Judges Grant Prosecution Request, Cross-Examination Of Witness DTC-190 Set For Monday June 21, 2010

Today, judges pushed back the cross-examination of a former Liberian fighter for another 11 days, as prosecutors prepare to challenge his account of the role foreign agents played in trying to bring down the government of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, during the West African regional conflict in the 1990s. 

Prosecutors started to question DCT-190, the fifteenth defense witness for Charles Taylor, this morning about the establishment of the Liberians United Democratic Forces (LUDF) and the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia under the leadership of Roosevelt Johnson (ULIMO-J), both groups to which the witness belonged and said were set up in Sierra Leone to attack Mr. Taylor in Liberia.

“We joined ULIMO for our own safety in Sierra Leone. The second aim, as I told you, was to overthrow Mr. Taylor,” the witness told the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Asked by prosecutor, Katherine Howarth, whether he had told defense lawyers that “once Charles Taylor became the president of Liberia, ULIMO-J became the target,” the witness said no.

“I told my team that ULIMO only became a target after the Njala House incident,” DCT-190 said.

Njala House was where ULIMO-J leader Mr. Johnson lived, and the incident relates to skirmishes between Mr. Johnson’s forces and troops loyal to Mr. Taylor.  West African peacekeepers based in Liberia provided support to ULIMO-J forces to ensure the safety of Mr. Johnson, to attack the Barclay Training Center to get arms and ammunition, and then to attack and capture Mr. Taylor, the witness said.

Earlier this week, prosecutors had asked Mr. Taylor’s defense team to disclose all statements by DCT-190 – by today, the defense team had handed over more than 30 pages. Prosecutors asked that they be given more time to investigate the content of the witness statements in Sierra Leone and asked for cross-examination to start in earnest on June 21.  The judges agreed.

This witness had testified in chief with partial protective measures and spoken extensively about his involvement with various fighting forces in Sierra Leone and Liberia. When Mr. Taylor’s rebel forces attacked Liberia in 1989, the witness became part of a team to start a rebel faction LUDF, a group which later morphed into ULIMO-J under the leadership of Mr. Johnson. The objective of ULIMO, the witness said was to fight against Mr. Taylor’s forces. The witness said he was later recruited into Sierra Leone’s Civil Defense Forces (CDF) which aimed to forcefully remove from power, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and Revolutionary United Front (RUF) junta, which had overthrown the democratically elected government of Sierra Leone in 1997. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Taylor provided support for the AFRC/RUF junta through the supply of arms and ammunition in exchange for diamonds. Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations. According to the witness, with support from Sierra Leonean and Guinean authorities, he was also recruited into the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group, a group which launched a rebel war against Mr. Taylor’s government in Liberia around 1999/2000. Mr. Taylor who has denied sending fighters to Sierra Leone to assist the RUF has said that the West African region had become volatile due to the conflicts in the region and so it became very easy to move fighters, arms and ammunition across borders. The former president accused foreign powers of helping dissident groups to bring his government down while he was president of Liberia. This witness corroborates Mr. Taylor’s account about the conflict in the West African region.

A new defense witness will appear tomorrow.


    1. Hi Andrew– I’ll check in with Alpha to see if he’s had problems. He hasn’t mentioned anything so far, but will double check. Today, the proceedings also ended earlier than usual too.

    2. Ms. Howarth’s cross examination of defense witness DTC-190 on 10 June was nothing less then boring. All what Ms Howarth did was to read back the witness testimony under direct and asked the witness if the testimony was correct.

      The one thing that cough my attention was the continue questions by Ms Howwarth, asking the witness “did you tell anybody that the RUF assisted the NPLF to fight in Sierra Leone, did you tell anybody… I was thinking to myself the way in which Ms Howarth was asking the witness these questions “did you tell anybody’…was the ground work to call in (subpoena) new witnesses to testify that indeed DTC-190 told them whatsoever.

      Surprisingly, prior the end of adjournment Judge Sabatinde asked Ms. Howarth was there a reason for her line of questioning? She Ms Howarth clandestinely smile and answered yes.

      I may be reading too much into this, but if my insight is true, why would the prosecution want to introduce new witnesses at this time in the trial, when there has not been a decision render on the Ms Campbell saga? I think it is a wait and see situation.

