Zig Zag Marzah Did Not Have Physical Proximity To Charles Taylor, Witness Says

The prosecution witness and former member of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group, Joseph Zig Zag Marzah, did not have physical proximity to the former Liberian president, a former radio operator attached to Mr. Taylor’s Special Security Service (SSS) unit told the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague today.

In 2008, Mr. Marzah testified as a prosecution witness in The Hague, and he told the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges that Mr. Taylor personally gave him orders to  carry out executions of individuals in Liberia and that as members of the same secret society, himself and Mr. Taylor feasted on human beings, who had been executed on Mr. Taylor’s orders. Mr. Marzah also told the court that on Mr. Taylor’s instructions, he transported arms and ammunition to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone in exchange for Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds.

During Mr. Taylor’s almost seven months of testimony in his own defense, he dismissed Mr. Marzah’s evidence as lies, telling the judges  that illiteracy could be responsible for Mr. Marzah concocting such stories against him.

Today, defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Morris Anyah, asked DCT-008, Mr. Taylor’s 20th defense witness, whether it was possible for Mr. Marzah and Mr. Taylor to share a meal together.

“Did the president of Liberia have one on one interaction, such as meals, with someone like Zig Zag Marzah?” Mr. Anyah asked the witness.

“No,” the witness responded.

“Were you there?” Presiding judge of the Trial Chamber Justice Julia Sebutinde asked the witness.

In response, the witness explained, “Your honor, I said no because looking at the personnel in this situation, because even the special assistant to Benjamin Yeaten, Samson Wai, did not have physical proximity to the president.”

“Marzah was just like a servant to Benjamin Yeaten,” the witness added.

When asked whether radio operators had access to former president Taylor, the witness said, “During the time that I was assigned to the Executive Mansion, I never had the privilege to see the president because he was very far from us. We’ll sometimes see his convoy from our office but we never went very close to him.”

DCT-008 also spent a considerable amount of time today discussing the radio communications that took place between the radio communication set that was installed at Mr. Yeaten’s residence in Liberia called Base One and the radio set that was used by RUF commander Sam Bockarie, located at the RUF headquarters in the Sierra Leonean town of Buedu.

In 2008, a prosecution witness testified that when Mr. Yeaten and Mr. Bockarie wanted to talk with each other, one radio operator from either Sierra Leone or Liberia would call the radio set on the other side and say, “The principal on this side wants to talk to the principal on that side.”

DCT-008 dismissed this testimony as a lie, telling the court that while radio communications took place between the two stations, no titles were used during the communication.

“No one was referred to as principal during the communication between Buedu and Base One,” he said.

The witness also added that contrary to prosecution evidence, the communications that took place between Liberia and Sierra Leone only started in the late 1990s, and evidence that such contact existed in the mid 1990s is false.

When DCT-008 explained, “To my knowledge, in [19] 94, 95 up to 97, there was no communication between the Government of Liberia or the NPFL at the time and the RUF,” a  judge of the Trial Chamber, Justice Richard Lussick, asked the witness, “How do you know?”

In response, the witness said, “I was told by previous operators that in 1991-92, there was communication between the NPFL and the RUF, but after that, there was no link between the NPFL and the RUF.”

When the Judge asked him to tell the court the names of the said previous operators who had told him so, the witness said, “Sorry I can’t remember their names…but I can remember this information.”

The witness also refuted evidence that when the RUF undertook operations in Sierra Leone, RUF commander Mr. Bockarie had radio contacts with SSS Director Mr. Yeaten. A prosecution witness told the court in 2008 that during conversations with Mr. Yeaten, he heard Mr. Bockarie respond with words like “yes sir,” inferring that Mr. Bockarie was taking orders for military operations from Mr. Yeaten.

In response to a question of whether Mr. Yeaten was “directing RUF ground operations by giving Sam Bockarie orders on the frontline,” DCT-008 said, “It is not to my knowledge that he [Yeaten] instructed Sam Bockarie on military operations.”

The witness was also confronted with prosecution evidence that when rebel forces invaded Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown in January 1999, Mr. Yeaten personally spoke with Mr. Bockarie on the radio during which conversation the SSS Director congratulated the RUF commander for his rebel group’s achievement. The witness dismissed this a as lie, saying that he never saw Mr. Yeaten personally speak on the radio.

