Charles Taylor today told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges that when he became president of Liberia, he arrested and expelled a British citizen and a Sierra Leonean diplomat who were secretely collaborated with rebel forces in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor also gave a chronology of steps that he took as president of Liberia to bring the conflict to Sierra Leone to a peaceful conclusion.
Mr. Taylor told the court that the British citizen and Sierra Leonean diplomat who collaborated with Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone did so through a company operating in Monrovia called Red Deer International. According to Mr. Taylor, when security forces raided the premises of the Red Deer International company, they discovered several items which, intelligence sources suggested, were for use by RUF rebels.
“We saw some suits of uniform, military uniform, the police seized hand-held walkie talkies, the Government of Sierra Leone was fully briefed about what was going on,” Mr. Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor said the arrested persons were in touch with certain individuals who were connected to the RUF.
Mr. Taylor has been accused of providing support to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone through the supply of arms and ammunition. The prosecution has also alleged that he helped RUF rebels plan attacks on civilian populations in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.
In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor went through a list of steps he took to assure Sierra Leone and the international community that he was not supporting RUF rebels and that he wanted a peaceful end to the conflict in Sierra Leone.
On May 5 1998, Mr. Taylor said he wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General denying allegations by the Nigerian Ministry of Defense that he was involved in the conflict in Sierra Leone.
On June 24 1998, Mr. Taylor sent a delegation to meet with former Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, a step Mr. Taylor called a “diplomatic move to assure your neighbor that these are just false allegations and there is no need to worry.”
President Tejan Kabbah also attended Liberia’s independence celebrations in Monrovia on July 26, 1998. Mr. Taylor said this move by President Kabbah proved that there was no animosity between the two leaders.
“If this conflict was so serious, Kabbah would not have visited me. Presidents at war with each other will not pay visits,” Mr. Taylor said.
On December 28 1998, Mr. Taylor said he issued a statement asking for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to look into allegations of Liberian involvement in the conflict in Sierra Leone and he asked the government of Sierra Leone to be part of a joint patrol to monitor the Sierra Leone-Liberian border.
On January 6 1999, Mr. Taylor sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council saying that Liberia wanted normalcy in its relationship with Sierra Leone and asking for the deployment of United Nations personnel along the border between the two countries.
When the January 1999 rebel invasion of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown took place, Mr. Taylor declared a unilateral ceasefire on behalf of the RUF rebels. The prosecution has alleged that Mr. Taylor helped the RUF rebels to plan the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.
Asked by his defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths why he took the lead to declare a ceasefire on behalf of the RUF in January 1999, Mr. Taylor said that “Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana are charged with the responsibility of engaging the RUF and the junta. I am the point guard, so to speak, on this effort, the contacts are being made by me. Why? This time Sam Bockarie has already been to Liberia for the first time, the second time, and has come through the third time. So it is obvious that these contacts are being made and the information shared with my colleagues.”
Mr. Taylor said he was actively involved in efforts to get President Tejan Kabbah and RUF leader Foday Sankoh to the negotiating table which ended with the signing of a peace agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF in the Togolese capital, Lome, in June 1999.
Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.
This trial is bringing out a lot of details that we the common people are completely are blind about. I’m also very surprise to know that collaborators of the rebels were arrested and deported from Liberia. I strongly believe that the trial of Taylor is just a show trial. Where did Taylor get arms from at that particular time? It’s my ardent hope that someday the world will get to know who the real terrorists are, if not the western leaders.
There are many questions than answers in Mr. Taylor’s latest testimony:
1. The fact that Mr. Taylor (better still Liberia) chaired the ECOWAS Committee of Five on Sierra Leone to broker peace between warring parties: a) Does that make Mr. Taylor the official Spokeperson of the RUF to declare ceasefire on behalf the group? b) The declaration of ceasefire by Mr. Taylor on behalf RUF, could that mean Mr. Taylor had considerable RESPECT AND INFLUENCE in the RUF command? Remember, already he handled Sam Bockarie US$2.000.00 to buy jeans and sneakers on one of his visit to Liberia, an inducement to command respect and influence?
2. Why will RUF choose a registered business entity in Liberia (Red Deer International) to buy military hardwares? Why will RUF see Liberia an ideal place for its supplies of military hardwares. Is it because RUF had forged alliance with the then NPFL years back (1991 – 1992 according to Mr. Taylor himself) to neutralize a common enemy (ULIMO)?
