Do Not Issue A Subpoena For Supermodel Naomi Campbell, Defense Lawyers Tell Judges; NPFL Fighters In Sierra Leone Were Not Sent By Charles Taylor, Witness Says

Defense lawyers for Charles Taylor this week asked Special Court for Sierra Leone judges to deny the request by prosecutors to issue a subpoena for Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is alleged to have received rough diamonds from Mr. Taylor while on a visit to South Africa in 1997. A defense witness for Mr. Taylor also told judges this week that members of Mr. Taylor’s rebel group, who assisted Sierra Leonean rebels during the country’s civil conflict, did so voluntarily and were not sent by the former Liberian president.

On Monday, in response to a prosecution request to reopen the case against Mr. Taylor by calling three addition witnesses, including a subpoena for British supermodel Ms. Campbell, Mr. Taylor’s defense lawyers asked the judges to turn down the prosecution requests.

After closing their case against Mr. Taylor in February 2009, prosecutors have asked that they be allowed to present three new witnesses, who will testify about a diamond gift allegedly given by Mr. Taylor to supermodel Naomi Campbell while they were both on a visit to South Africa in 1997. The three people whose evidence prosecutors seek to submit as new evidence are Ms. Campbell, Mia Farrow, and Ms. Campbell’s former agent Carole White. Prosecutors say that Ms. Farrow will testify about being told by Ms. Campbell that Mr. Taylor had sent men to her hotel room after a 1997 dinner with former South African president Nelson Mandela and that the men had given her a diamond gift allegedly from Mr. Taylor. Ms. White, prosecutors say, will testify that she was present when Mr. Taylor said he was going to give the diamond gift to Ms. Campbell and that she was present when the men arrived and delivered the said diamonds to Ms. Campbell. As Ms. Campbell has been reluctant to testify about the incident, prosecutors have asked that the judges issue a subpoena to oblige the supermodel to testify about the incident before judges in The Hague. In their response on Monday, defense lawyers for Mr. Taylor called both motions unnecessary and urged the judges to deny both requests.

In the “Defense Response To Prosecution Motion To Call Three Additional Witnesses,” which was signed by Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths, defense lawyers stated that “The Defense strongly opposes this motion on the basis that no reasonable Court could find that the anticipated evidence is relevant to the charges against Mr. Taylor.”

“Furthermore, the prosecution should not be allowed to trivialize the seriousness of the proceedings and charges against the Accused by adducing tangential and highly speculative testimony into evidence,” the defense response states.

The response further states that “The issue of Mr. Taylor’s interaction with the AFRC/RUF [Armed Forces Revolutionary Council/Revolutionary United Front] junta, the issue of diamonds and the issue of his credibility has been thoroughly explored and and addressed as part of the Prosecution case-in-chief. Consequently, additional witnesses are not needed to elaborate on these same issues.”

“Simply put, there must be finality to the proceedings. For the Prosecution to present such an inferential evidence, as part of an obvious publicity stunt, would bring the administration of justice into serious disrepute,” defense lawyers say.

Regarding the request by prosecutors for a subpoena to be issued for supermodel Ms. Campbell to testify on the same issue, the defense response  states that “The Trial Chamber should refrain from exercising its discretion and issuing a subpoena for several reasons.”

These reasons, defense lawyers say include “Naomi Campbell’s evidence is of low probative value  and is tangential to the real issues in the case.”

“Secondly, the evidence that Naomi Campbell could put before the court is obtainable elsewhere. Thirdly, the Prosecution must be aware that Naomi Campbell will likely be a hostile witness and should not be allowed to subpoena her as such. Finally, the Trial Chamber should be cautious about issuing an order that might not be enforceable.”

“The Defense contends that Naomi Campbell’s only utility would be to bring unwarranted media attention to the proceedings, it cannot be said that her testimony is necessary to try the case fairly,” defense lawyers say.

