Significant shipments of weapons, intended for use by rebels in Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil conflict, could have been transported through Liberia without Charles Taylor’s knowledge, the accused former Liberian president told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges today at his trial in The Hague.
“It is possible that significant amounts of arms could come into Liberia without my consent. With the level of corruption in the country, it is possible. I don’t run the airports or the roads,” he told the judges.
Mr. Taylor was responding to allegations that he transported arms and ammunition from Libya and Burkina Faso for onward transfer to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.
In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor explained that when these allegations against him were made, he took steps to make sure that no such arms were transported through Liberia. His accusers, he said, had no evidence to prove these allegations.
“They could not show us what was coming in. We were as diligent as we could be. If they had the evidence, they could have confronted us with it,” Mr. Taylor said. “If anyone thinks that anything coming into Liberia is with the knowledge of Taylor, then I am already guilty.”
Mr. Taylor explained that even in the United States where “you have the best security network,” the terrorists who launched the September 11, 2001 attacks were able to enter the country and wreak havoc without being detected by the United States intelligence.
“When it comes to these small countries therefore, lots of things could happen,” he said.
Mr. Taylor said that when his government was attacked by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels in 1998, he asked the United Nations to lift its arms embargo on Liberia. When the UN refused, his government ordered loads of arms and ammunition to defend the country. Afterwards, he informed the UN of the list of arms that they had bought and the purpose for which they would be used.
Reinforcing his point that arms could have been transported through Liberia without his consent, Mr. Taylor said that the arms and ammunition that were bought by the Liberian government to fight against LURD rebels were transported through European countries without the consent of their respective governments.
“We imported arms from Europe, these European countries were bound by Chapter VII of the UN Charter. They[arms] stopped in these countries but the governments did not know and they got to Liberia,” Mr Taylor said. “If you have a little bit of money, and you want to move weapons, I don’t care what resolution is passed, you will move weapons including through the best of the countries you can imagine and use some of their own companies to do it.”
Mr. Taylor said that the same thing could have happened in Liberia when individuals or groups could have transported arms into the country and transferred the arms to rebel forces in Sierra Leone. All this, Mr. Taylor said, could have happened without his knowledge or consent.
“So the fact is that something can come into Roberts International Airport [Liberia’s main airport], the president in Monrovia doing what he’s got to do, if sufficient contacts are made at that airport, those things would come into the airport, if its weapons, of course. With sufficient money, you can bribe the officials and the weapons can be brought in at a time, it can happen anywhere,” he said.
Mr. Taylor also told the judges that at the relevant times that he is accused of transporting arms and ammunition to rebel forces in Sierra Leone, the main roads linking Liberia to Sierra Leone were occupied by other rebel groups who were fighting against his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).
“When we look at the period of occupation as from 1991 up to my election in 1997, ULIMO had control of the very position. LURD attacked in 1998 and up to 2001, they made significant gains,” Mr. Taylor said. “As of August 2001 to 2002, LURD is occupying the very position that ULIMO occupied earlier. They know the strategic nature of occupying this area.”
Mr. Taylor is accused of providing support for RUF rebels in Sierra Leone through the supply of arms and ammunition in return for diamonds. Several witnesses have testified to the transfer of arms and ammunition from Liberia to Sierra Leone with Mr. Taylor’s knowledge and participation. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.
Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.
Taylor is now pointing filty finger at curruption that may have existed within his own NPFL in that weapons would have been moved through Roberts International Airport without his knowledge and this might have certainly happened, he said today. Well, the point here, taylor, is that some of the weapons that made it in under cover of darkness were forwarded by your underground network through Gbarnga, zorzor, Voinjama, Foya, and across to Buedu, at the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, weren’t they? Are you familia with this route taylor?
Do you remember, taylor when you made that famous speech about “blood bath, we wil fight street to street, house to house..” just before a plane load of arms you were depending on, landed at night at Roberts Airport and seized by the UN Forces? That was the begining of your end wasn’t it? Boy you are a very interesting character! No further question!