3. What did the Government of Liberia do to prosecute those individuals Mr. Taylor said were involved or connected with the Red Deer International on this illegal deal? What are their names?
4. By the way, who or what agency imports military hardwares into Liberia? A business entity? Ministry of National Defense? or? How then did these hardwares manage to pass custom clearing process? Who gave the green light?
Dear fellow readers who see Mr. Taylor as a clean sacrificial lamb being lay on Westeren Altar, kindly favor me and thousands of other seekers of truth the answers to foregoing inquiries.
I do not intend to provide answers or justify the behavior. But I would like to comment on the points that you raised on Taylors testimony of 08/11/09.
1. I do not think a peace broker announcing a breakthrough on negotiations is unique to Mr. Taylor’s situation. I can recalled that at some point in time during the Liberian crises, Ambassador Gordon Somers, following his meeting with Mr. Taylor in Gbarnga, announce that the NPFL was going to observe a ceasefire and that a lull was expected in the fighting so as to grant an opportunity for dialogue. so clearly Mr. Taylor declaring that the RUF would observe a ceasefire was not unique. As you may be aware, mediations confidence and assurances. So a pronounce of that level tends to grant credibility and secure confidence for the process to advance. No it is not unique.
2. There are merchants of war. some entities take advantage of the limitations that war brings to advance their own commercial and other interests. Only the RUF and Red Deer can justify their choice of Liberia. Let us consider a classic example of the ongoing Mexican Drug War. The arms, ammunitions and other military hardware that are being used are purchased from the great united states of america and smuggled into Mexico. Does the American Government support or condone the activity? Your guess is just as good as mine. We can only speculate as you did, but the justification has to come from RUF or Red Deer.
3. I want to grant Mr. Taylor the benefit of doubt on this issue. I do not want to consider the issue of falsity because Mr. Taylor is not only under oath but he is defending himself against serious charges. So I would not want to doubt this account. Mr. Taylor said his government expelled the British National and the Sierra Leonean Diplomat. Now it was not just an ordinary Sierra Leonean. It was highly placed Sierra Leonean. I believe that expulsion is one of the legal tools country use to against foreign nationals who compromise their privilege to live and engage in lawful activities.
4. I do not know how these things are done. But as I said above, the RUF and Red Deer would be best placed to share some lights here. I have read any literature on the protocol of smugglers seeking official greenlights in oder to execute their plans. What I can opine is that the government of Liberia did not seem to be in on the deal as Mr. Taylor has suggested.
I like your post…thanks you provided another prospective…..
May I beg your indulgence into a little physiology of the phrases: “announce a ceasefire between the warring factions…..” and “declare unilateral ceasefire on behalf of…” as the case it is.
Mr. Taylor says he “declared unilateral ceasefire on behalf of RUF….” and according to you Amb. Gordon Somers annouced that NPFL WAS GOING TO OBSERVE a ceasefire…..” I believe Mr. Taylor is grounded in the effective use of the English Language and understands it better than I that he will go ahead to DECLARE UNILATERAL ceasefire and not going the Gordon Somers’ way.
Whatever the case may be, I will pause to see how the Prosecution will handle this latest testimony. Thanks for your time.
Great observation. In this thread, I will admit, you dissected the testimony. Yea, I was like “what”, how could this guy declare a cease fire on the behalf of the RUF? No one announced a cease fire for the NFPL. I saw that as an opening that the prosecutors were waiting for, and I think they found could of openings now. I’ve earlier said, CT tends to be long-winded and that could incriminate him. He’s given the prosecution fire power.
In terms of the a business used as a front of illegal activity, its a common practice all over the world. Smuggling uniform into Liberia could have been done; ECOMOG was not exactly what you may call a model force. There were rogue elements.
Prosecuting these individuals (British and diplomat), well one was a British national, he wouldn’t play with a British citizen and the other had diplomatic immunity. We’ve seen diplomats engage in criminal activities. For example, we had a Liberian diplomat in DC who was involved in selling false degree. An FBI agent posing as a student from the Middle East requested buying a degree. They met in a hotel and the FBI recorded the transaction. He was later recalled. This happened about 2 years ago. So there are criminal elements everywhere.
I am not trying to disprove your argument, I think this post is rather thorough and raises lots of questions. It’s important to note just as some see the prosecution witnesses as liars/honest, some see the star defense witness in the same light. Good posting.
