3:00pm: Court ressumed and defense counsel Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of former RUF signal commander Dauda Fornie, aka DAF.
Counsel continued his line of cross-examination, soliciting irregularities in the witness’s oral testimony and his written statements made to prosecution investigators.
Bockarie’s Trip to Birkina Faso, via Liberia
The witness was asked about the people that went to Burkina Faso. He maintained that they were Bockarie, Eddie Kanneh and SYB Rogers (Pa. Rogers). Counsel asked the witness why he failed to mention all three names when he made statements to prosecution in May 2006. The witness responded that he couldn’t have remembered everybody while making his statements at that time. Defense counsel suggested to the witness that he did not travel with the delegation that went to Liberia. The witness insisted that he travelled with them. Counsel asked the witness again why he had left Pa Rogers’s name out as part of the delegation when he made his first interview. The witness said he mentioned the name in other interviews.
Counsel referenced the witness’s statement where he said that the materials brought from Burkina Faso were loaded in three trucks. He said they met the trucks in Monrovia and he learnt from another guy that the trucks were loaded at Roberts International Airport (RIA). Counsel asked thw witness who the other guy was and the witness said he was somebody among the delegation. He added that Bockarie also told him the samething. Counsel referenced the witness’s statement that he learnt this from Bockarie and not another guy. Counsel asked the witness to state what the correct version of events was and the witness said that he heard about the trucks being loaded at RIA from the other guy and Bockarie. He said that it is not easy for him to recall every event line by line. Counsel referenced another of the witness’s statements where he failed to mention Pa Rogers as part of the delegation that went to Burkina Faso. The witness responded that he probably skipped Pa Rogers’s name because he was dead at the time he made the statement. Counsel told the witness that Bockarie was also dead but he did not forget to mention his name. In response, the witness said that all his statements revolved around Bockarie and so he could not have forgotten his name. Counsel also told the witness that Jungle was dead when he made the statement but he still mentioned his name. The witness then said that at the time he made the statement, he did not know that Jungle was dead. Counsel told the witness that on four occassions when he was interviewed, he failed to mention Pa Rogers’s name as part of the trip to Burkina Faso. Counsel asked the witness whether he was part of the trip at all. The witness said that he was. Counsel told the witness that many witnesses have spoken about Pa Rogers being part of this trip and the witness picked that up from those witnesses. In response, the witness said he did not hear that from any previous witness.
Counsel told the witness that when speaking about the trucks in which the materials were loaded, he only said that there were two trucks, not three. The witness said that he had said there were three trucks in one of his statements.
Orders from Sam Bockarie
Defense counsel asked the witness about orders he said that came from Bockarie. Counsel asked the witness whether he heard Bockarie speak with Yeaten on the phone. The witness insisted that he heard the two men speak. He said he was standing by Bockarie when he answered Yeaten’s call and asked if that was ’50’ (Yeaten’s code). While he did not hear the response from the other side of the phone, he knew it was Yeaten based on how the conversations went. Counsel asked the witness whether he heard Bockarie giving orders to Gullit to chop of the arms of civilians during the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. The witness said he heard the order and that Bockarie even said so on the BBC. Counsel asked the witness why he had failed to mention that in his 28 interviews with prosecution investigators. The witness responded that he remembers mentioning it to them in one of his interviews. Counsel told the witness that this is a new twist that has only come out in his evidence and the witness said that if he recalled the incident while in court, then he had to mention it in court but he insisted that he had said so before. Counsel referenced the witness’s evidence about Issa Sesay’s interview with the BBC during the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. In his testimony, the witness said that Bockarie was well pleased with the interview. He responded that they should tell the government to release Sankoh from prison. Counsel then referenced the witness’s statement that Bockarie was neither positive, nor negetive. The witness said that he did say Bockarie was well pleased. Counsel suggested to the witness that he was lying.
Peace Talks in Lome, Togo
Counsel asked the witness how come he got appointed to go to Togo as radio operator. The witness said he was appointed and instructed to go. Counsel referenced witness’s statement that the senior radio operators were not ready to go that was why he opted to go. The witness responded that this was not the only reason. He said that it is true his two boses, Kabba and Sellay were unwilling to go to Lome.
Johnny Paul Koroma
Counsel asked the witness about Johnny Paul’s whereabouts during the Lome Peace Accord. The witness said that Johnny Paul was in a village called kangama. He said that while Johnny Paul did not go to Lome, he sent his own representatives there. Counsel asked the witness whether he knew that Johnny Paul was held in Sierra Leone beyond his will. The witness agreed that Bockarie stopped Johnny Paul from travelling out of Sierra Leone. The witness agreed with counsel that after the Lome Accord, Taylor organized a meeting for Sankoh and Taylor in Monrovia but he said he didnt know at whose request Taylor organized the said meeting. He said that after the meeting, they all travelled to Freetown but can’t say whether Sankoh and Johnny Paul travelled together in the same convoy. He also said he cannot recall whetther other people like the former US ambassador to Liberia was on the convoy. Counsel asked the witness whether he knew how Bockarie was offered safe haven in Liberia after he resinged from the RUF but the witness said no.
Issa Sesay as Interim Leader of the RUF
The witness agreed with counsel that when Issa Sesay became leader of the RUF after Sankoh’s arrest, he did so at the request of ECOWAS leaders. He said, however, that if Taylor had not instructed Issa to take the leadership, he wouldnt have taken it. He said that even for the release of UN peacekeepers held hostage by the RUF, Issa had to take orders from Taylor. Counsel asked the witness whether he knew that Issa told the ECOWAS leaders that he had to consult other RUF commanders before taking the leadership. The witness responded that he even knew more than that. There was no time to explain further as it was time to adjourn for the day.
Court adjourned for the day and the witness is set to continue the cross-examination tomorrow Thursday December 11, 2008.