Charles Taylor lied in his testimony when he told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague that he had not negotiated to have a senior Sierra Leonean rebel commander, who was based in Liberia, taken back to Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor’s 13th defense witness agreed with prosecutors today in The Hague. Another defense witness, who commenced her testimony today, denied allegations that she cooked the liver of a Liberian politician who was allegedly murdered by rebel forces loyal to Mr. Taylor in 1997.
Mr. Taylor’s 13th defense witness, a former executive member of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), who has been testifying with partial protective measures today concluded his testimony, during which he agreed withprosecutors that Mr. Taylor lied under oath when he testified that he had not spoken to RUF leaders to take Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone after the RUF commander had relocated to Liberia in 1999. Mr. Bockarie, who was a senior commander in the RUF, fell out with the rebel group’s leader Foday Sankoh in 1999 and relocated to Liberia with several forces loyal to him. They were all granted Liberian citizenship and were enlisted into Mr. Taylor’s security forces. After the arrest of RUF leader Mr. Sankoh by the government of Sierra Leone in 2000, Issa Sesay became interim leader of the group. Prosecution witnesses testified that Mr. Taylor tried negotiating with Mr. Sesay to allow Mr. Bockarie to go back to Sierra Leone and rejoin the RUF. Mr. Taylor, while testifying as a witness in his own defense denied this claim by witnesses. Today, the former president’s own witness, DCT-292, told the court that it was in his presence that Mr. Taylor had tried talking to Mr. Sesay to allow Mr. Bockarie to go back to Sierra Leone and rejoin the RUF. Prosecution counsel Nicholas Koumjian asked the witness whether Mr. Taylor had lied to the judges when he denied saying this. The witness agreed with Mr. Koumjian that that was the case.
“Mr. Taylor was asked by his counsel “now, did you suggest that Mosquito [Sam Bockarie] be taken back,” and Mr. Taylor said “no, Idid not suggest that.” Mr. Witness, Charles Taylor lied to these judges because you were present when he asked Issa Sesay to take Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone, correct?” Mr. Koumjian asked the witness.
“Yes my lord,” the witness responded.
Another witness, a Liberian national, Mrs. Annie Yeney commenced her testimony today as Mr. Taylor’s 14th witness. Mrs. Yeney told the court about how she joined Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) willingly when the war started in Liberia, having seen how former Liberian president Samuel Doe had persecuted people from Nimba County. In her testimony, Mrs. Yeney told the court that prosecution witness and former member of the NPFL, Joseph Zig Zag Marzah, lied when he told the court about how she had been engaged in cannibalism with Mr. Taylor. Mr. Marzah in his testimony told the court that on Mr. Taylor’s orders, when former Liberian politician Sam Dokie was killed in 1997, his liver was removed, cooked by one “Annie Yeney” (the current witness) and eaten together with Mr. Taylor. Mrs. Yeney denied ever engaging in such a practice.
“It is not true. That is what we call assassination of character, for a woman like me to cook a human being, it is not true. I am speaking to my God I serve, He knows my heart,” Mrs. Yeney told the court.
Mrs. Yeney took some moments to sob when speaking about Mr. Dokie’s death because according to her, Mr. Dokie’s wife was her sister who was also assassinated alongside the Liberian politician. She said she was informed that it was Mr. Marzah who had killed her sister and her brother-in-law.
Mrs. Yeney explained that it was Mr. Marzah’s practice to eat human beings and brag about it, telling people that he did not have a jail to keep his enemies.
“Zig Zag Marzah used to say these things in Gbarngha. He used to say he hasn’t got a jail house, when he arrests any war criminals, he’ll eat them,” she said.
Describing Mr. Marzah, the witness told the court that “Zig Zag Marzah used to rape, he used to steal.”
“Zig Zag Marzah was not correct in his head, he was half mad, he used to naked himself and run in the streets,” she said.
Mrs. Yeney’s description of Mr. Marzah corroborates what Mr. Taylor and his 11th witness Timan Edward Zammy told the court about the prosecution witness. Defense lawyers concluded Mrs. Yeney’s direct-examination within a couple of hours and prosecutors immediately commenced her cross-examination.
Mrs. Yeney’s cross-examination continues tomorrow.