The response concludes that the prosecution request should be denied by the judges.

On Tuesday, Mr. Taylor’s 13th witness, a Sierra Leonean national and former executive member of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) – the rebel group that Mr. Taylor is accused to have provided support for – told the court that  RUF leader Foday Sankoh personally gave him (the witness) an amount of $30,000, which he took to a soldier in Liberia, who was an officer in the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping force in Liberia. The amount was for the supply of arms and ammunition to the RUF. This arrangement was facilitated by a Liberian national called Saye Boayue. Defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Terry Munyard, sought to know how the witness and his RUF counterparts intended to transport the arms and ammunition from Liberia if they were supplied by the ECOMOG officer.

“I was supposed to receive the arms and ammunition from the ECOMOG man, he has to make sure that he leads me to the border of Sierra Leone and Liberia, then hand those arms and ammunition to a man called Michael Mike Lamin,” the witness explained.

Mr. Lamin himself was a senior Commander in the RUF.

Asked by Mr. Munyard whether he knew “how much, what quantity of arms and ammunition you were expecting to accompany to the border,” the witness said, “I didn’t know how much.”

The witness explained, however, that the arms deal with the ECOMOG office was futile because the officer had failed to deliver the arms and ammunition after receiving the money from him.

Prosecutors have argued that it was Mr. Taylor who supplied the RUF with arms and ammunition in return for blood diamonds mined by the rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations.

As the witness concluded his direct-examination on Tuesday, prosecution counsel Nicholas Koumjian commenced the cross-examination of the witness immediately. Mr. Koumjian sought to know about what happened to the diamonds mined by the RUF, especially in the late 1990s, to which the witness said that the only person who can answer that question would be Issa Hassan Sesay.  Mr. Sesay, the former Interim Leader of the RUF, is now serving a sentence of 52 years imprisonment in a Rwandan jail after Special Court for Sierra Leone judges convicted him for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in the territory of Sierra Leone from 1996 to 2002.

“Diamonds that were reserved by the RUF, these diamonds, the only one that can tell about the whereabouts of these diamonds is Issa Sesay himself,” the witness said.

He said that Mr. Sesay had kept some of the diamonds and told them he was doing so for RUF leader Mr. Sankoh, who at that time was incarcerated in Nigeria. The witness agreed with Mr. Koumjian that diamonds mined by the RUF in Sierra Leone had not been of any benefit to the people of the country.

“My Lord, I did not see any benefit, there was no benefit for the people of Sierra Leone,” the witness said.

Prosecutors allege that diamonds mined by the RUF in Sierra Leone were taken to Mr. Taylor in Liberia. Mr. Taylor has denied receiving any diamonds from the RUF.

On Wednesday, DCT-292 told the court that the NPFL fighters who went to Sierra Leone did so voluntarily and allegations that they were sent by Mr. Taylor were wrong. The witness mentioned that NPFL commanders Anthony Menkunagbe, Dupoe Menkazohn, Francis Menwon, and Nixon Gaye, among many others, volunteered to help the RUF in Sierra Leone. These Liberian fighters, prosecution witnesses have said, committed atrocities in Sierra Leone and were later forced to leave the country. The witness said that he cautioned RUF leader Foday Sankoh to seek advice from Mr. Taylor even though the men had indicated that they were in Sierra Leone to help the RUF voluntarily. Prosecution counsel Nicholas Koumjian had his doubts.

“Sir, when you said that he [Foday Sankoh] should go talk to Charles Taylor, that was because you knew that these Liberian soldiers who were creating the problems were under the command of Charles Taylor, correct?” Mr. Koumjian asked the witness.

In his response, the witness said that “when they came they said they were not under the supervision, so I came to conclude that it was not Charles Taylor that sent these people.”

“I told Foday Sankoh to go back and tell Charles Taylor about it,” he added.

“Because you understood Charles Taylor was able to command those men, correct?” Mr. Koumjian asked again.

