September 23, 2008
This morning Defense Counsel Terry Munyard continued his cross-examination of Stephen Smith, Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura did a short re-examination in chief and subsequently the witness was dismissed.
Africa Confidential: report on the chronology of Sierra Leone
Munyard put before the witness a report from Africa Confidential on the chronology of Sierra Leone. Munyard took the witness through the contents of the report and Smith agreed to the following:
• President Kabbah used the Kamajors as a national army to reduce the SLA, which received criticism;
• Executive Outcome (South African Mercenaries) were also employed, being paid officially and unofficially (kickbacks of “under the table” payments);
• Kabbah paid Executive Outcome 1.8 mln US dollars per month which, after heavy criticism, was brought back to 1.2 mln US dollars per month. This was for 100 men personel, 2 Russian helicopters and logistics;
• Executive Outcome received mining rights from the Kabbah government in return for taking over the protection sector;
• Dr. Stephen Ellis (5th prosecution witness in this Court) was at one time editor of the journal Africa Confidential;
• In January 1997 Executive Outcome formally withdrew from Sierra Leone;
• British military advisers drew up a plan to reduce the army which caused alienation between Kabbah and the army;
• Johnny Paul Koroma planned a coup d’état which succeeded and Kabbah subsequently went into exile in Guinea;
• On May 28, 1997 Nigeria attempted to overthrow the Junta government of Koroma, which failed;
• Foday Sankoh, while being under arrest and kept in a hotel room, was broadcasted by the BBC encouraging the RUF to join the AFRC;
• Nigerian troops and the Kamajors stayed in the vicinity of Freetown during the nine month Junta period;
• The ban on arms trade in Sierra Leone was unsuccessful; a number of businessmen were trying to reach a deal to countercoup the Junta government in return for mining rights;
• Sandline had strong links to the British government and was sought after by Kabbah to take over security issues;
• British High Commissioner Penfold (a High Commissioner is an ambassador for a country in the Commonwealth) was pushing for support with the British government and British institutions for Sandline;
• In October 1997 the Nigerian air force had bombed civilian areas and an unspecified number of civilians had been hit;
• Kabbah attended a Commonwealth meeting in Edinburgh;
• In February 1998 a Kamajor offensive in the south east of Sierra Leone was backed up by Nigerian forces and It is widely known that Sandline backed the Kamajors in these attacks;
• On February 15, 1998 the Junta government was ousted by the Nigerian army after one week of fighting;
• On March 6, 1998 the journal Africa Confidential published a report about the role of Sandline in the ousting of the Junta government and the British foreign office admitted that Penfield had a meeting with Kabbah and the Nigerian government about this;
• On March 12, 1998 there was a debate in the British parliament where the Minister of State for Africa condemned the press reports on this subject;
• On April 24, 1998 Sandline complained about harassment stating these facts were well known by High Commissioner Penfield in Freetown and by the Foreign Office in London;
• Sandline was linked to the British government while Executive Outcome was linked to the South African government, that time the government of Mandela.
Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor
Samuel Doe came to power in Liberia in 1980, the witness does not dispute that Doe ciphered off large amounts of money, so much even of American money that the Americans sent executive controllers to try and stop this. Smith added that against Charles Taylor, at that time a civil servant there were allegations of embezzlement for an amount of 900,000 US dollars for which Taylor served time in the United States until he escaped from prison.
Munyard asked Smith if, considering the circumstances at the time in Liberia, a coup such as Charles Taylor did was not bound to happen, to which Smith agreed that, indeed, it did not surprised him.
Re-examination in chief
Considering a point in the report on the chronology of Sierra Leone by Africa Confidential, pointing to the date of March 23, 1991 Smith stated that at the time is was self evident that there was a link between Charles Taylor and the RUF fighting force in Sierra Leone. The RUF appeared a subsidiary organisation to Charles Taylor, executing a specific form of terror in Sierra Leone such as the amputating referred to as “long sleeves” and “short sleeves”. Smith has experienced and witnessed some of the terror himself and referred to a “mopping up situation” in Sinkor: an old doctor had hidden in his home. When forced to come out he had a button or sticker from Medicins Sans Frontières on his shirt, hoping this would protect him, but he was shot at very close distance to Smith. Smith concluded that community patterns changed. People moved from city areas to rural areas, telling people not to vote as it was useless. This commonality created a destructure of conditions Sierra Leone had experienced under cold war conditions.
Documents tendered as evidence
Document MFI-1, the interview with Charles Taylor and the article in the French newspaper Le Monde is accepted as evidence and becomes exhibit P177A and P177B.
Document MFI-2, the report Chronology of Sierra Leone by Africa Confidential is accepted as evidence and becomes exhibit D62.
Subsequently the witness is dismissed and Court is adjourned for the mid-morning break.