Tuesday, July 8, 2008: Defense cross-examination of Witness TF1-567 continued and defense counsel asked several questions covering different areas of the witness’s testimony.
Lome Peace Agreement.
Defense Counsel asked several questions relating to the selection of delegates to represent the RUF at the Lome Peace talks, the delegation’s transit in Liberia, the delegation’s constant communication with other RUF members in Sierra Leone, the flight the took the delegation from Liberia to Lome and how Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma travelled to Freetown from Monrovia.
In his response, the witness said that the meeting to select RUF delegates for the Lome Accord was conducted by Mosquito and not Omrie Golley. The witness also dsiputed defense claims that a Nigerian flight took the delegates to Lome from Monrovia. According to the witness, it was a UN flight. The witness stated thet while members of the delegation were not supplied radio sets in Liberia, they communicated with Mosquito through the radio that they had left Sierra Leone with. Witness stated that he had no idea about Sankoh writing a letter to a Mohamed Talibi for the purchase of weapons while the peace negotiations were taking place in Lome. The defense suggested that after the signing of the Lome Accord, there were no reports of Taylor sending arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone. Witness claimed that Taylor did.
Diamond Sales by Ibrahim Ba and The witness
Defense counsel suggested that while in Liberia, the witness and Ibrahim Ba were transacting private business and selling diamonds to Canadians for arms and ammunition. The witness agreed that Ba sold diamonds to Canadians but they were for the purchase or satelite phones, computers and other items, but not for arms and ammunition. The witness also denied defense suggestions that Ba purchased arms and ammunition from Burkina Faso.
Johnny Paul Koroma
The witness stated that he first met Johnny Paul Koroma in 1997. He further admitted knowlege of Issa Sesay seizing diamonds from Johnny Paul Koroma and the subsequent taking of his(Johnny Paul) wife from him. The witness, however, denied knowlege of defense claims that Johnny Paul’s wife was raped and sexually abused by Mike Lamin.
In response to questions of whether the witness saw RUF rebels amputate civilians, the witness said that while he heard of such acts, he was never present to see such a thing. Asked whether he ever heard RUF commanders give orders for such amputations on radio, the witness said, no.
Infighting in the RUF
The witness stated that there was a time when Gibril Massaquoi refused to take orders from Mosquito. Mosquito subsequently ordered the arrest of Massaquoi which led to some infighting in the RUF between the supporters of both commanders. The witness said the same thing happened when problems ensued between Superman and Issa Sesay.
The witness agreed with defense counsel that Sam Bockarie was opposed to the Lome Peace Agreement. Witness, however, diasgreed with defense counsel that Bockarie was forced to leave the RUF. According to the witness, Bockarie left the RUF voluntarily and went to Liberia. Upon arrival in Liberia, witness admitted knowledge of a meeting with Bockarie, Obasanjo and Taylor but could not know what the discussions in said meeting were. Asked whether the meeting was meant to prevent Bockarie from going to Sierra Leone until after the disarmament process, the witness said he could not tell but knew that Bockarie travelled to Burkina Faso. Asked whether the meeting was meant for Taylor to smoothen the relationship between Bockarie and Sankoh, the witness said he could not tell. The witness said he was later told that Taylor gave orders for Bockarie and his men to be killed because Taylor wanted to destroy any evidence of links with him. The witness could not say how exactly Bockarie was killed.
Witness’s Involvement in Battle against MODEL Rebels in Liberia
The witness admitted that he fought for the Liberian government against MODEL rebels in Liberia. Asked whether he had said this when making statements to the Office of the Prosecutor, the witness said he did not do so because he was not asked about that.
January 1999 Invasion of Freetown
Defense counsel asked whether it was Bockarie who gave orders for the invasion on Freetown. The witness said Bockarie gave no such orders. He said, however, that when Gullit led his troops into Freetown, Bockarie gave orders to Issa Sesay to advance with reinforcement and join Gullit in Freetown. Witness accepted the Gullit was not a member of the RUF. Asked whether the attack was an RUF attack, the witness said it was an AFRC operation but that the RUF had orders to join them. He said that RUF also had plans to attack Freetown.