“First of all, please be informed that there was no occasion that Benjamin Yeaten spoke on the radio with anybody. Sam Bockarie and Benjamin Yeaten never spoke to each other on the radio as far as I’m concerned,” the witness said.

While admitting that Mr. Yeaten had a strong relationship with the RUF, the witness insisted that the Liberian government had no knowledge of such a relationship.

“The Executive Mansion was completely ignorant of the relationship between Benjamin Yeaten and the RUF,” the witness said.

DCT-008’s testimony continues on Wednesday.


  1. Taylor Fanatics
    It seems that Yeaten was an entity all by himself and a renegade that ran amock in Liberia during Taylor’s administration. Taylor does not take kindly to people doing their own things and swaying away from his agenda. The executions of his former generals ( Sam Latoe, Oliver Varney, Nelson Gaye and Cassius Jacobs) just to name a few can attest to that. A friend of mine who was a colonel in the NPFL was once asked by me why he hadn’t become a general and he told me “no because from general you go to funeral,” meaning if you become a general and became too powerful, Taylor would kill you. So i find it extremely unbelievable that Yeaten acquired all this power and dealings and did not have a fallout with Taylor. Reason being is that Yeaten was carrying out the orders and agendas of Taylor. Pro- Taylor folks spare me that Taylor was unaware crap. Taylor had a cocentric circle around all his officers and officials (everybody was spying on somebody and everybody was being spied on by somebody). Yeaten having a cordial relationship with Issa and now Bockarie, selling arms to these RUF commanders, having a radio installed at his residence but never having communicated personally with his Sierra Leonean counterparts and Taylor not having any idea is a LIE to the highest degree. Taylor gave mandate to the operations of Yeaten and that is why he got away with it. I know what the pro-Taylor folks demand would be; show me proof in the form of visual or audio, but i tell you the proof is in his track record of executing renegade generals. WHY NOT YEATEN?

    1. Mr./mrs/sir/madame Nosirrah,
      I don’t know how aware are you of government security systems with regards to securities and counter securities..Do you expect the president to walk from his bed room in the morning and start to ask about what or who his SSS director was communicating with overnight or through out the day?? That would be STUPID. One good question you should ask yourself could be , where were all DE other government security agencies. This is a signal to let every liberian know that, we should not sit on our butts,stealing from government,getting paid at the same time, while expecting the president to do all the JOBS…IT WAS ALL PARTIES RESPONSIBILITY TO BRING BENJAMIN YEATEN TO BOOK…

    2. @nosirrah

      In following your logic/historical account, then it is plausible that Yeaten would want to keep his dealings with the RUF a secret from president Taylor.

      Can you share with us what made the generals you mentioned renegades?


      1. cee

        Wrong defendant, that was Mr. Sesay defense (unaware of the actions of his subordinates). Mr. Taylor defense is distancing himself from the RUF and claiming all known interaction with the RUF were for peaceful purposes. You are better off using the prosecution team paid the defense witness off. Because it seem like this defense witness is sabotaging the defense. Personally, I don’t think this guy will hold up under cross-examination.

        1. Well Al-Solo, with the cross examination of the witness now out of the way do you still stand by your view that the witness will not hold up under cross examination? I bet you wouldnt. he proved more than capable to tackle all prosecution tactics.

    3. Nosirrah!
      Your conclusion is completely out of place, one thing i notice on this forum is that when ever the truth is told then thats President Taylor’s fanatics. I don’t know where you were doing december 1989 and 1990s, when General Charles Julu was in charge along with George Dweh and if you ever live in Liberia i’m sure you know that those individuals were untouchable, and some of them commited serious crime that President Doe had no knowledge of. I was in Liberia and remember the Korando Jeep of General Charles Julu and George Dweh death squad and every house they visited they made sure to kill everyone including my brother. I’m so sick of this trials because it is not in the interest of Sierra Leone neither Liberia. God bless President Charles Taylor, God bless Liberia,

      1. Varney Johnson,
        My deepest sympathy for your brother.
        Because of the untamed actions of members of Doe’s security, tribalmen and other associates is the reason he bored the responsibilities of crimes and atrocities that were committed during his regime. Did anyone personally see Doe committ any crime? Did anyone see an order from Doe to orchestrate those crimes? I think it will be logical, reasonable and fair to hold everyone to the same standard; Doe , Taylor and every other leader. IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE FOR A LEADER. It is no one’s fault for an inept leader or his claim of ineptitude.

