Court Resumes after Mid-Morning Break: Cross-Examination Commences

The Hague

September 22, 2008

Terry Munyard informed the Court that he has received Stephen Smith’s CV, which the Prosecution had not disclosed yet to the Defense upon which Mohamed Bangura apologised for misinforming the Court: on October 29, 2007 (and not on November 6, 2007) documents about this witness were disclosed to the Defense, however this c.v. was not among them. Subsequently Bangura continued his examination of the witness.

Interview with Charles Taylor in Paris in November 2000

It is established that subsequent to the interview and article in Le Monde there have been no complaints about inaccuracies in either of them.
In the article Charles Taylor brought out that there were allegations against him concerning illegal diamond mining in Sierra Leone and that this is the reason why the British government sent their troops to Sierra Leone (and who according to Taylor have an interest to let Canadian companies do diamond mining in Sierra Leone) and initiated the EU cutting of development aid to Liberia (though humanitarian aid remained in place) and the ban on Liberia’s export on lumber and diamonds.

This concluded the examination in chief of Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura and Defense Counsel Terry Munyard commenced his cross-examination.

Curriculum Vitae (or résumé) of Stephen Smith

Terry Munyard began his cross-examination by asking the witness that, if Stephen Smith ever was working for the CIA he would not put this part of his career on his CV, to which the witness answered that he is not familiar with the standard practise of an organisation he has never been part of.

Following this, Munyard took Smith into the lectures Smith has given to various audiences. Several of his lectures touched on Sierra Leone and/or Liberia, but none were exclusively about either of the two countries. Smith confirmed this, saying that both countries were most intensely in the news in the early 1990’s while he did not start lecturing until 1996 and would as a journalist always be asked to lecture on a subject that would be news item at that particular moment.
Of the thirteen books Smith has written none is exclusively about Sierra Leone or Liberia.
Smith has written three forewords of which only one in a book about Sierra Leone or Liberia: The Liberian Civil War by Mark Huband.

Time spent in Africa

Stephen Smith was based in Benin from 1984, in Ivory Coast from 1986 and lived in Paris from 1988. From Paris he made many trips to West-Africa. During the period 1989 – 1996 he went to Liberia about a dozen times and spent four months there from January to August 1990. Went back again end 1991/beginning 1992 and several times visited Liberia until 1996.

When asked what stopped the civil war in Liberia, Smith answers that there was an attempt in 1995 to bring the war factions together and have the power shared. This attempt failed. In 1997 Taylor tried the tactics “The ones part of the problem should be part of the solution”. Smith acknowledged that Taylor associated people who had been former adversaries and enemies into his government. He appointed them as ministers but they were not being part of the inner power structure, the ones who actually took the decisions.

Interview with Taylor and other points

Munyard takes the witness to the interview of November 2000 where Charles Taylor stated he wanted a full investigation by the UN into the allegations that he himself was involved in illegal arms trading and involved in illegal diamond mining in Sierra Leone. Munyard said that a document to object to these allegations has been sent to the UN Security Council. Smith has heard of the document but has never seen it.

In 2000 500 UN peace keepers were held hostage. Smith stated that Taylor was at the time the leading President of ECOWAS (the leadership in ECOWAS rotates and it was Taylor’s turn), so in that sense he was primarily responsible to solve this problem. According to Smith, the more Taylor played the role of mediator in this, the more the US and Britain became convinced that there was a link between Taylor and the ones who held hostage the 500.

Munyard put before the witness that Sam Bockarie was not willing to disarm and that Taylor therefore invited him to come to Liberia. Smith wanted to put it in a more neutral way: Taylor invited the warring factions who wanted to continue fighting.

Munyard claimed that the ceasing of the 500 peacekeepers in 2000 was an isolated event to which Smith answered that it was not experienced that way when warfare started at the border of Guinea. The general feeling was that war was actually starting all over again.

At this point Court is adjourned for the lunch break.