12:00pm: Court resumed after the mid-morning break and defense counsel Courtaney Griffiths continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-568, Mohamed Kabba. During the cross-examination, defense counsel asked questions about the radio sets that were in the witness’s possession after the disarmament, witness’s knowledge of a ULIMO training base in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone, witness’s knowledge of communications between Taylor and Bockarie and inconsistencies in the witness’s written statement and his oral testimony.
Radio Communication Sets in Witness’s Possession
Taking from where he left just before the mid-morning break, the witness continued that he did not give radio sets in his possession to anybody else, other than those confiscated by the police and the one he gave to a man for sale. Defense counsel then referenced witness’s written statement that he disarmed with one radio set to the Bangladeshi contingent of UN Peacekeepers. The witness responded that he had the impression that counsel was asking about radio sets in his possession after the disarmament process and not during the disarmament.
ULIMO Training Camp in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone
Defense counsel referenced the witness’s written statement that he believed the NPFL attacked Sierra Leone because the ULIMO fighters had training camps in the country, from where they launched attacks against NPFL rebels in Liberia. The witness agreed that he said so. He said that the training camp was in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone. He said that the ULIMO fighters were recruiting Madingos from Liberia to undergo training and fight against the NPFL rebels. The witness said that a man approached him and told him about the operation but he refused to be involved. He said he had knowledge of the training camp bacause he used to visit Kenema. The trainings, he said, took place in the refugee camps in Sierra Leone.
Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew anything about the Black Ghadafa group. The witness said he knew of the group and they were based in Pujehun. Defense asked the witness whether he knew that the group were a break-away faction from the NPFL. The witness could not ascertain this.
Communications Between Charles Taylor and Sam Bockarie
Defense counsel asked the witness about several things noted in his written statement about communications between Charles Taylor and Sam Bockarie. The witness agreed that he said he never saw Charles Taylor or Benjamin Yeaten in Sierra Leone. He agreed that he had stated he never heard Taylor on the RUF radio. He said he heard Yeaten on the RUF radio on numerous occassions but never heard Taylor. To the witness’s knowledge, Taylor and Bockarie never spoke on the radio but on the satelite phone. He said Yeaten would inform Bockarie that Taylor wanted to talk to him on his satelite phone. He said he never heard Yeaten refer to Taylor by name, but will call him 47. He said that when Bockarie went to Liberia to see Taylor, he would never call Taylor by name but would tell them he was going to see The Papay or Dad. The witness gave an explanation of how Bockarie and Taylor communicated via satelite phone. In his written statement, the witness was quoted as saying it was Taylor who would call Bockarie and not the other way round. The witness responded that when he said “the other way round” he was refering to the use of the satelite phone. When asked whether he agreed that Bockarie never had a phone number for Taylor, the witness responded that Bockarie indeed had it. The witness said that when Bockarie wanted to speak with Taylor on the satelite phone, he would go to the MP Head Quarters because it was easy to get a signal there. The witness was quoted in his written statement as having said that he would not hear when Bockarie and Taylor spoke on the phone and that Bockarie would not tell him what they had discussed or who he had spoken to. The witness agreed that he said so but he meant to say he did not hear or Bockarie did not tell him on some occassions. He said on few occassions, he heard them and Bockarie would tell him he was talking to Taylor. Defense counsel quoted several propositions from the witness’s written statement and to most of them, the witness agreed with counsel.
- The witness was quoted as having said he does not recall hearing or seeing any message from Taylor ordering RUF to hold on to Kono after the ECOMOG intervention of 1998.
- The witness is quoted as having said he did not see or hear any message from Taylor that Sam Bockarie was now in charge of the RUF.
- The witness is quoted as having said he did not hear or read any orders from Liberia that attacks should be launched after the ECOMOG intervention of 1998. He said, however, that Bockarie might have received such orders during his visits to Liberia. He said he assumed that this was the case because Bockarie would hold meetings and talk of these attacks just after his trips from Liberia.
- The witness was quoted as having said he did not know of any orders from the RUF that Freetown should be destroyed by the retreating forces in January 1999. Defense counsel referenced the witness testimony yesterday that Bockarie had given orders to Gullit to destroy the capital when retreating. The witness said that when he made the statement to prosecution investigators that he did not hear any such orders, he was telling a lie because he was concerned about his own security.
- The witness was quoted as having said he does not recall any messages from Liberia for Bockarie to call Taylor on the satelite phone.
- The witness was quoted as having said he does not recall Bockarie acknowledging the commission of crimes on radio. He said that things like this were not discussed on radio.
- The witness was quoted as having said that Benjamin Yeaten would not give advice or instructions to Bockarie on military matters. He responded that Yeaten would only give suggestions and not orders. Defense counsel asked the witness why he stated in court yesterday that Yeaten adviced Bockarie to send reinforcements to Freetown during the January 1999 attacks. He again responded that it was just a suggestion from Yeaten during their conversation.
- The witness was quoted as having said Bockarie and Yeaten did not discuss civilian deaths or mistreatment of civilians over the radio.
- The witness was quoted as having said he never heard that Taylor had given arms to Bockarie for the attack on Freetown in January 1999.
The witness said that the first time he saw a satelite phone was with Sankoh, just before the Abidjan Peace Talks. He said that Bockarie got his own satelite phone from Liberia. The witness was quoted as having said he first saw Bockarie with a satelite phone few months before his departure to Liberia in 1999. Defense counsel asked the witness how come he said that Bockarie spoke with Taylor on the satelite phone during the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. The witness responded that he might have mistaken with the months but that Bockarie got the satelite phone just after the retreat from Freetown in 1998.
Court adjourned for lunch.