Former Liberian president Charles Taylor did not form or contribute to any plan to commit crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, nor did he receive any diamonds from Sierra Leonean rebel forces as alleged by prosecutors, according to Mr. Taylor’s first witness.
Yanks Smythe has spent the last four days refuting prosecution allegations that Mr. Taylor aided and abetted Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels whose 11-year civil conflict in Sierra Leone saw the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Prosecutors have alleged that without stepping foot in his neighboring country, Mr. Taylor provided support to the RUF rebels through the supply of weapons in exchange for diamonds.
“Are you aware of Mr. Taylor during that period of time, himself committing any crimes within the territory of Sierra Leone?” defense lawyer Mr. Anyah asked the witness today.
“During those periods I was with Mr. Taylor, he never stepped foot in Sierra Leone so he couldn’t have committed those crimes in Sierra Leone,” Mr. Smythe said.
Mr. Anyah further asked the witness whether he was “aware of Mr. Taylor during that period of time being part of some sort of criminal enterprise or conspiracy the purpose of which was to commit a crime in Sierra Leone?”
“No I was never aware of Mr. Taylor being part of any of that, to commit crimes in Sierra Leone,” the witness responded.
“Are you aware of Mr. Taylor during that period of time in any way aiding and abetting, facilitating or furthering the commission of any crime in Sierra Leone?” Mr. Anyah pressed the witness further.
“I am not aware of Mr. Taylor doing any of those to commit crimes in Sierra Leone,” the witness again responded.
Mr. Smythe also refuted prosecution allegations that Mr. Taylor received huge supplies of diamonds from RUF rebels while he served as president of Liberia. During the presentation of the prosecution’s case, several witnesses testified that Mr. Taylor received diamonds from RUF commanders including Issa Sesay and Sam Bockarie. Some witnesses told the judges that members of Mr. Taylor’s security forces travelled to Sierra Leone to collect diamonds from RUF rebels for onward transmission to Mr. Taylor.
“I have never seen Mr. Taylor with diamonds, never heard of Mr. Taylor receiving diamonds from anyone during those periods,” Mr. Smythe said.
Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, Mr. Anyah, focused specifically on the assertions of certain witnesses that diamonds transported from Sierra Leone were put in mayonnaise jars and handed over to Mr. Taylor. The witness said that no such thing ever happened.
“Have you ever seen Mr. Taylor receive a mayonnaise jar of diamonds?” Mr. Anyah asked the witness.
“I’ve never seen Mr. Taylor receiving a mayonnaise jar of diamonds,” Mr. Smythe responded.
“Have you heard or did you hear during that period of time of Mr. Taylor receiving diamonds in particular from any member of the RUF?” Mr. Anyah asked further.
“I have never heard of Mr. Taylor receiving diamonds from any member of the RUF,” Mr. Smythe responded.
At the end of today’s proceedings, Mr. Anyah brought the direct-examination of the witness to a close. Prosecutors will commence the cross-examination of the witness tomorrow.
Here is an INSIDER…..can’t wait for the CROSS.
I was just wondering why you did not include in your summary, the court’s ruling on the prosecution’s request that the defense disclose the witness’ statement prior to the commencement of the cross examination? I believe this request was very important to the prosecution’s case, and therefore should be important for the audience to know the court’s decision.
Secondly, why I am here I just wanted to note that Alpha’s initial summary on Mr. Smythe’s testimony was not substantive enough. Mr. Smythe refuted prosecution witness Larmine Campoare testimony about his(Larmine) being in Tripoli at certain timeframe, seeing Mr. Taylor there along with Sankoh and how Mr. Taylor returned to Burkina Faso immediately following the launching of the npfl insurgency. I believe this testimony was crucial to the defense as the first revelatio of the lies that this witness told. However, Alpha did not consider it important enough for inclusion in the summary.
I just think it was a gross human error on Alpha’s part.
Hi Andrew — thank you for filling in some more information about the trial yesterday – we appreciate it. Alas, with the structure of this reporting style, we cannot include everything in the daily updates so we of course value whatever other information readers find important about the day’s events to be included here in the comments — it makes the discussion here even more interesting and rich.
I think this defense witness YANKS SMYTHE has discredited prosecution witness Suwandi
Camara to the point where he was lying to the court when he was testifying. If appear Mr. Camara was a witness that new of the plot between Mr. Taylor, Dr. Manneh and Foday Sankoh made in Libya but it seem that Mr. Camara was not in Libya.
Well done Special Force Smythe. You are an eye witness, not Hear Say, They Say, They told me witness like the many uneducated and paid witnesses that the prosecution paraded in this court. Congratulation Yank, a red carpet welcome awaits you at Robert International Airport unlike Moses Blah who was disgracefully welcome for which he is still sick from heart attack. Bravo big brother. You are really an African Freedom Fighter. Old soldier never die,but stands up for freedom in the name of justice and equality for all. The good news is that we are left with 97 Special Force witnesses of which Mr. Smythe is the least. Hahahaha…..please don’t run away we are all humans.