You might have followed the Liberian civil war, but Ambassador Gordon Somer did make a statement that NPFL agreed to a ceasefire and I have raised that issue with Musa. Besides, I believe the defense have thoroughly worked out their plan and expect something like this so they do have a strategy. Taylor Griffiths would not just grant the prosecution a leadway like that.
Musa, please answere my single question before I anwere your four; would you agree with me that The rampant stealing of millions of dollars from the national bank of liberia now into peoples’ personal accounts in monrovia is headed by president ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF??? await your answere.
Let me intercede on our brother Musa’s behalf. In as much as we are appalled by the voucher processing system of the government of Liberia, we should stick to the letter of the discussions. I would suggest that Musa waives response so that we avoid undue exchange. The question of accountability in Liberia can be discussed at other fora.
Another point just came to my mind and I wanted to share it. Mr. Taylor did not say Red Deer was importing military supplies for the RUF. we do not know how Red Deer acquired their military supplies. But one thing is certain, ECOMOG was in Monrovia at the time and they were good at gun-running. Mind you, I am not say that they were the source, but equally we can not rule them out. They could just have been the suppliers and Red Deer could have been the middle player.
Thanks jlay, but I asked this question only to let musa know it is not because taylor was president, that meant he was suppose to approve every document for all goverment functioning agencies. There are other instruments of goverment that are responsible thuings which sometimes the president only hears of.So it actually was not neccesary for taylor to know red deer inrternational was in liberia. The only neccesity in my view would have been if and only if said company is envolve with activities that has the prounponsity to cause insecurity for the state. In that light, he appropriately took actions that was neccessary. EXPELL THEM!!> GO> GET OUT OF HERE>>>GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY…
Musa, you think you can just go around throwing jabs here and there and hide behind your rhetorical questions, don’t you? Well, I get news for you. Not on this website. However, your nefarious and tricky questions will not go unchallenged and unmatched. You are just one of the few guys that shoot first and ask questions later. You truly think that some of us can be caught of guard. You are mistaken.
Musa, at no time did president Taylor ever serve as a formal or informal spokesperson for the RUF. You think by infusing the name Committee of Five will lend some credibility and legitimacy to your self gratification of self fulfilling prophecy of President Taylor’s guilt. It is important to know that serving as a point man within the Committee of Five comes with responsibility. These responsibilities include but not limited to playing host, making phone calls, public and private pronouncement and announcement, and etc. It falls within the purview and jurisdiction unless otherwise. President Taylor was that point man and there was no dissenter amongst his colleagues. I understand your desperation and intent as evidence on hanging on the shred of a thread in an expostfacto manner. But justice does not work that way.
Musa, what President Taylor did in serving as a negotiator between the Sierra Leonean government and the RUF/AFRC is nothing new in peace building. For example: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, in March of 2007, Japan proposed a plan for peace base on common economic development and effort, rather than on continuous wrangling over land. This became the PEACE VALLEY PLAN.
Just in May of 2008, Tony Blair, the special envoy for the quarter, announced a new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of the PEACE VALLEY PLAN.
Not to bore my readers, the list goes on innocuously.
Musa, President Taylor did not have to declare cease fire in order to gain respect and influence in the RUF Command. He has actually earned the right of respect and influence from the Liberian people and Africa at large. He does not need respect from the RUF to build his image and statue.
Lastly, you made mention of the US$2,000.00 given to Sam Bockarie, so what? It was all part of the negotiation process in bringing peace to Sierra Leone. I will not touch the other issue raised because Andrew jlay, Noko4, and Noko5 have already dealt with you.
We all know that Taylor is speaking the truth.Lt us not forget that the Court was formed by Great Britain(propelled by Jeremy Greenstock) and the Judges were appointed by them too.
I am sorry for you Taylor.
Tell them Mr. Taylor….tell them.
Again the English WATCH LIVE #1 has frozen. Something is going on. Why WATCH VIEW #2 beaming into Sierra Leone is working but the one for Liberia and the rest of the world keeps freezing??
ladies and gentlemen; I must admit. Todays revealation brought tears to my eyes. I do not know why people will lie on another human just to get him out of his family and love ones. God is with you mr. taylor, we are praying strongly.
Tracy, I had problem with the English version of broadcast on 8/11/09. What is going on?
Jose, Helen, Noko4, Nii,
I will try to contact the Special Court and see what is going on. Sounds like they have had some technical difficulties. You can also follow by the transcripts too, which are available on the http://www.sc-sl.org site (although they are a few days behind – it looks like a week or so at the moment – but it does provide another way to follow everything that has been said during each day’s testimony).