“He was their leader, yes, he can command them,” the witness responded.

Regarding the prosecution suggestion as to why he did not ask Mr. Sankoh to inform Amos Sawyer, who was the interim Liberian president at that time, the witness agreed with Mr. Koumjian that  it was Mr. Taylor who had control over the Liberian fighters.

On Thursday, as he concluded his testimony, DCT-292 agreed with prosecutors that Mr. Taylor lied in his testimony that he did not ask RUF commander Issa Sesay to take his fellow RUF commander Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone. After falling out with the RUF leader Foday Sankoh in 1999, Mr. Bockarie relocated to Liberia with Mr. Taylor’s approval. When RUF leader Mr. Sankoh was arrested by the government of Sierra Leone in 2000, prosecutors say that Mr. Taylor asked interim leader of the RUF Mr. Sesay to allow Mr. Bockarie to rejoin the RUF and go back to Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor in his testimony denied this account. On Thursday, Mr. Taylor’s own witness DCT-292 told the court that it was in his presence that Mr. Taylor asked Mr. Sesay to allow Mr. Bockarie to go back to Sierra Leone.

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, I did 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.

Also on Thursday, former Liberian Legislator and member of the NPFL, Mrs. Annie Yeney commenced her testimony as Mr. Taylor’s 14th witness.

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 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.

On Friday, prosecutors  questioned Mrs. Yeney about the death of Mr. Dokie, who prosecutors alleged was assassinated on the orders of Mr. Taylor because the former Liberian president believed that Mr. Dokie and other NPFL members wanted to form a rival faction to pose a threat to his (Taylor) bid for the Liberian presidency. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.

The witness, who told the court on Thursday that Mr. Dokie’s wife was her sister, on Friday said that she could not tell whether members of the Dokie family were killed on the orders of Mr. Taylor. Alongside another popular Liberia politician, Jackson Doe, prosecutors allege that Mr. Dokie was assassinated because he was about to depart for neighbouring Guinea to meet another NPFL dissident Laveli Supuwood. Mr. Supuwood is now a part of Mr. Taylor’s defense team. Asked whether these allegations were true, Mrs. Yeney said she did not know.

Mrs. Yeney denied that her loyalty to Mr. Taylor had motivated her to travel to The Hague to testify for the former Liberian president. She said that she decided to testify because she wanted to refute claims by prosecution witness Mr. Marzah that she cooked Mr. Dokie’s liver as a meal and served Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly providing support to RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict. The former president has denied the charges against him.


  1. In all earnestly I really get a kicked out of Alphas’ summary. At the end, Alpha always concludes “Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly providing support to RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict. The former president has denied the charges against him”.

    This is what freak me up; in the body of the summary there is almost nothing pertaining to Sierra Leone. At the end he concludes “Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly providing support to RUF during the Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict”.

    Alpha, your summary is accurate; I am only pointing out the prosecution is on the right train, but on the wrong track.

    Where is the beef?

  2. Bravo! to Alpha, for an excellent overviews of the week, as I stand to be corrected,an admission during mrs. Yeney testimony today 5/4/10 when asked by judge Sebutidine about receiving the remains of the Dokie family after their execution, in caskets, although she claimed they were her own sister and brother in law, she did not open the casket to see if their bodies where actually in it, even the judge without mr. Bangura’s imputs when after her asking how would she have known if she burried stones or her beloved relatives as she claimed?and no concrete answer was obtained.again at some point, when asked by mr. Bangura if she was personally close to the Charles Taylor family in Liberia? although she tries to stay away from being a Taylor loyalist but admitted to being the God mother to Taylor’s daughter. all of these strange admissions has discredited her testomonies, and usually these are signs of cover ups associated with quilt, and QUILTY it will be…..

