RUF Commander Sam Bockarie’s Relocation To Liberia Was Sanctioned By The International Community

Charles Taylor had the international community’s approval to grant political asylum to Sam Bockarie after the rebel commander left Sierra Leone in December 1999, Mr. Taylor told judges today at his trial in The Hague.

Mr. Taylor told the judges that Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders realized that Sam Bockarie’s continued presence in Sierra Leone was a hindrance to the peace process in the country and a unanimous decision was taken that he should leave the country and obtain political asylum in Liberia.

“Bockarie did not voluntarily leave Sierra Leone. ECOWAS extracted Bockarie from Sierra Leone. That’s how he left. He did not leave Sierra Leone voluntarily. He came to Liberia in December of 1999. People did not know the inside story. But this is what happened. It was an ECOWAS extraction, they took him out of Sierra Leone, he had no choice,” Mr. Taylor said.

When the government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels signed a peace agreement in June 1999, the disarmament of combatants started in the country. Reports indicate that while RUF leader, Foday Sankoh, wanted all his forces to be disarmed, his deputy Sam Bockarie was opposed to such a move. This led to a conflict between Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie, and at the time, according to Mr. Taylor, “it appears Bockarie wants to challenge Sankoh.”

Mr. Taylor said he got involved to settle the conflict between the two rebel leaders by inviting them to a meeting in Liberia. This, Mr. Taylor said, happened with the consent of the United Nations, ECOWAS leaders and the government of Sierra Leone. “Everyone knew about it. The Committee of Six [originally Committee of 5, this body was set up by West African leaders to facilitate a peaceful end to the conflict in Sierra Leone], the United Nations Secretary General, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Liberia (SRSG) and [Sierra Leonean] president Kabbah knew about it. In fact, Sankoh was taken to Liberia on board a UN air craft,” he explained.

Mr. Taylor said after meeting with the two Sierra Leonean rebel leaders, he informed the United Nations and ECOWAS leaders of  what he had said to the rebel leaders and his assessment of the situation.

Mr. Taylor said that when the clashes continued in the RUF, ECOWAS had no option but to get Sam Bockarie out of Sierra Leone. The decision to take Sam Bockarie out of Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor said, was taken at a meeting with former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo at the Roberts International Airport in Liberia. In December 1999, Sam Bockarie eventually left Sierra Leone for Liberia with about 300-400 RUF fighters who were loyal to him (Bockarie). Mr. Taylor said that Sam Bockarie and all his fighters were granted Liberian citizenship in order to integrate them into the Liberian society. Members of the international community, he said, were fully informed of everything he did.

As part of the arrangement to get Sam Bockarie out of Sierra Leone and relocate him to Liberia, Mr. Taylor said that the United States government agreed to provide scholarship for Sam Bockarie to undergo military training in the United States.

“The United States promised that they would assist, not the upkeep of the people but the discussion was held as to what to do for Bockarie and they had said that they would probably help to give him a scholarship to do extended military training at one of their military bases in the United States but that did not come to pass,” he said.

Mr. Taylor also said that Nigerian president Obasanjo gave a sum of 50,000 United States dollars to sustain Sam Bockarie and his men in Liberia.

Mr. Taylor said he later on found it strange when the United Nations and the United States opposed Sam Bockarie’s presence in Liberia. “This is strange. The man has just come in after agreeing with me and now you want me to throw him out? The same US had said they would give Bockarie training so he will cease to be a rebel.”

Mr. Taylor said that once Sam Bockarie and his men were in Liberia and had obtained Liberian citizenship, his government decided to recruit them into the security sector. They were all trained and became part of Mr. Taylor’s Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU)–an elite force that provided security for Mr. Taylor. The ATU was headed by Mr. Taylor’s son Chuckie Taylor, who himself has been convicted in the United States for crimes of torture committed in Liberia.

The prosecution has alleged that Mr. Taylor provided support to the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone through the supply of arms and ammunition. The prosecution has further alleged that RUF commanders were answerable to Mr. Taylor. Several prosecution witnesses testified that in 1999, when Sam Bockarie fell out with RUF leader Foday Sankoh, Mr. Taylor willingly offered to host Sam Bockarie in Liberia, providing houses for him and his family and sending him and his fighters to launch attacks in Ivory Coast. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations, saying that his involvement in Sierra Leone’s conflict was for peaceful purposes only.

Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Tracey,

    A public servant does not complain about a day’s job, for it is said that benevolent spirit provides for and honors the humble, so let it be with Tracey. I wanted to ask a big favor. could you post a link to the court’s decision on the defense motion to acquit. I had been looking for the decision, but have not been fortunate. I just want to get up to date on the basis for the denial.



    1. Hi Andrew,

      Of course I’m happy to help where I can. The Trial Chamber delivered this decision orally on May 4, 2009, and unfortunately, the link to the transcript for that day no longer appears to be live and working. I will check with the court to see if they can make it a live link and will direct readers to it if/when it is.

      In the meantime, can I direct you to two resources that you might find helpful? One is a report by Jennifer Easterday, a monitor with the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, which (with their kind permission) I’ve posted on the site here:

      Also, you can see the press release issued by the court, which we also have on our site here:

      Best and back with more if the link goes live again,

      1. Tracey,

        Greetings. Have you been able to find information about the commanders for Kono District who were not charged under JCE liability because they resided in Freetown at the time of the execution of the crimes? I see that JCE liability according to the court is sufficient evidence to deny the acquittal request.

        Thanks Tracey.

        1. Bnker – we have not forgotten you! We are planning to post something on JCE soon – either by us or an outside expert — it is just taking a little time to organize. Can you bear with us a little longer? We will get you a piece on your question as soon as we can.

          Thanks for your patience,

    2. Andrew,
      In a nutshell, I was MAD when some of those charges were NOT dropped by the court but come to think about it……happy he is presenting his case.

      I was at a function on Saturday and to my surprise, the many that are watching…..some still believe this is about Liberia. I had to use the host computer to show them the MANDATE of this court…..AMAZING

  2. Thank you taylor,the truth is coming to light bit by; you are now blaming not only the United States, and United Nations for hosting Sam Bokarie, but Olosugun Obasanjo for giving $50,000.00 through you to Sam Bokarie for him and his men who you gave Liberian Citizenship and inducted them simataneously into your ATU notorious unit led by your son, chuckie taylor! Wow! I thought you did not sit with “this little boy”, according to you, because of his low status, but then you could entrust your life into his hands! Do you really think that you are making sense here? I think the ghost of Sam Bakerie is Haunting you taylor. Did not you remember how you killed him to cover up? Now we are satisfied with this point, thank futher questions!

    1. J Fallah Menjor,

      Whomever you are pen name whatever, I do not believe you should continue to use this web site to vent your anger and emotional bias against Taylor. Tracey has reminded us politely to be cautious of our ego obscuring our duty to stick to the issue. Your comment are offensive and objectionable plain and simple. The rules here are simple: Stick to the issues.

      So please do not continue to create conditions or engage in behaviors that will tend to minimize the status of this beloved site. ok.

    2. Menjor,

      Though all might not agree with your point of views, you are welcome to comment. I will however suggest that your arguments be objective. There are some who would take CT testimony as the truth and others (like yourself) would take them as lies. I personally don’t have a problem with these divergence of views, but objectively looking at the case, there seem to be many loop holes and surprises. CT informed the courts that several individuals know about these events, lets wait and see if the defense will produce documentary evidence or witnesses that can substantiate these statements. Do I think everything he is saying is true? no way, still I think there is some truth and some distortion of the facts. I am not privy to all the evidence and neither you, but based on what we have seen and testimony given, no case. Let’s look at things from this prospective, any one of us could be accused wrongly (we’ve seen people jailed because of over zealous prosecutors and misinformed jury). If you were the accused, would you rather have a case based on lies or facts? I want truth. Until the evidence can support the charges, I would hate to see ANYONE go to jail based on falsehood. So, I beg all, lets be objective and base our discussion on facts. We all understand the emotionally charged nature of the debate. Many have been hurt directly or indirectly from CT war in Liberia; lets keep in mind, that the trail is on Sierra Leone. I openly protest my disdain for CT activities in Liberia (where I still think he needs to be tried), yet I try not to let my emotions cloud my judgment to think wisely.

      That said, what I find troubling about the refuge given to 400 RUF fighters was that they were given citizenship and placed into the military. These were hardened murderous individuals. This power brings to remembrance one of Andrew’s thread, where he suggested that the executive branch had and continues to have much power (in Liberia). This was a clear example where the executive powers overshadowed the legislative puppets in the Taylor led government.