  1. one of the most troubling thing is that Charles Taylor is not being held accounted for, for things he did in Liberia. We should also bring George Bush to the hague for crime against humanity in Somalia, Iraq and everywhere else. America should be brough to justice for what happened in Panama and Nacarigra. Tubman legacy should be denounce in the U.N. and everywhere civilize people sit to talk about world issues, for dropping the atomic bomb on innocent men, women and children in Japan (imojima and nacarsakie..that if the spelling is correct). The legacy of JFK must be denounced because he turn his back on the congo and black people in the south. Western uphold and praises their murderers…I am not saying that the dispeakable crime that happened in sierra leone should be put aside and the responsible parties should not be held for it?..All i am saying is that if we want justice in this world..we must give justice to all…

    1. Togba, you could probably take your case to the U.N. because this is the wrong Forum to channel your grievances. we are concerned, here about taylor’s despicable crimes of rapes, murders, misuse of power to intervene and join the RUF to commit crimes against Humanity, and deaths of countless number of africans! He did not go after Whites nor Chinese. Neither was his crimes directed against Asians! Do you now get the road map, Togba? Chill Brother!

        1. Davenport,
          Let’s put it this way….the score is so ONE SIDED that I’ve decided NOT to make the prosecutors look like FOOLS or chickens without heads. In any Western Court, this case would have been thrown out before it even got started.

          The BIG HANDS thought it was a SEALED CASES and all we got is a MUD HILL that cannot hold up to the test of time….sad. The fund wasted in this case could have HELP the people of Sierra Leone more.

          Is Mr. Taylor on trial for Liberia??

      1. Agree, JFallahmenjor.

        This trial and site is about Taylor’s case…punctuated. Let us not get others involved.

        Tracey, what is the logic of partial protection of this witness…what is protected and what is not? Please offer your legal perspective.

        1. Davenport — let me chat to Alpha about the parameters of the protective measures and get back to you.

  2. Taylor has the audaucity to accuse foreign goverment of assisting other forces to destroy ‘his government’? What was his objective going to Liberia in 1989 with the help of foreign goverments? Was it to lend a helping hand to Doe… Taylor stated on nightline in 1990 that if Doe did not step down he Taylor would’kill’ Doe (the video is on Youtube go watch it). He (Taylor) got into power by destroying the previous government in the name of a ‘revolution’…by his own example he stated that if the people were unhappy with their government they could unite and remove the government… so can’t LURD and all the other dummies do the same? Why was it such an issue for Taylor? Ha What goes around comes around. I am so delighted that the Hague and SCSL is ‘wasting’ according to Taylorist, their money and have the courage to pursue justice for Sierra Leoneans. I only hope that one day Liberians can do the same.

    1. No Ms. Teage…not AUDAUCITY but simply put…JOHN’s PALM OIL WASTED ON JOHN’s, PAUL’s and DAVID’s rice. You see Mr. Taylor knew of the game and how it’s played…..He knew who send LURD and today, you and I are getting some of the BACKGROUNDS dealings.

      As for Liberia getting a Special Court….maybe in our next lifes but it won’t happen today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The Parlament of SL passed the Bill because within, there were NO WAR LORDS….do you believe Prince Johnson and the rest will hang themselves?? What about Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf?? There will be NO Pres. Kabbah motion….excusing herself and letting others be punish.

  3. BIG B,
    I see it differently.
    I think Ms Howwarth asking the witness “did you tell anybody that the RUF assisted the NPLF to fight in Sierra Leone, did you tell anybody……,,” has everything to do with the witness recorded testimony that Taylor defend lawyers have been compelled by the Judges to turn over to the prosecution. I guess that in that record it may be written there that this defend witness said those very statements he were being asked about by Ms. Howwarth. Considering this is the prosecution normal pattern of cross examination, and Ms Howwarth smiling and answering yes when asked by Judge Sabatinde whether there was a reason for her line of questioning tell me that Taylor only serious witness (only defend witness thus far who seems not to have any relationship with Taylor, Taylor’s cohorts, NPFL, NPRAG , NPP and Taylor’s stooges called the RUF) so-called recorded testimony is an arsenal in the hands of the prosecution.
    The fact that this defend witness recorded testimony was completely ignored during his testimony in chief and the summary given to the prosecution by the defend declared “grossly inadequate” by the indefatigable Judge Sabatinde tells me that my guess may not be farfetched.
    Anyway, let wait for actually cross examination of that witness and see.

  4. Morris,

    Are you sure the judges asked the defense team to turn over recorded testimony or written testimony? We need to set the record straight here.

  5. Big B,
    I’m very sorry if I created the impression that the judges ordered the defend team to turn over audio or video recording of the witness testimony. I really thought written testimony is also a recorded testimony.
    Since I’m thin on judiciary jargons, I hope Tracey can help me in this regard.

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