Witness Disagrees That Charles Taylor’s NPFL Had A Small Boys Unit

As his cross-examination moved into a second week, Charles Taylor’s 20th defense witness today disagreed with prosecutors that Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group had a Small Boys Unit (SBU) during Liberia’s civil conflict.

Prosecutors allege that the SBU comprised of children, who were forcefully conscripted and used for combat purposes by Mr. Taylor’s rebel forces in Liberia. These children did not only fight in frontlines, but were also used to man NPFL checkpoints and served as bodyguards to NPFL rebel commanders, prosecutors say. It is also alleged that this practice was replicated by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone, who Mr. Taylor is alleged to have controlled and supported during the 11 year conflict in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.

In his testimony as a defense witness for Mr. Taylor, DCT-008 has told the court that the NPFL did not use children in combat or to man checkpoints. According to the witness, commanders only lived with their younger brothers, who helped them perform domestic chores, and these were the ones called SBUs. They neither took part in combat, nor were they made to man checkpoints or to serve as bodyguards to rebel commanders, the witness said.

Today, Chief Prosecutor Brenda Hollis challenged the witness on the NPFL’s use of SBUs.

When asked whether “it is true that the NPFL did indeed have a unit called SBU,” DCT-008 said, “No.”

When the prosecutor stated that “these SBUs were used at checkpoints,” the witness said, “No.”

“My testimony is that the NPFL did not have any unit called the SBU. The SBU was the name given to those young boys who were with their big brothers and sisters, but they were not part of the NPFL,” DCT-008 said.

“They were not soldiers, they were not gun carriers,” he added.

Ms. Hollis read a portion of the statement made to defense lawyers by Mr. Taylor’s first witness, Yanks Smythe, a Gambian member of the NPFL who later attained Liberian citizenship and was appointed Liberian ambassador to Libya and Tunisia. In the statement, Mr. Smythe was quoted as saying to defense lawyers that the “SBUs were underaged but part of the NPFL rank.”

When this was presented to the witness with a suggestion that he also knew of the SBUs being part of the NPFL, DCT-008 said, “I don’t know that, I don’t know of a unit called SBU and there was no unit in the NPFL called SBU.”

Put to him again that Mr. Smythe said in his statement that “SBUs will bear arms to protect gates or checkpoints but not to go to the frontlines,” the witness said, “I don’t know that.”

The witness also refuted allegations that Mr. Taylor personally had SBU’s assigned to him, telling the court, “Mr. Taylor to my knowledge never had SBU’s around him.”

Ms. Hollis also quoted John T. Richardson, a former member of the NPFL and National Security Adviser to Mr. Taylor who in a 1994 news interview said, “The NPFL used children to fight for their own protection.”

The witness still insisted, “I am not aware of that.”

Earlier in the morning, the witness attempted to make corrections to certain aspects of his testimony given to the court last week about being present when RUF commander Sam Bockarie said that Vamunya Sherif, a previous prosecution witness and a member of Mr. Taylor’s security apparatus, had sold arms and ammunition to the RUF. The witness also told the court last week that the Special Security Services (SSS) communications office was located on the 4th floor of the Executive Mansion, an account that is contrary to that given by Mr. Taylor himself that the communications office was located on the 5th floor of the mansion.

Today, as his cross-examination was about to recommence, the witness told the court, “I want to make a correction on my testimony regarding Vamunya Sherif and also some clarification concerning the 5th floor.”

Both Ms. Hollis and the presiding judge of the Trial Chamber, Justice Julia Sebutinde, told the witness that any clarifications to his earlier testimony will be made during re-examination by defense lawyers.

Ms. Hollis took further steps to suggest that the witness had notes in his room which he uses to cross-check his daily testimony, a suggestion which the witness denied and to which defense lawyers objected.

“Do you have notes in your room? Because this is the second time you have said you want to clarify something…because when you go back and study your notes, you realize you have deviated from your notes and you come back and try to rescript your evidence,” Ms. Hollis questioned the witness.