      So my friend lets post, but lets be balance….and Andrew, gosh, you are harsh on the poor guy. There are some who thinks CT is telling the truth, so they shouldn’t post either…play nice! You know we don’t agree all the time, but hey, we still keep things civil….be nice to the guy….Menjor, sorray yah Kpa, but hey you entered the kitchen; its hot in this “joint”–smile!

  3. Again and again, we’re back to SQUARE ONE!! I am not a lawyer non a student of such subject but COMMON SENSE was ALL that was needed before bringing this man to trial. How can this court and the prosecutors with ALL their resources bring us to this UNJUST merry-go-round???

    Did the prosecutors have those documents he is presenting in court or were these the defense findings??? If they had it and decided to FOOL us with HEARSAY, then I must say that calculation is NOT working. Where are ALL thoese documents coming from?? Is there a reason why the prosecutors cannot apply RULE 51c and send us home???

    Tracey, can you please find out why this case is NOT been broadcast in Liberia but Sierra Leone???

  4. I fail to understand why would Mr. Taylor be brought to this court if all these agreements to get Sam Bockaire and the RUF out of SL were at the knowledge and concern of the internationlal community including the United States? Can someone really help me?


    1. I don’t know who was the final voice to place Mr. Taylor on trial with the Sierra Leone Rebel group the RUF, but they made a very poor decision. Those paper that are being presented in court come from the varies organizations that was involved in Sierra Leone at that time. The prosecutor had just as must right to those documents as the Defense. Those documents cannot be use by the prosecution team because they disprove their case. The Sierra Leonean Government should have settle with the prosecution of their own people, who they stabled in the back and not try to blame Liberia and it’s government for their problems. Conflict among Sierra Leonean have been ongoing for 100’s of years just like any other part of Africa. Their wars and conflict did not start with the RUF or when Mr. Taylor became president of Liberia.

    2. Harris,
      She and Britain mix in Pres. Kabbah strongly believe they had a AIR TIGHT case. When last you heard of an African president saving his papers for future use??

      Did you see Ms. Hollis and Mr. Bangura faces today?? I strongly believe they too are asking WHY him??

    3. Harris, I can help you. Charles Taylor is increasingly becoming delusional. How he expects anybody to believe this cock and bull about how Sam “Mosquito” Bockarie came to live in Liberia with 300-400 RUF fighters is a figment of his imagination. Did Bockarie and Co. come to Liberia as refugees or political allies? If they were refugees, then every International refugees protocol were contravened by granting them Liberian citizenship, and drafting them into the notorious but strategically security outfit like the Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU). If they were refugees, from who did Bockarie obtain the diplomatic license to carry out military operations in both Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast after his decampment to Monrovia? If Taylor is to be believed, why didn’t he insist to Obasanjo, ECOWAS, and Kofi Annan, when he was forced out of power in 2003, that he should go and live in Nigeria under similar terms as Bockarie? Surely, Nigerian citizenship, a top position in Obasanjo’s government or security apparatus, a large cash compensation, replicating a Sam Bockarie package (if not better) would have come in handily. I agree with J. Fallah Menjor’s opinion that Bockarie’s ghost is haunting Charles Taylor, causing him to hallucinate.

      1. Gyakabo,
        He is presenting DOCUMENTS to back up his words….what more to be said. He told the court why he granted them Liberian citizenship… keep a tab on them. What is there to be proven with such decision???

        How was Mr. Bockerie carrying out “MILITARY OPERATIONS IN SIERRA LEONE AND IVORY COAST”???

      2. Gyakabo

        Some reminder:

        1. Bockarie and his men were extracted from SL and Mr. Taylor obliged Liberia to accommodate them as a goodwill for peace to return.

        2. The men were given asylum in Liberia because they left SL under tense and unfavorable conditions. They were not allowed to return to SL even if they so desired.

        3. Bocakarie and others were naturalized as Liberians. Is there anything illegal about that?

        I have two issues that I would like you to comment on:

        What is this international refugee protocol that you claimed Mr. Taylor breached? Can you cite the breached protocols for independent review?

        Following the naturalization of Bocakarie, was there or is there any account that he carried out military activities against the Republic of Sierra Leone? That would have been interfering because he was now a LIberian.

        I am in the usa. I know of few Liberians who came here as resettled refugees but they have joined the US military. I do not believe similar situatiohappening in Liberia is unusual.

