Morning Session: Prosecution Concludes the Examination of Witness Tariq Malik. Cross-Examination of Witness Begins

Tuesday January 20, 2009

10:00am: Court resumed and Chief Prosecutor Steven Rapp concluded the direct examination of witness Tariq Malik. Defense counsel Terry Munyard commenced the cross-examination of the witness.

Direct Examination

Continuing from where he stopped yesterday, Chief Prosecutor Steven rapp asked the witness more questions about that documents retrieved from the Liberia Search, which was the search into Charles Taylor’s residence at White Flower and his office at the Executive Mansion in March 2004. The witness referenced several documents retrieved from this search and he informed the court that these documents were handed over to him, he identified them and handed them to prosecution for use as evidence. Among the documents mentioned were:

1. Hand written document requesting for immunity for all crimes committed in Liberia from 1989 to 2003.  The document had no date and was photocopied in February 2007.

2. Identity card issued by Burkina Faso, issued in French with a different name and bearing the photograph of Charles taylor

3. Letter written by former President Kabbh of Sierra Leone and addressed to Charles Taylor requesting that Sam Bockarie be handed over to Sierra Leone.

4. List of entourage to accompany Charles Taylor on trips abroad to France, South Africa, Libya and other countries

5. Letter written to the Liberian Minister of Financing requesting the disbursement of money as per diem for members of the entourage accompanying the president abroad

6. A letterhead of combined AFRC Junta and RUF forces with address in Liberia

Other documents were categorized by the witness as external activities by the Liberian president and these included:

1. List of persons in Charles Taylor’s entourage to accompany him abroad

2. Photocopy of page with message that Johnny Paul Koroma’s wife wanted to see ‘The Chief’ to bid him farewell.

Justice and Peace Commission Archives

Counsel asked the witness about documents retrived from the Justice and Peace Commission archives, an NGO situated at the Catholic Archdiocese in Liberia. These documents were mainly media reports retrieved and copied in March 2007 by two officials working for the Special Court. They were handed to the witness’s evidence unit in May 2007. Documents retrieved here were categorized into Liberian and Sierra Leone Civil war Categories

Liberia Category

Documents retrived here were news reports which included;

1. MPs burn 200 people alive

2. 3 Civilians killed in Liberia

3. Chinese feared dead

4. Taylor’s ADC Surrenders

5. Taylor’s General’s drop arms

In the Sierra Leone Category, medie reports retrieved included;

1. 52 burnt alive as junta goes on the rampage

2. Ceasefire fails in Sierra Leone

3. 3 Liberian soldiers killed in Sierra Leone

4. Statement issued by the Nigerian Embassy in Liberia on the war in Sierra Leone

5. Sankoh flies to Guinea (not very clear).

The witness went ahead and identified all these documents as those examined by him recently and told the court where their registered numbers were. He also explained the contents of some of these documents.

Chief Prosecutor Steven Rapp then informed the court that he had concluded the cross-examination of the witness. He, however, informed the court that the prosecution reserves the right to recall the witness if it deems it necessary based on motions that might be filed by either side or any related documents tendered. Defense counsel  Terry Munyard commenced his cross-examination of the witness.


Defense counsel Mr. Taylor commenced his cross-examination of witness Tariq Malik. Counsel first asked the witness about his evidence relating to the death of Sam Bockarie. The witness explained that he was assigned to receive Bockarie’s body from Liberia and to work with professionals to get his DNA samples and identify his corpse. He said it was conclusive that the corpse was that of Sam Bockarie.

Counsel asked the witness whether he agreed that his evidence is mostly hearsay. The witness agreed with counsel that none of the evidence was retrieved by the witness himself nor was he present when any of the evidence was retrieved.  The witness also agreed with counsel that he has not been able to speak with all parties involved in retrieving the document. Referencing those he had direct communication with, the witness mentioned Alfred Sesay, Thomas Lahun and Ruth Mary Hackler. He also agreed with counsel that Alfred Sesay and Thomas Lahun did not retrieve the documents personally but that they were handed over to them.

Counsel asked the witness about his relevant experience. The witness explained that he served in the Pakistani Police.  He said he started in the position of Asst. Superintendent in 1992. He said at the start of his career, he was asked to gather evidence but that was not his main responsibility.  He said he was trained in the retrieval, storage and documentation of evidence.  At the ICTY, the witness said he was involved in the retrieval, storage and documentation of evidence. The witness agreed with counsel that he has not worked with the Sierra Leone Police and so cannot tell what system of storage and documentation of evidence works there. He said he is also not aware of the system of noting down exhibits in the Sierra Leone Police. He also said he did not ask the Sierra Leone Police officers what system they used to store the evidence. Counsel referenecd the testimony of Sierra Leone Police Officer Alfread Sesay in the RUF trial that when the documents were retrieved from Sankoh’s house in Freetown, they were not checked or recorded by him. He said he also did not enter the exhibits into any book.  Counsel also suggested that by so doing, Alfred Sesay went against the standard proceedure operative in receiving and storing evidence. The witness agreed with counsel but added that based on Alfread Sesay’s testimony, he(Sesay) did not give evidence on all the documents retrieved and that Sesay could not say with certainty whether he went through the documents himself. Counsel also referenced Alfred Sesay’s testimony that while the documents were stored at the Criminal Investigation Department, different agencies like the UN examined them and made copies. The witness responded that while different agencies examined them, he is not sure whether  they made copies.

Court adjourned for mid-morning break.