Records of Diamonds mined by the RUF.
Defense counsel asked that the witness be shown two exercise books which had records of diamonds mined by the RUF. The witness admitted he had knowledge of said books and records. The witness said that the purpose of the records was to give detailed report to Sankoh about the diamonds that were mined while he was in prison. The defense suggested that because of such records, if Bockarie sold diamonds for his own purpose, Sankoh would have known. The witness agreed.
Johnny Paul Koroma’s Meeting with Foday Sankoh
Asked whether he knew of any meeting between Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koromo that was facilitated by the US Embassy in Liberia, the witness said that while he knew of such meeting, he could not say whether the US ambassador was present. The witness said that after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord, Sankoh and Johnny Paul boarded the same flight for Freetown but could not say who provided the flight.
Taylor’s Role in the release of UN Hostages
The witness agreed with defense counsel that Taylor was instrumental in negotiating the release of UN hostages. Asked whether he knew that Sankoh was not happy for the release of the hostages because he expected Issa Sesay to use them as bargaining tools to secure his(Sankoh) release, the witness said he could not remember that.
Rape Charges Against the Witness at Sierra Rutile
Defense counsel put it to the witness that in 1994, the witness raped one Lucy Yorma and that Sankoh ordered the he be tried before the People’s Court. Defense further put it to the witness that he was found guilty, demoted from Major to Private, and locked up in prison for one month with hard labour. The witness insisted that no such thing happened. Defense also put it to the witness that because Lucy was a virgin when the witness raped her, he was forced to marry her and that when he continued to maltreat Lucy as his wife, Lucy complained and Issa ordered that the witness be flogged. The witness also denied the assertion. The witness said that the only time Issa ordered that he be flogged was when he was accused of having told Superman of diamonds that were sent to Eddie Kanneh in Liberia.
Witness’s Meeting with Taylor
The witness said that Memunatu Deen, Benjamin Yeaten and the witness met with Charles Taylor and he received them at night wearing his pyjamas. Defense put it to the witness that no such meeting took place.
Witness’s Statement to the Office of the Prosecutor
Defense asked the witness whether he testified against Taylor because he was paid. Witness said no. He said he testified because Taylor killed Mosquito and many other Sierra Leoneans and since he has knowlege of the crimes with which Taylor is charged, he should be able to help the world to know the truth. The witness said he only fought for Taylor against MODEL because if he had refused, Yeaten would have killed him.
Cross Examination of the witness came to an end
Re-Examination by Prosecution
Prosecutor Brenda Hollis sought to clarify certain dates that had come up during cross-examination. The witness confirmed that in January, February and March of 1998, he was based at Superman Ground in Kono. The witness also clarified that while he was not present to see any RUF amputations, he heard of such acts by the RUF in 1996. Asked about the books earlier shown to him which contained records of diamonds mined by the RUF, the witness stated that private mining activities by RUF commanders were not recorded.
There were no questions from the judges. This ended the testimony of Witness TF1-567.
Prosecution Leads New Witness TF1-388, Jabati Jaward
Before the witness’s testimony, prosecutor Mohamed Bangura sought to rescind earlier protective measures that had been granted to the witness and indicated that the witness was ready to testify in open session with no protective measures.
Witness’s Encounter with and Capture by the RUF in 1991
In his testimony, the witness explained how he first encountered the RUF rebels when they attacked Pendembu in 1991. The witness said he was taken to the training base where he was first trained as an SBU, but transferred to train with adults after two weeks where he served as clerk. The witness said the training commandant was Charles Timba, who was a Liberian. The witness said he was sent to the frontlines but later returned to Pendembu where he worked with the G-2 unit of the RUF.
The court adhourned for the day.