Monday November 17, 2008
10:00am: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Mr. Morris Anyah continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-045 Augustine Sama Mallah.
Continuing from where he stopped on Friday, defense counse Mr. Anyah asked the witness several questions about his return from Liberia to Sierra Leone in 1997, Taylor’s transformation from rebel leader to presidential candidate in 1997, the witness’s time in Kenema after his return to Sierra Leone, and the possibility of him having spoken with other witnesses who have testified against Mr. Taylor.
Taylor’s Transformation from Rebel Leader to Presidential Candidate in 1997
Defense counsel Mr. Anyah asked the witness about his time in Liberia after he had left Ivory Coast and was on his way to Sierra Leone. The witness had earlier on testified that on his way to Ivory Coast via Liberia together with Mike Lamin, they had received assistance from Taylor after having visited him at his office in Monrovia where NPFL fighters were present. Defense counsel diaplayed a copy of the ballot paper in the 1997 Liberian elections and pointed at Taylor’s photo as one of the presidential candidates. Defense counsel put it to the witness that Mr. Taylor had then ceased to be a rebel leader of NPFL and was now a presidential candidate of the National Patriotic Party (NPP). The witness disagreed saying that while there were elections, Taylor’s fighters were still present around him during that period.
Defense Suggests that Sierra Leone ECOMOG Soldiers, not Taylor, Facilitated the Return of RUF Fighters from Liberia to Sierra Leone in 1997.
Defense counsel Mr. Anyah sought to establish that Sierra Leonean ECOMOG soldiers based in Liberia, not Mr. Taylor, facilitated the return of RUF fighters based in Liberia, to Sierra Leone in 1997. The witness testified that while in Liberia, RUF fighters received orders from Foday Sankoh that they should all join the AFRC soldiers who had overthrown the SLPP government in May 1997. The witness said that all the RUF fighters decided to return to Sierra Leone in respect of those orders. Defense counsel put it to the witness that the Sierra Leonean ECOMOG soldiers in Liberia put the RUF fighters in trucks and took them to the Gbandiru crossing point in order to join their colleagues in Sierra Leone. The witness disagreed, saying that it was Mike Lamin who gave some civilians in the Lofa area some money and asked them to show the RUF rebels the route/bush part in the forest leading to Buedu. The witness agreed with defense counsel that Mr. Taylor did not render any assistance to RUF fighters in Liberia on their way back to Sierra Leone in 1997.
Contact with Previous Prosecution Witnesses in the Taylor Trial
The witness, during cross-examination, stated that he has heard brief testimonies of previous witnesses in the Taylor trial. Asked how he heard such testimonies, the witness said that he heard them on radio through daily reports aired all over Sierra Leone. When asked about the names of specific witnesses whose testimonies he has heard, the witness mentioned Abu Keita, Zigzag Maazah and Karmoh Kanneh, aka Eagle. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he had met Karmoh Kanneh since he returned to Sierra Leone after testifying in The Hague, the witness said that while he did not see Karmoh Kanneh in person, they have spoken on the phone. He said they did not discuss anything about that Taylor trial. When asked whether he knows Isaac Mongor, the witness said yes, but cant say whether he has testified in this trial.
Court adjourned for mid-morning break.