    1. Ziggy Silas,
      I was a little surprised that Judge Subintude asked Mrs. Yeney on why she didn’t open the casket of her sister and brother in law. The defense lawyer on re cross did ask Mrs. Yeney if she had ever seen a burnt corspe and her answer was yes. The reason the funeral home asked her not to open the casket was becasue of the deplorable state of the bodies after being burnt.

      I myself saw the victims of a plane crash once when I was a child. Believe those burnt corspes still haunt me today.

  3. Big B,
    Your beef with Alpha is analogous to a chicken that apportioned blame to the knife for slaughtering it rather than the person who is using the knife.
    You should blame the prosecution for accusing Taylor of providing support to RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict or better still blame Taylor for providing support to the RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict and yet denying the charges against him.
    Please leave Alpha alone and let him do his work.

    1. Morris,

      You must have misunderstood what you read, or you must have deliberately failed to comprehend what you read.

      For you to better understand what I wrote, I will take the time to copy and paste what I wrote, then I will explain what I wrote in SIMPLE ENGLISH.

      On June 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm, Big B said:

      In all earnestly I really get a kicked out of Alphas’ summary. At the end, Alpha always concludes “Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly providing support to RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict. The former president has denied the charges against him”.

      This is what freaks me up; in the body of the summary there is almost nothing pertaining to Sierra Leone. At the end he concludes “Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly providing support to RUF during the Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict”.

      Alpha, your summary is accurate; I am only pointing out the prosecution is on the right train, but on the wrong track.

      Where is the beef?

      Fist of all there is no beef between Alpha and I. Where is the beef, is a phase commonly use similar to our Liberian saying ‘Show me your juice.” In this instance, I referred to “where is the beef?” as to where is the evidence?

      I stated that Alpha’s summary is accurate. However, the body (the entire) summary is all about Liberia, nothing about Sierra Leone. So, it appears as if President Taylor is on trial for crimes committed in Liberia. Alpha is right for reporting that way, because that’s exactly what is going on.

      The prosecution is on the right train, but on the wrong track means: atrocities did happened in Sierra Leone, and the prosecution has the moral obligation to prosecute those who are responsible, but the prosecution has the wrong man.

      GOT IT!

      1. Hi Davenport,

        I am not entirely sure of the context of the reference, as I am just back after my long absemse and still catching up with the conversations here, but I do appreciate your thoughtfulness in terms of language. To the extent we can make our conversations here as accessible to everyone as possible without impacting readers’ ability to express themseleves about the trial, that would be helpful in ensuring we are all talking about the same issues here.

        Very best,

        1. Tracey,

          I myself am returning after several days away and caught on a conversation between Big B and Morris which somewhat focuses on Alpha, a non-Liberian. I added my voice to that debate to reassure, if you will, some of my non-Liberian friends who visit and read these transcripts with me and at times get lost in the meaning and application of certain phrases particularly known to our culture…and would ask me to explicate. I wanted to assure them that we are inclusive and our language is culturally and globally friendly on this site.

          I was not defending Alpha or Morris or critiquing Big B.

          You may delete that post…please delete it.

          1. Davenport — I hope I have deleted the right post that you wanted removed? Let me know if not.

          2. Tracey,

            You have and I consider myself out of that particular conversation. Thanks, my dearest sister.

            One thing though…and this is not triangulation…but before and after my return I noticed some posts or concerns directed to my brother, Alpha, which he is yet to address. I know he is very busy at the moment with narrowing down a bulky boring paper work into a short form for us to read and discuss but I encourage him to PLEASE find time to respond (just a line will do) to posts directed or partially directed to him.

          3. Hi Davenport — I will see Alpha tomorrow and pass on your thought to him. I know he has been so busy the last few weeks trying to do the reports and moderate the comments, so he has been doing twice the work. I am sure he will respond if he can.

