Prosecution Witness Was A Desperate Man Seeking Assistance, Defense Witness Says

A defense witness for Charles Taylor today described a former radio operator for Sierra Leonean rebel forces who testified against the former Liberian president as a “desperate” and starving young man who sought his help in Liberia during the country’s civil conflict.

Joseph Menson Dehmie, a former radio operator for Mr. Taylor’s Liberian rebel group, today sought to refute prosecution evidence that his forces gave support to Sierra Leonean rebels after they had retreated from attacks by their government’s troops.

The prosecution witness — Dauda Aruna Fornie, commonly called DAF – testified in 2008 that about 300 of Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels were then taken to a Liberian rebel base at Bomi Hills in Liberia where they underwent advanced military training. Mr. Fornie also said that at Bomi Hills, the RUF rebels  performed domestic chores for Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) commanders. According to Mr. Fornie, he was in the RUF group assigned to the NPFL Signal Unit at Bomi Hills and was trained in the use of communication or radio equipment by the NPFL Signal Regional Commander named “Joseph Dehmie”– the witness who is presently testifying in Mr. Taylor’s defense.

Mr. Dehmie today expressed his surprise to find out that Mr. Fornie was an RUF fighter. According to Mr. Dehmie, he only knew Mr. Fornie after the young man had approached him at Bomi Hills as a hungry man who was desperate to get food.

“I am only hearing this today,” Mr. Dehmie said.

“Up to the time he was with me, he did not tell me that he was a soldier. That is surprising to me. I am only hearing this now.”

Mr. Dehmie told the court that when Mr. Fornie approached him for help at Bomi Hills, “he [Fornie] was so desperate. He was tiny — even a Somalian refugee was better than him.”

Mr. Dehmie said that Mr. Fornie stayed with him for up to five months during which time he (Fornie) helped him with domestic issues.

Asked by defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Morris Anyah, whether he ever recruited Mr. Fornie as a radio operator or let him into the NPFL radio room at Bomi Hills, Mr. Dehmie said that never happened.

“Non-radio operators were not allowed into the radio room. He used to be inside the building but never in the radio room. He did not use the radio, I did not recruit DAF,” he said.

“He was a cook, he was a tiny little boy who was seeking assistance. He was never a radio operator,” Mr. Dehmie added.

Mr. Dehmie listened to portions of Mr. Fornie’s 2008 testimony in which the former RUF radio operator said that while in Liberia, the RUF worked in collaboration with NPFL commanders including One Man One, Yegbeh Degbon, Dickson Walo and others to launch attacks against enemy forces in Liberian frontlines. According to Mr. Fornie, NPFL rebels referred to RUF rebels as “Sankoh recruits,” in reference to the name of RUF leader Foday Sankoh. Mr. Fornie said they were all based at Bomi Hills, the same place where the present witness Mr. Dehmie stayed at that time. Again, Mr. Dehmie expressed surprise at this account.

“I am dumbfounded because I did not know that this boy was even a soldier. We did not talk anything military. He was not my colleague, he was just like my little brother and I took care of him,” Mr. Dehmie said.

Also in his testimony today, Mr. Dehmie told the court that a rival rebel faction, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), “was formed from the sister republic of Sierra Leone.” He explained that some NPFL commanders including General Degbon, Anthony Menkunagbe, One Man One and Oliver Varney connived with ULIMO forces to overthrow Mr. Taylor as leader of the NPFL. These men, the witness said, were tried and executed.

“To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. They were executed,” the witness said.

Mr. Dehmie is the twelfth witness to have testified for Mr. Taylor, who is responding to charges that he provided support to RUF rebels in Sierra Leone during the country’s 11 years civil conflict. Mr. Taylor has denied the charges against him.

Mr. Dehmie’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Tracey,

    Thanks for your diplomatic explanation for the meaning of erratas. However, we can not dismiss or failed not to take a position on what Judge Sebutinde stated. After all, she’s the judge and knows best. Call it what ever you wish, sugar coat all you want, the bottom line the act is illegal.

    A serious crime has been committed; those who are liable should be prosecuted to the fullest, because if it was the other way around, President Taylor would have been fried.

    We agreed that erratas are commonly used in kangaroo court (Special Court), but it should be done at least with the consent of all parties-including the judges, and they must receive a copy of the erratas. Nobody has the right to unilaterally changed court records as he/she sees faith. It’s out right wrong and illegal. PERIOD!

    Tracey, give me a break!

  2. Thanks, Dehmie, those guys are so hungry and desperate to the extent that they forget to remember the hands that feed and protected them during the war both in Liberia and Sierra Leone. I personally know the both of you and really believe everything you have told this court about DAF, but please do not blame this poor man. poverty is our biggest problem in Africa. Whenever I think about the situation DAF was faced with in Bomi Hills, I failed to understand why he and others have to lie about things that Mr. Taylor did not do. He should be grateful to you and some of us for helping to save his life through the leadership of Mr. Taylor during the war. We shared with him everything including foods and clothing that were supplied by Mr. Taylor. It is shameful that he chose to take part in this evil intended to destroy Mr. Taylor, but let him be reminded that there more Taylor in Liberia than the one in court. Let he not also forget that we will one day meet in the human traffic.