Fallah, thank God at least you could remember some of President T aylor statement. Was it wrong for the legitimate and duly elected president to defend his country, government, and people from rebel groups like LURD and MODEL? You said UNIMIL seized Taylor’s arms while the rebels were armed to the teeth. Why the same UN could not have seized the two rebel groups that came from Guinea and Ivory Coast arms? You are only exposing the UN more. Keep up the good work buddy.
great jose,cuz a leader who cannot protect his people from war,havoc or anything within that range is a terrible leader n should not even be there.fallah,ex:ur in ur house n armed men breaks in,wouldn’t u protect urself in anyway possible?it is life threatening
Taylor always thinks he is smarter than anyone else. The numerous check post that existed in Liberia at the time couple with different Security apparatus including the notorious Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU) Liberians in the right frame of mind will never believed in that crap. It comes as a great surprise for you to admit that your government was indeed corrupt when on occasions you claim to the world that you had the best civil servants, despite not been paid for over three years. It is now that you find them to be corrupt. Right?
Are you now claiming that you were never in control? If so than simply bear all responsibilities of whatever went wrong since you were the head. These are the characteristics of a good leader.
Kindly be like AKON and take the BLAME.
J. Fallah, why are you speaking in tougues?
So he finally admit to arms going to SL but without his knowledge. Well atleast he is doing the honourable thing but trying to deny no knowledge is baseless. Yes, people traffic arms around the world everyday but as soon as that ring is expose, authorities in those countries usually close the gap and have someone punished, that was not the case for Taylor. Had he shopped Mennin or some of Bout associates then maybe the UN would realise just how serious he was but he didn’t. They got stopped by third party countries, mostly to the annoyance of the liberian govt at that time.
I am by no means suggesting he is guilty, the law will decide that but trying to deny what most ordinary people know is just pure madness. By the way, when you are they head, the responsibility always come back to you. No execuses and finger pointing. You must have trusted those you chose to run things and if they’ve play you, then will they have indeed been played but I don’t think so. Taylor has such a grip on security that non of his “boys” or business man/woman will dear try trafficking arm through liberia without his knowledge.
He never said arms were going to Sierra Leone without his knowledge in Monday’s testimony. Asked by his counsel if it could be possible he said yes. Anything is possible he mentioned terrorist attacked America on 9/11 without Bush knowing about it before hand. As I say wait for the cross examination and see how Taylor does. You too will be convinced of his innocense.
I am glad that you are admitting that he is not guilty. Could you please let your other bodies know that.. I ‘ll highly appreaciate it. Good BOY!!!
I’m glad that you agreed that weapons were transported in Liberia under the cover of darkness. You and Mr. Taylor are saying the same story.I’m sure you lack the understanding of darnkess in your own statement. Please know that presidents the world over, do not work under darnkess. Let me help you little Fallah, Mr. Taylor said that some of these things could have happened, but without his knowledge. Moreover, your group ULIMO occupied the Lofa areas during the period under review. How kind then Mr. Taylor transported weapons to Beudu as you have alledged?
J. Fallah Menjor,
Just to correct you, the arms you are talking about were never seized by the UN.
It was Ecomil who seized to arms, and if President Taylor actually wanted to continue fighting, believe me those 45 Ecomil soilder couldn’t have stopped him from getting those arms. FYI it was President Taylor himself who told Daniel Chea, Roland Duo and the other guys present at RIA to let Ecomil take charge of the arms since he had already assured his colleagues that he was going to step down as president he did not want to undermine their presence on the ground. I asked you to stop talking about things you don’t know.
Why are you acting as if you do not know that in Africa and especially West Africa, with sufficient money someone can do almost anything? Don you think it is immpossible for weapons to have come into the country without the consent of Taylor? Is the President always aware of what passes through any airport? If so then he is not the president but an airport attendant or security.
Why is it that everything has to get twisted by you all? Where in the world would a president in a country have to approve or be responsible for items voming into his country? Is this a President’s responsibility? So when drug cartels bring into the US or UK large shipments of drugs, does that mean that the leaders of these countries give them their consent to do so?
As you say weapons came into Liberia in 2003 Yes and Taylor said we would fight street to street. That is his perogative as President to first and foremost protect the nation within its territory. What was he supposed to do when there was a rebel war raging against his legitimately elected government fullysupported by America, Britian and Guinea? Was he supposed to sit and allow them to overrun the city?
