Taylor Refutes Testimony of Key Prosecution Witness;Says He Did Not Plan To Destabilize West Africa

Charles Taylor today made efforts to refute a prosecution witness’ claim that Mr. Taylor was part of a common plan to destabilize West Africa.

Between Febrary 8 to 11 2008, the Prosecution’s eleventh witness, a Gambian named Suwandi Camara, testified that that Mr. Taylor, together with Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader Foday Sankoh, and a Gambian rebel leader named Dr. Mani met in Burkina Faso and developed a common plan to destabilize West Africa. The witness also testified that Mr. Taylor recruited and armed children under the age of 15 years.  (Mr. Camara was a linkage witness who said he was trained alongside Mr. Taylor in Libya and later became part of Mr. Taylor’s Special Security Service (SSS)).

In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor  denied ever knowing the Suwandi Camara and dismissed as lies the witness’ claims that he (Mr. Taylor) had plans to destabilize West Africa.

“There was no such thing like this that occured,” Mr. Taylor said.

Asked by his defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, whether he did “coordinate such a movement with Dr. Mani and Foday Sankoh,” Mr. Taylor said no.  He elaborated that “there was not one Sierra Leonean, not one Sierra Leonean in Burkina Faso. The only people that were in Burkina Faso were the Gambians and Dr. Mani had come to Burkina Faso not along with the Liberian group.”

Mr. Taylor also denied Witness Camara’s testimony that when United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO-K) rebels attacked the Liberian town of Gbangha in 1994, Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) called on reinforcements from RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. “To reinforce Gbangha with the RUF means they (RUF) will have to fight through the entire ULIMO line right upto Gbangha,”  Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor also said that by the time ULIMO-K rebels attacked Gbangha, the NPFL no longer had a relationship with the RUF. “We have had our day with the RUF and it ended in 1992,” he said.

In his testimony in February, Witness Camara claimed that he was a training instructor for the NPFL at the Gbartala training base in Liberia and that under his command, the NPFL recruited and trained young children who were under the age of 15 years. Mr. Taylor told the judges today that “that was a blatant lie and there will be witnesses to prove that it is a lie.”

Explaining the role that children played in NPFL territory, Mr. Taylor said “people that were under the age of 18 were not trained as military personnel in the NPFL. They were family members associated with soldiers that helped to take care of them in their home, cooking for them, but they were not recruits of the NPFL. They did not have any command structure. If you have a bigger brother, you follow him, you were with him, but there was no fixed command structure of any group calling themselves SBU[Small Boys Unit].”

The prosecution has alleged that Mr. Taylor maintained a relationship with RUF rebels throughout the conflicts in both Sierra Leone and Liberia and that together with the RUF’s leader, Foday Sankoh, he developed a common plan to wage war against the people and government of Sierra Leone. Prosecution witnesses have testified to the pattern of operations in Mr. Taylor’s NPFL such as the use of child soldiers called SBUs, and have related the same patterns in the RUF where the child combatants were also called SBUs. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.

Mr. Taylor also reinforced in court today the role he played in getting the RUF and the government of Sierra Leone to sign a peace agreement in 1999. In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor told the judges that after the signing of the peace agreement in Togo, he was able to convince RUF leader Foday Sankoh to travel and be based in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. He said he proposed that his government will assign a special ambassador to assist in the implementation of the peace agreement between the RUF and the Sierra Leone government as well as the establishment of a hot-line to facilitate communication between himself and then Sierra Leonean president Ahbed Tejan Kabbah. He said that while the hot-line was not established, he was still able to “establish regular communication” with President Kabbah.

Mr. Taylor also revealed today that western countries were not very supportive of the peace agreement between the RUF and the Sierra Leone government. In his testimony today, he said that “members of the international community, especially the western countries, did not like certain aspects of the agreement and they hinted that they will not support it, for example, the provision granting amnesty to combatants and the positions that were given to the RUF in the government.” Mr. Taylor said he informed the United Nations Secretary General that any such step by western countries not to support the peace agreement will undermine the peace efforts in the country.

Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. It seems Courtenay Griffiths wants to make sure he covers all basis before cross examination by the prosecution begins. About 10 days ago we seemed to be entering the final stages of Mr. Taylor’s direct examination with evidence of year 2001 being introduced. Now we seem to be back to early 1994 evidence. Either way Mr. Taylor’s case seems to be getting stronger each day. I believe the fact is the prosecution did not expect Mr. Taylor to have such detail records in his archives of communication between himself and ECOWAS, UN etc. showing his efforts to bring peace to the region.

