Thursday December 11, 2008.
10:00am: Court resumed and defense counsel Mr. Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of former RUF signal commander Dauda Fornie, aka, DAF. Counsel asked the witness several questions about Issa Sesay’s leadership of the RUF, the Lome Peace Accord, the infightings in the RUF and AFRC, Taylor’s role in the Sierra Leone peace process and several radio messages that were exchanged between RUF and AFRC commanders.
Issa Sesay as Leader of the RUF
Counsel asked the witness whether he knew that after ECOWAS heads of states had suggested to Issa that he should become the leader of the RUF, that Issa travelled to the frontlines in Sierra Leone to consult other RUF commanders and that he also sent a letter to Sankoh seeking his approval from prison. In response, the witness said that Taylor and Issa already had a pre-knowlege of the whole issue. He said they only wanted to cover things up in the eyes of the internatiopnal community as though the decision was being made by RUF commanders. He said that the letter written to Sankoh was a mere formality as Issa had already told them that he had orders from Taylor that he should take over the leadership of the RUF. He agreed with counsel that Issa met with several ECOWAS heads of state in Monrovia and later met with Nigerian and Malian presidents at Roberts International Airport (RIA). The witness insisted that after these meetings, Issa met them in Pendembu and told them Taylor had instructed him to take over the leadership of the RUF. The witness admited that he knew of Nigerian and Malian presidents taking the letter written by Issa to Sankoh in prison but could not tell what the content of the letter was. Defense counsel suggested to the witness that he was not very important in the RUF to know the details of the letter. In response, the witness said that Issa only consulted his own cronies in the RUF hierarchy. When asked whether he agrred that Taylor played some role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone, the witness responded that ECOWAS used Taylor to facilitate the peace process. Counsel told the witness that it is just the same way the prosecution have used the witness to tell lies. The witness on his part said that he is doing what is good for his country while Taylor was using counsel to twist the truth about the war in Sierra Leone. Presiding judge Teresa Doherty cautioned the witness about getting into arguements with counsel.
Peace Process in Sierra Leone
Counsel asked the witness whether he remembers former president Obasanjo facilitaing a meeting between Taylor and Kabbah in 1998, with a view of discussing peace in West Africa. The witness said he knew of the said meeting but could not remember when it took place and what was discussed.
Counsel asked the witness about the commencement of disarmament in Sierra Leone after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord. The witness said that the disarmament process did not start immediately after the signing of the accord but when Sankoh arrived in Freetown, there was a symbolic disarmament in Lunsar, northern Sierra leone. Counsel read a letter written by Tejan Kabbah and addressed to Taylor, informing him that the disarmament was very slow and that Johnny Paul Koroma and Sankoh did not seem to trust each other very much. Kabba urged Taylor to intervene to salgave the situation. In the letter, Kabbah also wrote that there were RUF fighters in Liberia who wanted to travel to Kailahun and disarm there. He suggested that these rebels be disarmed in Liberia or they be put on transportation provided by the Sierra Leone government during which process they would be successfully disarmed. The witness said that he never knew of such letter. Counsel asked that the letter be admitted as exhibit.
RUF Radio Messages and Log Book
Counsel presented the RUF log book in court which contained messages mostly signed by the witness. The witness said that he cannot say how the prosecution got hold of the log book but admitted that most of the entries in it were done by him. The witness said that after the signing of the Lome Accord, he left the log book at the RUF office at Sankoh’s residence in Freetown and went to Buedu. Counsel read several messages exchanged while Sankoh was in Lome, after his release in 1999.