“I do not have any notes in my room,” the witness responded.

When defense lawyers objected to this line of questioning, the presiding judge upheld the defense objection and cautioned Ms. Hollis not to put such questions to the witness when there was no evidence to support suggestions that the witness did indeed have notes in his room.

DCT-008’s cross-examination continues on Tuesday.


  1. It’s ironic that exculpatory evidence made by prosecution “supposed to have been” witness DCT-097 to an agent of the prosecution Global liar, I meant Global witness, judges MUST request Global witness to turned over said evidence to the defense.

    The exculpatory evidence has a much greater weight in this trial then the Noemi Campbell’s subpoena. DCT-097 was a potential witness for the prosecution. Even though, DCT-097 did not come into the court room to testified, but he (DCT -097) was assigned a witness number by the prosecution. Therefore, it’s irreverent for the prosecution to argue because DCT-097 did not testify in court means that DCT-097 was never a witness.

    Furthermore, to add insult to injury, it’s alleged that the prosecution paid DCT-097 in the amount of thirty thousands United States dollars to lie on President Taylor. In the final analysis, the prosecution had to cut DCT-097 loosed because he (DCT-097) was not giving the prosecution what they wanted. Copies of money grams, western union are available with the defense. The prosecution has a serious witness credibility issue.

    What the prosecution failed to know is a crime has been committed. The defense has always alleged that the prosecution paid her witnesses to lie. Bribery of witnesses by the prosecution is not a new discovery. The defense has always been excusing the prosecution of bribery.

    Will these judges give tacit consent to something wrong and deny the only major submission made by the defense, while on the other hand, have allowed nonessential submissions made by the prosecution? I don’t think so.

    These judges are people of high moral standings. Under no circumstances will they jeopardized their profession, decency and morality, despite the tremendous pressure imposed upon them to convict even if the evidence is not there.

    May almighty God give these judges the Wisdom of Solomon and the fearless heart of David to render justice without fear or favor.

    1. Big B

      I think the defense team is setting up for a possible appeal on those grounds. The prosecution team has also paved the way for a possible appeal due to new evidence. There will be an appeal to guilty or not guilty verdict and I think both side has a good argument.

      1. Nyonteh,

        The defense may most likely be the one to take an appeal if President Taylor is found guilty. The SCSL is finance by donor countries such as, Nigeria, USA, among others with GB carrying the greatest financial burden. I may be wrong, but I don’t see a correlation between these countries to finance this trial any farther. A financial correlation was formed in the first instance because Steven Rapp, David Crane etc… lied that this case was a “Slam Dunk” similar to WMD in Iraq.

        Long story short, this is THE best shot the prosecution has, if the prosecution doesn’t get a guilty verdict that’s the end of the ginger bread boy.

        That’s my take.

  2. How can this witness’es, DCT 008, account have any credibility when he is denying existence of SBU within the NPFL. This is a slap in the face of truth.

    1. Vem,
      The issue is, was there an ESTABLISH UNIT within the structure of NPFL called SMALL UNIT?? The answer is NO but there were older fighter that brought their younger siblings along with them….and in the end, those younger crew were given assignments by them or/and perhaps other older persons…

      The HIGHEST ranking member of NPFL who testified against Mr. Taylor, Mr. Moses Blah, told this court that there wasn’t any such unit but what I just told you….unless you are also saying the prosecutors witness Mr Blah LIED to the court.

      1. Noko4,
        The prosecution has been varying their story according to the testimony of defence witnesses.

        Remember that Mr Koumjian brought a purported list of SSS personel before the court during his cross examination of Issa Sessay where Mr Koumjian tried to use the list to prove his allegation that Jungle was a member of the SSS. Now in view of the central role Jungle played in the testimony of this witness, I wonder why Ms Hollis did not present that same list to this witness to su[pport her allegation that Jungle was indeed a member of the SSS deployed with the RUF instead of being an RUF member in his own right and not an SSS member.