  4. Big B,
    Alpha is a Sierra Leonean who I believe believe Mr. Taylor is GUILTY. Unfortunately, the trial has gone out of his scope of framing the FACTS/EVIDENCES presented. Seriously, I think he is disapponted after been told or hearing of this MONSTER only to find out he is just as human like we all. Yes, Mr. Taylor did do WRONGS that he should be hang for but the CHARGES and the MANDATE of this court have given him ALL EXCUSES and REASONS to walk.

    I say bring him to court for his action in Liberia; there is NO EXCUSE or ESCAPE ROUTE but then, ALL will have to stand trial and the DIRTY HANDS of the US and Britain will be EXPOSE and that’s the hold up. Plus, whatever action will have to be approved by the LEG of Liberia and the warlords and few have said LET BEGONE BE BEGONE….MOVE FORWARD. I agree!!!!

    Another question, why wasn’t Libya charged in this case?? Former President Bush just told us the US violated int’l law by waterboarding, will be charged??

  5. @Big B

    Its interesting to note that all the questions are focused on Liberia and someone please help why it is so when the trial is on RUF rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict.



    1. Yes and HELL YES!!! If Liberia wants to try him she will be WELCOME to but as far as my eyes can see…IT WON’ T HAPPEN!!

  7. I have been dragging myself behind this Taylor trial for time enough, and I get is fatigue and endless questions about Liberia and the Liberians civil war. The judges with all their brightest flashlights has given us ( justice-lovers) nothing but reasons to yield enough! If Taylor is accused supporting rebels in S. Leone, he should not be the one to provide evident for the crimes he’s accused of committing. It is logical to say if a man says you store from him, let that man prove himself right of charging his accused for whatsoever makes him think he’s right. Taylor had enough, and it’s time he become the one to question for evident of the crimes he is accused of.

    Your honors, give us reason to conclude that Charles G. Taylor is guilty for “supporting rebels, and taking S. leone diamonds for personal gains” during the nation’s civil war era?

  8. Tracey,
    I want to thank you so,so much for this intervention. I believe everyone here is some how versed with the english language. We have a very importanton going discussion which has to do with the moral asperation and intent degradation of our civil society. Nobody came on this site to be tutored english, eventhough, the constructive ones are appreciated. Once again , thank you…

  9. I say we get this trial over with. He should be dead, just as he killed many Africans.

    He shouldn’t have a defense lawyer, he knows what he did, we know what he did. How can someone defend someone who killed thousand of innocent people.

  10. Big B,
    You are confused and I don’t blame you too much. If I were in your shoes I may have likely done the same. To hold a man in high esteem, see him as a savior and be willing to lay down your life for him only to see this man devilish deeds being unearthed before your naked eyes is hard to accept and can led to denial and seeing others as enemies.
    The word’beef’ was not cooked up by me. I simply quoted you. It is really pathetic that you reserved one meaning of the word’beef’ when used by you and a completely different meaning when you are quoted directly by a hater of murderers, rapists and looters.
    Do you expect Alpha to give summary of the court proceeding about Sierra Leone when the court proceeding was largely about Liberia? That is why I said you should blame the prosecution for largely asking questions about Liberia or better blame Taylor for getting involve with Sierra Leone. If that constitutes misunderstanding or inability to comprehend then I rather remain in such state then seek your type of understanding and comprehension.
    In fact, Alpha is doing extremely well reminding us that the case is about Sierra Leone despite most of the proceeding being center on Liberia. For that we should be grateful to him rather than holding beef with him.

  11. Hi

    I have followed the Taylor’s trial a quite long time now. The new development from the prosecution is a mere joke and an affront to justice. The Prosecution had all the time preparing its case. I believe the discovery of information/ evidences should have been completed before bring a suit. I am urging the Special Court Judges to deny the motion based on the argument of the Defense counsel.



  12. I am very happy with the way the trail is going. I am not sure that this trail will be free and fair because the prosicuter witness cambell cut the case. What is the hold on?

    Please let Mr. Taylor to come home and live with us.

    We want to go back on the farm. We want to see him back home

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