  2. Yeh papay!!! pull the bull by the horn. These people need to know that back home in africa, we are obliged to serving our parents, big brothers and sisters. They want the don’t care life that is being taught to their kids around here, to flow all over the world, and that is suppose to be what they call living a civilise live. Let them know that back home the small ones are allways around to run some errons. PERIOD!!!

  3. I saw a story today and wanted to share it because of some of the representations the prosecution made in this case. The prosecution alledges that Mr. Taylor granted diplomatic previledges to non-Liberians to facility his criminal activities. Mr. Taylor, in his defense, argued that this was a normal proceedure for the Liberian government to grant non-Liberians diplomatic previledges to allow such persons to conduct international businesses on behalf of the Liberian government. Now, the Ellen Johnson’s government has done the exact thing.

    Please see this story:

    1. King,

      Thanks for posting the link. I read and found it interesting. The operative word is “honorary”. Besides, this lady has done more for Liberia than any of those that became members of the ATU. Have you thought to question, why these guys became members security and not regular members of the AFL? 400 men, that a lot. Come on man, its fine that you might have your dislikes of Ellen and her administration and want to see her fail. Its apparent that your “disdain” is greater than the success of Liberia as a nation. If this is true, then my friend, then I, like most am disappointed. So tell me, what did the naturalized RUF rebels contribute to Liberia’s national development? When did they contribute to education, to our economic development or even volunteer service to our nation? Your challenge of Ellen is honorable and welcome, but let’s make sure it has substance. Your first falsehood was the 1 million dollars bank account story (which its obvious didn’t either read or follow up), now this? King is this the best you can do? I am sure you have better things to argue on that will add substance to your threads. You now fit into the category of the US GOP, “party of no” and no solutions.

      1. bnker
        You are way off base so stop being so emotional and ask questions about things that you do not understand. Where in my post did I mention anything about RUF or Liberian citizenship. I stated very clear that the issue was “diplomatic previlegdes” and not citizenship. I do not know what you understand the term to be but I thought I made myself clear that Taylor argued that it was “normal for the Liberian government to grant non-Liberians diplomatic previledges to allow such persons to conduct international businesses on behalf of the Liberian government.”

        Please note the key phrase “international businesses on behalf of the Liberian government.” This woman that Ellen government granted Liberian consulship is a business woman so that is the point. This issue had to do with a Kenyan businessman who was granted diplomatic previledges by the Taylor government. So my brother, i beg you to please get off that emotional horse for a moment and take a deep breathe, ok!

        1. King,

          Emotional! No my friend, you are getting this thing all wrong. I try to maintain balance in these debates; emotions tend to compromise that neutrality and I am not being and don’t intend to be compromised at all. What I have noticed about your threads which I might even suggest is a pattern are statements that are generalized and many times misleading and inaccurate. As a result of remarks, your authenticity of information and arguments have been compromised.

          But emotions, not in the least bit.

      2. Gentlemen,
        Don’t make this trial about President Taylor and Sirleaf. This is not Ellen vs. Taylor. Taylor has his own personal problem to deal with; and I am sure Ellen has hers. However, what Taylor went through and going through, President Sirleaf has not experienced it and can’t stand a square inch of his problem.

  4. Suwandi Camara, Claimed that he “trained alongside mr Taylor in Libya”? He also claimed that “that when United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO-K) rebels attacked the Liberian town of Gbangha in 1994, Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) called on reinforcements from RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.”?

    For God’s sake everybody knows that it was not Sanko that took the Sierra leonean rebels to Libya for training initially. Anyone with a map of Liberia and an understanding of the positions occupied by Ulimo-K and the NPFL will know that that “call for reinforcement” would be sucidal and makes no millitary sense.

    The prosecution realised that it will be extremely difficult to prove LINKAGE between Mr Taylor and the RUF that is why they went to the length of bringing in witnesses to testify falsely with a view to misleading the court.

    1. Dear Sam:
      only individuals who have no understanding about the Liberian conflict and the areas that warring faction occupied would believe what the Gambian said the court room. to sent for a reenforcement from a far as 150miles through enemy terriotory is not something to believe.

  5. I will not be surprise if Taylor is on the witness stand for another month probably more than a month. Each one of the 11 counts indictment especially the most serious ones will have to be addressed by the defense. The defense has introduced sufficient evidence to exonerate Mr. Taylor from charges associated with RUF. For example, diamond dealing, arm smuggling etc… That part of the case is closed! Taylor is acquitted on one count, 10 to go. Now, QC Griffith is methodically through Taylor refuting the persecution eleventh coached witness and other witnesses’ testimony. The defense is pulling the rug beneath the persecution; they are leaving no screw unturned and putting every thing on the table. BRILLIANT!!

