12:00pm: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths QC continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-579. Counsel focussed this session on questions regarding the witness’s trips to Sierra Leone during which he said he transported arms and ammunition to the RUF. Counsel sought to establish that there were several inconsistencies in the varioust statements the witness has made and his testimony in court.
Witness’s Trips to Sierra Leone
The witness said that he made two trips to Sierra Leone during which he took along ammunition for the RUF and handed them to Bockarie. He said that he cannot remember the exact month but remembers that it was in 1996, just before they fought against Roosevelt Johnson. He said that the next trip was when Taylor was already president. Counsel asked that the witness be presented with some documents. Counsel read certain portions of the witness’s statements in the bundle. The statements read was that while the witness was in Gbarngha, Benjamin Yeaten assigned him to take arms and ammunition to Bockarie in Buedu. The witness responded that he only took ammunition to Buedu but there were no arms. Counsel asked the witness why he failed to make that correction when he had correction sessions with the prosecution. The witness responded that mistakes were made and maybe that was just one of them. When pushed further on the issue, the witness said that he explained to the prosecution that when taking the ammunition to Buedu, they also had their own arms for protection. Counsel suggested to the witness that he was making that story up because he had been caught lying. The witness disagreed with counsel.
Counsel also referenced witness’s statement where he spoke about his second trip to Buedu. In the statement, it was written that the witness made the trip at the end of 1999. Counsel told the witness that this coincided with Bockarie’s departure to Liberia when he resigned from the RUF. The witness responded that he told the court he made the trip when Bockarie was getting ready to leave Buedu for Liberia. The witness was also quoted as saying he made the third trip two weeks after the second trip. He said that all the three trips were made before Bockarie left Buedu for Liberia. He said that two weeks after the third trip, Bockarie left Buedu for Liberia. He said that the first two trips were in 1998 and the third trip was in 1999. Counsel suggested to the witness that he was lying about all three trips. The witness disagreed with counsel. He said that during one of these trips, Taylor asked that Bockarie should send a captured war tank to him in Liberia and that he was present when Bockarie was trying to get the tank accross the river before it sank. Counsel quoted another aspect of the witness’s statement that all three deliveries took place in 1998 and not in 1999. The witness responded that he might have mistaken dates but that the first two trips were in 1998 and the third was in 1999. The witness insisted that he was saying tha truth and that he had even presented a photograph he took on one of those trips. Counsel asked the witness whether they used one vehicle when they travelled with ammunition to Buedu. The witness said that was the case. Counsel quoted a portion of the witness’s statement that at one time, they used two pick-ups. The witness explained that those two pick-ups did not go in a convoy but went seperately, one at a time. He said that he was in the same vehicle with Samson and Jungle while the other vehicle went on its own. The witness said he was present when Taylor gave instructions to Jungle to take ammunition to Buedu for the RUF. He said that on his thrid trip to Buedu, there were no arms and ammunition as he took only clothing for the RUF. Counsel told the witness that he failed to make corrections to his statement when he went over them with prosecution. The witness responded that those were mistakes that he made and he corrected most of them but could have mistaken not to correct some of them. Counsel further quoted portions of the witness’s statement that his first trip was made in 1999, that Taylor gave the instructions to Yeatan, not Jungle for the transportation of arms and ammunition for the RUF and that he first met Bockarie when he delivered the materials to him in Buedu. The witness said that these were all mistakes as he made his first trip in 1998 and that he had met Bockarie at YMCA in Liberia before he travelled to Buedu. He said that Jungle and Samson made other trips with materials that he was aware of. Counsel told the witness that his evidence keeps shifting at different times and that if he was saying tha truth, he would not be changing dates. The witness responded that when making statements, sometimes, he can remember the months and not years of events and vice versa. Counsel put it to the witness that he was telling lies. The witness responded that Taylor himself was aware of the trips he made and that he was saying the truth.
Monies Given to Jungle and Others by Sam Bockarie
The witness said that during one of those trips, Bockarie gave Jungle and Samson $2000. He said they gave him $200 as his own share of the money. He said the money was a token from Bockarie. He said Bockarie used to give them more money than this amount. Counsel suggested that the trip with ammunition to Buedu was a private enterprise and that was why Bockarie gave them money in return. The witness disagreed with counsel, saying that they did not do anything just by themselves but had to get instructions from Taylor. He said that on another trip when he was absent, Bockarie gave Maazah and Jungle $3000. He said Maazah used his own money to buy a small car. He said that nobody left Monrovia without Taylor’s instructions.
Court adjourned for lunch break.