        1. Andrew, I will oblige you. I repeat my question, were Sam Bockarie and his horde of RUF vandals allowed to settle in Liberia by Charles “Cannibal” Taylor as political allies or refugees? If they were refugees, then I submit to you that provisions of 1951 UN Convention and Protocol Relating to Refugees apply. I refer you to Art 1(F) which reads:
          F. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with
          respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:
          (a) he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against
          humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to
          make provision in respect of such crimes;
          (b) he has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of
          refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;
          (c) he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the
          United Nations
          Is Taylor telling us that prior to granting Sam Bockarie and his men Liberian citizenship and enlisting them into his despicable ATU, headed by his son, Chuckie, there were no “serious reasons” for him to consider that those men had committed war crimes in Sierra Leone from which they were fleeing? If Taylor never heard of the amputations, rapes, etc. that had been committed by Sam Bockarie and his men before coming to Liberia, he was living in cuckoo land. Oh, yes, some Liberian refugees could have been enlisted in the US military but I am sure the US authorities had no “serious reasons” to believe that they had committed crimes against peace, war crimes, or crimes against humanity prior to coming to the US. Have you forgotten so soon the fate that befell Chuckie Taylor after he returned to the States? I repeat, Charlie is becoming delusional and his carefully constructed defense is falling apart at the seams!!

      3. Gyakabo,
        Please note that the constitution of nigeria and liberia are not the same .. TWO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.. HELLO!!!! How do you expect the immigration process to be the same. Liberia has a unitary form of goverment and nigeria has federal form. HOW the THE HELL is the similarity… why do some of you take off your thinking cap before thinking. Actually you point does not coinside with the real issue under discussion. TRY AGAIN.

  5. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I think Taylor is getting confuse now and no longer respecting the teaching of his professor! How could he on earth made such a terrifying confession? This script of his will go on a long way hunting him through out the remaining trial! For sure, I am really serious. How could he (Taylor) accepted the fact that he hosted the evil doer Sam Bockarie and his devilish men in Liberia when he has been telling this court that he only met Sam Bockarie three times? How could he even accept those evil doers and hand cutters into a decent Liberian society, which he claimed always that he (Taylor) love? Was he Taylor aware of the degree of mayhem committed by those men against the Liberian people? Has he Taylor forgotten history so too soon by then? When the a great number of hutu fighters were granted asylum into the Congo (currently DR Congo) and what this produced as fruit ? Sexual violation – RAPE! Was there only Liberia that could actually host Sam Bockarie and his men? Weren’t there other options, like Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Ghana or even Nigeria where he Taylor was finally hosted??? I felt really awful today after going through this script. Taylor is really an evil doer and he must spend the rest of his life behind bars. Such a figure has no role to play in a decent world like ours.

  6. Many thanks to all of for the contributions so far. I am really interest in this case as a Liberian. With all of these facts that Taylor is giving I don’t think we other witness to get on the stand on his behalf. Taylor has made it clear with documents that proof hi´m not guilty.
    Let us not waste money and time again, the judges need to close this whole case now.
    Take care Taylor and I am with you and I know you will come through.

  7. harris, the internatioal community was finding means to get cgt out of power. all those sweets talks were meant to make him trust them so that they can get whole of him, but cgt was commited to those lies and those lies did not come to pass.
    now that he’s presenting all these facts, i don’t know where the very international community stands.

  8. Hahahahaha, I enjoy reading Mr. Taylor story about rat and cat after work every evening. So the so-called RUF fighters were given an estate in Ivory Coast? And Sam Bockarie moved to Cocopa Rubber plantation in Nimber County? I am confused Mr. Taylor, anyway you are noted for confusing people, hope you make it at the end of the thunder.
    These cat and rat stories make my day after a hard day’s work.
    Who to bell the cat, my duty is a police duty, not a bell hanger. Continue with the story Ghangay…………..

    1. hil,
      I strongly believed that you are following the “Taylor’s Rat and Cat Story” up side down. there is no account in Mr. Taylor’s testamony that points to what your are writing. Stop confusing yourself.

