3:00pm: Court resumed and defense counsel Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of former RUF signal commander Dauda Fornie, aka DAF.
Counsel asked several questions about the witness’s statement to prosecution investigators and sought to establish inconsistencies with the witness’s testimony in court.
Witness’s Activities in Tongo
Counsel referenced witness’s statement that he saw Bockarie on Tongo on three occasions. Counsel asked the witness why he did not tell prosecution investigators that he was radio operator for Bockarie at this time. The witness responded that he told investigators that in a latter statement. Counsel asked the witness why he failed to tell them so the first time he spoke with them and the witness said that he was not working for Bockarie alone as he was also serving the AFRC commanders in that position. Counsel again asked him why he did not tell the investigators that he also worked for the AFRC. The witness said he only responded to questions that were asked of him and since they did not ask him about that, he did not see any reason to say so. Counsel put it to the witness that he failed to say so because he was not a radio operator in Tongo but just someone involved in private mining. The witness disagreed with counsel. Counsel asked the witnes to explain how he was able to mine and serve as radio operator at the same time and the witness said that there were several other radio operators, both RUF and AFRC, and they used to work based on shifts. When he was not scheduled to work as radio operator, he used the time to do mining.
Counsel reminded that witness that the RUF claimed that its ideology was to protect the mining industry for the betterment of the people of Sierra Leone and how that was compromised by individuals mining for themselves. The witness said that they did individual mining because everyone had to look for their own means of survival.
Radio Operations in Buedu
Counsel asked the witness about his relocation to Buedu. The witness said that when Kamajors attacked Tongo, he moved together with Bockarie to Buedu where he worked for Bockarie as radio operator. Asked what specifically he did, he said that he worked with two other radio operators, Philip and Gamayaji to monitor enemy communications, mainly ECOMOG and Kamajors. He said they monitored mainly ECOMOG communications since they were the only ones who actually used radio communications. In response to whether he actually decoded messages, he said that messages were decoded mainly by Philip and Gbamayaji but that sometime in late 1998, he also started decoding messages. He said that his main duty was to do monitoring. Counsel referenced messages that were recorded by the witness while doing monitoring and which were played in court such as Sankoh’s orders that the RUF should join the AFRC. Counsel asked why the witness did not record other statements like the one from Gullit about SAJ Musa’s death. The witness responded that he could not record all mesages but did those which he thought were important and could serve a historical purpose such as Sankoh telling the RUF to join the AFRC. Counsel asked the witness whether he told investigators that Bockarie and Issa did not discuss important war strategies on radio. The witness said he said so. He explained that they did not discuss these important things on radio because they knew they were being monitored by enemy stations. He gave an example of the Kono attack for which Mosquito refused to communicate with commanders on radio but rather called all of them to a meeting in Buedu where the strategy was drawn.
Sankoh’s Trips Abroad
Counsel asked the witness about his statement that he accompanied Sankoh to Algiers for an OAU conference and then to Libya immediately after. The witness said he did accompany Sankoh to these two countries. Counsel asked the witness whether he had told investigators that they were in Libya for three days. The witness said he was not specific about three days but that he had told them they spent “about three days.” The witness said that Sankoh met with Paulo Bangura in Libya, and then he proceeded to Saudi Arabia. The witness said that while in Libya, he met with Sierra Leonean refugees there. When asked how Sierra Leonean refugees could have made it far north to Libya, the witness said that he personally interacted with the refugees who told them they had travelled through the desert, and then through some countries and got to Libya. He explained that Ghadafi gave Sankoh some amount of money in order to transform the RUF from a military group to a political party. He said Bockari was opposed to the idea of changing the RUF from a military group. He said that after the Libyan trip, Sankoh and Bockarie fell out since the latter did not support the disarmament process. The witness was quoted as having said the trip to Libya took place in October but he responded that he was not sure of the exact month.
Counsel referenced the witness’s statement that he accompanied Sankoh to Lome, Togo for peacetalks in April 1999. He said that they arrived in Lome on April 24, 1999 and after their meeting with Togolese president Eyadema, he installed the radio set infront of the hotel where they stayed. He was quoted as having said that Sankoh signed all the reports that he sent back to RUF commanders in Sierra Leone but he responded that he meant to say only those messages that were related to the Lome Peace talks were signed by Sankoh. He said that a ceasefire was signed in Lome on May 7, 1999, which was to pave the way for the Lome Peace talks. The witness said that when they returned to Sierra Leone, Bockarie was opposed to the disramament process and when he attempted to tell Bockarie that he should obey the instructions of the leader Sankoh, Bockarie had him arrested and locked in a dungeon, where he remained until Bockarie left for Liberia.
Witness’s Stay in Liberia
Counsel asked the witness about the time he spent in Liberia in the early 1990s. Counsel asked the witness about the group called Black Ghadaffa and the witness said it was a group the provided reinforcement to the RUF when they came under attack. He was quoted as having said that group comprised only Sierra Leoneans and he responded that the group had more Sierra Leoneans but that there were some Liberians there, including the leader of the group Pele Boy. The witness said he was not aware that the Black Ghadaffa group connived against Mr. Taylor. He responded that he heard of accusations against Gen. De Gbon and others. Counsel referenced the witness’s statement about the allegations against several people that they were plotting against Taylor and their subsequent excution. The witness explained that he knew of the executions of those individuals and while some of them were part of the Black Ghadaffa group, there were people executed who were not members of the group. He said he meant to say that the allegations were not made specifically against the Black Ghadaffa group.
Counsel referenced the witness’s statemeent that while they were in Kakata, Taylor and Sankoh visited the fronlines there in convoy. The witness said that while Sankoh alighted the vehicle and addressed them, Taylor on his part stayed in his own vehicle. Counsel asked the witness whether he knew that Taylor sometimes used a decoy who travelled in convoys giving the impression that Taylor was on the move. The witness said he had no such knowlege. There was a disagreement between counsel and the witness as to whether Taylor had indeed gone to Kakata together with Sankoh. Counsel asked the witness about Operation Octopus, which was an NPFL attack on Monrovia. Asked how he knew about this operation, the witness said that it was no secret as all fighters knew and discussed that the operation was being launched. He said that the operation took place in August. Counsel told the witness that there is a historical fact before the court that the operation took place in October rather than August. The witness said he could not have remembered the month but it is possible that it either took place in August or October. Counsel asked the witness whether the operation had any other name known to the witness. The witness said he knew no other name for the operation. Counsel referenced the witness’s statement in which he called it Operation Envelope. The witness responded that he was misquoted as he has always known it to be operation octopus.
Court adjourned for the day. Court will reconvene on Wednesday December 10 as there will be no court hearing tomorrow Tuesday December 9, 2008.