Taylor Did Not Command RUF To Release UN Hostages Nor Give RUF Weapons From His House

Charles Taylor this week told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges that that he did not command Sierra Leone rebel commander Issa Sesay to release United Nations hostages, but rather only conveyed to him the message of the international community that the peace keepers had to be released unconditionally. Mr. Taylor also denied allegations that weapons were transported from his White Flower residence in Monrovia for use by rebel forces in Sierra Leone.

Throughout the week, Mr. Taylor made efforts to refute the evidence of prosecution witnesses who testified that he used his influence over Revolutionary United Front(RUF) rebels and commanded them to release UN peacekeepers who were held hostage by the RUF in May 2000, that weapons were transported weapons from his residence in Monrovia to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, and that he gave strategic advice to the RUF rebels such as the capture of the diamond rich town of Kono and the construction of airstrips where air crafts would land with weapons for the RUF.

Responding to allegations on Monday that he commanded RUF commander Issa Sesay to release the UN hostages, the accused former Liberian president told the judges that “Its a lie. I did not command him.”

“The only thing I did on the UN situation was to tell Issa Sesay to release those people and to release them unconditionally,” Mr. Taylor said. “I told him the concerns of the international community and that if they did not release the peacekeepers, the international community will come down on them like a hammer,” he added.

A prosecution witness had testified that after the abduction of the UN peacekeepers by the RUF in May 2000, Mr. Taylor commanded Mr. Sesay  to “release the UN hostages so I’ll tell the world that whatever I say happens.”

Mr. Taylor dismissed the witness’s testimony as “total foolishness.”

In May 2000, RUF rebels in Sierra Leone held over 500 UN peacekeepers hostage, an action which eventually led to the arrest of the rebel group’s leader Foday Sankoh. Mr. Sesay, who was the RUF’s most senior commander after Mr. Sankoh’s arrest, later facilitated the release of the peacekeepers. Witnesses have testified that Mr. Taylor influenced the RUF to release the peacekeepers. Mr. Taylor has said he had the blessing of West African Leaders and the United Nations to negotiate the release of the hostages. The hostages were eventually taken to Liberia where they were released and then handed over to the UN.

In his testimony on Monday, Mr. Taylor explained that when he called Mr. Sesay to negotiate the release of the peacekeepers, Mr. Sesay wanted the RUF’s leader Mr. Sankoh to be released as a condition for the release of the peacekeepers. According to Mr. Taylor, he told Mr. Sesay that “we cannot tie Sankoh’s release to the release of the hostages.”

“The whole issue was not my decision. I conveyed to him the message of the international community,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor dismissed as “blatant lie” the witness’s testimony that after the release of the UN peacekeepers, Mr. Sesay returned to Sierra Leone with arms and ammunition which were supplied by Mr. Taylor for use by the RUF.

Mr. Taylor also refuted the testimony of Prosecution Witness TFI-567, who, in his testimony in July 2008 claimed that in 1992, Mr. Taylor supplied RUF leader Mr. Sankoh with 50 boxes of AK-47 rifles, RPG boxes, GPMGs and other types of arms and ammunition which according to the witness were to be  used to attack the diamond rich town of Kono. According to the witness, Mr. Sankoh told him he (Sankoh) and “his brother Taylor had decided that this was the right time to capture Kono.” Mr. Taylor denied this allegation.

“Sankoh and I did not talk about the capture of Kono. I did not know if Kono was captured at that time. If I had 50 boxes of AK-47 rifles, I would have captured Monrovia in 1992,” Mr. Taylor said.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Mr. Taylor told the judges that weapons were never transported from his White Flower residence in Monrovia to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.

“Nobody ever picked up weapons from White Flower. Nobody ever picked up a single weapon there, not even Benjamin Yeaten,” the accused former Liberian president said during his testimony on Tuesday.

Mr. Taylor was responding to the evidence of Prosecution Witness TF1-375 who in his June 2008 testimony told the judges that he picked up arms and ammunition from Mr. Taylor’s residence and sent them to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. The witness also said that another Liberian rebel called Jungle had told him in 1997 that he also transported arms and ammunition from the same White Flower residence and had taken them to RUF commander Sam Bockarie in Sierra Leone. The witness further said that in 1998, he collected loads of arms and ammunition from Mr. Taylor’s private farm in Gbangha and took them to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. He said that the weapons were used to launch “Operation Fiti Fata”–an operation which was geared towards the capture of the diamond rich town of Kono. Mr. Taylor dismissed these allegations as lies.

