Morning Session: Cross-Examination of Witness Tf1-367 Continues

9:30am: Defense counsel for Charles Taylor continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-367 in open session.

RUF Purchased Arms and Ammunition from ULIMO

Defense counsel asked several questions about RUF’s purchase of arms and ammunition from ULIMO fighters. The witness agreed that indeed, such purchases did take place. The witness explained how Sam Bockarie gave him money in leones and Guinean francs to purchase arms from ULIMO fighters. He spoke about the use of $7000, given to Bockarie by Sankoh for the pruchase of these arms. The witness cannot tell whether the full $7000 was used to purchase these arms and ammunition. Defense referenced witness’s earlier statement in which he said that Bockarie gave him $3000 for the purchase of these arms and ammunition. Defense asked the witness why the figure was now being changed to $7000. The witness explained that the $3000 was an amount given personally to the ULIMO commander but that it came out of the original $7000. He further said that monies given to him for the purchase of the arms and ammunition were in “leones”and “francs.” Defense suggested to him that he only changed the figure from $3000 to $7000 after he had been shown a document by the prosecution in which Bockarie wrote to Sankoh and mentioned the use of the $7000 for the pruchase of arms and ammunition from ULIMO. The witness denied defense counsel’s suggestion.

Was The RUF Divided After Sankoh’s Arrest?

Defense counsel asked the witness whether the RUF was divided after Sankoh’s arrest. The witness said the RUF was not divided, and that there was only one RUF. The witness said that while there were misunderstandings among them, they all remained one RUF. Defense counsel suggested to the witness that Superman had troops loyal to him and that he (Superman) stopped taking orders from Issa Sesay and Sam Bockarie. The witness agreed with defense counsel on this. Defense counsel further suggested that most of those loyal to Superman were Ex-SLAs and ULIMO fighters, who were infact responsible for amputations and other attrocities. The witness also agreed with Defense Counsel on this point. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he agreed that from 1997 upto the time of the disarmament, there were different groups in the RUF. The witness agreed that there were different groups indeed but that they were all one RUF.

Witness Accompanied Sam Bockarie to Monrovia

Defense counsel asked the witness about his visits to Monrovia with Sam Bockarie. The witness said that he only went with Bockarie to Monrovia on one occassion.  He said this was after they had left Freetown and before he was appointed minning commander. Asked about the purpose of the visit to Monrovia, the witness said Taylor sent to see Bockarie and that Bockarie used that time to introduce him to the police commander in Voinjama as the person who will be travelling there to buy arms and ammunition.

Defense counsel referenced statements made by the witness earlier on in which he said he accomnpanied Bockarie to Monrovia when he took diamonds to Taylor on two or three occassions. The witness said he meant to say that he went to Liberia on two or three occassions with Bockarie but that he only accompanied him to Monrovia once.

Death of Sam Bockarie

Defense counsel asked the witness about his knowledge of the death of Sam Bockarie. The witness said that he was told by Amadu, Bockarie’s younger brother, and Kadi, elder sister of Bockarie’s wife. He said that Kadi’s account of the story was that while she was away, Bockarie was taken away from Monrovia to Ganta where he was killed.

Foreign Investors Visited RUF Minning Areas in Kono

Defense counsle referenced witness’s earlier statement that two Lebanese men visited Issa Sesay in Kono. Defense counsel also referenced witnesse’s statement that this was the only time he saw whitemen engaged in diamond business with Issa in Kono. The witness agreed to this but qualified that he said Lebanese men.

Defense counsel referenced another statement in which the witness said that two white men came from Belgium and visited Issa Sesay in Kono. The witness agreed to this. Asked about how many investors he had dealings with while he served as minning commander, the witness said that they were the two Lebanese men and the two whitemen. He said that the two whitemen came with an African, who was either Gambian or Senegalese. Asked whether Issa was selling diamonds to the investors, the witness said he could not tell since he was not present in the room where they held private discussions with Issa. Asked where the investors came from, the witness said they came from Liberia but that they passed through Freetown.

Operation Free Foday Sankoh

Defense counsel asked the witness to explain what Operation Free Foday Sankoh meant. He said that this was an operation to capture Kono. He said that since Kono was strategic, they believed that capturing the twonship would put the government under pressure and force them to release Foday Sankoh.

Different Fighting Factions Mined Diamonds in Kono

In response to a question whether RUF were the only people who mined diamonds in Kono, the witness said that other fighting factions were involved in mining in Kono. He said that this included Nigerian ECOMOG fighters as well as other individuals. He said that individual RUF commanders also mined for themselves.  He said when the RUF attacked Kono, most of the minning equipments were captured from the Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers. He said that while it was risky for individuals to embark on minning for themselves, it was also difficult for the RUF to control such illicit minning. Asked about the quantity of diamonds that were produced daily, the witness said that the figures varied from 60, 50, 40, etc but that the numbers were never constant.

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he kept records of diamonds that were mined while he was minning commander. The witness said he did keep records in a big ledger. Asked what happened to the ledger, the witness said that after the arrest of Issa Sesa, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao, he was scared that he would also be a target and so he destroyed the book. Asked about when he destroyed the ldeger, the witness said he did so even before he was contacted by Prosecutors in August 2004. Defense counsel referenced witness’s earlier testimony when he said that the documents were with his clerk and that he was ready to produce them. The witness explained that his clerk always kept a copy of all records and so since he had destroyed his, he thought he could get copies that were kept by his clerk. He said that when he contacted his clerk, it happened that the clerk had also destroyed his own copies.

Court adjourned for mid-morning break.