I have send her an email pertaining to this issue….I hope we get a REPLAY during the weekend to catch up.
Tracey Gurd or anyone who can help Since Monday August 10, 2009 I have not been able to monitor the trial by Video link so am lost of the details since can anyone help why the link is not working.
And is anyone in the know of any website i can get the the video backup
… if I was partaking in this trial of Taylor as a lawyer on the other hand, I should have cross-examine Taylor via the following two questions: Firstly, Can he back up this statement ” On May 5 1998, Mr. Taylor said he wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General denying allegations by the Nigerian Ministry of Defense that he was involved in the conflict in Sierra Leone” with a verbatim copy of the said letter he wrote? As a good student Taylor is, he would say that due to the condition he was arrested, he lost all documents of his. But that can not safe his head since, a copy of this letter could still be retrieve through the Ministry of defense of Nigeria if only Taylor is speaking the truth. secondly, if actually for the three (3) times Taylor invited Sam Bockarie to Liberia was official, this should have been all over in news papers or even in international news headlines; BBC, VOA, CNN, FR24, etc. saying that, Mr. Charles Taylor, President of the Republic of Liberia is making a diplomatic move by inviting Sam Bockarie To Liberia as part of peace negotiation in Sierra Leone. But this no one heard, we only hear through “They say”. But why this was not the case?
Thank goodness you are not a lawyer because your questions can easily be answered. Remember that Taylor home was never looted and investigators didn’t not enter his home to gather evidence? Your question and possible answer sound like something child would say, “the dog ate my homework” or “I left my homework home because I was running late for the bus”. I guess you fail to realize that CT IQ is not LOW OH!
If you are interested in a good posting today, read Musa’s its above second from the top. Great thread.
The more I read this thread, the I want to encourage to stick to IT, OK?
Now, is it me, I tend to gather some incoherence in thought process with Yaya’s postings. Someone please help me out here. If it’s me, I want to know….
Taylor had the optin to acquiesce the Red Deer situation. Give a man a credit where one is due. We should not forget that at this point Taylor was president. So he could have easily looked the other way and allow the RUF and Red Deer to carry on. But the claim that he was interested in perpetuating violence in Sierra Leone yet he was breaking up RUF’s arms acquisition dealings just do not add up. Or maybe they do add up for Musa.
Yaya, I had something to attend to, but I will pause a little bit just to deal with your imaginations; I want to thank the almighty lord that you are a lawer in your dream.I want you to know that taylor was president of liberia, and not for BBC,VOA,CNN or your FR24. so your questions would have been very irrelivent to the issue under discussion. My man, you want to blame taylor again for media institutions not doing their job? Why so much hate????? Are you reducing your own taught process because you hate somebody? PLEASE!!!!
Yaya, I don’t know your level of understanding about diplomatic operations. Do you really believe that all of these backdoor diplomatic efforts would be disclose to the press and even if some of them were disclose to the press , do you think that the press would not be told not to public such since there were onging programs that they would not want to be destroy?
My man, you guys should be objective.
Let me piggy back on you a bit King and Noko….There is extreme media biased. When the prosecution had the stage the trail was on the news, but since Taylor testimony, cable news has not comment on it.
Even in the USA we see right and left wing media, Fox and MSMBC are examples. During the elections, Obama received more media attention than Clinton. During our Liberian war, BBC and other news media portrayed the rebels as “angel”. The same media can make or break an institution or person. So media reporting is not necessarily reliable.
bnker, you are very,very right . Mr. taylor has started to expose their dirty deals in liberia and sierraleone and the world so they are afraid. They know if the majority americans start to watch and hear facts that were never heard, many big heads, even some congress men would be question and brought to court for their parts played. But guess what, the truth will come out nomatter what. THE WORLD WILL KNOW>>
Are you shocked??? To our surprise, the WATCH LIVE #1 that beams to Liberia and the rest of the world is now having the ARTIC CYCLE…..FREEZING. WHY??
Why will they want to tell the world what Mr. Taylor is laying out in BLACK and WHITE. They controll the news is the simple answer. I have been watching BBC on cable and for 5 to 10 seconds coverage on this issue of importance. WHY???
They have opened the can of worms and they are all over the place. How do you convict a man on HEARSAY when he has provided DOCUMENTS that he is innocense??