        1. Nosirrah,
          ( I stand corrected); There are liberians who give account of Does present in the Lutheran Church during the masacre. Also, I listen to Doe warning the people( parents) of Nimba county to advice their children during the NPFL incursion, that he would turned that economic hub of liberia into dust if they didn’t stop fighting his forces. In furtherance of his premature distructive illiterate and irresponsible ambition, he personally order his altellery commander to moved a forty barrels Romanian Missle to Nimba county, with the devious and inhumaine intent to distroy that part of his own country Liberia. But you know what,with GOD on the side of the the liberian people, galant well trained spcial forces commandos were able to capture that very deadly war machine, and it is now parked in Gborplay village. I PERSONALL KNOW WHERE IT IS PARKED…..CUZ I WAS THERE..

    4. Nosirah,
      So you think that the Defense team would be stupid enough to call this witness if they thought the judges were thinking the way you are ? You anti-Taylor folks amaze me.

      1. Aki,
        It is the defense team that thinks everyone including the judges are stupid to keep bringing these defense witnesses that lies about everything even the obvious; i.e (the training of the RUF in camp Nama without Taylor knowing).

        1. Dear Nosirrah,

          According to Issa Sesay, Camp Nama was where his initial training began. This was at a time pre-dated to the indictment of Mr. Taylor which is for all offences alleged to have been committed within the territory of SIERRA LEONE after 30 November 1996. I stand to be corrected perhaps, but I believe RUF training at Camp Nama had since come to an end prior to 1996.

  2. The voices of the attorneys and judges are too low to be heard clearly. Only the translator’s voice is being heard (very loudly). The sound engineer should do something about it.

    1. Simba,
      I lean with you…I don’t know how come they are noticing this voice problem. Being going on too long..Please alow us to hear the other people too..thank you

      1. I thought I was the only one. the translator voice is not only too loud but his tone and inflections are off base with certain witness. Moreover, he has made too many errors in translating. Lastly, the use of a translator for english speaking witnesses detracts from assessing veracity and at times makes the witness appear to be hostile. It also distracts from following the line of Q&A. I’m not implying that the UN court is being deliberate here, but it has been an ongoing problem for those who watch live and do not rely soley on the transcripts and “so called summaries”.

    2. Simbad
      Your are correct. I hope Tracey or Alpha can relate this information to the sound engineer. Only the interpreter voice is lound enough but the lawyers and judges voices are very very low.

  3. @ All

    When the judge asked the witness ” how do you know”, excellent question. HOW do we know any of the witnesses know or are being truthful? That is the problem with circumstantial evidence, forget about what the truth really is. What you know is good, what you can prove is KING. I can see an acquittal at this point. However, a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt, I can’t see. Like most learned persons, I must see the full complete transcripts of the secret testimony and know the identity of the persons giving any and all testimony. Otherwise, there is no real way for me to reach an informed decision. I know I know the judges are learned but they are under considerable political pressure.

    Laugh of the day:

    I heard that Liberian President Sirleaf was named one of the top ten presidents of the world despite the L- TRC recommending that she be banned from politics for 30 years for her financial contribution to the civil war.

    peace and blessings

    1. Dear Jocone,

      We cannot approve this comment because the letter you have provided accuses an individual of criminal acts that they have not been convicted of in a court of law. This goes against our policy for comments. However, if you would like to provide a link to where others can read the letter, you can do so, and we will then happily approve the comment.

      Thank you.

    2. cen

      What is funny about an African Leader getting recognition for her achievements in the reconstruction of a war torn country. Be very careful with yourself, because those inner feelings you have, are one of the reasons my people could not see peace. But it’s OK to express your feelings under President Sirleaf administration without fear of torture or death, is that the funny part you are talking about. We have a long way to go, but we are off to a good start.

      1. @ AL solo

        Your subtle threats don’t scare me. I will say what I want whenever I want. The reason Liberia has not seen peace is because people refuse to respect history. The real conflict started with the assassination of President Tolbert. By the way, who do you think opposed Liberia importing less rice and growing more rice during Tolbert’s administration?

        No it is funny BECAUSE the TRC reccomended that she not participate in LIBERIAN politics for THIRTY years! YET, she is determined to run again.

        peace and blessings

        1. Here we go again Cen;Ex-freed slaves vs Natives mentality that started the whole unrest in Liberia. Maybe the next time this fight has to be finished up! Seriously Cen! If this is how we have come to be, we are prepared and this time will be different, both emotionally and legally, Cen!