“I say he is lying. He must be confused. How could I, as president of Liberia, take ammunition and give it to him?” Mr. Taylor asked. “I have nothing else to do as president but to take some ammunition like a shop boy and give it to him to take to Sierra Leone? In fact, White Flower does not exist in 1997. I moved into that building in January 1998,” the accused former president said.

Charles Taylor also dismissed as “lies” the evidence of a prosecution witness and  former RUF radio operator, Perry Mohamed Kamara, alias King Perry, who said Mr. Taylor had talked regularly to top RUF leaders during the entire conflict in Sierra Leone, asked the rebels to build airstrips in Sierra Leone for weapon deliveries from him, and provided food to the rebel forces when in Monrovia. The witness further said in his February 2008 testimony that the RUF acted on Mr. Taylor’s advice when they attacked the diamond rich town of Kono in 1992-93.

“I never talked to Sankoh about any operations in Kono,” Mr. Taylor said. “Never did, never instructed, never discussed it with them at all.”

Witness Perry also testified that in 1994, Mr. Taylor advised RUF Leader Mr. Sankoh to construct an airstrip where arms and ammunition will be delivered by aircraft for use by the RUF. In his testimony on Wednesday, Mr. Taylor denied having any contact with the RUF in 1994.

“What am I going to be talking to Sankoh about in 1994? There was just no contact in 1993 or 1994 between me or the RUF,” the accused former president said.

Witness Perry had also said that while Sam Bockarie acted as leader of the RUF during Mr. Sankoh’s detention from 1997 to 1999, Mr. Taylor gave Mr. Bockarie instructions to construct an airstrip in Kono where flights would land with weapons for the RUF. Mr. Taylor dismissed the allegation as false.

“I did not give such instructions. If this was the case, then Sam Bockarie’s Salute Report is incomplete and he deceived his boss. I believe he will not have hidden these things from Sankoh. He must be ungrateful then,” Mr. Taylor said.

“Your honor, this thing is all a lie. I gave no such advice. So help me God,” the former president added.

On the supply of food to rebel forces in Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor told the judges that he did not provide food for the RUF. The RUF’s leader Mr. Sankoh bought food and other supplies in Liberia for his fighters in Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor explained. He further emphasized that the only time he had a relationship with the RUF was in 1991 to early 1992 when his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) collaborated with the RUF to fight a common enemy, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO), a rebel group which Mr. Taylor alleged was supported by the Sierra Leone government against his NPFL rebels.

“I was more concerned about security at the border. The Sierra Leone government was arming ULIMO and so i wanted to fight ULIMO in Sierra Leone so i’ll prevent fighting them in Liberia,” he said.

Mr. Taylor admitted that during the period of his collaboration with the RUF in 1991 to 1992, he provided small amounts of arms and ammunition for the RUF in order to fight against ULIMO in Sierra Leone.

On Thursday, Mr. Taylor dismissed as “untrue” prosecution allegations that during the entire conflict in Sierra Leone, he (Taylor) maintained relationship with and gave support to the RUF rebels. The accused former president told the judges that after May 1992, he never communicated with RUF leader Mr. Sankoh. He said he only saw Mr. Sankoh again in 1999.

“I never talked to Foday Sankoh after May 1992. I only saw him again in 1999,” Mr. Taylor said during his testimony.

Mr. Taylor dismissed as lies the testimony of a former RUF radio operator Dauda A. Fornie (DAF) who in his December 2008 testimony said that he facilitated communication between RUF leader Mr. Sankoh and Mr. Taylor, during which time Mr. Taylor sent arms and ammunition for use by RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.

“O Boy, I swear. It is so big a lie. I’ll just be repeating myself that it’s a lie and I don’t want to sound like a broken record,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor explained that it is possible for Mr. Sankoh to have been in touch with some of his (Sankoh’s) “Special Forces” colleagues who were part of Mr. Taylor’s NPFL, and with whom Mr. Sankoh might have undergone training in Libya. Any such contact, Mr. Taylor said, was not within his knowledge and he would have acted to stop it if he had known about it.