  6. If I was ever in problem…..Mr. Griffith was be called upon!!!!!. I hope he climax with the last prosecutors’ witness but the end, brings back Simile, Sherrif and Bility to answer their testimonies.

  7. Whatever it is, one day freedom will come no matter how they feel. There are more Taylors in Africa than the one in the western control court. This case against Mr. Taylor has help to trained more foot soldiers on the African map….Be ware the dream stay lives on. Africa must be delivered.

    Harris K Johnson

  8. Hi guys, sorry for the unedited post. The words should have been (has helped not help and train not to trained). Sorry yay.. like we say in Liberia.


    Harris K Johnson

    1. Harris,
      My man don’t worry you are fine; For me if possible I speak some GIO so that they know I am seroius.. We are tyre with their games. Our people have died too much and they need to leave us alone, so that we cry our own cry to the almighty lord.

  9. Hi guys I must say thanks to you all for the contributions and the opening of the eyes of some of us. This goes to all the contributors mainly Jose, Noko 4 and 5, Aki, and the list go on not forgeting Helen as well. You name the rest for me. How could the N:P:F:L: call on the R:U:F: for such a great task when at that time. Where will the RUF fighters pass at that time for God sake. ULIMO was in controlled of Lofa and we are talking about the recapturing of Gbarnga. LPC is coming from Kokoyah into Gbarnga as well. This guy is saying the RUF fighters pass through ULIMO line or how. As I said you guys really open my eyes to lots I didn’t know. I pray that they give him a fair verdict. Thanks to you all, and God bless us all.

  10. Do you all believe that Mr. Taylor could be acquitted even if his defense team continues their splendid work and refutes all eleven counts? So far they have done everything to show that they are capable of doing just that. Personally I think it was a mistake to take Taylor to trial in the first place.

    1. polguru,

      Mr. Taylor will go down but along with him will be the ICC. The special court is an appendix of the ICC, and this case is being viewed in that context. In fact public views the special court as the ICC. So a guilty verdict will stigmatize the ICC and internation criminal justice.

    2. Polguru, I think President Taylor presence in the Hague is not a mistake by those Big Powers and their stooges and they know who they are. However, the Liberian people would not have agreed for this to happen and they knew it. Therefore, they decided to ask President Sirleaf of Liberia to personally request the extradition of Taylor from his asylum in Nigeria with the sole purpose to arrest and turn him over to the court. Now, this is the irony. President Sirleaf has been indicted by the TRC of Liberia. However, she is telling us that the Liberia people will decide. As the matter of fact, she will consort Religious leaders, the National Legislature, interest groups, stick holders, ect. Pretty tell me. Do you think all those people will ever come to a common consensus of Ellen facing justice especially with the world’s powerful on her side as of now? So brother, let’s just hope and pray that the judges will see through this fake case and let this man live is normal life where ever he chooses.

  11. What’s going on again with this video streaming. Since yesterday I could not get live feed except no broadcast. Is the court not in session?

  12. Oh gosh! this streaming is really sometime, it has go off to just broadcast agian. What is really wrong with the service, your?

  13. I just had to let this one out. Griffins read a transcript from one of the prosecution witnesses who testified that Charles Taylor ordered the withdrawal of NPFL forces from SL because of those who were committing atrocities. The witness stated that some top 20 or top something was introduced by Taylor to get rid of those bad fighters that were committing crimes against the people of SL.

    The witness further testified that upon Taylor giving the withdrawal orders, some of the fighters decided to do their own thing because they did not want to leave the war zone. According to the witnesses violence increase because they fighters were angry that Taylor had ordered them to withdraw. This was in 1992, the same time that Taylor says he cut off all contacts with RUF because of the bad behavior that was going on in SL.

    The witness said that Taylor wanted to get rid of the bad fighters and leave the good fighters in SL.
    If we accept this witness testimony, does it not proves Taylor to be correct that he did not ordered any atrocities against the people of SL and moresoe, does it not proves that like all soldiers in any war all over the world, that these people were doing their own thing and not acting upon the order of Charles Taylor? So why should Mr. Taylor be held responsible for individual soldiers’ behaviors when he had already given orders for those fighters to withdraw from SL? I repeat that this case is a hogwash and needs to shut down and let Mr. Taylor go back to his homeland. The court could use Mr. Taylor for community service program to help fight against wars in Africa.

