Charles Taylor today denied stashing away huge amounts of money, allegedly earned through through illicit diamond trading with Sierra Leonean rebels during the country’s 11-year conflict, in secret bank accounts around the world – and challenged his accusers to prove any such accounts existed.
“I challenge the prosecutor to bring any evidence of a bank account that I have — they know it’s a lie but they keep repeating it,” Mr. Taylor said during his testimony at the Special Court for Sierra Leone today. “I ask anyone on this planet, if you know of any account that I opened or if you know anyone who was acting in my interest, you are obliged to come forward and say it.”
“What bank account has the UN found out for me?” Mr. Taylor asked. “Nobody ever brings factual evidence but it is repeated, repeated and repeated, and you can never put things straight.”
The Special Court for Sierra Leone’s prosecution team has alleged that Taylor benefited from diamonds mined by Sierra Leonean rebels, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), during the country’s civil war, and that Mr. Taylor hid the proceeds in secret bank accounts. The prosecutor has been working with the UN Sanctions Committee to recover any moneys and assets, if at all they exist.
Yet evidence disproving these allegations might take a long time to emerge, Mr. Taylor told the court. “I may be dead and gone before s0mebody will say Taylor did not have any money or assets all over the world,” he said.
Mr. Taylor also denied allegations that he gave support to the RUF to attack the diamonds fields in Kono and that he helped the rebels plan the January 1999 attack on Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. Asked by his defence counsel Courtenay Griffiths whether he had anything to gain from these attacks, Mr. Taylor said “absolutely nothing. The allegation is false. I had everything to lose in the process if anything like that happened.”
Speaking about the January 1999 attack on Freetown, Mr. Taylor told the judges that “I was shocked and angry as anybody else to hear of that attack.”
Mr. Taylor, however, did admit that in September 1998, he invited RUF commander Sam Bockarie to Liberia and gave him some amount of money. He explained that such invitation was purely meant to convince him to end the war in Sierra Leone and that the money given to Bockarie was purely as a gift, not for the purchase of arms and ammunition.
“When you come, presidents will, what they do, we do envelopes, may be one or two thousand dollars, we give it to you for you and your boys to go and have a good time, may be buy some new jeans, some sneakers, that kind of thing,” Mr. Taylor told the court.
Asked by his defense counsel whether the money was for the purchase of arms and ammunition, Mr. Taylor responded with an emphatic “no.” Mr. Taylor also denied giving any other gifts such as satellite phones or vehicles to Sam Bockarie or promoting Bockarie to the rank of Brigadier General.
“There is no such thing as Taylor having money, assets or transferring arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone. They have reduced me to a petty thief or petty thug,” Mr. Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor is being tried on allegations of his support for the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. The prosecution has alleged that he supplied arms and ammunition to RUF rebels in return for Sierra Leone’s diamonds, that the rebel commanders in Sierra Leone were directly answerable to him and that by his acts or omissions, he is responsible for the crimes committed by the rebels in Sierra Leone during the country’s conflict. Mr. Taylor has denied all these allegations.
Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.
I am waiting to see the bank deposit slips too……we heard Mr. Rapp paraded the world with this story but up til now, ZERO he has shown. He claims Mr. Taylor has 5 BILLION dollars in the bank. Now I know my little penny I got in the bank has a history of when I opened the account and the various times I went in and out of that account. Plus, at the end of the year, I MUST file whatever profit gained on my IRS…..so who’s doing such on his behalf??
I agreed with each of you. The special court or international justice is now on trial and they have a due process to vindicate themselves. Counsellor Rapp can meet Taylor’s challenge by producing hard evidence of Mr. Taylor’s bank account. Mr. Taylor has even done Rapp a favor by not limit the evidence to Himself alone but including associates. That means Mr. Rapp can supoena accounts in the name of Taylor’s associates who could have been fronting for the President. They could provided evidence in anyone’s name. So they have not only a wide open playing fields but as Mr. Taylor put it they also have the planet earth to roam or our universe, maybe they could ask the obama white house for a space shuttle.
It was my first time to watch this trial today because I have been truly hurt by the war in Liberia. I lost relatives in the war and was victim by all of those warring factions. I was forced to leave Carey Street because one day Doe’s soldiers was lootng the stores in the areas and some of us came outside to watch the situation but we were chase , arrested, and beaten. We were taken to the barracks as spies for Charles Taylor but was save by one of my older brother’s friend who was serving in the army.
