Palmer and the Sierra Leone ambassador to Guinea.
Buedu and the Transfer of Arms from Liberia.
The witness said that when ECOMOG removed the AFRC from power in 1998, he moved to Buedu and stayed there with Bockarie. He said that Bockarie made him store keeper in Buedu. The witness said he was responsible for taking care of two stores in Buedu which had arms and ammunition, food stuffs, gasoline and clothing. He said that these supplies came from Liberia. The witness said that while in Buedu, Bockarie made two visits to Liberia. The witness also said that Bockarie had two satelite phones, one of which was given to him by Taylor. He said that when supplies came from Liberia, they were escorted by Liberian commanders such as Jungle, Samson, Senegalse, Junior, Zigzag Maaza, Pa Sheku, etc. He said that these escorts worked for Taylor. The witness said that when he was in Buedu, he knew that they worked for Taylor and that when he later went to Liberia, he proved this to be true. The witness said that the weapons for the RUF attack on Kono were supplied from Liberia and he handed the supplies to Issa Sesay for the operation. He said that when the RUF captured Koidu, Issa sent a report to Bockarie informing him of the successful operation. The witness said that the RUF also had a storage facility in a village called Kundorwahun, just two miles from Buedu. The witness said he was present on occassions when Bockarie had radio conversations with people in Liberia including Benjamin Yeaten’s radio operator, Sunlight. He said after one of such communications, Bockarie told him that Taylor was going to send supplies for them.
Identification of Photos and Documents
The prosecution asked that a photo be shown to the witness so that he could identify Sam Bockarie’s house in Buedu. Defense raised concerns that the witness needed to describe the house first before seeing the picture, otherwise, it could amount to leading the witness. The witness therefore went ahead and described the house before he was shown the photo. He identified the house as the one that was occupied by Bockarie in Buedu.
The witness was shown a document which listed materials that were supplied to Issa Sesay for the Kono operation. The witness said that while he knew of the materials listed donw, he had not seen the document before. The defense objected to the witness being led on a document that he had not seen before. Prosecution stated that he will lay the proper foundation for the document to be identified. Prosecution asked the witness a few questions on issues relating to the RUF attack on Kono and how a report was sent by Issa after the operation. Prosecution then asked that the witness be shown the document. The witness stated that the items listed on the document coincide with the supplies he gave to Issa Sesay but could not remember what the quantity of each supply was.
The witness was also made to identify a photograph showing a graduation ceremony after the ATU training in Liberia. he identified three Sierra Leoneans who underwent the training.
Bockarie Leaves The RUF
The witness said that when Sam Bockarie left the RUF in 1999, he was among the many fighters that followed Bockarie to Liberia. The witness said that there were many civilians who went along with them. The witness said that Bockarie left because of misunderstandings with Sankoh. He said that other RUF officers were planning to attack Bockarie and in order to avoid any infightings, Bockarie decided to leave Buedu. The witness said that when they got to Liberia, they were informed that Bockarie was no longer a member of the RUF.
Witness is Recruited into the Anti Terrorist Unit(ATU)
The witness said that once in Liberia, they were taken to the training base for recruitment into the Security forces in Liberia. The witness said their group was taken to Gbatala training base where they were trained. The witness graduated, took further trainings and rose from Sergeant to 2nd Lieutinant and later to Captain. The witness was given various responsibilities such as guarding outside Taylor’s house, manning convoys, checkpoints, the Executive Mansion, etc. The witness said that by the time he finished the Platoon Commander course, which took him to the rank of 2nd Lt, Bockarie was no longer in Liberia. Witness did not know where Bockarie was. The witness said he was later sent to the frontline as an ATU fighter.
Events After 2002
The prosecution asked the witness about events which took place after 2002. The defense raised an objection because that was taking the evidence outside the period covered by the indictment. The defense explained that the question was meant to establish a relationship between the accused and Bockarie. The question was allowed. The witness said that he was assigned to the ATU First battalion at the executive Mansion. The witness said that an order came that all Sierra Leonean members of the ATU were to leave for Gbanga where they will get new assignments. The witness said he did not go to Gbanga. The witness said that the ATU had not been paid for eight months. He said they were all later picked up and taken to Burkina Faso.
Court adjourned for the day.