    1. Old and New King Gray from the Great Bassa Tribe of West Africa. I always almost agree with you but, I will like to be more cautious on your take above. I understand that you are speaking on the condition of “if”. Remember the vitality of this case. These people that are prosecuting President Taylor are very smart people. Do not underestimate them. However, I will concede to them that they are smart, but true justice seekers have to be smarter. The point you are alluding to is, what “if” President Taylor withdrew the bad soldiers or rebels from the front line, doesn’t he show that he didn’t approve the atrocities that was meted against the innocent people of SL? King Gray, they just want to show the “LINK.” Guys, be very careful!! Some of us were taught how to read and write English by these people, and I appreciate that. However, they don’t want us to be stupid; they want us to think and be smarter, that way they can take the credit.

    2. King Gray,
      I just hope that the judges are taking NOTES……the prosecutors witness YES told this court what happened in ’92 but yet still, we are in court.

      My question is, did the prosecutors CHECKED out their own witness’ words???

  14. Actually I was able to watch the trial today live. It was nice and interesting. I strongly belive the persecutors over look or under estimated the knowledge of Charles Taylor in general. What I saw today and the way he answers question, the world is looking seriously. With all that he gone through he compose and confident with whatsoever he is says. Take note how he mention months, date, and the years. This man is up to it really and we are all waiting for the cross from the persecutors. I wish him the best.

  15. Once again problems with the streaming of the trial. Most of the morning session was breaking continuously and the ending afternoon session also. This is the most critical of the evidence in this trial. Could the Special Court please fix their feed.

  16. I was attending in Gbarnga in a school called J.D.Norris when ULIMO -K attacked on 8 of sept. 1994 @6:00am. the whole of Lofa was occupied by ULIMO-K. How did taylor get contact with RUF.


  17. It’s a pity to see how short sighted most of taylor’s fan seem to be! Why rejoyce over the procedurer questioning of defense approach as indication of acquital for taylor? Are you serious or ignorant that this is normal procedures in which defense attempts to make it appear as if all indictment counts were baseless in the face of the law until proven guilty? You guys will be surprised how criminal justice works at the end of this trial! Thank God there is no such thing like a jury this time because I am afraid we would have such types of ignorants, probably, on the jury that would make up their minds simply because of the convincing manner in whic Defense is presenting rebuttals! Sorry, most of you truly need some education or experience because you seem to pocess none! No further questions!

    1. Fallah,
      let me address this education issue you always raise. How far did you go in school? What are some of the schools you attended? Do you know the education and lifetime experience others have? How old were you, when you got your AA, Bachelor, Master, and PHD, if you have acquired any of the educational achievement. How old are you right now? Fallah, you will be surprised, if you get to know others achievement on this site. Please answer my direct questions.

      1. Hi Jose — thanks for your note.

        This seems a good time to remind everyone that even when we are responding to other readers, our policy is to focus as much as possible about the issues raised at trial rather than the individuals who post. Also, people who do post are welcome to reveal as much or as little about themselves on this site as they wish, but should not feel required to give any personal information on here unless they choose to do so.


      2. Jose rodriguez, I will not volunteer information just to satisfy your curiosity of who am I!This is only what I can say: I am older than you,better educated than you, more experienced, and well off. I am a US citizen and live in the US, but was born in Liberia and graduated from one of Liberia’s top Universities in the 70’s.

        1. Fallah Menjor,

          Can we please stick to the issues at hand and stop issuing insults. We are truly not very interested in how well educated you are as most or all of us here are just as educated or more educated.

          This forum as you may recall is to deal with the case and its impending possible outcome and impact on the region. Can we redirect your attention to that please?

        2. Fallah,
          You are contradicting yourself. You said you will not volunteer in providing information to satisfy my curiousity. That’s fine with me. it is OK. However, it is just exactly what you have done. You have provided enough informations to satisfy my curiousity. In fact, this was exactly almost what I was expecting from a man who falsely claimed unto a status that he is not, especially of being more educated than those who opinions are diffferent from his. Eventhough Fallah, you said what you said without having evidence from other contributors on this website. Nonetheless, you provided more information though. Thank you for providing more information than expected. I have enough clues to know your answers to the direct questions that I have asked. You graduated from a top school in Liberia during the 70s. You are old enough to be my daddy, you are a citizen of the US, you are well of, more educated and experienced than me, blah, blah, blah, and blah. My question than, how do you know that I’m not a citizen of the US? How do I know that you graduated from a top school in Liberia during the 70s? Even though many people will prefer comtemporary education to cope with the current reality of the day, than the 70s; What proof have you provided that everything you are saying is truth?
          Fallah, you are not acting wise here. The world is changing. Things are not the same way you use to know it during the 70s. I hope you will learn a valuable lesson from this piece.

        3. Fallah,
          I think the education you’ve got is obsolete and old school so please let us concentrate on the issue on hand. I mean the lies from you and the entire prosecution. T he case is baseless, should be closed and forgotten about.