After that situation I ran away on Bushord Island and later live in a plastic just outside the American VOA compound near Virginia. On the day that the American soldiers airlifted their citizens with all of their helicopters, we were left unprotected. Prince Johnson forces immediately under the command of Johnny Sumo , who use to play soccer for IE came there with one other socalled Rambo. Rambo and his boys started harrassing people and accusing them of being either Doe’s spies or Taylor’s spies. Again, I had to run away passing through Arlington, which is Taylor’s hometown but was then under the control of Prince Johnson.
We were arrested at a Prince Johnson checkpoint and labelled as Charles Taylor’s reconniase people, I did not even know the other people. We all just happen to be travelling along the same way. We were brutalized and held in captive for days and forced to work for Johnson’s soldiers. I managed to escape and ended up first on Fendell. It was my first time coming in contact with the Taylor’s rebels , they were dressed very fearfully using wigs and paints on their body. It was during that time that we learn Charles Taylor forces had arrested a ship with rice and they were distributing the rice. The rice was called “some done.” I decided to stay on Fendall since I met other people that I knew and atleast there were food on Fendell.
But at midnight some of the fighters will enter the buildings and arrest people and take them away , only the lucky ones made it back. I got scare and decided to leave, i jump on one of those trucks that was carrying people to Buchanan. I stay in Buchanan and things was better until that wicked LPC people came and destroyed everything. LPC krahn people were very wicked, they treated the old people badly, making them to take heavy loads on their head, raping women and killing most of the young boys. They said that the people of Buchanan were responsible for keeping the NPFL there. We really sufffer in Buchanan until ECMOG rescue us.
I am explianing all of this because of what I was hearing today in the court. Charles Taylor was not responsible for all the bad things that happen in the war and those other rebels also committed bad crimes. So why are these people holding Taylor for something that happen way in Sierra Leone when right in Liberia he could not control everything his boys were doing?
I HAVE HAD ENOUGH ! CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE of not being able to watch Mr. Taylor’s testimony live. For this reason I have decided to take my vacation early this year and head to the States in the next three weeks. Hopefully I will be there just in time to watch the cross examination.
‘…and that the money given to Bockarie was purely as a gift, not for the purchase of arms and ammunition.’
Utterly laughable. Does anyone believe this rubbish – apart from the delusional Taylor himself?
Let us assume as correct, the prosecution’s theory that the money Mr. Taylor gave to Mr. Bockarie was for the purchase of arms. That means the prosecution is giving us to believe that Mr. Taylor did not have other means of securing arms but had to rely on accident of the availability of Bockarie in order to acquire arms. They are also giving us to believe that brilliant as Mr. Taylor is, he was willing to rely on a very unsure, and less guarantee medium as the use of Bockarie to facilitate acquisistion of arms. Mr. Bocakarie must have had very strong contact we must assume as far as the prosecution is concerned.
I DON’T SEE SENSE IN THIS TAYLOR’S TRIAL. CAN SOME BODY SIT ELSE WHERE AND TELL SOME ONE TO DESTROY THEIR HOUSE? PLEASE GIVE THE MONEY TO THE SIERRA LONEANS WHO DESTROYED THEIR OWN HOUSES TO REBUILD THEM.
I AM REALLY TIRED OF IT. PLEASE STOP MAKING NOISE ON THE TAYLOR ISSUES.
Well the question is crystal clear.Either produce the evidence of his so called Billions od Sierra Leonean Dollars or admit you error and let him go.
MR. TAYLOR, NO MATTER HOW YOU DEFEND YOURSELF, YOU ARE BATTLING IN THE MIDST OF INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY THAT WILL DENIED YOU OF EVERY TRUTH. I HOPE YOU CAN BE FREED ONE DAY IN JESUS’ NAME.
Having heard Mr. Taylor’s testimony up to now, I am still not yet convince of his innocence as to the alledged charges against him until I hear from him about the killing of the Dokie and his family by his psycopathic general Benjiman Yaten. Did he(charles Taylor) abetted, aided, commanded and directed their killing?
He is not on trial for what happened in Liberia. Concerning Dokie he might be a relative or close friend of yours so I don’t want you to feel that I am not in sympathy for your loss. However the facts remain that the people of Bong County remembered the havoc Dokie caused when he joined with ULIMO K, and LPC to try and take over Gbarnga when Taylor was in Accra for peace talks.