Are these big powerful nations allowed to depose duely elected governments that were chosen by their people because they do not play ball their way allbecause they are powerful? They flaunted every rule regarding interference in the internal affairs of another nation, and sovereignity, as well as rules under Chapter 7 of the UNSC. Who are they accountable to? They make the rules and then they break them all when it suits them and every other small nation is supposed to bow because the big bullies are speaking.
Do not be another African who is accepting this cop out approach to world affairs. Let’s open our eyes to the reality of things. We are no longer stupid or blind. We see things as they are.
All african governments need to send a message to the United Nations Security Council that in as much as Africa respects consensus coming out of the security council, that body should also grant similar courtesy to consensus coming from African organisations like the AU OR ECOWAS.
The security council is now on record that it tends to ignore requests coming from African Governments. ECOWAS and the AU have submitted request for temporary stay on pending security council actions like the sanctions on liberia and the indictment of Al Bashir. There could be others, but these are two events that the public is aware of. The security council ignored those request.
I believe that if they would not take African organisations seriously then Africa should take a stance. So when we see Quadaffi lobbying for non-compliance of african states with some international actions, there are genuine grounds. I believe that all african countries should suspend their membership to the United Nations in vehement protest to these behaviors and request answers.
Africa in name of poverty and weakness should not condone the tendency for big nations to use tiny ones like Guinea to destabilize other countries and hide themselves. What does the security council have to say. Nothing because big economic, military and political powers have their interest involve.
LOOK WE MUST STAND UP. We have been used too long. Do not forget, these same people came here, bought human beings as commodities and today they claim to be so civilized. we must stand up together.
Is the trial not pon today because I cannot get any feed at all.
I had similar probelm, usually I view the trial before leaving for work, but this morning there was no feed.so i think we have some technical problem today or the trial might have started late.
I wanted to ask our of ignorance, and please forgive me, but when we have this live feed, can it be save, recorded or transferred to another device like a tape recorder? sorry i just do not know if there is any means of cathching and storing the live feed.
so all you computer gurus out there, help me. Because we have to prepare for the battle of the giants: the prosecutor meets the accused at cross-examination.
I do actually agree with Mr. Taylor when he talks of guns passing through Liberia to go into Liberia.
It happens with and in any other country for that matter. People of other countries do such a deal inorder to put the leaders of that country they are carrying out such trade/actions into complete mess.
Let the international Community sees reason to let Mr. Taylor out if there are no other alligations that have proves against the former Liberian Leader.
Let Taylor and the rest of the guys in the Hague and other places be released if there are no concrete edvidances to prove them guilty.
Permit me to comment generally on Mr. Taylor’s recent testimony as noted above. I believe that the major question as I gather is whether there is any likelihood that Mr. Taylor could not be aware of arms being smuggle through Liberia as he asserts? Or is his assertion considered as the last attempt of a drowning man to hang on.
which ever way this testimony is adjudge in the court of public opinion depends on the interpreter or the recipient. but as we have maintained, what is of great value here is the opinion of the judges.
Mr. Taylor throughout his testimony has claimed that the accusers never provided his government with the evidence upon which he could have acted. In the absence of needed proof but admist widespread claims, his government sought to address the allegations, to the extent of requesting United Nations border monitors in order avert whatever mihgt have been taking place. You and I know that to this date the United Nations did not respond.
If the United Nations regards the value of its tiny member state as well as the big ones to be the same, I believe the august body would have responded to the Liberian government’s request, out of diplomatic courtesy and bureaucratic protocol. For that body to have ignored our government’s request is tantamount to blatant dismissal of the nation from that body. Yet we remain.
On the other hand Mr. Taylor has repeatedly pointed out that as long and fortified is the fence separating USA and Mexico, US arms find their way into Mexico to fuel the bloodbath of drug cartels. We might conclude that the US government is in support of this underhand dealing, applying the prosecution’s hypothesis in this case.
Whatever, the situation, we are awaiting evaluation of the judges ruling against the standard of innocent until proven guilty.
Bro Scott Flomo:
Remember, hands of people were chopped off. Those who are responsible must be brought to book. People must take responsibilities for their actions. I am not passing judgment on Taylor but his actions and connections with the RUF gives room for suspicions and what he is admitting to including providing lodging; petty cash and declaring seize fire on behalf of RUF is enough to raise eyebrows.
We are in the 21st century where the mentality and reasoning of man continue to improve every day. Civilization cannot allow individuals to commit such heinous crimes against innocent people and get away with it.