Harris K Johnson
I am intrigued by your underlying reasoning…….You seem to be suggesting that we should give more weight to the evidence of a body guard turned unemployed Diplomat -yank- than to the former VP of Liberia -Blah…..WHY?
The judges are going to do just that, give more weight to the evidence.
My man, sometimes just tell wadi thanks for commenting, and lets cotinue with our vitory coversation. Because Wadi got no clue whatsoever of what this whole case is about….Long live Charles Taylor, yah…
So part of his testimony does not sound right to you. The man told us what Mr. Blah told us…thus far, I believe him MORE than those FALSE WITNESSES we saw. Look at Zayzar Marsah…..attached to Yeaten and he pretended to be A STAR….
The reason why more credibility should be given to Mr. Smythe as opposed to Mr. Blah is that he was more aware of what was going on then Moses Blah. As can be seen firstly he is more educated secondly he is more concise with his answers, thirdly he has not been paid to lie by the Court like Mr. Blah.
Oh well, nothing new today. I think I could have predicted the answers to all those questions with ease.
Where you there in every step of the way like Mr. Smythe before saying the most debunkable thing of you could have answered those question with ease? Why you could not have answered those questions posted to the lying and paid prosecution witnesses with ease?
I dont want to believd that the charges level against Mr, Taylor is because he alledgely supported rebels in neighboring Sierra. I believe that some bigger powers are involed with this process. And I dont think it should be the case,I am not a Taylor’s supporter but for the fact that many of us know what really happened have probems with the way things are been handle.
United states feel that they are the runner of the world,therefroe they have all power to doing evil and nasty things to us here in Africa. Why cant George bush,and Tony blair who failed the world doing their administration be allowed to face charges? for the invasion of Iraq.I understand that these men are just nothing but warlords. And I believe they will be judge by their legacy.
Student, from Cuttington University
Slow down now on naming countries or blaming others.
Besides, CT is not guilty until the court of law finds him guilty. He is having his day in court for “allege crimes” and until a verdict is pronounced, we wait and hold tight.
Francis K. Eesiah
My friend it’s clear at minimum Mr. Taylor was associated with the wrong side. The US may have played both sides but their hand won’t caught in the cookie jar like Mr. Taylor. Its sad how people can openly say “where the proof” of Mr. Taylor guilt (when it’s out in the open) and then accuse US when it’s absolute no evidence that they supported the RUF. Please help me understand. Its obvious Mr. Taylor wanted a group in power in the neighboring country that he could communicate with or control (a play out of the US hand book).
I’m convinced Mr. Smythe is honestly testifying to the best of his knowledge. I’m not convinced Mr. Smythe was part of Mr. Taylor inner circle. I came to this conclusion because (correct me if I’m wrong) after looking through the TRC report, I couldn’t find Mr. Smythe name nowhere. Since Mr. Smythe name was not mentioned in TRC report but he associated with individual whom were; drew me to the conclusion that Mr. Smythe was not in the inner circle of the illegal/ inhumane activities that took place. For example if a group of honest cops works with a bad cop; the bad cop knows and will act discreetly when he is doing his illegal activities around the honest cops. All Mr. Smythe can verify is first hand knowledge information. It’s clear Mr. Smythe was sheltered from the illegal/inhumane activities. Most of the information Mr. Smythe is verifying is only his assumptions and/or unreliable hearsay.
Al Solo Nyonteh,
How will it be “assumptive” of Mr. Smythe when in fact he was there from start to finish. He provided evidence, pictures, and corroborated some of what Moses Blah said.
Bro, I am not too clear on this one. You are giving two sided views of Mr. Smythe to me.
He was in the LOOP….the inner core….he knew of every move…why you think he was the first to be brought up….to hit HOME RUNS!!
LOCK HIM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS, STOP WASTING TAX PAYERS MONEY, HE’S NOT WORTH THE HEADACHE, I M SICK OF HIS LIES.
Give the brother the benefit of the doubt.
Remember now — innocent until proven guilty. Fair game?
IT SOUNDS LIKE FRUSTRATION TO ME. WHAT CAN’T WE JUST WAIT FOR THE TRIAL TO END BRO? YOUR SIDE IS LOSING JOHN.
Rodrigues, everybody on this site sounds frustrated to you except you! Well, beat the drum and we shall teach you how to dance to the beat. You seem to have this trial as a full time career and therefore must respond to every posting..wow the interest you have in seeing taylor free is darn scary! I hope you are not taylor, himself on this blog!
Comments are closed.