Now why would Dokie then try and travel thur that same area in the night knowing that he was responsible for many of the civilians in the areas death. It was revenge killing which was carried out on Dokie and his family which should not have been done.
Taylor is not on trial for the murder of the Dokie’s, at least not the last time that I recollected. Sorry to the Dokies family, but at that time it was a dog-eat-dog situation. You live by the sword, you also die by the sword.
But in the developed world you live by the rule of law and die by the rule of law. If the rule of law cannot prove Taylor guilty, then let the obvious prevail – freedom.
For the late Michael Jackson was guilty by association and by opinion polls, but the proof did not surface to substantiate the claim and opinions – he walked free. So let it be with Taylor.
I am frankly disappointed and sickened by the mockery that is being labeled as a “trail”. It’s obvious that the prosecutor does not have evidence or sufficient proof linking Taylor to atrocities committed in Sierra Leone. Some of the pattern of crimes in S.L does not mirror those of Liberia. Further, the “crap” about Rapp alleging that Taylor has $5 billion dollars in offshore accounts is atrocious and ridiculous. I would request Rapp show us the money. If you (Rapp) have it, please SL and Liberia needs the money. Liberia is still buried in over one billion in debt. Rapp is either trying to advance or rebound his career, and write a book–it’s all about profiteering. Let me make it absolutely clear, I am not a fan of Charles Taylor and would rather see Liberia prosecute him; however, I don’t think Sierra Leone should be allowed to have jurisdiction over Liberia’s sovereignty.
Fast forward, this is my prediction on the outcome of the trail, C.T will be found guilty not based on evidence, but because this trail is highly political. Am I saying that the trail will not be free and fair? ABSOLUTELY! Based on witness testimonies and cross examinations (available thus far), this trail is hemorrhaging lies, deception, and lack of concrete findings that are sufficiently genuine bring a guilty verdict. I predict, he will get 20 years, thereafter, he will be free…Liberia will not pursue criminal charges further. Historically and even today, Liberia tend to be soft on crimes.
Can anyone show me a link were I may watch the testimony. The new media in the US is hush on the trial now, since the prosecution has rested. I think they will cover it again when it comes to cross examination of Taylor. Thanks for to anyone who can provide me a link to watch the testimony.
Dear Bnker – – you can access the live feed through the button on the right hand side of this website’s front page, or else go directly to the Special Court’s own website — http://www.sc-sl.org — and you will see two separate links to the webcast of the trial also on the right hand side of the home page. Hope this helps!
My pleasure, Bnker.
Mr. Taylors’ denials and partial admissions to supporting the blood letting masterminds of the RUF has continues to be the stands of this defence team,in earlier testimonies Mr Taylor had denial having any dealings with the RUF,and later the same day admitted to providing a residence to Foday Sankor in Gbanga.and again he has denials supporting the RUF and admitted to gaving envelops to Sankor/Bockarie containing money for what? to buy jeans for their boys? while at the same time arms and legs were been savagely hacked off in Sierra Leone which is the heart of this case. this defence is very poor and and these judges are not that stupid. I just can’t wait for the prosecusion’s crossed examinations what channel is this trial on?
Dear Ziggy – you can access the live feed through the button on the right hand side of this website’s front page, or else go directly to the Special Court’s own website — http://www.sc-sl.org — and you will see two separate links to the webcast of the trial also on the right hand side of the home page. Hope this helps!
A standard AK 47 Rifle cost $ 389.00 dollars ( US). $ 2000 dollars given to Bockarie?…………do the MATH!
Thomas, I understand the math, however, I do believe an AK-47 was much cheaper in that part of the world at that particular time. If you’re buying it retail, yes. Wholesale? Much cheaper.
Thomas…..FIVE AK47 max. And this is what we hear about ARM TO RUF??? Really???
Do you actually think taylor will tell the amount he gave to Bockarie and Sankoh? Common now it’s common sense. The man is on trial for supporting and Funding the RUF, if he comes out saying he gave large amounts of money then that will be proof that he funded the group. He’s trying to prove his innocense.
Actually, I don’t expect him to give the right amount, therefore, it is the prosecution duty to prove him wrong, correct? He could have even slept in Freetown (not saying that he did) and denies it; again, the prosecution has to proven him wrong. Sadly, they have failed to prove anything. These guys (prosecution) have made themselves game show contestants. They are playing “pin the tail on the donkey”, remember when playing this game one has be blind folded—ooops, they are! They seem legally blinded and lost like deer caught in the head lights.