“If I had known that any senior operator was in contact with Sankoh, he would have been removed and punished,” he told the judges.

Witness Fornie said in his December 2008 testimony that as radio operator, he would monitor the movement of weapons from Mr. Sankoh’s base in Gbangha until they reached RUF territory. He said that when the weapons arrived, Mr. Sankoh will tell him to contact Mr. Taylor’s Tree Top station and inform Mr. Taylor that the weapons had arrived. He said that sometime in 1993, he heard Mr. Sankoh and Mr. Taylor talking directly on a VHF radio.

“That is a direct lie,” Mr. Taylor said today as a dismissed the witness’s testimony.

Also in his 2008 testimony, Witness Fornie said that Mr. Taylor was like the Commander in Chief of the RUF rebels and the RUF leadership would consult Mr. Taylor before taking any major decisions. According to the witness, when Mr. Sankoh was arrested first from 1997 to 1999 and then in May 2000, Mr. Taylor was effectively the leader of the RUF.

Mr. Taylor dismissed this evidence, saying “It is not true that I am running the RUF at anytime. Foday Sankoh remained in full control of his organization.”

Mr. Taylor is responding to allegations that he provided support to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone through the supply of arms and ammunition and that he helped plan RUF operations, thus helping the rebels commit atrocities against the government and people of Sierra Leone. He has denied all the allegations against him. He is presently testifying as a witness in his own defense.

Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues on Tuesday.


  1. Fallah Menjor,

    Please respond to the claim of this protected witness who was having a physical(in person attendance) meeting with Taylor on May 8, 200 at the executive mansion in Monrovia while documents show that Taylor was in Abuja at the same time attending a heads of state summit.

    Read the transcript of September 15 and revert.

    Please brother help me clarify this. That is why these so-called protective witnesses have to be revealed.

    I have asked you to respond to issues numerous times but as can be expected you evade. So let it be in this instance. But the world now knows one lie in the prosecution case.

  2. Taylor is indeed the scapegoat of the international community, caught up in a typical western boogie trap. this man is innocent and instead George Bush and Tony Blair should be in the Hague answering to glaring war crimes charges against humanity. justice should be for all and not a selected few. America is not above the universal laws of the world. Let there be Justice for all. and let the plintiff prove thir case beyound all resonable doubt.

  3. Andrew Jlay, I think Mr. Rapp made it clear the last time during interview that there wil be some discrepancies in dates, and other times, exact time of events, from time to time from these witnesses. Reasons, Rapp summarised, could come from several factors including: literacy and stress these witnesses must have been experiencing at the time! These are understable human errors and the Able Judges, in this case, will definitely,make professional distinctions and come up with rational fair decisions in the end. Most of us make errors just like taylor is saying things like,” to my knowledge, i did not remember sending any NPFL fighters in the month of July or october..and etc..” Some of us make similar errors on this site too, andrew, so let’s move on to issues of taylor’s gross violations of Human Dignity of the People of Sierra Leone! That is what this trial is about! Hope your question is being answered.

    1. J fallah Menjor,
      Concerning Taylor’s gross violation of human dignity on the Sierra Leone people. I say the evidence presented by the prosecution is seriously lacking. Remember in a court of law the Defense does not have to prove anything. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution which has not been done.

    2. Fallah,
      Are you SERIOUS??? So when did he know of these “discrepancies ” ??? Just NOW??? Please STOP the EXCUSES…..this court had 5 years preparing this case. The prosecutors could have gone back and forth and sought out the FACTS to the various testimonies, but NO and HELL NO, they thought this was going to be a cakewalk like they have done to others.

      But guess what, they have met their match and a defense force determine to WIN!!!