        2. cen

          My friend I just want to get one thing straight (before something happens to you and I’m in the same position as Mr. Taylor). I’m not the type of guy whom make threats publicly. I think you my have misunderstood my friendly advice. When you say “people refuse to respect history” I’m hoping you misspelled “the role of the government” for “history”. That is exactly what I was suggesting to you about your inner feelings (envy towards the role of the government, no respect for the role of the government, hatred towards the role of the government, etc..). Believing that the government is not fighting for us is a cause for us to fight for ourselves. But that’s only the fuel and ever fuel needs an igniter.

        3. @ 2JFMenjor
          never mind…it would go over your head anyway.

          @ Al solo
          I don’t require advice from you. Moreover, I don’t hate or envy any elected government.

          I respect elected governments. In fact, I give Sirleaf credit for wheeling and dealing with the westerners and the chinese. However, it doesn’t make her worthy of a place in the top ten leader post. This so called top ten leader is a cheap trick to influence the upcoming election. Sorry if you can’t handle the truth.

          Lastly, I don’t have any secret inner feelings. YOUR people can’t see peace b/c of rampant ignorance. Just note the deranged comments from JFMenjor about Ex-freed slaves vs Natives.

          Some of us have been convinced that the conflict is between and among Liberians…the truth is it is an all out modern day colonialism of Africa. Doe was an ignorant man of sorts that was placed in a position of power way beyond his capacity to handle. Moreover, Liberia was not and has not been the same since that fateful day and days that followed the coupe. I’m sorry if there are persons that can’t handle the truth. Until we educate ourselves and our fellow natives, we are destined to even greater exploitation by outsiders.

        4. cen

          I think we need to get an understanding on this TRC report. You really believe a group of people whom were appointed (not by the people of Liberia) can act as the judge, jury and executioner. These individuals over stepped their job title in the first place. This group of investigator’s should have put their findings on record and kept the recommendation with organizing a tribunal to prosecute the individual responsible. President Sirleaf have a constitutional right to run two terms. I don’t think her support for Mr. Taylor is a impeachable offense and if it is, the proper procedures should be used. We are entitled to our conspiracy opinion. I have one of my own and since you expressed your (“This so called top ten leader is a cheap trick to influence the upcoming election.”) I’ll express mine. I think the TRC report is tainted because Mr. Gyude Bryant (the chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia whom appointed the commissioners of the TRC) was involved in a corruption probe. How can we say with a 100% that the TRC commissioners did not hold a grudge with the President Sirleaf administration for the way they handled it.

          You describe my people as being “rampant ignorance”, if you believe that a recommendation to oust a siting president that have brought peace, reconstruction, foreign investments, debt relief, reestablishment of an armed forces, arms embargo relief is a form of “recommending measures to be taken for the rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations and reaffirming the commitment of the Liberian people to peace and justice, unity, national healing and reconciliation and the general principles of human and peoples’ right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia” then you need to take a look in the mirror and see who is displaying “rampant ignorance”. President Sirleaf is doing some of the things the TRC was mandated to do (https://www.trcofliberia.org/about/index/trc-mandate).

  4. Why do the Defence, and indeed Prosecution and Judges refer to the font size of their live notes?


  5. J. Fallah,

    Fallah post 30-08-2010 ”please do not compare the US Army that is not only well equiped, but follows the Geneva Conduct of War” Complete nonsense you must be a joker. Haven’t you hard about Iraq, Guantanamo Base, extraordinary rendition by the CIA to name but a few how are saying you are ignorant to the US Army/CIA evil deeds.

    Please, Please, Please Fallah do your research well before posting any crap on this website. A word for a wise is quite sufficient.

    Thank you.

    1. I am not sure, Joe3, if your comprehension of fallah’s posting is accurate because the crap you are expressing here shows lot of ignorance on your part;
      1. I am not a joker but if you think I am, so be it, because that is your opinion and you are entitled to it just like I am here!
      2. I live in the US and follow the news here every day. If the CIA is evil to you, that’s also fine with me because I am not any of that.
      3. You are probably new to this blog or you are old blogger coming under new name to pretend to increase the numbers of crap bloggers that have very little to offer to debate about taylor’s alleged crimes against the majority of native Sierra Leoneans and Liberians during his notorious quest to rule West Africa.
      Hope you re-evaluate your attacks because the facts are enough so far to have any one come on board to talk garbage! You need to go back and do some research on Fallah’s old postings and you will know how much reading you need to compare your anger against fallah, Jo3!

