Wednesday December 10, 2008
10:00am: Court resumed and defense counsel Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of former RUF signal commander Dauda Fornie, aka, DAF. Court was delayed for over 20 minutes as Mr. Taylor was late due to “technical reasons beyond his control.” When cross-examination resumed, defense counsel Mr. Munyard continued his line of questioning about inconsistencies in the witness’s oral testimony and his previous statements made to prosecution.
Witness In Liberia
Counsel referenced the witness’s earlier statement that when the RUF withdrew to Liberia in the early 1990s, the Sierra Leonean soldiers chased them beyoned Bo Waterside and then moving into Liberian territory. The witness agreed with counsel on this. Counsel again referenced witness’s statement that while they were in Kakata, Sankoh accompanied them to Sierra Leone in three trucks, two of those carrying fighters and the third truck carrying arms and ammunition. The witness responded that he never said three trucks but that himself and other fighters were in one truck while the arms and ammunition were in the second truck. In making his clarification, the witness said he had used the word ‘too’ rather than ‘two.’ Counsel further referenced another statement that when operation Octopus was launched in Monrovia, Taylor and Sankoh met the witness and other fighters at Kakata and Sankoh arrived with artillery weapons and told them to get ready to leave for Sierra Leone. The witness responded that he had made the entire statement save that he never said Sankoh had artillery weapons. He said that ammunitions were picked up at Gbarngha and taken to Sierra Leone. The witness said his statement was wrongly recorded. He said he did not know the source of the ammunition but only knew the details of what was transported when they got to Kailahun.
Counsel referenced the witness’s statement about transmitting messages verbally when the RUF ran out of stationary to record messages in written version. The witness responded that he sometimes delivered messages verbally but that he had a log book in which important things were recorded. He said that official messages were always written down.
Monitoring the Trial
Counsel asked the witness whether he has been monitoring the trial in the past. The witness admitted that he has sometimes monitored the trial on radio. He agreed with counsel that Talking Drum Studio sometimes puts out propaganda about the trial. He agreed that he has been listening and can recall lots of evidence given by other witnesses.
Diamond Mining in Tongo
Counsel asked the witness about a rebel called Mopleh. The witness said he knew of Mopleh and it was true that he ran away with lots of diamonds from Tongo. Counsel asked the witness what he did with his own diamonds and the witness said he used to sell them to diamond dealers in Tongo. The witness said he cannot recall selling diamonds to Lebanese diamond dealers in Tongo. Counsel told the witness that there was a law providing that only licenced diamond dealers should be allowed to buy diamonds but that the witness on his part dealt with everybody, whether they had licence or not. The witness said that selling diamonds to unlicenced diamond dealers was a norm and everybody did the samething. The witness then said that he did not even know that such law was in existence in Tongo since he was just a radio operator and was not in charge of diamonds. Asked about the presence of Isreali diamond dealers in Tongo, the witness said he cannot say whether they were present there.
Ammunition from Liberia
Counsel referenced witness’s statement that while in Buedu, Memuna contacted him that herself and Fonte Kanu had brought ammunition from Taylor. Counsel asked him whether he had told prosecution investigators that the ammunitions were brought from Taylor or from Liberia. The witness said he spoke about the materials and he could have said they came from Taylor. He said Memuna told him the materials were from Taylor in Liberia. Counsel refenced the witness’s statements made on November 6 and 7 2008 that Fonte Kanu used to get arms and ammunition from ULIMO rebels and other ex-fighters in Liberia. The witness denied saying so. He said that Fonte Kanu and Memuna got the materials from Taylor. The witness said he cannot tell whether Fonte Kanu was involved in private business after the disarmament in Liberia. In his statement, the witness was quoted as saying that he was in Daru when Memuna and Fonte Kanu arrived with a truck load of materials but the witness responded that he did not see them arrive in Daru. He said he was in kenema when they arrived and he travelled to Daru and saw them there. Counsel told witness that there is no mention in his statement that the materials were supplied by Taylor. The witness maintained that he could have mentioned it somewhere in one of his statements. He further said that may be no one asked him about where the materials had come from.
Counsel referenced another of the witness’s statements that after the intervention, he travelled with Sam Bockarie and others from Liberia to Buedu when they carried 80 containers of ammunition in three vehicles. Counsel asked the witness to explain how he could have known that the boxes contained ammunition when he was a mere radio operator. The witness responded that he knew what ammunition boxes lookeed like and he knew that other materials would not be packed in those boxes and transported from Liberia. He also said that they discussed the contents of the boxes among themselves and that he was present when the materials were distributed to frontline commanders to stop the advance of ECOMOG forces.
There was a disagreement between counsel and the witness over what the witness had said about the vehicles that transported the materials to Buedu. Counsel said that the witness had earlier on said the vehicle was a hilux while the witness maintained that he only said it was a medium size truck, which he termed as ‘pikin benz.’
Court adjourned for mid-morning break.