Message from Sankoh to Superman, Brig. Mani, Black Jah (Gullit), and Gaffer (Gibril Massaquio): Sankoh instructed them to go to Lome, Togo. He encouraged them to forget all their differences and get together to have a unanimous decision at the peace talks. The witness agreed with counsel that Sankoh was refering to the infighting in the RUF/SLA. An example of this was Superman’s attack and subsequent killing of Rambo. The witness agreed that Sankoh was not happy when Superman refused to travel to Togo. In the same message, Sankoh told them that the process was a political dialogue that will ensure his release and not a military option. Sankoh also told them in the message that he had signed a ceasefire agreement with the government. Sankoh further highlight certain points that will facilitate the peace process such as access of humanitarian staff to all RUF controlled areas, medical supplies for all ECOMOG and RUF personal and he urged them to respect the ceasefire agreement. The witness agreed with counsel that the ceasefire was regularly violated by the CDF. He further agreed that Sankoh was genuinely anxious for peace in Sierra Leone. He urged his fighters not to harrass civilians and that he would punish violators when he heard about them.
Counsel referenced another message which was from Morris Kallon to Sankoh in which he noted that only Superman and his colleagues were still causing problems in the north of Sierra Leone.
Counsel read Superman’s leter in which he pledged his dedication to the RUF course and highlighted his problems with Bockarie. The witness agreed with counsel that Superman was lying in the letter to Sankoh.
Counsel read Issa’s message to Sankoh in which he complained that Kamajors and ECOMOG soldiers were violating the ceasefire in particular towns.
Counsel read Gibril Massaquoi’s message to Sankoh that he was travelling to various places to explain the peace process and the rules laid down by Sankoh for the process to be successful.
The witness agreed with counsel that Sankoh was very serious about peace in Sierra Leone.
Counsel read Bockarie’s message to Sankoh that he had received intelligence information about ECOMOG plans to attack all RUF positions in violation of the ceasefire. He read another message from Bockarie that ECOMOG forces had abducted two RUF fighters and had forcefully disarmamed them at Lungi. A third message stated that Kamajors attacked the RUF in Kambia but they were forcefully repelled by the RUF. Bockarie also spoke about Kamajor attacks at Masingbi and attacks around the Guinean border by Kamajors and Guinean troops. He further mentioned bomb raids by ECOMOG Alpha Jets.
Counsel referenced another message from Sankoh to Bockarie instructing him to study the document that contained the provisions of the peace agreement between the RUF and the government of Sierra Leone. In the said message, Sankoh adviced Bockarie not to allow himself to be influenced by delegates from Nigeria, Togo and Liberia when studying the document. He told Bockarie that he should study the document only in the interest of the RUF. Here, defense counsel reminded the witness that Sankoh told Bockarie not to be influnced by Liberians, thus questioning the witness’s evidence that Taylor was giving instructions to the RUF on the Lome Peace Accord. The witness insisted that Bockarie was seeking advice from Taylor when Sankoh was away.
Infightings in the RUF
Defense counsel read messages from Sankoh addressed to RUF commanders, admonishing them that there should be no infighting among them. Counsel therefore suggested to the witness that there was a split in the RUF movement. The witness, on his part, responded that while there were infightings among them, they were never split as they all remained one RUF. Counsel again read another message from Kallon addressed to Sankoh in which the former complained thet AFRC commander 55 had threatened to attack him in the northern region. Counsel read Sankoh response addressed to his commanders that any attempt by anybody to jeorpardize the peace talks will not be entertained. In another message from Sankoh addressed to Bockarie, Sankoh said that he was going to sign a peace agreement with the government of Sierra Leone and that he would be released before signing the agreement. He admonished all RUF fighters not to discharge their weapons and that no gun shots were to be fired.
Referencing further infighting in the RUF, counsel read Kallon’s message to Bockarie and Issa Sesay, complaining that Gibril Massaquoi, Isaac Mongo and CO. Nyaa had said they were not ready to work with him. Counsel asked the witness whether he knows that the three men mentioned, Gibril Massaquoi, Isaac Mongo and Co. Nyaa have remained frineds since the end of the war and whether he had been in contact with them since July 1999. The witness said that he had not been in contact with Gibril Massaquoi since the end of the war, that he saw Co. Nyaa once in Freetown, after the latter’s release from Pademba Road Prisons and that he has not seen Isaac Mongo since he was arrested in May 2000.
Court adjourned for mid-morning break.