Listen, an admission of one is an admission of all. Mr. Taylor now bears the burden to convince Judges in the Hague that the money given to Bockarie was a gift and not to buy arms and ammunition.
Look! I don’t care how you called your self, listen, Mr. Taylor is not responsible for sierra leone war. mr. taylor had war in Liberia that he could not control how then can he wage war in sierra leone? In the first place where did he got the money or arm to start war in liberian or sierra leone when he escaped prison in the United states as they claimed. The so-called court is not so particular of mr. taylor. They think that mr. Taylor has diamond so they can claim it. If they want to charge mr. taylor, they should charge him for what he did in liberia instead of sierra leone along with the other leaders including the present president who said in july that mr. Taylor should level the mension and they will rebuild it. Mr. taylor did not send or recruit anyone to fight in sierra leone.
Good point Abdu Kamara. keep up the good work.
mr. abdu kamara, i personally agreed with you, mr. taylor had war in liberia, then how possible will atttend to some’ s problems
The court is trying to prove that he was gaining from it. Why then would Taylor kill Mosquito and Johnny Paul after the war ended in Sierra Leone? To Keep things on the hush. His vice even claimed he was responsible for their deaths.
Albert Anthony, you are just one of the very few guys holding on very strong to the rumors and hearsay of the prosecution false case against President Taylor. Did President Taylor kill mosquito and Johnny Paul? Are you sure about that. I will strongly advise you to go and make sure about the two individuals and come back posting. I promise that I will not give you so much hard times like I did other people this time. I will work with you. Just make sure that you post again with the right information. OK?
I hate to say this again, but the prosecution case is like a sifter, it just cannot contain any content. What I am concerned about is the “long winded” nature of CT, though he is coached, at times he seems to deviate off course and script. This could put him in a bit of trouble, especially the $2,000 gifts. We all know it is not sufficient to disstabilize a country. Tim suggests that the arms could have been cheaper than $389 (as suggested by Thomas), yeah that is highly likely. I know you understand that guns are not effective without the bullets…so the gift of $2,000 provides guns and bullets too? War in West Africa must be cheap, especially in SL. I personally think the Special Court has wasted thousands of man hours to put one and one together hoping that it will equate to two. Unfortunately they have their mathematical signs wrong, rather than 1+1, they mistakenly have, 1-1=0; which is the current case…no evidence, no substance, and no justifiable rationale for prosecution in SL (Liberia, yes). CT needs to be tried in Liberia; so does Prince Johnson, George Boley, Alhaji Kromah, Sekou Conneh, Charles Jule, George Dweh, Benjamin Yeaten and the list continues. I am of the firm conviction that SL has to legal claims of our territorial rights.
To the people of SL, I personally empathize and regret all your loses, especially your human capital. I also believe the perpetrators of your war have been duly sentenced. CT is not your culprit, you know it and so does Rupp; but hey, as the West enriched and developed themselves of the backs of the black race (through the tactic of divide and conquer)…guess what, they doing it again…someone is getting RICH!
Fellow Africans, especially Liberians, let us prayer fervently, because, the Holy Bible says, the prayer of a righteous man availed much, whatsoever you feel about Mr. Taylor, prayer that God Almighty open your mind and understanding to understand the whole issue concerning his trial. For me, I’m getting afraid for the direction this case is taking, there will not be free and fair judgment. My fear come from these four points: (1) The revelations and testamonies presented by the presecutions during their presentation is completely different to the revelations and testamonies of Mr. Taylor, (2) The UN and stronger Nations like USA and Great Britain will not want to bow down to a single person like Mr. Taylor, and so, if he wins this case or not, I personally feel that he will be putted to prison at their will and pleasure, (3) The Special Court has given a definite time for the case final judgment whether the case is finish or not, and (3) This is the reason prison compound has being built in Great Britain for Mr. Taylor before the final verdict in the case. Africian brothers, let us open our eyes and be watchful.
please mr.rapp of whaTEVER YOU CALL YOURSELF please produce that money that taylor will use it and replace the hands you claimimg he cut off in sierra leone.the people of that country are very stupid to sit there and allow another country president say kill yourself and make me rich is that real?
the case has no magnitude let the taylor go,let him go!!!!!!! you have no evidence prvoe it if you do not you too will have to go to that court.
Know yea all men following or not this case, the evidence produced thus far is not sufficient enough to render guilty verdict. FREE PRESIDENT TAYLOR. DO IT DO IT NOW.
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