        In her desperation to find something to cross examine this very credible witness about, Ms Hollis contradicted her most high ranking witness on the issue of SBU. I wonder what her opinion is honestly about the testimony of Isaac Mongor and Zigzag Marzah.

        1. Sam

          If the prosecution team suspicion are correct (or just having suspicion) about DCT 008 having notes prepared. Why would they present evidence to a individual whom have already planned the perfect why to refute the evidence.

  3. When I was a student I had a simple test of examining the abilities of my teachers.
    I developed a serious doubt in the abilities of teachers of knowing what I don’t know if they proved not to know what I already know.
    Why should we believe a witness who agree of not knowing the public knowledge that Taylor communication with Bockerie but claimed to know about the secret communication between Naten and Bockerie?

    1. Dear Vanie,

      The reason 008 would have knowledge of Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie; the witness worked for Benjamin Yeaten and the witness say Yeaten had shared information with him concerning Bockarie. The witness states that he had no contact with Mr. Taylor other than when the witness installed radio equipment with Mr. Taylor’s directions.

      1. Sekou,
        Vanie’s logic is the logic of the prosecution and their supporters. they are the only ones who can make sense of the logic of their case. Charles Taylor is winning this thing… CLEARLY!

  4. Sekou,
    Since you didn’t get my point let me give an example that may help you.
    I will doubt the information from a man that his girlfriend told him that Taylor secretly slept with her if this man doesn’t even know that Taylor was once the President of Liberia.
    Give me any reason why I shouldn’t doubt that this witness might be lying about Yeaten?
    If a man would killed others or risk his life for Taylor, should lying for Taylor be anything difficult for such person?

    1. Dear Vanie,

      As to whether 008 was lying concerning his knowledge of whether Benjamin Yeaten had communication with Sam Bockarie or Mr. Taylor concerning the RUF is a matter that rest with those three. Can you witness to this fact?

      I do not know what Charles Taylor may have done to you, but his efforts to remove samuel doe, to me, was indeed honorable.

      Vanie, 008 testified that he joined the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) for security reasons and not because he was in love with Charles Taylor. Tell me, who was the person you supported during the years of conflict in Liberia and Sierra Leone?

      Are you saying that because the prosecution witnesses hate Mr. Taylor that they have a justifiable reason to lie on him?

      Are you in agreement that this case is tainted with hatred and that either side is subject to lie?
      I was not there and cannot say what happen; but for the prosecution to result to paying people to provide testimony that the prosecution believes will bring a conviction, is wrong even if Mr. Taylor is in fact guilt; wouldn’t you agree?

  5. Big B,
    Appeal is an integral part of this trial. This trial is incomplete without an Appeal.
    You are definitely wrong. Each party is entitled to the Appeal the verdict of the court.

    1. vanie,

      Granted each party is entitled to an appeal, but my argument is Money. This court is not self supported, the financial up keep sorely relies on donor countries. It has been established that this court is a scam to make money.

      I don’t think most donor countries will financially support this court if the prosecution failed to get a verdict. That’s the reason the west is putting so much pressure on those judges to come up with a guilty verdict. For instance, the O.J. Simpson trial, prosecution lost O.J. walked. Even though, the prosecution had grounds for an appeal but, tax payer dollars was not going to be wasted on an appeal.

      That’s my opinion, your opinion maybe right, but time will tell.

  6. Big B,
    May I interject stratigecly and criticlly if you don’t mind, regretably knowing the dubious and devious nature of even arresting Taylor and bringing him to where he is, I find it dificult to concord that the court may go out of funds. My brother , we all just have to pray honestly to God so that he works his meracles just as he did for the children of Isreal. THEY WILL USE THEIR LAST PENNY TO SURPPORT AN APPEAL COURT as long as it is about getting rid of Charles Taylor finally. Thats the only tramp they got right now… VERY SAD…

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