Prosecution Wraps Up Examination of witness TF1-367

The Prosecution opened the second Court session by readdressing the Witness’ travels to Monrovia with Sam Bockarie. The Witness said that Sam Bockarie gave him a brief explanation of the meeting Bockarie had with Charles Taylor. According the Witness, Sam Bockarie and Charles Taylor discussed the security situation in Lofa County. Charles Taylor told Sam Bockarie not to forget about Lofa County’s security because Lofa County was RUF’s main supply route into Liberia. The Witness also testified that he and Sam Bockarie left and returned to Sierra Leone with a jeep and a truck. On the return, the truck contained missiles obtained in Monrovia.

Recalling his tenure as mining commander, the Witness said that he left his post as commander in the same month that the Guinea war started in 2000. He stated that Issa Sesay, the high commander at that time, made the decision regarding his post as mining commander. Sam Bockarie was not present because he had gone to Monrovia to visit Charles Taylor. The Witness stated that the reason he was removed was because he was seen as not harsh enough with the civilians. He “carried a bible under his arm,” as explained to him by Issa Sesay. It was believed by another commander and Issa Sesay that this light treatment of civilians resulted in fewer diamonds.

He was replaced by another RUF officer, the individual that he previously testified about as having been involved in a bank robbery. The Witness described several other officers that were mining during this time. The Witness said that after he was replaced the camps produced a lot more diamonds because the people were more afraid and because the RUF was focused almost entirely on mining. He recalled that the machines during his administration were used by the next commander.

The Witness testified that he had seen Foday Sankoh in Koidu Town, after Foday Sankoh was released from Nigeria. According to the Witness, Sankoh traveled with a former ambassador to Liberia to Kono. He said that he spoke with Sankoh in Koidu Town and gave him 15 pieces of diamonds (which Issa Sesay saw and approved of). He spoke with Sankoh about his investigation and his administration as mining commander. After that meeting, Foday Sankoh returned to Freetown. The Witness said he was relieved of his post shortly after this meeting. He was still the mining commander when he learned of Sankoh’s arrest at his home in Freetown. He recalled that within three months of receiving this news he was relieved from his duties as mining commander. He did not receive a replacement assignment.

The Witness said that he does not know the terms Opera or Joe Town. Joe Town is near Koidu Town. Joe Town is a small village that was also a mining town. Other mining sites he knows are Number 6 and Number 7. Number 6 is in the Kono District. He stated he never visited these places; there was no war in these areas. He also confirmed that he was familiar with several names of RUF officers involved in mining.

Evidentiary issue: The Prosecution attempted to introduce a mining log into evidence through the Witness. The Defense objected arguing that an appropriate foundation had not been laid. According to the Defense, the mining log was dated in 2001 after the Witness ended his term as mining commander. Further, the document had not been authenticated as to its origin or author. The Prosecution argued that the Witness was appropriate for entry to the Court because of his knowledge of the people and places referenced therein. The Court refused the document, relying upon Rule 89(c) which states that a document introduced through a witness must have the appropriate foundation. A document can be tendered without a witness under Rule 92.

Regarding the “Guinea war”, the Witness testified that the war began in 2000 at the end of the dry season. He said that he had been to Guinea during Issa Sesay rule of the RUF on Sesay’s orders. Before going, he received a Guinean visitor, Mohamed Turay, and Issa Sesay, both coming from Monrovia. At that time the arrangements were made for the RUF to launch a war in Guinea. He was told to join another RUF commander and Turay, a “rebel leader”, in fighting in Guinea.

The Witness stated that his role at this time was as an advisor who was there to ensure that the troops did what the officers commanded. He was within the troops and not a commander at this time. He named several RUF commanders involved in the Guinea war. The Witness said the RUF captured two Guinean towns: Madina Wola, where he was located, and another area Pamelap, led by another RUF commander. He said that the RUF attacked these areas from Sierra Leone. According to the Witness, the RUF coordinated with Liberia and the NPFL to enter a third area Gueckedu via Liberia. The Witness stated the mission was not successful because the RUF soldiers were discouraged and morale was low. The RUF soldiers did not feel like this was an RUF mission as Guinea was not its target. Issa Sesay was the commanding officer at this time, and motivated by money according to the Witness. Therefore the RUF retreated on its own initiative, not because of any pressure from opposing forces, but this distinction was not understood by many when the RUF returned to Sierra Leone. He also explained that at this time the Sierra Leonean government and the Guinean government were considered enemies of the RUF and the NPFL. The Witness testified that two people died during the Guinean attacks. He was also wounded during this fighting.

The Witness testified about Sam Bockarie. He stated that he spent a lot of time with Sam Bockarie. He was also very familiar with Bockarie’s signature through letters and seeing Bockarie’s signature on documents and other things. The Witness reviewed Exhibit D9 and said that he recognized one of the signature’s as belonging to Bockarie. The Witness also reviewed document Tab 2, Exhibit P20, and stated that he recognized Bockarie’s signature.

The Witness said that Sam Bockarie had a wife and that he knew Bockarie’s wife’s family. He named several family members. He said he was informed of Sam Bockarie’s death and his family’s death by the wife’s eldest sister. The Witness said that the sister told him that the family was taken from their Monrovia home in the middle of the night. The sister escaped to Sierra Leone and that is how the Witness heard the story.

The Prosecution concluded its direct examination of prosecution witness TF1-367.
Court adjourned until 2:30 p.m.