    2. @Joe3

      a word for the wise is sufficient, i agree. But what is sufficient for the not so wise? FJMenjor is not wise, he is a joker.

  6. Noko5,
    I was in Monrovia during the Octopus launched by Taylor in 1992 and clearly remembered sleeping outside in an open field many days to avoid being struck by the misilles that were sent by Taylor forces from Gardnersville and the swamps across the river from Jallah’s town and Crown hill. These rockets killed civilians indiscriminately until Ecomog used their jet fighters to peppered the swamps and silenced those assaults. You seem not to be getting my point; exonerating Taylor while demonizing Doe seem rather hypocritical. Your geography has moded your mindset. Like i have said on this site, i lived in Tappita, Lower Nimba County until March 27, 1990. Tappita was captured by NPFL on March 28,1990. For a person from Nimba, Doe is the ultimate evil and vice versa for those from the Krahn and Mandingoe tribes, Taylor is the ultimate evil. Öne man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” According to YOUR rule of conviction; show me the proof that Doe was in the Lutheran Church.

    1. Nosirrah,
      I strongly believe, you are missing the point. First and first of foremost. Nomatter who came and did what in Liberia, Samuel Doe was the prime introducer of mass killings and warfare in Liberia. HE HAD NO BUSINESS KILLING OUR PRESIDENT, WILLIAM R. TOLBERT. Even if Charles Taylor would be considered evil,in accord with your defination, it all came from what Samuel Doe intro…My proves are the Missile truck in Gborplay,the killing of Tolbert,killing of the 13 cabinet ministers…his death squad which was led by George Dweh, Charles Julu, Taylay..etc.
      Now, just to throw light on the mandingoes issue, those of them who got killed were those that took sides with Does evil forces..So, please lets give Doe his crown….For the Khrans, some decided to fight for the persistant retention of power didn’t care whether Liberians liked it or not.

      Believe it or not, some of the Khrans are still in the USA here making secret plans to take powers in Liberia. ( Between Philladelphia and Boston at most..just so you know).. AND WE ARE WATCHING THEM..

      1. Noko5,
        You are missing the point; these two (Taylor and Doe) is/was evil people that brought untold sufferings to the Liberian people. However, if you want to name names and deeds, i can very easily do the same. Who killed Coleman and his son? Tubman. Doe did not start the killing of opposition.
        Who killed Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopo, Dr Stephen Yekeson and Sam Dokie? just to name a few.
        The innocent krahns and mandingoes that were killed did not try to retain power. For the Mandingoes, it was jealousy. The people of Nimba felt there were taking over the county. The innocent Krahn and Mandingoes civilians that were killed in Fendell from July to October 1990 were not trying to keep Doe in power. Have you heard about Jack the rebel, Isaac Musa and Melvin Subane? All these guys as well as Julu and Taylay were/are bad people on both sides. I despise them all, but for you to only blame Doe and his collaborators is being disingenious. If Taylor is really the peace lover you guys claimed how come he did not disarm immediately when Doe was killed in September 1990? Taylor called for peace accords when he was about to be defeated only to go back to fighting when he had regroup. Taylor left in 2003 because he knew he was about to be killed. He learned from Doe’s mistake and not because he wanted peace. He is the biggest coward i have ever seen. He came to Fendell in August 1990 and will not even get out of his silver mercedes jeep despite Fendell being under his control for over two months.
        The reason i and others on this site wants Taylor convicted for his crimes is to deter future rebels as the Krahns you claimed. If Taylor does not pay for his crimes, every Tom, Dick and Harry who feels disenfranchised will want to wage war in Liberia and i don’t think you want that unless you are a soldier of fortune who thrives in a war. If Doe killed and Taylor killed ,what does that make them? Killers. Doe did not make Taylor to wage any war, Taylor had an inherent niche to do evil and he unfortunately passed the genes to Chuckie.

      2. Noko5 It is probably not the Khrans alone planning for the next ‘show down’ except the rhetorics on behalf of taylor tones down by so call supporters on this blog, or else the Tribes of upper Lofa will rise up for revenge too! We are awared of all the sarcastic remarks coming from cousins and kins of taylor, thus adding inflamatory reactions from people like me , that lost thousands.

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