It could be you tomorrow. Remember those venerable people including children and mothers need a voice.
Have you ever wonder why Taylor is accused? Why no one else, but Taylor? This is not about emotion, love or hate for a particular individual. Being accused doesn’t make you guilty. Let us simply let justice prevail. So let Taylor be trial, if guilty he pays the price or else let him go, but a trial is necessary to clear all suspicions.
Taylor trial is a political trial under the coumoflage of legal criminal/legal ramification. Remembe documents surfaced in this trial to the effect that if Taylor were to accept Mobil into Liberia, everything would be smooth with his government and doors(imf, world bank, etc) would open for Liberia. Remember also that declassified CIA documents indicate that the Big Power would do anything to bring down a winner of the July 1997 election if that person was not the choiced candidate of the Big Power.
Have we ever ponder why so many rebel groups emerged in so short a period to fight Taylor? There were ULIMOS, LURD, MODEL, LPC, LDF, etc. There had to be some underhand dealings. And again thanks to this trial, we see their true intent.
Hey! Suspicion. No matter how strong a suspicion it can never secure a conviction! Accused persons are never convicted because evidence merely raises a suspicion no!! There has to be a proof BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT!!! Please, people do not make conclusions based on emotions. Let the evidence(s) speak.
Wow, I read every single comment, what everyone fail to realize is that what goes around comes around, you reap what you sore. Taylor and his thieves distroy Liberia, its time he sit in jail for the rest of his life for the hineous crimes he commited in Liberia. What he tought the West was going to sit back and let him retire with the $4.6 Billion U.S. he stored.
Same as Samuel K. Doe, his greed got to his head, he dicided to change Liberia currency from U.S. dollars to his worthless dollars and large coins. Whenever something effects the U.S. economy someone must pay and thats the bottom line. This is just the start other African leaders better wake up, you’re going to be held accountable. And we Africans need to start holding our leaders accountable and stop making excuses for them.
This trial has nothing to do with SL, the U.S and the West are making an example out of Taylor.
you mentioned US$4.6 Billion which Taylor stored. can you give a verifiable proof of this? maybe you have an evidence which the prosecution are seriously searching for right now they will seriously appreciate your help.
Remember CT is on trail for crime RUF committed in SL, for Liberia, many are in unisum that he should be prosecuted. It’s true his men committed unimaginable crimes in Liberia and I advocate court proceedings for these acts.
While I agree with your argument, you are making accusations that I think are common in Liberian argument, if asked what is your proof, you and those who think alike, will respond, “someone said it”, “I read it”, or our classic evidence line, “My man, I am telling you”. Let try to provide facts and not the latter. Where is the 4.6 Billion coming from. I mentioned this in my thread to Rapp, don’t be a car salesman, selling “lemon” to the public.
I’ll like to correct you; no where in this trial have President Taylor said there were no weapons going to Sierra Leone by the way of Liberia. What he have said and continue to say is that,he was not involve with the transfered of weapons to Sierra Leone since May of 1992 at which time, his dealing with the RUF came to an end. So you need to stop misinforming others on this site who may not have the time to read alot on this trial.
And for you JOHN THOMPSON,
This trial has nothing to do with Liberia. Focus on what, who and where this trial is about. If you’re talking about distroying Liberia by people, you should be talking about the current President of Liberia ( Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ). You know about the million plus USD that was transfered to ECOBANK from the central bank of Liberia? Don’t you think she knows about it?
Why hasn’t anything been done about it at this point?
Why have the Liberian people not been told as to what happened, how it happened and who was responsible when her Government had arrested a man who went to withdraw this money from Ecobank? You also said that Mr. Taylor stored $4.6 Billion USD, can you provide documentations to the Chief prosecutor ( Mr. Rapp ) of the shame of not providing the name and location of the bank this money is in?
Don’t just open your eyes but you should SHINE YOUR EYES to see and understand what’s going on brother! In your post, you stated that this trial has nothing to do with Sierra Leone but the US and the West are making an example out of Mr. Taylor. My question to you is that, is this the right thing to do in the name of Justice?
Can we say that the US and the West instigated, commanded and carry out the distructions of the lives and future of the Liberian as well as the Sierra Leonean people since they are the one who sent him ( Mr. Taylor ) from Jail in the US who later became the leader of NPFL? If so then why Mr. Taylor should be held responsible instead of the US and the West since they bear the greatest responsibilities of all that happened in both Liberia and Sierra Leone?