  18. There might be some lies in this testimony, however I think there are some truth. We all know that CT had tons of mercenaries from several countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast. Do we think that these guys were finding vacation spots in Liberia? Why was Blaise so interested in the NPFL? Taylor had friends join him from all over. From Senegal, there is Ibrahim Bah, a former Mujahadeen and possible link to Al Queda. “The FBI has identified Ibrahim Bah, former Senegalese rebel, as the RUF’s principal diamond dealer with Al Qaida, as well as Hezbollah. Bah spent several years with bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980’s Mujahideen fight, later joining the Hezbollah. Bah trained Charles Taylor of Liberia and RUF head, Foday Sankoh, in the 1980’s (Engdahl, 2001) (Ref 1).

    From the Gambia
    Dr Manning (Kukoi Samba Samyan), Jack the rebel, Black Jesus all members of the failed six day coup in the Gambia in 1981. “The current Liberian ambassador to Libya, Yang Sabateh, known in Liberia as Yanks Smythe, is a Gambian who fought for Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). In October 1996, another Gambian who served as Taylor’s Aide Camp was shot while defending the warlord against rival rebels of the Liberian Peace Council at the Executive Mansion. Another Gambian General, Domingo Ramos, was killed in April 1996 while fighting for the NPFL against the Krahns. Many other Gambians, such as Kukoi Samba Sanyang, alias Dr. Manning, left long after convincing themselves that Taylor’s “African” revolution was not what they expected (Kamara, 2001)–Ref 2

    I am still researching will provide other mercenaries who were just “vacationing” in Liberia and not expecting any reciprocation.

    http://www.jahrbuch2001.studien-von-zeitfragen.net/Global/Coalition_Risks/coalition_risks.html (para 35)

    http://www.charlestaylortrial.org/2009/09/09/taylor-refutes-testimony-of-key-prosecution-witnesssays-he-did-not-plan-to-destabilize-west-africa/#comment-6213 (Para 7)

    1. Bnker,

      Brother, I am confused with this thread. I do know where you are headed. Taylor has not denied having these foreigners in his NPFL. So what is the point you are stressing. Please elaborate.

    2. Bnker,

      You indicated that you had doubts(some lies as you put it) on some accounts in Mr. Taylor’s testimony of today. What are those accounts that you are not comfortable with?

    3. Bnker,

      You indicate that you had doubts(some lies as you put it) on some aspects of Mr. Taylor’s testimony of yesterday. could you please say which part was misleading as far as you are concerned.

    4. Bnker, what you are selling to us is a snake oil, especially when you referred to that discredited document. However, I know about the document you are talking about, but I will address that in this piece further down. Nonetheless, I will like to say to you brother, you are falsely claiming unto a status that you are not, including objectivity. Notwithstanding bnker, I think you are not objective as you want us to believe. I don’t know your game plan on this site. However, if your game plan was to trick us in believing your objectivity, you are mistaken. For me, you have given enough clues that I have made up my mind that you are not objective. For example: what kind of objective person will say, though there is no concrete evidence to convict President Taylor, but I believe his absence has provided peace in the “Manor River Union basin.” Therefore, I want him to be in the “slammer” (jail or shut him up). What kind of objective person will willfully distort and misinterpret another person’s( Vaa Ali) statement in order to advance his hidden agenda? What objective individual will present a political website that has already been discreted and cheery picked by official of the Bush adminstration to help reinforce his argument? What objective man will have thanked or pre-empt what Mr. Stephen would have said in advance to our tough questions. Fellow contributors, speaking about the website bnker provided, it is a political website. This identical topic on the issue raised by bnker is known as the “politics of the three, Pakistan, Sauda Arabia, and Israel.” These three countries were making their case to the Bush administration while at the same time protecting their own interest. For example: Musharraf’s Pakistan and his Military were protecting their poppy crop or heroin supply.
      For Sharon’s israel, they were selling at two fronts to the Bush adminstration. One: Sadam Hussen was behind the 911 attacks and two, former senegalese rebel, Abraham Bah was the RUF principal diamond dealer with Al qaida, as well as Hezbollah. Israel also said, Bah trained Charles Taylor of Liberia and the RUF head Foday Sankor of Sierra Leone. Gentlemen, be very careful of what some are selling us on this website. It could be a snake oil.

  19. Hello Moderator, Could you please enlighten us as to what the trial chamber’s decision on Ms Dufka’s position as an expert witness is . Thank you.

    1. Aki – thanks for posting the link.

      Rgk007 – I will do a short summary of the decision soon and post it.


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