    3. Fallah,
      Are you trying to cross carpet? you have finally decided to be objective. good boy !! . we are glad to have you .. take a beer on me…

  4. Sorry for the late comment,
    but J Fallah Menjor
    Are you sad or just blind to the facts? if Mr Rapp had documented evidence against Mr Taylor why is it not presented in court? why most of his witnesses have dates wrong?
    But as usual the American always start something, but leave it with out solution. Go back to ur history and prove me wrong.
    I am very sorry my dear African brother, the last time you will ever see of Mr Rapp is the day he past through Liberia & Sierra Leone and give those boggles interview. Just like the one George Bush give and shoes were flying.
    Pls read the transcripts before you comment.

  5. Fallah,

    Good comments and I must commend you for the acknowledgements. I have no qualm because the jurists will decide at the end of the day and we have reposed confidence that they will be fair.

    But I must also hasten to point out that once you are sincere to your conscience that it is acceptable to tamper with someone’s life and commit such gross human errors especially in court of law, I rest my case with you. As we have concluded the jurist shall decide.

  6. Hi Fallah I must say thanks for the way you answer that question from Andrew. This my first time to see that you answer a question directly. You did well today brother. I will also state here that case of such nature you need to be sure of what you are saying and not to just give dates and time. So these protected witnesses needed to do that long time before the trail even begin. I will take you back a bit. You see if Taylor is giving dates he makes sure it is exact or he will say I think if I can recall between April or June. So the judges will get some idea what he is really saying brother. Now if you just fixed a date and Taylor come with all of his documentarions then the persecution team is expose and this is what we been saying. That make their facts shaking to even the common man. Again you answer a question today and I appreciate you for that bro.

  7. Man I still can’t grasp the understanding of why you people are still supporting Charles Taylor. In my books he’s guilty, it might not be for the crimes in Sierra Leone but I sure know he’s guity of crimes in Liberia. At least the Sierra Leonians had the gutts to request a trial from the international tribinal. What’s wrong Liberians are we now cowards or just so afraid of Charles Taylor and his thugs. I told you all from the beginning this trial is been use to set an example for the rest of the “so called” liberators we have in Africa, you can’t keep creating these senseless wars for your own greed. And don’t get me wrong there are greedy people all over the world but we have to start somewhere and Charles Taylor is an excellent starting point. You don’t just take a beautiful country and destroyed it, you all know what liberia look like before the war. The previous governments before Taylor’s were not perfect at all means but we never once had a full scale decapatation of the country compare to Taylors government. The whole case doesn’t make sense, both Taylor and the prosecutor witnesses are confaboulating their stories, yes I said it, confabulating their stories, look it up. Better yet put Prince Johnson and the rest of the air heads on trial.

  8. Thanks Gentlemen for your kind acknowledgement and candid arguements. This is how we need to treat each other..It is okay to disagree sometimes without name callings as I sometimes do. Sorry, but let’s keep to the points because we have long way to go in this trial. Let’s bring our points to the table and debate them professionally. Thanks again.

  9. Noko4

    The charges are and should be murder, rape, extortion, racketeering, breaking several UN Sanctions, etc. As a leader he’s responsible for everything that was done during his regime, blatant or indirectly. Remember Charles Taylor’s BBC interview in 1989, when he told the BBC correspondence “This is War and War have casuaties”, do you think that was some form of admittence to what was going on at the time?

      1. NoKo5
        Don’t act like you dont understand what I’m saying, you asked a question, “What are the charges against him on Liberia” and I’m giving you an answer of what he should be charge with in respect to Liberia. Oh friend, not angry at all, actually I’m very happy the beast is in it’s cage and can no longer hurt innocent people. LOL.

  10. Thompson,
    Unfortunately , you have lied like your prosecution witnesses; because all the beasts are still roaming
    with the intent of harming peaceful citizens; a guy like you is still around here trying to convens good minds,CHARLES JULU is still walking, George Dweh still riding and and exploiting our good Liberians girls in monrovia, ( even though he split a pregnant woman stomatch when he was Samuel Doe death squad commander). Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is still president in Liberia, ironically going against the founings of her own TRC. Prince yealu Johnson still bluffing that he got men under his controll in Liberia, A fool like Alhaji G.V. Kromah calling himself professor at L .U. All the heads of MODEL, LURD, LPC.. still in action, Dr. George Boley .. you name the rest.. all of you guys are still shamelessly around here because of the goodness and Godly hearts of the Liberian people, but you never stop pointing fingers.. good day pal!!!

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