The prosecutors will that their moment to CROSS EXAMINE him….if they fail to provide for this court anything MEANINGFUL, the case is over even before Mr. Taylor upon any of his witnesses.
Yaya, are you really following this case??? Didn’t he tell this court on HOW and WHY Sam Bockarie got into Liberia and provided documents to back them up??? Because you didn’t hear it on BCC or VOA means something else??
You are quite right. You hit the nail on the head. The cross examination of Mr. Taylor will absolutely mark the turning point in this case. That will be the opportunity for RAPP to nail the coffins. If they fail they should not blame the judges for setting Taylor free.
Thanks Daniel, this trial is not only about the common people; is about all.
Yes, I saw one of the offices of Red Deer in Suakoko next to Cuttington College, in Bong County, but for a short while. It would be great if Mr. Taylor present documents that expelled the British citizen and a Sierra Leonean from Liberia for their involvement with RUF on Liberian soil by and through Red Deer International. This is what the socall west stand for. They throw stone from distance and hide their hands. Mr. Taylor please go on and say all that you know about the Americans and British involvement in Liberia and else where in Africa. I’m sure everyone will agree that we Liberians need to rewrite our history after this important trial.
I strongly believe this Deer Int’l was a SET UP to tie Mr. Taylor deeper into RUF but luckily for him, he was too SMART for that ROPE-A-DOPE.
It is indded true that some of us never knew the deep part of the war in both countries, now that some of us begining to know the true, it is my desire hope that all will go down well with the parties connecting to this legar procceding. Most of the people took a bundle of they say all around the place without known the actual story ,as such, we need to sit and watch the trial for fair place.
The people doing the translations for the court , are doing a bad job .
Fact is they do not speak creole at all . They are speaking something between creole and a mixture of provincial vanacular.
Salient points. Lawyers dwell on technicality of the language. My substance was more on the outcome and the media. But I do not believe that dwelling on the declaration of ceasefire on behalf of RUF, so to speak, abound to sufficient evidence to constitue command and control. But as you said, the prosecution will have their opportunity to tear Taylor apart and not only to formulate accusations, charges and finally a case without first hand evidence as they noted.
yes he did expelled them but the prosecution will say he did not.all of them including the un did not act fairly to mr.taylor they made him a victim of circumstance.
Read the transcript of Aug 11, 2009, page 4, lines 1-10. Where did you hear or read that Mr. Taylor declare A ceasefire on behalf the RUF?
Folks, we have to be very careful with what we read and don’t be say face to harp on hearsays. While Alpha Sesay for the most part has done a great job narrating the day’s event’s, for more accuracy I would encourage all to read the actual court transcripts at sc-sl.org.
I read the entire August 11 transript and NO WHERE did Mr. Taylor mention that he “declared a unilateral ceasefire on behalf of the RUF”. How incriminating would that be. Please check the transcripts for yourselves.
“When the January 1999 rebel invasion of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown took place, Mr. Taylor declared a unilateral ceasefire on behalf of the RUF rebels. The prosecution has alleged that Mr. Taylor helped the RUF rebels to plan the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.”
This is a direct quote from above. If this is not true, why would it be reported as a summary of the trial?
I will consult the transcripts myself of course to corroborate this. However going off of this summary, as many of us have throughout this trial…this statement directly quoted from above throws serious alarms on the extent of Taylor’s involvement with RUF.
Furthermore, many have battled this $2000 to Sam Brockarie argument…as a small diplomatic amount used for negotiation. To me and many Liberians in Liberia $2000 is not just some small diplomatic amount. If Taylor was the head of state of a rich and stable country at the time, then maybe we can talk about diplomatic tendencies. He was not. If we examine the demographic data on the people that voted for Charles Taylor and those that couldnt vote at all, we may be forced to question the legitimacy of these 1997 elections….
One break down of the peace process and those elections offers this:
“Probably most important, while not expressly stated, the international community appears to have sent the message to all Liberians and their leaders that the process will succeed this time or they will abandon Liberia. The international community appears to have the will to enforce certain elements of the process.”
Another (the carter center who initially called those elections fair) says this:
“2000– Carter Center shuts down Liberia operations Nov.7; in a letter to Liberia President Charles Taylor, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said “prevailing conditions and the actions of your government have made it increasingly difficult for the Center and others to be effective in supporting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”
So those of you that purport, Taylor was “fairly” elected in 1997 and is an African leader under some scheme of Western powers…what more can you say to defend and support this failed leader….?
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