    Harris K Johnson

    1. Harris K Johnson,
      Your vehement defense of Taylor is now evident (your association in his war). Why would Taylor supply you food and clothes if you were not part of his army? Where did Taylor, Dehmie and you get the supplies? I suppose they were looted. The rice Taylor give to his soldiers was the ship that was enroute to Monrovia with a consignment of rice “some done some not done” and hijacked by NPFL off the shores of Buchana. Whatever money Taylor got from the resources of Liberia, he kept for himself through proxy depositories. How else could you have saved DAF’s life if you did not have an influential position in the NPFL?
      Why are you trying to display your jungle justice attitude on this site by threatening a presecutorial witness about meeting in the streets of “human traffic” most likely in Liberia. This revenge mentality was why the NPFL abused and killed so many civilians.


        1. noko5,
          Your association with Taylor has blurred your mind. It explained your following of this man blindly during the war as you claimed and this has also disassociated your psyche from reality. No wonder he is an angel to you. His delusional doctrine has gotten you so badly. You are in denial of Taylor’s guilt, because it would signal yours.

      1. Nosirrah,
        I do sense that you wasn’t in Liberia during or you may not be a Liberian who was in Liberia at that time! If you will tell Harris K. Johnson that he might has been associated or being member of the Mr. Taylor for him to supply food, you got to be a total stranger to the war in Liberia in 1990.
        Mr. Taylor did supply civilians with food and clothes. When we left Monrovia on July 7, 1990 and enter Kakata, we were taken to the police station right accross from Bong Mine Junction, we were supply a bag of rice,oil and other food stuff and we were later taken to a house in Lanko-town. The house was infront to the lutherain Church. We were not NPFL soldiers when they did that for us; moreover, they didn’t know us from anywhere! We were not the only people they supply food to while walking to go to our home towns. They did the same for for hundreds of thousands of other people. So, please get you story right!

      2. Nosirrah,
        I have never, and will never denial that I was with Mr. Taylor. I’m not only a supporter, but a family member of Mr. Taylor. Just shut up if don’t have any thing to say here rather than looking for people that were with Mr. Taylor.

        Harris K Johnson

  3. The sound quality is POOR…..Tracey can you do a dummy test when the court is not in session please.

  4. Harris K
    Are you then sayin that NPFL supported DAF and other RUF members when you said “those guys are so hungry and desperate to the extent that they forget to remember the hands that feed and protected them during the war both in Liberia and Sierra Leone”. You do know that you’re contradicting youself, right? So Taylor did help them after all.

    1. Yes, Mr. Taylor helped to negotiate PEACE in Sierra Leone which makes it possible for some of the witnesses maybe including you, to have being alive today. Has it not being of Mr. Taylor constant and tireless call for the end of war in Sierra Leone, believe me most of those guys if not all would been dead by now because the white soldiers couldn’t stop the war. On the other hand, we assisted them as refugees. Like my friend DAF who crossed over to Liberia for safety, was housed, feed, and clothed by me and “bearcat”, Mr. Joseph Dehmie, so it is not about contradiction, but real fact.

      Harris K Johnson

    2. John thompson,
      You can’t see someone and conclude on who they are, what they are involve with. For example, I am a service member of the Armed Forces of the United States but if I don’t tell anyone that I am they wouldn’t know. People in Liberia didn’t know that I was serving in the U.S. Military until some of them saw me in uniform when we were helping to trained the new AFL. Only my close family knew that I am serving in U.S. Military.
      When I got deployed in Iraq in March of 2004, there were Iraqi who used to come to us asking us for food and other things, at the same time they were members of the Mardi Army fighting against us! We couldn’t have known if a person wasn’t captured or killed by us on the frontline and then we find out that he was one of those we have been supplying food and water.
      Infact, a Squad Leader in my platoon got killed by a 13 years old boy who he ( the Squad Leader ) bought shoes, socks, note books and pencils for so he could go to school. This happened on December 29, 2004 the day before the December 30, 2004 election in Iraq! So to help some one, it doesn’t mean that they are family to you or you know what they are involve in!

    1. Ziggy Salis, Tracey is away right now but the reason why your comment of 5/18/2010 was not approved is because of your use of words describing the person named especially in the first line. Kindly rephrase and the comment will be approved immediately.

  5. despertart they really campbell was on a talk show in the state host ask her about this.she said she did not Want to about. mr taylor.she only saw him at a lengh. he walked in .where they were siting. That means she did not meet him. Tell me, what are these people really looling for? And want from this trial?are they saying ,that every man and woman taylor ever met he give them blood diamond what ever they may called it. So they have to look up every one he saw and met in his life,to subpeona an testify when the u.s wants to destory you,they will go anywhere and. .they forget to understand that the lord takes care of all his kids and taylor is one too. Hope we all must stand trial all warlords and suported taylor.they know.

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