Liberian Witness Concludes His Direct-Examination in Closed Session

A Liberian witness who has been testifying in defense of former Liberian president Charles Taylor today concluded his direct-examination in closed session. Though the witness has been testifying in open session with partial protective measures, today’s direct-examination was conducted in closed session because certain aspects of the witness’s testimony were too sensitive to be heard in public. Closed sessions are also sometimes necessary if the judges believe that the witness’s open testimony might jeopardize his own security or the security of other protected witnesses. Shortly before the court adjourned for the day, prosecution counsel, Mohamed Bangura, started the cross-examination of the witness. During the witness’s cross-examination, prosecutors will seek to discredit the witness’s testimony given in direct-examination.

The cross-examination of the witness continues tomorrow.


  1. Okay, even though it leaves us with nothing to discuss, closed sessions are useful for protective reasons.

    Tracey and Alpha, will the cross examination be a closed session as well?


    1. Davenport.Noko7 — we’re not sure whether cross-examination will be closed or not. I’m sure we all hope it will be as open as possible.

  2. It was a smart move on the part of the defense to bring forth this witness. This guy should have been a prosecution witness, but for obvious reasons best known to the prosecution he was omitted.

    Even though, the witness testified that “300 strong RUF” were trained in Camp Nima in 1991, outside the indictment period and despite President Taylor’s testimony that RUF didn’t trained in Camp Nima, a brilliant strategy by the defense. It’s all about credibility. No damage to the defense. If the defense witness had the courage to testified contrary to the person’s testimony he evidently supposed to be defending, send a signal to the judges that the witness is credible.

    Based on the above circumstances, it will be difficult for the judges not to believe that the witness entire testimony was the truth and nothing else but the truth. BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!

  3. I wanted to raise the issue of diamond mining considering the testimony of the last SL witness. The prosecution have long paraded lies and deception that Charles Taylor supported the RUF to expliot the diamonds of SL. Well from the witness testimony, he himself, he is a diamond miner right now in SL and he has been mining diamonds as far back as 1984 in his country. The witness stated that he and Foday Sankoh and some friends founded a study group in SL, and one of thheir objectives was to dig diamonds to sell and save enough money to fund their study group objectives. They were poor and believe that the resources of SL should benefit all of SLeons but this was not the case.

    The interesting aspect of the witness testimony was his describtion of how the diamond mining process work in prewar and during the RUF control of diamond areas. The witness stated that during the prewar period they would simply used the land without getting legitimate credentials from the government due the corrupt practices of government officials. They would recriut groups of people to work on the diamond fields , and the workers were heavily police. Those digging or washing the diamonds were not allowed to touch the diamond. Watchmen were present on the spot and it was only those designated persons that were allowed to touch any diamond.

    During the RUF controlled of the diamond areas , this was the same measures that was put into place. The onl difference was the presence of armed men around the diamond area to ensure that they could repel attacks from opposing military forces. The witness was very clear that armed RUF fighters were not allowed and had no authority to collect diamond duriing the digging and washing process. But the prosecution have lied over and over that the RUF was using armed men to forced civillians to mine diamonds.

    This prosecution does not understand the African tradition , especially when it comes to farming and other activities. African culture is based on a communal relationship as opposed to an individualistic culture like in the West. Under normal conditions, if an individuals wanted to make a farm, that individual will be responsible to provide food and drinks but the workers will come from the whole village or district. Thus, I am sure during the war years, this same concept was applied execpt that like the witness stated, the presence of armed men would suggest an involutary action by workers. But this could not have been the case.

    1. I don’t know why the Sierra Leonean on the prosecutor’s team is not the one leading the troop….he better understands the TRADITION. Even Mr. Taylor during his cross mentioned that.

      As we go long the case…..we see this case is not a case.

  4. Ms Tracey, Sorry that I am posting my response to Defense layer’s answer to “cost as wate” on trial of charles taylor under March 17 comment post since i could not under March 18th.
    With all due respect, Sir; you mentioned about how this trial ia a waste of time and money, especially for the people of sierra Leone, and “rule of law being used here to disguise real neo-colonialist”, including your firm beliefs, it appears,that trial did not necessary have to take place in the Hague. However, Sir,you did not make mention, or elaborate on ‘security reasons’ that caused the decision to move the trial to the Hague, in the first place! Why would you ignore such basic reason in favor of ‘ neo-colonialist interest” being formost reason? What economic gains Sierra Leone would have had if trial was held “in a fortified oasis in the middle of Freetown?” Would there have been more money paid to Riot Police to break up fights between Pros and Cons, or more deployment of UN peace keepers to bring more $ to the economy? There seems to be insentivity on your part, Sir, to ignore such grave issue in favor of defending your client, regardless of how much justice you intend to see in this case! The victims need justice as well as your cliet, tayloy!

    1. Dear J Fallah Menjor — there seems to be a glitch here. One can post comments through the Firefox, but not through internet explorer. Let me see what I can do to to fix it.

  5. Sometimes the rational for the prosecution supporters seem so far removed from normality. What is so shocking to the conscience about the training of “300 men” in Camp Naima without the knowledge of Mr. Taylor. Taylor has explained the modus operandi of the NPFL war game at the onset of their revolution. Special Forces were trusted to controlled specific areas and had enormous powers over the fighting men in those areas.

    Taylor himself did not visit the Camp Naima areas until way after 1991, the men that were in charged of operations controlled those areas and reported on developments in that part of the country. So Taylor relied on the reports of his Special Forces, as any leader would rely on their generals. How in the world do these prosecution supporters expect for Mr. Taylor to know what was going on if he did not get any report from the men in charged of the areas.

    The fact of the matter, the men in charged of the areas were “konapers” meaning collaborators with the enemies. Any Liberian living in the war zone of the NPFL would have heard the term “konapers” as a reference to NPFL fighters that betrayed the organization, and collaborated with enemies forces, to destroyed the NPFL. How did the NPFL headquaters in Gbarnga fall to the socalled coliation forces of ULIMO-K & J, LPC, NPFL-CRC, Black Berets, and other groups? Did Gbarnga not fall as a result of top NPFL commanders collaborating with enemies forces to overthrow Taylor leadership? Did Taylor know about this plot? So why should Taylor not have known since he was in control of Gbarnga itself?

    The reality here is very simple, no leader can know everything that goes on unless the underpeople report all of the facts. In the case of the “300 men”, the Special Forces in controlled of those areas had their own agenda, and it was after the fact that Taylor and the NPFL leadership got to know. Those who plotted were militarily dealth with.

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