Another quick point, did you hear President Sirleaf on BBC back in July of 1990 when she told Mr. Charles Taylor then leader of NPFL to level Monrovia to the Ground? If Mr. Taylor was to listen to her, where you think Liberia would have been today?
I understand very well that you hate Mr. Taylor but you shouldn’t support injustice to people because your dislike of them and your lack of understanding of the matter at hand! I will tell you this much, if there is free and fair justice on the face of this earth, Mr. Taylor will walk out of this political trial untouch!
It bothers me when people come with wild allegations about people. Why is is right to make the statements that are at best folly about Ellen and it’s wrong to make wild statements about CT? I think I am one of those who stand for balance and don’t side with anyone blindly. Have you followed up on this case at Ecobank and the $1M dollar? Or are you debating on hear say? Just in case, I would direct you to frontpageafrica and read more on this case. I would think it will clarify these doubts that you have. King made similar statement and I directed him the same new medium. If we want to debate, lets make it substantive (I am also guilty of falling short at times, we all are). I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “if you want to hid anything from a black man, put it in a book”, don’t fall into that net. Read on this $1M dollar forged bank account, signatures, and letterhead. It was fake.
There is something that we fail to realize, generally women are most likely refrain from stealing, unlike her male counterpart. Women are more concerned generally about their reputation and creating opportunities for other women through their achievements. Further, for someone who has spent his/her professional life with International agencies and the network built over the years, I think the inclination to embezzle is rather small (I could be wrong). Besides if she (Ellen) wanted to, do you think it would have been in such a elementary, naive matter? Besides, she won’t. I can’t speak for those who are in her cabinet though.
When Taylor got elected President of Liberia on 19July 1997, he didn’t take office until August of 1997; however, ECOMOG and the UN military personnels were in charge of all border entry of Liberia. Now in 1998, two rebel goups started fighting the Government of president Charles Taylor,namely LURD and MODEL. How you think those groups got into Liberia with arms to start fighting?
Do you really think Mr. Taylor could fight THREE REBEL GROUPS at the same time supplying RUF with weapons while an Arms embargo was on him? Even the world most powerful nation is having it difficult fighting two rebel groups in two different country without any fighting on her home soil. You have not been thinking about all of these before posting your comment, have you? Don’t you know that there were more Sierra Leonean involved in the rebel activities in Liberia than Liberians at setting point?
The hands of people were chopped off in Sierra Leone as we all know but did the NPFL under Mr. Charles Taylor command chopped off the hands of people in Liberia? Of course not. Have the government of Sierra Leone supported Arms groups in the past that killed so many Liberians? The answer is, so many times.
Infact Mr. Taylor told the court that he supported the RUF, WHY he supported the RUF and WHEN he DID! You don’t believed that but if Mr. Taylor was to lie and say he was on the frontline in Freetown, Sierra Leone with an M-4 with an M203 attach to it, an NVG, Acog and a M240B machine Gun sitting on his right side, you would have believed it, wouldn’t you?
you wasn’t going to think for a second that he was President therefore, he couldn’t have gotten himself in danger of getting kill like that, were you going to think that? I don’t think you were going to.
I really don’t understand your line of reasoning concerning this Ellen’s corruption issue especially the $1m bank transfer. The issue is not whether those who were able to transfered the money used fake documents or not. The issue is the process at the Central Bank in transfering money. How is it possible for someone without prior notice to the bank or prior knowledge of the bank. This person takes a simply letter written on a supposed letter heading from president Ellen Johnson, the person just take this letter to the national bank and boom! $1 million dollars is transfered to a private account at ECO Bank? There was no verification process by the bank and no reconciliation by the bank to determine the validity of the letter.
Such a thing could have only happened if that was an usual proceedure of the bank to get letters from the president directly to transfer money to private accounts. If president Ellen Johnson had been using her letter heads to write to the bank to transfer money in the past, and if such letter was always honored then you will see why it was easy for this person to do the same thing. So this is the issue about why president Ellen Johnson is directly part of the corruption culture in Liberia. This thing could have not happened if Ellen Johnson was not doing the same thing. I hope you got the point.
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