  9. MR.HIL,

    1. Hi Bnker,

      Thanks for the link — but I can’t seem to get it to go to the actual story itself. Is it the one about the prosecutor’s press conference in Liberia? If it is, I think we can also get there by going to if anyone else has the same trouble with the link. The title of the article is “Guilty Verdict Awaits Taylor in The Hague, Prosecutor Stephen Rapp Declares” (please correct me, Bnker, if I am leading people astray to the wrong story — it just seemed like it was the most relevant one when I went to the main page).


  10. Gyakabo,

    In response to your question, whether Taylor did not know that Bokarie and his men had committed crimes, I will say it was not an established fact that the RUF was the sole entity responsible for the crimes in SL at the time. Do not forget during that time there had been a general amnesty declared for all combattants in that crises. So technically these men were forgiven and therefore could live among people as free men.

    How do you understand the words “General Amnesty” as was stated in the Lome Accord? Do you think that Taylor should have allowed these men to remain in SL so that the fighting could perpetuate? What was the bigger picture there? Peace or what?

    Now as to why they were inducted in the ATU, do not forget that by thus time there was a lot of factional fighting going on in Liberia. You had LURD coming in from Guinea and MODEL coming in from Ivory Coast., Was it wise for Taylor to have had 200- 300 ex fighters from SL just sitting around doing nothing in Liberia when they could have likely been recruited by either the LURD or MODEL to further destabilize Liberia? It is more logical to keep these men in a more structured environment of a military unit be it ATU or whatever so as to avoid them carrying out mischief. That is common sense.

    If you don’t know, soldiers who have just seen action have an insatiable desire for more action. If you keep them dormant, they create problems in the environment. It was probably the only alternative Mr. Taylor had for dealing with these men since the international community had misled him to extract them and then left him on the limb to dry. They were not forthcoming with assistance for these men.

    Now regarding the issue of Chucky Taylor, first of all be aware that it was not about any love for the people who were alledgedly tortured by Chucky that this action was taken against Chuchky. It had to do with getting back once again at the father of Chucky, Charles Taylor. Remember this was a law that had been on the books of the US for ages. Why was Chucky the first for it to be used on? Was what he was accused of any more grave than the atrocities committed in Iraq or Afghanistan by US soldiers? Go figure.

    I know you may hate Taylor but do not be blinded t logic here. This sight is about facts as presented not blind bitterness.

  11. Stephen Rapp appointment as a war crimes ambassador for United States in the face of this case further exposes the political nature of this case. Even if Taylor is found guilty on these political charges , this court will lose it perception of fairness and justice. Unless the prosecution can show strong evidence in its cross that proves Taylor guilty.

    But we have already seen the prosecution case and it did not show no valid evidence except emotionalism concerning the abuses of people in SL. No one has any doubt about crimes committed in SL but the question has not been answer by the prosection whether it was Mr. Taylor that committed those crimes.

    1. M y man king; You these so-called prosecutors have lied on taylor blitantly. A guy like RAPP who called himself should not even be allowed to leave, giving such. I think he should be force by the court to remain until this saga he created is over. We want him to proof his case. He has lied on taylor and lied to the people of sierraleone. You see this is how these white people usually put africans together, craeate war an in the finally go and laugh at us. AFRICA WATCH OUT colonialsm is not over. THEY are still around, they are still going to put our heads together for fights. DEVIDE and RULE.. RAPP has started to feel the backblast of his lies.. HE SHOULD BE MADE TO STAY> HE IS SHAME…. SHAME ON HIM. HE”S A THIEVE….

      1. Calm down noko5, all these cries of “foul” will take us nowhere! Get the Whiteman Business out of this matter! Don’t think the rest of us Black people going to rise up against the whitemen because you disagree with Rapp! There is no colonialitic plot here by the whiteman..what is at hand here is that the whiteman is teaching western justice concept, or the basic human rights and consequences for violating them! Someone please tell this guy to understand that only if Africa continues to have people like taylor that africa should fear colonialism. A colonial master doesn’t necessary got to be a white guy.A black dude like mugabe is and so was taylor! Who did taylor sell his diamonds to..not a white man?

        1. Fallah,
          let those that have ears hear,and those that got eyes see; if you got a little bit of engineering background, i will advice that you look at the taylor case from a three dimentional point of view, then you will understand where i am coming from.By the way can you proof that taylor sold diamond to the whiteman? If so, do you think he was going to be in jail to day? He was going to be RAPPS right hand man. Because he refuse to work with RAPP and his imperial exploiters, thats why they are PISS.

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