Assignment #1 began in mid 1999 until 2001; Assignment #2 began in 2002 and lasted for just a few months.
The witness was captured by the RUF in May 1991 and began assignment #1 in 1999. Between capture and assignment #1 the witness was in Sierra Leone for most of the time. The Defense believes that for nearly 8 years the witness was amongst his own people in Sierra Leone, and in Kailahun. The witness refuted this by detailing his traveling.
Exposure to Charles Taylor
Between 1991 until 2003 the witness claimed to have seen Charles Taylor many times and specifically met with him in 1992. The witness only met with Charles Taylor twice and spoke with him once. The witness primarily saw Taylor when he was with Benjamin Yeaten and Foday Sankoh.
Defense claimed that the witness did not give Taylor diamonds directly. Even when on Assignment #2, the witness did not give diamonds to Taylor directly; there was always someone else between him and Taylor. Witness never physically witnessed diamonds being given to Taylor, but the witness was told when diamonds were given to Taylor. The witness was never present in the same room when Sankoh spoke with Taylor, neither when Bockarie spoke with Taylor, neither when Sesay spoke with Taylor, neither when Koroma spoke to Taylor, nor when Yeaten spoke to Taylor. All information that the witness told the Court regarding Charles Taylor and diamonds is information given to him from others. Similarly, everything told about Taylor directing and sending arms to Sierra Leone is information told to the witness by other people.
Document from Foday Sankoh to Mohammad Talibi: Defense Exhibit 15:
Mohammad Talibi is the Libyan ambassador in Monrovia. In 1999, Sankoh introduced the witness to Talibi while in Monrovia. Defense was asking the witness to validate the document and answer specific questions about the document. However, the witness was not with Sankoh when the document was written. The witness was not aware who the “other brothers” mentioned in the document was referring to nor was he aware of the specific money transaction referenced. The document refers to Philip Parma purchasing arms for the RUF. The witness was asked whether he was aware of the airlifting of arms referred to by the document and whether he was aware of areas where there were facilities for airlifting arms and ammunition according to the letter. Witness claims he was in western Rutifung area and he never heard about airlifting of arms, but there were fields in Kailahun.
The period of time that arms were shipped from Liberia to Sierra Leone was 1998-2001. The witness was aware that the LURD was from Guinea and they entered Liberia to fight against the Taylor government. LURD controlled Lofa County including the area where the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone meet. The Defense wanted to know how arms shipments got to the RUF during this period if they didn’t control the territory. Witness said that these shipments were coordinated by Yeaten and orders were from Taylor. Troops would come together to create the route to receive the arms and ammunition. Taylor also used helicopters to avoid the roads controlled by LURD. Commanders were there to ensure arms got to Sesay in Sierra Leone.
Defense continually stressed the difficulty they must have faced receiving a large amount of arm shipments given that the RUF lacked control of the area. The route the witness took to move arms was from Gbarnga to Zorzor to Kolahun, to Foya, to Kuendu, to Buedu, and then to Kailahun. During the period of 1998-1999, the witness never personally transported arms to Sierra Leone. The witness stopped personally transporting arms to Sierra Leone in 2001. The witness can only personally speak of arms shipments between 2000-2001 because that is when he took arms to Sierra Leone. This period corresponds to when Issa Sesay was in charge. During this time Sam Bockarie was in Monrovia. Charles Taylor gave Bockarie a house in Monrovia because he was having problems with the RUF.
There were two trips to the airfield where planes landed with arms and ammunition. On one occasion the arms were taken to White Flower in Taylor’s warehouse. The second shipment was taken to a house controlled by the ATU. The witness testified that he knows that the arms taken to White Flower went to Sierra Leone. This shipment came in 2000 and a month later Sesay requested ammunition, so the witness went to Yeaten and his dad approved giving the ammunition. The witness then went to White Flower to take the arms to Sierra Leone. Defense asked how he knew it was these materials, to which the witness responded that he saw them.
Witness was involved in diamond mining in 1997. At age 22 witness had 5 people mining for him and he would sell everything they found. Defense asked whether this was forced labor. Witness said that there was government mining in Tongo field as well as private mining and that civilians were forced to mine. Mining was how soldiers could pay themselves. The witness’s diamonds were sold to the Lebanese but the witness does not know where they ultimately went.
The witness listed 4 occasions where diamond transactions occurred. Some of the diamonds went to Charles Taylor and were sold for items like satellite phones or computers; some were sold to buy materials for the RUF, but not arms and ammunition. Ibrahim Barr also received diamonds.